Rank(s): Able Seaman
Dates of Service: -
John Doyle’s place and date of birth are unknown.
Doyle joined Constitution’s crew on December 1, 1811 at Cherbourg, France as an able seaman. He re-entered her crew September 1, 1813 and later deserted the ship in Boston on June 2, 1814. In 1812, Seaman Doyle was assigned to long gun no. 1 and pumps on the first division of the gun deck. In 1814, he served as first sponger to that same gun.
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, 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
While serving aboard Constitution, Doyle participated in the battles against HMS Guerriere on August 19, 1812 and HMS Java on December 29, 1812. For his role in these victories, he received $42.62 ½ and $42.30 in prize money.
Doyle’s place and date of death are unknown.