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USS Macedonian

The USS Macedonian was a United States Navy 38-gun sailing frigate, originally the HMS Macedonian of the Royal Navy, captured by Stephen Decatur in the War of 1812.

(Frigate: tonnage 1,325; length 161'6"; beam 40'; depth of hold 18'4"; complement 306; armament 38 guns)

Macedonian (sometimes spelled Macendonian) was built in Great Britain in September 1810, captured off the Canary Islands by 44-gun frigate United States, Commodore Stephen Decatur in command, 25 October 1812, arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, as a prize 4 December 1812, and taken into service by April 1813, Captain Jacob Jones in command.

Macedonian made one futile attempt with United States and sloop Hornet to break the British blockade by way of Hell Gate, New York, 24 May 1813. She then remained in the River Thames, Connecticut, until the end of the War of 1812.

On 20 May 1815 she departed for the Mediterranean to join Commodore Decatur's 10-ship squadron in the Algerian War, a renewal of naval action against the Barbary powers, to stop harassment of American shipping. On 17 June the frigate assisted in the capture of Algerian flagship, frigate Mashuda by frigates Constellation and Guerriere, the sloops-of-war Epervier and Ontario.

The signing of a treaty with Tunis and Tripoli 7 August, following that with Algeria in June, won maritime freedom in the Mediterranean. The next 3 years Macedonian patrolled there and off the East Coast.

From January 1819 to March 1821 the frigate operated off the Pacific coast of South America, giving aid and protection to the commercial ships in the area during the disorders following the Latin colonial revolts, before returning to Boston in June 1821. She next cruised in the West Indies helping to suppress piracy, into 1826.

On 11 June 1826 Macedonian departed Norfolk for service on the Pacific station, returning to Hampton Roads, 30 October 1828. She decommissioned in 1828 and was broken up at the Norfolk Navy Yard.

(Frigate: tonnage 1,341; length 164'; beam 41'; depth of hold 18'; draft 21'6" (31 January 1861); complement 489; armament 36 guns)

(insert interesting reconstruction story here)

The second Macedonian, a 36-gun frigate, was rebuilt from the keel of the first Macedonian at Gosport (later Norfolk) Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, beginning in 1832; and was launched and placed in service in 1836, Capt. Thomas ap C. Jones in command.

Macedonian was assigned to the West Indies Squadron to cruise in the West Indies and along the west coast of Africa from 1839 to 1847 as a continuing deterrent to Caribbean pirates.

By a joint resolution of Congress 3 March 1847 Macedonian and sloop-of-war Jamestown were placed in civilian hands to carry food to Ireland during the Great Famine of the late 1840s. With a volunteer crew, Macedonian, Capt. George C. De Kay in command, departed New York 15 June with 12,000 barrels of provisions for Ireland donated by private citizens of the United States, returning to Brooklyn Navy Yard some months later to resume Navy service.

In 1852 Macedonian docked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to be razeed and converted to a sloop-of-war for the expedition to Japan, 1852 to 1854. Assigned to the East India Squadron under Commodore Matthew Perry, she, Capt. Joel Abbott in command, was one of the six American ships impressively arrayed off Uraga, Japan, 13 February 1854 during Perry's second visit to negotiate the opening of Japan to foreign trade. The treaty signed at Yokohama 31 March 1854 was a distinct naval feat in the diplomatic field. Commodore Perry had created such a show of force of firmness and of splendor on his initial visit at Kurihama 14 July 1853 that the isolationist Japanese began their remarkable turn to the West and westernization.

Macedonian remained on patrol in the North Pacific for the next 3 years. Then, from 1857 to 1861 she served with the Home Squadron in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

With the crisis of the American Civil War looming just ahead, the sloop departed Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for Pensacola, Florida, 12 January 1861 to join Brooklyn in preventing a possible Confederate attack on the harbor. On 11 February Macedonian sailed for Veracruz, Mexico, arriving the 24th. She then began patrol operations along the gulf coast and the coast of South America, with stops at Aspinwall (now Colon) and Porto Bello, Panama; Martinique; and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. On 3 December she got underway with Dacotah from St. Thomas for the east coast, arriving Boston Navy Yard 16 January 1862. Macedonian spent most of the next 2 years with the West Indies Squadron. In July 1863 she cruised along the coast of Portugal with sloop-of-war Kearsarge hunting Confederate States Ship Southerner(?).

From the end of that year through 1870, Macedonian served as school and practice ship for midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy, first at Newport, Rhode Island, then after the Civil War at Annapolis, Maryland. In 1871 she was laid up in ordinary at the Norfolk Navy Yard, where she was sold to Wiggin and Robinson for merchant service.

There is no record of Macedonian having actually sailed as a merchant ship, and the next reference to the ship, in 1900, mentions her as having been converted into the Macedonian Hotel on City Island in the Bronx. The hotel was sold in 1912 and renamed the City Island Casino, but burned down 9 June 1922. The naval origin of the Macedonian Hotel was mentioned in a Ripley's Believe It or Not item in 1983.


This article includes information collected from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.