The bicameral legislature of the National Government of the United States, consisting of Senate and House of Representatives.
(ScSlp: dp. 3,003; l. 290'; b. 41'; cpl. 480; a. 14 9", 1 60-pdr., 3 12-pdr.)
The fifth Congress was launched by the Philadelphia Navy Yard on 17 July 1868, sponsored by Miss P. Drake, daughter of Senator Drake of Missouri; and commissioned 4 March 1870, Captain N. Harrison in command. The ship was variously known as Pushmataha, and Cambridge prior to 10 August 1869 when she was renamed Congress, the name under which she performed all her service.
Her initial cruise, undertaken in 1870, was as flagship for Commodore J. Green of the South Atlantic Squadron. Returning to Boston on 29 May 1871 she was placed under Commander H. Davenport. In the summer of that year she transported supplies from New York to the Polaris which was anchored at Godhavn, Disco Island, preparatory to departing on an Arctic expedition. Late in 1871 Congress served also as flagship for Vice Admiral Rowan who had been designated to accord suitable reception to a visiting Russian squadron.
After a cruise to Haiti in early 1872, Congress sailed from Norfolk on 14 February to join the Mediterranean Squadron. This lengthy tour included visits to many ports of Europe and ended at Key West, Florida, where she arrived on 5 January 1874. She was back in the Mediterranean by 9 April and visited ports on the coasts of Africa and Europe before returning to Philadelphia to visit the Centennial Exposition of 1876.
Congress was decommissioned on 26 July 1876, at Portsmouth, N.H., and laid up in ordinary until 20 September 1883, when she was sold.