C 0001

COURT OF INQUIRY, 2 ‑ 8 MAY 1814
REGARDING THE CONDUCT OF
CAPTAIN CHARLES STEWART
COMMANDING USS CONSTITUTION DURING HER LATE CRUISE

 

 

Sir,

 

Agreeable to your order we have carefully examined into the state of the following Provisions now on board U. S. Frigate Constitution and do report as follows:‑

Viz.

 

There are in the starboard Tank nine Thousand, one hundred and forty three pounds of sound Beef, but not much of a quality as is generally served out to the seaman [sic] in the U. S. Navy. We also have surveyed and condemned Eight hundred and five pounds of Beef out of the same tank. Also [sic] seven Bbls of Flour and five of Crout [sic].‑‑ and sixty Bbls of good Pork.‑‑

Respectfully yr Obt

Svt

Lieut. H. E. Ballard

Lieut B M Winsted

U. S. Frigate Constitution

Saml E. Hixon

Boston May 6th 1814. Act. S. M.

 

 


 

Gentlemen,

 

The evidence given in the course of the investigation ordered by the Honble Secretary of the Navy, renders it necessary on my part to explain certain parts thereof that no improper impression may remain with the Court as respects my conduct in the general procedure and return of the Frigate Constitution to Port. It will appear by the evidence that it would have been necessary in a short time to resort to Port for some supplies essential to a longer continuance of the cruise.

 

I believe it will be admitted that from the first of the cruise the allowance of water was as small as it ought to have been, unless in cases of extreme necessity. It will also appear to the Court that as few provisions were condemned on the last cruise as perhaps as perhaps on any former, that notwithstanding the great complaints said to exist respecting beef that few or none of them were ever heard by myself or principal Officers and that no restraint existed on my part which led to the issuing of unsound provisions, but full latitude was given to survey and condemn whenever complaints occurred, and the whole quantity condemned during the cruise was trifling, not amounting to one barrel. That scorbutic symptoms had arisen among the crew, is in evidence before the Court, and that those symptoms had not arisen from any neglect in the police, or inattention of the Officers to the cleanliness of the Ship; although these symptoms did not exist to an alarming degree, yet a short time longer might have produced them to that extent, when it is considered that many the greater part of the crew had previously undergone a long confinement to a hulk or the ship before the cruise commenced which confinement must have contributed much to the early producing those symptoms. That the Mainmast was seriously defective also appears in evidence to the Court, at least so much so the latter part of our cruise as to excite in me those proper apprehensions for the safety of the property entrusted to my care. That I was pursuing the object of our instructions, notwithstanding the previous reasons assigned appears by the evidence, and the Course was not changed for this coast untill [sic] the apparent defects of the Mainmast had excited in me those apprehensions, and decided me combined with the other reasons to return to Port. As there did not appear any external defect in the mast, but as it seemed to complain from the neck to the fife rail without any cause from taught [sic] stays I could not decide the precise place where the usual remedy by fishing ought to be placed, and as I had decided to go immediately into Port, I postponed applying the remedy until its complaints should be more particular and the part requiring support should be distinctly ascertained, which in all probability would have been the case had we been delayed getting into Port or a more boisterous time occurred, but the smoothness of our passage in rendered it unnecessary. I am persuaded, the Court combining all those reasons (as I had done) with the favourableness of the season, which I considered came within the spirit of the Hnble. Secretary's instructions, and the information we possessed relative to the Enemy's forces on the American station will be of opinion that I acted from the best motives, dictated by reason and prudence, and that the service has not sustained any injury in consequence or the Navy Service in any measure relaxed by the conduct of that part of it entrusted to my care.

 

If expectations have gone beyond what reason and justice towards would authorize, it is our misfortune and not our fault that they have not been realized, if the conscious inferiority of the Enemy's frigates has led them to avoid where they used to seek a combat with us and the inferior sailing of our ships has not enabled us to overtake them, I trust we are not blameable on that account, all we can do is deserve success.

 

I cannot conclude this paper without observing to the Court, that the Constitution has been as long at Sea on her last cruise as any frigate since the war without resorting to Port for supplies and refreshments, which is considered essential to the sustaining and contributing to the health of the Crew.

 

With respect to the articles thrown overboard during the chase by the Enemy's Ships, it appears in evidence, that my orders extended only to those which were best calculated to lighten and keep the ship in trim, such as could most readily dispensed with, easily got at and of the least value.

 

Chs Stewart

 


 

 

The Honbl court of Inquiry

 

 

 

Navy Department

April 21. 1814.

 

Sir,

 

The United States Ship Constitution, under the Command of Captain Charles Stewart, having under gone [sic] a thorough repair and reequipment of the most perfect and ample kind, with a capacity for, and it is believed, an actual supply of, provisions and stores for at least six months, for her proper complement, with due economy and prudent management, and under instructions (Copy of which is enclosed) to prolong the cruise to the utmost possible extent, sailed on the 30th of December last and returned to Salem on the 3rd current having cruised the short period of ninety two days.‑‑

 

The letter of Captain Stewart, dated at Salem, the 4th current, (Copy of which is enclosed) giving an account of his cruise assigning motives for his premature return, does not, in the view of this Department, afford any substantial, or justifiable, ground for his determination, and as it is of the utmost importance to the Character of the navy, and the preservation of that high confidence and predeliction manifested by the public, that the energy and effect which have been so gloriously demonstrated to the world, by our gallant navy, Should not even be suspected of relaxation from its wonted vigor, it is due to the Navy, to Captain Stewart individually and to the public, that a just and strict enquiry be made into the preparations for, and causes of the premature termination of the late cruise of the United States Ship Constitution.

 

You will, therefore, Sir, together with Captain Hull, or Captain Perry,* form a court of Enquiry to enquire into the conduct of Captain Stewart in relation to the equipment and preparation for the cruise of the Constitution; and into the causes of its premature termination, to the injury of the service and contrary to the spirit & tenor of his instructions.‑‑

 

You will particularly Enquire, Whether all the space properly appropriated to the stowage of Water and provisions was fully and advantageously occupied for that purpose.‑‑

 

Whether the provisions were in perfect order, and in such vessels and packages as the regulations, usage and practice of the navy authorize; or whether any other unauthorized mode had been adopted by Captain Stewart.‑‑

 

* As may be most convenient to the service on which they command.

For what length of time the provisions and water on board, on the 30th of December last, were sufficient to sustain, at full allowance, a crew, equal in number to that which had been employed on board the said Ship on either of the two preceding cruises; and, also, for what further time a seasonable reduction of allowance, with a view to prolong the cruise, such as has been usual and practicable in the service, would have extended the supply.‑‑

 

Whether the aggregate number of persons on board at the time of departure exceeded the usual number, or the number employed on board that Ship on the two preceding cruises.‑‑

 

Whether the quantity of any particular species of provisions, or stores, on board, at the time of departure, exceeded, in a material degree, that which has been the general usage and practice of the service.‑‑

 

How much longer the provisions and stores, actually on board on the day of the arrival of the Constitution, or on the day previous to the chase by the enemy, in Boston Bay, would have enabled Captain Stewart to have continued his cruise.‑‑

 

What were the description and quantity of the several articles thrown overboard during the chase, and were they such as could be dispenses with, with the least injury to the service, and their ejection calculated to produce the desired effect.‑‑

 

What were the actual State and condition of the provisions, particularly of the salted provisions, at the time of the arrival of the Ship?

 

Whether symptoms of the scurvy had appeared on board; at what period, in what degree, and whether the cause of those symptoms can be traced to any defect in the provisions, or the preparation thereof; or to want of attention in those whose duty it is particularly to guard against the approaches of that disease by those attentions and precautions which skill and experience have devised: And, generally, into such other matters as may be involved in the object of this Enquiry, and report to this Department the facts, and the opinion of the Court thereon.‑‑

 

A copy of my letter of the 19th current, in answer to that from Captain Stewart of the 4th current, is also enclosed.‑‑

 

I am, very respectfully,

Your Ob: Servant

W Jones

 

 


 

Commo: W: Bainbridge

Charlestown, Masstts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

To George Sullivan, Esquire ‑‑

 

Whereas the Honorable secretary of the Navy having directed me by letter dated the 21st current, to hold a Court of Enquiry "to enquire into the conduct of Captain Stewart in relation to the equipment and preparation for the cruise of the Constitution, and into the causes of its premature termination to the injury of the service, and contrary to the tenor & spirit of his instructions:"‑‑ I do hereby, by virtue of authority as President of the aforesaid Court, appoint & authorize you to officiate as Judge Advocate thereof; and for so doing, this shall be your sufficient warrant.‑‑ Given under my hand, at the Navy Yard, Charlestown, this

30th day of April 1814.

 

Wm Bainbridge

 

 


 

Navy Yard

Charlestown Mss

April 30 1814

 

Sir,

 

I enclose to you an official appointment as Judge Advocate of the Court of Enquiry, to beheld on the conduct of Captain Stewart.

 

The Court will meet on Tuesday next, at 10 o'clock A.M., at this Navy Yard. You will give the necessary notice to Captain Stewart, and summons the following witnesses, vizt.

 

Lieut. Ballard / U. S. Fr.

Hoffman / Constitution

Shubrick /

Mr. Ames, late Sailing Master, in Boston

Mr. Pottinger, U. S. Navy, at Mr. Miles'

Doct. Chs Cotton, Fr: Constitution

 

I am, very respectfully,

Yr ob: Sert

Geo. Sullivan, Esquire

Wm Bainbridge

 

P. S. You will require of Mr. Pottinger, that he be furnished with a list of the Crew, and an account of the quantity of provisions, on board the Constitution at the time of her departure, and on the day previous to her entering the port of Marblehead.

 

 


 

United States of America

State of

Massachusetts

Navy Yard Charlestown

 

To Henry E Ballard, B. V. Hoffman and Wm B Shubrick Esquires, Lieutenants in the Navy of the U States

Greetings

 

You are hereby required to attend before a Court of Enquiry to be held at the United States Navy Yard in Charlestown Massachusetts on Tuesday the third Day of Maycurrent at nine of the Clock before noon: Then and there to give evidence of what you know touching the subjects of Enquiry, then and there to be made. Hereof fail not at your peril.

Given under my hand and seal pursuant to order of William Bainbridge Esquire President of said Court this second Day of May AD eighteen hundred and fourteen.

 

Geo Sullivan

Advocate of said Court

 

 


 

 

United States of America Boston 2nd May 1814

District of Massachusetts

 

Pursuant to the within I have notified Henry E Ballard ‑ B V Hoffman & Wm B Shubrick to appear at the time place & for the purpose named by leaving at their Respective places of abode an attested copy of the Same.

 

Saml Prince Depy Marshal

Fees 2,30

 

 


 

  

United States of America

 

State of Massachusetts

Navy Yard Charlestown

 

To Robert Pottinger purser. Charles Cotton surgeon in the Navy of the U. States and Samuel Eames late sailing master in the service of the United States.

Greetings

 

You are hereby required to attend before a Court of Enquiry to be held at the United States Navy Yard in Charlestown Massachusetts on Tuesday the third Day of May current at nine of the clock before noon: then and there to give evidence of what you know touching the subjects of Enquiry then and there to be made. Hereof fail not at your peril.

 

Given under my hand and seal pursuant to orders of William Bainbridge Esquire President of said Court this second Day of May AD eighteen hundred and fourteen

 

Geo Sullivan

advocate of said Court

 

 


  

 

United States of America Boston 2nd May 1814

District of Massachusetts

 

Pursuant to the within I have notified the persons herein named by giving Samuel Eames an attested Copy in hand & by leaving an attested Copy at the place of abode of Robert Pottinger Charles Collins [sic] is not in town

 

Saml Prince Deputy Marshal

Fees 1.20

 

 


 

 

(Copy from the Record) Navy Departmant

18 Septr 1813

 

Sir,

 

The U. States Frigate Constitution, under your command, must ere this be nearly ready for sea, and, as it is desirable to take the first fair opportunity after the Equinox to push into the open Ocean, you will, by every means in your power, accelerate her equipment and preparation for departure. As the enemy appears to be correctly apprized of our intended operations, he will doubtlessly ascertain the precise period of your intended departure, and probably Blockade, or station a competent force near you. It will be prudent, therefore, to put to sea only under circumstances of the most favorable nature, to elude his vigilance and escape an unequal contest.

 

Should an attempt be made to allure you, by a challenge, to single combat, I am directed by the President, to prohibit strictly the acceptance, either directly or indirectly.

 

When you shall meet upon equal terms, without premeditation, with your crew practised [sic] and disciplined, his confidence in your skill and gallantry is entire, and no apprehensions are entertained for the honour of the flag, and the safety of the precious Ship entrusted to your care.

 

Having cleared Boston Bay, you will cross the Florida Stream, in the shortest possible direction; and continuing to the S.E. passing well to windward of Barbadoes, reach the coast of Cayenne as soon as possible. From thence run down the coast of Surinam, Berbice, and Demarara [sic], along by Trinidad, Tobago, and Grenada ‑‑‑ South of Guadaloupe [sic]; then between St. Croix and St. Thomas, down the S. side of Porto Rico, through the Mona passage, into the open Ocean, following the track, either of the windward, or Jamaica fleets, as you may acquire information as you near the entrance of the British Channel, then South, passing about 3 or 4 degrees West of Cape Finisterre, along the coast of Spain and Portugal; then pass in sight of Madeira and Teneriffe, into the N.E. trade wind; thence down the coast of Cayenne, and the same route home in the Spring; pressing or shortening sail, and cruizing at such points on the route, as the chance of success, season, weather, lapse of time, and hazard of meeting a superior foe, may indicate.

 

After passing through the Mona passage, you may make your election to follow the route first prescribed, or pass down the North side of St. Domingo and Jamaica, and through the Florida passage, sweeping the coast of Georgia and S. Carolina, touching off Savannah or Charleston for refreshments and intelligence; then into the track of the fleets as first mentioned.

 

These instructions are given with a strong desire, that they may be adhered to, unless some unforeseen event, or particular information you may derive in the course of your cruize, shall, in your judgment, render a deviation indispensable, in which case, you will exercise your own discretion, and adhere, as near to the spirit and object of the instructions, as may be. The British Men of War, on the Windward Island station, invariably cruize either to Windward of Barbadoes, or between that Island, Antigua, and St. Barts and out to the northward, but never to the Southward ‑‑‑ this information is derived from unquestionable sources.

 

The transcripts of British Signals, from those recently taken on board the enemy's Schooner Dominica, and sent to Com Bainbridge, may be of the most important service to you, particularly the Island Signals; though it will not be safe to remain long among the Windward Islands, as the enemy's force is too formidable.

 

I have said you will return in the Spring, but this is on the presumption, that your wants will render it necessary. Should you, however, be so fortunate, as to obtain supplies from any quarter, so as to enable you to continue your cruize for any considerable length of time, you will prolong it accordingly; but if those supplies are partial and sufficient only for a short time, it will be well to return in March or April, so as to revictual, and get out again, before the mild season shall admit of a close Blockade of our Harbours; and New York, by way of the Sound or Hook, will in all probability be the safest of access.

 

The commerce of the enemy is the most vulnerable point we can attack, and its destruction the main object; and to this end all your efforts should be directed. Therefore unless your prizes shall be very valuable, and near a friendly port, it will be imprudent, and worse than useless to attempt to send them in. The chances of recapture are excessively great, the crew, and the safety of the ship, under your command, would be diminished, and endangered, as well as your own fame, and the national honour, by hazarding a battle after the reduction of your Officers and crew, by manning Prizes. In every point of view, then it will be proper to destroy what you capture, except valuable and compact articles, that may be transshipped. This system gives to one ship the force of many, and, by granting to prisoners a Cartel, as sufficient numbers accumulate, our account on that head will be increased to our credit, and not only facilitate the exchange, but ensure treatment to our unfortunate countrymen, who are, or may be confined by the enemy. It has been usual in our service, when prisoners are liberated on parole, [obscured] engagement not to bear arms against the U. States until duly exchanged.

 

This leaves them at liberty to serve against any other enemy of Great Britain, and by thus employing those we have paroled, without violating their engagement, an equal number, who are not prisoners, may be relieved from serving against that enemy, and may be employed against us. You will, therefore, in the event of your liberating any prisoners on parole, take an obligation, that they "should not bear arms, or commit any act of hostility, in the service of Great Britain, until duly exchanged." Should you have an opportunity of procuring succours, or supplies abroad, and can negotiate for the amount, through our Public Agents, or other persons, your Bills on the Department, accompanied by advice thereof, will be duly honoured.

 

As free communications from abroad are very desirable, but very precarious, if you will adopt a Cipher [sic], and furnish the Key before your departure, it will be duly attended to. Be pleased to acknowledge the receipt of this, and state the expected period of your departure.

 

I am, very respectfully,

Your obedient Servant,

P.S. On the eve of your W Jones

departure, direct your

Purser to transmit a

correct Muster Roll of

the Officers and crew.

 

Captain Charles Stewart

Commanding the U. States

Frigate Constitution,

Boston Harbour.

 

 


 

  United States Frigate Constitution

Salem Harbour April 4th 1814.

 

Sir,

 

I have the honor to inform you, that we arrived at this place last evening, having been closely chased by two Ships of War of the enemy, which prevented our reaching Boston. The chase being before the wind, and the breeze light, obliged us to lighten our Ship, and some articles, of no great value, were thrown overboard.

 

I regret that our cruise has been so unsuccessful, and that we captured but four of the enemy's Vessels, (as per list enclosed,) although we chased every thing that we saw until yesterday. We closely pressed His Majesty's Brig of War, Musquito, off Surinam, where she escaped us by running in the mud, and our draught of Water would not permit a further pursuit. A Packet, to windward of Barbadoes, escaped us in the night, favoured by a change of Wind. We also chased a Frigate through the Mona Passage, which us by the wind changing in her favour, and leaving us becalmed. The animation displayed by the Officers and Crew, at so near a prospect of adding another laurel, Constitutionally, to the Naval Wreath, leaves no doubt of the honorable result, had we been fortunate enough to bring her to action.

 

We cruised some time in the Gulf passage, to intercept any thing there might be passing from the Leeward Islands. We also scoured along the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, but found no blockading Cruisers there; we endeavoured to have communication with Charleston, and draw supplies from thence, but the weather was so thick, we could not see the land in seven fathoms water off the Bar. From that coast we returned to Boston Bay, cruising round Bermuda, to the Southward and Westward, Southward and Eastward, and Northward and Eastward.

 

Our supplies would have enabled us to keep the Sea a month longer, but our keeping out that time would have rendered our getting into the United States precarious, which if disappointed in, we should not have been enabled afterwards to have reached a foreign Port; added to this, scorbutic symptoms began to make their appearance, and we had certain information from Bermuda, that most of the Ships were in provisioning and preparing for the Spring blockade. I therefore considered the safe return of the Ship to the United States more important than a lengthened cruise, and that her being blockaded in the United States, for the Summer, would be preferred to a like blockade in a foreign port; as the officers and crew could be usefully employed in such other manner as you deem best.

 

The Ship leaks considerably, which I believe is principally in her seams.

 

Enclosed I hand you the periods of the departure of the Convoys, this Summer, from the Windward Islands; but the convoying force will be such as to leave little in the power of a single Ship. The first fleet will, perhaps, be the most valuable that has for many years left the West Indies.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Very respectfully,

Your Obedient Servant,

Charles Stewart

 


 

 

Honorable William Jones

Secretary of the Navy

  

Navy Department

April 19th 1814

 

Sir,

 

Your letter of the 4th current, has been received, and with an earnest disposition to discover, I do not perceive, in the reasons and motives assigned, a satisfactory cause for the premature termination of the cruise of the U. S. Ship Constitution under your command.

 

After a long protracted and expensive outfit, and with a capacity to carry more provisions and stores, than that, or any other ship in the service ever has done, and every thing that could contribute to the sustenance and health of the crew, during a long cruise, the importance of which was inculcated in the strongest terms in the instructions to you from this Department; I cannot but be disappointed in witnessing the unexpected return in three months of a Ship and crew, which had so highly excited the public expectation and confidence.

 

Your supplies you say Sir would have enabled you to keep the sea a month longer ‑‑ this however is allowing only four months provisions at the time of your departure.‑‑ A timely reduction of one fourth the full allowance, which is always assented to with cheerfulness, would have enabled you to extend your cruise another month.

 

You must have derived considerable supplies from the captures made, as I observe the Cargo of the Lovely Ann, consisted of flour, fish and Lumber, part of which was thrown overboard.

 

Had you remained two or three days off Savannah, you could have obtained plenty of Rice and other provisions and have replenished your water.‑

 

The policy of returning to be Blockaded during the Summer, in preference to continuing the cruise, or running the risk of being Blockaded in a foreign port, assigned by you, as a motive for your return, I cannot comprehend. The Blockade of the Ports of France, had you resorted thither is by no means so strict as that of our own, nor are the Ships of the Enemy on that coast so well manned or qualified to lay along side the Constitution, as those on our own Coast. Indeed there are not many of the 74s such as are employed there, half manned as they are, that would have willingly encountered you.

 

At Brest or L'Orient you could have replenished your Stores and been at Sea in five days.‑

 

The appearance of scorbutic symptoms is at all times calculated, to excite apprehension, but it is evident those symptoms must have been very light, and considered by you as merely collateral among those causes which induced your return.‑

 

The existance [sic] however of those symptoms in so short a time, and in a mild dry climate, is matter of astonishment, and indicative of a want of attention in those, who are more immediately charged with the superintendance [sic] of the police of the Ship, and of the provisions & culinary department[.]

 

Whether the number of your crew exceeded the usual compliment [sic], sanctioned by the Department, I cannot say, as no muster roll of your crew on the eve of your departure was transmitted to this Depmt. though required by the positive injunction of the XXIX article of the rules for the Government of the Navy, and by the special order of the Department.

 

It is due to yourself, Sir, as well as to the public, that an inquiry should be made into the causes which have produced these comments, and I have every feeling personally & officially to desire that it may result in satisfactory explanations.

 

I am respectfully

Sir, Your Obedt Servt

W Jones

 


 

 

Capt Charles Stewart

Commanding the U. S. Ship

Constitution

Salem Mass

 

  

Statement and Narrative of Captain Stewart

 

1st Some of our supplies, according to my judgment, would not have justified our cruising beyond the period we were out more than one month or six weeks, and at the same time leave left on board a Sufficient quantity to ensure our reaching a port to replenish from the place we might be in at the expiration of that period. The mild season would then have set in, and rendered our getting into the United States or a port in France more difficult owing to a stricter blockade by the Enemy.

 

2d Scorbutic symptoms having made their appearance among the crew, became a consideration, as it must be allowed that when that disease appears it tends to

weaken the force of a ship. I do not think this disease was in any measure to be attributed to a want of care and attention in the Officers, or a want of cleanliness or exercise in the men, but from what I have heard, and my own observations on that disease, I am led to believe it originates from other causes than are generally assigned, perhaps some changes that take place in the blood or system not hitherto bserved. I take the liberty of attaching to this a note.

 

3d Having derived information from a vessel (we boarded on the coast of Georgia) direct from Bermuda, which led us to believe the coast was not so strictly

watched by the enemy's cruisers, and the Season having come best calculated to ensure our arriving with the least hazard, which was forcibly pointed out by the

Honorable Secretary's instructions of the 19th September; I deemed her safe return to port a consideration more important to the service, than cruising an inconsiderable length of time longer, and thereby increasing the hazard in getting in after the Season permitted a closer blockade of our ports. These instructions were exceedingly well calculated at the time they were given to meet the season recommended us to return in (should our necessities require); some delay, however, arising in completing the crew, and the vigilance of the Enemy in watching the Constitution (which they were better enabled to do from the mildness of the season) prevented our putting to Sea in conformity with expectations.

 

4th Some of the principal sails of the Constitution were so far worn that the ship didnot derive those advantages from her canvass [sic] which are essential to a cruisingfrigate.‑ All the Courses (two suits) which had been in her on her former cruisebecame nearly worn out and would require in a very short time to be indispensablyreplaced with new ones. Those sails were thought Sufficient at the time and Commodore Bainbridge, who was perfectly acquainted with their condition and inwhose judgment I have every confidence but in the quality of the canvass [sic] wemay have been mistaken or they must have worn much faster than anticipatedowing to light winds.

 

5th The Mainmast of the Constitution on the 27th of March appeared to me verydefective; whether this was owing to decay in the materials, some hidden cause

(such as a spring in the spindle), the manner in which it was combined, or whethera slight wound received on the neck in the action with the Java from a shot, or a

strain from heavy pitching on the 19th March when in chase of a Spanish schooner,I cannot say, but most likely the latter. I am informed by Commodore

Bainbridge that it stood very well during his cruise, and no defect appeared whenthe ship was hove down by it last summer, nor in the first part of the last cruise when the ship was as hard pressed as at any time since.

 

While pursuing the object of our instructions, on the 28th of March (by our position) I felt myself called on to decide whether we should continue out under the foregoing disadvantages, or return while the season was most propitious, and a port near us so favourable to our object and necessities as any other we could resort to. The reasons here assigned had not sufficient weight to determine me to return although I considered them strong; the defects, however, of so important a spar as the Mainmast, combined with these reasons, decided me, for in proportion to its deficiencies the precious ship entrusted to my care was put to the greater hazard.

 

If the commencement of our cruise had been along the coast of Europe, we should have had, in all probability, an opportunity of touching at some of the neutral ports, or islands, where we could have replenished some articles of stores and procuredrefreshments without being much delayed and hazarding a blockade; but ifdisappointed in getting them our store would not have been so far exhausted as toprevent a continuance of the cruise.

 

That part of my letter of the 4th April to the Honorable Secretary of the Navy (a copy of which is laid before you and is not comprehended from its obscurity), was not intended as a reason for terminating the cruise, but merely to show that under equal risk of a blockade my preference was given to a port in the United States for the considerations stated in that letter.

 

The Honorable Secretary of the Navy in his letter to me of 19th April, a copy of which is laid before the Court, implies that only one months stores were on board the Constitution at the termination of the cruise; because I stated to him in my letter of the 4th that "the state of our supplies would have enabled us to keep the Sea a month longer." I should not think it prudent to approach a coast so generally blockaded and watched by the Enemy in the mild season with less than one months supplies, for should we be disappointed getting in by being chased off from one port, we should not be deprived of the means which would enable us to try another, and thus ultimately effect the object.‑‑‑ "A timely reduction of one fourth the full allowance, which is thought would be assented to with cheerfulness," was not found to be the case, for on the second muster after our departure it was proposed to the Constitution's crew to reduce the allowance of bread and Spirits only, one or two rations in a mess of eight; to this they did not consent, but on the contrary, showed a disposition to find fault with the allowance of water, on that head I satisfied them by promising that when we got into warm lattitudes [sic], where they would require it the more, to allow them their grog water in addition.

 

When the Lovely Ann was captured, the time was not favourable to take much from that vessel, the day was consumed shifting the prisoners and their baggage, and getting out the smaller articles that could be removed with most facility.

 

One of our objects in going to the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, was, to obtain and convey intelligence, to get refreshments, and if possible to receive supplies of water, but the weather while there was unfavorable to our views, and when we left the coast it was under strong indications of an easterly gale.

 

The blockade of the ports of France may not be So strict as those of the United States, but as there are many more and much larger ships for the enemy to watch there than here, I foresaw greater probability of meeting with heavier ships of the Enemy in that quarter. Whether those ships are "not so well manned or qualified to lay alongside the Constitution as those on our own coast" I do not know, but it would appear to me the contrary. On that coast their seventy fours have ships of equal and superior classes that they may be obliged to contend with, and therefore would not be fitted in a less efficient manner than those on this coast where there is nothing larger than frigates. That the seventy four gun ships are much weaker than there, I think probable, for the Enemy is aware that none of our frigates would seek an action with their seventy fours, and in consequence, can readily spare some of their best men to strengthen the frigates and smaller cruisers.

 

I think it probable, that at Brest or L'Orient, supplies could be procured with facility. For the above reasons, however, they would have been the last ports I should have deemed it expedient to resort to, and should have selected a port in Spain, Portugal, or the islands, in preference, for we would not have met a blockading force going into those ports, and great despatch might have prevented our meeting one coming out.

 

The forgoing reasons decided me, Gentlemen, to return with the Constitution to Port, on which occasion I exercised the best of my judgment according to my reason and abilities and trust they will be found satisfactory. In my letter of the 4th April to the Honble Secretary of the Navy I had not stated all the reasons which weighed in my mind to induce a return of the ship to port, but such as I thought would have been deemed judicious and satisfactory, this not being the case, I now present them fully to your view.

 

                                    Chs Stewart

 


 

 

The Honble Court of Enquiry

        Charlestown, N. Y. [sic]

 

 

 

                                                                    Note referred to.‑

 

    It appears to me that scurvy in seamen is more generally produced from warm and dry than from wet and cold weather; warm weather induces indolence and relaxation in the disposition to action and exertion. Where exertion and activity are required in warm weather, rapid and frequent changes take place in the blood; scarcity of water or not a free use of it, under a course of salt provisions, prevents the necessary perspiration and produces a want of elasticity in the flesh and swellings with ulceration ensues.

 

The Ship Canton of Baltimore upon her return from China, in the month of February, came on the coast of Virginia, was blown off, and ultimately abandoned by the officers and crew, as I have understood, from the ravages committed by that disease; on the greater part of the voyage she must have had warm weather.

 

The crews of the frigates President, United States, and Congress, on their first cruise after the commencement the present war, were much reduced by scurvy although the time did not exceed eighty days in the warm months.

 

On my passage from Gibraltar to Calcutta [ed: prior to naval service], scorbutic symptoms to a considerable degree made their appearance in several of the crew, although the passage was only about ninety days; there was no want of vegetables and crout [sic] during the time and the weather was pleasant and warm. On our passage to Philadelphia, we had a good deal of wet cold and boisterous weather and no vegetables; passage continued one hundred and thirty seven days yet no symptoms of scurvy were apparent.

 

  

-

-

N of rations

N of rations

N

1

one

two

N

2

1

2

N

3

1

2

N

4

1

2

N

5

1

2

N

6

1

2

N

7

1

2

N

8

2

2

N

9

1

1

N

10

2

2

N

11

1

2

N

12

1

2

N

13

0

2

N

14

1

2

N

15

1

2

N

16

1

2

N

17

2

2

N

18

1

1

N

19

1

2

N

20

1

2

N

21

1

2

N

22

1

1

N

23

1

2

N

24

2

2

N

25

1

2

N

26

1

2

N

27

1

2

N

28

1

2

N

29

1

2

N

30

1

1

N

31

1

2

N

32

1

1

N

33

2

2

N

34

1

2

N

35

2

1

N

36

1

2

N

37

1

1

N

38

2

2

N

39

1

2

N

40

1

2

N

41

1

2

         47

 

 

    Those are the Rations

    the Men have Consented

    to have Stoped [sic]

                Feb 1 1814

                    J Adams

 

 

 


 

  

                            Account of Provisions &c Received

 

                                                        Pounds of

 

From whom Received

 

Dates

Bread

Beef

Pork

Flour

Amt recd to 30 Dec 1813

84456

57700

50600

12544

Amt expended to 30 Dec

8222

5731

10760

‑‑‑

Amt remaining 30 Dec

76234

51969

39840

12544

 

 

Amt recd to 30 Dec 1813

84456

57700

50600

12544

Amt expndd to 2 Apr '14

42293

35221

23204

8045

Amt remaining 2 Apr '14

42163

22479

27396

4499

 

 


 

 

From whom received

 

Dates

Suet

Cheese

Butter

Raisins

Amt recd to 30 Dec 1813

 ‑‑

2174

1765.5

360

Amt expended to 30 Dec

‑‑

‑‑

‑‑

‑‑

Amt remaining 30 Dec

‑‑

2174

1765.5

360

 

 

Amt recd to 30 Dec 1813

‑‑

2174

1765.5

360

Amt expndd to 2 Apr '14

-‑

1839

1398

383

Amt remaining 2 Apr '14

‑‑

335

367.5

‑‑

 

 

 


 

 

Account of Provisions &c Received

 

Gallons of

 

From whom Received

-

Peas/

Dates

Beans

Rice

Molasses

Vinegar

Amt recd to 30 Dec 1813

1932

1657

870

1310

Amt expended to 30 Dec

645.6

340.1

‑‑

513.4

Amt remaining 30 Dec

1286.4

1316.9

870

796.6

 

 

Amt recd to 30 Dec 1813

1932

1657

870

1310

Amt expndd to 2 Apr '14

1106.9

771.6

410.6

885.6

Amt remaining 2 Apr '14

825.1

885.4

459.4

464.4

 

 

 From whom received

 

Dates

Spirits

Crout

Amt recd to 30 Dec 1813

9546

800

Amt expended to 30 Dec

447.3

‑‑

Amt remaining 30 Dec

5074.7

800

 

 

Amt recd to 30 Dec 1813 9546 800
Amt expndd to 2 Apr '14 7244.2 338.3
Amt remaining 2 Apr '14 2301.8 411.7

 

 

Note The above provisions were calculated for a complement of 485 Men

 

                                                R Pottenger

 

 

 


 

 

Provisions thrown overboard from the U.S. Ship

Constitution, Sunday 3 April 1814

 

 

60 1/2

Bbls

Beef

51

Bbls

Pork

16

Bbls

Flour

334

lbs

Cheese

367

lbs

Butter(14 Kegs)

510

Gallons

Peas or beans (2 Tierces & 13 Barrels)

489

Gallons

Rice(8 Tierces)

131

Gallons

Molass [sic](1 Hogshead)

62

Gallons

Vinegar(1 Cask)

1907 1/2

Gallons

Spirits

128

Gallons

Sour Crout [sic] (4 Barrels)

56

Boxes

Spermaceti Candles

3

Barrels

Sugar{belonging to R. Pottenger)

2

Kegs

Tobacco (belonging to R Pottenger)

 

 

                                Robert Pottenger

                                            Purser.

 

 


 

A list of the different classes and the number of persons

in each class composing the Crew of the Constitution on

her sailing from Boston

 

-

When she returned

1 Captain

1 Captain

6 Lieutenants

6 Lieutenants

1 Surgeon

1 Surgeon

1 Purser

1 Purser

1 Mr. & Pilot

1 Mr. & Pilot

1 Pilot

1 Pilot

1 Chaplain

1 Chaplain

13 Midshipmen

12 Midshipmen

2 Surgeons Mates

2 Surgeons Mates

8 Masters Mates

7 Masters Mates

1 Boatswain

1 Boatswain

1 Gunner

1 Gunner

1 Carpenter

1 Carpenter

1 Sailmaker

1 Sailmaker

1 Steward

1 Stewart [sic]

1 Cooper

1 Cooper

1 Mr at Arms

1 Mr at Arms

1 Cook

1 Cook

1 Boatswains Yeoman

1 Boatswains Yeoman

1 Carpenters Yeoman

1 Carpenters Yeoman

2 Carpenters Mates

2 Carpenters Mates

1 Cockswain

1 Cockswain

4 Boatswains Mates

3 Boatswains Mates

1 Gunners Mate

1 Gunners Mate

1 Sailmakers Mate

1 Sailmakers Mate

18 Qr gunners

17 Qr Gunners

11 Qr Masters

11 Qr Masters

276 Seamen

236 Seamen

55 O Seamen

93 O Seamen

12 Boys

12 Boy [sic]

59 Marines (Officers &c)

59 Marines Officers &c

485

479

 

For difference see deaths reductions &c on the Muster Roll ‑‑‑ Robert Pottenger

 

 


 

 

                                                                                                                                                        United States Navy Yard

                                                                                                                                                                    Charlestown Massachusetts

 

    Pursuant to the orders of the Honorable Secretary of the Navy communicated in his letter of the 21st day of April 1814, hereunto annexed, calling a Court of enquiry to enquire into the conduct of Captain Stewart in relation to the equipment and preparation for the cruise of the Constitution, and into the causes of its premature termination to the injury of the service, and contrary to the tenor and spirit of his instructions, the said Court consisting of Commodore William Bainbridge and Capt Oliver H Perry was opened on the third day of May at 10 O Clock AM at the said Navy Yard in Charlestown. George Sullivan Esquire officiating as Judge Advocate, appointed by the President of the Court.‑‑

 

    The Judge Advocate read the letter Convoking the Court & the warrant appointing him Judge Advocate also annexed. The members of the Court and the Judge Advocate were then severally sworn according to law. Captain Stewart having been duly notified was present. The Judge Advocate then read the sailing orders of the Hon the Secretary of the Navy under date of the 19 September 1813 [sic]. addressed to Capt Charles Stewart & hereunto annexed. The Judge Advocate then read the letter of Captain Stewart to the Honorable the Secretary of the Navy under date of the 4 April 1814; and the Secretary's reply also hereunto annexed.

 

    The Witnesses summoned were then called and Lieutenants Ballard, Hoffman and Shubrick and sailing master Eames appearing were sworn. Capt Stewart requested permission to open the enquiry with his statement which was assented to by the Court; It was read and duly annexed.

 

    Lieutenant Ballard was called by Capt Stewart.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑‑ What are your impressions respecting the quantity of breadon board about the 14th March as expressed by me.‑‑‑

 

Answer.‑‑‑ I recollect going down in to the bread rooms. I remember, there was somecalculation made, but do not remember what my impression was that expressed to Capt Stewart on that head.‑‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Were you not under the impression that we should beobliged soon to port, for a supply of water?

 

Answer. I was under the impression that in the course of a month or six weeks weshould be obliged to resort to a port; but we should then have a sufficientquantity of water on board to authorize our approaching a coast from whichwe might be driven by an enemy.‑‑

 

Question by Court. Did not this impression arise from a conviction or belief that therewas not so much water on board as was stated by the returns?

 

Answer. It did; and I stated to Capt Stewart that it was customary to make allowancefor leakage & wastage.

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑‑ Did you inform me on or about the 21 of March of severalcases of the scurvy appearing among the Crew?

 

Answer. I did say that Doct Cotton said to me that a Quarter Master and a Marineappeared to have the scurvy, the Doct mentioned no other instances; and mentioned these to Capt Stewart only in the way of conversation.

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑‑ At the time when we came into port were not some of theprincipal sails so nearly worn out as to render it indispensably necessary toreplace them in a short time with new ones?

 

Answer. In my opinion there was a fore and main course a mizen topsail and mizenstaysail condemnable, leaving a fore and main course two mizen topsails andone mizen staysail, and of these the fore [torn] main course were half worn,the two mizen topsails two thirds worn, and mizen staysail half worn; as reported by the sail maker of the Ship.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was the main mast on or about the 27 March discovered tobe defective by being bent very much forward?

 

Answer. It was, the mast was in its usual position the night before it was discovered;when discovered the main stay had not been touched.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was the main stay unusually taught [sic] at the time the mainmast was discovered bent or the lower main rigging slack?

 

Answer. They were not.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did not the Ship give two or three very heavy pitches on the19 March in Chase of a Spanish Schooner, which might have injured the mainmast?

 

Answer. She did give one very heavy pitch, so as to bury the Bowsprit under water. Icannot say certainly as to the day of the month, though it was in chase of theSchooner.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. What was the allowance of water that the Crew was putupon at the Commencement of the Cruise?

 

Answer. Half a gallon a day for each person in the Ship, and half a pint in addition foreach person on pea & rice days.

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑ Was the Crew mustered on 9 January and requested toconsent to a stoppage of one or two rations in a mess, of bread & Spirit?

 

Answer. Yes they were.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑ Did they shew a willingness to consent?

 

Answer. At that time they did not but subsequently, 2 or 3 days after, some of thequarter masters said the weather was so warm they could not do without theirspirit, but were willing to have a stoppage of their Beef & pork and a paperwas signed by all, or nearly all the messes, but the marines, consenting to a stoppage out of all their rations but their Spirit.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑‑ Did not some of the men go forward at that muster andcomplain of the allowance of water?‑‑

 

Answer. They did.‑‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑ Was not the time we were off the coast of Georgia and SoCarolina unfavorable to a communication with the shore on account of theblowing and foggy weather?

 

Answer. Very much so, we approached several days in succession and run in to sevenfathoms of water and could not see the land, wind blowing fresh fromSouthward and Eastward, the Ship under close reefed topsails and foresails.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did we not leave that coast under strong indications of aneasterly gale?

 

Answer.‑ We did.‑‑

 

Question by the Court.‑‑ At what time was the Ship Constitution under the command ofCapt Stewart ready for Sea, as related to her equipment, stores, and Crew?

 

Answer. In my opinion, we were completely ready for Sea by the 5th November withthe exception of wanting about 30 men and these were completed by the 8December; but I am not certain as to this day.

 

Question by the Court.‑‑ Did it appear to you that Capt Stewart in preparing his Shipfor service did not neglect his duty in getting her ready for Sea with alldispatch?

 

Answer. It did appear to be that he did not neglect his duty.

 

Question by the Court.‑ You say the Ship was ready for Sea on or about the 8th ofDecember, do you know the reasons why she did not proceed subsequentlyto that date and prior to the 30 December, the day she sailed?

 

Answer From the state of the weather which permitted the enemy to hover near the portit was not prudent to put to sea before we did, but this opinion was foundedon the representations of others, being myself sick on shore.‑‑

 

Question by the Court.‑ When the ship sailed from Boston on the 30 December last wasshe fully and advantageously stowed with water and provisions, for as long aCruise as her Capacity would admit?

 

Answer. Yes she was everywhere filled.‑‑‑

 

Question by the Court.‑‑ At the time the Constitution were the provisions in perfectorder, and in such vessels and packages, as usage and practice of the Navyadopts, or was any new mode adopted by Capt Stewart?

 

Answer. The provisions were all in good order and all stowed as usual, except Beef; thegreater part of which was stowed in tanks, immediately under the fore orlop.

 

Question by the Court. How did the provisions keep during the Cruise?

 

Answer. The provisions kept well, except the Beef: some of which, the quantity I don'tknow, was occasionally found defective and not fit for use.‑‑

 

Question by the Court.‑ What was the actual state & condition of the provisions,particularly the salted provisions at the time of the arrival of the Ship?

 

Answer. The pork was all in good order, the Beef was considerably complained of bythe Crew, as being tainted and unfit to eat. On investigation a great deal of itwas found condemnable, and was condemned.‑‑ The other provisions withthe exception of the flour was good, the flour however was as good when we arrived, as when we sailed.‑‑

 

Question by the Court.‑ Has any survey been held on the remaining quantity of Beef onboard since her arrival?

 

Answer. There has not been; but in consequence of the respectful complaint of theCrew, one has been asked for. ‑‑

 

Question by the Court. What is your opinion of the present state of the Beef remainingin the tanks?

 

Answer. From examination I am of opinion that the greater part is unfit for men to eat.The beef in barrels kept perfectly sweet.‑‑‑

 

Question by the Court.‑ What articles were thrown overboard during the Chase by theenemy in Boston Bay? State them to the Court as nearly, as you can.‑‑

 

Answer There was a quantity of Beef from the tanks & pork and some dry provisions,flour and rice, thrown over board, but I am unable to state the quantity‑‑ About 1500 Gallons of Spirit were also thrown over as nearly, as I canascertain‑ A fore main topsail yard [sic], a jib boom, and a set of topgallant masts, and a number of small spars, timber from the booms were thrown over,also a number of shooks [sic] and iron hoops for water Casks.

 

Question by the Court.‑ Do you suppose those spars were thrown over on account ofclearing the Ship from the encumbrance to prepare the Ship for action, or tolighten her?

 

Answer. Solely to lighten her.

 

Question by the Court. Was every proper attention to the cleanliness of your Ship andthe Crews, during the cruise and are you of opinion that the symptoms of thescurvy which appeared amongst the Crew did not proceed from a want ofproper and vigilant attention in that respect or to any inattention in thoseduties of those to whom it particularly belongs to guard against that disease,by those whose attentions and precautions which skill and experience have devised?

 

Answer. Every proper attention was paid to the Cleanliness of the Ship and the health ofthe Crew, and I do not believe, nay am confident, that the scorbutic symptoms did not arise from any inattention in those whose duty it was toguard against them.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. How many Gallons of water had you on board the day you leftBoston?

 

Answer. 47,265 gallons.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. What was the average daily expenditure of water on board?

 

Answer. 250 Gallons, except on pea & rice days when it was 280 till the first ofFebruary after which grog water being allowed 310 gallons except on pea &rice days; when it was 340.

 

Question by the Court. How many Gallons of water were on board the day before youwas chased by the enemy in Boston Bay?

 

Answer. 18926 Gallons according to the returns ‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Did the Ship appear weak in any part of her hull, or work more,than Ships of War generally do during the Cruise?

 

Answer I think not.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Did the Ship leak during her Cruise?

 

Answer. She made about 4 1/2 inches in an hour, and makes now the same quantity inport, and this leak was never increased by any weather we had. Her decks areopen and have wanted caulking.‑‑‑

 

Question by the Court. When did you discover the defects complained of in the mainmast?

 

Answer On the 27th of March.

 

Question by the Court. Were any measures at that time or any time afterwards duringthe Cruise, taken to secure it.

 

Answer. There was none; the defect not requiring any in my opinion.‑

 

Question by the Court. Where were you on the 29th March [sic] at the time youdiscovered the defects in the main mast, and do you know whether Capt Stewart had previously resolved on going into port?

 

Answer. Lat 32.05 No. Long. 58.25 W. by Chronometer.‑‑ Touching Capt Stewartsintention I do not know that he had so resolved; and the course we weresteering to the Northd and Eastd did not authorize the belief that we weregoing into port.

 

Question by the Court. Were the sails in your opinion defective as Capt Stewart statesfrom the bad quality of the Canvass [sic] or from any other cause?

 

Answer. The sails before mentioned by me were worn out in consequence of service inmy opinion.‑‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Did you fill up any of your water by rain or any other meansduring the cruise?

 

Answer. We did not, having no opportunity.

 

Question by the Court.‑‑ Was [sic] there any provisions damaged in consequence of theleak in the Deck?

 

Answer. Yes, the bread rooms not containing all the bread about 1300 pounds were putin the birth [sic] deck & damaged by a leak in the gun deck.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑‑ Were my orders during the Chase other than as follows ‑ tostart the water, when the Ship being by the Stern, to start the Spirit and throwover some beef, in the way, down the fore hole [sic], and the Spars in theChannels.‑‑

 

Answer. The orders were to this effect except in relation to the Beef, but I am notpositive, that this also was not ordered.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did you not represent to me that the Ship was very wet andin blowing weather leaked in her deck and the water was heard to run inthrough the Side, down in the Store room?

 

Answer. I did report that the gun deck leaked very considerably and I did discover aleak in the air streak just above the fore orlop, but this was the same in lightweather, and this was heard in the Store room.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Were the Carpenters at any time employed to caulk the leakin the decks?

 

Answer. Yes ‑ the whole of the quarter Deck was Caulked, the Water ways on the gundeck, and about 8 seams out were caulked from aft to the Main Mast.

 

    The Court adjourned to Wednesday 9 OClock.

 

    The Court met according to adjournment.

                    Lieutenant Hoffman examined by the Court.

 

Question by the Court. Did it appear to you that Capt Stewart in preparing his Ship forservice did not neglect his duty in getting her ready for Sea with all dispatch.‑‑

 

Answer. It appeared to me that he made every preparation to get her ready for sea withall possible dispatch.

 

Question by the Court. What articles were thrown over board during the Chase by theenemy in Boston Bay? State them to the Court as nearly as you can.

 

Answer. A variety of articles such as provisions and spars some Beef and Pork, rice andflour, topsail yard, jib boom, stearing [sic] sail boom, spare royal topgallantyards.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Was every proper attention paid to the cleanliness of your Shipand the Crew during the Cruise, and are you of opinion that the symptoms ofthe scurvy which appeared amongst the Crew did not proceed from a want ofproper and vigilant attention in that respect or to any inattention in the dutiesof those to whom it particularly belongs to guard against the disease, by thoseattentions and precautions which skill and experience have devised?

 

Answer. Every possible attention was paid to the cleanliness of the Ship and the healthof the Crew. I heard nothing of the scurvy but from the Surgeons Statementthat there were one or two cases of the scurvy on board.

 

Question by the Court. When did you discover the defects complained of in the MainMast?

 

Answer. I discovered the bend forward after arrival in Boston. I observed at sea that ithad some bending to the starboard. I recollect to have heard Capt Stewartobserve that he should be afraid of the Main Mast in a hard Chase.

 

Question by the Court. Were any measures at that time or any time afterwards duringthe Cruise taken to secure or strengthen it?

 

Answer. None, except to keep the rigging properly taught [sic].‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑‑ At the time when we came into Port were not some of theprincipal sails so nearly worn out as to render it indispensably necessary toreplace them in a short time with new ones?

 

Answer. To the best of my knowledge there were complaints every day made of them ‑‑they were frequently repaired. the [sic] fore and main course [sic] were verybad ‑‑ there was another set of these about half worn, and they also wererepaired, as often as they were found defective.

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑ Was the main mast on or about the 27 March discovered tobe defective by being bent very much forward?

 

Answer. I think it was between the Mona Passage & Charleston that Capt Stewartobserved that the mast was weak, but the precise day and place, I cannotrecollect.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. On or about the 27 March were you one of the officerswhom I called to the main mast when making my observations on the defect ofit; to whom I observed that it was the first time that I had seen that bend in itforward?

 

Answer. I do not recollect that I was.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did not the Ship give two or three very heavy pitches on the19 March in Chase of a Spanish Schooner which might have injured the mainmast?

 

Answer. I recollect that she made two or three very heavy pitches about that time andthey might in my opinion have injured the mast, but I cannot say that they did,I discovered no injury.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was the Crew mustered on Sunday 9 January and requestedto consent to a stoppage of one or two rations in a mess, of bread & spirit?

 

Answer Yes they were.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did they shew a willingness to consent?

 

Answer. I do not perfectly recollect.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was not the time we were off the coast of Georgia & SoCarolina unfavorable to a communication with the shore on account of theblowing & foggy weather?

 

Answer Yes Sir.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did we not leave that coast under strong indications of aneasterly gale?

 

Answer Yes Sir.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did I give you any orders on the 3d of April when chaserelative to lightening the Ship?

 

Answer Not to my recollection I received my orders from Lt Ballard, to throw over theSpars.

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑‑ Was not the Ship leaky, particularly upon her decks, anddid you not state to me that the water was heard in the store room to berunning through her Side?

 

Answer. Yes Sir.

 

Question by the Court. Where was the leak?

 

Answer. It was near the stem probably in the wood ends

 

Question by the Court. Were any measures taken to ascertain where the leak was and tostop it?

 

Answer. None, it being very difficult to get at it.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. What quantity of water did the Ship make?

 

Answer About 30 inches in about 10 hours in smooth weather

 

Question by the Court. Did you use the chain pumps?

 

Answer Never except to try them.‑‑

 

Lieutenant Shubrick Examined.‑‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Did it appear to you that Capt Stewart in preparing his Ship forservice did not neglect his duty in getting ready for Sea with all dispatch?

 

Answer. Capt Stewart did not neglect his duty in preparing his Ship for service.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. What articles were thrown over board during the Chase by theenemy in Boston Bay? State them to the Court as nearly as you can.‑‑

 

Answer I do not know; I was in the Gun deck during the Chase.‑

 

Question by the Court. Was every proper attention paid the cleanliness of your Ship andCrew during the Cruise, and are you of the opinion that the symptoms of thescurvy which appeared amongst the Crew did not proceed from want ofproper and vigilant attention in that respect, or to any inattention in the duties of those to whom it particularly belongs, to guard against that disease, bythose attentions and precautions which skill and experience have devised?

 

Answer. Every attention was paid to the Cleanliness of the Ship and health of the Crew;and all proper precautions taken to guard against the Scurvy.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. When did you discover the defects complained of in the Mainmast?

 

Answer. I perceived it was weak during the Cruise when carrying sail, but preciselywhen I do not remember. I did not while on Cruise conceive it would benecessary to take out the mast.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. At the time when we came into port were not some of theprincipal sails so nearly worn out, as to render it indispensably necessary toreplace them in a short time with new ones?

 

Answer. The sails were much worn thin, Courses were bad.

 

Question by the Court. Are you of opinion that the State and Condition of the sails weresuch as to make it necessary for the Ship to come into port at the time shedid?

 

Answer No Sir.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Could the Constitution in your opinion have cruised muchlonger with her principal sails complained of without being replaced with newones?

 

Answer I have already said she could have cruised longer.

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑‑ Was the Crew mustered on Sunday 9 January andrequested to consent to a stoppage or one or two rations, in a mess, of bread& Spirit?

 

Answer. They were mustered shortly after we sailed. I cannot say precisely the day andthis stoppage of rations was proposed.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did they shew a willingness to consent?

 

Answer. They made no answer but appeared unwilling.‑‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑ Did not some of the men go forward at that muster and complain of the allowance of water?

 

Answer I do not remember that they did so at that time, but recollect that some of theCrew complained when then or afterwards that they had not the allowance ofgrog water usual on long cruises.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑ On or about the 27 March were you one of the Officerswhom I called to the Main Mast, when making my observations on the defectof it, to whom I observed it was the first time I had seen that bend in itforward?

 

Answer No Sir, I was not.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did you at any time at Sea observe the main mast standing inan unusual position different from what a spar of its dimensions ought tostand?

 

Answer Yes Sir, I observed the head of the mast was l[torn] forward, the mast appearedto be weak in the neck, but I discovered no spring in it, I did not look.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was the main stay unusually taught [sic] at the timethe mastwas discovered bent, or the lower rigging slack?

 

Answer. No Sir I dont think it was.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did I give you any orders on the third of April when chasedrelative to lightening the Ship?

 

Mr James Eames sailing master was examined by the Court.‑‑

 

Question by the Court.‑ When the Ship sailed from Boston on the 30 December last wasshe fully and advantageously stowed with water and provisions for as long aCruise, as her capacity would admit?

 

Answer I believe she was so far as I had any knowledge I went on board a few daysonly previous to her sailing.

 

Question by the Court. How did the provisions keep during the Cruise?

 

Answer. Generally well, a Small quantity was damaged but not more than would havebeen, if the Beef had been in barrels instead of tanks.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. What were the actual condition [sic] & State of the provisions,particularly of the salted provisions at the time of the arrival of the Ship?

 

Answer. All good except the flour which was probably not good when bought.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. How many gallons of water had you on board the day you sailedfrom Boston?

 

Answer. I cannot say but by reference to the log book, which was correctly kept, and isnow before the Court.‑‑‑

 

Question by the Court.‑ What allowance of water was the Crew on during the Cruise?

 

Answer. Half a gallon & grog water allowed in warm weather as specified in the logBook.

 

Question. What was the daily expenditure of water on board?

 

Answer. I refer to the log Book.

 

Question by the Court. How many gallons of water were on board the day before youwere chased by the Enemy in Boston Bay?

 

Answer. 18926 Gallons as by log book.

 

Question by the Court. Did the Ship appear weak in any part of her hull or work morethan Ships of War generally do, during the Cruise?

 

Answer. No Sir, she leaked more than Ships of War generally do; but it appeared to be asteady leak.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. When did you discover the defects complained of in the mainmast?

 

Answer I do not recollect the day precisely, it was sometime in March we discovered aweakness in the main topmast in a gale, about the first of March, the log bookwill show the day, & in staying the main topmast we discovered a bend in themain mast forward.

 

Question by the Court. Were any measures at that time or at any time after wards duringthe Cruise taken to secure and strengthen it?

 

Answer. The three after shrouds were set up, the mast was examined, there appearedsome cracks about the hoops; but it was not deemed necessary to set up anyfishes.‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑ At the time when we came into port were not some of theprincipal sails so nearly worn out as to render it indispensably necessary toreplace them in a short time with new ones?

 

Answer Several of them were so worn that it will be necessary to replace them beforeshe goes to sea.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Will you state the Condition of the Sails?

 

Answer. One of the foresails was two thirds worn, the others worn out. One main sailtwo thirds worn the others half worn, two main topsails were half worn theothers two thirds worn, all the foretopsails half worn, one mizen [sic] topsail wornout, the others two third worn.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was the main mast on or about the 27 March discerned to bedefective by being bent very much forward?

 

Answer. I cannot say the day but think it was.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. On or about the 27 March were you one of the officers Icalled to the Main Mast, when making my observations on the defect of it towhom I observed it was the first time I had that bend in it forward?

 

Answer I was and you made the observation you state. Mr Ballard and Mr Hoffmanwere also there; but I do not know that Mr Hoffman heard you ‑ It was MrShubricks watch on deck.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was the main stay unusually tight at the time the mast wasdiscerned bent, or the lower main rigging slack?

 

Answer No Sir It had not been set up since we left Boston, nor was it during theCruise; nor was the lower main rigging slack.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did not the Ship give two or three very heavy pitches on the19 March in Chase of a Spanish Schooner which might which might [sic] haveinjured the main mast?

 

Answer. She did make some heavy pitches which might have injured the main mast wedid not discern any injury at that time.‑‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was not the time we were off the coast of Georgia and SoCarolina unfavourable to a Communication with the Shore on account of theblowing and foggy weather?

 

Answer. It was, it would have been hazardous to have had any Communication with theShore by boats.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did I give you any orders on the third of April, when chased,relative to lightening the Ship?

 

Answer. None, I was acting as pilot.‑‑

 

Mr Hixon being sworn was examined by the Court.‑‑‑

 

Question by the Court. In what capacity were you on board the Constitution previous toher sailing?

 

Answer. Acting master.

 

Question by the Court.‑ When the Ship sailed from Boston on the 30 December last wasshe fully and advantageously stowed with water and provisions for as long acruise as her capacity would admit.‑‑

 

Answer. She was well stowed and full.‑‑‑

 

Question by the Court. At the time the Constitution sailed were the provisions in perfectorder and in such Vessels and packages as the usage and practice of the Navyadopts or was any new mode adopted by Capt Stewart?

 

Answer. The only difference was that the beef was all stowed in tanks, except a fewbarrels; there were about 278 barrels contained in the two tanks. Except whathad been used in port all the provisions were in good order.

 

Question by the Court. How did the provisions keep during the Cruise?

 

Answer. Some of the bread was spoiled, about 1500 pounds stowed in the birth [sic]deck, and damaged by a leak in the gun deck and water coming down the hatches.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. What were the actual state and Condition of the provisionsparticularly of the salted provisions at the time of the arrival of the Ship?

 

Answer The Pork was very good, the beef also was good and the other provisionsgenerally were good.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did you hear any Complaint at any time from any of theCrew that the provisions were bad?

 

Answer. None.‑‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was the Crew mustered on Sunday 9 January and requestedto consent to a stoppage of one or two rations, in a mess, of bread & spirit?

 

Answer. Shortly after sailing they were, but I cannot say precisely the day.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did they shew a willingness to consent?

 

Answer. They did not, particularly as respects the rations of bread & Spirit.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did I give you any order on the third of April when chasedrelative to lightening the Ship?

 

Answer. I received orders only from Mr Ballard.‑‑

 

Mr Eames re examined.‑‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did you hear any complaint at any time from any of theCrew that the provisions were bad?

 

Answer. None.‑‑‑

 

Mr Ballard was rexamined [sic].‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Through what Channels did you hear complaints of the Crewrespecting the quality of the provisions.

 

Answer. By the pursers steward, the Captain of the fore castle and quarter masters, andthe men themselves complained personally and the purser has requested asurvey.

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑‑‑ On or about the 27 March were you one of the officerswhom I called to the main mast, when making my observations on the defectsof it, to whom I observed that it was the first time I had seen that bend in itforward?

 

Answer. Yes Sir I was and you made the observations you state.‑‑

 

    The [sic] The Court adjourned to Thursday May 5. 1814.‑‑‑

 

    The Court met according to adjournment.‑‑‑‑

 

            The [sic] Sampson Shaw being sworn was examined.

 

Question by the Court.‑‑‑ In what capacity were you on board the Constitution in herlast Cruise?

 

Answer Ships steward.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Was [sic] you one of the officers who attended to throwing overboard the salted provisions, when Constitution was chased?

 

Answer. I took an account at the forehatch of part of it as it was thrown over. Iattended also at the spirit room to take an account of the Candles that werethrown over, of which there were about 51 boxes but I cannot say preciselythe number.

 

Question by the Court. In what state was [sic] the provisions then in, particularly thebeef which came out of the Tanks?

 

Answer The Pork was very good but the Beef I believe was bad; because the Beefusually served out and what I saw was worse, than provisions usually servedout on board that Ship or any others in which I have been.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Have you heard the men complain that the Beef from the tankswas not good or fit to eat?

 

Answer. Yes Often, daily as it was served out.‑‑

 

Question by the Court.‑‑ What is the state of the Beef now in the tanks?

 

Answer. I saw it yesterday what is under the pickle appears to be good. What is not isgenerally bad and unfit for use, but I was unable to examine particularly, theair is so bad a candle will not burn there more than half a minute, the candle Ihad went out and I came up the air being too offensive to remain below.‑‑‑

Question by Capt Stewart. When the beef during the Cruise was complained of, wasthere not a survey held on it and condemned?

 

Answer. The Master surveyed it and directed me to take an account of it, it wasgenerally condemned and thrown over there were not more than two barrelscondemned.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did I enquire of you at any time during the Cruise the stateof the beef in the tanks?

 

Answer I dont remember.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Have I enquired of you the state of the beef in the tankssince our arrival here?

 

Answer You have Sir, and I observed that which was out of the pickle was bad andshew [sic] you one or two pieces, and that which was under the pickle was fullas good as I have before stated.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Did the Crew complain of the Beef that was cooked for them, oronly of that which was condemned?

 

Answer. That which was cooked for them.‑‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did you not state to me about the 2 May inst, when I madethe enquiry, that the beef was very good in the tanks except some pieceswhich lay next the planks and not covered by pickle?

 

Answer My observation was as I said before, that the Beef not covered was bad, thatunder was good as I have before stated. You asked me why it was not allunder pickle, to which I replied, I had not seen the Beef before since we hadcome in none had been served out, the Crew being furnished with fresh Beefon Beef days‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was any beef served to the people, that was bad as beingtainted or unfit to eat?

 

Answer.‑‑ There was.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑‑ To whom did the Crew complain of the badness of theBeef?

 

Answer. To myself and I reported the same to the master ‑ some of the warrant officers,Mess Adams, Cander & Long, at one time represented the Beef as unfit toeat, and I carried it to the ward room and shewed it to Mr Ballard.‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was Lieutenant Ballard satisfied that the Beef then shewedhim was bad, & was other Beef served in its place?

 

Answer He said the Beef was rather bad, it would be better after it was boiled ‑ nonewas served in its place.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was any survey held on the Beef upon your representationsto the master when the Beef was complained of.

 

Answer. I remember once that beef was carried on the quarter deck by some of theCrew, it was sent back by Lieutenant Ballard with orders that other beefshould be served in its place and other beef was served.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Were not the complaints of the Crew always attended to bythe officers when represented to them?

 

Answer. When they complained of the Beef. I told them they must go to the QuarterDeck, they generally replied they would sooner go without beef than be running to the quarter Deck. But when the Crew did go to the quarter deck itwas sent back and other beef ordered to be served.

 

            Mr John Cander being sworn was examined.‑‑

 

            he [sic] stated he was masters mate.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. What was the state & condition of the Beef when thrown overduring the Chase in Boston Bay.[sic]

 

Answer I was stationed at the forehatch while the Beef was passing up, and it wasgenerally bad having a bad smell, but appeared to be solid.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. How was the Beef generally on the Cruise [sic]Answer It had abad smell soon after going out, which increased after being at Sea, about 80 pounds were condemned on the 1st of February.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. From what cause was the bad smell in the beef?

 

Answer. I believe from the leakage of the Tanks, but whether both leaked I know not,the larboard tank did and I was informed the starboard did also, but dontknow ‑‑‑

 

        Mr Pottinger being sworn, was examined. He stated he was Purser on board the Constitution the last cruise.‑‑‑

 

Question by the Court.‑‑ At the time the Constitution sailed were the provisions inperfect order, and in such Vessels & packages as the usage and practice of theNavy adopts or was any new mode adopted by Capt Stewart.‑‑‑

 

Answer. The Provisions were in good order but a greater part or all of the Beef, was putin tanks, a mode not usual.

 

Question by the Court. How did the provisions keep during the Cruise?

 

Answer. They kept very well I think from the small quantity that has been condemned.‑

 

Question by the Court. What were [sic] the actual state & condition of the provisions,particularly the salted provisions the day before the Ship was chased in BostonBay and the time the arrival of the Ship?

 

Answer. I believe they were in good condition, since our arrival I have head [sic] theBeef was not good but I did hear of this complaint before.

 

Question by the Court. Did the Crew complain of the Beef from the tanks during theCruise?

 

Answer. I did not hear any.

 

Question by the Court. What is the present state of the Beef?

 

Answer. I cannot say there not having been a survey, but I am told some of it is not ingood condition.‑

 

Question by the Court. What length of time would the provisions you had on board the30 December last, have sustained your Crew at full allowance, and how longby a reduced of 1/4 the allowance.‑

 

Answer. About six months on full allowance with the exception of some perishablearticles such as cheese and butter, but of other articles we had a full supply forthis time for more particular explanation I would refer the Court to myaccount now laid before them.

Question by the Court. What length of time would the quantity of provisions you had onboard the day previous to the Chase have lasted your Crew at full allowance.‑

 

Answer. The most important articles would have lasted three months as by reference tomy account will appear.

 

Question by the Court. Did you ever receive a list of the mens names who were willingto have their allowance stopped, have you that list and at what time did youreceive it?

 

Answer. I have Sir. I received it February 1st: it shows that some were willing to makereduction of their rations of Bread & Beef. Capt Stewart observe [sic] thatthis would make no essential difference in the Cruise & I need not attend toit.‑‑ for particulars I would refer to papers laid before the Court.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Lay before the Court a muster roll of your Crew on the day theShip sailed from Boston, an account of provisions on that day on board, andthe quantity remaining on board the day before the Ship was Chased.‑‑

 

Answer I will lay before the Court a muster roll,‑‑ touching the quantity of provisions Iwould refer the Court to my account.

 

Question by the Court. You have stated that you heard no complaint of the Beef on theCruise, were you in the ward room when Mr Shaw brought beef to the wardroom and shewed it to Lieutt Ballard.‑‑

 

Answer. I do not remember that I was, or that circumstance. Occasionally there havebeen small quantities of provisions condemned, but I never heard of anygeneral complaint. I think I was so situated that I should have heard of suchcomplaints if there had been any. I do not remember that my Steward ever stated any such complaints. I have heard conversation on the mode of packingour beef, but I do not remember any Statement that our Beef was unfit foruse.‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was there any beef surveyed and condemned.‑

 

Answer. A small quantity was, say 177 pounds as by the logbook some other triflingarticles were also condemned.

 

            Mr Hixon was rexamined [sic].‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did I not frequently enquire of you during the Cruise, thestate of the Beef in the tanks‑‑‑

 

Answer. Yes.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did the tanks leak.‑‑

 

Answer. The larboard did a little at first, but I do not think it did afterwards.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Were any measures taken to preserve the Beef inconsequence of this leak?

 

Answer. There were, previous to our sailing we got salt from the shore, took some ofthe Beef up and dry salted it, and as the pork was used packed it in the porkbarrels ‑ and covered the surface of the Beef in the tanks with dry salt.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart.‑‑ Was the beef thrown over when Chased?

 

Answer. That which was unpacked in the Pork barrels from the tanks and all that hadbeen so repacked was, and about as much more from the tanks.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Did you personally examine the Beef in the tanks during theCruise?

 

Answer. I did about a fortnight before our arrival and the Beef appeared sound.‑

 

Question by the Court ‑‑ Was pickle at any time put into the tanks after the Beef wasfirst stowed?

 

Answer. There was about 280 Barrels besides the first pickle but none was put in at Sea.

 

Captain Henderson was called in by Capt Stewart being sworn was examined.‑‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was the Crew mustered on Sunday 9 January and requestedto consent to a stoppage of one or two rations in a mess, of Bread & spirits?

 

Answer. The Crew were mustered about that time but I do not recollect precisely thatday and this proposition was made.‑‑

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Did they shew a willingness to consent.

Answer. I can answer positively only for the marines, these were unwilling and I believethe Crew were also.

 

            Doctr Cotton being sworn was examined.‑‑‑

 

Question by the Court. [Obscured] did any symptoms of the scurvy appear?

 

Answer. These did.

 

Question by the Court. How many persons did you discover affected with that disease?

 

Answer. Three with scorbutic ulcers, and symptoms of scurvy in two others.‑

 

Question by the Court. Are you of opinion that these symptoms of the scurvy which youhave stated made their appearance on board the Constitution, proceeded froma want of due and proper attention to the cleanliness of the Ship and Crew, orto the culinary materials on board or to the neglect of any one whatever whoseduty was concerned therein?

 

Answer. They did not. the [sic] scurvy arises often from privation of fresh provisions,and change of climate; and I am of opinion that the instances mentioned arosefrom these causes‑‑

 

Question by the Court.‑‑‑ Are you of opinion that there was from the general state ofthe health of the Crew an alarming apprehension of the disease of the scurvyspreading among them generally?

 

Answer. The only means which we had as a remedy was the vegetable acid or lime juicewith the usual remedies at Sea, and I was not apprehensive that it wouldgenerally affect the Ships Company but felt apprehensive for those who wereaffected by it.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Had I a conversation with you on the Quarter deck on orabout the 22 March respecting the Scorbutic appearances stating that LtBallard had informed me there were some and on my observing that Ipresumed they were all right you answered no, there were some that werewith serious ulcerations.‑‑

 

Answer I do not recollect precisely the time nor place.

 

Question by Capt S. When scurvy takes on board a Ship of war after being at Sea a longtime and the vegetables generally carried are exhausted is not the diseaselikely to spread rapidly afterwards?

 

Answer. It is more likely generally a few patients discover that a scorbutic taint doesexist in a Crew.

 

            Lieutenant Hoffman reexamined.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. During the Cruise or since did you hear any complaint againstthe Beef in the tanks?

 

Answer. Not any to my recollection.

 

            Lieutenant Shubrick reexamined.

 

Question by the Court. During the Cruise or since did you hear of any complaintsagainst the beef in the tanks.

 

Answer. I did not hear any particular complaints against the Beef in the tanks, some ofthe beef was complained of and a small quantity was condemned.‑‑‑

 

    The Court adjourned to Friday 9 OClock.‑‑‑

 

    The Court met according to adjournment.

 

Mr Ballard was reexamined and stated that the quantity of Beef referred to in his answer to the sixth question by the Court was 177 pounds.‑‑

 

2. Being referred to his answer to his answer to the 7 question he stated that from the frequent mention of the badness of the beef that he was under an impression that the quantity was much greater than it now appears to have been.‑‑

 

Question by the Court. Did you communicate the complaints mentioned in your formeranswers to Capt Stewart at the time they were made, and what was the natureof these complaints?

 

Answer I did, and Capt Stewart directed that surveys should be made, and an accounttaken of it by the proper officers and he would give an order for it when itshould amount to a considerable quantity‑ as to the nature of these complaints,the men did not come in a body to complain, but often as I have been passingalong, the men have said then beef was not good, was very bad, and I think Iam justified in saying that reports were made to me in the ward room from the officer of the Deck of beef as being defective as many as half a dozen times.

 

Question by the Court. Had you any other order to throw over beef than has beenbefore mentioned in Capt Stewarts question to you?

 

Answer I do not recollect any but Mr Hixon stated to me yesterday that he came to meduring the Chase and stated that there was some beef in the tanks which mustbe thrown over and would lighten the Ship materially and that thereupon Iturned to Capt Stewart and mentioned it, when Capt Stewart immediatelyordered the beef to be thrown over but I do not recollect this myself ‑ CaptStewart being present assented to the truth of this statement and admits thathe gave orders to throw the beef over.

 

            Doctor Cotton was reexamined.

 

Question by Capt Stewart. Was there any difference in the health of the Crew at thelatter part of the Cruise from what there was at the first.‑‑

 

Answer. There was, when we first went to sea there were about 18 or 20 on the sicklist, when in the West Indies there were about 16 and none confined to bed buttwo and both these by accident ‑‑ off Charlestown [sic] there were about 30several of whom were confined to bed when we came in there were upwardsof thirty the greater number of the sick were confined to their hammocks [.]The disease was principally typhus fever and arose in my opinion from a want of  fresh vegetables and from damp or wet weather off Charleston.

 

Question by the Court. What number were confined ?

 

Answer. There were 8 men and Mr Fields a midshipman.

 

    The Court adjourned to Saturday 9 OClock.

 

    The Court met according to adjournment.

 

The survey of the beef hereunto annexed was laid before the Court Lieutenant Richard [sic: William] Mason Hunter one of the surveyors was called and being sworn was examined touching his said survey, and thereupon stated that the 805 pounds condemned were very bad; but that which is represented as sound is good and fit for use, though it smells and is not fit to go to sea again. The smell probably arises from so large a quantity being together.

 

    Mr Hixon was examined touching the survey of beef abovementioned, and stated that the beef which is represented as condemned was very bad, that the [sic] reported as sound had a strong rank smell, but upon being cut appeared good inside.‑‑‑

    The Court then adjourned on the request of Capt Stewart who desired opportunity to superadd a further statement in his defense ‑ to meet on Monday the 9th current at 9 OClock.‑‑‑

 

    The Court met according to adjournment. Capt Stewart read his statement hereto annexed and thereupon the Court being cleared this declared opinion and the result of their enquiries as follow

 

    The Court having closed the examination of the Witnesses and having deliberately considered the same as also the narrative and statement laid before it by Captain Stewart state the following as the result of its enquiry.

 

    It does appear from the evidence before the Court that Capt Stewart in the equipment and preparation of the Frigate Constitution for her last cruise did not neglect his duty.

 

    It does appear to the Court that all the space properly appropriated to the stowage of water and provisions was fully and advantageously occupied for that purpose except the space under the fore orlop being taken up with tanks for beef which the Court does not think was properly or advantageously occupied.

 

    It does appear to the Court that the provisions were in perfect order and were stowed in the usual packages of the navy except the beef which was stowed in two large tanks. This Court cannot say that this mode is unauthorized by the rules and regulations of the Navy as these do not specify the particular kind of packages for the stowage of provisions; but is decidedly of opinion that it was very injudicious in Capt Stewart to have made an experiment on so large a quantity of so important an article.

 

    It does appear to the Court that the Frigate Constitution when she sailed from Boston the 30th December last had a sufficient quantity of provisions on board to have sustained her crew on full allowance for six months and that this quantity on the reduction frequently practised in the navy would have lasted between seven and eight months. But it has been proven to the Court that Capt Stewart did propose to his crew a reduction of their allowance; to which they did not show a willingness to consent at that time. Afterwards on the 1st of February the greater proportion of the messes consented to a stoppage of one ration of bread and two rations of beef in each mess; and the remainder consented to a stoppage of only one ration of bread and beef in a mess. Therefore in the opinion of the Court the calculation for the duration of the provisions ought to be made on full allowance. As the reduction of the greater part of the component parts of the ration was not assented to, it would have become necessary to have resorted to port on these being expended. On this calculation of full allowance appears to the Court that the Frigate Constitution had on board the Day previous to being chased provisions sufficient to have sustained her crew for three months. But she had not water for more, than two months at the usual allowance.

 

    It does appear to the Court that the total number of persons on board did not exceed the usual number employed on board the ship on the two proceeding [sic] cruises. but for the agregate [sic] comparison the Court refers to the lists annexed to these proceedings.

 

    It appears to the Court that the articles of stores on board at the time of the preparation did not exceed the general usage and practise [sic] of the service; but that the quantity of bread and beef was considerably greater, than Frigates are generally able to carry. The Court cannot consider this extra‑quantity as the object intended by the directions for the enquiry ‑ but they merely state the fact.

 

    It appears to the Court that the following articles were thrown over‑board during the chase viz ‑ 60 1/2 barrels of Beef 51 bbls pork 16 bbls Flour 334 lbs Cheese 367 lbs butter 14 kegs 510 galls peas or beans (2 tierces & 13 bbls)‑ 480 Galls rice 131 molasses 62 vinegar 1907 1/2 spirit 128 sour crout (4 barrels) 56 boxes spermaceti candles 3 barrels sugar 2 kegs tobacco, belonging to R Pottinger.

 

    In answer to the latter part of this order of enquiry this Court has to observe that when a vessel is pursued by a superior force, with which it would be improper to contend, it is the opinion of this Court, the duty of the Commander to use his utmost exertions according to his judgment to avoid the danger in the best way, he possible can. And as the safety of his ship ought to be his primary object, he should not for small considerations add to a possibility of hazard. The Court presuming that no Commanding officer in the American Navy would wantonly destroy public property must be of opinion that the articles which were thrown over board were ejected from the best motives; and it may happen that articles which might appear to have been unnecessarily ejected when judging from representation at a distance, which yet may have been properly thrown over upon judgment at the time.

 

    It does appear to the Court that at the time of the arrival of the Ship the provisions were in good order except the salted Beef in the tanks, which it appears from the evidence before the Court and more particularly from a survey held on it during the settng [sic] of the Court, was not as good during the cruise, as beef generally served out on board the U States Frigates, and that a considerable quantity is now very bad.

 

    It does appear to the court that five of the crew were affected with the scurvy, and that those symptoms did not proceed from a want of proper attention to the cleanliness of the Ship and crew or of due attention to the culinary materials, or to the fault or neglect of any one on board.

 

    The Court being directed to enquire into the causes of the premature termination of the cruise, and being ordered to express an opinion thereon, observes that from an examination of the evidence and documents contained in these proceedings it appears, the Captain Stewart at the time of his return to port had provisions on board to sustain his crew at full allowance for three months and water for about two months on the usual allowance. Therefore in the opinion of the Court Captain Stewart might have remained, in obedience to his sailing orders and instructions some time longer at sea. And the reasons assigned by Captain Stewart in his narrative and statements before the Court do not appear to this court to comprise a sufficient cause for his return at the time he did. Yet the Court believes that Capt Stewart considered these reasons sufficient to justify his return; and if he has erred it is the opinion of the Court that it was an error of judgment. It has been clearly established before the Court that at the time Captain Stewart was off the southern part of the coast of the United States the weather was very unfavourable to a communication with the shore.

 

                        Wm Bainbridge

                                President

 

 

Geo Sullivan

    Judge Advocate

 

 


  

Source: RG45, M273, Roll 7, Case 162, DNA.

 

 The Captain's Clerk
1989, TGM