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USS Pennsylvania (1837)

Currier lithograph of USS Pennsylvania, 1846
(larger image)
Laid down:September 1821
Launched:18 July 1837
Commissioned:late 1837
Fate:burned 1861
General Characteristics
Displacement:3,105 tons
Length:210 ft
Beam:56.8 ft
Draft:24.3 ft
Complement:1,100 officers and men
Armament:16 x 8-inch shell guns, 104 x 32-pounder guns

The second USS Pennsylvania was a four-decked 120-gun ship of the line of the United States Navy. She was the largest sailing warship ever built for the Navy, and the equivalent of any ship to be found in any other navy of the time, but her only cruise was a single trip from Delaware Bay[?] to Chesapeake Bay.

One of the "nine ships to rate not less than 74 guns each" authorized by the U.S. Congress 29 April 1816. She was designed and built by Samuel Humphreys[?] in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Her keel was laid in September 1821, but tight budgets slowed her construction, preventing her being launched until 18 July 1837. She had four complete gun decks of which three were covered, and her hull was pierced for 136 guns.

Exploding shell guns[?] were replacing solid shot by the time Pennsylvania was fitting out. A Bureau of Ordnance[?] Gun Register for 1846 records her armament as follows: Spar deck[?]: two nine-pounder cannons and one small brass swivel. Main deck[?]: four 8-inch chambered cannons received from Norfolk in 1842, and thirty-two 32-pounder cannons. Middle deck[?]: four 8-inch chambered cannons received from Norfolk in 1842, and thirty 32-pounder cannons. Lower deck[?]: four 8-inch chambered cannons and twenty-eight 32- pounder cannons.

Pennsylvania shifted from her launching site to off Chester, Pennsylvania, 29 November 1837 and was partially manned there the following day. Only 34 of her guns were noted as having been mounted 3 December 1837. She stood downriver for Newcastle, Delaware[?], 9 December, to receive gun carriages and other equippage before proceeding to the Norfolk Navy Yard for coppering her hull. She departed Newcastle 20 December 1837 and discharged the Delaware pilot on the 25th. That afternoon she sailed for the Virginia Capes[?]. She came off the Norfolk dry dock 2 January 1838. That day her crew transferred to Columbia.

Pennsylvania remained in ordinary until 1842 when she became a receiving ship[?] for the Norfolk Navy Yard. She remained in the yard until 20 April 1861 when she was burned to the waterline to prevent her falling into Confederate hands.


  • Howard Chapelle[?], The History of the American Sailing Navy: the Ships and their Development (New York: Norton, 1949)

External link

See USS Pennsylvania for other Navy ships of the same name.

This article includes information collected from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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