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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

Contributed by Tommy Trampp

US Brig Niagara (I)

  • Built at Presque Isle (Erie), PA., by Adam and Noah Brown
  • Launched in the summer of 1813
  • Commissioned US Brig Niagara in August 1813, CAPT. Jesse D. Elliott in command
  • Niagara served as Captain Oliver H. Perry's relief flagship after US Brig Lawrence became an unmanageable wreck during the Battle of Lake Erie, 10 September 1813
  • From 1814 to 1820 Niagara served as a receiving ship at Erie until sunk in Misery Bay for preservation in 1820
  • Raised, 6 March 1913, and restored by the Perry Centennial Commission
  • Displayed along Lakes Huron and Michigan during the commemoration of the Battle of Lake Erie in 1913
  • Return to Erie, 21 September 1913, to be cribbed up just out of the water, deteriorating until 1929
  • The second restoration started in but was halted for lack of funds in 1934, finally completed in 1963 for the sesquicentennial of her great victories
  • The third restoration began to take shape in 1981 when the Flagship Niagara League was formed with intent of reconstructing Niagara so that it would be a working ship, instead of an "outdoor museum piece". The League was eventually incorporated as a non-profit organization associated with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Melbourne Smith, builder of the schooner Pride of Baltimore, was hired in 1986 by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission to head the reconstruction. The decay of Niagara was so bad that it was dismantled and ultimately destroyed, with various timbers salvaged and used in non-structural areas of the ship. The destruction of the old ship and use of new wood often leads Niagara to be considered a replica. While the first Niagara was built hurriedly, the new Niagara was built out of properly seasoned and preserved yellow pine and Douglas fir. The new Niagara was launched on 10 September 1988, but was not completed until 18 July 1990 when its sea trials were held. The Pennsylvania General Assembly designated Niagara as the official flagship of Pennsylvania on 29 April 1988 and described its purpose as being a "sailing ambassador for Pennsylvania". In March 2008, the yellow pine mainmast was replaced with one of Douglas fir. Courtesy Wikipedia. Submitted by Tommy Trampp
    Displacement 493 t.
    Length between perpendiculars 110'
    Beam 30'
    Depth 9'
    Draft unknown
    Speed unknown
    Complement 130
    20 guns
    Propulsion sail

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    Niagara 197k US Brig Niagara sail plan Tommy Trampp
    Lawrence 160k One of the more interesting moments during the Battle of Lake Erie was when COMO. Oliver Hazard Perry, who was aboard the heavily damaged US Brig Lawrence decided to transfer his personnel pennant, a blue flag bearing the motto "Don't give up the ship", to another ship the US Brig Niagara. Amidst the chaos of battle Perry and his crew travel half a mile to Niagara where he continued to lead the US squadron to victory. Tommy Trampp
    Lawrence 340k A colored lithograph/print by Julian O Davidson and Vanderbilt Allen. The lithograph captures COMO. Perry transferring his flag in the middle of the Battle of Lake Erie from US Brig Lawrence to US Brig Niagara. Tommy Trampp
    US Naval History and Heritage Command
    photo # NH KN-621
    66k Painting by William H. Powell, depicting Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry transferring his flag from the disabled US Brig Lawrence to the US Brig Niagara, at the height of the action. The original painting is exhibited in the United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.
    US Naval History and Heritage Command photo # NH KN-621
    US Naval History and Heritage Command and
    Tommy Trampp
    Lawrence 59k Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 102k Print of a framed oil painting by Mort Kunstler known as "Perry boards the Niagara". Shows Commodore Matthew Perry boarding the USS Niagara with his famous "Don't give up the Ship" Flag during the battle of Lake Erie, 10 September 1813. During this battle, 9 vessels of the US Navy defeated and captured 6 vessels of the British Royal Navy ensuring American control of Lake Erie for the rest of the war. Tommy Trampp
    Lawrence 309k Centennial post card image, depicting Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry in either the US Brig Niagara or the US Brig Lawrence, at the Battle of Lake Erie. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 262k A double post card image depicting Perry's transfer to the Niagara during the battle where the now famous motto of the US Navy "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP" originated. and a view of US Brig Niagara underway. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 128k A post card image of the restored US Brig Niagara, date unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 257k Post card image of the hulk of the US Brig Niagara after being raised for restoration for the 1913 centennial. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 150k US Brig Niagara was towed from port to port in 1913 during her tour of Great Lakes cities on the centennial of Perry's victory at the Battle of Erie in 1813 Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 114k
    Niagara 161k
    Niagara 161k
    Niagara 796k US Brig Niagara, center, and two other ships at anchor in Put-in-Bay, off South Bass island in 1913 for the centennial celebration of the Battle of Lake Erie. Robert Hurst
    Niagara 119k Post card image of US Brig Niagara at anchor, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 80k US Brig Niagara, circa 1913, possibility celebrating the 100th year anniversary of Commander Perry's victory on Lake Erie. While credited with being Perry's flagship, the ship was actually a relief flagship in the Battle of Lake Erie.
    Library of Congress, Photo No. LC-D4-22787.
    Mike Green
    Niagara 136k From left to right; celebrating the 100th year anniversary of Commander Perry's victory on Lake Erie. Essex (IX-10), US Brig Niagara and Wolverine (IX-31) moored pierside 1913. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 79k US Brig Niagara moored pierside, date and location unknown. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 247k Post card image of US Brig Niagara (second restoration) on display at Erie, PA.. circa post 1963. She was restored for the second time for the Perry Sesquicentennial. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 104k Post card images of the restored US Brig Niagara at Erie Pennsylvania. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 179k
    Niagara 299k US Brig Niagara (third restoration) moored at her home port the Eire Maritime Museum. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 44k Pen and ink drawing of US Brig Niagara, 1995, by Kevin Jobczynski. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 113k US Brig Niagara under full sail on Lake Erie near Erie, PA., 13 July 2008.
    Photo Courtesy of Dilipkumar.
    Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 1546k US Brig Niagara under full sail on Lake Erie near Put-in-Bay, off South Bass Island, Ohio, 26 June 2009.
    Photo by Lance Woodworth.
    Robert Hurst and Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 104k US Brig Niagara passing the harbor front at Toronto, Ontario, Canada under full sail, 4 July 2010.
    Photo Courtesy of Steelhead
    Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 108k US Brig Niagara under way in September 2016 during the 2016 Tall Ships Erie Festival. Tommy Trampp
    Niagara 884k Bridle rosette possibly featuring the US Brig Niagara Mitch Ingram

    US Brig Niagara (I)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    Battle of Lake Erie - Building the Fleet in the Wilderness
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    Last Updated 4 January 2019