SHIP:  
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
MUSEUM:  
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
SHIP:  
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
MUSEUM:  
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Ship's Crew

Anchor Icon

William Atkins

Rank(s): Able Seaman

Dates of Service: 6/15/1813 - 6/15/1815

Early Life

Atkins’ place and date of birth are unknown.

Atkins entered Constitution on June 15, 1813 in Boston, MA as an able seaman. He was demoted to ordinary seaman on February 12, 1814. He was discharged at Boston on June 15, 1815.

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.

Battles and Engagements

Atkins was on board during the engagement with HMS Cyane and HMS Levant on February 20, 1815. He shared in the $20,000 in prize money for Cyane and received $22.19 for Levant . During the battle he served as second loader to gun no. 14 and served as a boarder when needed.

Atkins’ place and date of death are unknown.


Crew ID

308