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6:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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SHIP:  
6:00 pm - 5:00 pm
MUSEUM:  
Closed Now

Ship's Crew

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Robert Arthur

Rank(s): Able Seaman

Dates of Service: 10/28/1812 - 6/24/1814

Early Life

Arthur’s place and date of birth are unknown.

Arthur joined Constitution ’s crew as an able seaman sometime before October 28, 1812 while the ship was in Boston. He was discharged on June 24, 1814 at Boston.

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. Arthur was a member of the starboard watch and was stationed in the foretop to assist with the sails there.

Battles and Engagements

Arthur was on board for the engagement with HMS Java on December 29, 1812. During the battle he was stationed at gun no. 15 on the gun deck and acted as the third loader and first boarder. By 1814 he was the second captain of the same gun. He received $42.30 in prize money for the Java . He was also aboard during a war cruise when Constitution captured one small British man-of-war and three merchantmen.

Arthur’s place and date of death are unknown.


Crew ID

357