Rank(s): Able Seaman
Dates of Service: 4/17/1811 -
Nicholas Verplast was born in Brookville, Maine.
Verplast joined Constitution before the War of 1812 and sailed with her to France and Holland on a diplomatic mission. Verplast was 5 feet, 2 inches tall, with dark brown hair and brown eyes.
Verplast joined Constitution ’s crew on April 17, 1811 as a sailmaker’s mate, making $18.00 a month. He assisted the sailmaker, keeping the ship’s sails, hammocks, and other canvas items in good repair.
Battles and Engagements
Verplast fought aboard Constitution in the victorious battle against HMS Guerriere and survived unscathed. But while repairing Constitution after the battle, a large anchor stock fell from its sling and, according to the official report, “struck him on the shoulder and hip, and thrust one of his legs in between some water-casks, by which he was greatly injured, and wounded….”
Verplast’s hip and shoulder fractures and his ulcerated leg ended his naval career. Discharged upon his return to Boston, he set off home for Maine, but his ship was captured by the British, the first in a series adventures (or misadventures) which characterized the dangers of life at sea during the war, as the Americans and British captured ships and impressed their crews and passengers.