BNHA USS Constellation
Chesapeake Bay Gateway
National Historic Landmark
National Register of Historic Places
Gaining Freedom for All: African American Heritage and the Struggle for Equality
Points of Interest
201 E Pratt St
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
The USS Constellation is a Civil War-era sloop of war. She was launched in 1854, the last all-sail ship built by the US Navy before the widespread use of steam. This Constellation replaced an earlier ship of the same name that was one of four frigates commissioned by the Continental Congress in 1797. The earlier Constellation was built at Stoddard's shipyard just a few miles downriver from the Inner Harbor.
One of the first and most important assignments for this Constellation was as flagship for the African squadron on anti-slavery patrol off the coast of West Africa (1859-1861). She captured three slavers during the tour of duty. Two of those ships were empty, but the third held 703 African men, women, and children which were rescued from slavery.
Another connection to Chesapeake Bay was the USS Constellation's assignment as a sail training vessel at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis from 1869 to 1893. Generations of midshipmen learned to sail aboard Constellation during summer cruises.
The Constellation is a fitting symbol of Baltimore's rich maritime and shipbuilding heritage as well as an icon of the city's rebirth. The ship was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1963. The Constellation was completely rebuilt in 2002 and now floats proudly as the fitting jewel of the Inner Harbor.
The Constellation is open daily for hands-on demonstrations about life aboard a tall ship in the Civil War era. It is one of the four vessels of the Historic Ships in Baltimore maritime museum.