...in 1797, USS Constitution was launched in Boston. It took three attempts to set the immense ship, reinforced with heavy diagonal planking and copper sheathing, afloat. Shipyard officials warned townspeople to be prepared for a great wave when the boat was finally launched, but none appeared. Her greatest moment came during the War of 1812, when in less than 20 minutes her guns turned a British warship into a hulk, not worth towing to port. When British cannonballs appeared to bounce off her thick wooden hull, a sailor exclaimed, "Huzzah, her sides are made of iron!" Ever since, people have referred to the ship by her affectionate nickname "Old Ironsides." Berthed at the Boston Navy Yard, she is the oldest commissioned warship in the world.
Ahem......it's the *Charlestown* Navy Yard!
Also, for you limeys, it's also the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
In 1805, in one of history's greatest naval battles, the British fleet under Adm. Horatio Nelson defeated the combined French-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar off the coast of Spain.