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USS Constellation: From Frigate to Sloop of War

USS Constellation: From Frigate to Sloop of War

$ 24.95
Built in Baltimore in 1797 under orders from President George Washington, USS Constellation is one of America's first warships, and according to this new study, remains the nation's oldest surviving warship. With the book's publication, wooden shipbuilding authority Geoffrey M. Footner believes he has put to rest a decades-old controversy among naval historians, the U.S. Navy, local governments, and various historic ship foundations. He argues that though greatly modified since built by David Stodder, the ship now berthed in Baltimore's Inner Harbor is indeed the original Constellation. His well-documented study offers what many believe to be the final word on Constellation's provenance.

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.