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John Bragg

Rank(s): Able Seaman

Dates of Service: 7/21/1813 - 7/18/1815

Birth Date: 1790

Death Date: 3/24/1845

Early Life

John Bragg was born in 1790 in Newfield, Maine, son of John Bragg and Mary Tucker.

Bragg married Mary Kenney on December 12, 1824 by Daniel Dana in Londonderry, New Hampshire. He had three sons, George S., John, and Robert. He was friends with George B. Bradford. He was a Presbyterian.

Early Experience

He enlisted as an able seaman on July 17, 1813.

In 1815, he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall with grey eyes, a light complexion, and dark hair.

John Bragg joined the Constitution ’s crew as an able seaman on July 21, 1813. In 1814, Bragg was assigned to the watch assignment of larboard and station assignment of waister. He was discharged on July 18, 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 the battles with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant and received $22.19 in prize money.

After leaving the Constitution, Bragg was a carpenter in 1815. In 1828, he was also working as a carpenter. And in 1830, he was a housewright. He died on March 24, 1845 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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