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Henry E. Ballard

Rank(s): Lieutenant

Dates of Service: -

Birth Date: 1786

Death Date: 5/23/1855

Early Life
Henry E. Ballard was born in 1786 in Maryland, son of Major Ballard.

Early Experience
Ballard rose rapidly in rank to midshipman on April 2, 1804, when he served about USS Presidentand USS Siren during the Barbary Wars in the Mediterranean, from 1804 to 1806. He was aboard USS Wasp on a cruise to Europe in 1807. He became a lieutenant on April 26, 1810. Ballad was transferred from USS Hornet on January 6, 1813, reporting to the US frigate Constitution in Boston.

He entered the Constitution on account of a transfer from USS Hornet then located at Sao Salvador, Brazil on January 6, 1813. He reported again at Boston on December 14, 1814. He stood watches as Officer of the Deck. His battle station was in charge of the 1st division and on the Quarterdeck. Specific duties included responsibility for maintenance of the forward third of the gun deck, including the ten 24-pounder long guns in that area in battle. As First Lieutenant in December 1813, he reported to the Captain for the organization and operation of the ship.

The lieutenant was the captain’s second in command to whom great power and responsibility were delegated. In the Captain’s absence he was in command of the ship. A 44-gun frigate carried between 4 and 6 lieutenants. The senior lieutenant was called the First Lieutenant (equivalent to the Executive Officer today). He did not stand watch like the rest of the crew, but was, like the captain, always available. It was the first lieutenant’s duty to see that the captain’s orders were carried out satisfactorily. The smooth running of the ship depended on his organizational skills. It was he who created the watch and quarter bills and who oversaw the ship’s maintenance. All others in the ship reported to the first lieutenant, who in turn made regular reports to the captain. During special or delicate evolutions (such as getting underway or anchoring), he had command of the ship. In battle, most commands were passed from the captain to the first lieutenant. All told, the first lieutenant was a very busy man; he rarely left the ship and then never overnight. For his trouble the lieutenant received $40.00 per month and three rations per day.

The junior lieutenants each had command of a watch. The men in the watch were under the lieutenant’s care and command. He was to keep a list of all the officers and men in his watch. When mustered, he examined the men to make sure they were well clothed, clean, and sober. He regularly visited the lower decks to make sure the sentries were at their posts, that no tobacco was smoked between decks, and that there were no unenclosed candles lit. While at sea, a junior lieutenant was not to change the ship’s course without the captain’s permission, unless it was to prevent a collision or other accident. In battle, the lieutenants were stationed with their divisions on the spar deck or gun deck. The youngest lieutenant exercised the men with small arms and in battle oversaw their use. In addition, all lieutenants were required to keep a journal or log, a copy of which was to be delivered to the Navy Office at the end of a voyage.

Battles and Engagements
He participated in the war cruise of Constitution, capturing one small British man-of-war and three merchantmen and in its victories over HMS Cyane and HMS Levant on 20 February 1815. He was appointed prize master of Levant on February 22, but was recaptured by the British by March 11; he was repatriated in April 1815. Congress awarded him the Silver Medal and he shared $45,000 prize money with the crew.

Ballard was transferred to the Baltimore Naval Station in May 1815. He became Master Commandant on April 27, 1816 and later, Captain on March 3, 1825. He died in Annapolis, Maryland on May 22, 1855 and was buried in the US Naval Academy Cemetery. He was survived by his widow, Juliana Ballard. There is no record of children.

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