One of the first frigates built for the U.S. Navy. Launched in 1797, it was 204 ft (62 m) long and usually carried more than 50 guns and a crew of over 450. It was the successful flagship of the Tripolitan War (1801–05), and in the War of 1812 it vanquished the British frigate Guerrière; tradition holds that it was nicknamed by sailors who saw the British shot failing to penetrate its oak sides. It was condemned as unseaworthy in 1828, but Oliver Wendell Holmes's poem Old Ironsides sparked a public preservation campaign. Restored in 1927–31, it is now berthed in Boston and open to the public.
Variants of CONSTITUTION, USS
Constitution, USS known as Old Ironsides
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