U.S. Naval Academy School Ship
In the late 1850s, with the U.S. Naval Academy running out of space, and with the surge of steam vessels phasing out sailing ships, USS Constitution and many other square-rigged sailing vessels were converted into floating classrooms, housing, and training areas for midshipmen to practice sail handling and other practical naval skills.
Following a two-year refit at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, Constitution sailed to Annapolis, Maryland, in 1860 to become a training ship for midshipmen. There, the ship served as a home for the freshman class of students at the academy. The next spring, however, with the outbreak of the American Civil War, the Union Navy grew concerned that Annapolis was too close to the front lines of North and South. Constitution and the Academy’s other training ships, Santee and Macedonian, were taken to Newport, Rhode Island, where the academy was relocated for the duration of the war. Constitution returned to Annapolis in 1865 and remained there until 1871, when the ship was brought to the Philadelphia Navy Yard for another restoration.Read More