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USS Lawrence (1813)

USS Lawrence was one of two 493-ton Niagara-class brigs (more correctly: snows) built at Erie, Pennsylvania, by Adam and Noah Brown under the supervision of Sailing Master Daniel Dobbins and Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry, for United States Navy service on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812.

USS Lawrence 1875 NH51253 crop.jpg
Raised hulk of Lawrence, Misery Bay, Erie, Pennsylvania, 1875
United States
Namesake: James Lawrence
Awarded: 18 February 1813
Builder: Adam and Noah Brown
Launched: 24 May 1813
Commissioned: August 1813
Out of service: 1815
Fate: Sunk for preservation 1815, raised 1875, lost in 1876 fire
General characteristics
Class and type: Niagara-class brig
Displacement: 493 tons
Length: 109 ft 9 in (33.45 m)
Beam: 32 ft (9.8 m)
Draft: 4 ft 8 in (1.42 m)
Propulsion: Sail
Complement: 134
  • 2 × long 12-pounders
  • 18 × short 32-pounder carronades

She was commissioned in early August 1813, named in honor of Captain James Lawrence who had died June 4, 1813, in a famous battle with HMS Shannon. Lawrence quickly began operations with a voyage to Detroit, Michigan in search of the opposing British squadron. During the 10 September 1813 Battle of Lake Erie, Lawrence served as flagship for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry until she was disabled by enemy fire. Perry then transferred to her sister ship, Niagara, from which he fought the battle to a successful conclusion. Perry then recaptured the Lawrence at the end of the battle when the British surrendered.

In mid-1815, following the end of hostilities, Lawrence was sunk in Misery Bay on Presque Isle, Pennsylvania in order to preserve her hull. Her submerged hulk was sold in 1825 and, except for a brief examination in 1836, remained underwater for five more decades.

In September 1875, her remains were raised, cut into sections and transported by rail to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she was exhibited during The U.S. Centennial International Exhibition of 1876. The pieces were not reassembled, instead being laid out in a way to convey the ship's dimensions and shape.[citation needed] It was announced in May 1876 that come the end of the exhibition her remains would be cut up and sold for canes, chairs, and the like, to relic hunters.[1][2] However, in December 1876, after the exposition closed for good, the ornate pavilion at the showgrounds caught fire and the exhibit was reduced to ashes.[3]


  1. ^ The Somerset Press. 26 May 1876 Retrieved September 23, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Courier-Post (Camden, New Jersey). September 8, 1913 Retrieved September 23, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Frew, David (2012). Perry's Lake Erie Fleet: After the Glory. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 1609496108. Retrieved 7 September 2019.

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