Dates of Service: 6/24/1813 - 6/5/1815
Death Date: 2/20/1815
John Clifton’s place and date of birth are not known. Clifton may have had two children, a daughter and a son.
Clifton joined Constitution ’s crew as coxswain on June 24, 1813. He became the captain’s steward on April 24, 1814. According to the ship’s muster roll, he was discharged as an ordinary seaman at Boston on June 5, 1815. That he survived the battle of February 20, 1815 is further reinforced by the fact that he collected his prize money for the battle two years afterwards.
Battles and Engagements
Clifton participated in the battle with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant on February 20, 1815. During the engagement he manned the train tackle of gun no. 15 on the gun deck. He received $22.19 prize money for Levant and a share of the $20,000 awarded for Cyane .
Clifton’s history after leaving Constitution is not known. In 1831, an actress named Miss Josephine Clifton made a debut at the New York theater. She claimed to have been born in the city on March 9, 1814, and that her father was killed in action during the battle with HMS Cyane. Her brother supposedly was serving as a midshipman on the sloop-of-war Kensington. Unfortunately, it seems John Clifton did not die in battle, there was no USS Kensington in commission at this time, and there was no one named Clifton on the rolls of US Navy officers.