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Preble and "His Boys"
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Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
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Dr. Usher Parsons
Within   45   minutes   the   Guerriere    had    been reduced  to  a  wreck—a  feat  that  astonished  both sides   of   the   Atlantic.   In   that   battle  our   most famous and historic ship, the Constitution, won its nickname “Old  Ironsides”  as  enemy  shot  bounced harmlessly off its thick wooden hull. STEPHEN DECATUR As   already   pointed   out,   Decatur   (fig.   2-6) received  his  training  in  Preble’s  “school”  in  the Mediterranean.  Now  in  command  of  the  United States,  he  faced  the  Macedonia,  one  of  the  finest ships  of  its  class  in  the  Royal  Navy.  Decatur, choosing his position well, decided to fight at long range and gradually wear down his opponent. Quickly analyzing the battle situation, Decatur saw  that  the  greater  range  of  his  guns  would enable him to outshoot and cripple the British. He cleverly  maneuvered  his  ship  and  prevented  the enemy  from  closing  in.  His  gunners  fired  rapidly and  accurately,  and  more  than  a  hundred  shots penetrated  the  Macedonia’s  hull.  Down  came  its mizzenmast.  Both  the  fore  and  main  top-masts were shot off. After 2 hours of fighting, the battle was over. The  victory  was   a   great   exhibition of      leadership      by      Decatur,      who    had    an exceptional      ability      to    instill    his    own  spirit into  his  men.  He  describes  that  spirit  as  follows: “The  enthusiasm  of  every  officer,  seaman,  and marine  on  board  this  ship,  on  discovering  the enemy,    their    steady    conduct    in    battle,    and precision  of  their  fire,  could  not  be  surpassed.” 134.9 Figure 2-6.-Praise can be a motivating force. Captain Stephen Decatur substituted praise for oaths and flogging—and his gunners poured 100 shots at long range into the enemy Macedonia in the War of 1812. 2-9

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