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Charles Collins

Rank(s): Marine Private

Dates of Service: 8/13/1813 -

Birth Date: 1788

Death Date: 10/29/1852

Early Life

Charles Collins was born around 1788 in Louisiana.

He resided in Norfolk, Virginia around 1848.

Early Experience

Collins enlisted as a private in the Marine Corps on September 5, 1811. He was transferred to USS Syren on July 3, 1813.

Collins joined Constitution ’s crew as a private on August 13, 1813. In 1815, he had the watch assignment of starboard.

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

Collins participated in a war cruise, capturing a small British man-of-war and three merchantmen. He participated in the battles with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant and received $22.19 in prize money.

Collins was a quarter gunner under Taylor on USS Porpoise and a crew member under Paine on USS Experiment. He was transferred to USS Congress, then at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on June 9, 1815 and served as a private under Morris. Collins died on October 29, 1852 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Naval Hospital.

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