The people of Essex County and Salem, Massachusetts, presented the 36-gun frigate Essex to the U.S. Navy in 1799. Within weeks she began active service in the Quasi-War with France. Essex had two tours of duty in the Mediterranean against the Barbary pirates between 1801 and 1805. Captain David Porter commanded her throughout the War of 1812. In a single cruise in the summer of 1812 she captured ten prizes. Porter's journey to the Pacific, where he decimated the English whaling fleet, brought Essex greater renown. She took 15 prizes and forced the Royal Navy to send two frigates after her. Essex's epic engagement against Phoebe and Cherub ended with Porter surrendering when his losses became too great to continue resistance. The British retained Essex until auctioning her off in 1837. This exquisite bone model was made by French prisoners of war held in Britain during the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century.