Rank(s): Ordinary Seaman
Dates of Service: 8/9/1813 - 7/16/1815
Cole’s place and date of birth are unknown.
James Cole joined Constitution ’s crew as an ordinary seaman on August 9, 1813. In 1814, he had the watch assignment of larboard and station assignment of idler. He was discharged on July 16, 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.
Battles and Engagements
Cole participated in the battle with HMS Guerriere and received $42.62 ½ in prize money. He also participated in the battles with HMS Java , receiving $42.30 in prize money, and with HMS Levant , receiving $22.19 in prize money.
Around 1823 Cole was an ordinary seaman under Commodore Isaac Hull at the Charlestown Navy Yard. There he suffered from a contusion on April 25, 1823. He was kept on the surgeon’s list until June 24, 1823, writing that the “injury was so great that I was not able to walk for a great length of time, and was obliged to keep in a very quiet position, with my leg on a pillow.” Richard F. Dunn wrote in 1832 that Cole “got very much injured in one of his Legs, namely his left Leg, which injury I am knowing that he received while on duty, while engaged in Stowing heavy Cannon, which injury was so bad that he was not able to walk for a great length of time, and at the same time, he was so much injured in his right Leg also, while engaged in the same service but not to so great an extent.” It was a permanent illness. He was discharged at the Portsmouth Navy Yard on October 11, 1831 on account of injured leg. In June 1839, he was a merchant seaman. Cole’s place and date of death are unknown.