Rank(s): Able Seaman
Dates of Service: -
Dunham’s place and date of birth are unknown. He signed his own name as George Duncan.
Dunham joined the Navy as an able seaman and so likely had previous seagoing experience.
Duncan joined Constitution’s crew September 28, 1814 at Boston, MA as an able seaman. On June 1, 1815, he was transferred to USS Congress while at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
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, 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
Dunken served in the victories over HMS Cyane and HMS Levant on February 20, 1815; he received a share of the $20,000 prize for the Cyane and $22.19 in prize money for the Levant.
Dunken’s place and date of death are unknown.