History Of The USS Saratoga
Forged in History...Embodied in the Spirit of the Fierce Gamecock
The symbol was born in battle, during the War of 1812, when the British were trying to regain control of the colonies. Four British Men-O'-War, under full sail, were engaged on Lake Champlain by a smaller American fleet.
The American flagship on that day was the Saratoga, under the command of 28 year old Commodore Thomas MacDonough.
A British cannonball tore through the deck, smashing a coop and releasing a young seaman's gamecock. The enraged bird flew to the rail of the ship, and as if expressing his outrage, crowed lustily and defiantly. Taking this as a sign of good luck, the Americans fought the British with new-found courage and won the battle.
For 180 years, the fighting cock has been the symbol of Vigilance, Strength and Courage. Though the days of the great fighting sailing ships are gone, the spirit of the fighting cock lived on for 38 glorious years aboard the United States Ship Saratoga.