Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

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USS Congress (Frigate)

The frigate, USS Congress, was commissioned on May 7, 1842, at Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine.   Serving in the Mediterranean and South Atlantic, she departed in mid-1845 to become the flagship of the Pacific Squadron and participated in the Mexican-American War, 1846-48.  Congress became the flagship of the Brazil Squadron in June 1850, then later served in the Mediterranean Sea, only to return as the flagship of the Brazil Squadron in 1859.  With the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861, she joined the blockade of Confederates in the Atlantic.  On March 2, 1862, while anchored off Newport News, Virginia, Congress was attacked by the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia, ran aground after slipping her moorings and was destroyed by fire and the explosion of her powder magazine.  

A model of Congress can be found in the Civil War section of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.    

Image:  NH 55326:  USS Congress, Nineteenth, or early Twentieth Century photograph of an artwork entitled, "U.S. Frigate Congress, 1842."  NHHC Photograph Collection.