USS Constellation was a 38-gun frigate, one of the six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794. She was distinguished as the first U.S. Navy vessel to put to sea and the first U.S. Navy vessel to engage, defeat, and capture an enemy vessel. Constructed in 1797, she was decommissioned in 1853.
On 27 March 1794, the United States Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794, which provided for building the US Navy its first new ships: the frigates Chesapeake, Congress, Constellation, Constitution, President, and United States. Constellation was the first to be commissioned.
Constellation was built at Harris Creek Shipyard in Baltimore's Fells Point according to a design by Joshua Humphreys and launched on 7 September 1797, just as the United States entered the Quasi-War with France.