Rank(s): Boatswain’s Mate
Dates of Service: -
All’s place and date of birth are unknown, but he may have been from New York.
All joined Constitution’s crew as a boatswain’s mate on August 31, 1813 at Boston. He was demoted to able seaman on February 12, 1814, and deserted on May 9, 1814 at Boston.
The boatswain’s mates were subordinate to the boatswain and aided him with his duties. They were specifically bidden to keep the men at their allotted tasks. Like the boatswain, they carried silver calls or whistles with which to give commands. Many boatswain’s mates carried short, knotted pieces of rope called “starters” or “colts” with which they would strike crew members who were slow or awkward in their duties. It was also the boatswain’s mates’ duty to flog malefactors (who were duly convicted) with the “cat-of-nine-tails.” Boatswain’s mates’ pay amounted to $19.00 per month.
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.
Captain Charles Stewart inserted the following advertisement in the Salem Gazette after All deserted:
FIFTY DOLLARS REWARD
Deserted from the U.S. frigate Constitution, in Boston Harbor, on the 9th inst. JOSHUA ALL a Seaman in the service of the United States. He is about 5 feet 11 inches high, very stout built, fair complexion, long hair, grey eyes, always looks down when spoken to, and has a small scar under his left eye. Whoever will apprehend and deliver the said All on board the Constitution or any other vessel in the navy of the U. States, shall receive the above reward. It is supposed that he has gone to New-York (He sometimes calls himself Hall). The Printers throughout the U. States will give this insertion. May 13.
Battles and Engagements
While on board, Constitution sailed on a short cruise and captured HMS Pictou and three merchant vessels.
All’s date and place of death are unknown.