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Pennsylvania I (Ship-of-the-Line)

(Ship-of-the-Line: 3,105 tons; length 210'’; beam 56'’9"”; depth-of-hold 24’'4"”; complement 1,100; armament 16 8-inch shell guns, 104 32-pounders)

Pennsylvania, second of the original 13 states, ratified the Constitution 12 December 1787.


Ship-of-the-line Pennsylvania was one of "nine ships to rate not less than 74 guns each" authorized by Congress 29 April 1816. She was designed and built by Samuel Humphreys in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Her keel was laid in September 1821, but tight budgets slowed her construction, preventing her being launched until 18 July 1837. The largest sailing warship ever built for the U.S. Navy, she had four complete gun decks and was on par with the large ships-of-the-line built in Europe.

Pennsylvania shifted from her launching site to off Chester, Pa., 29 November 1837 and was partially manned there the following day. Only 34 of her guns were noted as having been mounted 3 December 1837. She stood downriver for Newcastle, Del., 9 December, to receive gun carriages and other equippage before proceeding to the Norfolk Navy Yard for coppering her hull. She departed Newcastle 20 December 1837 and discharged the Delaware pilot on the 25th. That afternoon she sailed for the Virginia Capes. She came off the Norfolk dry dock 2 January 1838. That day her crew transferred to Columbia.

Pennsylvania remained in ordinary until 1842 when she became a receiving ship for the Norfolk Navy Yard. A Bureau of Ordnance Gun Register for 1846 records her armament as follows: Spar deck: two nine-pounder cannons and one small brass swivel. Main deck: four 8-inch chambered cannons received from Norfolk in 1842, and thirty-two 32-pounder cannons. Middle deck: four 8-inch chambered cannons received from Norfolk in 1842, and thirty 32-pounder cannons. Lower deck: four 8-inch chambered cannons and twenty-eight 32-pounder cannons.

She remained in the Yard until 20 April 1861 when she was burned to the waterline to prevent her falling into Confederate hands.


A screw steamer, originally named Keywaden, was assigned the name Pennsylvania, 15 May 1869. She was laid down in the Boston Navy Yard but was never launched. She lay on the ways from 1863 to 1884 when she was broken up.


Cruiser Pennsylvania was renamed Pittsburg (q.v.) 27 August 1912.

22 June 2005

Published: Wed Aug 19 12:19:20 EDT 2015