Tuesday, February 01, 2005

On this day in miltiary history....in 1800

On this day in military history....in 1800. The USS Constellation defeats the French frigate La Vengeance. The Constellation was the first ship to commissioned in the US Navy. It was first in a line of six, 38-gun frigates (Chesapeake, Congress, Constellation, Constitution, President and United States) commissioned by the new US Navy. Its nickname was the "Yankee Racehorse" due to it's speed on the water (excess of 14 knots).

It entered service before the Quasi-War with France of 1798 to 1801. This "war" was fought entirely at sea and was in response to the US trying to protect it's commerce fleet from French privateers. Its first victory was in February 1799 over the French 36-gun frigate L'Insurgente, the then fastest ship in the French Navy. A year later, the Constellation found itself off the coast of Guadeloupe where it engaged the 52-gun French frigate La Vengeance. The battle lastest five hours in the dark and at the end, the Constellation was victorious, although the French ship was able to escape in the darkness, badly damaged with many casualties. The Constellation also served during the Barbary Pirates War against Tripoli and the War of 1812 against Great Britain. The ship was decommissioned in 1853.


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