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

US Frigate Constellation (I)

  • Order, 27 March 1794, designed by Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox whose plans were altered by David Stodder
  • Built at the Strerett Shipyard, Harris Creek, Fells Point, Baltimore, MD. by David Stodder, and the superintendent of shipbuilding, Captain Thomas Truxtun
  • Launched 7 September 1797
  • Under the command of CAPT. Thomas Truxtun, USF Constellation sailed for the West Indies 17 December 1798, to protect the United States’ commerce
  • Her baptism of fire came, 9 February 1799, when she captured the French 40-gun frigate L’Insurgente in battle off Nevis, West Indies
  • Constellation in succeeding months, she also seized two French privateers, Diligent and Union
  • On the evening of 1 February 1800 Constellation engaged the 52-gun frigate La Vengeance, although badly mauled Vengence was able to escape under cover of darkness
  • Constellation joined the Mediterranean Squadron participating in the blockade of Tripoli in May 1802
  • Returning to the States in November 1805, Constellation moored at Washington where she was placed in ordinary
  • After extensive repairs in 1812-1813 Constellation, CAPT. Charles Stewart, in command, was dispatched to Hampton Roads
  • In January 1813 the Frigate blockaded the British fleet making it impossible for them to reach the open sea
  • During the war against the Barbary powers Constellation, attached to the Mediterranean Squadron, under Commodore Stephen Decatur participated in the capture of the Algerian frigate Mashuda, 17 June 1815
  • Constellation remained with the squadron until returning to Hampton Roads in December 1817
  • From 12 November 1819 to 24 April 1820 Constellation served as flagship of COMO. Charles Morris on the Brazil Station
  • On 25 July 1820, she sailed joined Pacific Squadron of COMO. Charles Stewart.
  • In 1827, Constellation acted briefly as flagship for the West India Squadron on a twofold mission involving the eradication pirates and the interception of slavers
  • August 1829, she cruised the Mediterranean to watch over American shipping and to collect indemnities from previous losses suffered by U.S. merchantmen
  • Returning to the United States in November 1831, for minor repairs and returning to the Mediterranean in April 1832, until an outbreak of cholera forced her to sail for home in November 1834
  • In October 1835, Constellation sailed for the Gulf of Mexico to assist in crushing the Seminole uprising
  • She then cruised with the West India Squadron until 1838 serving part of this period as flagship for COMO. Alexander Dallas
  • During the 1840’s Constellation circumnavigate the globe as flagship of CAPT. Kearny and the East India Squadron
  • En route home in May 1843 she entered the Hawaiian Islands, helping to keep them from becoming a British protectorate
  • Constellation was ultimately laid up in ordinary at Norfolk from 1845 to 1853
  • Final Disposition, broken up at Norfolk in 1853
    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

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    Constellation 97k A pencil and ink on paper drawing of the hull for US Frigates Constellation (1797) and Congress (1799). Designed by Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox, et al., 1795.
    National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Bureau of Ships
    Robert Hurst
    Constellation 103k Painting from the US Library of Congress of US Frigate Constellation (left) as she engages the French 40-gun frigate L'Insurgente on 9 February 1799, during the Quasi-War with France. Artist unknown.
    From "An Illustrated History of the United States Navy" by Chester G. Hearn.
    Robert Hurst
    Constellation 137k USF Constellation captures L'Insurgente, February 9, 1799 during the Quasi-Wars with France. Artist unknown. Arnold A. Putnam
    Constellation 165k Painting of the frigate USF Constellation (left) engaging the French 50-gun frigate L'Insurgente on 2 February 1800 during the Quasi-War with France. Artist unknown.
    From the US Navy Memorial.
    "On February 2, 1800 the 50-gun La'Vengeance, was enroute to France from Guadalupe when Commander Thomas Truxtun spied the French ship. A four-hour battle ensued.... The French directed their fire on Constellations's rigging, Constellation concentrated on La'Vengeance's hull and timbers. The punishment to La'Vengeance was so great that three times the French attempted to haul down their colors. However, in the growing darkness, Truxtun was not able to see the signal.... The French fire finally weakened Constellation's mainmast so it snapped off at the deck. Truxtun pulled back to repair the damage and La'Vengeance escaped into the darkness."
    Tommy Trampp
    Constellation 124k The battle between the USF Constellation and th French frigate L'Insurgente, 9 February 1799, from a painting by Chares Patterson.
    "History of the US Navy", by James M. Morris, courtesy the National Maritime Museum, United Kingdom.
    Tommy Trampp
    Constellation 222k USF Constellation defeats L'Insurgente, 1 February 1800 during the Quasi-Wars with France. Artist unknown. Arnold A. Putnam
    Guerriere 111k COMO.Stephen Decatur squadron off Algiers comprised of the frigates;
    USF Guerriere, the flagship with 44 guns, commanded by Captain William Lewis,
    USF Constellation with 36 guns, commanded by Captain Charles Gordon;
    USF Macedonia with 38 guns, under the command of Captain Jacob Jones;
    the sloops-of-war USS Eperyie, commanded by Captain John Downes,
    and USS Ontario with 16 guns, commanded by Captain Jesse D. Elliott;
    the brigs USS Firefly,
    USS Spark and
    USS Flambeau, each with 14 guns, commanded by Lieutenants George W. Kodgers, Thomas Gamble, and John B. Nicholson;
    and the schooners USS Torch
    and USS Spitfire, both with 12 guns, commanded by Lieutenants Wolcott Chauncey and Alexander J. Dallas.
    Gardner Weld Allen (1856-1944) - "Our Navy and the Barbary Corsairs".
    Tommy Trampp

    USF Constellation Memorabilia
    Commemorative Medallion
    Contributed by Jack Treutle
    Commemorative Medallion
    Contributed by Jack Treutle

    USF Constellation (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 26 July 2019