American Minute with Bill Federer
"Don't Give Up The Ship!" commanded 31-year-old Captain James
Lawrence, as he lay wounded on the deck of the U.S.S. Chesapeake.
Captain Lawrence fought Muslim Barbary pirates in 1804, and when the
War of 1812 began, he commanded the U.S.S. Hornet which captured the
privateer Dolphin and the H.M.S. Peacock.
President Madison wrote May 25, 1813:
"The brilliant achievements of our infant Navy, a signal triumph has
been gained by Captain Lawrence...in the Hornet sloop of war...
The contest in which the United States are engaged appeals...to the
sacred obligation of transmitting...to future generations
that...which is held...by the present from the goodness of Divine
On JUNE 1, 1813, Captain Lawrence sailed from Boston and was attacked
by the British ship Shannon.
Within an hour, nearly every officer was killed.
Later, Captain Oliver Hazard Perry was inspired to name his flagship
on Lake Erie "Lawrence."
Theodore Roosevelt wrote in Hero Tales from American History, 1895:
"Lawrence, dying with the words on his lips, 'Don't give up the ship'
and Perry...with the same words blazoned on his banner...won glory in
desperate conflicts and left a reputation hardly dimmed."
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