Before Joining USS Constitution
Daniel Hogan was born in Ireland.
Prior to joining Constitution, Hogan began his navy career aboard USS Revenge in 1809 or 1810. Revenge ran aground off New London, Connecticut in January 1811. Since the ship was a complete loss, Hogan transferred to Constitution, where he served the remainder of his enlistment.
Hogan was described by fellow Constitution crewmember Moses Smith as a “little Irish chap.”
Life Aboard USS Constitution
Hogan entered Constitution as an ordinary seaman in January 1811 and served until March 1813. Three months later he re-enlisted for another two years and was rated an able seaman. Hogan may have caused some trouble on board, because he was demoted to ordinary seaman again in August 1813. As an ordinary seaman he made $10 per month, and $12 as an able seaman.
Among the enlisted men, ordinary seamen stood in the middle of the lower-deck hierarchy. These men had typically sailed one or two voyages and knew basic seamanship. Like the able seamen, they too could “hand, reef, and steer,” but some of the more complicated maneuvers were foreign to them. Many ordinary seamen would have been numbered among the topmen, the young and agile crewmembers who were responsible for working aloft on the masts and yards.
Battles and Engagements
During the battle with HMS Guerriere in August 1812, Hogan performed a heroic feat, which resulted in the Secretary of the Navy awarding him an extra month’s pay as reward. His shipmate Moses Smith described Hogan’s courageous act:
“Our fore-royal truck was shot away, with two pair of halyards; the flag was hanging down tangled on the shivered mast in the presence of the enemy. This sight inspired one of our men, familiarly called Dan Hogan, to the daring feat of nailing the standard to the mast. He was a little Irish chap, but brim-full of courage. Without a word from anyone, he sprang into the rigging and was aloft in a moment. He was soon seen, under the fire of the enemy, who saw him too, at the topmast height, clinging on with one hand, and with the other making all fast, so that the flag could never come down unless the mast came with it. The smoke curled around him as he bent to the work; but those who could see him, kept cheering him through the sulphury clouds. He was soon down again, and at his station in the fight.”
Four months later, as Constitution faced HMS Java in battle, Hogan stood at gun #9 on the gundeck, serving as a firemen. During the battle, British shot tore away a finger on both his hands.
He was discharged with a pension in March 1813, soon after his terrible injury. But the sea called him back and he returned to Constitution that June, serving through the victorious battle against HMS Cyane and Levant and was part of Cyane’s prize crew.
Although the navy granted Hogan a pension of $6 per month, he had trouble collecting it in later years. After moving from Boston to New York City in 1817 he tried, with great difficulty, to transfer his pension to his new address. Desperate to receive the pension, he had a fellow boarder write a letter to the Pension Office in Washington (with original spelling):
My patiense is almost exhausted in wating ashore for my pension[.] Why can I not receve it when I am entittled to it[?] if you New my Situation I am sure wold not omit Another moment in not sending it[.] I am sorry to trobel you with letters all the time but you must fergive It because I want to Settel my busines here and pay my Just debts[.]
There is no record of Hogan receiving his pension and he died soon after in New York, on September 1, 1818.