Nominal Guns74ref:740
NationalityUnited States of America
OperatorUnited States Navy
Keel Laid Down18.8.1813ref:740
First Commissioned7.1815ref:740
How acquiredPurpose builtref:740
ShipyardCharlestown Navy Yard - Charlestown ref:740
Ship ClassIndependence Classref:740
Designed byEdmund Harttref:740
ConstructorJosiah Barker (1763-1847)ref:740
CategoryThird Rateref:740
Ship TypeShip of the Line ref:740
Sailing RigShip Riggedref:740
Sold for Break Up3.9.1913ref:740


DimensionMeasurementTypeMetric EquivalentDANFS
Length of Gundeck190' 10"US Feet57.912 
Breadth54' 7"US Feet16.5037 
Depth in Hold21' 4"US Feet6.5024 
Burthen2,243US Ton 


1817Broadside Weight = 2160 Imperial Pound ( 979.56 kg)DANFS
Gun Deck48 American 32-Pounder
Lower Gun Deck30 American 32-Pounder
Upper Gun Deck33 American 32-Pound Columbiad
Quarterdeck16 American 32-Pounder Carronade
Forecastle8 American 32-Pounder Carronade

1836Broadside Weight UnknownDANFS
Quarterdeck8 American 8" Shell Gun

1854Broadside Weight = 736 Imperial Pound ( 333.776 kg)DANFS
Gun Deck46 American 32-Pounder
Quarterdeck10 American 8" Shell Gun

Crew Complement

Date# of MenNotesSource

6 Commanding Officers

3.7.1815 - 1815CaptainWilliam Montgomery Crane (d.1846)DANFS7.7.1849 - 3.7.1682CaptainThomas Anderson Conover (d.1864)DANFS1872 - 1873CommanderBancroft GheradiDANFS5.1887 - 5.1890CommanderJohn W Philip (d.1900)DANFS8.1894 - 2.1895CaptainJohn J ReadDANFS18.11.1895 - 2.1896CommanderCharles Edgar ClarkDANFS

7 Flag Officers

3.7.1815 - 29.11.1819CommodoreWilliam Bainbridge (1774-1833)DANFS29.11.1819 - 1822CommodoreJohn ShawDANFS22.3.1837 - 30.3.1840CommodoreJohn B Nicolson (d.1846)DANFS14.5.1842 - 1842CommodoreCharles Stewart (d.1869)DANFS22.1.1847 - 30.5.1849CommodoreWilliam Branford Shubrick (1790-1874)DANFS7.7.1849 - 3.7.1852CommodoreCharles W Morgan (d.1853)DANFS10.10.1854 - 1854CommodoreWilliam Mervine (d.1868)DANFS

1 Commissioned Officer

31.1.1817 - 25.10.1818LieutenantEdward Rutledge Shubrick (1793-1844)W065

2 Warrant Officers

9.1871 - 9.1874Assistant PaymasterHenry G Colbyref:1879 - 1882PaymasterJohn Randolph Carmodyref:

Service History

3.7.1815Left Boston for the Mediterranean
15.11.1815Arrived at Newport
1822Placed in Ordinary
1836Razeed to a fifty-four gun frigate
20.5.1837Sailed from Boston
13.6.1837Arrived in Portsmouth, England
7.1837Called at Copenhagen
29.7.1837At Cronstadt to receive a visit from the Emperor of Russia
13.8.1837Left Cronstadt for Rio de Janeiro - Became Flagship of the Brazil Squadron
30.3.1840Arrived at New York and placed in ordinary
14.5.1842Recommissioned as flagship in the home squadron, based at Boston and New York
29.8.1846Left Boston for the Californian coast
22.1.1847Entered Monterey Bay and became flagship of the Pacific squadron
16.5.1847Captured the Mexican ship Correo and a launch
19.10.1847Supported the capture of Guaymas
11.11.1847Landed a mixed force of sailors and marines to occupy Mazatlan
12.8.1848Arrived at Honolulu
23.5.1849Returned to USA at Norfolk
30.5.1849Decommisioned and placed in ordinary
7.7.1849Recommissioned as flagship of the Mediterranean squadron
26.7.1849Left Norfolk of the Mediterranian
23.5.1850Arrived at Spezia, Italy
25.6.1852Returned to Norfolk
3.7.1852Placed in ordinary at New York
9.1854Recommissioned as flagship of the Pacific Squadron
10.10.1854Left New York
2.2.1855Arrived at Valparaiso, Chile
2.10.1857Mare Island Navy Yard to become receiving ship
3.9.1913Struck from the Navy list
28.11.1914Sold to John H. Rinder and moved to the Union Iron Works, San Francisco for break up

Notes on Ship

San Francisco Chronicle, November 20, 1912ref:
VALLEJO, November 19.
The historic old frigate Independence, for the past fifty-four years receiving ship at Mare island and the oldest ship in the United States Navy, was placed out of commission at Mare island this morning. The ceremony of hauling down the flag was a simple one, and the men and property were formally transferred to the more modern cruiser Cleveland, lately returned from Nicaragua.

Just what will be done with the Independence has not as yet been officially announced. It has been frequently reported that the directors of the Panama-Pacific Exposition would make some arrangements with the Government whereby the relic of another century would become one of the exhibits in 1915. As yet official word to this effect has never been received here.

Prominent Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West have petitioned the Government to retain the Independence because of its association with the early history of California. For that reason it has often been referred to as the naval Argonaut, it having first sailed up the coast in 1846, before the days of gold.

The keel of the Independence was laid down at Boston in 1812, it having been the intention of the Navy Department to have the ship ready for the war with England in that year. However, unfortunate delays occurred and the Independence was not launched until 1814, when as the flagship of Commodore Bainbridge it took a prominent part in the war against Algiers.

In 1836, the frigate was still the pride of the old white navy, and to keep it up-to-date it was cut down to three stacks, and the guns reduced from seventy-four to fifty-four. At this time the Independence was good for ten knots an hour in the wind, which was considered very fast time.

In 1846, commanded by Commodore Shubrick, the Independence paid its first visit to California, having come around the horn to harass the Mexican coast, at the time of the war with that country. Returning to the east coast, the frigate became the flagship of the European squadron. It returned to this coast eight years later and has been at Mare island ever since.

The old frigate displaces 3700 tons, which is one-tenth of the displacement of the new Pennsylvania. Its value at this time is in the brass used in its make up. At that time, copper was a cheap metal, and every bolt, rivet and rod on the Independence is of that mineral.


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