Old Ironsides
Nominal Guns44DANFS
NationalityUnited States of America
OperatorUnited States Navy
Keel Laid Down1796ref:740
First Commissioned7.1798ref:740
How acquiredPurpose builtDANFS
ShipyardBoston - Massachusetts DANFS
Ship ClassUnited States ClassDANFS
Designed by Joshua Humphreys (1751-1838)DANFS
Constructor George Claghorn (1748-1824)DANFS
CategoryFifth RateDANFS
Ship TypeFrigate DANFS
Sailing RigShip RiggedDANFS
Still in Existance21.10.1797DANFS


DimensionMeasurementTypeMetric EquivalentDANFS
Length of Gundeck174' 10"Imperial Feet53.0352 
Length of Keel145' 0"Imperial Feet44.196 
Breadth43' 6"Imperial Feet13.1572 
Depth in Hold14' 3"Imperial Feet4.2863 
Draught Aft23' 0"Imperial Feet7.0104 
Burthen1,576Tons BM 


1798Broadside Weight = 588 Imperial Pound ( 266.658 kg)DANFS
Upper Gun Deck30 American 24 Pounder
Spardeck16 American 18 Pounder
Spardeck14 American 12-Pounder

8.1812Broadside Weight = 881 Imperial Pound ( 399.5335 kg)DANFS
Upper Gun Deck30 American 24 Pounder
Spardeck32 American 32-Pounder Carronade
Spardeck1 American 18 Pound Carronade

12.1812Broadside Weight = 616 Imperial Pound ( 279.356 kg)DANFS
Upper Gun Deck30 American 24 Pounder
Spardeck16 American 32-Pounder Carronade

12.1815Broadside Weight = 704 Imperial Pound ( 319.264 kg)DANFS
Upper Gun Deck30 American 24 Pounder
Stern Chaser2 American 24 Pounder
Spardeck20 American 32-Pounder Carronade

Crew Complement

Date# of MenNotesSource

25 Ship Commanders

22.7.1798 - 5.6.1799Captain Samuel Nicholson (d.1811)5.6.1799 - 8.9.1801Captain Silas Talbot (d.1813)8.9.1801 - 14.4.1802Lieutenant Isaac Hull (d.1843)30.6.1802 - 13.5.1803Master Nathaniel Haraden1803 - 1804Acting Captain Thomas RobinsonB05214.5.1803 - 28.10.1804Commodore Edward Preble (1761-1807)B17128.10.1804 - 9.11.1804Captain Stephen Decatur (1779-1820)DANFS9.11.1804 - 30.5.1806Captain John Rodgers (d.1838)30.5.1806 - 8.12.1807Captain Hugh George Campbell (d.1820)20.2.1809 - 17.6.1810Captain John Rodgers (d.1838)17.6.1810 - 15.9.1812Captain Isaac Hull (d.1843)15.9.1812 - 18.7.1813Captain William Bainbridge (1774-1833)DANFS18.7.1813 - 16.7.1815Captain Charles Stewart (d.1869)31.4.1821 - 5.12.1825Captain Jacob Jones (1768-1850)31.3.1824 - 14.10.1825Captain Thomas Macdonough (d.1825)14.10.1825 - 5.12.1825Captain Daniel Todd Patterson (d.1839)23.1.1826 - 21.2.1826Captain George Campbell Read (d.1862)21.2.1826 - 19.7.1828Captain Daniel Todd Patterson (d.1839)3.3.1835 - 18.8.1838Captain Jesse Duncan Elliott (d.1845)1.3.1839 - 8.11.1841Captain Daniel David Turner (1794-1850)DANFS15.7.1842 - 16.2.1742/43Captain Foxhall Alexander Parker13.12.1843 - 5.10.1846Captain John Percival (d.1862)9.10.1848 - 4.9.1849Captain John Gwinn (d.1848)18.9.1849 - 16.1.1851Captain Thomas Anderson Conover (d.1864)18.9.1849Lieutenant James H Brown

8 Commissioned Officers

3.1798 - 8.9.1801First Lieutenant Isaac Hull (d.1843)E-WIKI22.7.1798 - 5.1798Lieutenant Edward Preble (1761-1807)B1711803 - 1804Lieutenant Samuel ElbertB0521803 - 1804Lieutenant Joseph Tarbell (d.1815)B0521803 - 1804Lieutenant Charles Gordon (d.1817)B0521812First Lieutenant Charles Morris (1784-1856)1812Lieutenant George Campbell Read (d.1862)1812 - 29.12.1812Lieutenant John C Alwyn (d.1812)W005

11 Warrant Officers

c.1.3.1799 - c.27.8.1800Chaplain William Austin Resignedref:12031803 - 1804Surgeon's Mate Patrick SimmsB0521803 - 1804Sailmaker Isaac SteelB0521803 - 1804Gunner William SweenyB0521803 - 1804Boatswain John N CannonB0521803 - 1804Chaplain Peter LeonardB0521803 - 1804Purser Noadiah MorrisB0521803 - 1804Master Nathaniel Haradenref:11321803 - 1804Surgeon James WellsB0521812Master John C Alwyn (d.1812)W0051821Surgeon George S SprostonUSNR-1821

16 Petty Officers

15.7.1798 - 31.5.1802Acting Midshipman Lewis Alexisref:12031800Master's Mate Humphrey Aldenref:12031.6.1802 - 1804Midshipman Lewis AlexisB0521803 - 1804Midshipman Leonard HunnewellB0521803 - 1804Midshipman Francis C HallB0521803 - 1804Midshipman William LewisB0521803 - 1804Midshipman Joseph IsraelB0521803 - 1804Midshipman John M HaswellB0521803 - 1804Midshipman Henry P CaseyB0521803 - 1804Midshipman Alexander LawsB0521803 - 1804Midshipman Daniel S DexterB0521803 - 1804Midshipman Charles G RidgelyB0521803 - 1804Acting Midshipman John Thompson (d.1814)B0521803 - 1804Midshipman Joseph NicholsonB0521803 - 1804Master's Mate Hethcote J ReedB0521803 - 1804Master's Mate David Deacon (d.1840)B052

5 Marines

1800Marine Lieutenant William ArmoryW0511800Marine Captain Daniel Carmick (d.1816)W0511803 - 1804Marine Lieutenant Robert GreenleafB0521803 - 1804Marine Captain John HallB0521812 - 19.8.1812Marine Lieutenant William S Bush (d.1812)

Service History

22.7.1798First sea trip commencesDANFS
30.6.1802In ordinary, BostonDANFS
1807In ordinary, New YorkDANFS
19.8.1812Constitution vs Guerriere
19.8.1812Took the Frigate Guerriere (38)
29.12.1812Constitution vs Java
29.12.1812Took the Frigate Java (38) off the coast of Brazil
14.2.1814Took the Sloop Pictou (16) taken and burnt
20.2.1815Action of 1815-02-20
20.2.1815Took the Post Ship Cyane (22) off MadieraTRN4
20.2.1815Took the Post Ship Levant (20) off MadieraTRN4
1816In ordinary, BostonDANFS
1821Service in the MediterranianDANFS
1828In ordinary, BostonDANFS
1835Flagship Mediterranian squadronDANFS
1839Flagship Pacific squadronDANFS


DatesFleetFleet CommanderSource
1803-1804American Mediterranean Squadron 1803-1804 Edward Preble (1761-1807) 
1804-1805American Mediterranean Squadron 1804-1805 Samuel Barron (d.1810) 
1805-1806American Mediterranean Squadron 1805-1806 John Rodgers (d.1838) 


Previous comments on this page

Posted by Brian Stephens on Tuesday 1st of April 2014 18:14

United States Frigate, Constitution,
off Boston Light, Aug. 30. 1812 - Rhode Island Gazette

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that on the 19th inst. at 2, P.M. being in latitude 40: 42, and longitude 55 : 48, with the Constitution under my command, a sail was discovered from the mast-head bearing E by S or E. S. E. but at such a distance we could not tell what she was. All sail was instantly made in chase, and soon found we came up with her. At 3, P.M. could plainly see that she was a ship on the star board track under easy sail, close on a wind; at half past 3, P.M. made her out to be a frigate; continued the chase until we were within about three miles, when I ordered the light sails taken in, the courses hauled up, and the ship cleared for action. At this time the chase had backed his main top-sail, waiting for us to come down. As soon as the Constitution was ready for action, I bore down with an intention to bring him to close action immediately, but on our coming within gun shot, she gave us a broad side and filled away, and wore, giving us a broad side on the other tract, but without effect; her shot falling short. She continued wearing and maneuvering for about three quarters of an hour, to get a raking position, but finding she could not, bore up, and run under her top-sails and jib, with the wind on the quarter. I immediately made sail to bring the ship up with her, and 5 minutes before 6, P.M. being alongside, within half pistol shot, we commenced a heavy fire from all our guns, double shotted with round and grape, and so well directed were they, and so warmly kept up, that in 15 minutes his mizen-mast went by the board and his main-yard in ths s???ings and the hull, rigging and sails were very much torn to pieces. The fire was kept up with equal warmth for 15 minutes longer when his main-mast and fore-mast went, taking with them every spar, except the bowsprit; on seeing this we ceased firing, so that in thirty minutes after we got fairly alongside the enemy, she surrendered, and had not a spar standing, and her hull above and below water so shattered, that a few more broadsides must have carried her down. After informing you that so fine a ship as the Guerriere, commanded by an able and experienced officer, had been totally dismasted, and otherwise cut to pieces, so as to make her not worth towing to port. In a short space of thirty minutes you have no doubt of the gallantry and good conduct of the officers, and ships company, I have the honour to command; it only remains with me to assure you that they all fought with great bravery; and it gives me pleasure to say, that from the smallest boy in the ship to the oldest seaman, not a look of fear was seen.

They all went into action giving three cheers, and requesting to be laid close along side the enemy. Enclosed, I have the honour to send you a list of killed and wounded on board the Constitution, and report the damages she sustained, also a list of killed and wounded on board the enemy, with his quarter bill, &c. I have the honour to be, with very great respect, Sir, your obedient servant.
Isaac Hull.

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