USS Pennsylvania (1837-1861) USS Pennsylvania, a 3241-ton (burden) 120-gun ship of the line, was built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. This largest of the U.S. Navy's sailing warships was authorized in 1816, laid down some six years later and spent a decade and a half on the shipways. Pennsylvania was finally commissioned during the final months of 1837 and, at year's end, undertook her only sea voyage, a trip from Delaware Bay to Chesapeake Bay. Decommissioned after arrival at the Gosport Navy Yard, across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk, Virginia, the big ship was laid up there until 1842, when she began a long career as a receiving ship. On 20 April 1861, as Confederate forces threatened the Norfolk Navy Yard, USS Pennsylvania was burned to the waterline to prevent capture. Her wreck was later salvaged and broken up.