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‘Don’t give up the ship’

Local historical connections from the War of 1812

June 23, 2013
Mary Burns Deas , The OBSERVER

"Don't give up the ship" speaks of perseverance in completing a task or mission, particularly in the face of great challenges. A common phrase, its roots date back to exactly 200 hundred years ago in this month of June. The year was 1813 and the United States was in the midst of a war against Great Britain. Captain James Lawrence, mortally wounded in a battle on his ship the USS Chesapeake off the Atlantic coast, reportedly gave this command to his men. Oliver Hazard Perry, soon thereafter used this phrase as his personal battle flag to honor his deceased colleague and friend. Of great fame, Perry played a decisive role in several naval battles, proving that our young new nation had the capability to stand up to a country of great naval strength.



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