CAPTAINS

COMMANDING OFFICERS

AND OTHERS

In the first five decades or so of our Navy, unlike today, the terms "captain" and "commanding officer" had different meanings.  The former meant the officer specifically ordered to command a ship, to enforce discipline.  The latter was another officer, not necessarily regularly assigned to that ship, who acted in the captain's stead; he might have been, in modern terms, acting captain, command duty officer, or officer of the deck, whose duties were limited to maintaining status quo and the ship and crew in a safe condition.  And in Constitution's long career there were periods when she had neither of the above  -- not even an "officer in charge" -- but rather a "senior officer on board."

            Listed below are the gentlemen known to have served in any of these several capacities in Constitution frigate. 

 

 

Captain Samuel Nicholson, Senior
(22 July 1798 - 5 June 1799)

Born: 1743; Chesterton, Maryland
Died: 28 December 1811; Charlestown, Massachusetts

 A former Continental Navy frigate captain.  Second senior on the new U. S. Navy.  While fairly successful in his earlier career, showed little to recommend him while in command of Constitution.  Secretary of the Navy Stoddert said of him that having him in command reduced the ship to the effectiveness of a 20-gunner.  Ordered off ostensibly to oversee the building of a 74.  Became first commandant of the Boston Navy Yard.  Buried in Old North Church.   Has had a torpedo boat and 2 destroyers named for himself and 4 family members, collectively

 Captain Silas Talbot
(5 June 1799 - 8 September 1801)

Born: 11 January 1751; Dighton, Massachusetts
Died: 30 June 1813; New York, New York

 A hero of the Revolution, holding both Continental Army and Navy commissions.  Wounded and a prisoner of war several times.  Subsequently served as a New York Representative in Congress.  Fifth senior captain in the new U.S. Navy.  Made two cruises to the Caribbean, serving as Santo Domingo Squadron commander both times.  Resigned in 1801 when, through an administrative error, he was not selected for retention when the Navy was down-sized.  Has had a destroyer and a guided missile ocean escort named for him. 

Lieutenant Isaac Hull, the ship's First Lieutenant, with a small crew and reduced Marine Guard was left to keep the ship secure when Captain Talbot resigned on 8 September 1799, the Navy Department undecided what to do with the ship next.  Captain Samuel Nicholson, Senior, as Commandant, Boston Navy Yard, assumed Lieutenant Hull's responsibilities when that officer was ordered elsewhere on 14 April 1802.
Sailing Master Nathaniel Haraden reported on 30 June 1802 as shipkeeper of the ship, now in ordinary.  Served as Commodore Preble's Sailing Master in the Mediterranean, his journal becoming a valuable source of information about the ship during his period aboard her. 

Captain Edward Preble
(14 May 1803 - 28 October 1804)

Born: 15 August 1761; Falmouth, Maine
Died: 25 August 1807; Falmouth, Maine

Served in the Massachusetts Navy during the Revolution.  Commissioned a lieutenant in the new navy and scheduled to be Constitution's first First Lieutenant, but he was out of the country.  Often acerbic, he was a tough but fair disciplinarian.  Conducted a series of attacks with the Mediterranean Squadron against Tripoli that eventually induced the Bashaw to treat for peace.  Awarded a gold medal by the Congress.  Has had a sloop, a sloop of war, a torpedo boat,  a destroyer, a guided missile frigate, and a guided missile destroyer named for him.

 Captain Stephen Decatur, Junior
(28 October - 9 November 1804)

Born: 5 January 1779; Sinepuxent, Maryland
Died: 22 March 1820; Washington, DC

Previously commanded Enterprize in the Mediterranean Squadron.  Recently meritoriously promoted to Captain for his daring destruction of the captured Philadelphia the preceding February, shortly after Commodore Preble departed, the more senior Captain John Rodgers took Constitution in exchange for  the smaller Congress.  Decatur received a Congressional silver medal for his Mediterranean service; a gold one when he defeated HMS Macedonian in the War of 1812.  Has had a sloop, 3 destroyers, and a guided missile destroyer named for him. 

Captain John Rodgers
(9 November 1804 - 30 May 1806)

Born: 11 July 1773; Havre de Grace. Maryland
Died: 1 August 1836; Washington, DC

First Lieutenant of Constellation and prizemaster of L'Insurgente during the Quasi-War with France.  Joined Mediterranean Squadron in Congress, then shifted to Constitution.  Peace treaty with Tripoli agreed to in his cabin.  Became squadron commander upon departure of the ailing Commodore Samuel Barron.  Has had 2 steamers, a torpedo boat, and 2 destroyers named for him.

Captain Hugh George Campbell
(30 May 1806 - 8 December 1807)

No Known Portrait

Born: 1760; South Carolina
Died: 11 November 1820; Washington, DC

Began service in the Revenue Marine and was integrated into the Navy during the Quasi-War with France while in command of Eagle.

While in Constitution, also served as Mediterranean Squadron commander.  Remained in a shore command during the War of 1812.

Note: Who was placed in charge of the ship when she was turned over to the New York Navy Yard in December 1807 is unknown.  By the summer of 1808, Captain John Rodgers, commanding the New York Station, was using her as his flagship.

Captain John Rodgers
(20 February 1809 - 17 June 1810)

Born: 11 July 1773; Havre de Grace, Maryland
Died: 1 August 1836; Washington, DC

Commanded both Constitution and the North Atlantic Squadron, enforcing the Jeffersonian Embargo.  Required Captain Isaac Hull, his junior, to exchange commands, Rodgers getting Constitution's half-sister, President.  During the War of 1812, much to his embarrassment, he never fought an engagement.  Except for a tour as Mediterranean Squadron commander, he spent the remainder of his career as President of the Board of Naval Commissioners.

Captain Isaac Hull
(17 June 1810 - 15 September 1812)

Born: 9 March 1773; Derby, Connecticut
Died: 13 February 1843; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1813 portrait.  Served as lieutenant in Constitution throughout the Quasi-War with France.  Commanded USS Argus during Barbary War, for which he received a Congressional silver medal.  Won the first American frigate victory of the War of 1812 when he defeated HMS Guerriere on 19 August 1812 in a graceless fight.  Awarded a Congressional gold medal.   After the war, commanded the Pacific and Mediterranean Squadrons, as well as the Boston and Washington Navy Yards.  Has had a sidewheel steamer and 4 destroyers named for him.

Captain William Bainbridge
(15 September - 18 July 1813)

Born: 7 May 1774; Princeton, New Jersey
Died: 28 July 1833; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Previously commanded Retaliation, George Washington, and Philadelphia, losing the latter to the Tripolines due to his rashness.  On 29 December 1812, despite two wounds and having had his helm shot away, he outmaneuvered and destroyed the faster HMS Java.  Awarded a Congressional gold medal.  Later commanded the Mediterranean Squadron and two Navy Yards, and served on the Board of Navy Commissioners   Has had a brig, 2 destroyers, a guided missile destroyer, and a nuclear powered guided missile frigate named for him.

Captain Charles Stewart
(18 July 1813 - 16 July 1815)

Born: 28 July 1778; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: 6 November 1869; Bordentown, New Jersey

Commanded USS Experiment in the Quasi-War with France, and then Siren during the Barbary War, earning a Congressional silver medal.  After commanding the blockaded frigate Constellation, took Constitution on two war cruises, taking one small British warship and three merchantmen on the first, and HMS Cyane and Levant on the second.  Awarded a Congressional gold medal.  Later commanded two squadrons and the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and served on the Board of Naval Commissioners.  Promoted to "Senior Flag Officer" in 1859;the senior Retired List admiral in 1862.   Has had a destroyer and a destroyer escort named for him.

Lieutenant William Branford Shubrick, the ship's First Lieutenant, was left in charge when Captain Stewart was detached and while the Department was undecided as to the ship's future.  He was ordered to further service when she was placed in ordinary after 26 January 1816.  In 1862, became one of the Navy's first admirals.  Has had a steamer, a torpedo boat, and 2 destroyers named for him.  Shipkeepers for her period in ordinary have not been identified. 

Captain Jacob Jones
(1 April 1821 - 31 May 1824)

Born: March 1768; Smyrna, Delaware
Died: 3 August 1850; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Served in United States during the Quasi-War with France.  Tripolitan prisoner of war during the Barbary War.  In command of Wasp, he defeated HMS Frolic early in the War of 1812, for which he received a Congressional gold medal.  Then was given command of the captured British frigate Macedonian, which was heavily blockaded.  Commanded Constitution and the Mediterranean Squadron simultaneously.  Later served a term on the Board of Naval Commissioners and commanded the Pacific Squadron.  Has had 2 destroyers and a destroyer escort named for  him.

Captain Thomas Macdonough
(31 May 1824 - 14 October 1825)

Born: 23 December 1783; The Trap, Delaware
Died: 10 November 1825; at sea

Victorious commander of the Lake Champlain Squadron in September 1814, for which he received a Congressional gold medal.  After the war, commanded the frigate Guerriere, then commanded the Mediterranean Squadron.  While commanding Constitution, he again commanded the Mediterranean Squadron.  Declining health forced him to give up his command and take passage for home.  He died the day before the ship in which he was travelling reached port.  Has had a sidewheel steamer, a torpedo boat, 2 destroyers, and a guided missile frigate named for him.

Captain Daniel Todd Patterson
(14 October - 5 December 1825 and 21 February 1826 - 19 July 1828)

Born: 6 March 1786; Long Island, New York
Died: 25 August 1839; Wilmington, New Jersey

Served in Delaware during the Quasi-War with France.  Was a Tripoline prisoner of war during the Barbary War.  Commanded the New Orleans Station throughout the War of 1812 and played a key role in the repulse of the British invasion.  He remained in the south until taking command of Constitution.  Subsequently, he served as a Navy Commissioner, commanded the Mediterranean Squadron, and was commanding the Washington Navy Yard when he died.  Has had 2 destroyers and an ocean escort named for him.

Lieutenant Elie Augustus Frederick Vallette, the ship's First Lieutenant, was left in charge while the ship was in winter overhaul and Captain Patterson was placed in temporary command of USS Brandywine.  (Surname later changed to La Vallette, under which name has had 2 destroyers named for him.

Captain George Campbell Read
(23 January - 21 February 1826)

Born:9 January 1788; Glastonbury, Connecticut
Died: 22 August 1862; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Photographed shortly before his death.  A very junior Captain commanding USS Brandywine, he sailed the frigate to the Mediterranean. On arrival at Port Mahon, Read took command of Constitution, then in winter stand-down, while more senior Captain Daniel Todd Patterson enjoyed more active service in BrandywinePatterson and Read again exchanged ships when the latter returned to Port Mahon a month later. Has had a sidewheel steamer named for him.

Among the shipkeepers assigned during the ship's period in ordinary, 1828-1835, was Lieutenant G. J. Van Brunt in 1833.

Captain Jesse Duncan Elliott
(3 March 1835 - 18 August 1838)

Born: 14 July 1785; Hagerstown, Maryland
Died: 10 December 1845; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

One of the most controversial officers of the early Navy, he earned a Congressional gold medal for a daring raid into Canada early in the War of 1812, then failed to support his commander in the Battle of Lake Erie the following year.  During his tour as Constitution's captain and commander of the Mediterranean Squadron, he repeatedly ignored regulations and abused his authority.  Court-martialled, he was suspended from service for five years, which sentence later was shortened.  He was commanding the Philadelphia Navy Yard at the time of his death.

Upon decommissioning in August 1838, the ship was turned over immediately to the Norfolk Navy Yard to be readied for her next cruise.

Captain Daniel Turner
(1 Mar 1839 - 8 November 1841)

Born: 1794; Richmond, New York
Died: 4 February 1850; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Received a Congressional silver medal for his participation in Battle of Lake Erie (1813).  After war, spent several years in West Indies Squadron chasing pirates.  Known as rigid disciplinarian.  When Commodore Alexander Claxton died on board, Turner became acting commander of the Pacific Squadron.  Later commanded the Brazil Squadron and commanded the Portsmouth Navy Yard.  Has had 3 destroyers named for him.

Upon decommissioning in November 1841, the ship was turned over to the Norfolk Navy Yard and shortly thereafter readied for a new assignment.

Lieutenant Charles W. Chauncey, the ship's newly assigned First Lieutenant, placed the ship in commission on 22 June 1842 and acted as commanding officer while the appointed captain was permitted to remain ashore for another three weeks or so.
Captain Foxhall Alexander Parker, Senior
(15 Jul 1842 - 16 February 1843)

Born: Virginia
Died: 23 November 1857; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

Had previously served as the ship's First Lieutenant under Commodore Jacob Jones, for a part of the time being designated as "Flag Captain" of the Mediterranean Squadron

Lieutenant Gabriel G. Williamson was left in command when Captain Parker was detached, and until the ship decommissioned on 16 February 1843.

Captain John Percival
(before 13 December 1843 - 5 October 1846)

Born: 3 April 1779; Barnstable, Massachusetts
Died: 7 September 1862; Dorchester, Massachusetts

One of the early Navy's most colorful characters; known as "Mad Jack" for his impetuousness.  Began his naval service as a master's mate in the Quasi-War with France, then, in merchant service after the war, was impressed into the Royal Navy.  Escaped, and, in 1809, returned to naval service.  Promoted to lieutenant for his part in USS Peacock's capture of HMS Epervier (1814).  Later served in the Pacific Squadron and called at Hawaii.  The oldest of Constitution's captains, he took her around the world.  Beloved by the crew, he was a firm but fair disciplinarian.  Has had 2 destroyers named for him.

It is not known who was assigned as shipkeeper(s) when the ship was decommissioned at New York.

Captain John Gwinn
(9 October 1848 - 4 September 1849)

No Known Portrait

Born: 11 June 1781; Maryland
Died: 4 September 1849; Palermo, Italy

Had been prisoner of war when British captured USS Frolic (1814).  Previously commanded Vandalia.  Received Pope Pius IX on board, the first time a pontiff set foot on US territory.  A severe disciplinarian, flogging men nearly every day.  His death, the first of the ship's captains to die in command, probably due to a slow cerebral hemorrhage.

Lieutenant James H. Rowan
(4-18 September 1849)

No Known Portrait

Born: 23 July 1806, New York
Died:

The ship's First Lieutenant, he succeeded to command upon Captain Gwinn's death and sailed her from Palermo to Naples, where a properly senior officer succeeded him.  Dismissed from service, 23 January 1857.

Captain Thomas Anderson Conover
(18 September 1849 - 16 January 1851)

No Known Portrait

Born: 17 April 1791; Monmouth, NJ
Died: 25 September 1864; South Amboy, New Jersey

Was on the Essex Pacific cruise during the War of 1812, and later commanded gunboat Borer in Second Battle of Lake Champlain (1814).  Awarded a sword by Congress.  It was during his tour in Constitution that flogging was abolished in the U.S. Navy.

Commander John Singleton Rudd
(22 December 1852 - 15 June 1855)

Born: 13 March, 1801; Newport, Rhode Island
Died: 12 October 1867; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

An 1858 photograph.  The first officer below the rank of Captain regularly assigned as captain.  The slaver H. N. Gambrill was captured during his command.  He later commanded the Washington Navy Yard.  Retired 21 December 1861

Shipkeepers assigned while the ship was in ordinary at Portsmouth Navy Yard are unknown.
From 1860 until 1871, the out-of-commission ship was employed as a stationary "School Ship" at the Naval Academy and had the series of "officers in charge" that follow.
Lieutenant David Dixon Porter (1-22 August 1860), sailed her from Portsmouth, NH, to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, with a temporary crew assembled for the purpose.  Later participated in the taking of New Orleans, superintended the Naval Academy, and became the Navy's second Admiral.
Lieutenant George Washington Rodgers, II (20 Sep 1860-23 Sep 1861), was in charge when the ship was towed to New York and then Newport, Rhode Island, when the Naval Academy was relocated northward in the spring of 1861, away from the  threat of Confederate seizure.  He subsequently was killed in action while commanding a monitor off Charleston, South Carolina.
Lieutenant Edward Phelps Lull (23 Sep 1861 - 15 Dec 1863), Naval Academy Class of 1855.
Lieutenant Henry Martin Blue (15 Dec 1863 - 16 Apr 1864), Naval Academy Class of 1858.  Also had charge of USS Santee.
Lieutenant Commander Philip Carrigan Johnson, Junior (16 April 1864 - 16 February 1866), Naval Academy Class of 1852, returned Constitution to Annapolis in 1865.  Also was in charge of school ship USS Santee.  Had previously participated in he taking of New Orleans.
Lieutenant Commander Thomas Henderson Eastman (26 February 1866 - 6 November 1867), Naval Academy Class of 1856.  Also in charge of school ship USS Santee.
Lieutenant Commander George Dewey (6 November 1867 - 1 August 1870), Naval Academy Class of 1858, was in charge of the vessels at the Academy.  Later achieved fame as the vitor in the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898.  Promoted to the unique rank of "Admiral of the Navy," he presided over the Navy General Board until his death in 1917.
While Lieutenant Commander Dewey went on extend leave, Lieutenant Commander George W. Hayward acted in his stead, from 29 July to 16 September 1869.

Lieutenant Commander Henry Lycurgis Howison (1 August 1870 - 19 September 1871), Naval Academy Class of 1858, was in charge of vessels at the Academy.  Previously had participated in the taking of Port Royal and the Battle of Mobile Bay.  Later commanded steam sloop USS Pensacola in the Pacific.

Commander Augustus Paul Cooke (19 - 26 September 1871), Photograph courtesy, Massachusetts Historical Society.  Naval Academy Class of 1856, was in charge of the tow of Constitution from the Academy to Philadelphia Navy Yard.
Note: The identity of the shipkeeper in charge of the ship while she was in hands of the Navy Yard is unknown.
Following an extended overhaul period, the ship returned to commissioned service in 1877.

Captain Henry A. Adams, Junior
(13 January - 15 August 1877)

Born: 6 June 1834, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died: 1 February 1878; Montevideo, Uruguay

Naval Academy Class of 1855.  Had previously participated in the New Orleans/Vicksburg and Fort Fisher campaigns in the Civil War.  Also captain of USS Potomac, the receiving ship at Philadelphia.

 

Captain James Augustin Greer
(15 - 23 August 1877)

Born: 28 February 1833; Cincinnati, Ohio
Died: 7 June 1904; Washington, DC

Naval Academy Class of 1853.  Had served in the Mississippi Squadron in 1862-3.

Captain Reigart Boliver Lowry
(23 August - 5 September 1877)

Born: 14 July 1826; La Guaira, Venezuela
Died: 25 November 1880; Brooklyn, New York

Naval Academy Class of 1846.  Wounded at Tuxpan during Mexican War.  Instigator of the Hatteras expedition, 1861.  Participated in the New Orleans/Vicksburg campaign and at Galveston.

Commander Augustus Paul Cooke
(5 September 1877 - 9 January 1878)

Born: June 1836; Cooperstown, New York
Died: 7 September 1896; Paris, France

Photograph courtesy, Massachusetts Historical Society. Naval Academy Class of 1856.  Active in the Western Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War.

Captain Oscar C. Badger
(9 January 1878 - 2 August 1879)

Born: 12 August 1823; Windham, Connecticut
Died: 20 June 1899; Concord, Massachusetts

Naval Academy Class of 1847.  Had served in the Potomac Flotilla at start of Civil War, then transferred to the Charleston blockade, where he was severely wounded, 1 September 1863.

Captain Francis H. Baker
(2 August - 25 September 1879)

No Known Portrait

Born: April 1832; Abbeville, South Carolina
Died: 2 March 1880

Naval Academy Class of 1853.  Had previously served in Constitution as Acting Midshipman, 1848-50.

Note: Sudden illness forced Captain Baker's hospitalization and then detachment.  In the interim, 25 September - 1 October 1879, Lieutenant Commander Theodore Freylinghausen Jewell, the ship's Executive Officer, acted as Commanding Officer.

Captain Oscar Fitzalan Stanton
(1 October 1879 - 14 June 1881)

Born: 18 July 1834; Sag Harbor, New York
5 July 1924; New London, Connecticut

Naval Academy Class of 1855.

Commander Edwin Malcolm Shepard
(14 Jun - 14 Dec 1881)

Born: 16 September 1843; Oswego, New York
Died: 17 August 1904; Jeffrey, New Hampshire

Naval Academy Class of 1863.  Served in Western Gulf Blockading Squadron after commissioning, and in  the Atlantic Squadron after the war.

Note: Constitution spent the better part of 1882 in ordinary at New York Navy Yard, then was towed to Portsmouth Navy Yard, where she was outfitted as a barracks ship.  Whether she was placed in commission or "in service," is unknown, as are the identities of those officers assigned to her there in the nearly fifteen years that followed.
Commander Samuel W. Very was in charge of moving the frigate from Portsmouth to Boston under tow in September 1897.  Who was in charge after the relocation and for the period until her recommissioning in 1931, is unknown.

Commander Louis Joseph Gulliver
(1 July 1931 - 8 June 1934)

Born:6 November 1883; Portland, Maine
Died: 17 April 1962; Bethesda, Maryland

Naval Academy Class of 1907.  Commanded the ship on a grand tour of the United States, visiting at least one port in each coastal state from Maine to Washington, and twice transiting the Panama Canal.  Remembered as an excellent public relations man, but not a leader.

Note: Between 8 June 1934 and some time in 1939, Lieutenant Harry St. Leger Butler, Lieutenant Eugene Carroll Burchett, Lieutenant (junior grade) Arthur Jenkins Barrett, Junior, and Lieutenant (junior grade) Edgar Griffith Chase were the successive "senior officers on board."

Lieutenant Commander Hermann Pierce Knickerbocker
(August 1939 - October 1941)

No Known Portrait

Born: 25 June 1896; Springfield, New York
Died: 24 December 1963; Jacksonville, Florida

Lieutenant Commander Knickerbocker was "senior officer present on board" until 24 August 1940, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed an executive order placing the ship in commission, at which time Knickerbocker became captain.

Lieutenant Clarence Earl McBride (Retired)
(October 1942 / January 1942 - 27 March 1945)

Born: 10 March 1883
Died: 14 December 1964

The first retired officer to serve as Constitution's captain.  Survived sinking of the USS Jacob Jones (DD-81) in World War 1. Initially, as a Chief Warrant Officer, was officer in charge. Reordered as commanding officer following promotion to Lieutenant.

Lieutenant Commander Owen William Huff
(27 March 1945 - 8 July 1947)

No Known Portrait

Born: 7 January 1903; Columbus, Ohio
Died: 12 January 1987; Vista, California

Commissioned from enlisted ranks. After Oct 1946, he also commanded the USS Constellation

Lieutenant Harry Corrolli, USNR
(8 Jul - November -F December 1947)

No Known Portrait

The first Reserve officer to serve as the ship's captain, nothing is known about Lieutenant Corrolli. He also commanded the USS Constellation

Chief Warrant Boatswain Louis Everette Wood
(January 1948 - 11 March 1950)

Born: 17 June 1921; Lockhart, South Carolina
Died: 13 April 1997; Aurora, CO

Commanded both Constitution and USS Constellation.

Chief Warrant Officer Knud Haabendal Christensen
(11 March 1950 - 30 April 1952)

Born: 20 April 1919; Kvarndrup, Denmark
Died: 13 Feb 2008; St. Petersburg Beach, Florida

A Pearl Harbor survivor.  Also commanded Constellation.

Lieutenant Albert C. Messier
(30 April 1952 - 22 June 1954)

No Known Portrait

Born: 11 August 1917; Bristol, Connecticut
Died: 14 September 1981; Bristol, Connecticut

Commissioned from enlisted ranks.  Also commanded Constellation.

Lieutenant Charles William Morris
(22 June 1954 - 25 April 1957)

Born: 30 August 1916; East Boston, Massachusetts
Died: 14 March 1993; Chula Vista, California

Commissioned from the ranks.  Also commanded Constellation until 1954.

 Note: In 1954, the Congress passed a bill permitting the Navy to dispose of a number of historic ships, but required the Department to maintain Constitution, "but not for active service."  All but one of the men ordered to command after this time were Massachusetts natives and young officers completing their obligated active duty.

Lieutenant (junior grade) David G. O'Brien
(25 April 1957 - 31 March 1959)

No Known Portrait

Born: 12 February 1932; Northampton, Massachusetts

Commissioned from Officer Candidate School, 1954

Lieutenant (junior grade) Edward Joseph Melanson, Junior
(31 March 1959 - 1 July 1960)


1999 photograph

Born: 14 December 1935; Stoneham, Massachusetts

Conducted first "Turnaround Cruise" with the ship.  Later rose to the rank of Ambassador in the Foreign Service.

Lieutenant Victor Bernard Stevens, Junior
(1 July 1960 - 29 August 1963)

Born: 23 June 1934; Worcester, Massachusetts
Died: 22 August 2009; Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Commissioned from Officer Candidate School, 1957.

Lieutenant John Christopher Kelleher, USNR
(29 August 1963 - 28 June 1965)


1999 photograph

Born: 17 October, 1936; Boston, Massachusetts

Commissioned from Officer Candidate School 1960.

Lieutenant Joseph Clark Grew, II
(28 June 1965 - 28 April 1967)

No Known Portrait

Born: 20 December 1939; Lawrence, New York

Later entered Episcopal ministry and became Bishop of Cleveland, Ohio.

Lieutenant John William Powers, USNR
(28 April 1967 - 27 May 1969)

No Known Portrait

Born: 5 August 1935

Commissioned from Officer Candidate School, 1965

Note: In 1969, at the urging of Rear Admiral Joseph C. Wylie, Commandant, FIRST Naval District, the required rank of the ship's captains was raised to Commander in order that she have someone in command with more authority and experience.

Commander Hugh Albert Moore
(27 May 1969 - 30 October 1970)


1998 photograph

Born: 1 July 1921; Chocowinity, North Carolina
Died: 11 Sep 2009; Middletown, Rhode Island

A Pearl Harbor survivor.  Commissioned from enlisted ranks. Previously commanded USS Luiseno (ATF-156).

Commander Jack Loren Reifschneider
(30 October 1970 - 20 August 1971)


1999 photograph

Born: 10 July 1925; Lincoln, Nebraska
Died: 20 Sept 2014; Lacey, WA

Commissioned from enlisted ranks.  Previously commanded USS Aludra (AF-55).

Commander John David McKinnon
(20 August 1971 - 11 December 1972)

Born: 29 May 1924; Salem, Massachusetts
Died: 27 Oct 2005; Beverly, Massachusetts

Commissioned from enlisted ranks.

Commander Thomas Coyne
(11 December 1972 - 6 August 1974)

Born: 22 Nov 1934; Boston, Massachusetts

Commissioned from Officer Candidate School.  During much of his tour, the ship was in drydock.

Commander Tyrone Gabriel Martin
(6 August 1974 - 30 June 1978)


1975 photograph

Born: 5 June 1930; Greenwich, Connecticut.

Commissioned from NROTC, 1952. Previously commanded two destroyers.   Instituted the wearing of 1812 uniforms by the crew.  Proposed the modification of guns to fire salutes.   Proposed the restoration policy issued by CNO, December 1975. Originated the 4th of July Turnaround.  Hosted Queen Elizabeth II of England in ship.  Influenced the Secretary of the Navy to drop the "IX-21" designation.   Reinstituted the practice of firing morning and sunset guns.  Ship received its first Meritorious Unit Commendation during his tour.  First captain to be decorated since Charles Stewart.

Commander Robert Leo Gillen
(30 June 1978 - 26 September 1980)


1978 photograph

Born: 8 March 1933; Charlestown, Massachusetts

Commissioned from the ranks.  "Frocked" prior to taking command. Received a Meritorious Service Medal at end of tour.

Commander Herman Otto Sudholz
(26 September 1980 - 22 June 1985)


1985 photograph

Born: 22 Jun 1934; Glen Cove, New York

Commissioned from Officer Candidate School, 1958.  Initiated a program to replace carronades with those of correct 1812 model.  Began the inclusion of a crew detachment in Presidential inaugural parades.  May be the longest-serving captain in the ship's history.

Commander Joseph Zachariah Brown
(22 June 1985 - 8 Jul 1987)


1995 photograph

Born: 28 September 1939; Warwick, Rhode Island
Died: 8 July 1985; Charlestown, Massachusetts

Commissioned from Officer Candidate School, 1961.  A very popular captain, he is the second to die in office.

Lieutenant Thomas Joseph Doherty, the ship's Executive Officer, served as acting commander in the interim before a new officer could be ordered to the command.
Commander David Matthew Cashman
(1 August 1987 - 21 September 1991)


1998 photograph

Born: 8 May 1942; Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Commissioned from Officer Candidate School, 1964.  Ship received its second Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation and first Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation during his tour.

Commander Richard Bradford Amirault
(21 September 1991 - 29 July 1995)


1998 photograph

Born: 2 Jul 1949; Somerville, Massachusetts

Commissioned from Officer Candidate School 1973.  The ship was in drydock for almost all of his tour. The ship received a third Meritorious Unit Commendation, Awarded a Meritorious Service Medal.

Commander Michael Charles Beck
(29 July 1995 - 26 July 1997)


1997 photograph

Born:2 October 1954; Lewiston, Pennsylvania

Naval Academy Class of 1977.  First captain to sail Constitution in 116 years. Ship received fourth Meritorious Unit Commendation, Awarded a Legion of Merit.

Commander Christopher Allan Melhuish
(26 July 1997 - 30 July 1999)


1999 photograph

Born: 23 September 1957; Baghdad, Iraq

1999 photograph.  Commissioned from Officer Candidate School, 1979.  Began Navy-wide heritage indoctrination for new chief petty officers. Revised regulations for period uniforms.  Drafted the ship's interpretive manual.  Created demonstration gun and gig crews.  Sailed ship on trials in Massachusetts Bay, 20 May 1998. Awarded a Meritorious Service Medal

Commander William Feeny Foster, Junior
(30 July 1999 - 11 August 2001)


2000 photograph

Born: 28 July 1858; Monterey, California

Commissioned from NROTC, Class of 1980. Awarded a Meritorious Service Medal

Commander Randall Allan Neal
(
11 August 2001 - 19 July 2003)


2001 photograph.

Born: 2 April 1960; Long Beach, California

Commissioned from NROTC, Class of 1983. In response to the tragic events of 11 Sept 2001, Commander Neal's overriding concern was the uupdgrade of all aspects of security for ship and crew, and the establishment of new watch standing and visitor accommodation procedures.

Commander Lewin C. Wright
 
(19 July 2003 - 30 July 2005)


2005 Photograph

Born: 1962

Graduate, Brandeis University
Commissioned from Officer Candidate School, 1982

Commander Thomas C. Graves
(30 July 2005 - 10 May 2007)


2005 Photograph

Born: 1964

Naval Academy Class of 1987.  Administratively removed from command due to a "loss of confidence in his ability to command." Permitted to retire following captain's mast.

Commander William A. Bullard, III
(10 May 2007 - 24 Jul 2009)

Born: Fall River, MA

Commissioned from NROTC Class of 1990. Awarded a Meritorious Service Medal

Commander Timothy M. Cooper
(24 Jul 2009 - 22 July 2011)

Born: 3 Nov 1970;Melrose, Massachusetts

Commissioned from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Class of 1992. The ship was officially made America's Ship of State by Congress in Oct 2009. The ship received many awards for a variety of community outreach programs encouraged by CDR Cooper, as well as it fifth Meritorious Unit Commendation.  Awarded a Meritorious Service Medal

Commander Matthew Jeremiah Bonner
(22 July 2011 -  )

Born: 30 Jun 1971; Seaford, NY

Commissioned from The Citadel NROTC, Class of 1993.

 

  The Captain's Clerk
2002~2009, TGM