Rank(s): Able Seaman
Dates of Service: 10/28/1812 - 6/10/1815
Brown’s place and date of birth are unknown.
In 1807, Brown lived Gloucester, Massachusetts. He married Dorcas Low on May 23, 1807. She died from consumption on September 29, 1825 in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
James Brown joined Constitution ’s crew as an able seaman on October 28, 1812. He was assigned to gun no. 6, 2nd sponger as a part of the second division. He was discharged on June 10, 1815.
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
Brown participated in the battle with HMS Java and received $42.30 in prize money. He also participated in the battles with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant and received $22.19 in prize money.
Brown’s place and date of death are unknown.