Warring craft and the dangerous life on the brinay in 1812 makes a man of a shipminded youngster in this absorbing, authentic sea yarn. Young gentleman, Jonithan Amery, cockily setting out for a post as midshipman on the American Constitution with the blessings of his seafaring father, is impressed and forced to serve as a boy on an American privateer which is soon captured by the British. Pretending to be a British sailor, Jonithan, with his friend, Adam, the boatswain, and Tim, another boy, goes abroad the victor ship. However, although he says he is a boatswain's boy, Jonithan is separated from Adam and undergoes the hardships and indignities of an ordinary seaman at that time. The second British ship on which he serves is captured by the American United States. Jonithan's appointment papers for the Constitution are accepted, he serves as midshipman on the United States and finally is assigned the task of bringing to Baltimore a prize schooner with a token crew. Responsibility and understanding of the men he leads, technical knowledge and practical experience nature and strengthen him for the life of a leader on the sea.