Rank(s): Marine Private
Dates of Service: 6/11/1812 - 9/25/1812
Burbank’s place and date of birth are unknown.
He had a cousin named Richard Little.
William Burbank enlisted as a private in the Marine Corps on July 5, 1811.
In 1811, he was 5 feet, 11 inches tall with blue eyes, a fair complexion, and brown hair.
Burbank joined Constitution ’s crew as a private on June 11, 1812. He departed some time after September 25, 1812.
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 battle with HMS Guerriere and received $42.62 ½ in prize money.
Burbank was transferred to USS President March 18, 1813. His place and date of death are unknown.