Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Queen of the Fleet (USS Constitution)

USS Constitution

USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. The ship was launched in 1797, one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed. Constitution was built in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts at Edmund Hartt's shipyard. The first duties with the newly formed U.S. Navy were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.

 

Constitution is most noted for her actions during the War of 1812 against the British. The battle with HMS Guerriere earned her the nickname of "Old Ironsides". The ship continued to serve as flagship in the Mediterranean, Pacific squadrons, and circled the globe from 1844-1846. The ship also served in the African squadron in the 1850’s, while during and after the Civil War, it served as a training ship. 

 

Constitution retired from active service in 1881 and served as a receiving ship, until being designated a museum ship in 1907. In 1934, she completed a three-year, 90-port tour of the nation. The ship sailed under its own power for her 200th birthday in 1997, and again in August 2012 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of her victory over HMS Guerriere.