Midshipmen served as Constitution's trainee officers. Often the sons of wealthy or powerful families, some were as young as 15. Their duties on board were to study, and write journals. As they learned, though, they also stood watches, and the oldest might even command a captured enemy ship. In front of seamen, midshipmen inspired respect by behaving like the officers they hoped to become. But here, in the cramped space they shared next to the wardroom, they could relax, and be loud and rowdy.
Meet Pardon Mawney Whipple, once a Midshipman onboard Constitution during the War of 1812. View with students: his sword, hat, and even a lock of his hair. As a Midshipman, Whipple was an educated, respectable, young man. Not all sailors could read, but Whipple could. Read emotional and gripping excerpts from his journal, with your students to learn about Whipple’s personal views and emotions, and his first hand accounts of such moments in history as the Constitution’s battle with the HMS Cyane and HMS Levant.