An ironclad, launched in May 1862 at Philadelphia during the American Civil War (1861–5), whose name was intended to perpetuate the spirit of the sailing frigate USS Constitution, long known as ‘old ironsides’. With her heavy armament, which included fourteen 11-in. (28 cm) smoothbore guns, she was said by some to have been the most powerful ironclad of her day, but she had been planned and built hurriedly, and was an unhandy and uncomfortable ship. In April 1863 she took part in the attempt to persuade the Confederates to surrender the port of Charleston by a show of force, and was hit some 50 times but was not seriously damaged. She was destroyed by a fire in 1865.
Subjects: Maritime History.