1797 – TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN YEARS AGO THE USS CONSTITUTION IS LAUNCHED THIS DAY, NAMED BY GEORGE WASHINGTON AFTER THE U.S. CONSTITUTION – A LIVING LEGEND
This Day In U.S. History October 21, 1797 – A Living Legend in the U.S. Navy: In Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution is launched.
USS Constitution is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. Named by President George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America, she is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat. Launched in 1797, Constitution was one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed. Joshua Humphreys designed the frigates to be the young Navy’s capital ships, and so Constitution and her sisters were larger and more heavily armed and built than standard frigates of the period. Built in Boston, Massachusetts, at Edmund Hartt’s shipyard, her first duties with the newly formed United States Navy were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War. More at Wikipedia.
USS CONSTITUTION was developed and built in response to the threat of Barbary corsairs, which threatened American merchant shipping off northern coast of Africa. Following the American Revolution, the United States’ Continental Navy was disbanded, leaving the new nation without a credible seapower to defend its interests abroad. Signed into law on March 27, 1794 by President George Washington, the Naval Armament Act called for the construction of six frigates, to be built at shipyards along the eastern seaboard. The 44-gun USS CONSTITUTION, built in Boston, was launched on Oct. 21, 1797. Read more at the U.S. Navy’s website about the history of the USS Constitution.
Seaman Williams, sailor on the Constitution:
We wait in impatience at our guns – not a word is spoken – not a sound heard, except now and then an order to trim a sail, and the bo’sun’s shrill whistle. My pulse beats quick – all nature seems wrapped in awful suspense … the dart of death hangs as if it is trembling by a single hair, and no one knows on whose head it will fall …
(Quotes from the USS Constitution )
USS CONSTITUTION vs. HMS GUERRIERE – August 19, 1812
America remember and honor your history – it will give direction, purpose and security to your future.