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USS Congress (III)

  • Congress, one of six frigates authorized by congressional enactment of 27 March 1794
  • Built by naval constructor, J. Hackett, at Portsmouth, N.H.
  • Her construction, interrupted upon conclusion of peace terms with Algiers, was resumed with the eminence of naval war with France,
  • Launched 15 August 1799 under the command of CAPT. J. Sever
  • After outfitting USS Congress proceeded to Newport, R.I., in December 1799
  • Congress set out to sea from Newport to protect commerce from French despoilment, 6 January 1800, in company with the frigate, USS Essex, escorting merchant ships to the East Indies
  • 29 August 1800 Congress recaptured the merchant brig, Experiment, seized 3 days previously by a French privateer
  • Returning to Boston in April 1801 Congress was placed in ordinary at Washington, D.C.
  • Recommissioned in April 1804, CAPT. John Rodgers, in command
  • USS Congress departed for Hampton Roads to join the ships of the Mediterranean Squadron, at Gibraltar on 11 August,
  • Under command of Stephen Decatur Congress returned to the United States in November, carrying the Tunisian ambassador to the United States
  • Laid up in ordinary at Washington until 1811
  • Recommission in the fall of 1811, under the command of CAPT. J. Smith
  • Congress was assigned to the squadron of Commodore J. Rodgers, patrolling the North Atlantic, from June to August 1812
  • Sailing in company with the frigate USS President, from Boston on 8 October she captured nine prizes before returning on 31 December
  • 30 April 1813, Congress again put to sea, cruising off the Cape Verde Islands and the Brazil coast she captured four small enemy ships
  • On 14 December she returned to Portsmouth for repairs, remaining there for the duration
  • From October 1822 to April 1823 Congress, CAPT. J. Biddle, in command, operated against the West Indies pirates.
  • During the second half of 1823 she carried the United States Ministers to Spain and the Argentine Republic
  • In 1824 Congress was placed in ordinary at Norfolk until December when she was towed to Washington for repairs
  • In November 1829 she returned to Norfolk where she served as receiving ship for several years and then was laid up in ordinary
  • Final Disposition, surveyed in 1834 Congress was found unfit for repair and was broken up at the Norfolk Navy Yard by order of the Navy Commissioner
    Displacement 1,265 t.
    Length 164'
    Beam 41'
    Depth of Hold 13' 4"
    Draft 13' 6"
    Decks Orlop, berth, Gun, Spar
    Speed unknown
    Complement 340
    twenty-eight 18-pdr long guns
    twenty 32-pdr carronades
    Propulsion sail, three masts, ship rig
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    Size Image Description Contributed
    Constellation 97k A pencil and ink on paper drawing of the hull for frigates USS Constellation (1797) and the USS Congress (III) (1799). Designed by Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox, et al., 1795.
    National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Bureau of Ships
    Robert Hurst
    Congress III 73k USS Congress Sail Plan by sailmaker Charles Ware, 1 January 1816.
    National Archives RG 45 Ware Drawings; see Sailing warships of the US Navy, p. 46, Donald L. Canney, Naval Institute Press, 2001.
    Robert Hurst
    Washington 151k Launching of USS Washington (IV), at Portsmouth Navy Yard, 1 Oct 1814. USS Congress (III) . Image courtesy of the Collection of Historic New England.
    Painting by John S. Blunt circa 1815.
    Robert Hurst

    USS Congress (III)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    Last Updated 19 October 2018