On March 28, , Porter left port, during a storm. Losing a mast, he was then attacked by both British frigates while in neutral territorial waters. While he blamed the defeat on the carronade armament, he would have lost regardless, as he was fighting two ships while partially disabled. By , the big frigates still could muscle their way out to sea, and the sloops-of-war occasionally slipped out, but the smaller frigates found themselves trapped.
Constellation finished its refit only to be caught in the Chesapeake estuary. It finished the war as a guard ship at Baltimore. Macedonian was blockaded in Connecticut, Congress in Portsmouth.
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Adams got to sea in January , only to get trapped in the Penobscot River in August. It was burned on September 3, , to prevent capture. The only frigate at sea other than the 24lb frigates was John Adams.
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It was being used as a cartel ship, carrying American diplomats to Europe and messages back. Its diplomatic duties placed it outside the war. The British captured Washington, D. New York, General Greene, and Boston were all destroyed.
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By then, Navy policy had already changed. Only the 24lb frigates remained in commission. The remaining frigates were moored in port, their crews transferred to the inland lakes to man the fleets forming there. The Navy gained one more prize, in the post ship Cyane, captured in an unequal battle with Constitution on February 20, It entered the Navy's books as a gun frigate on the strength of the guns it carried during the battle.
Four of these were Humphreys' designs - two of his three 24lb gun frigates and the two gun frigates. The war redefined the frigate for the United States. The experiences with Chesapeake and Essex, the impotence of the light and standard frigates, and the successes of the 24lb frigates, underscored the need to outgun America's foes. Virtually all future frigate construction reverted to Humphreys' vision - large ships capable of carrying heavy guns. Even the Constellation and Congress, de facto, were considered light frigates after the War of John Adams was the only light frigate left, the sole survivor of the subscription and contract frigates built during the Quasi-War.
The US Navy added two prizes - Macedonian and Cyane - to its roster, both smaller than the new construction built during and after the War of The British crews are manning the rigging of both frigates, and crews in the harbor are cheering the arrival of the prize. In addition, an American privateer sent British prizes it captured during that war into Tunis and Tripoli. Those rulers returned the prizes to the British. As a result the United States dispatched two squadrons to the Mediterranean, declaring war on Algiers on March 2, It included the gun Guerriere, the Constellation, the Macedonian, and seven smaller warships.
Attacked in neutral waters while trying to return to Valparaiso after losing a topmast, Essex was overwhelmed in an unequal fight with two British cruisers. David Porter in , after returning from the Pacific.
In addition to his Pacific cruise, Porter played an important role in suppressing Caribbean piracy during the s. It contained a ship-of-the-line, a gun frigate, the Congress, and six smaller warships. Decatur arrived first. His squadron snapped up the Algerine frigate Meshuda almost immediately after arriving, before the Meshuda was aware that the squadron was in the Mediterranean. Constellation, still a fast sailer, led the chase, trapping the Meshuda so the rest of the squadron could catch up.
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Despite carrying 42 guns, Meshuda was probably the equivalent of a European frigate rated to carry 36 guns. Decatur's squadron captured a gun Algerine brig, then blockaded Algiers. The threat of losing the rest of his navy caused the Dey of Algiers to negotiate peace. Both sides returned captured ships and personnel. Algiers paid an indemnity and agreed to forgo further tribute. Decatur then sailed to Tunis and Tripoli where, under the guns of his squadron, he negotiated indemnities for American losses.
By the time Bainbridge's squadron arrived, in August, the issue had been settled and Decatur's squadron sailed home. Bainbridge's arrival was timely, however - the ruler of Algiers was considering restarting hostilities. Bainbridge showed the flag, revisiting the ports where Decatur had been. The presence of a second, even more powerful squadron convinced the Barbary States to remain at peace.
An on-again, off-again period of war and peace between Algiers and the United States continued until , when a British and Dutch fleet destroyed the fortifications protecting the port. Nonetheless, the United States kept a squadron in the Mediterranean through the s to keep watch on the Barbary States. Light frigates included in these squadrons included the Constellation, Congress, John Adams, and Macedonian. The other major tasks facing the US Navy in the years following the War of were the suppression of piracy in the Caribbean and the suppression of slave ships off Africa.
All of the surviving light frigates participated in those activities, although not necessarily as frigates. As the utility of the light frigates. Chesapeake had a new captain, James Lawrence, and a crew assembled shortly before sailing. Shannon's captain, Vere Broke, had been in command for years, and had an extensively drilled crew. The battle opened at hrs.
Lawrence ignored an opportunity to sail behind Shannon, and fire his opening broadside into Shannon's unprotected stern.
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Instead, he luffed up alongside Shannon, choosing a broadside-to-broadside gunnery duel. It was a gallant, but stupid decision. The superior training of the British crew soon told. The plate depicts the moment when Chesapeake's doom was sealed, at hrs, six minutes into the battle. Lawrence had been carried below mortally wounded. Shot from Shannon ha cut Chesapeake's jibsail sheet and spanker brail. The jib, forward, flew free. The spanker, a big trapezoidal sail at the ship's stern, dropped down and filled. Chesapeake's stern pivoted towards Shannon.
Its port quarter gallery struck Shannon forward of its mainmast, and Chesapeake was locked to Shannon by the fluke of one of Shannon's spare anchors. Someone in Shannon's tops dropped a grenade onto Chesapeake's quarterdeck that landed in an arms locker and exploded, clearing the quarterdeck.
Broke, seeing the opportunity, led a boarding party onto Chesapeake.
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Most of Chesapeake's officers were already dead or wounded, and the only organized resistance to Broke's sally came from marksmen in the American's mizzentop. Chesapeake's crew was forced below. After two unsuccessful attempts to regain the quarterdeck, the American crew surrendered. The fight took only 15 minutes, but Chesapeake had suffered 61 killed and 85 wounded out of its man complement. Shannon lost 33 killed and 50 wounded out of men. The second Macedonian leaving Hong Kong harbor in By this time the Macedonian had been cut down to a sloop-of-war, and it accompanied Perry's expedition to Japan.
The first to be converted were the John Adams and the Cyane. Yet both ships were ultimately replaced with sloops-of-war, the John Adams in , and Cyane in Congress and Macedonian stayed as frigates for the remainder of their careersboth were eventually scrapped in the late s, but were replaced by frigates. Because Macedonian was a prize, it was replaced with a ship of the same class.
Slightly larger than the first frigate, it retained much of the outward appearance of the original.
It was unsuitable for carrying a 24lb battery, and was built for prestige rather than naval considerations. The second Macedonian was launched in , and carried as a frigate for only a few years. In the late s it too was cut down to a sloop-of-war. Eventually, it became a school ship, remaining in the Navy until The final survivor was Constellation. It had an active career through the s, but by the hull was worn out. Laid up from until , it was finally scrapped in that year, to be replaced by a sloop-of-war of the same name.
As with the John Adams and Cyane, the sloop replacing the frigate was larger than the original frigate.
The United States' first commissioned frigate was replaced by its last sailing all-sail warship. One of the few small frigates for which documented plans have survived, Boston typifies the appearance of the smaller b frigates US Navy. This is probably the best approximation of the waterline length. Breadth is maximum breadth or width of the ship.
Depth of Hold measures the depth of the hold between the bottom of the ship and the berth deck. Draft is the loaded waterline.