|Ships of the |
United States Navy
|Ships in current service|
|Ships grouped alphabetically|
|Ships grouped by type|
This is a list of ships of the line of the United States Navy. Because of the operating expense, a number of these were never launched. These ships were maintained on the stocks, sometimes for decades, in case of an urgent need.
Consider the Navy's ship-of-the-line program that followed the War of 1812… Congress, on April 29, 1816, 'authorized to cause to be built, nine ships to rate not less than 74 guns each'. All nine were eventually laid down, in shipyards from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Norfolk, Virginia, and four of them were completed in a timely manner by the end of 1820. None of these ships ever saw action, of course, for the world had entered an extended era of peace.
Sect. 2. That the president of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause to be built nine ships, to rate not less than seventy-four guns each, and twelve ships, to rate not less than forty-four guns each… the president shall be, and he is hereby authorized, as soon as the timbers and other necessary materials are procured, and the timber properly seasoned, to cause the said ships to be built and equipped; or if, in his judgment, it will be more conduce to the public interest, he may cause the said ships to be framed and remain on the stocks, and kept in the best state of preservation, to be prepared for service in the shortest time practicable, when the public exigency may require them.
The Government vessels had been scuttled in the afternoon before the Pawnee arrived, to prevent their being seized by the Secessionists … The following are the names of the vessels which were destroyed: Pennsylvania, 74 gun-ship; steam-frigate Merrimac, 44 guns; sloop-of-war Germantown, 22 guns; sloop Plymouth, 22 guns; frigate Raritan, 45 guns; frigate Columbia, 44 guns; Delaware, 74 gun-ship; Columbus, 74 gun-ship; United States, in ordinary; brig Dolphin, 8 guns; and the powder-boat … [plus] line-of-battle ship New-York, on the stocks … Large quantities of provisions, cordage and machinery were also destroyed — besides buildings of great value — but it is not positively known that the [dry] dock was blown up.
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