USS Constellation was a nominally rated 38-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted frigate of the United States Navy.
She was built under the direction of David Stodder at The Joseph and Samuel Sterett shipyard on Harris Creek in Baltimore’s Fell’s Point maritime community, and was launched on 7 September 1797. She was one of the original six frigates whose construction the Naval Act of 1794 had authorized. The name “Constellation” was among ten names submitted to President George Washington by Secretary of War Timothy Pickering in March of 1795 for the frigates that were to be constructed.
Constellation initially convoyed American merchantmen before sailing for the West Indies to protect United States' commerce. Under the command of Captain Thomas Truxtun, she sailed for the Caribbean in December 1798. Subsequently, on 9 February 1799 she received her baptism of fire in capturing the French 40-gun frigate L'Insurgente in battle off Nevis, West Indies, in a hard fought victory, and bringing her prize into port. In succeeding months, she also encountered and seized two French privateers, Diligent and Union.
Constellation served in the blockade of Tripoli in May 1802. She cruised widely throughout the Mediterranean in 1804 to show the flag in demonstration of United States seapower, evacuating in June 1805 a contingent of U.S.Marines, as well as diplomatic personages, from Derne at the conclusion of a remarkable fleet-shore operation against Tripoli, also taking part in a squadron movement against Tunis that culminated in peace terms in August 1805. Constellation returned to the States in November 1805.
Ultimately laid up in Norfolk from 1845 to 1853, Constellation was broken up in 1853.
US Frigate Constellation
96.50 x 30.50 x 88 cm