USS Constellation (Frigate), 1797-1853
Designed by Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox, the frigate, USS Constellation, was launched at Sterrett Shipyard, Baltimore, Maryland, on September 7, 1797. Commanded by Captain Thomas Truxtun during the Quasi-War with France, she successfully engaged the French frigate, L'Insurgente on February 9, 1799, off Saint Kitts and Nevis Island, West Indies. Almost a year later, on February 1, 1800, Constellation engaged the French frigate La Vengeance off Guadeloupe, West Indies, for five hours, but the frigate eluded capture. Undergoing repairs at Hampton Roads, Virginia, during the start of the War of 1812, she was effectively blockaded by the British. In 1815, during the Second Barbary War, she sailed with two U.S. Navy squadrons and joined in the capture of the Algerian frigate, Mashuda, on June 17. Following her return in December 1817, Constellation served in the South Atlantic, the Pacific, and in the West Indies until circumnavigating the globe during the early 1840s. During this time, she safeguarded American lives in March 1841 during the Opium Wars. In 1845, Constellation was laid-up in ordinary until disassembled in 1853 at the Gosport Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia.
A model of Constellation can be found in The Forgotten Wars of the 19th Century section at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.
Image: KN-3030: USS Constellation vs. French frigate L'Insurgente, February 9, 1799. Artwork by Arther N. Disney, Sr. National Archives photograph.