USS Constitution - LAST of the Original Six US Navy Frigates - Boston, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member NorStar
N 42° 22.346 W 071° 03.385
19T E 330685 N 4693176
Quick Description: The USS Constitution was one of six frigates built by the U.S. Navy from 1794-1800 that were the largest ships of the fleet at that time, and is the last of this class of vessels still afloat - and remains a Navy commissioned warship.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 10/3/2011 5:28:16 PM
Waymark Code: WMCQN7
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 25

Long Description:
In Boston's Charlestown nieghborhood is the Charlestown Navy Yard National Historic Site. This location is part of the Boston National Historic Site, which is home to the USS Constitution, currently the oldest commissioned warship still afloat, and the last of the six original frigates of the U.S. Navy. Such a rich history that this ship has experienced - and on several occasions it was almost lost.

The new country of the United States of America had no sizable Navy in the beginning. In debt, the country sold its last ship from the American Revolution, the Alliance. In the years just after the war, the merchant ships from the U.S. were no longer protected by the British Navy, and were harassed by pirates off the Barbary Coast of Tripoli and Tunis, as well as the British Navy and even the French Navy.

On March 27, 1794, Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794, authorizing the building of six frigates, at the recommendation of Joshua Humphreys, that were large and tough enough to take on British and French frigates, while fast enough to evade the larger ships-of-the-line (man-o-wars). Due to treaties signed between the U.S. and Algiers, and the U.S. Congress's own dragging, progress was slow and temporarily stopped. Later, three ships under construction were approved for completion: the United States (launched May 10, 1797), the Constellation (September 7, 1797), and the Constitution (October 21, 1797). Later, the last three were approved: the Congress (August 15, 1799), the Chesapeake (December 2, 1799), and the President (April 10, 1800). Each ship saw action, and one-by-one were lost, but one.

The President participated in the Quasi-War with France and in the Barbary War with the Constitution. It was involved in a skirmish with a British Navy ship, now named the Little Belt Affair that raised tensions between the two nations and likely helped in bringing about the War of 1812. It was captured in 1815 by the HMS Pomone and Tenedos and stayed with the Royal Navy until it was broken up in 1818.

The Chesapeake was captured by the HMS Shannon in 1813 within sight of Boston Harbor. She was pressed into service into the Royal Navy, and was broken up in 1820.

The Congress participated in both the first and second Barbary Wars and capture several British ships during the War of 1812. The ship was broken up in 1834.

The Constellation had the honor of being the first of the ships to win a major battle in 1800 against a French Frigate in the Quasi-War with France. The ship was broken up in 1853, but wood from the ship was used to build a new ship, also called the Constellation. This apparently caused confusion over the years whether the ship was in fact the actual frigate or a later ship. This was finalized in 1999.

The United States battled and defeated the HMS Macedonian during the War of 1812. It was decommissioned in 1849, but during the Civil War it was captured by the Confederates and pressed into service before being reaquired and used by the Union forces until it was broken up in 1865.

The Constitution was involved in the Barbary War and the War of 1812. The ship defeated the HMS Guerrier, HMS Java, HMS Cyane, and Levant. The ship had other engagements that did not involved firing cannons, before it was taken out of service in 1855. It was a training ship during the Civil War and transported art to Paris in 1878.

The ship escaped scrapping at least twice. The first time, which turned out to be only a rumor, was in 1830. Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote a poem about the ship, which caused the public to call to save it. Another time was after the centennial celebrations in 1897. Congress eventually approved to have the ship made into a museum; however, without funding. Private funding did come. Other periods of restoration occured, including 1925. After this full restoration, the ship made a voyage to stop at U.S. ports on both coasts. AFter that, the ship returned to Boston and became a museum.

In more recent years, the ship has been used as an Ambassador for Boston Harbor. When a gathering of tall ships came to Boston several times, the Constitution was towed out to great and escort them into the harbor. it went through a full restoration in 1995, in preparation for its bicentennial. In 2000, it was taken out and allowed to sail again under its own power, the first time in decades.

In 2012, the Constitution will again go under repairs, and plans are to have it sail during the the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812.

Not bad for a 200+ year old ship!

There is no charge to visit the USS Constitution. However, there are now airport-like security measures in place that people must go through before they can get near the ship. Also, adults 18 years and older must produce photo identification. Parking is not great in this area. There is limited spaces available in a parking garage nearby. Transit is available. Buses do pass close by. The Orange Line Heavy Rail has two stations, North Station and Bunker Hill Community College, that are about 3/4 mile away.

Outside of the security area is the Constitution Museum. There, you can learn more about the Constitution and early missions, including a room dedicated to the events relating to the first Barbary War.

Other Sources:

Wikipedia (USS Constitution):
(visit link)
Related links: [Web Link]

additional Related links: [Web Link]

parking coordinates: N 42° 22.348 W 074° 03.350

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