Thunderous cannon fire from the U.S. Navy's last all-sail sloop-of-war reverberated through Baltimore's Inner Harbor as the U.S. Postal Service commemorated the 150th anniversary of the USS Constellation's launch by dedicating a commemorative postage stamp in its honor.
The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony took place at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater near the 186-foot ship's berth and marked the beginning of a five-day tall ship "Sailabration" that culminates July 4 with a harbor-wide fireworks display.
The stamp art is a hand engraving based on a photograph, believed to date to 1893, in the collection of the U.S. Naval Historical Center.
Ships scheduled to showcase the Sailabration include these tall ships: Bluenose II, 181' Nova Scotian; Capitan Miranda, 205' Uruguayan Navy training; Cisne Branco, 257' Brazilian Navy training; Cuauhtemoc, 270' Mexican Navy training; Mircea, 269' Romanian Navy training; Pride of Baltimore II, 170' Maryland Goodwill Ambassador; and Sagres, 296' Portuguese Navy training.
The USS Constellation depicted on the stamp, as the last Civil War-era naval vessel still afloat, was built at the Gosport Navy Yard (now the Norfolk, VA, Naval Shipyard) and launched on August 26, 1854. The Constellation actively served the nation for nearly 100 years. Today the ship is a floating museum anchored in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.