Our new Featured Document–Oliver Perry’s letter to the Secretary of the Navy–will be on display from September 10 to 19, 2014, at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Today’s blog post was written by former student employee Meghan O’Connor.
Early in the War of 1812, the Americans lost control of Detroit and Lake Erie to the British and their Native American allies. The U.S. Navy sent 28-year-old Oliver Hazard Perry to Lake Erie to build a squadron and retake that important waterway.
On September 10, 1813, the Americans defeated the British on Lake Erie. Commodore Perry declared the naval battle “a signal victory.” In a war marked by early failures, this victory secured Ohio and the territories of Michigan and Indiana. It also provided a needed boost in national morale and marked a rare surrender of a complete Royal Navy squadron.
Letter from Commodore Oliver Perry to Hon. Wm. Jones, Secy. of Navy, September 10, 1813
With a crew that Perry once described as “a motley set, blacks, soldiers and boys,” the Americans met Britain’s powerful Royal Navy on Lake Erie. A flag flew above Perry’s ship, the Lawrence, emblazoned with the words “Don’t Give Up the Ship.” This battle cry was the dying command, in an earlier battle, of Perry’s friend Capt. James Lawrence (for whom the ship was named).
In the middle of … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on September 10, 2013, under Letters in the National Archives, News and Events, Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tags: battle, Detroit, Lake Erie, Lawrence, naval battle, Navy, Niagara, Perry, Royal Navy, September 10, victory, war of 1812
Today’s post comes from curator Bruce Bustard. These photographs and documents are on display at the National Archives in Washington, DC, until July 15 in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
On July 5, 1863, photographer Alexander Gardner and his assistant, Timothy O’Sullivan, arrived at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle had ended two days earlier. On parts of the battlefield, bodies were still unburied.
Over the next three days, Gardner did not hesitate to photograph the carnage. On July 6, when he saw the body of a Confederate soldier in an area called “Devil’s Den,” he photographed it. He and O’Sullivan then saw an opportunity for another, more dramatic photograph. They moved the corpse more than 40 yards to what they believed to have been the sharpshooter’s position, and O’Sullivan made another exposure.
The photographs became two of the most famous of the Civil War, but for over 100 years historians did not question the captions Gardner wrote for them in his Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War. These described a “sharpshooter” who had died a slow death and who had spent his final moments thinking of his family. Gardner also wrote that when he returned to Gettysburg in November 1863, the body and the gun were still there.
In 1975, historian William A. Frassanito … [ Read all ]