The sloop was launched 26 August 1854, and commissioned 28 July 1855, with Captain Charles H. Bell in command.
From 1855 to 1858, Constellation performed largely diplomatic duties as part of the US Mediterranean Squadron. She was flagship of the US African Squadron from 1859 to 1861. In this period, she disrupted the African slave trade by interdicting three slave ships and releasing the imprisoned slaves. The last of these was captured at the outbreak of the American Civil War: Constellation overpowered the slaver brig Triton in African coastal waters. Constellation spent much of the war as a deterrent to Confederate cruisers and commerce raiders in the Mediterranean Sea.
After the Civil War, Constellation saw various duties such as carrying famine relief stores to Ireland and exhibits to the Paris, France Exposition Universelle (1878). She also spent a number of years as a receiving ship (floating naval barracks).
After being used as a practice ship for Naval Academy midshipmen, Constellation became a training ship in 1894 for the Naval Training Center in Newport, Rhode Island, where she helped train more than 60,000 recruits during World War I.
Decommissioned in 1933, Constellation was recommissioned as a national symbol in 1940 by President Franklin Roosevelt. She spent much of the Second World War as relief (i.e. reserve) flagship for the US Altlantic Fleet, but spent the first 6 months of 1942 as the flagship for Admiral Ernest J. King and Vice Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll.
Can be found at The National Historic Register