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Commodore Perry (U.S.)


Last modified: 2014-09-06 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | commodore perry | don't give up the ship | free trade and sailors rights |
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[Commodore Perry's - Don't Give Up The Ship] image by Joe McMillan, 16 January 2000

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Flags with writing on them were rather common aboard both merchant vessels (as identification flags) and naval vessels (as battle flags) in the early years of the United States.

Commodore Perry

The flag is blue and inscribed "Don't Give Up the Ship" which were the dying words of Captain James Lawrence aboard USS Chesapeake in her fight with HMS Shannon on June 1, 1813.

This was the battle flag of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, first aboard USS Lawrence and then aboard USS Niagara at the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. In that battle, the U.S. squadron consisting of Lawrence, Niagara, and 7 smaller vessels captured the British squadron (HMS Detroit, HMS Charlotte, and 4 smaller vessels, apparently the only time in history an entire squadron of the Royal Navy has been captured intact. Perry's original flag is preserved at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The image is based on a photograph of a reproduction at the Erie Maritime Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Joe McMillan, 16 January 2000

Free Trade And Sailors Rights

[Free Trade And Sailors Rights] image by Joe McMillan, 16 January 2000

A white flag inscribed "Free Trade and Sailors Rights" in blue, summing up what the U.S. saw as the principal issues in the War of 1812. This flag is best known as having flown aboard USS Chesapeake when it fought (and was captured by) HMS Shannon on June 1, 1813, and aboard USS Essex on March 28, 1814, when it was captured by HMS Phoebe and HMS Cherub off the coast of Chile. However, it also was displayed aboard other vessels as well and is included in an official model of USS Constitution outside the Secretary of the Navy's office. That model is the basis of the image.
Joe McMillan, 16 January 2000