Obituaries are an integral part of discovering information about the lives of USS Constitution’s War of 1812 officers. Many of those men remained in the U.S. Navy after the war, slowly climbed the ranks, had children, achieved an honorable status in society — and then died.
“The remains of Lieutenant Henry Ward, of the United States Navy, were entombed in this city [Boston] on Monday, with the military honors prescribed by the rules of the service, attended by all the officers of the
station, and numerous mourning relatives. The funeral escort was composed of the Marine Corps of the Yard, and a detachment from the garrison of Fort Independence. All who knew the deceased, deeply lament his death. The disorder which terminated in his decease, was contracted when in service on the anti-piratical expedition under Com. Porter, in the West-Indies. Leaving the expedition on account of sickness, his friends cherished a hope, that a northern climate, surgical skill and care, and his excellent spirits and cheerfulness, would eventually eradicate his disease; but they have been disappointed, and although his malady did not prevent the faithful discharge of his duty, his decline became apparent, and it was with the best advice, that he was induced on Saturday to undertake a short journey for the alleviation of his complaints. He visited several friends on the way, and his usual cheerfulness had not left when he departed from Salem on his way to Gloucester. ‘He rode,’ says the Salem Register, ‘in a chaise with his lady- When he arrived at the tavern in Manchester, he complained of feeling worse, but thought he would endeavour to reach Gloucester. After riding some distance, he felt so ill, that he could not proceed; he got out of the chaise, and sat down by the road side; fortunately his brother and another gentleman had overtaken Lieut. W. and his wife on the road, and were then in company. A physician was sent for, but before medical aid could be obtained Lieut. Ward was a corpse, having expired in the presence of his distressed wife and brother! He was a valuable and highly esteemed officer, and his death is a severe loss to
the service and to his numerous friends.
“His remains were conveyed to Gloucester, where the utmost respect were paid to them by its hospitable inhabitants, to whom he was well known, and the body, inclosed [sic] in a coffin, was conveyed in a mourning hearse to the house of his father-in-law, in this city, attended by several of his relatives, and brother officers,- whose attention to his remains could only be exceeded by their personal regard for him while living, and the sensation which they experienced on hearing his sudden exit.”
Research Historian, USS Constitution Museum
Matthew Brenckle was the Research Historian at the USS Constitution Museum from 2006 to 2016.