List of sailing frigates of the United States Navy

This is a list of sailing frigates of the United States Navy. Frigates were the backbone of the early Navy, although the list shows that many suffered unfortunate fates.

The sailing frigates of the United States built from 1797 on were unique in that their framing was made of American live oak, a particularly hardy genus that made very resilient hulls; as a result of this, the ships were known to withstand damage that would have scuppered frigates of other nations. American frigates were also very heavily armed; the USN's 44s carried 24-pound cannon as opposed to the 18-pounders usual in frigates, and like most ships of the period carried more than their nominal rate, 56 guns or more. On the other hand, the USN classed ships with 20 to 26 guns as "third-class frigates", whereas the Royal Navy did not.

Continental Navy

Congress authorized 3 Frigates of 18, 13 Frigates of 12 ( 5 of 32, 5 of 28 and 3 of 24)

NameClassRate[1]Dates of ServiceFate
Alliance[2]Alliance-class[3]361778–1785[2]abandoned near Philadelphia[2]
Bonhomme Richard[4]Massiac-class[4]421779–1779[4]sank after taking Serapis[4]
Boston[3]Boston-class[3]241777–1780[3]captured by the British[3]
BourbonAlliance-class361783never completed
Bricole361764build in France, Le Havre
ConfederacyAlliance-class361778–1781captured by the British
Congress (II)281776–1777never completed
Deane241778–1783build in France,Nantes
Delaware241776–1777captured by the British
Effingham281777never completed
FoxEnterprise-class287 June 1777-8 July 1777captured by Hancock and Boston in June 1777, recaptured by HMS Flora
Hancock[3]Hancock-class[3]321776–1777[3]captured by the British[3]
Montgomery241776–1777destroyed to prevent capture, Hudson River
Protector 261779–1781captured become Hms Hussar 1781 20 guns 586 tons
ProvidenceProvidence-class281776–1780captured by the British, Charleston, South Carolina
Queen of France281777–1780sunk to avoid capture by the British
RaleighHancock-class321776–1778captured by the British, Matinicus Isle, Maine
Randolph[3]Randolph-class321776–1778[3]exploded in battle[3]
Serapis[3]Roebuck-class441779–1781[2]transferred to the French
South Carolina401777–1782build in Holland, biggest war-ship
Truite261779–1780build in France, Le Havre
TrumbullProvidence-class281776–1781captured by the British
Virginia281776–1778captured by the British
Warren[3]Randolph-class[3]321776–1779[3]destroyed to prevent capture, Penobscot Expedition[3]
WashingtonRandolph-class321776–1777destroyed to prevent capture, Philadelphia

United States Navy

NameTypeRate[1]ClassDates of ServiceFate
Adams[3]2nd class[5]281799–1814[3]scuttled and burned to prevent capture[3]
Baltimore3rd class321798–1801sold
Boston[3]2nd class[5]281799–1814[3]burned to prevent capture[3]
Brandywine[6][7]1st class[6]50Potomac-class[8]1825–1864[9]destroyed by fire[9]
Chesapeake[2]2nd class[5]361800–1813[2]captured by the British[2]
Columbia[9]1st class[6]44Guerriere-class[10]1813–1814[9]burned on the stocks to prevent capture[9]
Columbia[6]1st class[6]50Potomac-class[8]1838–1861scuttled and burned to prevent capture
Congress[2]2nd class[11]36 (38)Constellation-class[2]1799–1834[2]broken up[2]
Congress[12]1st class[12]521841–1862[10]burned and sank after action with CSS Virginia[10]
Connecticut3rd class241799–1801sold
Constellation[2]2nd class[11]36 (38)Constellation-class[2]1797–1853[2]broken up
Constitution[2]1st class[11]44United States-class[2]1797[3] to dateremains in commission
Cumberland[6]1st class[6]50Potomac-class[8]1842–1855converted to sloop 1855
sunk by CSS Virginia 1862
Cyane3rd class22Banterer-class1815–1836[13]broken up
Delaware3rd class[14]201798–1801sold
Essex[3]2nd class[15]321799–1814[3]captured by the British[3]
Ganges3rd class[16]241798–1801sold
General Greene[3]2nd class301799–1805[3]hulked; destroyed by fire 1814[3]
George Washington3rd class[14]241798–1802sold
Guerriere[11]1st class[11]44Guerriere-class[10]1814–1841[10]broken up[10]
Hudson[17]1st class[17]441828–1844[9]broken up[9]
Independence[12]1st class[12]541836–1912Built 1814 as a 90-gun ship of the line, razeed 1836, scrapped 1915 at San Francisco
Insurgent[9]2nd class[9]32Sémillante-class[18]1799–1800[9]lost at sea[9]
Java[10]1st class[11]44Guerriere-class[10]1814–1842[10]broken up, Norfolk, Virginia[10]
John Adams[3]2nd class281799–1867[3]razeed to 20-gun corvette 1807; rebuilt as 24-gun frigate 1812
Macedonian[11]2nd class[11]38Lively-class[19][20]1812–1828broken up, Norfolk, Virginia
Macedonian[6]2nd class[6]361836–1852razeed to sloop-of war, 1852
sold 1871
Merrimack3rd class241798–1801sold
Mohawk[8]2nd class381814–1823[8]sunk[8]
Montezuma3rd class[14]201798–1799sold
New York[3]2nd class[5]361800–1814[3]burned by the British[3]
Philadelphia[3]1st class[21]44 (36)[22]1799–1804[3]captured by Tripoli[3]
boarded and burned by Stephen Decatur[3]
Plattsburg[8]1st class1814–1825[8]sold on ways[8]
Portsmouth3rd class241798–1801sold
Potomac[11]1st class[11]50Potomac-class[8]1831–1877sold
President[2]1st class[5]44United States-class[2]1800–1815[2]captured by the British[2]
Raritan[6]1st class[6]50Potomac-class[8]1843–1861destroyed to prevent capture
Sabine[6]1st class[6]52Sabine-class[8]1855–1883sold
Santee[8]1st class[12]52Sabine-class[8]1855–1912[9]sank at moorings[9]
Savannah[6]1st class[6]50Potomac-class[8]1844–1857converted to sloop 1857
sold 1883
St. Lawrence[6]1st class[6]50Potomac-class[8]1848–1875sold
Superior[9]1st class501814–1825[8]sold[9]
Trumbull3rd class241799–1801sold
United States[2]1st class[11]44United States-class[2]1797–1861[2]
broken up for scrap
Warren3rd class241799–1801sold

Ten additional ships of the Potomac class were appropriated, but never built.

See also



  1. Nominal rating; actual armament was generally greater
  2. Silverstone, Paul H. (2001). The Sailing Navy, 1775–1854. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-893-5.
  3. Bauer, Karl Jack; Roberts, Stephen S. (1991). Register of ships of the U.S. Navy, 1775–1990. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9.
  4. Boudroit, Jean; Roberts, David H. (1987). John Paul Jones and the Bonhomme Richard: A Reconstruction of the Ship and an Account of the Battle With H.M.S. Serapis. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-892-7.
  5. Griffis, William Elliot (2009). Matthew Calbraith Perry: A Typical American Naval Officer. BiblioLife. ISBN 978-1-103-04626-3.
  6. New York Journal of Commerce (19 December). December 1832. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. Laid down as Susquehanna
  8. Bauer, K. Jack (1991). Register of Ships of the US Navy, 1775–1990: Major Combatants. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-26202-9.
  9. This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.
  10. Canny, Donald L. (2001). Sailing Warships of the US Navy. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-990-1.
  11. This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.
  12. Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the Navy of the United States, including Officers of the Marine Corps, and other, for the Year 1852.
  13. ex-HMS Cyane, captured by Constitution 1815
  14. Purchased merchant ship
  15. Brownell, Henry Howard (1863). North and South America Illustrated: The English in America. Hollbert, Williams, & Company.
  16. ex-Indiaman
  17. Williams, Edwin (1836). The New-York Annual Register for the Year of Our Lord 1836. Edwin Williams.
  18. ex-L'Insurgente, captured by Constellation 1799
  19. De Kay, James Tertius (2000). Chronicles of the Frigate Macedonian, 1809–1922. W. W. Norton & Co. ISBN 978-0-393-32024-4.
  20. ex-HMS Macedonian, captured by United States 1812
  21. McKee, Christopher (1996). Edward Preble: A Naval Biography. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-55750-583-5.
  22. re-rated 1803
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