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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

US Frigate Congress (IV)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Frigate:
  • Built between 1839 and 1842 at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, ME.
  • Launched, 16 Aug. 1841
  • Commissioned USF Congress, 7 May 1842, CAPT. P. Voorhees in command
  • Assigned to the Mediterranean Squadron, 15 July 1843
  • Proceeded to South America seizing the Buenos Aires naval squadron blockading Montevideo, 29 September 1844
  • Placed in ordinary at Norfolk, VA. in March 1845
  • Recommissioned, 15 September 1845, as flagship of COMO. R. Stockton
  • Sailed for the Pacific in late October. 1845
  • Landed US Commissioner to the Sandwich Islands at Honolulu, 10 June 1845
  • Joined Pacific squadron at Monterey Bay, 20 July 1845
    During the Mexican War USS Congress was employed along the west coast of Mexico and;
    A detachment of her crew participated in the battles at Rio San Gabriel and the plains of La Mesa
    Participated in occupation of Los Angeles
    Assisted in the bombardment and capture of Guaymas, Mexico, in October 1847
    Furnished a detachment in November 1847 which aided in the occupation of Mazatlan
    Departed La Paz, 23 August 1848, for Norfolk
  • Placed in ordinary at Norfolk, in January 1849
  • Recommissioned in May 1850, assumed duties of flagship of Brazil Squadron, 12 June 1851 her assigned mission, protection United States interests from the Amazon to Cape Horn, prevention of the use of our national flag to cover the African slave trade, and maintenance of our neutral rights during hostilities among the South American countries
  • Decommissioned, at New York, 20 July 1853
  • Recommissioned, in June 1855, assuming duties of flagship, 19 June 1855, of the Mediterranean Squadron
  • Decommissioned, 13 January 1858, at Philadelphia
  • Recommissioned in 1859 to assume the duties of flagship for the Brazil Squadron until 22 August 1861
  • During the Civil War USS Congress was assigned to the Atlantic Blockading Squadron
  • Participated in the Battle of Hampton Roads, 8 March 1862
    Attacked by the Confederate ironclad, CSS Virginia (ex-USF Merrimack) and five other small ships. After exchanging broadsides with Virginia, Congress slipped her moorings and ran aground in shallow water. The ironclad and her consorts attacked from a distance and inflicted great damage on the ship, killing 120, including the commanding officer. Ablaze in several places and unable to bring guns to bear on the enemy, Congress was forced to strike her colors. Heavy shore batteries prevented Virginia from taking possession, instead she fired several rounds of hot shot and incendiary causing Congress to burn to the water's edge, and her magazine to explode.
  • Final Disposition, raised In September 1865, taken to the Norfolk Navy Yard and sold
    Specifications:
    Displacement 1,867 t.
    Length 179' (lbp)
    Beam 47' 10"
    Draft 22' 6"
    Speed unknown
    Complement 480
    Armament
    forty-eight 32-pdr guns
    four 8" guns
    Propulsion sail

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By
    Congress 87k A Nineteenth Century photograph of a painting by Vandenburg, depicting USF Congress under sail in heavy seas. USS Congress
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 590.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Congress 119k USF Congress Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century photograph of an artwork titled "U.S. Frigate Congress 1842".
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 55326.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Congress 52k Sketch by Fred S. Cozzens of USF Congress, copied from his book "Our Navy -- Its Growth and Achievements", 1897
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 74536.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Congress 69k Lithograph by Martinet, depicting the Brazilian ships Armacao and Nitherohy at left, HMS Alfred in the right center foreground and USF Congress in the right distance. Date is during the 1840s or 1850s, when Congress was serving in the South Atlantic or passing through on her way to or from the Pacific. Collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, April 1936.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 55325.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Congress 108k Artwork by J. Glen Wilson, Royal Navy, 1852, depicting USF Congress at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October (presumably 1852). The work is inscribed: "Presented by Captain Henry N. Denham, R.N., Commdg. H.M. Frigate Arnold ... Commodore I. McKeever, Commdg. U.S. Brazil Squadron". Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 93579.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Congress 78k Oil painting by Desimone of USF Congress (right) and USS Susquehanna (left distance) at Naples in 1857. Courtesy of the U.S. Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 1310-KN (Color).
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Congress 61k Oil painting by Desimone of USF Congress (right) and USS Susquehanna (left distance) at Naples about 1857. Collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 1430.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Congress 76k Oil painting probably by Desimone of USF Congress (right) and USS Susquehanna (left) at Naples about 1857. Note local rowing craft in the foreground.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 55327. Courtesy of Mr. K. Scofield, July 1939.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Cumberland 594k USS Cumberland and USF Congress at Newport News Point, Hampton Roads shortly before the March 8-9, 1862 battle of Hampton Roads.
    From Harper's Weekly
    Tommy Trampp
    Cumberland 82k "The Rebel Steamer 'Merrimac' running down the Frigate 'Cumberland' off Newport News" A line engraving, published in the "Harper's Weekly", January-June 1862, pages 184-185, depicting CSS Virginia (ex-USF Merrimack) ramming USF Cumberland, 8 March 1862. USF Congress and the bow of a Confederate gunboat are shown at right.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 59222.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    Congress 89k CSS Virginia destroying USF Congress, 8 March 1862. Painting by Xanthus Smith, depicting Virginia at left, firing into Congress. The masts of the sunken USF Cumberland are in the right background. Other Confederate warships are visible in the distance, toward the left. Collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 42218
    Robert Hurst
    Congress 123k CSS Virginia engages USF Congress, 8 March 1862. Oil painting by F. Muller, photographed in the offices of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee during the later 1920s or the 1930s.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 42216
    Robert Hurst
    Congress 64k Sinking of US Frigate Congress
    Civil War Lithographs (J. Steeple Davis + Warren Sheppard) 1899, "The History of Our Country" by Edward S. Ellis published by The History Company, Philadelphia, PA in 1899. Ship lithograph signed in the plate by artist Warren Sheppard.
    Tommy Trampp
    Congress 147k The burning USF Congress, 8 March 1862. Line engraving after a painting by J.O. Davidson, published 1892 with the permission of C. Klackner, New York. It depicts Congress burning, with crewmen swimming toward shore, after she was attacked by CSS Virginia, which is visible in the right background.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 55328
    Robert Hurst
    Congress 125k CSS Virginia vs USF Congress, print after oil on canvas by Irek T. Szelag (Tad Shelong), Tommy Trampp

    USF Congress (IV)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 23 September 2016