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American sailing warships with no plans or records

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4 hours ago, uss frolick said:

The ships are the same in name only! Thanks Talos. :)



But an important name! And above the waterline apparently not too far apart from the evolved form of the original ship, as de Kay comments in his "Chronicles of the Frigate Macedonian" about an older British gentleman living in the US who came aboard the ship during a port call on her first commission. He had been a sailor on the original British ship under John Carden and stayed in the US after his capture by Decatur. He told the American sailors stories about his service on her, pointed out his duty station, etc.

2 hours ago, GeraldTodd said:

The new ship was deliberately built to about the same dimensions because Macedonian was still an important trophy and Decatur was still a hero.


The more I look at it, the more I think that she wasn't built to the original ship's dimensions but instead built to the standard US 2nd class frigate dimensions of the time, eg: Congress and Constellation. She was rated and armed exactly as Constellation was anyway and they are only a foot apart in beam and /six inches/ apart in length. They were fairly close to the original ship's dimensions anyway, so not a huge difference. It makes sense that they would build to their class standards instead of arbitrarily making one eight to ten feet shorter just to match the older vessel. No one's going to notice that it's different, it's not like they upscaled her to a 1st class frigate. What's more interesting to me is everyone I've read (Chapelle, etc) comments that the change in dimensions was because she had longer, narrower clipper-style ends for speed, but looking at the lines compared to each other...


Interestingly, Constellation's replacement was built to the dimensions of a razee frigate...Cumberland in this case, except a lot narrower (five feet less beam, just about the same length). She was just a purpose-built, lighter, more optimized version of it. Had she been a true razee or kept to the original's dimensions, she would have been the exact same dimensions as Macedonian instead of being twelve feet longer. It reminds me that I was recently going through the length/width ratios of the American ships of that era, looking at proportions and trying to figure out a sweet spot for a 3rd class frigate (as mentioned below). Jamestown stuck out at me. Three inches narrower than Saratoga, but 17 feet longer (163 feet to 146.3 feet). Highest ratio I found in the American ships I was looking at (pretty much all the frigates ever, plus the post-war 1st and 2nd class ship-sloops).

1 hour ago, CharlieZardoz said:

So how does Macedonian relate to Congress then since she was built right before. The later Congress of course.

There's some similarities in basic hull forms, of course, but pretty different. Designed by the same guy in roughly the same time period. Definitely a more modern hullform compared to the earlier 1st class frigate designs though, but an evolution instead of a huge difference. Congress is also the 1st class to Macedonian's 2nd class. I've had a mind to come up with my own design for a 3rd class frigate equivalent too, a follow-on to ships like Boston just for fun.

Edited by Talos
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  • 8 months later...

I have not posted in this thread in a while, I started my master's degree program in the spring, and it has been eating up a lot of my free time.


I have mentioned the brig Burrows several times before, and it still stands out to me. A beautiful, never-built brig of larger than average size and armed with around 14 guns, either 32-pounder carronades or 27 hundredweight 32-pounder cannons. It was designed by Richard Powell, assistant to John Lenthall. I was struck by the resemblance to Lenthall’s ship-sloop Germantown, so I stuck the two together, and it is very apparent. Above the waterline, the two ships are very similar. Similar bows, stern is the same shape, fore- and mainmasts are in almost the same locations, even the boarding ladder. I know US brigs normally didn’t have quarter galleries, but this one was huge, just slightly smaller than the Boston-class ship-sloops. I copied Germantown’s onto Burrows, and they fit perfectly like they meant to be there. All I had to do to tweak it was shorten the top part of the quarter gallery a bit to fit Burrows’ smaller hammock rails. I also included a drawing with her rig. I have a comparison of lines too, but I need to go back and work on it more so I will post it another time.


LBP: 126'0"
Beam (Molded): 30'0"
Depth in Hold: 14'0"


LBP: 150'0"
Beam (Molded): 36'0"
Depth in Hold: 16'8"






This is another drawing I did for a prompt over on Civil War Talk. The sloop Plymouth was captured at Gosport Naval Yard by advancing Confederate forces (along with Germantown). There was a proposal to convert her into an ironclad, which fell through. I combined a proposed Confederate ironclad casemate design with Plymouth’s hull. I also included the armament, two 7-inch Brooke Rifles, two 6.4-inch Brooke Rifles, four IX-inch Dahlgren smoothbores, and a pair of boat howitzers.




I did up several gun drawings as well, including the top view of Plymouth’s 7-inch rifles on pivot carriages, a new Marsilly carriage for the old IX-inch Dahlgren I drew. I also drew a British 64-pounder MLR of 64cwt and a British truck carriage for it. 660618894_7-InchBrookeRiflePivotCarriage.thumb.jpg.d206a62c47cf21b6ff00ad0b96e3cfe4.jpg




I did a drawing of Plymouth’s gundeck based on a combination of a plan In Canney’s Sailing Warships book, and a Library of Congress plan of Plymouth’s great cabin. I plan to use this on another forum to illustrate some armament and layout concepts, but right now it is armed with a mix of 32-pounders and 8” shell guns. I’m also including a larger copy of the two guns and their truck carriages.1001401560_USSPlymouthDecks.thumb.jpg.6352ea481409ce05d3c88e5317781356.jpg869783634_USNavy32Pounderand8InchShellGun.thumb.jpg.ed3b3f11e70ce84370aaff6c548f6735.jpg

Edited by Talos
Forgot Germantown & Burrows specs
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Those are great Talos! Look at those lines wheewhoo! Do you posts these in a different forum I'd love to follow your progress. Consequently I have an image of the South's attempt to convert the Raritan as well. I guess they really didn't have the resources to convert these ships to ironclads, but poor Germantown and United States were taken into the navy as floating batteries and then scuttled. Neat stuff!


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Thanks, Charlie. Some of these get posted on my naval thread on Baen's Bar, others get posted in the naval subforum on Civil War Talk (where frolick also posts) like the Plymouth ironclad. This is the first place I've posted the Burrows pics, however. The major reason Plymouth never ended up converted is they ran out of time and she was too deep to make it up the James River when the North recaptured Gosport.





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  • 1 year later...

The MFA, Boston has a painting by James Henry Wright US Ship Constellation (48.495). It looks as if it might be loosely based on the print source you have above. Were you ever able to locate the source or it's still a mystery?




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  • 1 year later...

I just spent HOURS reading through this topic. I was putting together a presentation for my modeling group about the Battle of Turtle Gut Inlet and modeling the ships that took part in it. 

The ships I could NOT find any hope of plans for were the following:

Wasp (the first one)

Reprisal (Wickes ship that delivered Ben Franklin to France)

the Brig Nancy


Most of the British vessels were fairly easy to find plans on. The HMS Liverpool is a very lovely ship BTW.

The topic on the Lexington has been pretty worn through in this forum, however. I feel that the practicum offered by NRG is very likely on the money for the true Lexington. 


The reasons for the lack of plans seems typical for many of the American yards seems pretty normal. I did take a trip to downtown Philadelphia to visit the PA Historical Society where the yard logs of Humphreys are still held in excellent shape which can be personally reviewed at special tables. Here are some pics of the logs from my visit. These images are the copyrighted property of the PA Historical Society and can only be posted here for scholarly/research purposes. Please don't repost anywhere else.








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