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

Vertical File in Salem Collection - Frigate Essex

Enos Briggs Salem Tales, Salem Website

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