Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Brig Niagara

The next ship has appeared on this blog a few times in the past.
 The USS Niagara has appeared on this blog at least three times in the past.  I caught her at one of the Tall Ship festivals in Bay City.  She was also in Detroit when I got to see the frigate De Wert and Patrol Craft Hurricane.  She was the main feature during the Battle of Lake Erie reenactment.
 The Niagara is a brig.  A brig is a ship with two masts and square sails.  There are distinct differences between this and a brigantine, but I need to figure them out.
 She served as the reserve flagship for Oliver Hazard Perry during the Battle of Lake Erie.  When his original flagship, the Lawrence got shot up by the combined fire of the British fleet, Perry transferred to the relatively intact Niagara and defeated the British near Put In Bay.  Their defeat allowed the US to retain control of Lake Erie.  It was the first time that a British squadron surrendered to an enemy.
 The original Niagara was mired in Misery Bay and in 1913 she was raised to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie.  It was discovered that her keel was in good enough condition to be used as the basis of the restored ship.  She is one of two US ships remaining from the War of 1812, with the other being the Constitution (which needs to appear on this blog someday).
Currently, she serves as training and excursion vessel.  Her homeport is Erie, Pennsylvania and she is the official ship of that state.

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