On June 12, 1775, the first navy officially commissioned in the American colonies was the Rhode Island Navy. It was commissioned to have armed ships tasked with actively fighting against the British oppression.
On October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress officially established the Continental Navy to help in their war for independence against Great Britain. Today’s US Navy recognizes this date as their official birthday.
On March 27, 1794, Congress passed the Naval Act due to the increased threat of piracy. The act commissioned the construction of 6 new frigate warships.
From 1794 to 1797, Edmund Hartt’s Shipyard in Boston works on construction of the six new frigate warships.
On this day, October 21, 1797, one of the new frigates, the USS Constitution is launched from the Boston shipyard.
On July 1798, the USS Constitution sets off to the Caribbean on its maiden voyage.
On April 30, 1798, the Department of The Navy is formed. One of the main reasons for the formation of the new department was over how the Department of War handled the Quasi-War with France.
From 1798 to 1803, the US is engaged in the Quasi-War with France. The USS Constitution is the flagship of the West India Squadron.
From 1801 to 1803, the USS Constitution is in dry dock at Boston for repairs.
From 1803 to 1805, the USS Constitution serves as the flagship for the Mediterranean squadron during the Barbary War.
From 1805 to 1807, the USS Constitution continues to serve as the flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron after the Barbary War is over.
From 1807 to 1809, the USS Constitution spends 2 years in a New York harbor undergoing repairs.
From 1809 to 1811, The USS Constitution serves of the flagship of the Northern Squadron assigned with protecting the American coast.
From 1811 to 1812, USS Constitution sails to France, Great Britain and Holland.
From 1812 to 1815, USS Constitution serves in the War of 1812.
On August 19, 1812, the USS Constitution defeats the British ship HMS Guerriere. In the battle, a number of cannon balls from the British ship bounce off the hull of the USS Constitution, earning the ship the nickname ‘Old Ironsides’ which she still carries today.
On December 29, 1812, the USS Constitution defeats the British ship HMS Java.
On February 20, 1815, the USS Constitution scores a double victory in defeating the HMS Cyane and the HMS Levant.
Since the War of 1812, the USS Constitution has been used in times of war, patrolling during peace, around the world voyages, visits with the Pope, transport and training ship.
In September 1897, the USS Constitution retuned to Boston for its 100th birthday.
From 1897 to 1906, the USS Constitution is placed on display in Boston.
In 1906-1907, the USS Constitution underwent 2 years of restoration.
From 1907 to 1926, the USS Constitution was again placed on exhibition.
From 1927 to 1931, the USS Constitution again underwent major restoration.
In 1934, the USS Constitution returned to Boston to be placed on exhibition after a three coast tour.
From 1934 to 1972, the USS Constitution remained on exhibition in Boston.
On August 24, 1940, the USS Constitution was named the symbolic flagship of the entire US fleet.
On July 3, 1954, Congress passed Public Law 523 establishing Boston as the designator homeport of the USS Constitution.
From 2007 to 2010, the USS Constitution underwent another major restoration, this time to restore her back to her 1812 appearance.
On August 19, 2012, the USS Constitution commemorates the 200th anniversary of its victory over the HMS Guerriere. The commemoration took place at Boston Harbor.
The USS Constitution is still listed as on active duty and is the oldest active serving ship in the US Navy. You can visit and tour the famous war ship in Boston. For more information on visiting the USS Constitution Museum, click here.
Sources for the above includes: Today, October 13, 1775: Congress Establishes Continental Navy [VIDEO]; USS Constitution; Discover Constitution’s History; USS Constitution: The History; USS Constitution Launched; USS Constitution in the War of 1812; Mission & History; USS Constitution: The Legendary Survivor; USS Constitution Museum