Tuesday, July 2, 2019
What Is a Sailing Master? --Part 1: Now Lieutenant, Junior Grade in US Navy
I have come across this term in both this blog and my Running the Blockade: Civil War Navy blog (often there with the name acting master) and knew this rank was some sort of an officer or commander of a ship, but not sure exactly what the rank was.
In the last post, I mentioned Stephen Champlin being promoted to sailing master in 1812. As such, he commanded the USS Asp.
The master, or sailing master, was a historical rank not used anymore. It was a naval officer trained in the operation of a sailing vessel. The rank can be equated with that of a professional seaman and specialist in navigation.
In the British Royal Navy, the master was originally a warrant officer who ranked as a lower lieutenant.
When the United States Navy was formed in 1794, the master was listed as one of the warrant officer ranks and ranked between midshipman and lieutenants. It was also a commissioned officer rank until 1837 until it was replaced with the current rank of lieutenant, junior grade in 1883.