USS Constellation: From Frigate to Sloop of War
Tracing her complicated history from frigate to sloop of war, Footner examines Constellation's exciting operational history and four rebuilds, including her last in 1853, when John Lenthall, the Navy's chief constructor, redesigned her extensively. It was during this modification from second-class ship frigate to sloop-of-war that Constellation's hull was lengthened and updated to incorporate specific naval architectural advances in the art of shipbuilding and ordnance developed in the first half of the nineteenth century. The root of the controversy, the author explains, stems from this decision by the U.S. Navy to modernize Constellation and keep her on active duty instead of converting her to a school ship for midshipmen as it did with the USS Constitution. Her story of survival and restoration is filled with intrigue, forgeries, theft, and politics, subjects that make fascinating reading and will have a lasting impact on the once cloudy history of the famous ship.