USS Chesapeake (1799)

  • painting of the uss chesapeake at sea
    uss chesapeake, painting by f. muller (early 1900s)
    history
    united states
    name: uss chesapeake
    namesake: chesapeake bay[1]
    ordered: 27 march 1794
    builder: josiah fox
    cost: $220,677
    laid down: december 1795
    launched: 2 december 1799
    commissioned: 22 may 1800
    captured: 1 june 1813
    united kingdom
    name: hms chesapeake
    acquired: 1 june 1813 by capture
    decommissioned: 1819
    fate: sold for timber
    general characteristics (1813)
    class and type: 38-gun frigate[note 1]
    tonnage: 1,244[2]
    length: 152.6 ft (46.5 m) lpp
    beam: 41.3 ft (12.6 m)
    draft: 20 ft (6.1 m)[1]
    depth of hold: 13.9 ft (4.2 m)[3]
    decks: orlop, berth, gun, spar
    propulsion: sail
    complement: 340 officers and enlisted[3]
    armament:
    • 29 × 18-pounder (8 kg) long guns
    • 18 × 32-pounder (14.5 kg) carronades
    • 2 × 12-pounder long guns (5.5 kg)
    • 1 × 12-pounder (5.5 kg) carronade[4]

    chesapeake was a 38-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the united states navy. she was one of the original six frigates whose construction was authorized by the naval act of 1794. joshua humphreys designed these frigates to be the young navy's capital ships. chesapeake was originally designed as a 44-gun frigate, but construction delays, material shortages and budget problems caused builder josiah fox to alter her design to 38 guns. launched at the gosport navy yard on 2 december 1799, chesapeake began her career during the quasi-war with france and later saw service in the first barbary war.

    on 22 june 1807 she was fired upon by hms leopard of the royal navy for refusing to allow a search for deserters. the event, now known as the chesapeake–leopard affair, angered the american public and government and was a precipitating factor that led to the war of 1812. as a result of the affair, chesapeake's commanding officer, james barron, was court-martialed and the united states instituted the embargo act of 1807 against the united kingdom.

    early in the war of 1812 she made one patrol and captured five british merchant ships. she was captured by hms shannon shortly after sailing from boston, massachusetts, on 1 june 1813. the royal navy took her into their service as hms chesapeake, where she served until she was broken up and her timbers sold in 1819. they are now part of the chesapeake mill in wickham, england.

  • design and construction
  • quasi-war
  • first barbary war
  • chesapeakeleopard affair
  • war of 1812
  • royal navy service and legacy
  • notes
  • references
  • bibliography
  • further reading

Painting of the USS Chesapeake at sea
USS Chesapeake, painting by F. Muller (early 1900s)
History
United States
Name: USS Chesapeake
Namesake: Chesapeake Bay[1]
Ordered: 27 March 1794
Builder: Josiah Fox
Cost: $220,677
Laid down: December 1795
Launched: 2 December 1799
Commissioned: 22 May 1800
Captured: 1 June 1813
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Chesapeake
Acquired: 1 June 1813 by capture
Decommissioned: 1819
Fate: Sold for timber
General characteristics (1813)
Class and type: 38-gun frigate[Note 1]
Tonnage: 1,244[2]
Length: 152.6 ft (46.5 m) lpp
Beam: 41.3 ft (12.6 m)
Draft: 20 ft (6.1 m)[1]
Depth of hold: 13.9 ft (4.2 m)[3]
Decks: Orlop, Berth, Gun, Spar
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 340 officers and enlisted[3]
Armament:
  • 29 × 18-pounder (8 kg) long guns
  • 18 × 32-pounder (14.5 kg) carronades
  • 2 × 12-pounder long guns (5.5 kg)
  • 1 × 12-pounder (5.5 kg) carronade[4]

Chesapeake was a 38-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. She was one of the original six frigates whose construction was authorized by the Naval Act of 1794. Joshua Humphreys designed these frigates to be the young navy's capital ships. Chesapeake was originally designed as a 44-gun frigate, but construction delays, material shortages and budget problems caused builder Josiah Fox to alter her design to 38 guns. Launched at the Gosport Navy Yard on 2 December 1799, Chesapeake began her career during the Quasi-War with France and later saw service in the First Barbary War.

On 22 June 1807 she was fired upon by HMS Leopard of the Royal Navy for refusing to allow a search for deserters. The event, now known as the Chesapeake–Leopard Affair, angered the American public and government and was a precipitating factor that led to the War of 1812. As a result of the affair, Chesapeake's commanding officer, James Barron, was court-martialed and the United States instituted the Embargo Act of 1807 against the United Kingdom.

Early in the War of 1812 she made one patrol and captured five British merchant ships. She was captured by HMS Shannon shortly after sailing from Boston, Massachusetts, on 1 June 1813. The Royal Navy took her into their service as HMS Chesapeake, where she served until she was broken up and her timbers sold in 1819. They are now part of the Chesapeake Mill in Wickham, England.