The Battle of Lake ErieMade in United States, North and Central America
Artist/maker unknown, American
Oil on panel
Currently not on view
1973-258-4The Collection of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1973
LabelOne of the most important naval actions of the War of 1812, the battle of Lake Erie took place September 10, 1813, when a squadron of British ships attempted to block the port of Erie, Pennsylvania. In this painting the engagement is still in its early stages, with the British Detroit having severely damaged the American flagship, the USS Lawrence. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and his few surviving crew members transferred to the Niagara (seen at right) and soon after sailed directly into the British battle line, forcing them to surrender. The words "Don't give up the ship" inscribed on the flag atop the sinking Lawrence were a rallying cry inspired by the dying words of American Captain James Lawrence, who had been killed earlier in 1813.