Rank(s): Able Seaman
Dates of Service: -
Arnold’s date and place of birth are unknown.
Arnold enrolled in the Navy on August 4, 1811 before the outbreak of war. He was placed on the USS Wasp, a Sloop-of-War, in Norfolk, Virginia. Upon her, he was stationed at no. 8 Carronade, as 1st Captain. The Wasp eventually became attached to a squadron with the Constitution’s sister ships USS United States and Congress.
Due to his previous experience within the Navy, John Arnold was able to transfer to the crew of USS Constitution with the advanced skills of an able seaman. His responsibilities ranged from the everyday maintenance of the vessel to those that required the skill and ability of a person with experience at sea.
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
Arnold held the rank of the 1st Captain of gun no. 8 on the quarterdeck division during battles.
He partook in the victories over HMS Guerriere and HMS Java for which he received a portion of the prize money. Arnold also was part of the crew that took a diplomatic mission to both France and Holland during the war.
John Arnold was discharged on February 17, 1813 in Boston. His date and place of death are unknown.