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Posted on Nov 7, 2005 in Front Page Features, War College

The Fate of USS Chesapeake

Armchair General

Sitting in the Meon Valley, the town of Wickham is a popular tourist attraction in Hampshire, with a picturesque town square and many fascinating old buildings in the narrow streets. The Chesapeake Mill sits at the bottom of a small hill near a stream.

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From inside the mill, the roar of the river can be heard, it’s really quite eerie, and powerful.

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The building is widely believed to be one of the finest examples of re-used warship timber outside the Royal Dockyards themselves and the structure is now a Grade II Listed (preserved) Building. The current leaseholders of the Mill are very respectful of the history of their site and although the interior of the Mill is currently occupied by several small vendors selling antique or luxury goods, the fabric of the building itself is immaculately preserved.

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In one area of the mill, there are displays on the walls detailing the history of the USS Chesapeake along with depictions of her battles, as you can see here.

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There are also pictures of the Mill itself from days gone past.

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But of course it is the timbers themselves which are of most interest, and throughout the interior of the building, one can see that the structure is built from salvaged materials.

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Large cut-outs in the supporting beams show the signs of previous uses – these notches and holes would have been used to support other timbers in the construction of the ship.

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Planks used as flooring such as can be seen here might have been used on the decks of USS Chesapeake, or as cladding for her hull.

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Although the exterior of the construction is brick, most if not all of the internal timberwork comes from the Chesapeake, including these lintels.

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4 Comments

  1. Looking forward to visiting this historical site on the weekend as part of the commemoration party, I feel very honoured to be taking part in remembering those from both sides of the Atlantic who fought and died in what must have been a horrific and bloody encounter.

  2. Great post: I am an English blogger writing on the mill in Hampshire where the timbers from the Chesapeake ended up. I’d like to use your image, complete with watermark, credit and link: please let me know if you’d rather I took it down – regards, Kate Shrewsday

    • Hi Kate, By all means use any image of your choosing,vital to keep alive the memory and indeed the history of this frigate and how its fate brought it to our shores.

  3. HiKate,Please feel free to use any image of your choosing, Its vital to keep alive the memory and indeed the history of this American frigate, and how its fate brought it to our shores. Regards Wayne.

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