Before I begin this section of the post, it may be well to illustrate how a sailor advanced in the naval forces with the passage of time. This information is all drawn from "Wikipedia, entry for 'Royal Navy Ranks, Rates, Uniforms of the 18th and 19th Centuries", (last modified on 14 November 2014). It is noted in the text of this article that "...in 1775, during the American Revolutionary War, the Continental Navy was established; many ranks, rates, positions, and uniforms were duplicated nearly exactly from the British system". When a new man came on board, he was usually labelled as a "landsman". After a year at sea, he was normally advanced to "ordinary seaman". After three years at sea, he was again advanced, this time to "able seaman". For the common sailors, this was usually the end of the career track, with many "able seamen" remaining at this rating for the rest of their careers in the naval forces.
Certainly, there are many, many individuals who are listed as simply "sailor" or "mariner" in the section of Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, labelled as "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina". There are also many more that have no rank or rating listed next to their names in the column marked "position". There is only a name, often only the fragment of a name, and nothing more. The following list constitutes the individuals of the crew of the frigate South Carolina that we know a bit more about. This blog writer has decided to list the men alphabetically rather than by their ratings because some of them held more than one rating in their time on board the frigate. These are only the ones we know something extra concerning:
Aldrich, Thomas sailing master
Berry, Herbert cook
Bowen, ---------- carpenter
Bower, William assistant steward
Brickford, John carpenter's mate
Briggs, Richard surgeon's mate
Cerdalt, ---------- interpreter
Coal, William master's mate
Cole, Asa interpreter
Conner, ---------- boatswain
Crown, Joseph petty officer
Cushing, John surgeon's mate
Duboin, Jean Baptist armorer
Duffield, Samuel surgeon's mate
Duteille, John master at arms, petty officer, subordinate officer
Fisher, George Captain's steward
Foot, Samuel master's mate
Freeland, Abraham boatswain
Gallad, John boatswain's mate
Graham, Richard gunner, master at arms
Hamilton, --------- second mate
Harvey, Michael clerk
Hicks, ---------- first mate
Holrough, Turpin sailing master
Johnson, James secretary
Kave, Christopher master at arms
Lane, Daniel carpenter
Langdon, Peter gunner
Lawrence, Henry master's mate
Lunt, Richard gunner's yeoman
McFarland, ---------- 3rd surgeon's mate
Marshall, --------- second boatswain
Mersereau, Joseph carpenter's mate
Morant, John sailing master
Morelli, Francisco assistant steward
Nixon, John secretary
Patterson, George master's mate
Pearce, Robert sailmaker
Perry, --------- gunner
Perry, Samuel sailing master
Pike, James master's mate
Porter, David purser
Pounder, ---------- boatswain
Powers, William assistant steward
Redewoult, George petty officer
Restine, John petty officer
Roach, ----------- pilot
Robinson, Francis sailing master's mate
Root, Josiah surgeon's mate
Snyder, George engineer
Sprague, William Captain's clerk
Stanley, J.M. accountant
Threadwell, Samuel cook
Trevitt, John carpenter
Tucker, Ruben carpenter's mate
Wartons, ----------- carpenter?
Wetherall, Jacob master's mate
Again, these are all of the men who show a rating other than "sailor" or "mariner" as recorded in the section entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina. These men had moved beyond the typical rating of the vast majority of sailors who formed the crew of the frigate South Carolina - that of "able seaman". They had shown an aptitude for some skill that was necessary for the operation of the warship. The real distinction seems to have been whether or not they were considered to be "officers" and "gentlemen" and were "berthed" (or slept in) and "messed" (or took their meals) in the wardroom or elsewhere.
Beginning at the top of the shipboard hierarchy, there was the ship's captain and his subordinate officers. The frigate South Carolina presented an unusual situation in that the commanding officer of the frigate was Captain John Joyner but, the ranking officer on board the frigate was Commodore Alexander Gillon. Gillon had been dispatched to Europe to find and secure several frigates for the sea service of the state of South Carolina. He only succeeded in locating and having placed under contract to the state the frigate L'Indien which was promptly rechristened the South Carolina. These men constituted the "wardroom" of the frigate South Carolina. The assembled men wold have consisted of Commodore Gillon, Captain Joyner, their five lieutenants, Michael Kalteissen and John Spencer, Captains of Marines, and their Lieutenants of Marines. All of these men would have been recognized by the frigate's crew as "officers and gentlemen" and would have held the highest ranks on board the frigate as well as the best berths and mess area - the wardroom.
The next in line, in descending order of rank, would be the higher warrant officers - the Sailing Master, Purser, Surgeon, and Chaplain. These men held the right "...to mess and berth in the wardroom and were normally considered gentlemen; however the Sailing Master was often a former sailor who had 'come through the ranks' therefore might be viewed as a social unequal" (Wikipedia, entry for Royal Navy Ranks, Rates...p. 3). On board the frigate South Carolina there were the following men listed as "Sailing Master" in Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", pages 135-170.
Only a single man is listed as being the "Purser" on board the frigate South Carolina - David Porter. Only one is also listed as being "Surgeon" on board the frigate - James Fallon (or O'Fallon), though he had no less than five assistants who were listed as "surgeon's mates" and served under him, not all at the same time. These men will be spoken of below. There is no listing for chaplain on board the frigate at any point in time. The text seems to imply that if the ship were ever captured, these men were considered officers and gentlemen and accordingly treated as such by the enemy.
Next, in descending order, were the men of the "Cockpit". According to the above cited article, page 3, this referred to the "...petty officers who were considered gentlemen and officers under instruction and messed and berthed apart from the ordinary sailors in the Cockpit". These included the midshipmen, who were referred to as "cockpit officers". The midshipmen were referenced in an earlier post below. There were other ranks that were referred to as "cockpit mate's". These included the Midshipman's mate, Master's mate, and the Surgeon's mate. In the "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina, there appears no one who is listed as a midshipman's mate. As to the Master's mate, there are six men who are listed in this manner.
There are five men who are listed as "Surgeon's mate" on board the frigate South Carolina and would have worked under the direction of James Fallon (or O'Fallon), the Surgeon on board the frigate.
(Note: There is the indication that the surgeon's mates may have had rankings among themselves. The one "Surgeon's mate" listed as ---------- McFarland has his position recorded as "3rd Surgeon's mate". None of the other Surgeon's mates have anything listed in their "position" column. Again, this may indicate that there was some type of ranking among the "Surgeon's mates" but, only for this one individual, whose first name is not recorded, did it survive in some kind of written form.)
Interestingly, the next group of personnel on board the frigate South Carolina have the status of "Civilians" but, rank above the standing warrant officers of the frigate. This may be due to the fact that frequently these men were hired directly by the captain of the vessel, in this case, by Commodore Gillon. These positions include the Clerk, Schoolteacher, Steward, and Cook. As civilians, these men might well be from families of higher status and would thus be accorded the status of "gentlemen" on board the frigate South Carolina. There are only two men who are listed as "Clerk" on board the frigate South Carolina, according to Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", pages 135-170. The first is one Michael Harvey who is listed simply as "Clerk". The next is William Sprague who is listed as "Captain's Clerk". This may well indicate that William Sprague worked directly with Commodore Gillon in the execution of his clerical duties whereas Michael Harvey may have worked more closely with others of the crew in the role of a typical clerk. There is no one listed as "Schoolteacher" on board the frigate South Carolina but, this rank and rating would have only been encountered on larger warships and he would have led academic instruction for the younger midshipmen. Certainly, the frigate qualified as a "larger warship" and there were no less than a total of twenty-seven midshipmen on board the frigate South Carolina. It may be that none of the midshipmen were young enough to need academic instruction or the Commodore Gillon was not able to find a schoolteacher for his younger midshipmen, either in Holland or in Philadelphia, much later. As far as the rank and rating of "Steward" is concerned, there is only one man on board the frigate South Carolina who claimed this position in a pension application. His name is George Fisher and he claimed that while he was on board the frigate South Carolina he was the "Captain's Steward". But, there are also three men who are listed as occupying the position of "Assistant Steward" on board the frigate South Carolina - William Bowers, Francisco Morelli, and William Powers. It is completely possible that the first and third persons listed here are in fact the same individual and that their last names were improperly transcribed. It could be that George Fisher was steward for Commodore Gillon while the others were stewards for the other officers of the wardroom. The Wikipedia article, entry for "Royal Navy Ranks, Rates...." page 5, states that the stewards were normally seen only on the larger warships, such as the frigate South Carolina. The final "Civilian" rank in this category is that of "Cook". the above cited article states that this position was usually filled by a retired, elderly or injured seaman. There were two men who were ranked as "Cook" on board the frigate South Carolina - Herbert Berry and Samuel Threadwell.
Next in order of descending rank came the standing warrant officers - the Carpenter, Gunner, and the Boatswain (Bo'sun). According to the Wikipedia, entry for "Royal Navy Ranks, Rates...", p. 3, these men, like the Sailing Master, were permanently assigned to a ship, in this case the frigate South Carolina for the purposes of maintenance, repair and upkeep. They were considered to be the most highly skilled seamen on board a ship and messed and berthed with the rest of the crew. On board the frigate South Carolina there were the following men listed as "Carpenter" in Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", pages 135-170.
From this same source, we find that there were three men listed as "Gunner" on board the frigate South Carolina.
And, lastly in this category, there were three men listed as "Boatswain" on board the frigate South Carolina.
Next, below the "Standing Warrant Officers" there is the rather broad category of "Petty Officers" on board the frigate South Carolina. According to the Wikipedia article, entry for "Royal Navy Ranks, Rates...", pages 5-6, there were no less than nineteen of these ranks and rates on board larger warships, which the frigate South Carolina would have qualified as a larger warship. These men all held the status of "Petty Officers". But, according to Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", pages 135-170, some of these men have their "position" listed as "Petty Officer" while others have their specialty rating listed for their function on board the frigate South Carolina. Once again, according to the Wikipedia article, entry for "Royal Navy Ranks, Rates...", pages 5-6, there is not any type of order to the following ranks and rates, certainly not any alphabetical order. Also, many of the specialty ratings had no one on board the frigate South Carolina who claimed this rating so, those ratings will only be mentioned so as to indicate the order that did exist for these ratings. The first one mentioned is "Armorer" who was considered as a Senior Petty Officer on board ship. Only one individual is listed as having held this rating - Jean Baptist Duboin. The next two ratings - those of "Ropemaker" and "Caulker" have no one listed as having performed this rating on board the frigate. The fourth rating - that of "Master at Arms" - were also considered as Senior Petty Officers on board the frigate South Carolina. There were three individuals on board the frigate that were listed with this rating - John Dutielle, Richard Graham, and Christopher Kave.
(Note: John Dutielle is listed as "Master at Arms, Petty Officer, Subordinate Officer". These may well be redundant in that all three of these are definitions of each other. This position, "Master at Arms" was considered a Petty Officer. Likewise, a Petty Officer was by definition a Subordinate Officer to the commissioned officers of the ship. Also, Richard Graham is listed as "Gunner, Master at Arms". These are two distinct ratings but, also represent a logical promotion track from a "Master at Arms" to a "Gunner" or from a "Petty Officer" which is the later rating, to a "Standing Warrant Officer", which is the former rating. It was a known fact that Commodore Gillon promoted from within the frigate South Carolina. Thus, Richard Graham may well have been promoted by Commodore Gillon while he was on board the frigate and his dual listing may reflect this promotion.)
The next rating of "Petty Officer" is that of "Sailmaker". According to the Wikipedia article, entry for "Royal Navy Ranks, Rates...", page 5, a"Sailmaker" was considered a "Mid-grade Petty Officer" on board ship. Only one individual is listed in Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", pages 135-170, as filling this rating of "Sailmaker - Robert Pearce (or Pierce).
There follows several ratings for which there were no individuals on board the frigate South Carolina that were listed for these specific ratings. These are "Yeoman", "Coxswain", "Quartermaster", "Cooper", "Ship's Corporal", "Watch Captain", "Armorer's mate" and "Gunner's mate".
The next rating under the "Petty Officer" status is "Boatswain's mate". According to the Wikipedia article, entry under "Royal Navy Ranks, Rates...", pages 5-6, a "Boatswain's mate" is considered a "Junior Petty Officer" on board a warship. Again, there is a single individual who is listed as occupying the "position" of "Boatswain's mate" on board the frigate South Carolina - John Gallad.
The next rating under "Petty Officer" is that of "Carpenter's mate". According to the above cited article, these men were also considered of "Junior Petty Officer" rank on board ship. There were three individuals on board the frigate South Carolina who were listed as having filled this "position" on board the frigate - John Brickford, Joseph Mersereau, Ruben Tucker.
This completes all the personnel on board the frigate South Carolina whose"positions" were clearly defined on board that ship. These men were listed as having been, at one point in time, the occupant of that "position" and thus would have had their function on board the frigate defined. But, that is not all of the personnel who served on board the frigate during its service for the state of South Carolina. The writer of this blog will list these men here and then attempt to address what "position" or function they may have performed on board the frigate South Carolina.
---------- Cerdalt interpreter
Asa Cole interpreter
Joseph Crown petty officer
---------- Hamilton second mate
---------- Hicks first mate
James Johnson secretary
Richard Lunt gunner's yeoman
---------- Marshall second boatswain
John Nixon secretary
George Redewoult petty officer
John Restine petty officer
--------- Roach pilot
Francis(?) Robinson sailing master's mate
George Snyder engineer
J.M. Stanley accountant
The easiest men to deal with may well be those who were listed as simply being "Petty Officer". These men could easily have had a "position" on board the frigate but, the specific function they may have performed has been lost to time. All that may remain is the fact that they were given the status of "Petty Officer" - either senior, mid-grade or junior. These men include Joseph Crown, George Redewoult, and John Restine.
The one listing of "Sailing Master's mate" might be a "Master's mate" who was specifically assigned to assist the Sailing Master in his duties. This would be Francis(?) Robinson. He could also be included in with the "Master's mates" referenced above and included as the "Cockpit mates". There are two "Mates" listed, neither of whom do we know their first names, -------- Hamilton and ---------- Hicks. The former is listed as "first mate" while the later is listed as "second mate". Both of these men could have been assistants to the "Sailing Master" along with Francis(?) Robinson. It is interesting that we do not know that first names of either of the mates on board the frigate South Carolina.
One individual was listed as being a "Second boatswain" on board the frigate South Carolina. Again, as with the "Surgeon's mates", this may be an indication that the "Boatswain's mates" had rankings among themselves to show seniority within their rating. He still would have been a "Standing Warrant Officer" and would have been appointed by the captain from the shipboard crew members. The single individual who was listed as occupying this "position" was --------- Marshall. Again, his first name has been lost to time.
There is again a single individual who was listed as occupying the "position" of "Gunner's yeoman" - Richard Lunt. This may be a simple confusion of terminology. He may well have been a "Gunner's mate" and simply confused the terms. But, he could have occupied a "position" on board the frigate South Carolina that had been created for that specific frigate and that specific voyage. If he was a "Gunner's mate", he would have been considered a "Junior Petty Officer". But, if his "position" was that of a "Yeoman" and he was in charge of the powder room of the frigate, thus a "Gunner's yeoman", he would have been considered a "Mid-grade Petty Officer".
There were three individuals who were listed in "positions" that were of a bookkeeping nature. Two of these men were listed as "Secretary" while the last one was listed "Accountant". The two "secretary" listings were for James Johnson and John Nixon. The single individual who was listed as occupying the "position" of "Accountant" was J.M. Stanley. "Stewards" on board the larger warships were servants to the officers of the wardroom. These persons would have been involved in tasks that tended towards the personal service of the officers - washing and cleaning their clothing and uniforms, preparing their food, helping them dress in the mornings and undress in the evenings. They would have operated as personal servants. The "Secretary", on the other hand, would have been involved with duties more oriented towards written materials - dictation of letters, keeping the personal writings and journals of certain officers, organization and filing of the personal papers of the officers. The "Accountant" must have been completely occupied with the accounts, supplies and equipment of the ship and may well have assisted the "Purser" in his duties of a similar nature.
There are two individuals who most likely were included in the ship's company due to the multi-ethnic nature of the crew. These were the two men whose "position" was listed as "interpreter". These were --------- Cerdalt and Asa Cole. Commodre Gillon was multi-lingual, being able to speak French, Dutch, German, and English. There is some indication that he could also read a fifth language. But, there is no indication whatsoever that anyone else on board the frigate South Carolina was this adept at foreign languages and the use of them to communicate. English was most likely not the language of command on board the frigate. It was probably French and German. As pointed out earlier, there is no proof that any of the officers of the Volunteers of Luxembourg spoke English. It is probable that Commodore Gillon would have needed others around him who were fluent in more than one language.
This leaves only two individuals on board the frigate South Carolina unaccounted for as to their "position" or function on board the ship. Those individuals are ------ Roach was was listed as "Pilot" and George Snyder who was listed as "Engineer". First, the case of ------ Roach, whose first name, like so many other's first names, has been lost in the mists of time. Usually, a pilot was not a member of the ship's crew but, was a citizen of whatever port city the ship was either entering or leaving. They would board a ship in either its inward bound journey or their outward bound journey and guide the ship through the hazards that lay between the vessel and the open ocean. It is quite possible that this individual, -------- Roach, was the pilot assigned to the frigate South Carolina as she was leaving the Delaware River and heading for open waters. Being that the three British frigates were waiting for the frigate South Carolina when she exited the Delaware Capes, the pilot would have had little, if any, time to debark from the frigate and thus was captured with the rest of the crew members of the frigate South Carolina when she surrendered to the British frigates on December 20, 1782.
The individual listed as "Engineer" was named George Snyder. This man presents a bit of quandary. That he was not an officer is almost certain. If he were an officer, he would have had his rank indicated as one who would have been a member of the ship's wardroom. That would mean that more than likely he was a civilian. This brings up a few different possibilities. He could be one of the early "passengers" who accompanied the frigate South Carolina across the Atlantic Ocean from the Texel in Holland to Philadelphia, though he could have had multiple opportunities to leave the frigate before she reached that port. He may have had a "position" created for him by Commodore Gillon, who would have been well acquainted with the structural problems inherent in a vessel that had sat inactive for the length of time that the frigate had. He could have also been added to the crew compliment as the last voyage was about to take place. In this case, it could have easily been after the Commodore had left the frigate and while Captain John Joyner was in command of the ship.