Rank(s): Able Seaman
Dates of Service: -
Cyoll Bailey was born in Connecticut.
According to Seaman Ned Myers’ narrative, “When we reached the Ardent, we found but four Americans in her. After we had been on board her about a week, three men joined us, who had given themselves up on board English men-of-war, as native Americans. One of these men, whose name was Baily, had been fourteen years in the English service, into which he had been pressed, his protection having been torn up before his face. He was a Connecticut man, and had given himself up at the commencement of the war, getting three dozen for his pains. He was then sent on the Halifax station, where he gave himself up again. He received three dozen more, then had his shirt thrown over his back and was sent to us. I saw the back and the shirt, myself, and Baily said he would keep the last to be buried with him. .. I saw all their backs, and give the remainder of the story as they gave it to me. Baily and Bradbury got off in season to join the Constitution, and to make the last cruise in her during the war.” [p. 112, 113]
Bailey joined Constitution’s crew as an able seaman on April 26, 1814 at Boston. He was transferred to USS Congress at Portsmouth, New Hampshire on June 1, 1815.
The able seaman was an elite member of the crew. Having sailed for years “before the mast” on merchant vessels or worked his way up through the ranks in the navy, it was on him that the officers relied for the smooth operation of the ship. The traditional requirements for the seaman were that he be able to “hand (furl or take in a sail), reef (reduce a sail’s area), and steer,” but these were in fact the barest requirements for the seaman rating. In addition, they were expected to be familiar with nearly all aspects of shipboard labor. He had to be able to cast the sounding lead, be able to sew a sail with a palm and needle, and understand all parts of the rigging and the stowage of the hold. Furthermore, he had to know how to fight, as part of a gun crew or with small arms. As an able seaman, Bailey made $12.00 per month.
Battles and Engagements
Bailey was on board when Constitution captured a British man-of-war schooner and three merchant vessels. He fought in the battles with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant and received $22.19 in prize money.
Bailey’s place and date of death are unknown.