USS North Carolina was a 74-gun ship of the line in the United
States Navy. One of the "nine ships to rate not less than 74 guns
each" authorized by Congress on 29 April 1816, she was laid down in
1818 by the Philadelphia Navy Yard, launched on 7 September 1820,
and fitted out in the Norfolk Navy Yard. Master Commandant Charles
W. Morgan was assigned to North Carolina as her first commanding
officer on 24 June 1824.
While nominally a 74-gun ship, a popular size at the time, North
Carolina was actually pierced (had gun ports) for 102 guns, and
probably originally mounted ninety-four 42-pounder (19 kg) and
32-pounder (15 kg) cannons. In 1845, she had fifty-six 42-pounders
(19 kg), twenty-six 32-pounders (15 kg), and eight 8 in (200 mm)
cannons, for a total of 90.
Considered by many the most powerful naval vessel then afloat, North
Carolina served in the Mediterranean as flagship for Commodore John
Rodgers from 29 April 1825 – 18 May 1827. In the early days of the
Republic, as today, a display of naval might brought a nation
prestige and enhanced her commerce. Such was the case as Rodgers'
squadron which laid the groundwork for the 1830 commercial treaty
with Turkey opening ports of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black
Sea to American traders.
After a period in ordinary at Norfolk, North Carolina decommissioned
on 30 October 1836 to fit out for the Pacific Squadron, the one
other area where ships of her vast size could be employed. Only the
Mediterranean and the western coast of South America at that time
offered ports which could accommodate ships of great draft. Again
flagship of her station, flying the pennant of Commodore Henry E.
Ballard, North Carolina reached Callao, Peru on 26 May 1837. With
the War of the Confederation raging between Chile and Peru, and
relations between the United States and Mexico strained, North
Carolina protected the important American commerce of the eastern
Pacific until March 1839. Since her great size made her less
flexible than smaller ships, she returned to the New York Navy Yard
in June, and served as a receiving ship until placed in ordinary in
1866. She was sold at New York on 1 October 1867.