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USS Constitution

Three-masted, sailing wooden warship of the frigate class rated to carry 44 guns. One of the six frigates authorized in 1794 to form the new United States Navy.

Built to be powerful enough to outsail and outgun enemy warships.

Point Of Contact
USS Constitution
Public Affairs Officer
(617) 799-8198

The Naval History and Heritage Command
Communication and Outreach Division
(202) 433-7880
General Characteristics
Primary Function: USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Nicknamed “Old Ironsides” in the War of 1812, USS Constitution is interpreted today to the 1812 era.
Builder: Col. George Claghorne, Edmund Hartt's Shipyard, Boston, MA
Date Deployed: Launch Date: October 21, 1797; First Sail Date: July 22, 1798
Unit Cost: $302,718 (1797 dollars).
Propulsion: 1812 Propulsion: 48 sails , over 44,000 square feet of sail, equal to over 1 acre of canvas
Length: length overall 305 feet (93 meters); 207 feet (63.1 meters), billet head to taffrail; 175 feet at waterline (53.3 meters)
Height: Main mast, from the spar (upper) deck to the top of the mast, is 172 feet (54.4 meters) today
Beam: 43.5 feet (13.3 meters)
Displacement: 1,900+ tons
Draft: 1812 Draft: 24 feet aft, when fully loaded (7.3 meters); Draft Today: 22.5 feet aft (6.9 meters)
Speed: 1812 Speed: 13+ knots (approx. 15 miles per hour, 24 km. per hour)
Crew: 1812 Crew: Over 450 Sailors and Marines; Crew Today: 3 officers, 85+ enlisted U.S. Navy men and women
Armament: 1812 Armament: Spar Deck: 24, 32-pound carronades, 4–8 crew, range of fire approx. 400 yards; 1, 18-pound bow chaser; Gun Deck: 30, 24-pound long guns, 7–14 crew, range of fire approx. 1,200 yards
Landing/Attack Craft: 1812 Boats: Used for transporting officers and crew between ship and shore for communication purposes, landing parties, transporting goods and services for the ship, and shore leave.
-36ft Launch (1)
-28ft whaleboat (2)
-27ft and 28ft cutters (4)
-Gig (1)
Homeport: Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston National Historical Park
Last Update: 5 May 2017
Photo: USS Constitution makes her annual 4th of July “turnaround cruise”