Magazine article Sea Classics

Baltimore, Maryland

Magazine article Sea Classics

Baltimore, Maryland

Article excerpt

The "Jewel of the Harbor," the refurbished sloop-of-war CONSTELLATION, returned to Constellation Dock on the morning of 2 July. There were thousands cheering the old warship which had been away from her berth for 2-1/2 years while being restored to her Civil War appearance.

According to Tom Pelton's article in the Baltimore Sun, 3 July, the ship, was built at Gosport, Virginia, in 1854, fired a shot as she headed up the Patapsco River. The salute was returned by Fort McHenry and CONSTELLATION dipped its US flag which was a replica of the "Star Spangled Banner" that Francis Scott Key observed during the 1814 Battle of Baltimore.

Known affectionately as "Connie," she was used to intercept slave ships and was active during the Civil War. As such she is the only surviving warship of that conflict. She also delivered food to famine-stricken Ireland.

Nearly $8 million was raised in public and private funds for the restoration. Pelton's reporting noted that as two tugboats eased CONSTELLATION into the Inner Harbor Basin, the band from the US Naval Academy discoursed "Anchors Aweigh." The Maryland Army National Guard rendered a 19-gun salute. Coincident with this was the fly-over of two Navy F-18 Hornet fighter jets.

In 1996 when it was determined that a complete restoration was needed if the ship was to stay afloat as a reminder of the days of sail and as a tourist attraction, she was taken to the shipyard at Fort McHenry. After several months there she went to the Maryland Port Administration's Pier 8 at Locust Point.

During the period of restoration the discussions about the ship's origin resumed. …

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