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NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

Patches left and center contributed by Mike Smolinksi, patch a right by Wolfgang Hechler

USS Constitution
USS Constitution (IX-21) (1925 - 1975)
USS Old Constitution (IX-21) (1921 - 1925)
USS Old Constitution (1917 - 1921)
USF Constitution (1798 - 1917)

Oil Paintings, Water Color Paintings and Lithographs

by Maritime Artist Joseph Reindler
Click On Image
For Full Size Image
Size Image Description Contributed
Guerriere 128k Black and white photo of a lithograph by Martinet of the frigates Constitution and Raritan. From the Collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hyde Park, New York.
US Naval History an Heritage Command photo # NH 1731
US Naval History and Heritage Command
Constitution 2567k "CONSTITUTION vs. SANDWICH"
11 May 1800-- Captain Talbot of USF Constitution commandeered the American sloop Sally (commanded by CAPT. Thomas Sanford) and used her on a "A Cutting-Out Expedition, into Porto Plata, Dominican Republic, where the French privateer Sandwichwas captured.
US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 1272
Robert Hurst
Constitution 264k The capture of the French privateer Sandwich by armed Marines on the sloop Sally, from the USF Constitution, Puerto Plata Harbor, Santo Domingo, 11 May 1800.
"History of the US Navy", by James M. Morris, page 27.
Tommy Trampp
Constitution 1373k The capture of the French privateer Sandwich by armed Marines on the sloop Sally, from the USF Constitution, Puerto Plata Harbor, Santo Domingo, 11 May 1800. Oil painting by Philip Colprit,(1927 - 1981). Photo image of painting Philip Colprit, 1960. Photo of illustration created by U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Image rendered for better tone, clarity. Robert Hurst
Constitution 88k Photo of the earliest known contemporary image of USF Constitution. It is a gouache painted in 1803, and attributed to Michel Fellice Corne. Close analysis of the image has shown it to be extremely accurate in both proportion and detail when compared to existing documentation of the time. (Note: the "1804" in the "Attach" line is in error.) CDR Ty Martin USN Ret. 49th CO USS Constitution
Constitution 207k An undated painting from the US Library of Congress of the 44-gun frigate USF Constitution as she battles the elements. Artist unknown.
Photo and text from "An Illustrated History of the United States Navy" by Chester G. Hearn.
Robert Hurst
Constitution 64k USF Constitution, from the National Geographic Society commissioned and published series "Symbol of Patriotism", commissioned in 1938 by famed naval artist Norman Wilkinson. The series was titled Ships of the Centuries. Tommy Trampp
Constitution 111k Painting from the US Library of Congress of USF Constitution as flagship of Commodore Edward Preble squadron during the bombardment of Tripoli, beginning on 3 August 1804. Other ships of the squadron included: USS Enterprise, USS Nautilus, USS Argus, USS Siren, and USS Vixen. Artist Unknown.
Photo and text from "An Illustrated History of the United States Navy" by Chester G. Hearn.
Robert Hurst
Argus 129k Bombardment of Tripoli, 3 August 1804
Oil by Michael Felice Corne, depicting Commodore Edward Preble's squadron engaging the Tripolitan gunboats and fortifications during the afternoon of 3 August 1804. U.S. Navy vessels shown in the foreground are, from left to right:
schooner USS Enterprise,
schooner USS Nautilus,
brig USS Argus,
brig USS Syren,
schooner USS Vixen,
mortar boat Dent,
gunboat Somers,
frigate USS Constitution (Preble's flagship),
mortar boat Robinson, and
gunboat Blake.
Attacking the enemy flotilla in the center background are LT.Stephen Decatur's three gunboats and a gunboat commanded by LT. James Decatur, who was killed in this action.
US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 65536-KN. Courtesy of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Annapolis, Maryland.
US Naval History and Heritage Command
Constitution 675k Oil on canvas painting of the 44-gun frigate USF Constitution underway off the Barbary coast, by Geof Hunt, 2000.
From the book "Ship: A History in Art & Photography" Edited by Andrew Lambert
Robert Hurst
Constitution 365k Painting depicting the boats of USF Constitution towing her in a calm, while she was being pursued by a squadron of British warships, 18 July 1812. Painting by Anton Otto Fischer (1882–1962).
UN Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo # NH 85542-KN
Robert Hurst
Constitution 223k "Flight of the Frigate USF Constitution" - by F. Muller - depicting escaping from a British squadron of HMS Shannon, HMS Belvidera, HMS Aeolus and HMS Guerriere, July 1812.
US Naval Historical Center, Washington, D.C.).
Postcard collection of Arnold A. Putnam
Constitution 1858k Oil painting by Charles Robert Patterson depicting the action between US Frigate Constitution and HMS Java, 29 December 1812. Constitution (at left), commanded by CAPT. William Bainbridge, exchanging broadsides with the British Frigate HMS Java off Brazil early in the action. During nearly two hours of battle, Java was demasted and had to surrender. Her damage was so severe that she had to be burned. Photographed in 1948, when the original painting was hanging on board the Presidential Yacht USS Williamsburg (AGC-369).
US Navy photo 80-G-K-9451 now in the collections of the US National Archives
Tommy Trampp
Constitution 315k Capture of the 36-gun fifth-rate frigate HMS Java by USF Constitution, 29 December 1812.
Drawn & Etched by N. Pocock, from a Sketch by LT. Buchanan / Engraved by R. & D. Havell / Published by Messrs. Boydell & Co. 1 January 1814.
Robert Hurst
Constitution 226k TITLE: The Capture of HBM. frigate Java by the U.S. frigate Constitution after an action of 1 hour, 55 minutes
CALL NUMBER: PGA - Sarony--Capture of HBM frigate Java (A size) [P&P]
REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZ62-5215 (b&w film copy neg.)
RIGHTS INFORMATION: No known restrictions on publication.
MEDIUM: 1 print : lithograph.
CREATED/PUBLISHED: [New York] : Sarony & Major, c1846.
From the Library of Congress
By by Maritime Artist Joseph Reindler
Oil on linen, 27.5 x 40 inches (1000 x 700mm) - Limited Edition Print available
His Majesty’s frigate JAVA (nearest), Captain Henry Lambert, replies her first broadside against the American heavy-frigate CONSTITUTION, Commodore William Bainbridge, early in the 3-hour action fought off San Salvador, 29 December 1812. At about 2:10PM and close on the weather bow of his opponent, which had opened the action already having fired three broadsides, Captain Lambert answered with effect: shooting away CONSTITUTION's steering wheels and main backstay, dismounting several guns and maiming her crew. Feeling his enemy’s full sting Commodore Bainbridge wore his ship in smoke to run to leeward, hoping both to save his crew, and to better suit his long-shot tactics of disabling his enemy's masts. The British frigate turned nobly in chase, however could scarcely have fallen in with a more formidable adversary. Constitution was a crack ship, materially superior in every respect to JAVA: mounting 53 guns to JAVA’s 46; 722-pound broadsides to JAVA’s 427; 24-pounders to JAVA’s long-18’s, and being one third larger and stronger in burden, hull and spars. So superior was the American, that she would probably have been more evenly-matched fighting a British two-decker ship of the line than a fifth-rate frigate. And by contrast to CONSTITUTION’s complement of veteran fighting sailors, JAVA’s complement comprised mostly inexperienced and recently pressed landsmen who, with the exception of 8 volunteers from the ship-of-the-line RODNEY, had never fired a gun in anger. In fact, and with the exception of 6 rounds of blank, practice shot fired the previous night, most had never fired a gun at all. As the duel evolved, from her position of weather-advantage JAVA could twice have raked CONSTITUTION through her stern; the appalling result of cannon shot sweeping the full length of her decks would probably have induced any wary adversary to flight; yet, through want of better gunnery, the British frigate failed to capitalise on these perfect opportunities. As JAVA, so superbly helmed, first crossed her enemy’s stern, Lieutenant James Saunders, one of the ship's supernumerary officers, ran to the bow to fire the 9-pounder into CONSTITUTION’s quarter gallery. His example however was ill-followed. It is said that the 8 RODNEYs practically fought JAVA’s entire main battery by themselves; and as JAVA crossed CONSTITUTION's stern for the second time, tacking so as to engage the opposite battery from that which had already been fought, sailors crossed her rolling deck in the thick smoke of the guns and the orders rang out: "STARBOARD FORWARD DIVISION – FIRE POINT BLANK! AS SHE BEARS – NUMBER ONE! – NUMBER TWO! – NUMBER THREE! . . ." at most two or three guns fired and hit home, with the rest silent in the confusion, blinding smoke and noise. When the smoke again cleared it became apparent that a second vital opportunity had been missed; and from there the American swiftly asserted the advantage one would have expected. Better gunnery practice and outright material superiority would see the famous American heavy frigate take another British prize. One by one JAVA's masts and spars all fell. Yet as terrible as the situation was to become, British gallantry held true. The green sailors at the guns, by now hastily accustomed to their new trade, and following the example of the RODNEYs, poured fire on CONSTITUTION at such a rate that her own hull was steadily on fire because of the wreck of sails and spars laying over its side. A last-resort call to boarders was eventually made. The boarding parties leapt up, but only to be mown down and crushed at the gangways under the wreck of the fore and maintopmasts as they were shot away. The attempted boarding having failed; what was left of JAVA’s bowsprit fouled itself in CONSTITUTION’s mizzen rigging and pulled the British frigate alongside CONSTITUTIONs quarter. The hapless endeavour received an appalling reply of three more full-raking broadsides from CONSTITUTION, poured through the British frigate’s bow. Shortly thereafter, protesting and unwilling to leave his post, Captain Henry Lambert was taken below; a musket ball lodged in his chest close to his heart. With her commanding officer now mortally wounded, charge of the stricken frigate devolved upon First Lieutenant Henry Chads, himself also badly wounded. JAVA had by now only her maintopsail still bent; the rest of her sails and spars having been shot away. CONSTITUTION, also so badly cut up as to be barely manageable, retired to make repairs to her running rigging. It is told that as CONSTITUTION sailed away the British Blue-Jackets cheered her to return and finish the fight. Jury-repairs were hurriedly made aboard JAVA as well during the lull. Yet when CONSTITUTION again returned, assuming a potent raking position off the bow of a now completely dismasted JAVA, Lieutenant Chads and his surviving officers conferred that the last British flag, the fallen Union Jack now nailed to the stump of the mizzen, should be struck. Thereby barely seaworthy, and so badly damaged as to negate any value in being taken a prize, the gallant JAVA, former RENOMEÉ, a French prize taken the previous year off Madagascar at the Battle of Tamatave, captured twice and burned once, met her end. CONSTITUTION meanwhile was only part way through an illustrious wartime career, and would take numerous other British prizes, never losing an engagement herself throughout the War of 1812. This action being a well-patronised subject, I hoped to approach it differently by focusing not just on CONSTITUTION, but on JAVA as well. Being early in the action is was possible to depict the British frigate showing nearly all of the flags she had aloft that day, including the ‘Midshipman’s Coverlet’, the fallen Red Ensign that was given to comfort badly wounded 13-year-old Midshipman Eddie Keele after the mizzenmast was shot away.
Joseph Reindler
Joseph Reindler
Constitution 75k Hand-colored lithograph by Nathanial Currier, 1846, of USF Constitution capturing HMS Java.
Library of Congress
Robert Hurst
Constitution 203k British frigate HMS Java in a sinking state and on fire as she blows up. Constitution at a distance... repairing her rigging etc. in the evening of 29th December, 1812. Copy of aquatint by N. Pocock, engraved by R. & D. Havell after a sketch by LT., 1814.
US National Archives Identifier (NAID) 535742
Robert Hurst
Constitution 260k During the battle between HMS Java and USF Constitution Java loses her foremast in an attempt to board the more heavily armed Constitution.
"History of the US Navy", by James M. Morris, page 31.
Tommy Trampp
Constitution 305k HMS Java attempts to board the more heavily armed USF Constitution, she becomes unmanageable and is totally dismasted by the Constitution's broadsides.
"History of the US Navy", by James M. Morris, page 31.
Tommy Trampp
Constitution 77k Action between USF Constitution and HMS Guerriere, 19 August 1812: "The Engagement"
Oil on canvas, 32" x 48", by Michel Felice Corne (1752-1845), depicting the two frigates sailing toward each other at the commencement of the battle. Constitution is shown on the right, with crewmen working aloft.
Painting in the collections of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, transferred from the Navy Department in 1869.
US Navy photo # KN-14236 (Color).
Robert M. Cieri
Constitution 159k Action between USF Constitution and HMS Guerriere, 19 August 1812. Post card collection of Arnold A. Putnam
Constitution 87k Oil on canvas of USF Constitution capturing HMS Guerriere, by Samuel Seymour, circa 1812-15.
The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia.
Robert Hurst
Constitution 192k Print of USF Constitution capturing HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia. In this print the Guerriere has lost her masts.
From the book "The War of 1812" by Diana Childress.
Tommy Trampp
Constitution 176k Painting by Anton Otto Fischer depicting the first victory at sea by USF Constitution over HMS Guerriere, date unknown.
Photo image obtained, enlarged and rendered by Gwillhickers (real name unknown). Courtesy of PD Art.
Robert Hurst
131k Old magic lantern slide of U.S Frigate Constitution and HMS Guerriere battle.
A.T. Thompson & Co., Boston, Mass. Opticla Lanterns and Slides.
Tommy Trampp
Constitution 997k Print of USF Constitution capturing HMS Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia.
From the book "Pictorial History of American Ships, On the High Seas & Inland Waters" (1953) by John and Alice Durant
Tommy Trampp
Constitution 375k "Capture of H.M. Ships Cyane & Levant, by the U.S. Frigate Constitution", 20 February 1815"
Capture of HMS Cyane and HMS Levant, by the U.S. Frigate Constitution, 20 February 1815.
Lithograph by James Queen after a painting by Thomas Birch, published circa the mid-19th Century by P.S. Duval, Philadelphia, PA. It depicts the American frigate engaging Levant (at left) and Cyane (at right). Constitution was commanded by CAPT. Charles Stewart.
US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 86692-KN. Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.
US Naval History and Heritage Command
Constitution 145k 1884 magazine engraving ~ "CONSTITUTION AND CYANE AND LEVANT". USF Constitution defeating HMS Cyane and HMS Levant, 20 February 1815. Tommy Trampp
Constitution 138k USF Constitution defeating HMS Cyane and HMS Levant, 20 February 1815. Arnold A. Putnam
Constitution 94k USF Constitution towing HMS Cyane, captured 28 February 1815, artist unknown.
Library of Congress
Robert Hurst
Constitution 411k USF Constitution at anchor. Ron Reeves
Constitution 109k A Lithograph Print titled "THE CONSTITUTION FRIGATE 1797', dated 1965, by Melbourne Smith
US Library of Congress serial print #65-28747.
Tommy Trampp
Constitution 485k Cutaway drawing of the US frigate Constitution showing her anchor detail hard at work on the gun deck. Sailors or Marines turn the capstan around which is wrapped the voyal, or little messengers, as "little nippers" hitch the line to the anchor cable using nippers, or short lines. As the cable nears the hatch, the nipper is quickly unhitched.
US Navy artwork by John C. Roach.
Tommy Trampp
Constitution 186k Post Card image of the US frigate Constitution dressed in flags, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
Marion 79k Lithograph after a drawing by Joseph L. Jones, circa 1877-1880 depicting a Naval Review in Hampton-Roads, VA. dedicated to Secretary of the Navy Richard W. Thompson. Ships present include (from left):
USS Marion,
USS Tallapoosa (flying the Secretary of the Navy's Flag),
USS Constitution,
USS Kearsarge,
USS Saratoga,
USS Powhatan,
USS Portsmouth and
USS Minnesota.
US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH 61193. Courtesy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936.
Robert Hurst
Constitution 142k USF Constitution "Old Ironsides" moored at Navy Yard Kittery, ME., 1905.
Illustration by H. Pearson.
Post card collection of Arnold A. Putnam
Constitution 38k Undated pen and ink drawing of USS Constitution on ivory paper by Goff Prints. Tommy Trampp

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