The USS Constellation

Portrait of the Constellation vs L’Insurgente

Four different USS Constellations have served the United States Navy. The first was named by President George Washington and was one of the original six heavy frigates that were commissioned under the Naval Act of 1794. She was built in the naval shipyard on Harris Creek in Baltimore’s Fell’s Point and was launched in 1797. The ship was rated for 38 guns but often carried 48 guns.


The second battle was against the French ship LaVengeance. After many maneuvers that ended in US marines boarding the La Vengeance and killing most of the French crew. The victory gave the nickname of the Constellation as the Yankee Racehorse.

The First Barbary War began when Yusuf Karmanli of Tripoli began harassing American merchant ships. He was not happy with his tribute of payment by the US when he learned that Algiers received more and he demanded $250,000 more. President Thomas Jefferson sent the Constellation and other ships to blockade Tripoli and protect US ships.

The ship was also memorialized as a stamp.

During the War of 1812, the Constellation was itself blockaded by British ships in Hampton Roads, Virginia. During the Second Barbary War, when President James Madison declared war on Algiers for intercepting American ships, the Constellation was sent back to the Mediterranean. She helped capture the Algerian frigate Mashuda and then the war soon ended.



In 1853, the Constellation was disassembled and a new USS Constellation was launched in 1854. The original Constellation was memorialized with a commemorative copper coin. For more information about the coin go to the National Bibliomania Society.

The original USS Constellation fame has inspired many modelers to replicate the ship. Over many decades, model manufacturers have developed wooden and plastic kits. Micro-Mark has sold the USS Constellation for some time. The company also sells all the necessary supplies and tools for modeling. Go to

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