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USS Constellation


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A 38-gun frigate, one of the six original frigates authorized by the US Congress in 1794. When the stars and stripes became the national flag of the USA, the white stars on a blue field were called ‘a new constellation’, which is the origin of her name. She was built in Baltimore, and in June 1798 was the first of the frigates to go to sea, at the beginning of the undeclared naval war with France. Commanded by Thomas Truxton (1755–1822), she captured the French frigate L'Insurgente in February 1799 and the following year fought a night action against the 40-gun La Vengeance, but was unable to capture her when her mainmast went by the board. She was broken up in 1853 and in 1855 a corvette of the same name represented the United States in the Mediterranean during the American Civil War (1861–5). After further service in a training role, she was many decades in reserve until transferred in the 1950s to a private organization in Baltimore for preservation as a relic.

Subjects: Maritime History.


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