M 0625
 MEDITERRANEAN), 1775-1910



[Note:  Only those portions of this series that seemed likely to contain reference to CONSTITUTION have been researched.]



Roll 3 (Area 4, 1779 ‑ 1804)


[Note: There is a sketch of INTREPID near the end of Roll 3.]


Roll 4 (Area 4, 1805 ‑ 1815)


CONSTITUTION was in Gibraltar on 4 Jun 1806 and at Malaga on the 23rd.


In Sep 1806, First Lieutenant was Charles Ludlow; Sailing Master, William Bagot; Boatswain; George Nicholson; Carpenter, William Godby; Sailmaker, Samuel Creswell.  The lower rigging was condemned; the foremast must be landed for repairs, the "main spindle entirely rotten."


Letter, Commodore Hugh G. Campbell, USS CONSTITUTION at Lisbon, to Captain John Dent, 27 Sep 1806:


        Getting in new lower rigging.  Replacing foremast.  Doing a thorough caulking.  Intend to call at Algiers and Tunis next.


Letter, Commodore Hugh G. Campbell, USS CONSTITUTION at Lisbon, to SecNav, 1 Oct 1806:


        Getting new main course and topsails.


Letter, Commodore Hugh G. Campbell, USS CONSTITUTION at Lisbon, to SecNav, 15 Oct 1806:


        Dr. [Patrick] Sim died of consumption on the 11th; Dr. McAllister is acting in his stead.


Letter, Commodore Hugh G. Campbell, USS CONSTITUTION at Lisbon, to SecNav, 5 Dec 1806:


        Hopes to sail "tomorrow" or next day.


Letter, Commodore Hugh G. Campbell, USS CONSTITUTION at Gibraltar, to SecNav, 20 Dec 1806:


        Left Lisbon on 9 Dec; called at Cadiz; arrived Gibraltar 18 Dec.  Expects to leave on 22nd.  Got a new cable to go with anchor purchased at Lisbon.


Letter, Commodore Hugh G. Campbell, USS CONSTITUTION at Tunis, 26 Jan 1807:


        All doctors in the squadron are ill.


Letter, Commodore Hugh G. Campbell, USS CONSTITUTION at Tunis, to SecNav, 26 Jan 1807 [2nd ltr of this date]:


        Left Gibraltar on 22 Dec; in Algiers, 29 Dec‑4 Jan; arrived Tunis, 11th.


CONSTITUTION was in Syracuse on 4 Feb 1807 and still there on the 15th.


Letter, Commodore Hugh G. Campbell, USS CONSTITUTION at Cagliari, to SecNav, 8 Apr 1807:


        Arrived Tunis 18 Feb; sailed 7 Mar; in Algiers 20‑23 Mar; arrived Cagliari 30 Mar; Malta next.


CONSTITUTION in Malta on 2 May 1807, in Syracuse on 28 May 1807, and in Alicante on 23 Jul 1807.


Letter, Commodore Hugh G. Campbell, USS CONSTITUTION at Malaga, to SecNav, 15 Aug 1807:


        Sailed from Syracuse 12 Jun; arrived Malaga 12 August and learned of CHESAPEAKE‑LEOPARD incident.


CONSTITUTION still in Malaga on 19 Aug 1807.


Roll 74 (Area 7, Feb 1784 ‑ Dec 1809)


From SecWar to Joshua Humphreys, Philadelphia, PA, 12 Apr 1794:


        "I request that you will please immediately prepare the models for the frame of the frigates, proposed by you in your letter of this date, and also, that you would please prepare an accurate draft and models of the same; the later to have the frames accurately described."


From Captain Samuel Nicholson, Boston, MA, to Captain John Barry, Philadelphia, PA, 19 Jan 1795:


        "...I wish much to hear from you, not doubtg. but you being on the Spot, and our Senior Officer, you can tell us when we are to get our Commissions, what is to be our Uniforms, and where we are to receive our pay and rations... ‑‑‑ with regard to our Frigate to be built here, we have a great difficulty in gettg. our Keel pieces, and our Constructor after much fatigue and Expence, is gone to the North River after them, our yard is Inclosed, foundation laid, Sawpitts cover'd, plank Stocks Comg. in dayly [sic] and 3 pr. of Sawyers at Work.  4 schooners are gone and one other ready to sail for Georgia after the live Oak &c.  pray [sic] how do the others go on, I hope we shall not be behind hand in  building ours, the Canvas is ready and I am to receive it tomorrow (200 bolts)..."


From Captain Samuel Nicholson, Boston, MA, to Captain John Barry, Philadelphia, PA, 28 Aug 1797:


        "I make no doubt but it will be gratifying to you, after so long and Tedious a Struggle to find we are in a fair way to finish and Complete the Frigate building here, wch. be assured will be a very Complete Ship, we are making every preparation for launching her the next new moon at wch. time I should be very glad to have some Officers to take care of the Ship.  I should be much obliged if you will cause to be sent me A lieutenant, the Master Boatswain, Gunner, and A Marine Officer with a gard [sic].‑‑‑  I expect the Secretary of War will give the necessary guard proper orders on your mentioning the matter to him, likewise to tell him we have only 2 bower anchors, those will answer to moor the Ship with, but a third is necessary as a spare anchor in case of an Accident.  Especially at this particular season for the want of water we Cannot haul into any Wharf here without injuring our Copper, she will allways [sic] at those Wharfs, take the ground at low Water.  We have only abt. 100 tons of Kentledge sent us from N. York, pray how much do you take for your Ship, I should wish for 100 tons more.  Our round 24 lb Shott [sic] sent us from Springfd. are very bad.  they are very ruff with holes, and in the diameter some of them 2/8th of an Inch larger than others.  Our masts, yards, rigging, Sails, Gun deck guns, Water Cask [sic], &c, &c, will be all ready to go on board the day after we launch.

        "I expect we shall be all hands very busy on the Quarter deck and foreCastle the latter end of this week, pray Sir Can you give me any tidings of our Cannon for those decks, I expect the Gun deck will be Completed, and the bowspritt [sic] in, the day after tomorrow, our Copper to light water mark is completed and nailed off, braces on [?] Carved work for Taffrails Gallerys, &c is all in hand

        "Genl Jackson wishes I would write to you for information respectg. an Entertainment at our Launch, as you have allready [sic] gone through this business, you can best advise.  (We expect the Honor of the Presidents [sic] Company) I hope the Constitution is safe in the water."


From F. Williams, Boston, MA, to ?, 31 May 1798:


        "...The manning of our Frigate, I am sorry to observe, has made little progress; owing considerably to the unpopularity of the Commander; tho' no one alleges any thing against him that partakes of misconduct in any respect.  He is poor ‑‑ it is his only living.  What can be done, I know not.  It is to be regretted that so fine a Ship should lie uselessly at her anchors.‑‑‑

        "It is nearly 4 months since I purchased the wet provisions for her ‑‑ they still remain in a store!  In a few days, all her bread will be ready.  No one has orders to receive or deliver.‑‑‑‑

        "Till there is some system ‑‑‑ a Department, and proper Agents under & dependent on it, I despair of our receiving any benefit, at least, from this Frigate.  I believe there has been a Scandalous waste of property in building her; owing, I conceive, to the entire ignorance in the Agent of all naval affairs..."


From Captain Samuel Nicholson, USS CONSTITUTION, to ? [probably SecNav], 6 Jul 1798:


        "...Our Carpenters are mountg. the Carronades in the Tops and slinging the lower yds with chains &c...  the Gunner with 5 of his men are gone to the Castle, filling cartridges &c...  we are now covering the lead in the bread room with thin boards, after which I will take the bread and Sails, likewise the powder, on C.‑‑ ..."


Columbian Centinel, Boston, MA, 25 Jul, 1798:


        "On Sunday last, the...Constitution...sailed...  she has on board 388 young, well built healthy Americans ‑‑ 125 of whom have left powers of attorney to their wives, parents and sweethearts, to receive half their pay during their absence!..."


From Captain Samuel Nicholson, USS CONSTITUTION, to SecNav, 12 Sep 1798:


        Reports arrival at Hampton Roads the previous evening, bringing with him the British privateer NIGER, which he claims really is French.


Roll 75 (Area 7, January 1810 ‑ December 1812)


From Midshipman Thomas Holdup, USS PRESIDENT, to his father, 19 Jul 1810:


        "...This ship differs very much from the Constitution both in her Sailing and Rigging, and also her Accommodations; for she sails much better; and is much lighter rigged‑  Her Birth Deck is superior as also her Cabin, Ward Room & Steerage all of which have the convenience of Air Ports‑ her Gun Deck and Fore Castle are better; but her Quarter Deck in my opinion is not as large ‑ her Cockpit and Store Rooms are far superior to the Constitutions ‑ The Master's, Boswain's [sic], Gunner's, and Carpenter's Store Rooms are forward on the Birth Deck‑  her Lower, Topsail, Top Gallant and Royal Yards are much lighter, than the Constitution's; her Standing Rigging is  smaller; but the stuff is much inferior her running rigging is in some respects smaller but very disproportional; and leads very irregular; but I believe the Comre. intends having it altered: the Eyes of her Standing rigging are very large; and all of the Rigging is obliged to be kept very slack; for the least alteration in setting it up, would eventually destroy her sailing; but upon the whole I am very much pleased with this Ship and prefer her to the Constitution ‑ ..."


From SecNav to Commodore John Rodgers, USS PRESIDENT, 28 Dec 1810:


        "It is desirable that the Constitution and the Argus be held ready for foreign service..."


From SecNav to Captain Isaac Hull, New York, 21 Oct 1812:


        "I have understood that you have the flag worn by the Guerriere at the time you vanquished her.  Such trophies are highly precious & can not be too carefully preserved.  I shall therefore be happy to receive from you the flag in question & any other trophy that you may have preserved on the occasion.  The action was the most brilliant I ever heard of & redounds greatly to our national glory.  Its remembrance can not be too much cherished.

        "I should have requested these trophies earlier but was under the impression that the masts of the Guerriere having been carried by the board it had not been in your power to preserve either of the flags."


Pension certificate of Richard Dunn, 7 Apr 1813:


        Authorized a pension of $6 monthly for life in recognition of wounds received in the CONSTITUTION‑ GUERRIERE action.


Pension affidavit of Owen Taylor, 11 Jul 1825:


        Attests to the fact that Owen Taylor was a seaman in CONSTITUTION during the GUERRIERE fight in which he took a musket ball "through his body."  He is entitled to a pension of $6 per month for life.


Roll 76 (Area 7, January 1813 ‑ May 1814)


From Captain Charles Stewart, USS CONSTITUTION, to SecNav, 4 Apr 1814:


        "I have the honor to inform you that we arrived at this place [Salem] last evening, having been closely chases by two Ships of war of the Enemy, which prevented our reaching Boston.  The chase being before the wind, and the breeze light, obliged us to lighten our Ship and Some articles of no great value were thrown overboard.

        "I regret that our cruise has been so unsuccessful and that we captured but four of the Enemy's vessels (as per list inclosed) although we chased every thing we Saw until yesterday.  We closely pressed his Majesty's brig of war Mosquito off Surinam where she escaped us by running into the mud and our draught of water would not permit a further pursuit.  A Packet to windward of Barbadoes escaped us in the night, favoured by a change of the wind.  We also chased a frigate through the Mona passage which escaped us by the wind changing in her favour and leaving us becalmed.

        "The animation displayed by the officers and crew at So near a prospect of adding another laurel, Constitutionally, to the Naval wreath, leaves no doubt of the honorable result had we been So fortunate as to have brought the Enemy to action.

        "We cruised Some time in the Gulf passage, to intercept any thing there might be passing, from the leeward Islands; we also Scoured along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina, but found no blockading cruisers there; we endeavoured to have communication with Charleston and draw Supplies from thence, but the weather was So thick we could not See the land in seven fathoms water off the bar.  From that coast we returned to Boston bay cruising round Bermuda to the Southward and Westward, Southward and Eastward and Northward and Eastward.

        "Our Supplies would have enabled us to have kept the Sea a month longer, but our keeping out that time would have rendered our getting into the United States precarious, which, if disappointed in, we should not have been enabled afterwards to have reached a foreign port; added to this, Scorbutic Symptoms began to make their appearance, and we had certain information from Bermuda that most of the Ships were in, provisioning and preparing for the Spring blockade; I therefore considered the Safe return of the Ship to the United States more important than a lengthened cruise, and that her being blockaded in the United States during the Summer would be preferred to a like blockade in a foreign port, as the officers and crew could be usefully employed in such other manner as the Government might deem best.

        "The Ship leaks considerably, which I believe is principally in her seams.

        "Enclosed I hand you the periods of the departure of the Convoys, this Summer from the windward Islands, but the convoying force will be Such as to leave little in the power of a Single Ship.  The first fleet will, perhaps, be the most valuable that has for many years left the West Indies."




"Ship Lovely Ann of London ‑ 12 guns, 16 men ‑ cargo flour, fish, and lumber bound to Surinam ‑ Sent as a Cartel to Barbadoes, after throwing part of her cargo and her armament overboard.

His Brittanic Majesty's Schooner Pictou ‑ 13 guns ‑ 57 men.  Burnt.

Schooner Phoenix ‑ cargo lumber ‑ from Demerara to Barbadoes with despatches ‑ Sunk

Brig Catherine from Grenada to St. Thomas ‑ ballast ‑ Sunk."


Roll 77 (Area 7, June 1814 ‑ December 1815)


From Captain Jesse D. Elliott, USS CONSTITUTION, to SecNav, 5 Aug 1835 [sic]:


        Nominates 1/c Boy Jesse Elliott Hart of New York for appointment as a midshipman in his ship.  [Not done.]


From Commodore William Bainbridge, Charlestown Navy Yard, to Commodore John Rodgers, Philadelphia, PA, 21 Dec 1814:


        "...The Frigate Constitution sailed from here on a cruise Saturday last.  She is well officered ‑ and excessively well manned ‑ altho 14 men short of the compliment [sic] allowed ‑‑‑ ...


Survivor's pension certificate for Nancy Lancey, Boston, MA, 27 Dec 1820:


        Husband John Lancey was an ordinary seaman in CONSTITUTION, and wounded in the fight with CYANE and LEVANT and died on 22 Feb 1815.  His widow to get $5 per month for 5 years so long as she doesn't remarry.


Roll 78 (Area 7, January 1816 ‑ December 1837)


From Captain Daniel T. Patterson, USS CONSTITUTION, to Midshipman J. H. Marshall, USS CONSTITUTION, 5 Jul 1828:


        Commends him for correct deportment and professional improvement, and for his performance as Master "for the last Year."


From Captain Daniel T. Patterson, USS CONSTITUTION, to Midshipman James Lockwood, USS CONSTITUTION, 5 Jul 1828:


        Commends him for correct deportment and professional improvement.


Roll 79 (January 1838 ‑ December 1845)


From Captain James Biddle, Naval Asylum, Philadelphia, PA, to SecNav, 11 Jan 1838 [probably meant 1839]:


        Proposes to place the granite balls acquired by Commodore Elliott "upon the abutments of our building or somewhere about our grounds.  I should not deem in worth while to incur much expense..."


From BNC to Captain Lewis Warrington, Norfolk, VA, 4 Sep 1838:


        Informs him that CONSTITUTION is to be repaired and equipped for a three year cruise in the Mediterranean as early as possible.  How soon will that be?


From BNC to Captain Lewis Warrington, Norfolk, VA, 10 Jan 1839:


        CONSTITUTION is to be finished as early as practicable.


From BNC to SecNav, 24 Jan 1839:


        Recommend no expense be incurred in shipping the granite balls returned with Commodore Elliott to the Naval Asylum; leave them at the Norfolk Navy Yard until an opportunity occurs to include them in any shipment going there.


From Captain Alexander Claxton, USS CONSTITUTION, to Captain Daniel Turner, USS CONSTITUTION, 21 Mar 1839:


        CONSTITUTION is to be battle ready; exercise your crew at the great guns and small arms.

        "The great renown of this noble Ship, her long and distinguished services, point her out to the American people as an object of high veneration.  It was only by the toilful [sic] exercise at the guns that she was enabled to vanquish all her enemies, and it is only by like labor that her ancient reputation can be maintained."


From Captain Foxhall A. Parker, USS CONSTITUTION, to SecNav, 30 Nov 1842:


        Reports his return to Norfolk after a 21‑day cruise.  Shortly after getting underway, discovered several leaks which rendered the wardroom, steerage, and berth deck very uncomfortable, driving the officers from their rooms and wetting the mens' clothing.  Had the weather been cold, the crew would have been rendered helpless.  Report has been made to Commodore Stewart.  Awaiting orders.  Happy with officers and crew.


From Captain John Percival, USS CONSTITUTION, to SecNav, 17 Mar 1844:


        The leak has been thoroughly stopped.  In stripping copper, it was found that a plank at the hood ends had separated about an inch or an inch‑and‑a‑half near the 18‑foot draft mark, probably from collision with some object, and two inches of oakum loosened.  According to Lieutenant Cooke, who was then aboard her, he remembers an occasion in the Mediterranean when casting ship she fell off the wrong way and hit a wharf.  Also found a small leak in the stem, which has been repaired.  The ship has now been "immersed" for 36 hours and is dry.


Roll 404 (1775‑1805)


To Captain James Sever, Portsmouth, NH, from SecWar, 14 May 1795:


        The copper for the frigate building at those places has arrived at New York and Philadelphia.  That for the others may be expected "daily."


Circular letter from SecWar, 24 Aug 1797:


                                "Uniform for the Navy of the United States of America


                                                        Captains Uniform


Full dress coat ‑ Blue Cloth, with long buff lappels [sic], and standing collar and lining of buff ‑ to be made and trimmed full with a gold Epaulet on each shoulder.                      the [sic] cuff Buff, with four Buttons to the pockets.  Lappels [sic] to have nine buttons and one to the Standing Collar.  Buttons Yellow metal                metal, and to have a foul [sic] anchor and American Eagle on the same.

Vest and Breeches ‑ Buff, with flaps and four buttons to the pockets of the Vest, so as to correspond and be in uniform with the Coat.  Buttons the same                                 kind as the Coat, only proportionably smaller.  




Coat Long; Blue: with half lappels [sic] standing collar and lining of buff the lappels [sic] to have six buttons and one to the collar; below the  lappel [sic}                           right side three buttons, left side, three close worked button holes.three [sic] buttons to the pocket flaps, and three to the slash sleeve with a                  buff cuff.one [sic] Epaulet on the right shoulder trimings, plain twist.

Vest and Breeches.  Buff ‑ The former to be made with skirts and pocket flaps, but to have no buttons to the pockets.  The Buttons for the Vest and                                                Breeches, the same as for the Captains Uniform.


                                                     Lieutenant of Marines


Coat, Long: Blue; with long lappels [sic] and lining red.  The lappels [sic] to have nine buttons, and one to the standing collar.  Three buttons to the pocket flaps and               three to a slash sleeve with a red cuff.  one[ sic] gold Epaulet on the right shoulder for the Senior Lieutenant, when there are two Lieutenants for                                the same ship, and one on the left shoulder for the second officer.  Where there is only one Lieutenant he is also to wear the Epaulet on the right                               shoulder.  Trimmings plain.

Vest and Breeches.  The former red with skirts & pocket flaps, but to have no buttons to the pockets‑  The latter blue ‑ buttons for the suit the same as the Captains                             and Lieutenants.




Coat long.  Dark Green, with black velvet lappels [sic] and standing collar.  Lappels [sic] to have nine buttons and one to the standing collar no linings other than                             being faced with the same cloth as the coat.  Slash sleeves, the cuff the same as the facings, with three buttons.  Pocket flaps plain.

Vest and Breeches.  The former red, double Breasted ‑ the later, Green, same as the coat.  Buttons, the same as the officers.


                                                        Surgeons Mates


The same as the Surgeons, with only this difference in the coat, to wit ‑ half Lappels [sic] with six buttons and one tothe collar; below the lappel [sic], right                             side three buttons, left side three close worked button holes.


                                                        Sailing Master


Coat. Long. Blue; with facings and standing collar of the

                                  same, edged with buff nine buttons to the

                                  lappells [sic], and one to the standing

                                  collar.  Lining blue or faced with the same

                                  as the coat ‑ slash sleeve, with three

                                  buttons.  pockets [sic] plain.

Vest and Breeches.  Plain Buff Vest ‑ and blue Breeches.

                                  Buttons (for the suit) the same as for





Coat.  Plain frock Blue coat, with the proper naval

                                  buttons: no lappels [sic].

Vest & Breeches ‑ Buff and plain.




Coat.  Plain frock coat of blue, lined and edged with

                                  buff: without lappels [sic]].  a [sic]

                                  standing collar of Buff, and plain buff

                                  cuffs, open underneath with three buttons.

Vest and Breeches ‑ Buff. former [sic] to be made round

                                  and plain, buttons for the suit & the same

                                  as before described.




Plain Short coats of blue, with red belt, edged with red,

                                  and turned up with the same, with common

                                  small naval buttons, with blue pantaloons

                                  edged with red & red vest.‑‑

                                  Captains, Lieutenants, and Marine Officers

                                  to wear when full dressed cocked hats with

                                  black cockades,and small swords (Yellow

                                  Mounted) ‑ & when undressed such swords as

                                  may be hereafter, fixed on, or ordered, which

                                  such swords are to be worn at all times by

                                  the Midshipmen, who are to wear cocked hats,

                                  &c when full dressed only ‑ surgeons; Mates;

                                  Sailing Masters; & Pursers ‑ cocked hats and

                                  black cockades.

                                  N.B.‑ summer dress ‑ Vests and breeches

                                  (excepting for marine [sic] Soldiers) to be

                                  White, or Nankeen, as may correspond with

                                  the uniform &c &c Marines White linen



To the Governor of Massachusetts, 30 May 1798:


          Due to the "failure of a contract," a secondary battery is not available for CONSTITUTION.  Requests the loan of "fourteen or sixteen" 18‑pounders from Castle Island, together with a "suitable quantity of shott [sic]."


To Captain James Sever, USS CONGRESS, 28 Nov 1799:


          "You will consider the men belonging to the Constitution who have joined you as a part of your complement, it being impossible that you should, for a considerable time at least, fall in with Capt. Talbot."


To the Comptroller of the Treasury, from Thomas Turner, Navy Department, 28 Nov 1800:


          CONSTITUTION's accounts have not been settled since she went into service.  The Secretary wishes it done.


Roll 405 (1806‑1837)


From Captain John Rodgers, USS CONSTITUTION, to SecNav, 25 Jan 1806:


          In the absence of any other directive, I assume I am to continue the squadron as it is, consisting of CONSTITUTION, ESSEX, ARGUS, SIREN, VIXEN, ENTERPRIZE, NAUTILUS, HORNET, Bombs VENGEANCE and  SPITFIRE, and the 8 gunboats until our affairs with Tunis are permanently settled.


Roll 406 (1838‑1846)


From Captain Jesse D. Elliott, Carlisle, PA, 27 Nov 1838:


          "I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 15th instant requesting me to point out to the Department the order of the Government which directs the Commanders of Squadrons or Ships, to import Jack Asses or any other animals.‑‑

          "It may have escaped the notice of the Department that by its orders emanating from the Hon. S. D. Southard to Commodore Crane one of my predecessors in the command of the Mediterranean Squadron, and which orders were handed down to his successors in the same command, it was stated to him that it would probably be in his power to subserve the agricultural interests of the Nation by procuring information respecting Valuable Animals, Seeds and plants and importing such as he could conveniently without inattention to his main appropriate duties or expence to the Government.‑‑  Extracts from these instructions were delivered to me by my immediate predecessor as I had the honor to advise you on my return in a letter dated the 31st July last, and have served as the rule of my Conduct, as they have of all my predecessors in their importation of the Animals, Seeds, plants and Curiosities from time to time brought to the United States in the different pubic Vessels constituting a part of their and my Command.‑‑"


From Captain Charles Morris, BNC, to Lieutenant James M. Gillis, Washington, DC, 2 Jan 1839:


          Have instruments and charts prepared for CONSTITUTION's use in the Pacific.


 From BNC to Captain Charles Ridgely, Norfolk, Va, 15 May 1839:


          Ask Commodore Claxton if CONSTITUTION can carry out sufficient canvas for a new suit of sails for LEXINGTON when she goes to the Pacific.  If not, send it by the earliest opportunity.


From S. Warriner, Jr., New York, NY, to Hon. William B. Calhoun, 22 Dec 1841:


          Notes that his brother‑in‑law, Edmund F. Olmstead, had been a Master's Mate in the recently returned CONSTITUTION.  Wishes warrant as Sailing Master.  Has been in the Navy about 10 years.  He is now aboard INDEPENDENCE.


The Captain's Clerk
1989, TGM