Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster. Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.

NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS John Adams(I)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

  • Built in 1799, at Paul Prichard's Shipyard, near Charleston S.C.
  • Launched, 5 June 1799
  • Commissioned, USS John Adams in 1799, CAPT. George Cross in command
  • John Adams sailed on or about 1 October to operate against French privateers in the Caribbean
  • Early in January 1800, the Frigate began to make her presence known
    Taking an unidentified Caribbean off San Juan, P.R., recapturing brig Dolphin and brigs Hammibal and Atlantic in March French privateer schooner La Jason surrendered to her 3 April, and in May she retook schooners Dispatch and William In the late spring or summer she recaptured American brig Olive, and on 13 June she took French schooner Decade
  • John Adams was dispatched to the United States 5 December escorting a convoy
  • Placed in ordinary in Charleston in mid-January 1801
  • In late June she sailed to Washington where she was laid up
  • John Adams, CAPT. John Rodgers in command, sailed from Hampton Roads, 22 October 1802, to join COMO. Richard V. Morris's Mediterranean Squadron
  • USS John Adams operated with the squadron from 5 January 1803 until 3 May 1803
  • On 3 May she was ordered to cruise independently off Tripoli
  • At Tripoli, the Frigate attacked the forts and the gunboats anchored under their protection, capturing the 20-gun Tripolitan cruiser Meshouda
  • Reinforced by USS New York, and USS Enterprise, she engaged a flotilla of enemy gunboats off Tripoli 22 May sending them scurrying back into the harbor to safety
  • On 27 May, bolstered by the addition of the Frigate USS Adams the squadron again bested a group of pirate gunboats
  • On 21 June John Adams and Enterprise captured a 22-gun vessel belonging to Tripoli thus reducing the threat from that state
  • Throughout the summer and early fall John Adams continued operations against the Barbary pirates of Tunis, Algiers, and Morocco before returning home
  • John Adams, CAPT. Isaac Chauncey in command, rejoined the Mediterranean Squadron of COMO. Edward Preble in August 1804, to participate in the bombardment of Tripoli
  • John Adams returned to New York, 26 February 1805
  • After a third Mediterranean cruise from May to November, she was laid up in ordinary
  • During the War Of 1812 John Adams was in laid-up status at New York until 1814 due to the British blockade and a critical shortage of seamen
  • John Adams finally sailed under a flag of truce carrying peace commissioners Henry Clay and Jonathan Russell to Europe
  • She returned to the United States 5 September bringing dispatches from the American commissioners at Ghent
  • In the autumn of 1815 John Adams arrived in the Mediterranean to assist frigates USS United States and USS Constellation and sloops USS Erie and USS Ontario in maintaining peace and order in the area
  • Early in 1816 she returned home with dispatches
  • John Adams next deployed to the West Indies to suppress pirate activity
  • On 22 December 1817 she demanded and received the surrender of Amelia Island, off the east coast of Florida, the base from which corsairs pounced upon passing merchantmen.
  • In 1819 USS John Adams sailed with COMO. Oliver Hazard Perry to Venezuela to negotiate restitution for United States vessels illegally captured during the countries revolution
  • John Adams next accompanied USS Constellation on a voyage to the Plata River to continue the negotiations to establish friendly relations with the new Latin American republics
  • John Adams returned to Hampton Roads 24 April 1820
  • The Frigate joined the West India Squadron created in 1822 to cope with continuing pirate activity
  • USS John Adams was laid up in 1829 and almost entirely rebuilt at the Navy Yard, Gosport, VA.
  • She joined the Mediterranean Squadron in 1831
  • John Adams carried, ex-Commodore Porter, to Constantinople where he became the U.S.'s first charge d'affaires
  • John Adams was kept busy convoying ships in the Mediterranean and in 1833 visited Liberia, being colonized with American Negroes
  • She sailed from Hampton Roads 5 May 1838 on a cruise around the world accompanied by USS Columbia
  • John Adams arrived Boston about the middle of June where she was laid up until 1842
  • After duty on the Brazil station, she went into ordinary where she remained the beginning of the Mexican War, where she was assigned to blockading duty off the east coast of Mexico
  • The frigate returned to Boston in September 1848 and received extensive repairs before joining the Africa station for action with the English Navy against the slave trade until July 1853
  • John Adams next operated in the Pacific and the Far East until after the outbreak of the Civil War
  • John Adams was assigned as training ship at Newport, R.I., the wartime location of the Naval Academy
  • In the summer of 1863 she joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and took station off Morris Island inside Charleston Bar
  • Late in summer of 1865 she sailed to Boston where she decommissioned in September and was sold 5 October 1867
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    Displacement 544 t.
    Length 139'
    Beam 32'
    Depth of Hold 16'4"
    Speed unknown
    Complement 220
    twenty-four 12-pdrs
    six 24-pdrs
    Propulsion sail

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    John Adams - (October 30, 1735[a] July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency, he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain. During the latter part of the war and in the early years of the nation, he served as a diplomat in Europe. He was the first person to hold the office of vice president of the United States, serving from 1789 to 1797. (Wikipedia).
    Photo - Oil on canvas portrait of John Adams by Gilbert Stuart, circa 1800-1815, National Art Gallery Accession Number 1954.7.1.
    Tommy Trampp
    John Adams 250k "Fajardo Incident".
    An oil painting by RADM. John W. Schmidt showing frigate USS John Adams and schooners USS Grampus and USS Beagle off the east coast of Puerto Rico, 14 November 1824.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command Photo # NH 123338
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    John Adams 47k An unattributed oil on canvas painting of the Bombardment of Muckie (Sumatra), 1 January 1839, by frigates USS Columbia USS John Adams during the Second Sumatran Expedition.
    Image from
    Robert Hurst

    USS John Adams (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Back To The Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Old Navy" Steam and Sail Index
    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster.
    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 17 February 2023