Rank(s): Able Seaman
Dates of Service: 9/10/1813 - 6/1/1815
Aylesworth’s place and date of birth are unknown. He was literate and spelled his own name “Aylsworth.”
It is not known whether Aylesworth was married, but in 1814 he left a pay allotment of $6 per month to someone named H. Aylesworth.
Aylsworth joined Constitution ’s crew as an able seaman on September 10, 1813 while the ship lay at Boston undergoing repairs. He was transferred to USS Congress on June 1, 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
He participated in Constitution ’s cruise when she captured one small British man-of-war and three merchant vessels, plus the victories over HMS Cyane and HMS Levant on February 20, 1815. He shared $45,000 prize money for the first vessel and received $22.19 for Levant . During the battle, he was stationed at gun no. 2 on the quarterdeck, where he acted as a fireman and sail-trimmer.
Aylesworth was transferred to USS Congress in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on June 1, 1815. His date and place of death are unknown.