The Pride of Baltimore II, a replica of a vessel that sailed in the War of 1812, docked at the Southwest waterfront. (Photo: Yvette Marquez)

On the beautiful sunny morning of Sept. 29th, at 10 a.m., Ms. Hugee’s 5th grade class boarded the Pride of Baltimore II. The weather was a perfect 65 degrees. Chief Mate, Hank Moseley, and crewmate Christine McCormick, led the class to the ship. The kids were a bit nervous boarding and being so close to the water, but after boarding they were full of curiosity and had great questions to ask the crew.

Chief Mate Hank Moseley, took half the class and lectured on history and design of the ship, the importance of this ship in the War of 1812, and how these ships called “Baltimore Clippers” were so successful defeating the British ships. This specific ship was built in 1988, and is a Replica of a real ship from the War of 1812. He talked about how this ship had sailed to Europe, Asia, Great Lakes, the East Coast and West Coast. The kids were full of great questions about rooms on the ship and if the crew sleeps on hammocks.

Delving deep into American History, Sha’lisa Battle, age 9, asked, “Why did they have the Battle of 1812?”  The Chief Mate recounted how the British feared the new, great, fast American Baltimore Clipper ships that threatened their objective to dominate the East Coast and to take the American Capitol.

He talked about the significance of Fort McHenry in Baltimore and how the American flag flew high above the Fort, which moved Frances Scott Key to write a poem about the event, which later became the American National Anthem. When Hank asked if anyone knew what this important song was, Janiah Williams, age 10, yelled out “Star Spangled Banner!”

Crewmate Kris Jones took the other half of the class and showed them how to physically set and take-in the jib. This was the fun part of the trip. They learned about ropes, sails, and how they work to raise and set the sail. Back in the day there were no motors, and everything was done by hand. The kids lined up and grabbed hold of the rope. They were then taught what “Up Behind” and “Hull Away” meant. When Kris yelled “Up Behind,” the kids dropped the rope. When he yelled “Hull Away,” the kids pulled on the rope. You could just see the excitement on their faces once they saw the sail rising from all of their hard work.

By Meg Brinckman,  a longtime contributor to The Southwester on education issues, with reporting by Amidon-Bowen parent Yvette Marquez.

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