Rank(s): Ordinary Seaman
Dates of Service: -
Nicholson’s date and place of birth are unknown.
Nicholson reported for duty aboard Constitution as an ordinary seaman on July 3, 1812. His battle station was carronade no. 2 as second captain and first boarder; his watch section is unknown. His specific duty aboard ship was to be a semi-skilled member of the ship’s basic labor force. He shipped at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was paid $10 per month.
Nicholson departed the ship on an unknown date for an unknown reason, but re-entered the ship on December 8, 1813. His battle station at this time beginning in 1814 was carronade no. 8 in the quarterdeck division as powder passer; his watch section is unknown. His specific duty remained the same as before. Nicholson then departed the ship for the last time on December16, 1814 at Boston.
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
Nicholson participated in the victories over HMS Guerriere on August 19, 1812 and HMS Java on December 29, 1812. He later participated in a war cruise capturing one small British man-of-war and three merchantmen. He shared with the crew $100,000 in prize money for these victories. On September 3, 1812, he was one of those who volunteered to augment Commodore John Rodgers’ squadron when it was thought a battle with a British squadron off Boston was imminent; that proved to be a false alarm.
Nicholson’s date and place of death are unknown.