The Congress

USS Congress was a 1,867-ton sailing frigate, was commissioned in May 1842 at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Kittery, Maine. She served in the Mediterranean into 1843, then sailed off the South American east coast until 1845. After \ overhaul she was sent as flagship of the Pacific Squadron until 1848. During that cruise, Congress participated in Mexican War operations. From June 1850 until 1861, the frigate served twice as flagship of the Brazil Squadron, and in the Mediterranean Sea. She joined the blockade of the Confederacy's Atlantic coast in September 1861. On 8 March 1862, while anchored off Newport News, Virginia, Congress was attacked by the ironclad CSS Virginia. After suffering heavy casualties in a one-sided action with an invulnerable opponent, she was forced to surrender. She was later destroyed by heated shot and exploding shells which resulted in a fire that exploded her powder magazine.

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