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Isaac Hull

Naval Hero (1773-1843)

Isaac Hull

Born and raised in Connecticut, Isaac Hull didn't make his mark on New Hampshire until 1812, but the impact of his visit remains. By the time he arrived in Portsmouth, NH, Hull was already a hero. As captain of the USS Constitution, Hull had managed to elude the powerful British Royal Navy and destroy HMS Guerriere. In this famous battle, British cannon balls appeared to bounce off "Old Ironsides", commanded by Hull. But the War of 1812 against England dragged on. Hull was appointed commander of the fledgling Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, purchased in 1800 and today the nation's oldest operating federal shipyard. Hull found a weed-infested island on the Kittery, Maine side of the Piscataqua River with only 13 workers. When he left two years later, over 300 workers were at work. Hull ordered construction of a massive wooden shiphouse in order to build the USS Washington indoors. This 74-gun warship, launched as the war with Britain ended in 1814, was the largest built in the United States to that date. The shiphouse was reportedly the largest wooden building in the world. Quarters A, that Hull ordered built for he and his wife Ann is still home to the current Navy Yard commander. In the mid-1850s, more than ten years after Hull's death, his ship "Old Ironsides" arrived in Portsmouth Harbor where it was fully rebuilt. Ironsides was assigned to Portsmouth as a receiving ship for nearly 20 years in the latter 19th century, but was removed permanently to her home base in Charlestown, MA where the ship is a floating museum.

This Ironsides hero also saved the day
for the Portsmouth Shipyard

More Famous NH People 



How Isaac Hull Built Washington
He was the first commander of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and built the largest ship ever created in the USA during the War of 1812

Hull Family Papers

Remembering Hull
An ancient Portsmouth resident remembers Hull in this 19th century essay by Charles Brewster

Relative William Hull of Derby  


Official Web Site of The USS Consitution
The key site on the web. See the ship that Captain Hull commanded in 1812, a living museum in Massachusetts

Old Ironsides and New Hampshire
Our own unique web site tracing the history, with pictures of the 20 years Ironsides resided at Portsmouth Yard

How a Poem Saved a Ship
The story behind Oliver Wendell Holmes short poem and the entire poem too, with pictures.

Defeat of HMS Guerriere
Report filed by Hull on August 30,1812

Guerriere Battle Records
From the US Navy history web site


General David Humphreys House in Derby, CT
The birthplace of Hull in this town was destroyed, but the Humphey's House contains a permanent display to the Hulls in their museum

Grave of Issac Hull
Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
Many sites at the Kittery, ME based yard, including a museum open to the public and tours by permission of Public Affairs Dept including Quarters A built by Commander Hull for his wife during the War of 1812

Hull Monument in Derby, CT

U. S. Naval Academy Museum
On the grounds of the academy at Annapolis. MD

Hull Picture in a Quiz

Hull's Clothing on Display
Maryland Room. Somerset County Library, Princess Anne, CTs

Maritime Stories of the NH Seacoast
Check in regularly for updates

US Navy Museum
Washington, DC

Portsmouth Forts
A private site that details all major maritime heritage sites in the Piscataqua River region


Official US Navy Web Site

US Naval Historical Center

Master Index of US Maritime Web Sites

History of America's Oldest Shipyard
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard opened in 1800 and commander Hull was the first true commander

Stories of NH Maritime Heritage
Shipping News from the history of Seacoast of New Hampshire

More Famous NH People 

Photo: UNH Special Collections
Copyright © 2001 All rights reserved

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018 
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