Isaac Hull


Following the path of his seafaring father, Isaac Hull (1773-1843) left his home in Derby, Connecticut, at the age of 14 to join the merchant service, sailing out of New London at least once. He joined the US Navy in 1798 and moved rapidly up through the ranks during the Quasi-War with France and the Barbary War. His success earned him command of the USS Constitution in 1810 (which wintered at New London in 1810-11). In August 1812 he commanded her during the battle with HMS Guerriere, the US Navy’s first significant victory at sea during the war, which won fame for Hull and the nickname “Old Ironsides” for his ship. Hull served ashore through the rest of the war, and for much of the rest of his long naval career, but his name and portrait were well known in countless American homes. (© Mystic Seaport Collection, Mystic, CT, #1961.694)