| American History Stories, Volume III|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Anecdotes from the time Washington became president through the War of 1812, the rise of Andrew Jackson, and the sectional differences leading to the Civil War. Numerous black and white illustrations complement the text. Ages 8-12 |
A YOUNG HERO
 On board the "United States," and during the battle you
have just read about, was a boy only ten years of age,
Jack Creamer by name.
In those days very many young boys were employed on
shipboard, but their names were not entered upon the
muster roll of the ship until they had reached a
certain age, or served a certain time.
When Jack, our young hero, saw the "Macedonian" bearing
down upon the American frigate, he looked troubled, "Ho!
ho! Jack," cried his comrades, "you are afraid!"
"I'm not!" cried Jack, indignantly; and he hurried away
to find the captain.
"Well Jack, what's wanting now?" said the captain, as
the bashful boy sidled up to him, evidently wishing,
yet dreading, to make some request.
"Please, Commodore, will you put my name upon the
muster roll before the battle begins?"
"Why, what for, my lad?" asked Decatur, surprised.
"So that I can draw my share of the prize money when we
capture the British vessel," replied the boy, bravely.
 "All right;" laughed the captain: "since you are so
sure we shall have the prize money to divide."
"I am sure we shall," answered Jack, simply.
The battle came on; a quick, hot battle, as you have
read. Jack was stationed on the main deck—in the
thickest of the fight—as powder boy. Close to
one of the great guns he stood; and to keep powder
ready for this gun was his duty. Back and forth
between the powder magazine and the gun he hurried, the
cartridges closely hidden beneath his jacket so that no
spark might reach them. Overhead, among the rigging,
all about him on every side, whizzed the deadly leaden
balls; but Jack took little heed. To keep his gun
busy, to take the British ship, was all he thought or
"Well, Jack," said the captain, when the battle was
over, "we did capture the Britisher!"
"Yes, sir; yes, sir," answered Jack, his smoky, sooty
face radiant with joy. "I knew we would."
"And now," continued the captain, "if we succeed in
getting the old hulk safe into port, there'll be the
prize money. Would you mind telling me what you
propose to do with the two hundred dollars that will be
"O sir," answered Jack. "Half of it I shall send to my
mother. The other half—with that I will get me a
bit of schooling."
Decatur's kind heart was touched. You may be sure
 the brave boy got his "bit of schooling" and that he
had ever after a warm friend in the good captain.
For many years the lad served under his friend in the
navy, and in his service won many honors both through
Decatur's friendly interest in him and through his own
unfailing courage and his strong, ready, honest
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