Battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813 


Painting by William H. Powell, depicting Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry transferring his flag from the disabled U.S. Brig Lawrence to the U.S. Brig Niagara, at the height of the action.
The original painting is exhibited in the United States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.

US Brig Lawrence I (1813-1825)



Brig: displacement 493 tons; length 109'9"; beam 16'3"; depth 4'8"; complement 134; armament 2 long 12-pounders, 18 short 32-pounder carronades

Lawrence was one of two 493-ton Niagara class brigs built at Presque Isle (Erie), Pennsylvania, by Adam and Noah Brown under the supervision of Sailing Master Daniel Dobbins and Capt. Oliver H. Perry for Navy service on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812.

Lawrence was launched 24 May 1813 and fitted out at Erie with the other ships of Perry's newly built squadron while awaiting the arrival of her crew. On 9 August, Capt. Jesse D. Elliott and some 100 men arrived and helped man the squadron, which sailed on 12 August. The squadron sailed to Detroit and located the British lake squadron soon thereafter.

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 the Brig Niagara, from which he fought the battle to a successful conclusion.

In mid-1815, following the end of hostilities, Lawrence was sunk in Misery Bay, near Erie, in order to preserve her hull. Her submerged hulk was sold in 1825 and, except for a brief examination in 1836, remained underwater for nearly four more decades. In September 1875 her remains were raised, cut into sections and transported by rail to Philadelphia, where she was displayed during the 1876 exhibition celebrating the Centennial of the United States. The ship was accidently destroyed by fire during that exhibition.

Surgical Instruments



Used by Dr. Archimides Smith, Surgeon on the U.S. Brig Lawrence, during the Battle of Lake Erie in September 1813. These instruments were given to Dr. Smith by General William Henry Harrison and donated to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology by W.H. Smith.
They include, at top: Hacksaw type bone saw.
In the middle group: 6½" forecept clamp (above, with - from left to right - below it): 7½" bone scraper; 7" knife; 7½" knife; 9" knife; artery clamp.
In the lower left: 13" curved knife. In lower center, top to bottom): 6¼" suture hook; 7½" scapel; 7" scapel; 5¼" scapel. In the lower right: 14½" curved knife.