John L. Cummings
Dates of Service: 10/1/1812 -
Death Date: 7/24/1824
John Cummings was born in New Jersey. His date of birth is unknown.
Cummings joined Constitution ’s crew as a midshipman after October 1, 1812.
Midshipmen were officers in training. Drawn from the ranks of the middle class, they went to sea to learn seamanship and leadership. They received some formal training in mathematics, languages, and literature from the schoolmaster or chaplain, but most of their education was hands-on. In time, if they mastered their trade, hey could expect to receive a lieutenant’s commission. A midshipman had no specific duties as such, but would be expected to do whatever was ordered of him. This could include supervising the men aloft, running orders for the officers, co-commanding a division in battle, sending and receiving signals, or standing a watch. In addition to their various shipboard duties, midshipmen were expected to keep a journal of every cruise, in which they recorded essential information and observations. Midshipman were paid $19.00 per month and got only one ration per day.
Battles and Engagements
Cummings participated in the battle with HMS Java and received $148.43 in prize money.
Around April 1813, Cummings was transferred to the Great Lakes and ultimately USS Niagara. On September 11, 1813, he was wounded in the Battle of Lake Erie while abroad Niagara. He received a Congressional Silver Medal and $811.35 in prize money. He received his commission for lieutenant on April 1, 1818. Cummings died on July 24, 1824. His place of death is unknown.