A Brief History
On July 28, 1854, the USS Constellation was commissioned, a sloop-of-war, the last sail-only warship for the US Navy. The second US Navy ship of the name, the first was built in 1797 and was scrapped in 1853.
While seeking to strengthen the US Navy, economics mattered and the Navy sought to save money by using available stocks of Oak and to eschew the use of an expensive steam engine. Constellation would be economical to build and to operate.
With a length of 191 feet and a beam of 43 feet, Constellation displaced 1400 tons, carried a crew of 286, and was armed with 24 cannons. The ship served in the Mediterranean and on blockade duty during the US Civil War.
Undergoing a name change to Old Constellation in 1917, her name was changed back in 1926. Decommissioned and stricken in 1955, she is now a museum ship in Baltimore. The fifth USS Constellation is currently being built as the lead ship of a class of frigates.
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For more information, please see…
Footner, Geoffrey. Uss Constellation: From Frigate to Sloop of War. Naval Institute Press, 2003.
Williams, Glenn. USS Constellation: A short history of the last all-sail warship built by the U.S. Donning Company Publishers, 2000.
The featured image in this article, an engraving of Constellation in dry dock, c. 1859, is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1928, and if not then due to lack of notice or renewal. See this page for further explanation.
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