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Don't Give Up the Ship 2 LbNA #27731 (ARCHIVED)

Plant date:Dec 15, 2006
Planted by:PickerProud
Found by: buckdude
Last found:Aug 2, 2014
Last edited:Dec 15, 2006
Adopted in April 2011 by 2-2 wheelers

Don't Give Up The Ship

This is an Indoor Letterbox.
Difficulty: Easy
Suggest a dark blue ink pad/marker.

A special thanks goes out to Global Zazu who came up with the idea for this box and placed the first "Don't Give Up the Ship" box. It went missing in the spring of 2006. I have recently taken over the stewardship of this box. Please keep me informed of its condition after you visit.


In June of 1813, Captain James Lawrence, in command of the U.S.S. Chesapeake, engaged the British frigate H.M.S. Shannon just outside Boston Harbor. After a short, bloody battle, the Chesapeake was seriously damaged and her captain lay mortally wounded. Reportedly, Lawrence died with his last command still on his lips: “tell the men to fire faster... fight 'til she sinks, boys... don't give up the ship.” The Americans lost the battle and were compelled to surrender the Chesapeake, but Lawrence's dying words lived on.

In the meantime, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry was given command of a fleet of ships that was being built on Lake Erie in the summer of 1813. His task: break the British stranglehold in the Northwest. It was a formidable job, but he drove the Erie shipbuilders hard and within a few months he had a fleet of nine ships ready to oppose the British commander, Robert Barclay for control of the lake.

Commodore Perry, who is frequently and incorrectly credited with being the source of the phrase, had Lawrence's words “Don't Give Up The Ship” stitched onto a battle flag, which he flew on the ship he commanded, the U.S.S. Lawrence - named for Captain Lawrence.

Perry went on to capture an entire squadron of British ships in the battle of Lake Erie, on September 13, though not before every officer on the Lawrence - except for Perry and his 13-year-old brother - was either killed or wounded. Ironically - the only way Perry was able to win the Battle of Lake Erie was to haul down the "Don't Give Up The Ship" flag and do just that -- leave the Lawrence for the Brig Niagara.

Perry later coined his own famous phrase in a dispatch to the Secretary of War at the end of the battle: “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”

Lawrence's words became the motto of the U.S. Navy, which has named numerous ships in his honor, and Perry's flag now hangs in a place of honor at the United States Naval Academy.


From the Interstate 79/90 interchange, travel north to the end of the 79 in the city of Erie. The highway changes to the Bayfront Parkway at about the 12th St. exit.

Continue approximately three miles on the Bayfront Parkway until you reach a signal at State Street. Turn left (north) on State Street and continue on to Dobbins Landing (named after Perry's first shipbuilder, Daniel Dobbins).

To your right is the home berth of the US Brig Niagara. Some days during the summer it may be visiting other ports, but there is a wonderful Maritime Museum overlooking the berth that makes for an interesting visit.


To find the "Don't Give Up The Ship" letterbox, you'll want to read more about the Brig Niagara. Where better than a library? Attached to the Niagara museum is one of the nicest libraries, Erie County Public Library (Blasco Library) located at 160 East Front Street. The library is open Mon-Thur 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Fri-Sat 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Because this letterbox is inside the library, I ask you to be careful not to draw attention to yourself and your letterboxing activities... remember, your care will help other letterboxers enjoy this box for years to come!

In the computerized catalog, look up the book U.S. Brig Niagara: A Crew Handbook by authors Walter Rybka and Daniel Moreland. See if you can find the book without asking for help. The end of each row of books has the numbering system on it, to make your search a bit easier. NOTE: The letterbox is NOT upstairs in the Heritage Room - it is on the main floor of the library. The letterbox was planted before the handbooks were archived in the Heritage Room. Find the shelf where the handbooks were previously stored on the main level.

The "Don't Give Up The Ship" letterbox is located on the underside of the shelf holding the Handbook, suspended by magnets directly below the book. Don't worry if the Handbook is checked out, just find where it would be located with other naval history books and look underneath.

Directly behind you is a standing book rest, against the wall and next to the window. This might make a good location for you to stand and complete your letterboxing activities with some privacy.

Please make sure the letterbox is closed snugly when finished, we don’t want the contents to fall out!

Also, take care to place it in the exact location described for the next visitor!