Vouching for an unsung specialist, 174 years ago today

Below we see a letter of recommendation of one Asa Curtis from Commodore William Montgomery Crane to SECNAV John Young Mason, on this day in 1844.

Mr. Asa Curtis, Gunner in the Navy, has requested that I would give my opinion of him to the Department. This officer entered the Navy in 1812, was on board the Constitution at the capture of the British frigates “Guerriere” and “Java”; he afterwards served with me five years – two at the Boston Navy Yard, and three years at sea on board two ships of the line and a frigate. I found him a capable and meritorious officer, and I take pleasure in recommending him to the notice of the Department.

If you haven’t heard of Curtis, you should have.

Born in Scituate, Massachusetts in 1794, Curtis not only served on Constitution, joining the famous warship as an able seaman at age 18, but also on the sloop-of-war Ontario, the frigate Constellation, and the 74-gun ships of the line North Carolina and USS Delaware, among others.

Importantly, the meticulous Curtis left behind detailed notes and logs on everything from watchbills, cordage tables and dimensions to tacking, mooring and gunnery surveys on these vessels, all of which provide some of the most thorough information about the early 19th Century Navy as could be asked for.

In all, his career spanned 46 years, most of it underway, and died in 1858 while on the 50-gun frigate USS St. Lawrence in Brazilian waters during the punitive expedition to Paraguay over the Water Witch incident.

As for Crane, who recommended him for further service his own career ranged from fighting the Barbary pirates to being installed as the first Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance (and Hydrography) and, for the latter, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division is named in his honor.

More on Curtis, here.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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