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USS Raritan (1843)

The first USS Raritan was a frigate built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, laid down in 1820 but not launched until 13 June 1843, sponsored by Commodore. Frederick Engle[?]. She was one of the last sailing frigates of the Navy.

On 20 February 1844 the frigate, commanded by Capt. Francis H. Gregory[?], cleared New York Harbor and sailed for the South Atlantic where she served as Commodore Daniel Turner[?]'s flagship until she returned to the United States in November 1845.

Based at Pensacola, Florida, Raritan then operated with the Home Squadron[?] as it blockaded the east coast of Mexico and supported Army forces during the war with Mexico. As Commodore David Connor[?]'s flagship, she joined Potomac[?] in landing 500 men at Point Isabel[?] to reinforce that military depot in May 1846. During 1847, she participated in the landings at Veracruz in March; at Tuxpan[?] in April; and at Tabasco in June.

Raritan then retired to Norfolk where she was laid up in ordinary during 1848. Active again in 1849, she served as flagship of the West Indies Squadron[?], then as flagship for the Home Squadron, and in 1850 was transferred to the Pacific to cruise between Panama and Cape Horn and as far west as the International Date Line[?]. Arriving at Valparaiso in June 1851, she operated out of that port until October 1852 when she got underway to return to the United States. On her arrival home, she was again laid up, in ordinary, at Norfolk. Raritan remained there until she was destroyed, 20 April 1861, by Union forces as they evacuated the navy yard.

General Characteristics

  • Displacement: 1,726 tons
  • Length: 174.9 ft (53.3 m)
  • Beam: 45 ft (13.7 m)
  • Draft: 22.7 ft (6.9 m)
  • Armament: 42 x 32-pounders, 8 x 8-inch shell guns


Howard Chapelle[?], The history of the American sailing Navy: the ships and their development (Norton, New York, 1949), p. 457, plan 29.

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