Civil War History Stays Afloat in Baltimore's Inner Harbor

The USS Constellation: Baltimore's Floating Museum

By ; published Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
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It’s a rare opportunity to have access to preserved places or things that have played pivotal roles in the course of history. However, port cities like Baltimore are rich with landmarks, honored war sites, monuments, memorials and maritime museums. The USS Constellation is one of Baltimore’s many historical attractions that transport visitors back in time to an era where human trafficking across the Atlantic Ocean was big business.

The USS Constellation cannon
Photo Credit: T. Browne Smith

Stepping aboard the USS Constellation is like stepping into a well-preserved time capsule. She is the last sail-powered warship designed and built by the U.S. Navy and the last existing American Civil War-era naval vessel. Her most significant purpose during the years in which she was a commissioned Naval vessel was that of an interceptor to brigs participating in the African slave trade.

The Captain's Stateroom
Photo Credit: T. Browne Smith

As a museum ship, the Constellation, located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, is open daily for self-guided tours or staff-assisted tours. The ship houses a live cannon which is fired daily. The Constellation gives visitors a chance to walk through the quarters of the midshipmen, doctors, and captains that called the ship home. It serves as a three dimensional history book into another place and time. Artifacts like medical tools, place-ware, letters, uniforms, weapons, beds, maps and other items, have been preserved for display on the ship and give an unbridled glance into the Civil war maritime period. It is one of America's surviving historical jewels and one of Baltimore's most significant treasures.



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