Letter from Paul Hamilton to Thomas Chew, May 19, 1812
Thomas John Chew joined USS Constitution’s crew as purser on June 1, 1812, as per the instructions of this letter sent by Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton in May. As purser, Chew was a commissioned officer responsible for keeping the ship’s pay and muster rolls, as well as procuring and issuing provisions to the crew. In addition, Chew ran the ship’s store from which the men could buy additional items such as clothing, toiletries, utensils, thread, coffee, and tobacco. Chew was aboard Constitution during the engagement with HMS Guerriere on August 19, 1812.