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The USS Essex was a 36-gun frigate that participated in the Quasi-War with France, the First Barbary War, and the War of 1812. She was very successful in disrupting British whaling in the Pacific, before being captured in 1814, and re-purposed as the HMS Essex under the Royal Navy.
Launched on 30 September 1799, she was armed with short ranged carronades that could not hope to match the range of 18 or 24 pounder naval guns. The US Navy accepted her nevertheless and under the captaincy of Edward Preble, holding the distinction of being the first US Naval ship to cross the Equator in early 1800.
The first Barbary War saw duties shift to the Mediterranean, with blockading and convoy escort duties at Gibraltar as well as participating in the Battle of Deme (27 April 1805).
After the declaration of the War of 1812, USS Essex achieved major success in disrupting British whaling activities in the Pacific under the command of Captain David Porter. From February 1813, over the course of a year, Porter successfully captured 12 British Whalers, and 360 prisoners, whilst sailing around Cape Horn and cruising the Pacific.
However, On 28 March 1814 at the battle of Valparaiso, Porter was forced to surrender to the frigate HMS Phoebe and the sloop-of-war HMS Cherub when Essex became too disabled to offer any resistance. Of the 12 ships Porter had captured, only one returned to the United States; seven returned to British control, three were sunk, and the Chilean.
As HMS Essex, she was reclassed as a 42-gun ship, serving as a troopship in 1819, and hulked in 1823 to serve as a prison ship in Cork initially, and Kingstown from 1824 until 1834.
When used as part of a US Navy fleet in Black Seas, the special rules pay tribute to its successful run in capturing whaling vessels. When making boarding actions with the USS Essex, the benefits from a +2 modifier.