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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive
USS Nautilus (I)
Built in 1799 as a merchant vessel by Mr. Henry Spencer on the Eastern Shore of Maryland
Launched, date unknown
Purchased by the Navy in May, 1803, at Baltimore, MD, from Mr. Thomas Tennant
Commissioned USS Nautilus, 24 June 1803, LT. Richard Somers, in command
Nautilus was assigned to the Mediterranean Squadron, to protect the interests of the United States and its citizens residing or trading in that area, and threatened at that time by the Barbary States
Nautilus arrived at Gibraltar 27 July 1803 joining the squadron on 12 September 1803
Nautilus participated in the siege of Tripoli and saw action in five general attacks between 3 August and 3 September 1804
Nautilus participated in the attack,capture and occupation of the town of Dernei
The ship remained in the Mediterranean sailing in June 1806 for the United States, arriving Washington, D.C., in mid-July where she was placed in ordinary
Reactivated in 1808, she was employed on the East Coast until decommissioned upon entering the Navy Yard in 1810
While in the Washington Navy Yard, Nautilus was altered to a brig, with a battery of 12 18–pdr. carronades Recommissioned in 1811 the ship joined the squadron commanded by Stephen Decatur.
On 17 July 1812, Nautilus gained the dubious distinction of being the first vessel lost on either side during the War of 1812
Captured off northern New Jersey by a squadron built around HMS Shannon (38 guns), HMS Africa (64 guns), and HMS Aeolus (32 guns), the brig was taken into possession for the use of the King’s service
Final Disposition, fate unknown
Displacement 185 t.
Length 87' 6"
Beam 23' 8"
Armament twelve 6-pdr carronades
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||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,
frigate USS Constitution (Preble's flagship),
mortar boat Robinson, and
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
USS Nautilus (I)
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
Last Updated 31 March 2017
This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo|