Sitting down in their wardroom for dinner, Constitution’s officers look just like gentlemen ashore dining in a good restaurant. Indeed, they eat far better than the seamen they command. They club together to buy fresh food, preserves and wines. Their servants act as cooks and waiters. These are not the only advantages of their rank. Ranged around the wardroom and nearby are officers’ cabins. Though hardly more than cubicles, they provide privacy, a cot bed, and storage space.
Dining in the Wardroom
In the wardroom, officers gathered to eat at a table, sat in chairs, and ate off china and crystal. They were served by a sailor assigned to them and could spend their own money on better provisions and drank wine with dinner. Sailors sat cross legged on the deck, ate food cooked in bulk and had more crowded conditions. Have your students view both the “Sailors Eating” and the “Wardroom” scenes in Explore Old Ironsides. Ask students to draw up a compare and contrast chart of their observations.