After a great deal of hard work by the team at the Naval Heritage Society and our partner organization the Palm Beach Maritime Foundation, we're ready to start rolling out some new developments for the USS HORNET Project. And they're big ones. But before we get to the details of our present-day breakthrough, let's take a minute for a flash back to the original ship...
200 years ago today, Hornet was cruising southward on her fourth and final cruise in the War of 1812. Under the command of intrepid Master Commandant James Biddle, Hornet had only recently escaped from a grueling 17-month blockade that trapped the ship in New London, Connecticut. Now unleashed on the ocean, and after running the British blockade not once, but twice, Biddle raced his tiny ship southward toward a remote rendezvous and an ambitious new objective.
Of course, by this point in the cruise, and unknown to anybody on board, a peace treaty had been ratified ending the war less than two weeks before. But slow communications would keep the battles going in distant waters for months to come.
Biddle's first stop was a remote island rendezvous in the South Atlantic, where he planned to join forces with other units of a squadron under command of Commodore Stephen Decatur and proceed to raid British shipping in even more distant Southeast Asia. Hornet had sailed from New York in late January with USS Peacock - a ship named for the British vessel Hornet sank in 1813 - but the two ships had been separated by bad weather only a few days out of port. Now Hornet was proceeding south alone, hoping to meet both Peacock and the frigate President at the first rendezvous.
Naval history enthusiasts know what happened next. We're going to explore it in the days to come, and I think everyone will be able to appreciate the great historical parallel to what's to come in our efforts to build a new Hornet.
More to follow, shortly - stay tuned.