Skip to main content
Related Content
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Ontario II (Sloop of War)

(Slp: t. 509; l. 117'11" lbp.; b. 31'6"; dr. 16"; cpl. 150; a. 18 32-pdr. car., 2 18-pdr.; cl. Argus)

The smallest of the Great Lakes.


The second Ontario, a 16 gun rated sloop of war, was built by Thomas Kemp, Baltimore, Md., in 1813; blockaded in Chesapeake Bay through the War of 1812; and sailed from New York for the Mediterranean 20 May 1815, Master Comdt. Jesse D. Elliott in command.

Part of Commodore Stephen Decatur's ten ship squadron sent to put a stop to the piracy of the Barbary states of Tripoli and Algiers, Ontario arrived Gibraltar 15 June 1815 and two days later, in company with frigates Constellation and Guerrierre and sloop Epervier, captured the Algerian frigate Mashouda off the coast of Spain after a chase and short battle. She then commenced blockade off Algiers, continuing until the end of June when the Dey of Algiers agreed to sign a peace with Decatur. The sloop visited Tripoli and Tunis with the squadron to demand indemnities for pirated prizes and operated inprotection of American Mediterranean commerce until sailing for home, arriving New York in early 1817.

Ontario next stood out 4 October under Captain James Biddle on a pioneer mission to the Pacific. Touching at Rio de Janiero, to deliver dispatches, the sloop rounded Cape Horn and proceeded to Valparaiso, Chile, in early Spring 1818. The Chilean war for independence was raging and a Spanish blockade of Valparaiso had been declared, American merchantmen being seized. By means of diplomatic negotiations with authorities at that port, Captain Biddle succeeded in achieving the release of captured U.S. ships, and then stood north, arriving off Cape Disappointment on the Columbia River 19 August. There the ship claimed both sides of the river for the United States and next sailed south, touching at Monterey, Cal., for supplies, becoming the first American naval vessel to visit the three future Pacific coast states. Ontario sailed for home that fall, stopping at Valparaiso enroute in time to witness the start of Lord Cochrane's campaign at sea against Spain, and stood into Chesapeake Bay finally 23 April 1819.

The sloop of war put out from New York 18 January 1821 on her next voyage, sailing for the Mediterranean via the West Indies. She arrived Gibraltar, joining Commodore William Bainbridge's squadron 27 April and stayed in those waters protecting commerce for over two and one-half years. The ship returned to New York 25 January 1824, and following a six months refit sailed for a second extended deployment with the Mediterranean Squadron 24 July. Ontario returned home 20 February 1828 and then made two more trips to the Mediterranean from August 1829 to May 1832 and November 1833 to June 1836. She next sailed for the West Indies 19 August 1837 and operated on station there through the spring of 1840. The warship spent most of her time protecting U.S. commerce from pirate attacks, showing the flag in Caribbean ports, and operating out of Havana and Pensacola protecting American neutrality during French intervention in Mexico until returning to New York 2 June.

The sloop of war began her last distant station cruise 22 February 1842, operating out of New Orleans and in the Gulf of Mexico, protecting American interests until proceeding to Norfolk and finally Baltimore 30 July 1843. At that port, Ontario began duty as a Navy Yard receiving ship and remained there in service until June 1856. The veteran warship that had served the nation so well and long showing the flag abroad was sold at public auction 15 July.

(ScFr: dp. 3,953; lbp. 312'6"; b. 47'; a. 21 guns)

Ontario, a screw frigate laid down at the New York Navy Yard in 1863, was never launched. Work on the ship was suspended 27 November 1865, and her name was changed to New York 15 May 1869. The ship was sold while still on the stocks 12 May 1888.

Published: Mon Aug 17 13:02:53 EDT 2015