USS President (1800) A Virtual Cemetery created by: Rubbings
Description: USS President was a nominally rated 44-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. She was named by George Washington to reflect a principle of the United States Constitution. Forman Cheeseman was in charge of her construction, and she was launched in April 1800 from a shipyard in New York City. President was one of the original six frigates whose construction the Naval Act of 1794 had authorized, and she was the last to be completed. Joshua Humphreys designed these frigates to be the young Navy's capital ships, and so President and her sisters were larger and more heavily armed and built than standard frigates of the period. Her first duties with the newly formed United States Navy were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.On 16 May 1811, President was at the center of the Little Belt Affair; her crew mistakenly identified HMS Little Belt as HMS Guerriere, which had impressed an American seaman. The ships exchanged cannon fire for several minutes. Subsequent U.S. and Royal Navy investigations placed responsibility for the attack on each other without a resolution. The incident contributed to tensions between the U.S. and Great Britain that led to the War of 1812.During the war, President made several extended cruises, patrolling as far away as the English Channel and Norway; she captured the armed schooner HMS Highflyer and numerous merchant ships. In January 1815, after having been blockaded in New York for a year by the Royal Navy, President engaged the frigate HMS Endymion off the coast of the city. She was captured soon afterward by a British squadron, and the Royal Navy placed her into their service as HMS President until she was broken up in 1818. President's design was copied and used to build the next HMS President in 1829.