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MUSEUM:  
9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Ship's Crew

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John Alexander Belsches

Rank(s): Midshipman

Dates of Service: 4/27/1812 - 12/29/1812

Death Date: 12/7/1819

Early Life

Belsches was born in Virginia.

Early Experience

Belsches joined the Navy and became a midshipman as of September 1, 1811.

Belsches joined the crew of the Constitution on April 27, 1812.

As midshipman, Belsches was ranked below a lieutenant but was not a commissioned sea officer and was paid $19 per month. However, since 1794 the rank was reserved for those who possessed aspirations of obtaining an officer’s commission and he was recorded as having served as acting lieutenant for some time.

Battles and Engagements

Belsches’ battle station was the No. 3 Long Gun toward the aft of the ship. At his battle station Belsches participated in victories over HMS Guerriere on August 19, 1812 and HMS Java on December 29, 1812. He shared $50,000 prize money with crew members for the first victory and received $148.43 for the second.

For his service, Belsches was awarded a sword by the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was commissioned lieutenant by President Madison on April 27, 1816. In 1822, he was recorded to have been court-martialed for an unknown offense, although his death had been reported on December 7, 1819.


Crew ID

1347