Size: 304 toes (bowsprit to spanker)
Beam: 43 toes 6 inches
Top: 220 toes (mainmast)
Draft: 23 toes (aft)
Tonnage: 1,576 tons
Displacement: 2,200 tons
Sail plan: 42,710 sq. toes
Pace: 13 knots (15 mph)
Authentic complement: 450 (together with 55 Marines and 30 boys)
Authentic armament: Thirty 24-pounder lengthy weapons, twenty 32-pounder carronades and
two 24-pounder bow chasers
Most vary: 1,500 yards
After almost a decade with no nationwide maritime pressure, a reluctant Congress in March 1794 licensed the development of six armed frigates because the nucleus of a brand new U.S. Navy. Designed beneath the course of Joshua Humphries, an skilled shipwright from Philadelphia, the vessels have been every inbuilt a distinct seaport. The three smallest have been Chesapeake (36 weapons; inbuilt Norfolk, Va.), Congress (38 weapons, inbuilt Portsmouth, N.H.) and Constellation (38 weapons; inbuilt Baltimore). Humphries’ masterpieces, nevertheless, have been the three bigger frigates—President (inbuilt New York), United States (inbuilt Philadelphia) and Structure (inbuilt Boston). Every displaced 2,200 tons and mounted a formidable 44 weapons (usually elevated to 50), designed to counter the nice naval powers with warships that might outrun no matter they couldn’t outgun and outgun something they may not outrun. Laid down in Edmund Hartt’s shipyard on Nov. 1, 1794, Structure was launched on Oct. 21, 1797, and logged its maiden voyage on July 22, 1798.
Initially dismissed overseas as outsized freaks, the three massive American frigates loved a measure of success, setting an ordinary for the following era of crusing frigates after 1815. Structure proved the standout. It was aboard Structure in 1805 that representatives of the US and Tripoli signed the treaty ending the First Barbary Struggle. Throughout the Struggle of 1812 Structure sank the British frigates Guerrière and Java and captured the sunshine frigate Cyane, the sixth charge Levant and the schooner Pictou. Its ultimate seize was the American unlawful slave ship Gambril in 1853. From 1860 to ’71 Structure served as a coaching ship for the U.S. Naval Academy. Restored in 1877, 1907, 1931, 1976 and 1995, Structure—the world’s oldest commissioned warship nonetheless afloat—operates as a museum ship [ussconstitutionmuseum.org] at Boston’s historic Charlestown Navy Yard.