Frederick Baury’s Book of Common Prayer
Prayer books were not uncommon among sailors in the early 19th century. This Episcopal Church prayer book was carried on board USS Constitution during the War of 1812. The flyleaf bears the inscription: “Frederic Baury/ US Frigate Constitution/At Sea Novb 7th 1812.” Frederick Baury was born in 1792 in Middletown, Connecticut. He entered the United States Navy as a midshipman in 1809 and served on board USS Essex, a 36-gun frigate. He transferred to USS Constitution in 1811, serving as signal officer on the quarterdeck, and was involved in the victories over HMS Guerriere on August 19, 1812 and HMS Java on December 29, 1812. Baury was transferred to the sloop-of-war Wasp in 1813, but apparently did not take the book with him. In November 1814—just two years after inscribing his prayer book—Wasp and her entire crew went missing in the South Atlantic and were never found.