Frigate Essex

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  • The Essex was unique in that it was the largest vessel and only warship ever produced in Salem.
  • The Frigate Essex was built at Winter Island by Enos Briggs in 1799 after Congress passed an act to accept 12 vessels built on credit-debt. The war with France was heating up and the U.S. government was too poor to build their own ships. In a few short weeks, $74,700 was raised by Salem residents and Enos Briggs was named ship builder.
  • The Essex measured 850 tons; 146 foot in length; her mainmast was 85 foot. Rigged as a three-master, she sailed the high seas as a warship for the next 13 years. She was one of the first ships in the U.S. Navy.
  • She was captured by two British vessels in the harbor of Valparaiso in 1813.

See Also

Enos Briggs Salem Tales, Salem Website

Salem Frigate City of Salem Veterans site

U.S.S. Essex and the birth of the American Navy by Frances Robotti, 1999.

Salem and the Indies by James Duncan Phillips, p.138-40, 411.

The Frigate Essex papers : building the Salem Frigate 1798-1799 Peabody Essex Museum.

The 32-Gun Frigate Essex P. Takajian

Essex Institute Historical Collections Vol 10, Part 3, p.1-108