Roux painting of Constellation
the painting was painted from the island of Ratonneau looking towards
the Island of If. These islands are off Marseille (hills in background).
Painting shows frigate Constellation followed by 10 gun sloop Hornet.
Here is a current internet picture of L'ile d'If from Ratonneau, Marseille in background:
Date of painting- ca 1805 as this when Constellation & Hornet on duty in the Med.
do I think this is Constellation, and not the frigate Congress?
painting shows Constellation with Truxtun's unique masting system-
(no cross trees in top gallant masts)
Thomas Truxtun developed a three part masting system which he published in
his Remarks, Instructions, and Examples- (1794) Appendix pg vii
This masting system looked different (no cross trees in topgallant mast),
and was described differently.
Here's how Truxtun describes his masting system:
Main-mast the whole length---93' 4"
(The next page Truxtun states "The pole main-top-gallant-mast the whole length---"
Erik Ronnberg advised me that if the topgallant mast has cross trees/trestle tree,
upper segment called a "Royal mast". If no cross trees/trestle tree, upper called a "Pole")
Truxtun had a drawing of his masting system in his book:
Note arrow: Truxtun had no cross trees in top-gallant-masts:
SHIPS WITHOUT CROSS TREES IN TOPGALT:
Here's how it is described on Constellation (Register of Ships' Data):
(topgalt includes pole 17')
Here is how it appears on Constellation (Roux painting 1805)- no cross trees topgalt:
Again on Constellation (de Simione painting ca 1856)- no cross trees topgalt:
Register of Ships' Data describes President (rigged like Constellation) as having
a top-gallant with pole (no cross trees topgalt). Here is how President appeared ca 1802:
CROSS TREES IN TOPGALT:
Here is how it is described on Congress (Register of Ships' Data):
Main Mast----93' 4"
(no pole mention)
Here is how looks on Congress (Ware Sail Plan of Congress- note cross trees topgallant mast):
Here's how it looks on Chesapeake (note crosstrees Topgalt- same masting plan as Congress):
Chesapeake Shannon- NY Historical Society
Register of Ships' Data describes United States (rigged like Congress) as having
a top-gallant with royal (cross trees topgalt). Here is how United States appeared 1812:
paints Constellation with 12 gunports on the quarter deck--Congress had 14)
Constellation had 12 gunports on the Quarterdeck per (Fox Papers-Peabody Museum)
Here is how this looked as painted by Roux (3 gunports shown, 3 hidden behind
the lifeboat- impossible to fit more than 3 ports behind the lifeboat):
Congress had 14 gunports on the quarterdeck per Fox Papers-Peabody Museum
here is how they looked on Congress (Ware Sail Plan of Congress):
Note also the ladder is in a different place on the Roux painting than on Congress.
Broad Pennant atop main mast- Roux paints the situation where senior
Hugh Campbell is aboard Constellation with sloop Hornet astern, Lieutenant Evans.
These two ships served on a detached basis together on the attack of Derne April 1805.
An unidentified American vessel sails astern.
A certain senior researcher
maintained the Roux painting depicted the situation
circa 22 May 1805 when Captain John Rodgers was in command of Congress (flying the
Commodore's pennant). This researcher felt Constellation was the third vessel astern.
This theory falls apart because Rodgers was not on Congress in May 1805, he had
been Captain on Constitution since 9 November 1804. Junior Captain Decatur was
commanding Congress as of November 1804.
Hornet was not purchased until the winter of 1804-1805, dating the painting to after this time.
Thus this senior researcher could not have been correct that Roux depicted
Rodgers sailing Congress with Hornet in 1805.
naval historians Philip C.F. Smith, Philip Lundeberg, and William A. Baker
all agreed that this Roux painting depicted Constellation, and featured this painting
in the book they edited THE FRIGATES, published by Time-Life books.