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U.S.S. Constellation

U.S.S. Constellation paranormal

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Location submitted by: sdonley on 12/28/2013
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PANICd#: 1318

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USS Constellation, constructed in 1854, is a sloop-of-war and the second United States Navy ship to carry the name. According to the US Naval Registry the original frigate was disassembled on 25 June 1853 in Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, Virginia.

Pier I 301 East Pratt Street
Baltimore , MD 21202
Phone: 410.539.1797
Open to the public: Yes

Lat: 39.2849111
Lon: -76.6046083

Database Summary:

Demographic Rank: 6
History: 1
Stories: 1
Claims: 4
Evidence: 0
Resources: 1
Retrievals: 7744
Vistor Rating: 0.0
Votes: 0

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History information is some background and history about the location. This is meant to be a basic summary. Below the history records you will find sources in which you can click on to find out more information. There may be multiple history records per location.

The second Constellation, a sloop designed by John Lenthall and constructed at the Norfolk Navy Yard, was commissioned on 28 July 1855 and departed under Captain Charles H. Bell for a 3-year cruise with the Mediterranean Squadron to protect American interests. While on station, Constellation was dispatched to protect American lives and property at Malaga, Spain, in July 1856 during a revolution in that country. While cruising in the Sea of Marmora the same year, she rescued a barque in distress, and received an official message in appreciation from the court of the Austrian emperor.

Constellation was detached from the Mediterranean Squadron on 17 April 1858 and after a brief cruise in Cuban waters where she safeguarded American commerce against unlawful search on the high seas, returned to the New York Navy Yard on 5 June. She was then decommissioned at Boston on 13 August. Re-entering active service in June 1859 as flagship of the African Squadron, Constellation took station off the mouth of the Congo River on 21 November 1859, she captured the brig Delicia during the mid watch on 21 December 1859 "without colors or papers to show her nationality… completely fitted in all respects for the immediate embarcation [sic] of slaves..." On 26 September 1860, after her entire crew had turned-to to "trim the vessel for the chase" (even wetting the sails "so they would push the sloop along"), Constellation captured the "fast little bark" Cora (which showed no flag and carried 705 slaves), nearly running down the slaver in the darkness. When captured, the slavers were impounded and sold at auction, their captains required to post bond and await trial, while their crews were landed at the nearest port and released. The newly freed slaves were taken to Monrovia, Liberia. The U.S. government paid a bounty of $25 for each freed slave freed, and "prize money" for each impounded ship to be divided among the crew proportionally according to rank.

On 19 April 1861, one week after Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring a blockade of southern ports and on 2 May called for the enlistment of 18,000 additional seamen. Constellation's seizure of the brig Triton on 21 May 1861 proved one of the U.S. Navy's first captures of the Civil War. Although Constellation's men found no slaves on board the captured vessel, they noted that "...every preparation for their reception had been made..."

Ordered home in August 1861, Constellation, Captain Thomas A. Dornin in command, reached Portsmouth (New Hampshire) Navy Yard on 28 September, but soon received orders to the Mediterranean, where her economy and endurance would enable her to outperform less reliable steam ships, to guard Union merchant ships against attack by Confederate cruisers and commerce raiders. On 11 March 1862 Constellation sailed from Portsmouth under the command of Commodore Henry K. Thatcher. Arriving on 19 April, Constellation spent two years (April 1862 to May 1864) engaged in patrolling, at one point assisting in blockading the Confederate warship Sumter, abandoned by her captain and officers except for a token, caretaker crew, at Gibraltar, and later participating in the attempt to prevent the Confederate Navy from taking possession of the British-built steamer Southerner in Italy for use as a commerce raider.

Returning home via the West Indies, Constellation operated briefly in the latter region, wrote one of her sailors, "trying to capture Rebel privateers and cruisers and blockade runners. The process of reasoning ... seems to be that our ship is supposed to be in European waters, and there is no United States warship resembling her cruising about here, and consequently she might approach closely to a Rebel vessel or blockade runner without exciting suspicion..."

With the terms of enlistment of most of the crew expiring, Admiral David G. Farragut ordered Constellation to Hampton Roads on 27 November 1864. After pursuing a blockade-runner along the coast, Constellation reached Fortress Monroe on Christmas Day 1864. In January 1865, the men whose enlistments had expired were "paid off" and discharged, the remainder of the crew was transferred to St. Lawrence, and the officers sent on leave to await orders. Constellation finished the Civil War as a Receiving Ship at Norfolk, a duty she performed there, and later at Philadelphia, until 1869.

Recommissioned on 25 May 1871, she took midshipmen (also classed as "naval cadets" at varying periods) on their summer training cruises for the next twenty-two years. In 1871-1872, she received further modification so she could also be utilized for gunnery instruction with a main battery of eight 9-inch Dahlgren guns, plus one 100-pound Parrott Rifle and one 11-inch Dahlgren gun.

During her assignment at the Naval Academy, Constellation received several special missions that punctuated her training regimen. From March to July 1878, she transported exhibits to France for the Paris Exposition. On 10 November 1879, she was placed in commission for a special voyage to Gibraltar, carrying crew and stores for the flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron and thereafter returning to New York. From March to June 1880, she carried relief supplies to victims of famine in Ireland. To modify Constellation for that mission, her armament and some ballast were removed, and carpenters at the New York Navy Yard built bins on the orlop deck to carry a cargo of over 2,500 barrels of potatoes and flour. Reaching Queenstown on 20 April and offloading the cargo onto lighters, she took on ballast for the return trip. Again active in September 1892 she sailed for Gibraltar in order to assemble works of art for the Columbian Exposition, stopping en route at Naples and Le Havre, and ultimately reached New York in February 1893. She departed on her final training cruise to Gibraltar on 7 June 1893, returning under sail for the last time on August 29. On 2 September 1893, she was placed out of commission at Annapolis, and was subsequently towed by the tug Leyden to Norfolk for repairs.

Converted to a stationary training ship, Constellation reached Newport on 22 May 1894, and remained a permanently moored vessel, with the exception of two excursions and occasional trips to the repair yard, into the second decade of the 20th century. In June 1904 Constellation was dry-docked at the New York Navy Yard for extensive survey and repair. Retained for her historic value and for conducting drills on her spars, rigging and sails, Constellation remained in Newport seeing decreased activity over the next twenty years until the Navy discontinued sail training in 1920.

In recognition of the one-hundredth anniversary of the writing of the national anthem, the National Star Spangled Banner Centennial commission asked that Constellation participate. Acting Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the vessel restored "as she appeared in 1814," but to minimize costs, "include only such general details as would be noticed by the layman." Constellation, towed to Norfolk by the tug Uncas, underwent the necessary modifications (19th-century ordnance fabricated at the Boston Navy Yard, dummy sails stuffed with straw and alterations such as removal of the 1880's-era bridge platform and 1890's deck housing), and was towed thence to Baltimore harbor, where she lay on display from 7 September (the anniversary of the 1797 frigate's launching) until 29 October 1914. She was then towed to Washington, DC where she lay on display from 31 October to 4 December. After repairs at Norfolk in December, she returned to training duty at Newport on 19 May 1915.

On 1 December 1917, to clear the name Constellation for assignment to a projected battle cruiser authorized on 29 August 1916, the ship was renamed Old Constellation. She reverted to her original name on 24 July 1925 when the battle cruiser was scrapped under the provisions of the Washington Treaty for the Limitation of Naval Armaments.

On 15 May 1926, Constellation was towed to Philadelphia and moored alongside the second-line light cruiser Olympia (CL-15), the ship that had been Admiral George Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898. Constellation made her last public appearance as a commissioned U.S. Navy ship during the ceremonies accompanying the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1926. After a short drydocking at Philadelphia, she was towed back to Newport in November.

On 16 June 1933 a Navy Department order placed Constellation in a decommissioned status for preservation as a naval relic. Although numerous surveys were conducted and estimates given for the cost of restoring the vessel as a national historic shrine, no decisions on the ship's fate were taken. Global conflict, however, soon saw Constellation's return to active service. Recommissioned on 24 August 1940, she was classified as a miscellaneous, unclassified, auxiliary, IX-20, on 8 January 1941. On 21 May 1941, Constellation was designated relief flagship for Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Subsequently, with King's appointment as Chief of Naval Operations at the beginning of 1942, the venerable sloop continued in this capacity under Vice Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll from 19 January to 20 July 1942, when the flag was shifted to the gunboat Vixen (PG-53). Ingersoll again used Constellation as his flagship during 1943-1944.

Plans to memorialize Constellation brought her to Boston in October 1946 but lack of funds delayed the project. Decommissioned for the last time on 4 February 1955, the old ship was moved to Baltimore in a floating dry-dock for restoration and preservation as a historic ship by a private, non-profit organization.

With little money and no government funds available, it took nearly a decade of work before she was restored enough to allow the public on board. During that period, the ship was configured to resemble the 1797 frigate Constellation, which had been built in Baltimore. In 1968, the ship was moved to the inner harbor where she served as the centerpiece of the city's revitalization effort. Lack of maintenance funds, however, led to significant dry rot over the next two decades, resulting in a 36-inch hog in her keel and severely damaged her structural integrity.

In 1994, her rigging was removed and she was closed to the public. A new Constellation Foundation raised the funds needed for a major renovation project and the repaired sloop-of-war returned to her permanent berth in Baltimore's Inner Harbor on 2 July 1999.

Added by: sdonley on 12/28/2013 DB#:169


Stories are just that. Stories and personal accounts that have been reported about the location.

Anyone who has been the the Baltimore Inner Harbor has seen the USS Constellation there at Pier 1. There were actually two ships christened as the USS Constellation. The first was launched in 1797, built in Baltimore and battled the French and privateers. After the War of 1812, she spent her time fighting the Barbary Coast pirates and was in active service until 1845. She was broken up in 1853. The current Constellation was launched in 1855 and spent much of its time patrolling the waters near the mouth of the Congo River looking for ships taking part in the illegal slave trade.

This background is important in that the majority of the spirits seen on the Constellation seem to originate from the original ship, not the one currently docked in Baltimore.

One of the spirits is said to be that of Neil Harvey. Mr. Harvey served aboard the Constellation and in 1799 while fighting a French ship, Neil Harvey left his post during the battle. This was a serious offense, one that had several punishments, and all ended in death. It was Mr. Harvey's misfortune to be be strapped to the front of a cannon and blown up. He has been seen floating across the ships decks.

Another ghost aboard the Constellation is that of Captain Thomas Truxton who was a captain aboard the original ship. In 1964, a Catholic priest was leaving the ship and complimented the museum staff on the fine presentation from the costumed guide on the lower deck. The workers, knowing there was no one doing any type of guided tours, searched the ship and found no one there. Could Captain Truxton loved his USS Constellation so much that his spirit stayed on a vessel with the same name?

Another apparition is that of a "powder monkey" A powder monkey was a young boy who would run ammunition and powder to the those fighting aboard the ship. There was one young boy who was killed below decks, though there is no idea exactly how. This boy has been seen aboard the current Constellation.

There have been many stories of strange noises, the smell of gunpowder, and books in the gift shop falling off of shelves. Some associated with the Constellation museum claim the stories originated in the 60's and 70's to draw attention to the ship. However, there is mention of apparitions appearing on board in 1863. A crew member wrote in his journal that a prisoner claimed two apparitions appeared in front of him in the brig dancing while he sang. There was also a stack of buckets found in the same location just outside the brig that were stacked in an odd manor yet did not fall over with the rolling of the ship. Only one person had the key to the brig, and it was locked tight, so who stacked the buckets? It was also said that the apparition of John Campbell, a crew member who died and was buried at sea, appeared as well.

Is the Constellation haunted? Possibly. You'll have to go and see for yourself!

Added by: sdonley on 12/28/2013 DB#:1126

Paranormal Claims

Here are the paranormal claims for this location. These have been found through Internet research, reports from members, or reports from personal interviews. To add a claim, please contact, and we will review and add your information.

Claim # Added Added By Claim
1711 12/28/2013 sdonley Several apparitions have been reported being seen on the ship.
1712 12/28/2013 sdonley Strange noises have been heard.
1713 12/28/2013 sdonley The smell of gun powered has been reported.
1714 12/28/2013 sdonley Books in the gift shop fall off the shelves by themselves.

Paranormal Evidence

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Wikipedia Entry
Added: 12/28/2013 By: sdonley
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