Rank(s): Able Seaman
Dates of Service: -
Brucebank’s date and place of birth are unknown.
Brucebank enlisted in the Navy as an able seaman June 1, 1812, joining Constitution‘s crew from Washington, D.C.
Brucebank’s battle station was carronade No. 7, 2nd Captain/1st Boarder but his watch section is unknown. His specific duty aboard ship was to be a crewmember fully qualified to hand, reef, and steer as a skilled member of the ship’s basic labor force.
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
Brucebank participated in the victories over HMS Guerriere, on August 19, 1812, and HMS Java, on December 29, 1812. He was awarded $42.62 ½ and $42.30 in prize money for the victories.
Brucebank transferred from Constitution to Sackets Harbor, New York in April of 1813. Brucebank’s date and place of death are unknown.