Rank(s): Marine Private
Dates of Service: 8/13/1813 -
Birth Date: 1791
Charles Bidwell was born in 1791 in Norfolk, Virginia.
Bidwell enlisted as a private in the Marine Corps on May 4, 1813.
On May 4, 1813, Bidwell was 5 feet, 4 ½ inches tall with a fair complexion and brown hair.
Bidwell was transferred to the Constitution on August 13, 1813 and joined the Constitution ’s crew as a private on August 18. In 1814, he had the larboard watch assignment and the main top quarter assignment.
Marine privates served as the shipboard police force and were, in effect, seagoing soldiers. They used the same manual of arms as the army and trained in much the same way. Unlike the army, marines had to be familiar with naval work and warfare. Marines could not be ordered aloft to do the work of the seamen there, but they could expect to man the capstan or serve as gun crews on the gun deck. Marines stood watch as sentries at sensitive parts of the ship, to see that no unauthorized people passed into those spaces (such as the captain’s cabin or the spirit room). In battle, marines armed with muskets or rifles took up station along the gangway or in the tops to keep up a constant fire on the enemy’s decks. The marine private received $6.00-$8.00 per month.
Battles and Engagements
He fought in the battles with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant and received $22.19 in prize money.
Around October 1814, Bidwell was transferred to the HMS Cyane. On August 6, 1815, he was transferred to the USS Enterprise. His place and date of death are unknown.