USS United States
United States was the first of the original six frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794. Designed to be the crux of the fledgling Navy, Joshua Humphreys designed
United States and her sister ships to be larger and more heavily armed than standard frigates of the period. Built in Philadelphia and launched on 10 May 1797, USS
United States became the first ship of the United States Navy. After she was launched and outfitted, she went on to participate in the Quasi-War, the War of 1812, and the Second Barbary War. In November 1823,
United States was put under the command of Commodore Isaac Hull with the Pacific Squadron to protect American shipping and commercial interests. The squadron patrolled the waters of the Pacific until returning to New York in April 1827. USS
United States sailed with various other squadrons during her history, including the Mediterranean Squadron (1833-38, 1847-48), Home Squadron (1839-40), and African Squadron (1846-47), as well as sailing with the Pacific Squadron again from 1841 to 1842. It was on this second patrol in the Pacific that she was joined by ordinary seaman Herman Melville, who wrote about the experience in his novel White-Jacket, or The World in a Man-of-War. Decommissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard in 1849,
United States was captured by Confederates when the yard was taken in April 1861. The Confederates commissioned her as CSS
United States, sometimes called
Confederate States, to be a receiving ship. In May 1862, they scuttled the frigate in the Elizabeth River, Virginia, to obstruct Union vessels. After Union forces recaptured the Navy yard, she was raised and towed to the yard. In 1865, the Bureau of Construction and Repair ordered
United States broken up and the wood sold.
United States (frigate), 1797-1865, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Navy Department, Naval History and Heritage Command.
Paine, Lincoln P. 1997. “USS United States.” In Ships of the World: An Historical Encyclopedia. Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin.
Commodore Isaac Hull
The son of a mariner, Isaac Hull was born in Connecticut in 1773 and spent his childhood sailing with his father. Hull was a master of ship by age 19, commanding several merchant vessels during the 1790s. In 1798, he was commissioned a lieutenant aboard USS
Constitution, becoming its commander in 1810. He distinguished himself during the Quasi-War and the War of 1812, and became recognized as one of the Navy’s ablest commanders. After commanding the Pacific Squadron between 1823 and 1827, Hull served as Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard from 1829 until 1835 and then commanded the Mediterranean Squadron from 1839 until 1841. He spent the last two years of his life on leave and died on 13 February 1843 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"Hull, Isaac,"Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2012.
"Isaac Hull,"Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 7 August 2013.
Lieutenant Lawrence Penington
Lawrence Penington was born on 25 October 1805 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He entered into the service of the United States Navy on 22 November 1822. While aboard USS
United States, Penington served as a midshipman. His reporting on
United States ended with his commission to the newly constructed sloop-of-war, USS
Fairfield. Penington was later promoted to lieutenant and served aboard USS
Vandalia, and USS
Bainbridge. He passed away on 5 August 1870.
The Army and Navy Chronicle, Vols. 4-5, 1837.
The Army and Navy Chronicle, Vols. 8-9, 1939. See Navy: Orders: Resignations, 21 February 1839, p. 127.
Naval Register For The Year 1830. Communicated to the Senate, January 4, 1830.