USS Plymouth (1844)
was a sloop-of-war
In the 18th and most of the 19th centuries, a sloop-of-war was a warship with a single gun deck that carried up to eighteen guns. As the rating system covered all vessels with 20 guns and above, this meant that the term sloop-of-war actually encompassed all the unrated combat vessels including the...
constructed and commissioned just prior to the Mexican-American War. She was heavily gunned, and traveled to Japan as part of Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s effort to force Japan to open her ports to international trade. She also served in European and Caribbean waters and, later in her career, she was used to train midshipmen.
was the first ship of the United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...
to be named for Plymouth, Massachusetts, a town on Plymouth Bay
Plymouth Bay is the name of a small, well-protected bay of the Atlantic Ocean on the western shore of larger Cape Cod Bay along the coastline of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts...
, about 35 mi (56.3 km) southeast of Boston, Massachusetts. Plymouth was founded by the Pilgrims in 1620.
Built in Boston
Built by the Boston Navy Yard
The Boston Navy Yard, originally called the Charlestown Navy Yard and later Boston Naval Shipyard, was one of the oldest shipbuilding facilities in the United States Navy. Established in 1801, it was officially closed as an active naval installation on July 1, 1974, and the property was...
, she departed Boston, Massachusetts, on 3 April 1844 for the Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...
, Commander Henry Henry in command.
After over a year in European waters, she sailed westward and arrived at New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...
on 4 October 1846.
Following service on the U.S. East Coast, Plymouth
departed New York City, 13 February 1848, for the Far East, returning to Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....
, from the East Indies on 29 January 1851. On 23 August 1851 she stood out from Hampton Roads, Virginia, bound once again for the Orient.
After duty on the East Indies Station
The East Indies Station was a formation of the British Royal Navy from 1865 to 1941.From 1831 to 1865 the East Indies and the China Station were a single command known as the East Indies and China Station...
, she joined Commodore Matthew C. Perry's expedition to Japan, entering Tokyo Bay
is a bay in the southern Kantō region of Japan. Its old name was .-Geography:Tokyo Bay is surrounded by the Bōsō Peninsula to the east and the Miura Peninsula to the west. In a narrow sense, Tokyo Bay is the area north of the straight line formed by the on the Miura Peninsula on one end and on...
on 8 July 1853 and departing on 17 July. She returned in February of the following year and before heading home put into Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...
where she sent a party ashore to support a coordinated British-American expedition against hostile forts in the area.
Training Navy midshipmen
Returning to Norfolk, Virginia, 11 January 1855, Plymouth
began an extended tour in the Atlantic Ocean. Assigned as a midshipmen training ship during the summers of 1855 and 1856, she tested new ordnance under the command of Commander John A. Dahlgren
John Adolphus Bernard Dahlgren was a United States Navy leader. He headed the Union Navy's ordnance department during the American Civil War and designed several different kinds of guns and cannons that were considered part of the reason the Union won the war...
in 1858 and resumed duties as a training ship for midshipmen during the summers of 1859 and 1860.
American Civil War
was at Norfolk, Virginia, for repairs during the secession crises in the winter of 1860–1861. After Virginia seceded from the Union, she was burned and scuttled there, 20 April 1861, to prevent her capture by the forces of the Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...
when the Norfolk Navy Yard fell into their hands.