Today in History:

Pennsylvania (1837-1861)

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USS Pennsylvania, a 3241-ton (burden) 120-gun ship of the line, was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. This largest of the U.S. Navy's sailing warships was authorized in 1816, laid down some six years later and spent a decade and a half on the shipways. Pennsylvania was finally commissioned during the final months of 1837 and, at year's end, undertook her only sea voyage, a trip from Delaware Bay to Chesapeake Bay. Decommissioned after arrival at the Gosport Navy Yard, across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk, Virginia, the big ship was laid up there until 1842, when she began a long career as a receiving ship. On 20 April 1861, as Confederate forces threatened the Norfolk Navy Yard, USS Pennsylvania was burned to the waterline to prevent capture. Her wreck was later salvaged and broken up.

This page features, and provides links to, all the views we have related to USS Pennsylvania.

For more pictures of and concerning this ship, see:

  • USS Pennsylvania (1837-1861) -- Models & Miscellaneous Views.

    Photo #: NH 1329

    U.S. Ship of the Line Pennsylvania
    (1837-1861)

    Lithograph by N. Currier, 2 Spruce St., New York, 1846, depicting the ship under sail.



    Photo #: NH 42716

    U.S. Ship of the Line Pennsylvania
    (1837-1861)

    Lithograph by A. Hoffy, No. 41 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after a sketch by C.C. Barton, U.S.N. It was "Designed and lithographed expressly for the Philada. Saturday Chronicle".

    Courtesy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1936



    Photo #: NH 460-KN (Color)

    Warships of the sailing navy

    Chromolithograph by Armstrong & Company, after an 1893 watercolor by Fred S. Cozzens, published in "Our Navy -- Its Growth and Achievements", 1897.
    Ships depicted are from different eras, and are identified by the artist as (from left to right):
    U.S. Brig Enterprise (1799-1823), firing a salute;
    U.S. Ship of the Line Pennsylvania (1837-1861);
    U.S. Ship of the Line North Carolina (1825-1867), mis-labeled by the artist as South Carolina; and
    U.S. Brig Hornet (1805-1829).
    The vessel under sail in the far center distance is not identified.

    Collection of Captain Glenn Howell, USN, 1974.



    Photo #: NH 3018

    U.S. Ship of the Line Pennsylvania
    (1837-1861)

    Halftone reproduction of a painting depicting the ship in a storm, published in "The Navy League Journal", circa the early 1900s.



    Photo #: NH 42715

    USS Pennsylvania
    (1837-1861)

    Line engraving published in "Gleason's Pictorial", 9 July 1853, showing the ship at anchor off the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, where she was the receiving ship.
    This view is represents most of the right half of a longer original engraving entitled "View of the United States Navy Yard at Gosport, opposite Norfolk, Virginia."



    Photo #: NH 42714

    Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia


    Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 16 March 1861. The ship of the line Pennsylvania, receiving ship at the yard, is shown at anchor on the left side of the image.
    The Navy Yard, and the Pennsylvania, were burned just over a month later, on 20 April 1861.

    Courtesy of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.



    Photo #: NH 59559

    Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia


    Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1861, as part of the larger print seen in Photo # NH 59236. It depicts (from left to right) the ships Pennsylvania, Columbia, Raritan and United States moored off the yard prior to their destruction on 20 April 1861.



    Photo #: NH 59179

    "Destruction of the United States Navy-Yard at Norfolk, Virginia, by Fire, by the United States Troops, on April 20, 1861"


    Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1861, providing two scenes of the burning of Norfolk Navy Yard and the destruction of ships located there.
    Ships shown in the lower scene (as identified below the print), from left to right: USS United States (afire); tug Yankee with USS Cumberland (underway, leaving the area); USS Merrimack (afire in left center distance); USS Pawnee (underway, leaving the area), and USS Pennsylvania (afire).



    Photo #: NH 42722

    U.S. Ship of the Line Pennsylvania
    (1837-1861)

    Photograph taken circa the later 1860s, entitled "Wreck of the U.S. Line of Battle Ship 'Pennsylvania'."
    It depicts salvage operations on the burned and sunken ship, off the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia. Note the burned ship hull floating in the middle distance, steam salvage engines and boilers, with their associated barge at right.

    Donation of Rear Admiral Ammen C. Farenholt, USN(MC), 1931.



    For more pictures of and concerning this ship, see:

  • USS Pennsylvania (1837-1861) -- Models & Miscellaneous Views.

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