The Verdun was well-known as the command of Commodore Lucian Murat, one of Starfleet's most notable early captains. The ship was noted as an exploration vessel, charting numerous worlds under Murat's command, but Verdun also had a superior military record during the Federation-Tarn War of the 2160s. The Verdun and its entire crew of over nine hundred officers and crewmen was recorded missing after a vague message sent by Murat about moving to engage an enemy, but no record of the vessel's loss was discovered for centuries afterwards.
The incident occurred in 2163, with the Verdun battling the Tarn starship Rashasa in the Torgu-Va system. Both vessels were mortally damaged, and the surviving crews scrambled to escape to the closest class M planet, Torgu-Va. The crews were able to bring gear from their vessels and create two viable colonies. The Federation survivors were greatly helped in that Commodore Murat, although blinded and injured in the attack, had managed to secure a computer record database download from the Verdun, giving them access to technical schematics that allowed the survivors to create an industrial society.
The USS Verdun was about the size of a Constitution-class starship. The main bridge was five paces wide by five paces long and contained a navigation post, command chair and engineering stations. There was also an secondary bridge and a shuttlebay. Warp nacelles provided a speed of warp three. The Verdun was also equipped with a Gotherin Eight-B computer system, artificial gravity, laser batteries, antimatter torpedos, plasma bombs, and thermonuclear mines. (TNG novel: The Forgotten War)