Constitution

2402
Old Ironsides
Nominal Guns44DANFS
NationalityUnited States of America
OperatorUnited States Navy
Ordered27.3.1794ref:740
Keel Laid Down1796ref:740
Launched21.10.1797DANFS
First Commissioned7.1798ref:740
How acquiredPurpose builtDANFS
ShipyardBoston - Massachusetts DANFS
Ship ClassUnited States ClassDANFS
Designed byJoshua Humphreys (1751-1838)DANFS
ConstructorGeorge Claghorn (1748-1824)DANFS
CategoryFifth RateDANFS
Ship TypeFrigate DANFS
Sailing RigShip RiggedDANFS
Still in Existance21.10.1797DANFS

Dimensions


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 

Armament


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
1798360Establishment?DANFS
12.1815377Actual?

25 Commanding Officers


DatesRankNameSource
22.7.1798 - 5.6.1799CaptainSamuel Nicholson (d.1811)5.6.1799 - 8.9.1801CaptainSilas Talbot (d.1813)8.9.1801 - 14.4.1802LieutenantIsaac Hull (d.1843)30.6.1802 - 13.5.1803MasterNathaniel Haraden1803 - 1804Acting CaptainThomas RobinsonB05214.5.1803 - 28.10.1804CommodoreEdward Preble (1761-1807)B17128.10.1804 - 9.11.1804CaptainStephen Decatur (1779-1820)DANFS9.11.1804 - 30.5.1806CaptainJohn Rodgers (d.1838)30.5.1806 - 8.12.1807CaptainHugh George Campbell (d.1820)20.2.1809 - 17.6.1810CaptainJohn Rodgers (d.1838)17.6.1810 - 15.9.1812CaptainIsaac Hull (d.1843)15.9.1812 - 18.7.1813CaptainWilliam Bainbridge (1774-1833)DANFS18.7.1813 - 16.7.1815CaptainCharles Stewart (d.1869)31.4.1821 - 5.12.1825CaptainJacob Jones (1768-1850)31.3.1824 - 14.10.1825CaptainThomas Macdonough (d.1825)14.10.1825 - 5.12.1825CaptainDaniel Todd Patterson (d.1839)23.1.1826 - 21.2.1826CaptainGeorge Campbell Read (d.1862)21.2.1826 - 19.7.1828CaptainDaniel Todd Patterson (d.1839)3.3.1835 - 18.8.1838CaptainJesse Duncan Elliott (d.1845)1.3.1839 - 8.11.1841CaptainDaniel David Turner (1794-1850)DANFS15.7.1842 - 16.2.1742/43CaptainFoxhall Alexander Parker13.12.1843 - 5.10.1846CaptainJohn Percival (d.1862)9.10.1848 - 4.9.1849CaptainJohn Gwinn (d.1848)18.9.1849 - 16.1.1851CaptainThomas Anderson Conover (d.1864)18.9.1849LieutenantJames H Brown

8 Commissioned Officers


DatesRankNameSource
3.1798 - 8.9.1801First LieutenantIsaac Hull (d.1843)EWIKI22.7.1798 - 5.1798LieutenantEdward Preble (1761-1807)B1711803 - 1804LieutenantCharles Gordon (d.1817)B0521803 - 1804LieutenantSamuel ElbertB0521803 - 1804LieutenantJoseph Tarbell (d.1815)B0521812First LieutenantCharles Morris (1784-1856)1812LieutenantGeorge Campbell Read (d.1862)1812 - 29.12.1812LieutenantJohn C Alwyn (d.1812)W005

11 Warrant Officers


DatesRatingNameSource
c.1.3.1799 - c.27.8.1800ChaplainWilliam Austinref:12031803 - 1804Surgeon's MatePatrick SimmsB0521803 - 1804SailmakerIsaac SteelB0521803 - 1804SurgeonJames WellsB0521803 - 1804GunnerWilliam SweenyB0521803 - 1804BoatswainJohn N CannonB0521803 - 1804ChaplainPeter LeonardB0521803 - 1804PurserNoadiah MorrisB0521803 - 1804MasterNathaniel Haradenref:11321812MasterJohn C Alwyn (d.1812)W0051821SurgeonGeorge S SprostonUSNR-1821

16 Petty Officers


DatesRatingNameSource
15.7.1798 - 31.5.1802Acting MidshipmanLewis Alexisref:12031800Master's MateHumphrey Aldenref:12031.6.1802 - 1804MidshipmanLewis AlexisB0521803 - 1804MidshipmanJohn M HaswellB0521803 - 1804Acting MidshipmanJohn Thompson (d.1814)B0521803 - 1804MidshipmanHenry P CaseyB0521803 - 1804MidshipmanJoseph NicholsonB0521803 - 1804MidshipmanAlexander LawsB0521803 - 1804MidshipmanLeonard HunnewellB0521803 - 1804MidshipmanDaniel S DexterB0521803 - 1804MidshipmanFrancis C HallB0521803 - 1804MidshipmanCharles G RidgelyB0521803 - 1804MidshipmanWilliam LewisB0521803 - 1804MidshipmanJoseph IsraelB0521803 - 1804Master's MateDavid Deacon (d.1840)B0521803 - 1804Master's MateHethcote J ReedB052

5 Marines


DatesRankNameSource
1800Marine LieutenantWilliam ArmoryW0511800Marine CaptainDaniel Carmick (d.1816)W0511803 - 1804Marine LieutenantRobert GreenleafB0521803 - 1804Marine CaptainJohn HallB0521812 - 19.8.1812Marine LieutenantWilliam S Bush (d.1812)

Service History


DateEventSource
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


Fleets

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

Sources


IDDescriptionAuthorType
DANFSDictionary of American Naval Fighting ShipsUnknownWeb Site
ref:740The Sailing Navy, 1775-1854Paul H. SilverstoneBook
B052Our Navy and the Barbary CorsairsGardner W. AllenBook
B171A genealogical Sketch of the First Three Generations of Prebles in AmericaGeorge Henry PrebleBook
EWIKIWikipediaVariousWeb Site
W005Naval History of Great Britain Volume 2 from 1793 to the accession of Georges IVWilliam JamesWeb Site
ref:1203Naval documents related to the quasi-war between the United States and France Vol. 7Dudley W KnoxBook
ref:1132United States Naval Chronicle Vol 1Charles W GoldsboroughPeriodical
USNR-1821US Naval Register for 1821AuthorityWeb Site
W051United States Marine Corps, USS Constitution DetachmentUnknownWeb Site
TRN4The Royal Navy : a history from the earliest times to the present Vol IVWilliam Laid ClowesDigital Book
 

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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