Rank(s): Able Seaman
Dates of Service: -
Birth Date: 1785
Death Date: 1822
Thomas Maine was born in Marblehead, Massachusetts about 1775, the son of William and Sarah Maine.
Little is known of Maine’s early life, but it is likely he went to sea at a young age. The customs house in Marblehead issued him a protection certificate when he was 21, indicating that he had already been to sea by that age.
According to a power of attorney signed by Maine, he was serving on board Constitution as early as October 1812. He reenlisted as an able seaman on August 14, 1813 and remained with the ship until discharged at Boston on August 4, 1815.
The able seaman was an 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. Traditionally, the seaman had 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, 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. As an able seaman, Maine made $12.00 per month.
Battles and Engagements
Maine was on board during Constitution’s engagement with HMS Java on December 29, 1812 and received $42.30 in prize money for the victory. He was on board when Constitution captured a British man-of-war schooner and three merchant vessels in 1814. He fought in the battle with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant on February 20, 1815 and received $51.81 in prize money. During the last fight, he served as second loader to gun no. 13 on the gun deck.
After the war, Maine returned to Marblehead. He sailed as a seaman on board the schooner Jachin for the West Indies in 1822 but the vessel was lost at sea with all hands.