Rank(s): Marine Private
Dates of Service: 9/10/1813 - 8/7/1815
Birth Date: 1783
Thomas Butler was born in 1783 in Salem, Massachusetts.
Butler enlisted as a private in the Marine Corps some time after July 15, 1813.
In 1813, he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall with blue eyes, a light complexion, and light brown hair.
Butler joined Constitution ’s crew as a private on September 10, 1813. He detached on August 7, 1815.
Marine privates served as the shipboard police force and were, in effect, seagoing soldiers. They used the same manual of arms as the army and trained in much the same way. Unlike the army, marines had to be familiar with naval work and warfare. Marines could not be ordered aloft to do the work of the seamen there, but they could expect to man the capstan or serve as gun crews on the gun deck. Marines stood watch as sentries at sensitive parts of the ship, to see that no unauthorized people passed into those spaces (such as the captain’s cabin or the spirit room). In battle, marines armed with muskets or rifles took up station along the gangway or in the tops to keep up a constant fire on the enemy’s decks. The marine private received $6.00-$8.00 per month.
Battles and Engagements
He participated in the battles with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant and received $51.81 in prize money.
Butler was promoted to corporal on October 17, 1816. He was discharge some time after October 17, 1816. His place and date of death are unknown.