Rank(s): Ordinary Seaman
Dates of Service: -
Dorsey’s place and date of birth are unknown.
Enoch Dorsey joined Constitution’s crew as an ordinary seaman on July 27, 1811 as a transfer from USS Wasp. He was promoted to able seaman on July 1, 1812. He re-entered on June 21, 1813. In 1814, he was assigned to gun no. 10, 3rd loader as a part of the second division. He was discharged on June 24, 1815.
Among the enlisted men, ordinary seamen stood in the middle of the lower-deck hierarchy. These men had typically sailed one or two voyages and knew basic seamanship. Like the able seamen, they too could “hand, reef, and steer,” but some of the more complicated maneuvers were foreign to them. Many ordinary seamen would have been numbered among the topmen, the young and agile crewmembers who were responsible for working aloft on the masts and yards. The ordinary seaman made $10.00 per month.
The able seaman was the 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. It was from the ranks of the able seamen that the petty and warrant officers were drawn. The able seaman made $12.00 per month.
Battles and Engagements
Dorsey participated in the battle with HMS Guerriere and received $42.62 ½ in prize money. He also participated in the battle with HMS Java and received $42.30 in prize money. He later participated in the battles with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant and received $22.19 in prize money.
Dorsey’s place and date of death are unknown.