USS Niagara (Brig), 1813-20
Built during the War of 1812 at Presque Island (Erie), Pennsylvania, the brig, USS Niagara, was launched in the summer of 1813. On September 10, at the Battle of Lake Erie, the brig, USS Lawrence, was damaged beyond repair. Commodore Oliver H. Perry rowed in an open boat to Niagara, then directed the devasting broadsides into the Royal Navy ships until victory was secured. On August 4, 1814, the brig, along with Navy schooners, destroyed the Royal Navy schooner, HMS Nancy, and the Blockhouse at Nallawassag on Lake Huron. Following the war, Niagara served as a receiving ship until sunk for preservation in Misery Bay in 1820. Raised in March 1913 by the Perry Centennial Commission, she was exhibited in the Great Lakes area following repairs for the 100th Commemoration of the Battle of Lake Erie. Returning to Erie, she was at the point of deterioration in 1929 when a restoration process began, which was eventually completed in 1963. Restored again, and mostly rebuilt, in the late 1980s, Niagara is located at the Erie Maritime Museum, Erie, Pennsylvania, where the U.S. Coast Guard also utilizes her as a Sailing Schooling Vessel.
A model of Niagara can be found in The Forgotten Wars of the 19th Century section at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.
Image: NH 44815: USS Niagara (1813-20), starting her centennial cruise at Erie, Pennsylvania, to tour the Great Lakes, July 1913. NHHC Photograph Collection.