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Burn her!

Posted by ESC on February 10, 2003

In Reply to: Boys, don't give up the ship posted by ESC on February 10, 2003

: : : What does "don't give up the ship" mean? And where does is orginate.
: : : Thanks,
: : : Saxon

: : It means to keep on trying or working on something till you get it right. It means not to throw in the towel and give up.
: : Someone else will probably post for you who said it, where and when.
: : It probably was some famous British sea captain or admiral.

: British my foot.

: DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP - " 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. Commodore Oliver Hazard 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." Perry later coined his own phrase: "We have met the enemy and they are ours." From "When a Loose Cannon Flogs a Dead Horse There's the Devil to Pay: Seafaring Words in Everyday Speech" by Olivia A. Isil (International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press, McGraw-Hill, 1996)

"In honor of Captain Lawrence, a group of women stitched the words 'Don't Give Up The Ship' into a flag. The flag was presented to Oliver Hazard Perry, commander of the U.S.S. Lawrence - named for Captain Lawrence - in the summer of 1813. 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.

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. Copies may be seen at other Navy installations and, of course, in Burlington. Far less well known is Lawrence's last command to his crew - 'Burn her!' From the Burlington, N.J., site lawrence.html Accessed February 9, 2003. Burlington was Lawrence's hometown.