About the Enterprise

Enterprise is known as the third USS Enterprise (1799). It was built by Henry Spence at Baltimore, MD, in 1799. This schooner was also called "the Lucky Little Enterpriseā€, a 125 ton brig. USS Enterprise was changed, repaired and rebilt many times during its career between 1799 and 1823. It changed from a 12-gun schooner to a 14-gun topsail schooner and eventually to a 16-gun brig. USS Enterprise was commanded by many famous officers in the US Naval history and won many victories at various sites. To name a few, John Shaw (the Quasi-War with France), Andrew Sterett (the First Barbary War), and Stephen Decatur, Jr. (burning frigate Philadelphia).

In Decemer, 1799, during the Quasi-War wth French, it went to Caribbean to protect United States merchantmen. "Enterprise captured 8 privateers and liberated 11 American vessels from captivity, achievements which assured her inclusion in the 14 ships retained in the US Navy after the Quasi-War." The Wikipedia dipicts it in more details.

Enterprise is described as "Boldness, energy, and invention in practical affairs." in the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. For more details, please visit Naval Historial Centr.

History of the Third USS Enterprise

The name Enterprise has a long history in US naval service, going back to 1775, prior to the formal creation of the US Navy. The third USS Enterprise fought in the major wars like the Quasi-War with France, the First Barbary War, and the War of 1812.

" The famous little schooner Enterprise, the pet of the early American navy, was a Baltimore shcooner carrying square topsails, a typical clipper built in 1799. She served in so many engagements and came through unscathed that she seemed to bear a charmed life. She captured ninetenn vessels in the West Indies and went through five engagements at sea in 1800 and when war with Tripoli was declared in 1801 she went over to the Mediterranean, and did good work." American Sailing ships: Their Plans and History by Charles G. Davis.


Above she is seen capturing the Tripolitan Sloop of War Tripoli (National Archives image).

In her career of 24, the third USS Enterprise engaged in many battles and never failed to capture her antagonist. It fought in the the Quasi-war with France, the Barbary Wars, the War of 1812, and against pirates, slavers and smugglers in US waters. In these duties the brig captured, defeated or recovered 3 dozen ships. Her most famous battle was that with the British brig Boxer off the Maine coast in 1813. On 9 July 1823 she ran aground and was lost. For the War of 1812, you may further read the page for The Journal of The War of 1812.

For detailed information about Voyages of Enterprise, click http://sandcastlevi.com/sea/enterprise/intro.html

For a ship directory listing voyages of Enterprise, please visit http://sandcastlevi.com/sea/enterprise/voyappa.ht


In 1799, USS Enterprise was built as a fast-sailing schooner with a complement of 70, mounting twelve Enterprise_plan_1.jpg6-pounders.
  • Length along the deck: 85 ft. 7 in. (25.8 m)
  • Length of the keel: 60 ft. (18.29 m)
  • Beam: 22 ft. 6 in. (6.86 m)
  • Depth of Hold: 10 ft. (3.0 m)
  • Tonnage: 135 tons[2]

"The first commanding officer of the Enterprise thought that she was too lightly built and that her quarters in particular, should be bullet proofed. In 1800, her armament was increased to fourteen guns, and at this time her dimensions are given as:
  • Length along the deck: 83 ft. 6 in. (25.45 m)
  • Length of the keel: 60 ft. (18.29 m)
  • Beam: 22 ft. 6 in. (6.68 m)
  • Depth of Hold: 11 ft. 6 in. (3.5 m)
  • Tonnage: 165 tons

Cited from Wikipedia. The image above is from American Sailing Ships: Their Plans and History by Charles G. Davids

Important People in the Life of the Ship

"Lieutenant John Shaw was born at Mt. Mellick, Queens County, Ireland, in 1773. he came to the United States in 1790, settled in Philadelphia, and entered the merchant marine. Appointed Lieutenant in the United States Navy on 3 August 1798, he first served in Montezuma in Commodore Truxtun's squadron in the West Indies during the early part of the naval war with France. On 20 October 1799, he was given command of the schooner Enterprise in which, during the next year, he captured seven armed French vessels and recaptured several American merchantmen. By the time he was relieved of command due to ill health in October 1800, he had made Enterprise one of the most famous vessels of the Navy. " (Source: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships )

John Shaw was also considered as "a man of fine presence, beloved by those who served under him."

Lietenant Andrew Sterett was born in Baltimore, Maryland on Janurary 27th, 1778. He was the son of John Sterett, a former Revolutionary War captain and a successful shipping merchant. Andrew Sterett was an officer in the US Navy during the nation's early days. He commanded the schooner USS Enterprise in both conflicts and witnessed other major wars above. To know more about his career, please visit Answers.com.

Images of the USS Enterprise


Additional Resources