(1783 - 1870)
The War of 1812 was precipitated by various causes, among them the British impressment of American seamen and the maritime trade restrictions imposed on the U.S. The entire U.S. Navy consisted of only seventeen ships: the USS Constitution was one of six frigates. At the time of the famed battle between the Constitution and the British frigate Guerrière, Smith was a twenty-nine year old volunteer seaman who had been on the American ship only a year. He was responsible during the battle for sponging out the cannons between firings. He published his memoirs on the events, Naval Scenes in the Last War, in 1846.