James Lawrence

“Don’t give up the ship!” the echo of American Defiance

James Lawrence was the commander of the USS Chesapeake frigate during a terrible battle on Lake Erie in the War of 1812. The frigate was overwhelmed by a British warship and during the action, James was mortally wounded by a British sniper. Bleeding and hurt from his wounds, he continued to direct his men.

His last defiant words are ones that have echoed throughout American history: “Don't give up the ship! Fight her till she sinks!” As he lay dying, the ship was overwhelmed by British marines and the surviving crew captured.

James Lawrence’s friend, commander Oliver Perry put the famous last words onto a flag to inspire his fellow seamen and flew this flag on his ship as a personal battle flag. This statement of defiance is still located on the hull of the USS Lake Erie, a missile cruiser to this day.

It takes Valor to inspire your fellow men to endure in the face of defeat.

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