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An Interdisciplinary Curriculum with a Focus on the U.S. Brig Niagara and the Battle of Lake Erie For Use In Any Classroom

Erie, Pennsylvania 2005

This Project was completed with funding from:

Pennsylvania Coastal Zone Management Program Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection This project was financed, in part, through a Federal Coastal Zone Management Grant, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) CZM PROJECT NUMBER: 2003-PE.13 October 2003-September 2005 Funding provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United States Department of Commerce under Award Number: NA03NOS4190098 Additional funding provided by:

Tops Friendly Market Foundation And

The Flagship Niagara League The Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara are administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission with the support of the Flagship Niagara League. Honorable Edward Rendell, Governor Wayne S. Spilove, PHMC Chairman, Barbara Franco, PHMC Executive Director Roy Strausbaugh, Ph.D., President, Flagship Niagara League Š 2005 Flagship Niagara League This Teacher’s Guide may be reproduced for non-commercial educational use. Additional copies are available from the Shipwright Gift Shop of the Erie Maritime Museum. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA, PA Department of Environmental Protection nor any of their sub-agencies.

About the Erie Maritime Museum & U.S. Brig Niagara Opened in 1998, the Erie Maritime Museum is the Homeport of the U.S. Brig Niagara. The Museum and ship are administered by the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission with support from the Flagship Niagara League. Featured exhibits vividly illustrate the dramatic story of the Battle of Lake Erie and America’s often forgotten War of 1812. Through interactive interpretation, hands-on learning, and a realistic mock-up of one of the battle’s historic vessels, the bay-front museum details the events of Perry’s September 10, 1813 victory. Historical artifacts, photographs, and striking video footage illustrate the larger stories of square-rigged wooden ships, the reconstruction and sailing of today’s Niagara. Since her reconstruction in 1988, Niagara sails actively, but when in homeport at the Erie Maritime Museum, is open to the public. Niagara is a US Coast Guard certified Sailing School Vessel that affords a variety of educational experiences from day sails to crew training; check our website for more information about those programs. Erie’s more recent and richly layered maritime heritage is featured in additional exhibitions highlighting other stories, such as commercial fishing and boat building and the building’s original use as a power plant. A recently-opened, major new exhibit U.S.S. Michigan/U.S.S. Wolverine: The Iron Steamer tells the story of the Navy’s first iron-hulled ship, which was homeported in Erie from 1844-1949. Visit for more information on the Museum including hours and admission charges. Tours Tours of the Museum may be scheduled by calling the Education Department at 814-452-2744 X214 or emailing . Regular tours are $1.50 per student; $5.00 for each accompanying adult. Special tours and programs are available for an additional charge. Pre-Visit Resources Home Portable Erie: This hands-on activity allows students to explore the Battle of Lake Erie and the War of 1812, and get a glimpse of early American life. In an exciting, award-winning learning opportunity, students will enter the life of an 1813 veteran of the Battle of Lake Erie by reading his journal and rummaging the contents of his sea bag. Based on the real experiences of crew who served in the 1813 Lake Erie fleet, the journal features vivid first-hand descriptions. Students will learn of the ship building effort and life aboard a brig of war while handling the reproduction artifacts from the sea bag. Home Portable Erie may be borrowed free by schools as a pre-visit classroom activity.

Dear Educator, The intent of this curriculum is to make the learning opportunities offered by the Erie Maritime Museum and the U.S. Brig Niagara accessible to schools throughout the region. The mission of the ship is to preserve the seafaring skills of the early 19th century and to enhance the public understanding of the War of 1812 as a formative event in U.S. History. We have an obligation to promote awareness of history as an essential element of an informed electorate, which is a requirement for a viable democracy. The United States is nation of vast cultural and ethnic diversity. The only fastenings that hold this country together are a set of shared ideals, values, and laws, the understanding of which is dependent upon some knowledge of history. The maritime world of the sailing ship is itself interdisciplinary, requiring study of applied mathematics, social structures and management. In fact, the primary value of sea experience in traditional sail is not the mastery of arcane technical skills, but the chance to experience a community where the common good requires hard work and cooperation. Many of these lessons are best learned onboard the ship underway, but a substantial head start can be had in the classroom. Sincerely, Walter Rybka Erie Maritime Museum administrator and senior captain, U.S. Brig Niagara

Dear Educator: This Teacher’s Guide represents many years of work by many dedicated volunteers and employees of the Flagship Niagara League and the Erie Maritime Museum. We hope it will be a valuable educational resource. Please let us know how you use the teacher’s guide and how we can improve it to better suit the realities of the classroom. We plan on adding additional lessons and welcome your suggestions for topics. Combined with a field trip to the Museum, it should provide an exciting learning opportunity that will instill a sense of regional pride in your students! Yours truly, Mark Thomas Weber Director of Education

2005 Flagship Niagara League Education Committee Ronald Bailey, Lance Barclay, Ed Bolla, Linda Bolla, Steve Frezza, Mary Jane Koenig, Chris Magoc, Tim McLaughlin and Donald Swift

Welcome Aboard The genesis of this teacher’s guide lies in the previous work of educators throughout the Erie, Pennsylvania area and beyond. After the mid-1980s reconstruction of the U.S. Brig Niagara, a number of area teachers developed lesson plans and hands-on activities to enrich the Niagara field trip experience for their students. Pre- and post-visit classroom activities greatly enhanced their teaching of the rich and layered history of the U.S. Brig Niagara, the Battle of Lake Erie in which she fought September 10, 1813, and the larger context of the War of 1812. The guide builds on that work, representing the latest and most complete effort to make the most of this great American story. We have discovered, as we believe you will also, that the educational potential of a living, breathing vessel like Niagara is as vast as the watery horizon she sails nearly 200 years after the original vessel first made history. Targeted to a broad scope of middle school students (grades 5-9), many of the lessons contained here can be tailored to the elementary and secondary levels. As always, student learning depends upon the materials used and the effort and imagination put forth by the learner and educator. The tangible nature of Niagara and the dynamic exhibits of the Erie Maritime Museum offer a multitude of lessons in America’s early history, the natural history of the Great Lakes ecosystem, and the ancient heritage of sailing ships to which the U.S. Brig Niagara is linked. We hope this guide will enrich that educational potential and foster life skills of teamwork, cooperation, discipline, persistence, tolerance of human differences, and students’ ability to see themselves, not as passive observers, but as makers of history. It is necessary to say a few words about the Pennsylvania Academic Standards. At the time this document was being written, academic standards in History; Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening; Mathematics; Science and Technology; Arts and Humanities; and Family and Consumer Sciences were approved as final by the State Board of Education or pending approval. This curriculum may be used to meet academic standards in all areas.

Theme teaching and interdisciplinary connections can create lessons that appeal to students of all ages. Interdisciplinary connections can be made with the U.S. Brig Niagara and almost anything! We hope you begin to see other associations. Such interdisciplinary/cross-curricular teaching involves a deliberate effort to apply knowledge and learning to more than one discipline simultaneously. In this teacher’s guide, we use Niagara and the Battle of Lake Erie as the central themes. They provide the framework for what students are expected to learn as a result of the experiences and lessons that are a part of the guidebook. The purpose of this approach is to dissolve the boundaries of areas of study and encourage learning across the curriculum. We would like teachers to consider a plan where they can see natural areas for integration into their subject area and develop other thematic units. Student learning outcomes should include a well-rounded education where critical thinking and transfer of knowledge is evident between the school and the outside world. This approach to learning, developed within a meaningful context, will enhance the student’s education and encourage lifelong learning. Chris Magoc and Mary Jane Phillips Koenig

A Word About the Format The teacher’s guide follows a comfortably chronological course, divided into five major units:


Within each unit, you may find: A. Getting Your Bearings/BACKGROUND: an introduction to the history, setting the context for activity-centered learning. B. Points to Ponder: brief suggestions and starting points for introducing and assessing what students might already know about the topic. You may also find any or all of the following: 1.

Rigging Up/Materials: materials needed, suggestion of things to have on hand.


Ship’s Stores/References: References and other resources.


Going Overboard: further activities for the adventurous.


Salty Talk: glossary of terms, particularly nautical expressions that long ago became forms of everyday speech.

CONTENTS UNIT ONE: ................................................................................................................. 11

THE WORLD OF 1812 Getting Your Bearings/Background Ranging Shots/Points to Ponder LESSON 1: YESTERDAY AND TODAY: LIFE IN 1812 ~ TODAY ..................................... 12 A. COMMUNICATIONS E. MAKING A LIVING ~ COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY B. TRANSPORTATION F. MANNERS/SOCIAL ETIQUETTE C. FOODWAYS G. MEDICINE D. SHELTER H. ENTERTAINMENT LESSON 2: CONSUMER EDUCATION .............................................................................. 14

UNIT TWO: ................................................................................................................ 18

CAUSES OF THE FORGOTTEN WAR Getting Your Bearings/Background Ranging Shots/Points to Ponder

LESSON 3: WHERE IN TIME IS …? ................................................................................. 20 LESSON 4: THE CONSTITUTION AND THE WAR OF 1812 (FOR GRADES 9-12) .......... 21 LESSON 5 AMERICANS KIDNAPPED ON THE HIGH SEAS ........................................... 23

UNIT THREE: ............................................................................................................ 26

BUILDING, MANNING, AND SAILING PERRY’S FLEET ON THE GREAT LAKES Getting Your Bearings/Background Ranging Shots/Points to Ponder

BUILDING AND SUPPLYING A SHIP ............................................. 29 LESSON 6:

GEOGRAPHY OF A WOODEN SHIP / MAPS AND CHARTS ...................... 29


ROT ............................................................................................................. 31


THE ANATOMY OF A WOODEN SHIP ........................................................ 32


GEOGRAPHY OF A VICTORY ..................................................................... 34

LESSON 10: WHAT’S IN A NAME? .................................................................................. 35 LESSON 11:

SAIL MAKING ............................................................................................. 37

LESSON 12: HOW SAILS WORK .................................................................................... 38 LESSON 13: GUNS AND GUNPOWDER .......................................................................... 39 LESSON 14: CAMELS AND FLOATING CAMELS ............................................................ 41

CONTENTS SCIENCE OF THE SHIP................................................................. 44 LESSON 15: WEATHER AND ITS PATTERNS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD .................. 44 LESSON 16: FRESH WATER AND SALT WATER ............................................................ 45 LESSON 17: CURRENTS .................................................................................................. 46 LESSON 18: RATE AND DISTANCE OF TRAVEL ............................................................. 47 LESSON 19: WHY DO SHIPS FLOAT? ............................................................................ 48 LESSON 20: IMMERSION FACTOR ................................................................................. 50

LIFE ON BOARD ............................................................................ 51 LESSON 21: LIFE ON BOARD ~ THE DAILY ROUTINE ................................................... 53 LESSON 22: PAYDAY ON THE U.S. BRIG NIAGARA ....................................................... 55 LESSON 23: SALTY TALK ................................................................................................ 56 LESSON 24: PROBLEM SOLVING AND DAILY LIVING ................................................... 59 LESSON 25: COLONIAL FOOD AND FOOD PRESERVATION ......................................... 60 LESSON 26: FOOD AT SEA ........................................................................................... 64

UNIT FOUR:THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE .............................................................. 64 Getting Your Bearings/Background Ranging Shots/Points to Ponder LESSON 27: THE ENGINE OF THE SHIP ......................................................................... 66 LESSON 28: THE GUN DRILL/LOADING AND FIRING THE GREAT GUNS ..................... 68 LESSON 29: LOCK, STOCK, AND BARREL .................................................................... 70

UNIT FIVE: AFTERMATH ~SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE AND THE WAR OF 1812 ........................................................................ 72 Getting Your Bearings/Background Ranging Shots/Points to Ponder LESSON 30: WAR-HERO PRESIDENTS ........................................................................... 73 LESSON 31: MEMOIR WRITING ...................................................................................... 74 LESSON 32: NORTHWEST TERRITORY .......................................................................... 75 LESSON 33: THE NIAGARA’S STORY TO PRESENT TIME ............................................ 76 LESSON 34: THE WAR OF 1812 AS DEPICTED IN ART AND MUSIC ............................. 77

GOING OVERBOARD .............................................................................................. 81 ADDENDUM .............................................................................................................. 96 RESOURCES ........................................................................................................... 101 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ........................................................................................... 105


Unit I

The World of 1812



The World of 1812 * * * Getting Your Bearings / Background * * * !







In 1812, the Napoleonic Wars that engulfed much of the European continent had been raging almost continuously for nearly 20 years and trade was disrupted. America had at first benefited economically from the war because of its neutrality. By 1812, however, efforts to maintain both their neutrality and a prosperous maritime economy had backfired and Americans were finding it increasingly difficult to stay out of the war. Since the Revolutionary War, Great Britain had challenged America’s sovereignty, on land and on sea. Britain disputed American land claims, and supported Native American resistance. Her trade restrictions hurt the economy. On the sea, Britain seized American seamen, ships, and cargo. Americans resented this lack of respect for their new nation. Many called for war to avenge the country’s honor. In 1812, the population of the United States of America was barely seven million people. Many people settled in cities along the East Coast. Others settled in agricultural towns nearby. Five thousand people lived in Pittsburgh, the city nearest to Erie, 125 miles to the south. In 1812, women, people of color, and even white men without property had fewer liberties than did white men of wealth. The geographic size of the nation had doubled in size with the addition of the Louisiana Purchase on April 30, 1803. The Industrial Revolution that had so radically transformed life in Europe was taking hold in New England and the Mid-Atlantic region. In the South slavery was entrenched as the “peculiar institution” that would tear succeeding generations of Americans apart. The nation was only one generation removed from the war of independence. The people of 1812 were more likely to think of themselves as Pennsylvanians or Kentuckians than Americans. True nationhood would come with the Civil War. It took a person on horseback three or four days to travel from Pittsburgh to Erie. The cavalry figured 35 miles a day as sustainable in good weather. Established in 1795, the town of Erie (sometimes still referred to by the French name for the area, Presque Isle) boasted 500 residents. Typical of most frontier communities, Erie had a tannery, a blacksmith, a few general stores, and a sawmill at the mouth of Mill Creek (hence the name), but not even a church yet.


Points to Ponder In order to stimulate the imagination and curiosity of students about the period surrounding 1812, teachers might ask them a few questions about basic human essentials: !

What kinds of jobs might average men have left behind to fight in the war?


What would have been some of the women’s responsibilities?


How would their house have been heated? What might that home have looked like?


In what kind of chair might “average” Americans have been sitting when they learned about the declaration of war in June 1812? What would they have been wearing? What would the local shipyard owner have worn?

Lesson 1:


Exploring history in the context of human culture helps students understand and experience the development of who we are today. ACTIVITY: 1. Break students into groups. Each group will explore the differences between life today and 1812. Explore areas such as: 1. COMMUNICATIONS 2. TRANSPORTATION 3. FOODWAYS 4. SHELTER


Students then reconvene to discuss and present their findings. They can record the differences that they found on the chalkboard, with posters, or even skits. (History/Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)


Through what medium would they have learned the news?


How did most people obtain their food? What sorts of meals did they prepare?


Who was eligible to vote in 1812? For what parties were they voting?


How did a man greet a woman on the street? How did a black man greet a white man?


Where was the frontier the divide between “civilization” and “wilderness”?

SHIP’S STORES -- General history and local/regional books on the period. Mary Muller, A Town at Presque Isle: A Short History of Erie, PA to 1980, Erie County Historical Society, 1991. Mary Muller, A Town Called Presque Isle: A Children’s Companion to the History of Erie, PA. Erie County Historical Society, 1992. Virginia K. Bartlett, Keeping House: Women’s Lives in Western Pennsylvania, 1790-1850 (published by Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania and University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994). See also: The First American Cookbook (a facsimile of American Cookery, 1796, by Amelia Simmons), Dover publications, ISBN 0-486-24710-4. This book is excellent and explains the significance of the cookbook, which contained first printed recipes for unique American ingredients, the first published appearance of uniquely American words, first use of American colloquialisms, first published reference to the use of chemical leavening. Revolutionary Medicine, 1700-1800, by C.K. Wilbur, MD. The Globe Pequot Press ISBN: 0-87106-041-8. Excellent introduction to medicine of the period. Colonial American English, by R.M. Lederer, Jr. Published by Verbatim Books ISBN 0-030454-19-7. A very useful book for understanding the common persons language during the period. Also useful, very interesting and occasionally very funny is A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, by F. Grose, Dorset Press, ISBN 0-88029-766. Lots of common words today are listed here as vulgarisms “kids,” “honeymoon,” “fence” (in the criminal sense), “feather ones nest,” “daddy,” to “crow, “ “pimp,” “penny wise” and “pound foolish.” The book suggests the dynamism and evolution of language. Pennsylania Trail of History Cookbook. Editors of Stackpole Books


Going Overboard -additional activities for understanding the World of 1812.

1. Ship’s captains traditionally kept log books (and still do today) to record the day’s affairs, the position and coordinates of the ship, the weather, the cargo, their reflections, and so on. Have students keep a “logbook” or journal. Reflect on aspects of life in the early 1800s and compare them to life today. Experiment by using a feather pen and jar of ink to write a page or two. (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening Standard) 2. Visit the Erie County Historical Society’s Battles Museum of Rural Life in Girard, which offers excellent educational programs on early agrarian life in northwestern Pennsylvania. (History Standard) 3. Plan and even prepare (if your school has suitable facilities) a part of an 1812 menu such as food that would have been common for the period. As students prepare the food on an electric/ gas stove, they need to be reminded that an open fire or wood stove would have been the 1812 method of preparing the same cuisine. (Family and Consumer Sciences /History standards) 4. Read a sample reproduction newspaper from the period. Students should compare that newspaper with one of today. Have them write a newspaper of their own. (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening Standard) 5. Play some of the games popular among children of 1812, for example, graces, tabletop bowling, dice and card games, (available through the museum). See The Merry Gamester, or Games Through the Ages, by Walter Nelson, 1996. (History standards) 6. Have 1812 era music played in your classroom contact area traditional musicians. There are also cassettes and CDs of traditional music available at your local library. (Arts and Humanities/History standards) 7. Have Native American storytellers come to your classroom to present their view of the world in 1812: what were their lives like, what was at stake for them, etc.? Also, the class could visit the Seneca Museum in Salamanca, New York. (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening/ History standards) 8. Have a first person interpreter from the Erie Maritime Museum or elsewhere come to your site. 9. Explore clothing fashions and hair styles for men, women, and children of the early 19th century. How were clothes made? Where did the fabric originate? What sewing tools were used? 10. Schedule the Erie Maritime Museum’s Home Portable Erie as a classroom activity. (See Resources). 11. Have students research War of 1812 related historical markers, statues, monuments and graves in the Erie area (start with and create a guidebook to them.


Lesson 2: CONSUMER EDUCATION Based on their findings in Lesson 1, students will manage daily living chores such as planning nutritious menus, shopping, cooking, serving, and cleaning up. They will demonstrate knowledge of daily living chores of the early 19th century at home and at sea, understand the process of food selection in the early 19th century, consider the differences in food preparation, at sea and at home in the early 19th century, plan menus, food selection, and food preparation, demonstrate knowledge of food storage and sanitation at sea and at home in the early 19th century and the 20th century, and know and be able to use the basic food groups to make good nutritional choices. A working knowledge of food selection, storage, and preparation will be interesting in the context of at sea and at home in the early 19th century.

ACTIVITIES: 1. Research daily living chores of the early 18th century. (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening/ History standards) 2.

Make a schedule to share chores, plan menus, shop wisely, cook, serve food, and clean the kitchen after meals. Plan a menu that may have been common fare for the 1800s, keeping in mind that it must be nutritious and well-balanced for a ship’s crew of today. (Family and Consumer Sciences standards)


Research the basic food groups and types of food common to the 1800s and on sailing vessels. Students may also study how food was cooked and stored aboard ship. What time of year were fruit and vegetables available? Would there be health problems due to the lack of vitamins? (Family and Consumer Sciences /History standards)


Since many cookbooks of the 18th and 19th century survive, it is possible to ask that students attempt some recipes of those eras. Reenactment groups in the area try to follow such recipes when they are reenacting certain historical eras. (Family and Consumer Science /History standards)


Keep favorite recipes and household tips in the student logbook and explain the choices. (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standard)


Make comparisons between current recipes and historical cooking, possibly with a wood stove as on the U.S. Brig Niagara, as well as over a campground fire or fireplace. (Family and Consumer Science /History standards)


Explore the salt trade and how it affected the preservation of foods and the early growth of Erie commerce. Read the lesson on Colonial Food and Food Preservation in Unit III.



What spices were available and how were they procured?


What was the beverage of the day? Water, tea, coffee, spirits, cider, beer? Explain their uses.

SHIP’S STORES/REFERENCES -- Refer to old and new recipe books, Family and Consumer Science teachers, local reenactment groups.

Going Overboard -- Extensions of lessons on Colonial Food include the following: Early cookbooks Early recipes were handed down by word of mouth and recorded in collections of handwritten “receipts” (meaning “received rules of cookery”). The few printed cookbooks were European imports brought over by immigrant settlers. The first cookbook with an American imprint, Eliza Smith’s The Complete Housewife, a reprint of a popular English work, would not appear until 1742, and the publication of the first cookbook by an American author, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, would wait until 1796.



ACTIVITIES Explore copies of early cookbooks for recipes, as well as social customs, the foodstuffs available at the time, and the progress made in cookery and nutritional research. Cookbooks can provide historical information on American family life. Ask parents, grandparents, or neighbors if they have any recipes that have been handed down through a couple of generations. Share them with the class. Technology and Change in the American Kitchen Between 1830 and 1920 technological advances transformed the American kitchen, completely restructuring its physical character and the type and number of utensils it contained. During this period, the American home saw the introduction of new materials such as aluminum, new methods of storage such as refrigeration, new sources of power such as gas and electricity, the commercialization of elegance such as the silver plating of dining utensils, and new forms of food preservation and distribution such as canning and the home delivery of market goods. Before 1830, most American towns had a blacksmith who fabricated custom-made products on demand. These objects of pre-industrial society were unique in that each was a little different from the others. It was expected that they would not be easily discarded. With the introduction of machine-made appliances and utensils that expectation changed. After 1830, the uniform items of mechanization replaced the custom-made products of the skilled


artisan, and consumer attitude changed at the same time. Standardization, in becoming the norm, created new standards. Mechanization produced an enormous number of kitchen appliances and utensils. In doing this, the physical structure of the kitchen changed. Instead of a wall dominated by a fireplace, by 1830 the iron range was a movable, factory-made object. Similarly, the icebox replaced the cold cellar or root cellar after 1827. Individual dairy rooms and smokehouses became unnecessary because of factory-processed products available in mass-produced containers of tin or glass. The larder, a meat and fresh-food room, ceased to be an architectural necessity by 1920. The manufacturing process made it possible to convert any room with access to piped water and power into a kitchen.


Make a timeline for food preservation, kitchen appliances, and utensils. For example, students could research the development of stoves through cast iron stoves, wood and coal stoves, the gas range, and the electric range to the microwave oven, and the fuels used for them. Wrenched backs, blistered hands, smoked eyes, singed hair, and scorched clothes were normal accompaniments to fireplace cooking. Only a few households owned iron stoves by 1796, and they remained an uncommon feature in most homes until the 1830s. Until 1835, stoves were made at bog-iron furnaces and blast furnaces. (Note: Bog iron is thought to be the first iron ore mined by humans. The practice may date as far back as 2000 BCE in Europe)


Reflect on cooking in the early 1800s and today, wood vs. the microwave, in your student logbook. (History/Family and Consumer Sciences/Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)


-- An American Feast-The University of Delaware


Unit II

Causes of the Forgotten Conflict



Causes of the Forgotten Conflict * * * Getting Your Bearings / Background * * * · The War of 1812 should be seen in the context of a series of wars that went on for decades between the two strongest imperial powers of that age. The Napoleonic Wars between England and France lasted from 1793 until 1815, with only a brief respite between 1801-1803. · American commerce, at least for the first few years, prospered as a result of the Napoleonic Wars. American manufacturers and the ships that delivered their goods continued to sell to both England and France while maintaining their neutrality in the affair. Neither France nor England wanted Americans doing business with their enemy. However, only England’s Royal Navy had the power to seriously interfere with American commerce, and thus began seizing American ships chiefly at sea, but also in various European ports. AND, the Royal Navy, desperately needing to contain France, was always short of men. Many Englishmen were serving on U.S. ships, some were navy deserters, and many more were immigrants trying to make it to America. To the Royal Navy, once an Englishman, always an Englishman, and thus subject to impressments. They could be drafted into the British navy to fight against the French for an indefinite period. · U.S. merchant ships were routinely stopped and searched by English warships looking for English citizens. Not only did this violate the sovereignty of the U.S. flag over American ships, but often American citizens were impressed. In an era before passports and with accents indistinguishable, it was hard to prove who was an American citizen. Estimates range from 5,000 to 7,000 men were impressed into service in the Royal Navy during these years. · Impressment led to cries of “sailor’s rights” and the restoration of “free trade” and related calls to defend America’s honor. But impressment alone was not enough to compel Americans to war, for only certain parts of the country were severely impacted by the issue. Those who lived by the maritime trade were afraid that as bad as things were, if war were declared with the British, trade with Europe would come to a virtual halt, and they would be much worse off. · The other critical issue and arguably the one that tipped the scales toward war was the support the British gave to Native American tribes in the Northwest Territory and throughout the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys who were resisting American expansion into their lands. Americans looked to expand westward. The British did not wish to see the United States grow any larger or more powerful (and threaten their sparse settlement in Canada), so they supplied arms to a confederation of Indian tribes united by the Shawnee chief Tecumseh. The U.S. frontier states, such as Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and (at least western) Pennsylvania, saw this as a direct threat to their existence, never mind growth of the nation. Americans in the nineteenth century were guided by the ideology of Manifest Destiny (continental expansion) as


it came to be known by 1850. Most people agreed with John Quincy Adams 1814 declaration that it was “absurd to condemn vast regions of territory to perpetual barrenness that a few hundred savages might find wild beasts to hunt upon it.” · On the other hand, Tecumseh, one of the great Native American leaders in the history of North America, would certainly have disagreed. All Native American tribes had a different conception of the meaning and significance of land and property than European Americans. It was Tecumseh who said in 1806: “The way, and the only way, to check and stop this evil, is for all the red men to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land; as it was at first; and should be yet; for it never was divided, but belongs to us all, for the use of each. That no part has a right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers who want it all and will not do with less. . . .Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the clouds, and the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?” - Tecumseh - 1806

· The Shawnee and all native peoples were fiercely determined to hold on to what they perceived as their homelands. Tecumseh and his brother, who they called “the Prophet,” traveled from the Great Lakes to the Floridas inspiring dozens of tribes to join together to stop American expansion. · Looking ahead, one of the significant results of the Battle of Lake Erie was the death of Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames (northeast of Detroit). His warriors and the allied British fell to the Americans at that battle (in which the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie, Oliver Hazard Perry, took part). That spelled the end of the Indian confederacy and the last united effort to stop the Americans east of the Mississippi.




Lesson 3:


ACTIVITIES: 1. Lay out a simple timeline connecting the major events that led to war, from the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars (1793) to the close congressional vote in June 1812. 2. To reinforce the point of historical linkages, have students create a timeline of the events of their own lives; you might begin by creating a timeline of American events starting about the year the students were born. Have students copy that down and place their own lives in that national context. (History standards)

Points to Ponder What causes a nation to go to war? Have students think about what possibly might have happened to provoke the United States to declare war against the British whom we had defeated just one generation before. The British had not attacked the U.S. nor posed an immediate threat to U.S. territory. What was at stake? Patriotism? A boy or girl who was 10 years old when the American Revolutionary War ended would be beyond (what was then) middle age by the time hostilities broke out again with the British in the summer of 1812. Ask students what effect people’s memories of the Revolution (or lack of) might have had on their willingness to go to war in 1812. How do nations foster unity among the people when they go to war? Have them look at the recruiting poster used by Lieutentant John Brooks to recruit men into the U.S. Marines in the summer of 1813. What did it say to inspire men? !

Remind students that America was very divided in June 1812. The vote in the United States Congress on June 18, 1812 was roughly 60% for and 40% against. Make note that the countrys division over the issue of war went roughly along regional lines. Pennsylvania’s congressmen voted 18-2 in favor while Connecticut voted 9-0 against the war.


Strength in Numbers? Tell students that the British Royal Navy was the greatest the world had ever seen. They had defeated the Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and were getting the better of the French. They boasted 740 ships.


Ask students how many ships the Americans might have had (16!). Ask them what the British might do if they had begun to run short of men to man their naval vessels? (An introduction to the issue of impressment)


Furthermore, why in the world would the Americans take the risk of challenging the world’s greatest sea power?


Where else might we have intended to fight the British? (Former President Thomas Jefferson said it would be a “mere matter of marching” to invade and conquer Canada, the nearest British possession. Like many Americans, Jefferson believed that we would be freeing Canadian settlers from the British just as we had freed ourselves in the American Revolution. Is Canada part of the United States? Further proof that even great individuals make mistakes.)


Why might James Madison, one of the architects of the U.S. Constitution, have been particularly careful or concerned that the nation not see him alone as the driving force for war? There would be issues of separation of powers and the congressional responsibility to declare war vs. the President’s role as Commander-in-Chief. This was the first war declared under the U.S. Constitution.


What? No fax machine?! Students will find it interesting that with better communications, the War of 1812 might never have been fought, and would have transpired much differently than it did. Three notable examples: 1. The “Orders in Council,” the British governments set of policies that prompted the declaration of war, were in fact rescinded several days before war was declared in June 1812. But the news could only travel by ship, and hostilities had already begun by the time word reached Washington.

Lesson 4:


(for grades 9-12) (adapted from the National Endowment for the Humanities “EdSitement” Web site: printable_lesson_plan.asp?id=570

The Road to America’s Most Unpopular War…

The crisis over U.S. shipping rights began while George Washington was President and grew during Thomas Jefferson’s term in office (1800-1808), when James Madison served as Secretary of State. 2. The British and Canadian Between 1805-07, a large number of American ships were seized and soldiers across the border impressments of American sailors into service on British ships increased, learned about the declaration of leading Congress to pass an extreme measure, the Embargo Act of war before the American soldiers at Forts 1807. The act restricted trade with foreign nations. A state of war that Michilimackinac, Dearborn, began in 1803 and would continue until after Napoleon’s abdication in and Detroit (located at the three “corners” of the Michigan 1814 resulted in a loss of commerce that devastated the American peninsula). As a result, the economy while doing little to change the policies of France and Britain. Americans surrendered the Michigan peninsula and it was Abuses to American commerce on the part of Britain and France held by the British and the continued. But in 1810 Napoleon’s announcement that France would no Native Americans for 14 months of the war. longer seize American ships convinced President Madison to allow trade with France. The announcement had conditions attached, and France 3. The Treaty of Ghent, which continued to interfere with American shipping. In the end, however, the ended the war, was signed Christmas Eve 1814. The Battle U.S. declared war only on Great Britain. of New Orleans, one of the most The decision to go to war is one of the famous of the War, was fought nearly one month later because most serious an American president faces. On word had not yet traveled to the June 1, 1812, President Madison sent a letter, South. later dubbed his war message, to both houses of Congress. In it, he listed a series of transgressions Great Britain had committed against the U.S. He also explained his decision not to recommend war with France at that time. James Madison As one of the architects of the Constitution, President James Madison was acutely aware that the power to declare war was firmly lodged in Congress by Article 1, Section 8. In the spring of 1812, a divided Congress wavered on exercising this power, at various moments nearly adjourning to avoid confronting the issue until fall. President Madison also hesitated in sending a message to Congress calling on the legislative body to declare war. Some historians have argued that Madison finally did so for mainly political reasons: to appease U. S. Representative Henry Clay (Kentucky) and the


western state “war hawks” whose electoral votes he would need to win reelection that fall. He also, some contend, hoped that the declaration of war itself would be sufficient to win the necessary concessions from Britain on the key issues of contention. The center of anti-British fever was in the Northwest and the lower Ohio Valley, where land-hungry frontiersmen had no doubt that their troubles with the Indians were the result of British mischief. Stories were circulated after every Indian raid of British Army muskets and equipment being found on the field. By 1812, the westerners were convinced that their problems could best be solved by forcing the British out of Canada. President Madison, in his war message, would refer to “warfare just renewed by the savages on one of our extensive frontiers” as a leading cause for war.

ACTIVITIES 1. Paraphrase Madison’s case against the British, citing key points in his argument for having Congress consider declaring war with Great Britain. 2. Discuss accusations made against the British in North America. 3. Understand some of the arguments put forth by opponents of the War of 1812. 4. Hypothesize about documents that would be useful in clarifying questions about both Madison’s war the message and the arguments of Federalist opponents of the war . (History Standards/ Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening Standards)


More Points to Ponder !

Given the constitutionally mandated role of the President as Commander in Chief, why did President Madison not simply move troops into Canada on his own?


How does President Madison build a case for having Congress consider declaring war with Great Britain?


Without further investigation to verify their veracity, what statements in the message would have been most likely to provoke Americans toward supporting war with Great Britain?


What kinds of documents might help students find answers to their questions about Madison’s charges?


What were the accusations against the British?


Why did Madison not include a specific declaration of war in his remarks?


Why didn’t Madison recommend that Congress decide whether to wage war on France?

Lesson 5:


Have the students role play this scene: An American merchant vessel on the Atlantic is returning from a European port with a cargo of goods. A British man-of-war (large fighting warship) appears on the horizon and soon signals with a shot across the bow for the American ship to stop, which it does. A ship’s boat loaded with Royal Marines or armed sailors and an officer row alongside and board the merchant ship. The British officer orders the unarmed merchant crew to assemble and he begins to ask questions. He singles out three members of the American crew as deserters from the Royal Navy and tells the captain of the American ship that he is taking them, impressing them into service in the Royal Navy. Is this legal? Why does he want them? Are they really deserters? How can he prove it? How can the three men prove they are not? Remember that there is no radio, no birth certificate, no photo identification, no fingerprints, no passports, and no true American accent. How can the three men save themselves from being “pressed”?

ACTIVITIES: 1. Choose students to play the British officer, the American merchant captain, and the three seamen being pressed. Be sure that each knows the information needed. Remember that this scene takes place aboard a ship at sea, so there are no legal niceties and no witnesses to be called in defense of the three seamen. After the scene is played out, have the class discuss what they have seen. Try to relate it to a modern hijacking or similar incident in which American citizens are treated unjustly. Challenge students to see both sides of the issue. If they were living in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1807, would this be enough to make them want the United States to go to war? Students may wish to conduct further research into impressment cases or similar contested issues involving maritime law during the period. You might want to have the students view the film Amistad and compare the issues at stake there with those leading to the War of 1812. Another similar case is that of the USS Pueblo. (History standards)


2. Create a similar role-play involving the other critical issue provoking the War of 1812, the support given by the British to Tecumseh and his confederacy of Native American tribes in halting American expansion. Break the class into groups representing the Indians, the British and Canadians, and the Americans. Three spokespersons for each are, respectively, Tecumseh, British General Isaac Brock, and the American governor of Indiana Territory (and future U.S. President), General William Henry Harrison. The setting is 1811, just after Harrison’s army has destroyed the community called Prophets Town on the Wabasha place Tecumseh and his people built as the center of the independent confederation of Indian tribes he had worked for years to build. In this meeting of Tecumseh and Brock, they each make the case for why they are prepared to fight the Americans: • •

The Natives are fighting for their very survival and to save their lands (see Tecumseh’s speech in Unit II, Points to Ponder) The British want the natives to have an independent state so as to contain the Americans and keep a hold on their lucrative fur trade in the Old Northwest.

And then… •

Enter Harrison and a group of American settlers who have other designs on the land. Imagine the conflict between such a group a such a meeting. Reflect in the student logbook about a meeting like this. (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening/History standards)

General William Henry Harrison


Unit III

Building and Manning Perry’s Fleet on Lake Erie



Building and Manning Perry’s Fleet on Lake Erie * * * Getting Your Bearings * * * !




The British capture of three American forts, Michilimackinac, Dearborn, and Detroit in the late summer of 1812 was the event that drew Erie, Pennsylvania into the War of 1812. Captain Daniel Dobbins was a sailing master from the village of Erie who happened to be (lucky him!) at Michilimackinac when the British captured that fort. (Dobbins was selling salt -- a major product in the Great Lakes at the time.) Dobbins’ schooner, Salina, was captured by the British, as was Dobbins himself, but he was able to have himself “paroled,”a common practice at the time, whereby a man would place his hand on the Bible and swear not to take up arms against his enemy for the duration of the conflict. (This was largely because the British, a long way from home and in the middle of a wilderness, were in no position to care for large numbers of prisoners.) Students ought to find it interesting that a man’s word in this era was sacred. (Note: Dobbins broke parole to join the U.S. Navy and would be shot if captured) Daniel Dobbins Dobbins returned to Erie and made his way to Washington, District of Columbia, where he alerted the national government as to the dire situation in the Northwest. He persuaded President James Madison that the only way to roll back the enemy’s progress was to retake control of Lake Erie, and consequently, the entire Northwest by building a fleet of ships on Lake Erie. Dobbins made the case that the place to build the fleet was Presque Isle because of the sweep of land that protected the harbor, preventing large British ships from attacking the shipyard. The President authorized construction and the Secretary of the Navy allocated $2,000 for Dobbins to begin work. (eventual cost, about $275,000) At the outbreak of the War of 1812 in June of that year, the frontier village of Erie, Pennsylvania was ill-prepared for the task that would make it famous, the building of an American naval squadron that would challenge the British Navy for control of Lake Erie and the western Great Lakes. Indeed, many criticized the choice of Erie. Chosen over a base at Black Rock, New York, near modern Buffalo, Presque Isle Bay’s main drawback was the sandbar at the entrance to the channel. While the sandbar helped to keep the British ships from coming into the harbor to attack the ships while under construction, many wondered how the Americans would be able to get their ships out, particularly if the water level was too low. The British commander might be able to attack the ships while they got stuck on the sandbar.







Supplies posed another problem. As numerous historians have pointed out, building the fleet in such a short period of time in a frontier village beginning at the onset of a notoriously cruel Erie winter was a larger, indeed almost miraculous, achievement than the winning of the battle. Dobbins did not begin to organize the shipment of supplies until about November 1812. Combine that with the fact that many supplies had to come from several hundred miles away, across mountains, through forests, on roads that barely existed. Most supplies came from either Pittsburgh or from the east through Pittsburgh and then north via the Allegheny River-French Creek waterway which would shortly be freezing. Shortly after Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry arrived in Erie in late March of 1813, he realized how much work was still to be completed. Although the smaller vessels (4 gun boats) had just been launched, only the keels of the two brigs had been laid, and naval supplies and seamen were non-existent. Perry was short of everything needed to complete the fleet, carpenters, laborers, food, iron, and time. The only thing he still had in abundance was trees. The trees in the Erie area in 1813 were huge, some with a two to three-feet diameter, and very old. Many were several centuries old. These ancient forests are now called old growth. The old growth forests that provided wood for the fleet are now long gone, used to help fuel the development of America throughout the nineteenth century. Before European colonists began settling in North America, approximately one-half of the landmass was covered with forest. It was said that a squirrel high in a tree on the coast of South Carolina could have leaped from tree to tree all the way to the prairies of present-day Oklahoma without touching the ground. Today, forest cover in the United States and Canada is estimated to be about onethird, but less than 3% of it is old-growth. There are 40,000 species of trees world wide, 750 of which are found in North America. Many species useful to the purposes of a growing nation were found in northwestern Pennsylvania: oak, elm, chestnut, walnut, and pine. Each species was usually used with a specific purpose in mind depending on its characteristics, particularly whether it was hard or soft wood. Perry’s ships were made of a variety of woods including oak, poplar, cucumber, and ash. Like most wooden ships, Niagara and Lawrence were built using compass timber, meaning some of the wood has the precise curve or bend needed already, and only needs to be shaped to fit. Some of these natural “L” shaped curves are known as “natural knees” and they were much stronger than two pieces of wood joined together to make the same shape.

28 !





The planking was made from white and black oak, the decks from white pine, stanchions from red cedar, sweeps and oars from white ash. To build a ship that would last, seasoned wood would have been used. They had no such desire or luxury with the building of the fleet on Lake Erie. “Plain work is all that is required,” said the ship builder, Noah Brown. The U.S. Navy needed the fleet to fight and win only the one battle, and with the shortage of time, green wood or freshly cut wood was used and different species were used side by side. Green wood is more prone to rot and shrinkage, and much less desirable, under normal circumstances, for shipbuilding. But these were no ordinary circumstances. The abundant trees did not come cheaply. Mr. Dobbins paid landowners one dollar per tree, a fairly exorbitant price for 1813, when the average wage for a laborer was about one dollar per day. But the sawyer’s work was all done by hand, including the transportation of the logs to the nearest sawmill at the mouth of Mill Creek. We can never be sure exactly how many trees were cut to build the fleet in Erie. In addition to the ships, many trees were felled to build accommodations for the influx of carpenters and workers perhaps as many as four hundred before the project was complete. Other trees were cut for firewood for heat and cooking and to make charcoal, which is necessary to make iron. Charcoal is made by slowly burning wood with little oxygen. This process concentrates the element carbon within the charcoal. The concentrated carbonized charcoal is then burned with abundant oxygen to produce enough heat to separate metallic iron from iron ore, and to beat and cast iron into useful shapes. Iron was needed to make very long nails that hold the ships together. An interesting project would be to find exactly how many trees were used to build the American fleet in Erie. In the mid 1980s, when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and local citizens of Erie decided to build a reconstruction of the U.S. Brig Niagara that was going to sail, different woods were used. The frames, knees, masts, and yards are made from laminated, treated yellow pine from the southeastern part of the United States. (Lamination is where small pieces of wood are glued together to produce larger pieces.) Treated wood is immersed in chemicals to kill fungus, which causes rot. The planks and decks are made from Douglas fir, which comes from the northwestern part of the country.


Points to Ponder !


To show the unpredictability of historical events, let students know that the Americans did very well on the sea in the first year of the war (and actually throughout the conflict). On the sea is exactly where one would not have expected them to have success. On land, where Jefferson predicted the marching would go swimmingly, things went rather miserably. Get students to think about the importance of waterways in the era before interstate highways, planes, railroads, or even canals. Ask them to imagine how people were able to move large amounts of material and great numbers of men from one place to another.


Remind students that the Great Lakes comprise the single largest collection of fresh water anywhere on the planet. They are important to us today for ecological reasons, for tourism, industry, as well as for the historically significant movement of goods from one place to another. In 1812 they were important chiefly for industry.


Ask students to describe what the Great Lakes region might have looked like at the time of the War of 1812. Tell them that the choice of Erie and Presque Isle Bay as a site to build the American squadron was not obvious. Lake Ontario was actually more strategically important for most of the War of 1812, and besides, Presque Isle Bay had inherent problems, some of which almost change the outcome of events in the summer of 1813. Ask students why they would not have built a fleet on Lake Ontario where there were greater human resources and simply sailed it west onto Lake Erie.


A WOODEN SHIP These activities are based on the information in the “Getting Your Bearings “ section for Unit III. Ask students if they can name trees native to the Erie area. Can they identify any of the trees in their yards or in the schoolyard. Ask them to list some of the important uses for trees. Students will be working in small groups as they share and gather information on plants and trees.

ACTIVITIES 1. Identify different kinds of wood on Niagara. 2. Work in teams to construct a booklet of the following species of trees used in the construction of the 1813 brigs. Be sure to include drawings of the leaf shape in color, common name, scientific name, and what part of the ship the wood was used for: white pine, red cedar, white ash, black walnut, cucumber, chestnut, poplar, black oak, white oak. Include drawings of seeds, bark, use qualities (soft or hard, knee possibilities, etc.), and location. 3. Survey a nearby park or block for trees that might be used in building a large ship. Look for compass timber. 4. Plant a tree that was used in the construction of Niagara and Lawrence. 5. Take a field trip to Presque Isle State Park Nature Center (or any nature center nearby) to learn more about trees in the area. 6. Describe and give examples of the following plant products used by man: wood, wood chips, wood pulp and paper, rayon and cellulose, vegetable fibers, alcohol and other chemicals, rubber, latex, and other plant gums. 7. Describe the kinds of trees in the neighborhood in the student logbook. Use photos, drawings, or magazine pictures to depict the trees. 8. Invite guest speakers from the forest service, Presque Isle (the Presque Isle basin provided timber for the Niagara), a commercial hardwood businessman, or a Department of Agriculture person. (Science and Technology/Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)



Ask the students what the men would need to build the fleet of wooden warships. Invariably the first thing they would think of would be “WOOD”! Yes, that’s about all they had. That should launch a discussion of that most vital resource of the ship building effort.

Salty Talk: Latex, rubber, resins, pulp, paper, rayon, cellulose, fibers, lumber, vegetable oils and fats, ethyl. alcohol, tannins, linseed, castor oil, alkaloids, dyes and pigments, amber. Pitch, Rosin, Spars, Grain, Hewed, Ribs, Sweeps, Planking, Bulwark, Stanchions, Deck, Oars, Unseasoned, Caulking, “Natural Knees”, Oakum More Salty Talk: Chestnut White Pine Black Walnut White Ash Poplar Cucumber White Oak Black Oak Red Cedar

Castanea dentata Pinus strobus Juglans nigra Fraximus americana Populous balsamifera Magnolia acuminata Quercus alba Quercus velutina Juniperus virginianer


Lesson 7:


One effect of life at sea is rot. Students can classify fungi responsible for dry rot in wood. They will also be able to describe ways of treating/preserving wood from dry rot, and the methods of its detection. Give students notes and diagrams as to how fungi absorb nutrients so that they can exist. Show students examples of dry rot, green wood, kiln dried wood, pressure treated wood, and chemicals used to treat wood to prevent rotting. ACTIVITIES 1. Research which fungus is responsible for dry rot in wood. 2. A field trip to Presque Isle or other park or woods area could be taken so that students could look for various types of fungi. 3. A guest speaker familiar with building materials from a local builder’s store could be invited to the classroom to talk about ways wood can be preserved. (Biology standards)

Flagship Niagara’s Sail and Spar Plan



It is important to become familiar with the ship and the terms associated with it. Other diagrams are available in the U.S. Brig Niagara Crew Handbook. ACTIVITIES 1. Using the diagrams, identify the sails of Niagara. 2. Identify the masts, yards, spars, and booms. 3. Explore the deck plan of the ship. (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)

Flagship Niagara’s Masts, Yards, Spars, and Booms


Flagship Niagara’s Deck Plan


Lesson 9:


To give students a sense of the geography of the nation during the War of 1812 and the Battle of Lake Erie, have them look at a map of the U.S. in the early 1800s. When we read a map the first thing we read is the title. Then, if there is a map key or legend, we can see what the symbols stand for. There are many different kinds of maps. Political maps also show borders. A border is an outer edge or boundary, which could indicate states, counties, countries, and so on. Look at different kinds of maps. Evaluate various supply routes used to build the U.S. Brig Niagara and the Fleet in 1813. Examine the effects of geography on building the Niagara, including personnel, labor, and types of material. By looking at other kinds of maps, students can gain insight into the geography of the region and the Great Lakes, specifically Lake Erie. ACTIVITIES 1. Using a map, have students locate the following sources of supplies and men for the building of Perry’s fleet: · · · · · · · · · · · · ·


Cannon balls - Pittsburgh Anchors - Pittsburgh Axes for cutting timber - Meadville Nail Rods—Pittsburgh Timber - Erie/Presque Isle Rigging (rope) - Pittsburgh Carronade - southside of Washington, DC Gun powder - Chesapeake Bay region Sail cloth - Philadelphia 150 shipwrights, caulkers, carpenters to build ships - New York City 75 (estimated) skilled African American sailors - Newport, Rhode Island 100+ seamen with Captain Jesse Elliot - Black Rock (Buffalo), New York 100+ Kentucky riflemen

Have students continue to use the map to answer the following questions: · · · ·

What physical feature made Erie and Presque Isle Bay a good choice for the building of the fleet? Why might that same feature have also made it the wrong choice? What fort controlled access to Lake Michigan and Lake Huron? What was the end of the water route for supplies for Perry’s fleet coming from Pittsburgh (after which they would have to travel by land)? · The Battle of Lake Erie at Put-in-Bay was fought near the mouths of what two rivers in Ohio? · What river links Lake Erie to Lake Ontario? What natural obstacle made this a difficult travel route in 1812?


In groups, develop charts that demonstrate the necessary materials and other resources, the origin of such materials, the supply routes traveled, and the cost of materials transported. 4. Read Stone and Frew’s Chapter One, Waters of Repose (1993), entitled The Setting of North America: Waterways as Highways. (History/Geography standards)

SHIP’S STORES/REFERENCES Stone, D., & Frew, D. (1993). Waters of Repose. Erie, PA: Erie County Historical Society.


Lesson 10:


Nine American and six British warships of varying size, armament, and design took part in the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. Each ship, like the men standing her decks that day, had a different past, a different role to play, and a different name. Warships traditionally have names honoring fallen heroes, past battles, royalty, or names that reflect a defiant, warlike posture. Merchant ships, several of which were converted to warships to serve in the Battle of Lake Erie, often carried lighter names, like names from literature, mythology, or women’s names. Some converted or captured ships were given new names by the navy; others continued to serve with their old name. Below is a list of the ships that fought in the Battle of Lake Erie and the origins of their names. AMERICAN The names of U.S. Navy vessels were usually preceded by U.S. (for United States) and the designation of the vessel: Ship, Frigate, Brig, Sloop etc. This could be written as U.S.F. or U.S. Frigate, etc. Today, all U.S. warships use the prefix “U.S.S.” Lawrence- Lawrence was named for Captain James Lawrence, mortally wounded on June 1, 1813. It was Lawrence who said, “Don’t give up the ship…” At the time, his ship, U.S. Frigate Chesapeake was fighting a battle with H.M.S. Shannon. Niagara- The U.S. Brig Niagara was named for an American victory in battle on the Niagara Peninsula. Caledonia-Caledonia was a captured British warship. Caledonia is an ancient name James Lawrence for Scotland. Ariel-This ship was named for a playful spirit in English playwright William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Somers- This ship was a converted merchant schooner originally named Catherine. Somers was named for Lieutenant Richard Somers, an American Naval Officer killed fighting the Barbary pirates in 1804. Scorpion-This ship was named for the invertebrate animal with eight legs belonging to the order Scorpiones in the class Arachnida with a venomous sting. Porcupine-The ship was named for the animal with the stiff, sharp quills. Tigress-The ship was named for the female tiger. Trippe-The ship was named for an American Naval officer who died at sea in 1810. BRITISH Detroit-This ship was named for the Fort and City captured by the British in 1812. Queen Charlotte-This ship was named for the wife of Britain’s king at the time, King George III. Lady Provost-This ship was named for the wife of the Governor General of Canada, Sir George Prevost. General Hunter-This ship was named for Lieutenant General Hunter, Governor of Upper Canada (Ontario). Little Belt-This ship was originally named Friend’s Goodwill. It was captured and named for a British sloop of war of the same name that fought the U.S. Frigate President in 1811. Chippewa-This ship was named for the Indian tribe that lived principally around Lake Superior.


ACTIVITIES: 1. Imagine why each of these names was chosen. Share your reasons with classmates. 2. Rename some of the ships. Keep them relative to the time period. 3. Research or simply brainstorm how some other famous ships got their names. To begin: Victory (British) Constitution (U.S.) Constellation (U.S.) Bismarck (German) Titanic (British)


C. Turner Joy (U.S.) Merrimac (C.S.A.) Bellerophon (British) Wasp (U.S.) Intrepid (U.S.)

Write a story about your name in the student logbook. (History/Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)


Lesson 11:


Students will measure, make a pattern for, and figure the cost of making a workable sail for the U.S. Brig Niagara. They will use mathematics skills for making a sail, measure and make a scale model sail for the ship, and compute the cost for making a sail for the ship. One of the important crafts in the maritime experience is sail making. After lessons on computing actual sail size (measurements) and shape, the teacher may consult with the Family and Consumer Science teacher to introduce sail making project. ACTIVITIES: 1. Compute the actual size of some of the sails of the U.S. Brig Niagara. (see dimensions in Lesson 27). 2. Make a pattern for the sail. 3. Price the cost of material and estimate the time that it would take to complete the sail. Estimate the total cost of the entire project at todays cost. 4. As another possible activity, compute a scaled down sail, make the pattern, and actually make the sail in paper or fabric. (Mathematics/History/Family and Consumer Sciences Standards)


Lesson 12:


What do wings and sails have in common? They are both airfoils, defined as something like a wing, kite, or sail used to generate lift or propulsion. All airfoils have one thing in common, a curved surface. Next time you visit an airport, notice the curve on the upper part of the airplanes wings. Bird wings are also curved at the top. Sails are not flat either. As wind fills a sail, it curves outward, creating an airfoil. How does an airfoil create lift for an airplane or the forward motion of a sailing ship like the Niagara? It is all a matter of pressure. Air flowing over the curved surface of a wing moves faster than the air underneath. This creates lower air pressure on top of the curve and greater pressure below. The difference in pressure pushes the wing up. Perform a simple experiment: Take a one inch by six inch slip of paper and blow just above the paper. Air moves faster over the top of the paper. The greater pressure below lifts the paper up. The sail works much the same way. Air traveling around the outside of the curve of the sail has a lower pressure than that traveling across the inside. The sail and the ship are pushed forward and slightly downwind. With the help of the keel the downwind or sideways drift can be reduced. The keel produces a straight track through the water in which the ship will move along. Can you think of other familiar airfoils? How about a Frisbee or a kite? What characteristics make them airfoils? Next time the wind is blowing, go outside with an umbrella. When the umbrella is held upright, above your head, how does the umbrella feel? You should be able to feel that it is light, as the wind blows across it. A strong wind can lift a roof off a house. How does the wind lift a roof off a house? ACTIVITIES 1. Have students make kites. Have them experiment with different shapes. 2. Have students make models of ships with sails and experiment by using a wind source. (see ACTIVITIES in Lesson 10) 3. Sailing lesson. Local clubs offer sailing lessons for young people. (Physics standards)

SHIP’S STORES/REFERENCES Bloomfield, Louis A. How things work: The physics of everyday life. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 2000.


Lesson 13:


The force Commodore Perry and his men had available to them was not imaginary, but created from iron and black powder. Iron was formed into carronades and iron balls. The iron balls were propelled with great force by ignited black powder enclosed inside the carronades. While Niagara is a prime example of an early 19th century sailing ship, she was originally built for one, and only one, purpose: to carry a battery of heavy guns into action against the British on Lake Erie. Those guns were cast iron, muzzle-loading weapons, firing solid iron cannon balls (more properly known as shot). The propellant used by these guns was Black Powder. Black Powder, first developed by the Chinese sometime before 1000 A.D., is the earliest known form of explosive. Black Powder is a mixture of three common natural ingredients, potassium nitrate (often referred to as saltpeter), charcoal and sulfur. In this mixture, charcoal provides the fuel, saltpeter, the oxidizer, and the sulfur serves as the catalyst, making the mixture easier to ignite. These three ingredients are combined in a ratio of 15 to 3 to 2. Once ignited, Black Powder burns rapidly, producing large amounts of hot gases and thick white smoke. It is the sudden expansion of these gases, contained within the breach of the gun, that provides the energy to propel the shot forward and send it hurtling down range toward the target. Once the shot has exited the muzzle of the gun, no additional force is exerted upon it, and its flight path becomes a matter of ballistics. It is a basic principle of physics that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Only its form can be altered. Black Powder, like any chemical explosive, is a form of stored chemical energy. When ignited, a chemical reaction takes place that releases that energy. All of the energy released by this chemical reaction must be accounted for. A large part of it is transferred to the shot in the form of Kinetic Energy. Most of the remainder is converted to the heat, flash and sound of the explosion as the gun is fired. The thick white smoke, which is a product of incomplete combustion, is essentially unreleased chemical energy and accounts for the remainder. The size of the powder charge, or cartridge, varied depending on the size and type of gun. For a standard cannon, or “Long Gun,” the powder charge was ¼ to 1/3 the weight of the shot fired. For a carronade, a type of heavy, but short-range gun, which made up the majority of Niagara’s armament, the powder charge varied from 1/8 to 1/12 the weight of the shot.


Long Gun


ACTIVITIES: 1. 2. 3.


5. 6.

Niagara carried one 12 pounder Long Gun and nine 32 pounder Carronades on each broadside. How much Black Powder would be required to fire one full broadside? Have students determine the amount of charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter needed to produce 500 pounds of powder. Have students determine which has more energy, a 32-pound iron ball traveling at 750 feet per second or a 2000-pound car traveling at 30 miles per hour. Remember to convert all to the same units. The formula for kinetic energy is: KE=1/2 (mv2) For high school physics students: Have students find the kinetic energy of the 32-pound ball as it leaves the carronade. That cannonball has enough energy to smash through two feet of solid oak at one half mile. The cannonball leaves the carronade at 750 feet/second. Kinetic Energy in Joules = 1/2 (mv2) m=mass or weight in kilograms v= velocity in meters per second. Remember to convert pounds to kilograms and velocity to meters per second. Determine which has more kinetic energy: the 32 pounder as it leaves the carronade? or a 1500 kilogram car moving at 30 kilometers per hour? Have students determine a reasonable amount of black powder Commodore Perry would have taken on board Lawrence and how much Lawrence used during the battle. Further, ask students why Niagara did not have several very large carronades. Modern navy ships have a few very large guns. One reason may be that in 1812, large guns were dangerous and hard to handle and would put a huge strain on a wooden ship. How were the guns aimed back in 1812? By trial and error, and most cannonballs would miss unless they were at a very close range. (Mathematics/Physics standards)

SHIP’S STORES/REFERENCES Lowry, E.D. Interior Ballistics: How a gun converts chemical energy into projectile motion. Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, 1968. O’Brien, Patrick. Men of War: Life in Nelsons Navy. New York: W.W. Norton, 1995.

Long Gun


Lesson 14:


Ask your students what they think of when they hear the word camels. Mention the word camel, and most people think of a large desert animal. A device known as camels (camels come in pairs) was built and used in Erie. The camels made a certain task possible that many thought impossible. Most people today do not know what this camel is, or what it looks like, or how it got its strange name. Ask your students how this could be. The nautical camel has become obsolete, no longer serving a useful purpose now that most channels are dredged. It was a very good thing that the British did not think of camels as they guarded the entrance to Presque Isle Bay. Commodore Barclay underestimated Perry’s resolve to get the two brigs over the sand bar. In the following passage you will learn about what camels were, and how they worked. Why build the American fleet at Erie? The British had control of Lake Erie, and the side that controlled the lake had a great advantage in the wilderness, where roads are almost impassable with great amounts of supplies. The Americans lost Detroit, Mackinac, and Fort Dearborn to the British at the beginning of the war. It was agreed a fleet had to be built on Lake Erie, but where? Only two places were suitable, Black Rock in New York, and Erie in Pennsylvania. Daniel Dobbins favored Erie. He reasoned that a sand bar at the east entrance of Presque Isle would protect the vulnerable ships from the British. Jesse Elliot had recommended Black Rock. Elliot, like the British, was short sighted and did not believe crossing the bar was possible. Noah Brown had a great idea, camels. Camels, a Dutch invention, would be used to lift the two brigs, Lawrence and Niagara, over the bar. The British, under Commodore Barclay, maintained a blockade at the entrance of Presque Isle Bay. Unexpectedly, the British sailed away to Port Dover, Canada. Could this be a trap to lure the American ships out? Perry did not think twice. Here was his chance to move the brigs to Lake Erie. Perry used the ingenious camels to move the brigs over a sand bar. What did these mysterious camels look like, and how did they work? No one today knows exactly what they looked like. After reading different accounts and using common sense historians can come up with a good model. They were described as huge boxes, barges, or scowls. Four were built with the following dimensions: 50 feet by 10 feet by 8 feet. They were made of wood. Each had a 6-inch square hole to allow water to enter. How were the camels used? It took four days of backbreaking labor and no sleep to get the two


brigs over the sand bar. Something did go wrong. An east wind lowered the water over the sand bar to about five feet. The brigs drew nine feet. On July 30, after the British left, the smaller gunboats were taken over the bar and used to protect the brigs. Lawrence was the first to be moved. It was brought to the bar and lightened by unloading armament and ballast. The camels were placed along side Lawrence on both sides. They were filled with water until only a foot remained above the water. Then the camels were attached to Lawrence. The water was pumped out. As the water was pumped out, Lawrence rose about two feet. The principle of buoyancy is at work here. Two feet was not enough. The camels had to be reset three times, before Lawrence was dragged over the bar. After three days of backbreaking labor and little sleep the Lawrence was over the bar. Now it was Niagara’s turn. The water level was rising by then and Niagara was over in one day. The British showed up as Niagara sat helpless on the sandbar. Barclay was fooled, and he was not ready for a fight. He left the scene, leaving Perry to complete the job. There was no rest, however. As soon as the fleet was ready, Perry took off after the British. He was incredibly lucky once again. We should all admire the hard work done by Perry and his men. ACTIVITIES 1. Have the students use cardboard to build a model of the camels. 2. Draw a diagram of the camels. 3. Describe in your own words how camels work. 4. Make a graph showing the relationship between camels and a lift. 5. Have students write a sailor’s journal describing what those four days of cameling might have been like. (Science and Technology/Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)

The Americans knew very well that they would have a problem getting the two large vessels in their fleet over that sand bar. That’s why they built the berth (below) deck of the ships so very short to squeeze down the height of the vessel, making it “draw” (sink into) as little water as possible. Even so, the brigs drew about nine feet of water, and there was only about five feet of water over the sand bar meaning the ships would have to be lifted up about four feet to get them out into the lake. The Americans were fortunate because the shipbuilder Noah Brown knew how to solve the problem through a simple Dutch invention known as “camels.” When the British, for reasons still not quite clear, abandoned their nearly summer-long blockade of Presque Isle Bay on the last day of July 1813, Commodore Perry ordered Brown to have the men get the operation underway. The two large brigs would be “cameled” over the sand bar one at a time. Possible steps to camel the brigs over the sand bar: 1. Unload all of the heavy materials from the ship (Lawrence went first) cannons, ballast, etc.making the vessel as light as possible. 2. They then “kedged” Lawrence forward up to the sandbar by using the anchor and ship’s capstan (a human-powered winch). The anchor was dropped forward and the men working the capstan around and around hauled the ship slowly forward up to anchor, and then the process was repeated. 3. Noah Brown had built four “camels,”basically long empty wooden boxes or barges that were 50 feet long by 10 feet across by 8 feet tall, equipped with a 6-inch square hole that could be plugged, and pumps. 4. Sink the camels, two along either side of Lawrence in the center, with only about one foot remaining


5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

above water. Attach the camels to Lawrence in the center with wooden poles and ropes. Pump the water out of the camels, lifting the ship up about two feet (principle of buoyancy is critical here). The camels had to be reset three times before Lawrence could be dragged over the bar. This backbreaking work went on for three days. By the time it was Niagara’s turn, the water level had risen because of an east wind, and she went over in one day. While Niagara was going over the bar (and in fact while she was stuck on the bar), the British appeared in the distance, and the men scurried, preparing for attack. The British, however, were fooled, thinking that Perry was fully prepared for battle and they were not. They sailed back across the lake.




Students will differentiate the various weather patterns over Lake Erie, both past and present, and apply knowledge of conditions of nature and science needed for successful sailing. They may know and apply knowledge of conditions of nature and science needed for sailing, define vocabulary words associated with weather, identify various symbols and patterns used on weather maps, understand the use of the barometer and anemometer, know the difference between high pressure and low pressure, interpret data from weather charts, understand and use the terms jet stream, wind movement, offshore wind, on shore wind, tides, and currents in relation to sailing, interpret how weather affected tall ships, and sailing schedules historically throughout the world, and interpret how weather affects shipping schedules now. Introduction to Weather Patterns It is apparent that weather and wind patterns have always had an extreme effect on sailing. Students and teachers may examine specific aspects of the weather and its effects throughout history to present. Start with vocabulary and patterns and symbols on weather maps. ACTIVITIES 1. Look at the terms used in predicting weather gathered from the local weather bureau and books available in the classroom. 2. Use charts of the local area to demonstrate and point out different symbols used to predict the weather. 3. Research wind patterns of the world. 4. Research weather patterns around Lake Erie (Erie, The Lake That Survived, p. 45) 5. Examine various charts and graphs used in predicting weather. 6. Take a field trip to the local weather bureau or television station. 7. Research past weather conditions on Lake Erie involving the sailing of the U.S. Brig Niagara by using logs and ships journals. 8. After examining weather conditions at different times of the year in each hemisphere, record the weather patterns in your area for one month. Interpret and reflect on the data in your student logbook. 9. Make weather predictions or make conclusions of what the weather was from what occurred on Lake Erie in the past. (Science and Technology/Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards) SHIP’S STORES/REFERENCES Burns, Noel M. (1985). Erie, the lake that survived. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Allenheld. Local weather bureau, Erie International Airport Weather The visual encyclopedia of nautical terms. (1978).

New York: Crown Publishing.

Winstrom, William H. (1942). Weather and the oceans of air. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.


Lesson 16:


This lesson will help students demonstrate basic concepts and principles of physical, chemical, biological, and earth sciences. Apply conditions of nature and science, set up laboratory experiments, demonstrate the effects of salt water and fresh water on marine life, demonstrate the effects of salt water and fresh water on wooden ships, understand the sanitation problems inherent in the maritime experience, and understand the importance of food and drinking water storage on ships in the past and present. Examine and analyze the effects of salt water and fresh water on marine life, wooden ships, and maritime life. Examine the sanitation problems inherent in the maritime experience, such as waste disposal. Food storage and fresh water storage was and still is very important. Study and compare conditions aboard the U.S. Brig Niagara with that of ocean going warships, as well as the situation today.

ACTIVITIES: 1. Set up labs and introduce science experiments dealing with the effects of salt water and fresh water. 2. Read logs and other information available about sanitation procedures on warships and other sailing vessels in the Revolutionary Era to the early 1900s, as well as storage of food and water. 3. Read information on sanitation procedures on lake and ocean-going vessels of today. 4. Interview crew of the U.S. Brig Niagara to determine what is being done aboard the ship today regarding sanitation and food and water storage. 5. In collaboration with other classmates, prepare a comparison relating to sanitation and water storage of sailing vessels in the 1800s with present-day sailing vessels. (Science and Technology standards)


Lesson 17:


Sailing on the Great Lakes requires knowledge of conditions of nature and science needed for successful sailing. Students will understand what a current is and how it works, examine and understand the different currents that affect the oceans of the world, understand how currents affected sailing historically, compare currents in Lake Erie to those of the other Great Lakes, and determine what affects currents and conditions on Lake Erie. Understanding the Effects of Currents On Ships and Sailing Both Past and Present We will need to examine currents to have a better idea of what affected sailing in the past and what affects sailing now. We will learn the concepts of currents. Students will first identify currents in the oceans and determine resources for further research. ACTIVITIES: 1. Research the reasons for currents and their locations on a world map. 2. Research how currents affected sailing and shipping schedules historically. 3. After students have a basic knowledge of currents and tides, we will learn to apply this knowledge to Lake Erie. For example, newspaper reports say that sand is shifting from Presque Isle at Erie to Conneaut harbor in Ohio. (Science and Technology/Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)

Charting and Observing Lake Erie Currents We will now examine the currents that affect Lake Erie and are related to the U.S. Brig Niagara. The Long Point and Presque Isle projection make Lake Erie unique. They effectively narrow the lake and the prevailing wind from the west lends itself to a fairly strong easterly current. We will examine this effect and compare it to other Great Lake currents. Going Overboard

1. Read about and discuss the shape of Lake Erie. 2. Research the effects of Lake Erie conditions on sailing, both historic and modern 3. Students will examine the origin of Lake Erie, the shape, and the prevailing winds. 4. Compare Lake Erie conditions with other Great Lakes. 5. Chart conditions of the various lakes. 6. Give oral reports on historic conditions of Lake Erie (in groups or individually) 7. Create charts of currents in the lakes. (Science and Technology standards) This information will give us an idea of how to determine the effects of currents on sailing, shipping, and the Battle of Lake Erie.

SHIP’S STORES/REFERENCES Report on lakes. Buffalo, NY: U.S. Corps of Army Engineers. Report on lakes. U.S. Department of the Interior - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Fish and Wildlife Service. Stone, D., & Frew, D. (1993). Waters of repose. Erie, PA: Erie County Historical Society.


Lesson 18:


Students will calculate the distance and the rate of the speed of the U.S. Brig Niagara, traveling with the current and returning against the current. They will use mathematical skills to calculate distance and rate of speed and apply these skills to the ship, apply knowledge of velocity and direction of the wind to speed of the current, use linear systems to calculate distance traveled. Learning to compute rate and distance of travel is a necessary skill aboard a ship. Teachers will review mathematical skills necessary to compute rate and distance of travel and give students the opportunity to practice these skills.

ACTIVITIES: 1. Calculate the rate of speed of the U.S. Brig Niagara to and from a given point and calculate the distance traveled. 2. Apply this knowledge to practical information to determine why it is necessary. 3. Discuss the reason this information is vital on board ship. 4. Evaluate the format of the equations and the calculations. (Mathematics Standards) SHIP’S STORES/REFERENCES -- Mathematics teachers


Lesson 19:


Ask students if they have ever had an idea or discovery come to them in a surprising way or place. Many great ideas or discoveries happen by accident, unplanned but welcomed. It happened to a Greek mathematician, Archimedes, in 250 B.C. One day, while musing in his bathtub, he hit upon the principle of buoyancy. The principle of buoyancy states that a body partially or completely immersed in a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid that is displaced. Everyone knows that wood floats, and a small metal weight will sink. The principle of buoyancy was not well understood even in the late 18th century, even though it is easy to prove. Eighteenth century sailors were skeptical of the sea worthiness of metal ships. It was not until 1787, when John Wilkinson built a 70-foot barge, made from iron plates, that metal ships came on the scene. Most kinds of wood float because they are less dense than water. If you push a log under water and release it, it will rise and float. When the log is underwater a force, the force of buoyancy, is greater than the logs weight. Underwater the log displaces its own volume of water, but the volume of water weighs more than the log, thus the log floats. Any object will rise in a fluid if it is less dense than the fluid. A steel ship floats, even though the density of steel is more than seven times that of water. The ship is a steel container filled mostly with air, and its average density is less than waters. Another way to put it is that a ship will float if the volume of the water that it displaces weighs more than the ship itself. If you pound out the same metal weight that sank before into a shallow bowl, it will float. A ship’s design is equally important in keeping a ship afloat. Waves and winds rock ships. If the ship is improperly designed or improperly loaded the ship could tip over. This was an issue with Lawrence and Niagara. With their shallow draft, heavy cannon, and large sails, both needed appropriate ballast and luck. Perry was questioned for ordering expensive lead for ballast instead of using stone. Today’s Niagara was carefully designed to be as authentic as possible without compromising safety. She has many changes that make her a safer ship. The 1813 Niagara was a dangerous ship. During the pursuit of the British, the fleet encountered heavy weather, which threatened the ships with high winds and waves. The ships rolled and dipped in the waves. The men were shaken, but luck was on their side and they survived. Density One of the major changes on today’s Niagara involves engines and ballast. Niagara carries 52 long tons of lead ballast. Because of the two engines in her mid-section, Niagara carries half of the ballast bolted to her keel. This adds two feet extra to her original draft, and has improved her ability to sail into the wind. Lead is used as ballast material because it is very dense. Density is a ratio of mass divided by volume or D = m/v. In other words, a given volume of one material is a different weight than the same volume of another. To be more exact, a given volume of lead weighs more than a given volume of wood.


ACTIVITIES 1. Have students make hulls out of various materials or objects. Hulls may be made from empty juice boxes, yogurt containers, fruits, potatoes, or bars of soap. Use your imagination. Add to the hull. Use index cards, popsicle sticks, or plastic straws to make masts and sails. See Lesson 27, “The Engine of the Ship” for the shapes and sizes. Have a boat race to see whose design works best. 2. If an object floats well, blow on it or use a fan to see how well it moves through water and how its shape helps or hampers movement. The following activities are for advanced studies: 3. Have students find examples of different hull designs at the library or on the Internet. Mold foil into various hull shapes. Determine which shape is most stable in water under different circumstances. Stability is the tendency of a ship rolling from side to side to right itself. Add stone or sand or water as ballast. Observe how ballast affects stability. Use your hull shapes to demonstrate Archimedes principle. Weigh your hull with its ballast. Determine the amount of water it displaces. The weight of the water displaced and the hull you have made will weigh the same. The total weight of a ship is called its displacement. As you have just demonstrated, its weight will equal that of the water it displaces. 4. Was Perry justified in using the more expensive lead as ballast? Perform the following math problem. The current Niagara has 52 long tons of lead ballast. Find the volume of lead on board Niagara. You will need the following information: the density of lead = 700 lb/ft.3; long ton = 2240 lbs. Find the density of stone and then find the volume of 52 long tons of stone and compare to the volume of lead ballast. To find the density of stone, find its weight and volume. First, find the stone’s weight in pounds on a household scale. Next, put water in a straight-sided cyclinder, and mark the water level. Place the stone in the water, and mark off the new water level. The volume of the new water level is also the volume of the stone. To find the volume of the stone, measure the rise and the diameter of the area in inches. Use the following formula: Volume in cubic feet = pi (radius)2 x (height of rise) pi = 3.14 pi (radius)2 X (height of rise of water level) Then, divide the weight of the stone in pounds by the volume just calculated to get density in pounds per cubic foot. (Physics/Mathematics standards) Salty Talk Archimedes Principle - A buoyant force acting on a body partially or completely immersed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced. Ballast - Any solid or liquid weight placed in ship to increase the draft, change the trim, or improve stability. Keel - The principal fore and aft component of a ships framing, along the center line of the bottom and connected to the stem and stern frames. (Mathematics/Science and Technology standards)

SHIP’S STORES/REFERENCES Freeman, Ira M., Ph.D. Physics Made Simple. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, 1965 Lewis, Edward and Robert OBrien and the Editors of Life. Ships. Time-Life Incorporated, pp. 31-32. 1966


Lesson 20:


U.S. Brig Niagara must carry an immense amount of weight as a warship. As masts, yards, carronades, and ballast are loaded on board, Niagara sinks lower and lower into the water. The immersion factor is the measure of how much a ship settles in water as weight is increased or decreased. The immersion factor is not the same as the hull shape changes. At the water line Niagara will sink about one inch for every 5.5 tons added. ACTIVITIES





Have students determine how far the Niagara would sink into the water if all twenty carronades and long guns were on board. The approximate weight of each gun and carriage is 3000 pounds. Find the total approximate weight of the guns. Convert the pounds into tons. Two thousand pounds equals one ton. Divide by the number of tons needed to lower the Niagara into the water by one inch. (Answer: 5.45 inches) Have students discuss why the immersion factor would be different as the hull changes shape. If a ship floats high on the water, less hull is exposed to the water. Less weight is needed to lower the ship per inch. If a graph were made showing the relationship between weight added to sinkage, a curve would be produced. Have students find the immersion factor of a tin can. Hint: Find out how much the can will sink for the same amount of water poured into the can. Record the weight of water and how far the can sinks. Come up with your own immersion factor. Graph the results. Have students find the immersion factor of different shaped hulls they may have made in a previous lesson. Have students find the immersion factor for a cone. Have students graph their results. (Mathematics/Science and Technology standards)


C. LIFE ON BOARD ***Getting Your Bearings*** Who Were These Guys and Why Would They Fight? !


The Americans and British both faced difficulty in finding enough trained men for their ships on the Great Lakes. Because of this, the men who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie were a mixture of experienced sailors and marines, as well as soldiers and militia who had no maritime background and often little military training. Navy: Sailors with some ship-board experience were known as seamen; those without were known as landsmen. As many as 20% of Perry’s sailors were African-Americans; they would have found more equal opportunity serving onboard ships than they faced on land. In addition to sailors, naval vessels normally carried marines; the Navy’s soldiers, marines were used as guards and sharpshooters. Sailors and marines joined for a variety of reasons, patriotism, steady work and regular pay, the chance for adventure and travel. Orphaned boys might have met an old salt on the docks and joned ship for security and a litle adventure as a powder monkey. Army: During the war there were few American regular soldiers (welltrained professionals) most of the troops were militia (state organized forces, similar to today’s National Guard) served short terms, from as little as sixty days up to one year during times of war or emergency. Most were poorly trained and equipped and refused to serve beyond their term, many deserted, and most refused to fight on foreign soil (as was their right under the U.S. Constitution). Militia were assigned the task of guarding the ship building effort from Garrison Hill, on or near the current site of Pennsylvania Soldiers and Sailors Home in Erie. Records indicate, for example, that Private Sam Garwood was paid $4.66 for his 14 days of service guarding the fleet in July 1813. Prize money that went to victorious crew when capturing enemy vessels drew others to serve aboard shipa much greater risk. Garwood volunteered to join the Marines after his short time in the militia, served in the Battle of Lake Erie and was rewarded with $200.56 in prize money. Forty percent of Perry’s men were soldiers or marines “landlubbers” with no maritime background! !



British and Canadian Forces: Few of the trained and experienced men of the British Royal Navy were available for duty on the Great Lakes. Commodore Robert H. Barclay, commander of the British Squadron, had to rely upon a few trained sailors as well as soldiers and militia with no shipboard experience. In Canada, all fit males between 18 and 60 served in the Sedentary Militia. As the name implies, they were not exactly the Special Forces: untrained, undisciplined and largely incompetent, they served only during severe crisis. The Incorporated Militia of Upper Canada was much more efficient and committed to their cause of defending against an American invasion. (Many of these men had family roots in the Loyalists who had sided with Great Britain during the American Revolution. Their tenure lasted the entire war.) Canada also had several units of regulars who joined the British regulars. On paper, they may have sounded better, but Barclay complained just before battle that summer: There are not in the Fleet more than four and twenty seamen. If you saw my Canadians,” he wrote to his superiors, “you would condemn every one as a poor devil not worth his Salt.” Barclay—1813

Most of Barclay’s men were soldiers, not navy men (there were perhaps only 50 experienced sailors out of his 440 men). Perry was better off, 200 of his 550 men were experienced sailors. Worse yet, Barclay had to outfit his new warship, Detroit, with an odd assortment of cannon from the ramparts of Fort Malden (Amherstburg). The big guns came in a half dozen sizes. Each needed separate ammunition. This, of course, led to even greater chaos and confusion in the heat of battle. The best of the Royal Navy was in Europe; this was the worst possible assignment for a British army regular or navy man. !




Both sides featured soldiers in tatters: patched, tattered clothing, everything in short supply. Some times the Canadian men were described in official dispatches as “literally naked.” Sometimes men went an entire year without pay. Sanitation was primitive and troops suffered and often died from a variety of diseases: measles, malaria, typhus, typhoid, influenza, and an assortment of maladies known vaguely as “ague” or “lake fever.” Malnutrition was often to blame, especially on the Canadian side. As prescribed by doctors of the era and the navy, combatants on both sides drank the daily issue of grog with the noon meal (rum for the British, raw frontier whiskey for the Americans -a quarter-pint of spirits mixed with water.)


Lesson 21:


Students can get an idea of the way of life on board U.S. Brig Niagara. First, they will try to visualize what it may have been like aboard the ship in 1812. What would a typical day be like? ACTIVITIES 1. Research sleeping quarters, eating arrangements, chores, duties, and other facts about daily living. 2. Examine the possibilities of disease and the effect of inexperience on the part of some sailors aboard the ship. 3. Examine the following: Sailor’s watches were designated: Morning Watch 4:00 8:00 a.m. Forenoon Watch 8:00 12:00 noon Afternoon Watch 12:00 4:00 p.m. Dog Watch 4:00 6:00 p.m. 6:00 8:00 p.m. Evening Watch 8:00 12:00 a.m. Midnight Watch 12:00 4:00 a.m. (History/Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)

Salty Talk Holystone Swab Flemish

Pipe down Forecastle

Galley Mess


TYPICAL DAILY SHIPBOARD ROUTINE FOR A WARSHIP OF 1800 Time 12:00 Mid. 12:30 a.m. 4:00 a.m. 4:30 a.m. 5:00 a.m.

Bells Event 8 End 1st Night Watch, start Middle Watch 1 Muster & set Middle Watch, Watch below to sleep 8 End Middle Watch. Start of Morning Watch 1 Muster & set Morning Watch. Watch below to sleep. Bosun, Gunner, Carpenter, etc. 2 Off shoes. Swab and holystone (Soft pumice or sandstone, often used to scrub the decks of ships. Sailors had to kneel as if in prayer when scrubbing the decks. Holystone was often called so because it is full of holes) spar deck. Flemish (join) ropes. Dry deck and replace wash gear. 7:00 a.m. 6 All lieutenants on deck. 8:00 a.m. 8 End of Morning Watch. Start of Forenoon Watch. Captain on deck. Pipe (boatswain’s whistle) all hands to breakfast. Lower mess tables, etc. 8:30 a.m. 1 Muster and feed Watch on. Remove all loose gear from lower decks. Wet, swab all lower decks. Sponge decks and beams with vinegar and purge decks an hold with gunpowder and sulphur. (This was not done every day). Mess cooks to galley and clean morning gear and ready noon meal. Boys sent to respective work parties. Watch below to attend to the Officers’ wishes. 11:00 a.m. 6 All hands to witness punishment (when served out) on the spar deck. 12:00 noon 8 End of Forenoon Watch. Start Afternoon Watch.

Note: The official ship’s day starts at this time. Midshipmen shoot the sun (calculate position) and set the ship’s time. Pipe all hands to noon meal. Down mess tables. 12:30 p.m. 1 1:30 p.m. 3

Time 4:00 p.m. 4:30 p.m. 6:00 p.m.

7:30 p.m. 8:00 p.m. 8:30 p.m. 9:00 p.m.

Up spirits, muster, and feed watch on. Watch below on free time. Up mess tables. Mess cooks to galley to clean gear and prepare evening meal. Watch below on free time or drill. Work parties, etc. as set by the Captain. Barbers to shave and cut. Marine Company to exercise. Exercise crew at small arms.

Bells Event 8 End of Afternoon Watch, start first Dog Watch. Pipe hands to dinner. Down mess tables. Up spirits. 1 Up mess tables. Mess cooks to galley to clean gear. Feed watch on. 4 End of 1st Dog Watch. Start 2nd Dog Watch. Most ships cleared for action and beat to quarters at this time. Entire ship’s company exercised at the Great Guns. Marines paraded and deployed. Fire pumps rigged. Ship’s Corporals on look out for signs of drunkenness. 7 Secure the guns. Muster ship’s company. Arrests made at this time. Watch below to stand down (freetime). 8 End of 2nd Dog Watch. Start of 1st or Night Watch. Pipe down hammocks and watch below and idlers. 1 Muster watch on. Set night sentries (Marines). 2 Lights out.

Saturday The day was generally spent in cleaning the ship, scouring the decks, and readying the ship for the captains Sunday inspection. Make and mend, wash clothing. Galley kettles scoured. Bright work polished, old hammocks washed, new hammocks issued, guns cleaned, and tackles overhauled. Sunday Early morning spent in ship cleaning. At 10:30 a.m. (5 bells), the crew was mustered on the spar deck in their best clothing. They formed up along the gangways, focsl (forecastle) and quarter deck. The Marine Company was paraded across the poop deck with fixed bayonets. Formal divisions for the Ship’s Company followed Divine Service at 11:00 a.m. (6 bells). The Ship’s Company then stood by while the Captain and Officers inspect the entire ship. The rest of the day was generally free time for Watch Below with no drills or work parties.


Lesson 22:


Students will study the average pay of the crew on Niagara over a three month period. They will determine the average salary of certain crew members on board. In addition to their regular pay, crew were awarded prize money based on the value of captured ships and cargo. Prize money was originally a share of recovered value from sale of captured ships and cargoes.

ACTIVITIES Calculate the following: 1. Perry receives $12,140 for a captured ship. $75 a month in pay




has captured 3 ships has sailed 4 months How much did Perry earn? Elliott receives $7,140 for a captured ship $60 a month in pay has captured 3 ships has sailed 4 months How much did Elliot earn? Ship’s officer receives $998 for a captured ship $45 a month in pay has captured 3 ships has sailed 4 months How much did a ship’s officer earn? Ship’s sailor receives $221 for a captured ship $11 a month in pay has captured 3 ships has sailed 4 months How much did a ship’s sailor earn? (Mathematics standards)

Jesse D. Elliott


Lesson 23:


To help students understand how much of our modern everyday English language derives from the centuries-old language of the sea, have them complete the following exercise. ACTIVITIES

Salty Talk Choices Ahead Aloft Bail Out Bear Down Bitter End Boomtown Get Carried Away Dead Ahead Devil to Pay Down the Hatch First Rate

Forge Ahead Get Your Bearings Give Wide Berth To Go Overboard Groggy Hulk In the Offing In the Doldrums Junk Jury-rig

Keel Over Know the Ropes Lower the Boom Out of the Blue Scuttlebutt Shake a Leg Show Your Colors Son of a Gun Taken Aback Toe the Line


Fill in the Blanks.

1. Directly in front of (off the head of the ship)_______________________________ 2. Up above the deck_________________________ 3. When there’s no more rope or cable you are now at the end of your rope, or the ___________________ 4. To __________________ is to get a fix on the direction in which you are heading. 5. ________________________ was a nickname given to a ship’s gun crew whose father was also a ship’s gunner and whose mother gave birth to him on the gun deck. 6. __________________ means rumor, comes from the time when sailors would gather around the “scuttled” (emptied) “butt” (large barrel) into which drinking water was pumped located at the base of the mainmast. 7. ________________________ means you know your way around, know what you are doing. New sailors had to learn the location and function of all “lines” (ropes) on the ship. 8. ______________. When all hands were mustered, they put their toes to the same line or deck seam. This made for neat lines. 9. Don’t go ________________. You will drown. Be careful. 10. If you are feeling a bit _________________, it could be that you are feeling sleepy or a little drunk from too much grog (mixture of rum or whiskey and water) 11. When you’re ____________________, you feel down in the dumps, unable to get up and go, kind of stuck with no movement or progress. Ships sailing near the equator would often get stuck in calm seas for days or weeks because of a lack of wind, and therefore have to man the sweeps (long oars) to try and get the ship moving toward the wind again. 12. Something is _________________________ when it is close to happening and people are anticipating it. This comes from the time when people waited for ships that appeared offshore to come in with news or loved ones. 13. To be surprised or halted is to be ________________________. This comes from when a ship’s sails are turned into the wind and the ship comes to a sudden halt and even begins to make sternway (go backwards). 14. If you ________________________ , you are probably dead or at least you have collapsed because your ship’s keel (bottom) is now out of the water. The ship has rolled over on its side. 15. If a large wooden warship becomes too rotten to continue service, it is left on the beach or at anchor as a _____________, or a large mass of rotting ship. Sort of like a monster. 16. __________________ is where most of the ship’s cargo goes. Most of your food and drink goes down yours too. This is also a toast. 17. A __________________ ship-of-the-line was the largest and most powerful ship of its day. Less powerful ships were rated downward. 18. If you have too much sail up in too heavy a sea, your sails, spars, and rigging may _______________, or blow away. Be careful in life; don’t overdo it. 19. _________________is stuff we no longer need. On a ship, old odds and ends of rope thought to be useless as rope could be picked apart and its fibers used to patch leaks (with tar and pitch), or used as cannon plugs called wads. Nothing is thrown away on a ship. 20. __________________ is totally unexpected. Short for “out of a clear blue sky” and is an analogy to a sudden change in the weather when, from a good breeze under a cloud-dappled blue sky, a demon squall can appear and wreak havoc on a ship. Especially appropriate in central Lake Erie, which is the site of more shipwrecks than anywhere else on this watery planet because of sudden storms that come up over the lake’s shallow water. (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking standards)


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Key to SALTY TALK: dead ahead aloft bitter end get your bearings son of a gun scuttlebutt know the ropes toe the line overboard groggy in the doldrums in the offing taken aback keel over hulk down the hatch first rate get carried away junk out of the blue


Lesson 24:


This lesson gives students a very real and practical problem involving research, comparing, estimation, computation, and analytical thinking. ACTIVITIES 1. Review basic math skills, including decimals, ratios, proportions, fractions, estimation, comparison, and measurements. 2. Determine what information is needed to solve the problem of feeding the crew on a week’s voyage. For example, how would the food be stored and preserved? 3. Determine what foods to buy for a voyage on U.S. Brig Niagara, cost of specific foods, or how much to purchase. Students may also do research to determine how food was obtained, what foods were eaten, how the food was kept, and how the 155 crew members were fed in 1813. Today’s Niagara has 40 crew: In general, the crew is as follows: Captain, Chief Mate, 2nd Mate, 3rd Mate, 4th Mate, Boatswain (Bosun), Steward/cook, Assistant Cook, five A.B. Seamen, 4 Ordinary Seamen, 23 Trainees. (Their duties are outlined in U.S. Brig Niagara Crew Handbook, 2005.) 4. In your student logbook, record what you eat for a week and what the food costs. (Mathematics/Family and Consumer Science standards)

Going Overboard

1. Research the different aspects of supplying food for a crew on the U.S. Brig Niagara in both time periods, early 1800s and the present. 2. Problem solve to determine the cost of feeding crew members on either the 1813 voyage or a voyage in present time. 3. Make a comparison of the two time periods.

Rigging Up / Materials: A typical weekly ration aboard the ship in 1813 is listed in the U.S. Brig Niagara Crew Handbook printed by the Flagship Niagara League (2005).


Lesson 25:


Early in history, man resorted to various procedures for reducing the perishability of foods. Among the earliest methods of food preservation were smoking, drying, salting, fermenting, freezing, and pickling. Canning as a method of food preservation was not invented until the early 1800s and modern methods of freezing were not developed until the 1900s. Irradiation, the most recent development in food preservation, is still largely experimental and is not yet used commercially. Among the most important causes of food spoilage are bacteria, mold, insects, mites, and rodents. Another type of chemical change that causes food spoilage is oxidation, which causes fats to become rancid and produces off color and off-flavors in other foods. Additional forms of food spoilage include the drying of moist food, mechanical damage, absorption of undesirable flavors and odors, and contamination with filth.

ACTIVITY 1. Research these various types of food preservation and relate them to food storage on board early ships. Are these methods of food preservation still being used today? How have these methods changed in the past 180 years? How do these methods apply to food preservation on the U.S. Brig Niagara? Dehydration-e.g air drying, vacuum drying, freeze-drying Chemical Preservation-e.g. salt, smoke, sugar, acids ! Blanching-e.g. mild heat treatment applied to fruits and vegetables to inactivate enzymes ! Heat processing-e.g. canning, pasteurization ! Refrigeration-cold storage: cooling/chilling; freezing ! Irradiation ! Pickling (Science and Technology/Family and Consumer Sciences standards) ! !


Lesson 26:


Navy rations needed to be items that would last during a long voyage. Meats were salted for preservation and stored in wooden barrels. Fresh bread, fruits and vegetables were only available at the beginning of a voyage or when visiting a port. The men ate three meals a day: breakfast at 8:00 a.m., dinner at noon and supper at 4:00 p.m. They ate on the deck on a piece of old canvas like a picnic blanket. Their cups and plates were wood, tin, or pewter. The men were organized in messes of eight to ten members. During the War of 1812, U.S. sailors were issued the following rations.

The flour, suet, vinegar and molasses were used by the men to make suet pudding. Daily caloric intake was 4240. In addition, the men were to be given at least ½ gallon of water per day; ships were to carry seine nets and catch fish whenever convenient. In the U.S. Navy, the spirit ration was originally rum; it was served watered down and known as “grog.” By the War of 1812, rum had been replaced by American bourbon whiskey. It was normally served in two ¼ pint rations, one after dinner the other after supper. It could be replaced by two quarts of beer. The “bread” normally issued to sailors was known as “ship’s bread” or “ship’s biscuit” (soldiers called it “hardtack”). This was really a heavy, hard cracker about 3 ½” square. It was favored because it was easy to make and transport and would last much longer than regular bread. It was, however, so hard that it could not be bitten into and had to be added to soup, gravy or water to soften it. The U.S. Navy kept its ship’s biscuit in sealed boxes which prolonged its life and taste; the British kept theirs in bags which frequently allowed it do become infected with insects.


ACTIVITY 1. Let’s make some hardtack and compare it to today’s saltine cracker. Reflect on this experience in the student logbook. (Family and Consumer Science standards)

Rigging Up (materials needed; suggestions of things to have on hand) You will need the following materials: Mixing bowl Soda Crackers (Saltines) Spoons Flour Measuring cups Water Tooth picks Sugar (Optional) Rolling pin Knife Procedure: 1. Mix six parts of flour with one part water. (You may add a little sugar for sweetener.) 2. Mix thoroughly 3. Roll out with rolling pin about ½ inch thick. 4. Cut dough into 3 inch squares. 5. Poke 16 holes in each square with a toothpick. 6. Place on cookie sheet and bake at approximately 350 degrees until light brown. When cool, encourage students to try the hardtack. Give them each a saltine cracker to compare with the hardtack. Ask the students to respond to questions such as: How would you like to eat hardtack all the time? How is hardtack different from a saltine? Which cracker did you like best and why? Which would last longer and keep its shape better?


Unit IV

The Battle of Lake Erie



The Battle of Lake Erie * * * Getting Your Bearings * * * Once Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry was able to camel his fleet across the sand bar and out into Lake Erie, he went sailing west to chase after the British. He anchored at a place called Put-inBay, near present-day Sandusky, Ohio. All of us can relate to sickness and hunger. Tell students that the Battle of Lake Erie might also be called The Day the Hungry Came out to Fight the Sick: The American fleet battled Lake Fever all summer long. One out of four men on any given day would have been down with “The Fever” (mostly dysentery and other diseases associated with poor sanitation and diet). Perry himself was afflicted with it just days before the battle; the two surgeons in the fleet could not report for duty the day of the battle because of the fever. The British, on the other, hand, were feeding 14,000 Native Americans encamped around Fort Malden, where the British were busy with their own shipbuilding operation. They began to run short of food by early September. British Captain Robert Barclay was feeding his own men half-rations of meat, bread, and other essentials. Barclay had no choice but to try and sail to the east and get his fleet re-supplied at Dover. In order to do that, he had to get past Perry’s American fleet at Put-in-Bay. As difficult as it was for the Americans to build and outfit their ships, the British were in a greater fix. Civilized outposts in Canada were sparse, and industry was nearly non-existent. The British supply route ran all the way to England, and because of Niagara Falls, the last couple hundred miles to Fort Malden was over land. Captain Barclay was, in fact, forced to take cannons from Fort Malden to help outfit his two large vessels, H.M.S. QUEEN CHARLOTTE and H.M.S. DETROIT. The Battle of Lake Erie took place on the afternoon of September 10, 1813, from just about noon until just about three o’clock. For more than two hours of the battle, the British had the upper hand. Commanding U.S. Brig Lawrence, Oliver Hazard Perry and his crew of 135 men (32 were ill with the fever and could not report for duty) suffered an almost unbelievable casualty rate of more than 80% and continued to fight. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry was a brave, opportunistic, smart, ambitious man. He was also extremely fortunate. A few examples of what became known as “Perry Luck”: !


The British pulled away from Erie in early August, giving Perry time to get ships over the bar. He escaped the two hours of an absolute slaughterhouse of destruction aboard Lawrence unscathed. At one point early in the battle, Perry was talking to Lieutenant John Brooks, in charge of the Marines, when a cannon ball struck Brooks in the hip, sending him in agony to die below deck.


Points to Ponder !

Ask students what two famous slogans are associated with this battle. Did they know that one of them, DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP, is a bit of a misnomer, in that Perry actually has to do just that in order to win the battle. What he did not do, in the end, is give up. Those words, students should know, were not Perry’s, but belonged to his late friend, Captain James Lawrence,





who had gone down in another naval battle earlier in 1813. Lawrence’s dying words to his own men were “Keep fighting til she sinks! Don’t Give Up the Ship, Don’t Give Up the Ship!” Perry heard the story and when he arrived in Erie, asked a group of prominent women to sew a battle flag with those words to inspire his men. !

Ask students if the wind to sail the fleet of ships is free. Yes? Not really. The wind may be “free,” but the engine designed to capture the winds energy is not. Niagara’s engine uses a combination of wood, rope, canvas, and men (who eat a lot of costly food) to harness the wind.


In a time long before radio, ask students how Perry might have communicated to the officers commanding the other eight ships in the American fleet. (Signal flags and code).


Make certain students realize that the only real purpose for Niagara and Lawrence was to serve as floating platforms for cannon. They were each outfitted with two 12-pounder (meaning they primarily shot 12pound cannon balls) long guns, and eighteen 32-pound carronades. These heavy iron guns mounted on wooden carriages were designed to inflict debilitating damage on an enemy ship. Therefore, the crews




Soon after, Perry stopped to aid one of his gun captains, who was suddenly torn in two by a 24-pound cannonball. Perry was untouched. Perry’s favorite black spaniel ran about the deck until he was confined to a china closet in the berth deck where he howled throughout the battle. The china cabinet was hit by a cannonball, but the dog escaped, beneficiary of his master’s luck. Every officer on Lawrence was either killed or wounded except Perry and his 13 year-old brother, midshipman James Alexander Perry. After two brutal hours of combat, one of Lawrence’s boats was still afloat, being towed astern (behind). It had a hole shot through it, but the hole was above the water line. Perry took four of his best surviving men as a boat crew, hauls down his battle flag and rows, incredibly without being killed, toward Niagara. Once he rowed back ½ mile or so to Niagara, met with Captain Elliott (who had, for reasons still not entirely clear, stayed out of battle range as Lawrence got shot to pieces). Just when Perry needed it, the breeze “freshened” and Perry was able to sail his flagship, battle flag newly raised, right into the line of battle. The ultimate goal in any naval battle was to “cross the T,” to pass “the broadsides” of your ship between two facing enemy ship’s sterns or bows, so as to minimize their ability to fire at you while you rake broadsides at two ships from either side of your own. Perry achieved this goal in less than 15 minutes. Niagara’s starboard broadsides ripped down the entire length of the Queen Charlotte and Niagara, while her port broadsides wreaked havoc on the Lady Prevost. Within 15 minutes of Perry’s transfer to Niagara, the British had surrendered. Perry returned to his ship, Lawrence, to receive the British surrender, and penned his famous message to General Harrison: We have met the enemy and they are ours: Two Ships, two Brigs, one Schooner and one Sloop. Yours, with great respect and esteem. O.H. Perry — 1813


needed to be trained to load and fire them as fast and as accurately as possible when they themselves were under fire and when the ship was under sail. This was not an easy task for the many landsmen and soldiers who would make up most of Perry’s crew. More than half of these men had likely never seen a naval ship or a cannon in their lives. !

Ask students if any of them has been to Cedar Point Amusement Park and ridden the Magnum roller coaster. Tell them the next time they go to look out (when they are high atop the Magnum) into Lake Erie. They will see a group of islands, today called Put-in-Bay, that is where Commodore Perry had his fleet anchored in the first days of September 1813 as he waited for the British. The Battle of Lake Erie took place just to the northwest of those islands.



What is energy? The capacity to do work. When someone first sees Niagara, they first notice her many sails, eight that are positioned “square” to the center line of the ship, and seven that run fore and aft, parallel to the center of the vessel. In 1813, Niagara’s sails were made from linen, produced from flax a plant grown in many regions of the country that was processed into all kinds of fabric. Have students imagine making all of their clothes by hand from a plant. The linen cloth to make Niagara’s sails was transported by coach all the way from Philadelphia. The point is that much human energy went into making the canvas, rope, and wood to harness the winds energy. Niagara’s different shapes and positions of her 15 sails make her very maneuverable. A brig like Niagara can stop, turn, and back up, as well as move forward. But many sailors were and are needed to haul on Niagara’s nearly six miles of rope, called “lines” on the ship, to bring those sails into the position where they can best catch the wind.

And the wind does not always cooperate. Many times it is from the “wrong” direction (coming into your face), or it is too strong, or not strong enough. A brig can sail only 75 degrees “off” the wind, and therefore sometimes the ship could not go directly to the desired location. The ship would have to “tack” back and forth to reach its destination. Have students imagine what they do to go up a tall mountain and switchback back and forth. It takes longer, but it is achievable. A ship going into the wind is like a human walking up a mountain. Sometimes the ship would have to stay put until the wind was just right. At the beginning of the battle, the wind was not what Commodore Perry needed. Finally, just before the battle started, the wind began to favor Perry. At the last point in the battle, it really favored him as the breeze freshened to carry Niagara into the British line of ships. The engine that captures free wind works with the effort of manpower. ACTIVITIES 1. Make scale models of each sail on Niagara. One place to do this is the school parking lot with chalk. 2. Find the area of each sail. Find the perimeter of each sail. 3. Experiment with different airfoils. 4. Identify the various sails and other parts of Niagara. (Science and Technology/Mathematics standards)



50’ 30’9”

23’6” 23’









44 ’3”



33’ 34’6”






34’6 ”





54’ 35’

35’ 46’



’ 72



36 ’3”

30’3 ”

’ 52

13 ’



28 ’

58’ 67


Lesson 28:


As stated earlier (See Lesson 13) Niagara was built for only one reason, to carry a battery of heavy guns into action against the British. This battery consisted of 20 cast iron, muzzle-loading guns. The majority of these guns were 32 pounder Carronades, a designation that referred to the weight of the shot fired. But just what is a Carronade and how does one work? The term Carronade comes from the Carron Ironworks in Scotland where this type of gun was first developed in 1779. It refers to a very specific type of short-barreled, relatively lightweight cannon designed for shipboard use. Such guns gave a relatively small warship like Niagara a much heavy punch at short range that an armament made up of a comparable number of standard Long Guns. However, the maximum effective range of a Carronade is only about 1/3 that of a comparable Long Gun. A full gun crew for a 32 pdr. Carronade consists of seven men, although it could be operated effectively, but more slowly, by as few as three men. In addition to the gun crew, a young boy (12 to 15 years of age), known as a “Powder Monkey” was assigned to every two or three guns. In combat the Powder Monkey’s job was to ferry charges for the guns from the Magazine, located well below deck, up to the “Salt Boxes” containing ready ammunition at the rear of each gun. In order to load the Carronade, or any muzzle-loading gun, it must first be hauled inboard to the loading position. The barrel is then searched using a long corkscrew-like implement known as the worm, and swabbed out with a dampened lamb’s wool sponge. Once the gun has been searched and sponged, a flannel bag, called a cartridge, containing some 2½ pounds of Black Powder (See Lesson 13) is rammed home down the barrel, followed by a 32 pound solid iron cannon ball, more properly called a shot. Once the gun has been loaded it must be “Run Out” to the firing position. This is done by hauling on the side tackle attached to the Gun Carriage. A brass wire, known as the “Vent Pick,” is then run down the vent, or touch hole, to tear open the cartridge. A “Priming Quill,” a thin tube filled with a mixture of fine Black Powder and Turpentine, is then inserted in the vent. The Carronade is now loaded, primed and ready to fire. The gun is fired by applying the “Slow Match,” cotton cord that has been treated with Potassium Nitrate (Salt Peter) so as to burn at a slow steady rate, to the primer. When the primer goes off, it shoots a tongue of flame down the vent to the cartridge in the breach. The cartridge goes off with a deafening roar and the 32 pound shot exits the muzzle with an initial velocity of approximately 750 feet per second, or around 500 mph. At the same time the gun and carriage, which together weigh over a ton, recoil inboard at a speed of about of 50 mph. The recoil is stopped by the “Breach Rope,” and the gun is now back in the loading position where the entire process can begin again. A well-trained Gun Crew can maintain a rate of fire of one round every 90 seconds.


ACTIVITIES 1. Identify and label the various parts of the carronade and gun carriage, along with the various implements and gun tools needed to operate the gun. ! ! ! ! !

2. 3.


Muzzle Carriage Breech Vent Breech/Recoil Rope

Discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of a Carronade over Long Guns. Discuss the different types of shot that can be fired from muzzle-loading artillery and the kind of damage each type of shot would inflict on a wooden warship. See the video at the Maritime Museum, “Live Fire,� depicting a reenactment of the bombardment of Lawrence. Discuss the effects of splinters and falling rigging, etc. as sources of casualties during a 19th Century Naval Action. (History standards)


Lesson 29:


The standard military musket of the early 19th century was a muzzle loading, flintlock musket. The weapon, usually in either .69 or .75 caliber, was very simple and somewhat crude by today’s standards. It consisted of three main parts: the lock, the spring mechanism that ignited the gunpowder; the stock, the wooden body of the weapon to which all steel parts were attached; and the barrel, the pipe-like tube into which the gunpowder and musket ball were loaded and fired. Thus, the whole musket consisted

of lock, stock, and barrel.


Have students label the parts of the musket, using these terms: ! Lock: The firing mechanism including the flint and hammer ! Stock: The wooden body of the musket to which all parts are attached. ! Barrel: The tube into which the powder and ball are loaded and from which they are fired. ! Barrel bands: Straps holding the barrel in place. ! Ramrod: Thin rammer used to drive the powder and ball home ! Muzzle: The end of the barrel into which powder and ball are loaded and come out! ! Butt Plate: Steel plate at the end of the stock. ! Trigger: Used to fire the musket (History standards)


Unit V

Aftermath: Significance of the Battle of Lake Erie and The War of 1812



Aftermath: Significance of the Battle of Lake Erie and the War of 1812 ***Getting Your Bearings*** !

The Battle of Lake Erie marked the first time the U.S. Navy had fought a decisive fleet action. This also marked the first time a British squadron had been forced to surrender to any country. Forced by circumstance to seek battle ill prepared and outgunned, the British received a serious blow to their pride. The morale of Americans, on the other hand, experienced a great lift.


The battle left the U.S. in complete control of Lake Erie, and eliminated any chance of the British resupplying their garrison at Detroit, forcing them to abandon it and retreat to the east.


Perry, meanwhile, used the combined fleet to transport General William Henry Harrison’s army to the north shore of Lake Erie, where it intercepted the retreating British army and defeated it at the Battle of the Thames River (Moraviantown) on October 5, 1813. It was during this battle that the great Shawnee Indian chief Tecumseh was killed. His death, and disillusionment with the British, led to the collapse of the Indian confederacy’s alliance with Great Britain. The Americans continued to advance the frontier into the northwest and west, as native tribes continued to retreat.


The War of 1812 lingered on for another 15 months and included these notable events:


# #



The bombardment of Fort McHenry at Baltimore (where Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the Star Spangled Banner, which became the American National Anthem) The burning of the city of Washington by the British in 1814 The Battle of Lake Champlain, almost exactly one year after the Battle of Lake Erie. This was another significant victory for the Americans. The Battle of New Orleans, during which Andrew Jackson (another future president) led the Americans in a rout of the British. This battle actually occurred two weeks after the peace Treaty of Ghent had been signed.

The peace treaty made little mention of the maritime issues that helped to provoke the War of 1812. Impressment and interference with American trade resolved themselves with the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1814. No land was exchanged between the Americans and British as a result of the war. Therefore, the only real losers of the War of 1812 were the Native Americans, who lost one of the great Indian leaders in the history of North America and continued to get pushed further to the West. The War of 1812 may be counted as one of the last great stands made by Native Americans east of the Mississippi River.


Lesson 30:


The identity of a nation is often marked with its war-hero Presidents, such as William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.


2. 3. 4.

Examine the Presidential campaign of 1840. For example, William Henry Harrison gained fame as a war hero, defeating American Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811 and earning the nickname “Tippecanoe” (or “Old Tippecanoe”). As a general in the subsequent War of 1812, his most notable contribution was a victory at the Battle of the Thames, in which Tecumseh was killed. Research other Presidents who were considered war heroes. Research Presidents who presided over America during wartime. Choose a President of the United States who was either a war hero or presided during war time and reflect on his presidency in the student logbook. (History/Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)



Lesson 31:


What is a memoir? A memoir is a piece of autobiographical writing, usually shorter in nature than a comprehensive autobiography. It often tries to capture certain highlights or meaningful moments in one’s past and often includes a reflection of the meaning of the event at the time of the memoir. By discussing the importance of having a written history of humanity, and the ways in which prior knowledge and life experiences influence others, students develop an interest in the descriptive writing of their own history. Dr. Usher Parsons kept a diary and wrote memoirs of his service on the Great Lakes.

ACTIVITIES 1. Read a memoir. A good maritime resource is Sailors of 1812: Memoirs and Letters of Naval Officers on Lake Ontario. 2. Think of a specific event or experience in your life. Write about it in your student logbook and include a reflection of the meaning of the event or experience in your life. (Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)

SHIP’S STORES/REFERENCES Richardson, J., Sinclair, A., Kent, H ., and Pease, B., Sailors of 1812: Memoirs and Letters of Naval Officers on Lake Ontario. Youngstown, NY: Old Fort Niagara Association, 1997. Fredriksen, John C., editor. Surgeon of the Lakes: The Diary of Usher Parsons 1812-1814. Erie, PA: Erie County Historical Society, 2000.


Lesson 32:


NATIVE AMERICANS If there was any loser in the War of 1812, it was the Native People of North America. In the summer of 1815, the United States signed fifteen treaties with the tribes, guaranteeing their status as of 1811. But it did not return an acre of land. The war that strengthened national feeling on both sides of the border crippled the pride of the Native Americans. Civilization moved westward, the Indians retreated. Tecumseh’s tribe the Shawnee, found themselves drifting from reservation to reservation in Kansas and Oklahoma. The Winnebago of Green Bay, ravaged by war and disease, moved to Iowa, then Minnesota and finally Nebraska. The Miami ended on reservations in Kansas, the Potawatomi in Oklahoma. ACTIVITIES: 1. Visit the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum in Salamanca, New York. It is open during the school year, Monday-Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 814 Broad Street Salamanca, NY 14779 716-945-1760 2. Compare and contrast the culture of Native American tribes from the Great Lakes area to those of the Plains. 3. Research the culture of a Native American tribe. Present findings to the class. Reflect in the student logbook. (History/Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)

Battle of the Thames


Lesson 33:


From the original vessel to the current Niagara, there have been several reconstructions and rebuilding. The 1913 reconstruction of Niagara was the first of three reconstructions of the U.S. Brig Niagara. Once rebuilt in 1913, Niagara was towed around the Great Lakes in a grand centennial celebration of the Battle of Lake Erie. She was towed by another of Erie’s great historic ships, USS Wolverine (Michigan).

ACTIVITY 1. Each time an historic building crumbles or is torn down or an old artifact is broken or destroyed, another link with our past is lost and we understand just a little less about where we came from and, ultimately, who we are. Reflect on this statement in your student logbook and analyze why Pennsylvania recognizes U.S. Brig Niagara as its flagship and why the ship was reconstructed. (History/Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening standards)


Lesson 34:


Military history is often depicted in art and music. The Battle of Lake Erie and Niagara are certainly no exceptions. Examine art and music related to the Battle of Lake Erie.

Art A rare pair of engravings by Thomas Sully and Francis Kearny, “Battle on Lake Erie,” depicts Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory at the Battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813. They were printed in Philadelphia by Murray, Draper, Fairman, & Co. and James Webster, July 1815. They were about 26 x 32 inches in size. These prints were issued within two years of the battle, dedicated by the co-publisher, James Webster, to “Commodore Perry his Officers and gallant Crews.” These separately issued prints were intended for purchase and framing by the crew members, their families, and any interested in this stirring American victory in the War of 1812. The pair of engravings shows different stages in the battle and the depictions are precise and accurate. Indeed, Perry wrote the publishers in a letter dated May 23rd, 1814, that, “I have no hesitation in pronouncing them a correct representation of the engagement at those particular moments.” The Erie Maritime Museum is in possession of “A Key” to these engravings. Another example of military history in art is a hand colored aquatint by Heath, “Boarding and Taking the American Ship Chesapeake, by the Officers & Crew of H.M. Ship Shannon, Commanded by Capt. Brooke, June 1813.” London: Edward Orme, 1 July 1816. 10 1/2 x 13 inches and engraved by M. Dubourg. The British were elated at the easy victory over Captain James Lawrence’ s Chesapeake by Captain B.P.V. Brokes Shannon on 1 June 1813. The Chesapeake was greatly in need of repairs and its crew was exhausted after a long voyage when it sailed out of Boston to engage the Shannon. Lawrence’s crew behaved badly, but Americans lauded his bravery, and Lawrence’s last words, “Don’t Give Up the Ship,” became the battle cry for Americans during the rest of the war. Oliver Hazard Perry had those words on his flag during his victorious battle on Lake Erie three months later. This print is one of the few to show fierce hand-to-hand fighting between the crews at a time when most naval battle art used panoramic depictions showing sky, sails, ships and sea. The print was made for inclusion in Edward Orme’s Historic Military and Naval Anecdotes, one of a number of celebratory publications that followed the end of the Napoleonic wars. Other examples are portraits. For example, “Captn. J.D. Elliott. U.S. Navy,” is portrait of Jesse Duncan Elliott done in Philadelphia, December, 1813. Jesse Duncan Elliott (1782-1845) was involved in number of actions during the war, including the Battle of Lake Erie, where he commanded the Niagara. Noted artist Gilbert Stuart created, “James Lawrence Esqr. late of the United States Navy.” From The Port Folio. Philadelphia, September, 1813. With his stirring last words, Lawrence became such a popular figure that two engravings appeared of this hero within a few months of each other.


ACTIVITIES 1. Have students think about what art they would like create to depict an aspect of Niagara or the Battle of Lake Erie. Think of how Niagara is being used in art today. Find stylized depictions like the silhouettes of the ship on a t-shirt or the Erie Maritime Museum website. Area artists, like Tim McLaughlin, Dave Tousey, Jim Sabol, and others use the image of Niagara. Niagara was used on one of Erie’s fiberglass fish. 2. Design a t-shirt for the gift shop. 3. Shortly after the Battle of Lake Erie, medals were created as gifts for those who participated in it. Design a medal to commemorate the Battle of Lake Erie. (Arts and Humanities standards)

Music One musical example of the Battle of Lake Erie is found within “The Sentimental Charmer, Being a Choice Collection of Songs,” published by Alden Spooner, in 1817. On Com. Perry’s Victory. Tune -- Arethusa Come all you lads of courage bold, A story true as eer told, To your attention Ill unfold, Tis of the Niagara; Of cannons rattling on the shore Of heroes weltering in their gore Of widows, orphans, grieving sore, Where grape and ball, In showrs did fall, And many a valiant tar did fall, In the battle of Lake Erie. September tenth, full well I ween, In eighteen hundred and thirteen, The weather mild, the sky serene, Commanded by bold Perry Our saucy fleet at anchor lay, In safety moord at Put-in-Bay: Twixt sunrise and the break of day; The British fleet, We chancd to meet, Our admiral thought he would them greet With a welcome on Lake Erie. Our boatswains piped their crews with speed, Of souls who never feard to bleed, Or die to see their country freed Of British thraldom weary. Our Yankee boys were wide awake, All eager, for their freedoms sake, To gain the title of the Lake, From those base slaves Who died the waves, Of ocean with the brother’s graves, Of those who fought on Erie. Twas nearly grog-time of the day, Our fleet bore up and put away, The Lawrence cheerly led the way,

Commanded by brave Perry; She first sustaind the dreadful shock, Till useless as a floating log, Each brace and bowline, stay and block, Were shot away, No gun could play, Till all her crew but nine that day, Were slain upon Lake Erie. On board the Niagara, The children yet unborn will say, There neer was fought a greater day, on oceans bosom, lake or sea; Our Yankee shot, Were playd so hot, That now a rag those brags have not, To hoist upon Lake Erie. Huzza my friends! The can boys bring; The fight is oer, lets drink and sing To Madison the toast shall ring, And also Elbridge Gerry. Long live the Congress and our laws, And those who hearty in the causes, Have lent a hand without a pause, To crush our foes, Who still oppose Our rights where nations highway flows, As well as on Lake Erie. The memry of the brave let’s toast, Who cleard the long disputed coast, and left us free to rule the roast, Of celebrated Erie. Let Perrys name, with loud applause, Be sounded far beyond the stars For be who rules the fate of wars, This great design, That Power Divine, In agency he did consign To brave and gallant Perry.


Note: The tune appears in Walsh’s Complete Dancing Master, circa 1730 as The Princess Royal. The air is attributed to Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738). It was used for other sea and was apparently adapted for “On Commodore Perry’s Victory.” The tune that this song was adapted from was accessed at: http:// Other songs include Perry’s Victory, “sold, wholesale, and retail, by L. Deming, No. 62, Hanover St. Boston, and at Middlebury, Vt.” circa 1814, and another “Perry’s Victory” was written by Andrew C. Mitchell, ca. 1813. “Don’t Give Up the Ship!”, The Perry’s Victory Centennial song by the Editor of the Journal of American History was sung by Wilson Root Bushnell, baritone, at the launching of the Niagara on June 7, 1913.

ACTIVITIES 1. After reviewing songs like these, students may write poems or lyrics that tell the story of the Niagara, the Battle of Lake Erie, Commodore Perry, or another aspect of maritime history. 2. Access Internet sites for other sea songs. An especially good site is: sea/index.html (Arts and Humanities standards)


Going Overboard


GOING OVERBOARD/Other Lessons/Ideas These categories can be used as a springboard for other lessons:

African American Maritime History Archaeology: Underwater in Lake Erie/Misery Bay Art: knot work and other sailor crafts and art Environmental Issues: Presque Isle Bay, Lake Erie, other Great Lakes Erie’s Extension Canal Erie’s Bayfront Development Erie’s Significant Architecture Erie Maritime History and Artifacts Erie’s Eight Admirals - Biographies of the eight Admirals from Erie, PA Fort LeBoeuf Fort Presque Isle Historical Markers, Monuments, Statues, and Graves History of Erie’s Fishing Industry - Erie was once considered the fresh water fishing capital of the world. Industry and Commerce in Erie, from salt trade to steamships Lighthouses on Lake Erie and other Great Lakes Maritime Movies Merchant Marine Navigational Charts of Lake Erie Old Fort Niagara Penelec and the Front Street Generating Station Pennsylvania MilitiaWar of 1812 Perrysburg, Ohio Put-in-Bay, Ohio Recreation Amusement Parks; Yachting and Yacht Clubs; Beaches and Swimming; Ice Boating; Presque Isle; Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Shipbuilding in Erie from early ship and boat building to American Boiler Works, Paasch, Lund, Nolan, Perry Ship Building Shipwrecks and Disasters Transportation and Infrastructure Underground Railroad in Erie Waterfront Development U.S. Michigan/U.S.S. Wolverine Wayne Blockhouse


Going Overboard This is an advanced lesson

War and the Republic: The Constitutional Issues of a Nation Divided Over the War of 1812 (Partly amalgamated from the National Endowment for the Humanities “EdSitement” Web site: http://, and Library of Congresss American Memory Web site. For grades 9-12.

Summary This lesson plan challenges students to think through the issues that led the United States into war against Great Britain, one of the great naval powers in world history. By reading a number of primary sources, they will better understand the arguments made for and against going to war in 1812 and generally improve their ability to assess the validity of primary sources. Students will gain a better appreciation for the congressional authority to declare warone of the most important legislative powers embedded in the constitutional system of checks and balances. LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Following the lesson, students should be able to … · Summarize Madison’s case against the British, citing key points in his argument for having Congress consider declaring war with Great Britain. · Understand why he went to Congress first, rather than take action unilaterally. · Discuss the veracity of accusations made against the British in North America. · Explain the arguments put forth by opponents of the War of 1812. · Critically analyze primary source documents related to the debate. · Hypothesize about documents that would be useful in clarifying questions about both Madisons war the message and the arguments made by opponents of the war · In general, better understand how to critically analyze Primary Sources. About Primary Sources: The Raw Material of History Throughout this unit, students read and analyze a variety of Primary Sources. Historians analyze historical sources in different ways. Some primary sources may be judged more reliable than others, but every source is biased in some way. As a result, historians read sources skeptically and critically. They also cross-check sources against other evidence and sources. Some Guiding Questions for Analyzing Primary Sources 1. Who created the source and why? Was it created through a spur-of-the-moment act, a routine transaction, or a thoughtful, deliberate process? 2. Did the recorder have firsthand knowledge of the event? Or, did he/she report what others saw heard? 3. Was the recorder a neutral party, or did the creator have opinions or interests that might have influenced what was recorded? 4. For what kind of audience and for what purpose did the recorder produce the source? 5. Was the source meant to be public or private? 6. Did the recorder wish to inform or persuade others? (Check the words in the source. The words may tell you whether the recorder was trying to be objective or persuasive.) Did the recorder have reasons to be honest or dishonest? 7. Was the information recorded during the event, immediately after the event, or after some lapse of time?


I. Introduction: The Road to America’s Most Unpopular War ·

The War of 1812 should be seen in the context of a series of wars that went on for decades between the two strongest imperial powers of that age. The Napoleonic Wars between England and France lasted from 1793 until 1815, with only a brief respite between1801-1803.

· American commerce, at least for the first few years, prospered enormously as a result of the Napoleonic Wars. American manufacturers and the ships that delivered their goods continued to sell to both England and France while maintaining their neutrality in the affair. Neither France nor England wanted Americans doing business with their enemy. However, only England’s Royal Navy had the power to seriously interfere with American commerce, and thus began seizing American ships chiefly at sea, but also in various European ports. AND, the Royal Navy, desperately needing to contain France, was always short of men. Many Englishmen were serving on U.S. ships, some were navy deserters, and many more were immigrants trying to make it to America. To the Royal Navy, once an Englishman, always an Englishman, and thus subject to impressments. They could be drafted into the British navy to fight against the French for an indefinite period. · U.S. merchant ships were routinely stopped and searched by English warships looking for English citizens. Not only did this violate the sovereignty of the U.S. flag over American ships, but often American citizens were impressed. In an era before passports and with accents indistinguishable, it was hard to prove who was an American citizen. It is estimated that 5,000 to 7,000 men were impressed into service in the Royal Navy. · Impressment led to cries of “sailor’s rights” and the restoration of “free trade” and related calls to defend America’s honor. This was especially true following the Chesapeake incident of 1807, in which three American sailors and one Englishman were forcibly impressed and later tried and imprisoned (the English sailor was hanged) following an attack by a British war ship just off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia. The incident provoked President Jefferson to impose the 1807 Embargo on all American shipping. While the action solved the problem of impressment, it severely damaged American commerce and was so politically unpopular it was repealed in 1809. · But impressment alone was not enough to compel Americans to war, for only certain parts of the country were severely impacted by the issue. Those who lived by the maritime trade were afraid that as bad as things were, if war were declared with the British, trade with Europe would come to a virtual halt, and they would be much worse off. · Indeed, the center of anti-British and pro-war fever was in the Northwest and the lower Ohio Valley, where land-hungry frontiersmen had no doubt that their troubles with the Indians were the result of British mischief. Stories were circulated after every Indian raid of British Army muskets and equipment being found on the field. By 1812, the westerners were convinced that their problems could best be solved by forcing the British out of Canada. President Madison, in his war message of June 1812, would refer to “warfare just renewed by the savages on one of our extensive frontiers” as a leading cause for war. · Hostilities between Native Americans and American settlers were, of course, a longstanding problem on the frontier. In the end it was a critical issue in tipping the scales toward war in 1812.


Americans in frontier states fiercely resented the support given by the British to Native American tribes in the Northwest Territory and throughout the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys who were resisting American expansion into their lands. The British did not wish to see the U. S. grow any larger or more powerful (and threaten their sparse civilization in Canada), so they supplied arms to a confederation of Indian tribes united by the Shawnee chief Tecumseh. The U.S. frontier states, such as Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, saw this as a direct threat to them and to the nation. Americans in the nineteenth century were increasingly guided by the religiously and racially charged ideology of continental expansion, what came to be characterized later as Manifest Destiny. · Most Americans in 1814 agreed with John Quincy Adams’ declaration that it was “absurd to condemn vast regions of territory to perpetual barrenness that a few hundred savages might find wild beasts to hunt upon it.” Tecumseh, one of the great Native American leaders in the history of North America, saw it very differently. All Native American tribes had a different conception of the meaning and significance of land and property than European Americans. The way, and the only way, to check and stop this evil, is for all the red men to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land; as it was at first; and should be yet; for it never was divided, but belongs to us all, for the use of each. That no part has a right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers who want it all and will not do with less. . . .Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the clouds, and the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children? Brother, I was glad to hear what you told us. You said that if we could prove that the land was sold by people who had no right to sell it, you would restore it. I will prove that those who did sell did not own it. Did they have a deed? A title? NO! You say those prove someone owns land. Those chiefs only spoke a claim, and so you pretended to believe their claim, only because you wanted the land. But the many tribes with me will not agree with those claims. They have never had a title to sell, and we agree this proves you could not buy it from them. If the land is not given back to us, you will see, when we return to our home from here, how it will be settled. It will be like this: We shall have a great council, at which all tribes will be present. We shall show to those who sold that they had no rights to the claims they set up, and we shall see what will be done to those chiefs who did sell the land to you. I am not alone in this determination, it is the determination of all the warriors and red people who listen to me. Brother, I now wish you to listen to me. If you do not wipe out that treaty, it will seem that you wish to kill all the chiefs who sold the land! I tell you so because I am authorized by all tribes to do so! I am the head of them all! All my warriors will meet together with me in two or three moons from now. Then I will call for those chiefs who sold you this land, and we shall know what to do with them. If you do not restore the land, you will have had a hand in killing them! I am Shawnee! I am a warrior! My forefathers were warriors. From them I took my birth into this world. From my tribe I take nothing. I am the master of my own destiny! And of that I might make the destiny of my red people, of our nation, as great as I conceive to in my mind, when I think of Weshemoneto, who rules this universe! The being within me hears the voice of the ages, which tells me that once, always, and until lately, there were no white men on all this island, that it then belonged to the red man, children of the same parents, placed on it by the Great Spirit who made them, to keep it, to traverse it, to enjoy its yield, and to people it with the same race. Once they were a happy race! Now they are made miserable by the white people, who are never contented but are always coming in! You do this always, after promising not to anyone, yet you ask us to have confidence in your promises. How can we have confidence in the white people? When Jesus Christ came upon the earth, you killed him, the son of your own God, you nailed him up!! You thought he was dead, but you were mistaken. And only after you thought you killed him did you worship him, and start killing those who would not worship him. What kind of people is this for us to trust? Now, Brother, everything I have said to you is the truth, as Washemoneto has inspired me to speak only truth to you. I have declared myself freely to you about my intentions. And I want to know your intentions. I want to know what you are going to do about taking our land. I want to hear you say that you understand now, and you will wipe out that pretended treaty, so that the tribes can be at peace with each other, as you pretend you want them to be. Tell me, Brother. I want to know. Tecumseh1806


· As reflected in Tecumseh’s words above, native peoples were determined to defend their lands. For nearly a decade, Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa inspired tribes from the Great Lakes to the Floridas to join together in a pan-Indian confederation to stop American expansion. One of the significant results of the Battle of Lake Erie was the death of Tecumseh at the Battle of the Thames (northeast of Detroit). His warriors and the allied British fell to the Americans at that battle, which spelled the end of the Indian confederacy and the last united effort to stop the Americans east of the Mississippi. Indeed, the only real losers in the War of 1812 were Native American tribes. Primary Source Activity: Examining the Native American-Frontier Issue Students might compare Tecumseh’s conception of land to the momentous Land Ordinance of 1785 that called for the survey, section and township division (by linear grid), and sale of lands in the West, even as Native tribes still occupied those lands. The sale of these lands was a contributor to American expansion, and consequently, to the British-supported Indian resistance that helped to trigger the War of 1812. See the document: There was a long history of accusations that the British were inciting such hostility. In the American State Papers, Indian Affairs: Vol. 1, p. 108, students can get an idea of the kind of reports received in Washington. See the following at the American Memory link from the Library of Congress: ! Extract of a Letter from Governor Harrison to the War Department at Vincennes, September 17, 1811 (located in the middle of the page) ! Extract of a Letter from J. Rhea, captain 13th regiment of infantry, dated Fort Wayne, March 14, 1812 ! Letter from William Hull, Governor of the Michigan Territory, to Henry Dearborn, the Secretary of War, November 24, 1807 ! Index to the Extracts of Letters to the War Department is a series of extracts of letters from the Northwest. Senders include Governor William Henry Harrison, who became a war hero in battles against the Indians and British and parlayed that success into a successful campaign for President of the United States. QUESTIONS FOR DOCUMENT ANALYSIS · What were the accusations against the British in North America? Were they valid? · What inducements did the British allegedly offer to the Indians? · What indications were there of Indian sympathies? Were they more favorably disposed to the British or the Americans (or neither)? · What is the tone of the American documents? · Could the American documents have been false accusations used for propaganda purposes by those in favor of war with the Indians and/or the British? · For those in favor of the war, was the acquisition of additional land from the Indians? The safety of Americans living on the frontier? Both? Another motive? · What don’t the documents tell us with respect to what was happening to the Indians? · What kinds of additional information or documents would be helpful to the analysis? · The western “War Hawks” in Congress, led by Rep. Henry Clay of Kentucky, had come to dominate the Republican Party and both houses of Congress. They urged war in the hope of securing the Northwest Frontier and conquering Canada, while the people of Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi Territory entertained similar designs against Florida, a Spanish possession. The fact that Spain and England were allied against Napoleon presented the southern war hawks with an excuse for invading Florida. Prowar fever swept the country in 1810-11 and consolidated the power of those voices clamoring for war.


Representative Clay successfully orchestrated the War Hawk’s firm control of the Congress and promoted a jingoistic kind of patriotism to psychologically prepare Americans for war. · As one of the architects of the Constitution, President James Madison was acutely aware that the power to declare war was firmly lodged in Congress by Article 1, Section 8. In the spring of 1812, a divided Congress wavered on exercising this power, at various moments nearly adjourning to avoid confronting the issue until fall. President Madison hesitated in sending a message to Congress calling on the legislative body to declare war. Nevertheless, on June 1, 1812, President Madison sent a letter, later dubbed his war message, to both houses of Congress. In it, he listed a series of transgressions Great Britain had committed against the U.S. He also explained his decision not to recommend war with France at that time. Some historians have argued that Madison finally did so for mainly political reasons: as a Republican, he needed to appease the War Hawks, whose support he would need to win reelection that fall. He also, some contend, hoped that the declaration of war itself would be sufficient to win the necessary concessions from Britain. · As is sometimes the case in any nation’s build-up toward war, anger at the British was not always based on credible information. In March 1812, President Madison presented to Congress a series of documents alleging a British plot to foment rebellion in the New England states that generally opposed the call to war. He stated in part: “I lay before Congress copies of certain documents,” Madison declared, that “prove that at a recent period, whilst the United States, notwithstanding the wrongs sustained by them, ceased not to observe the laws of peace and neutrality towards Great Britain, and in the midst of amicable negotiations on the part of the British Government, a secret agent was employed in certain states for the purpose of bringing about resistance to the laws; and eventually, in concert with a British force, of destroying the Union and forming the Eastern part into a political connection with Great Britain…” · The War Hawks had persuaded the administration to buy the documents for $50,000, the entire budget of the secret service fund. Federalists charged that the administration and the War Hawks had deliberately exaggerated the nature of the threat to promote the war. They were correct. The documents turned out to contain little credible information. The “Henry Affair” as it was known (the alleged spy’s name was John Henry) showed the administration’s determination to whip up support for its war policy. As Madison’s Secretary of State, James Monroe, candidly admitted, “We have made use of Henry’s documents as a last means of exciting the nation and Congress.”

Questions for Further Reading and Discussion · Based on reliable information or not, why would the allegations made by Madison have provoked indignation and anger in the U.S.? · What evidence, if any exists, would be necessary to show that the administration attempted with the “Henry” incident or at any other time to “whip up support for its war policy”? · What documents would be needed to prove that the administration had a policy intending to go to war at all costs? · What kinds of additional information or documents would be helpful to the analysis? II. President Madison’s War Message to Congress On June 1, 1812, Madison submitted his war message to Congress. As was customary in that era, the President’s message was read in a dry, matter-of-fact tone by clerks. Here is an edited version of what was originally a one half-hour speech:


JAMES MADISON War Message To Congress JUNE 1, 1812 Without going back beyond the renewal in 1803 of the war in which Great Britain is engaged, and omitting unrepaired wrongs of inferior magnitude, the conduct of her Government presents a series of acts hostile to the United States as an independent and neutral nation. British cruisers have been in the continued practice of violating the American flag on the great highway of nations, and of seizing and carrying off persons sailing under it, not in the exercise of a belligerent right founded on the law of nations against an enemy, but of a municipal prerogative over British subjects. British jurisdiction is thus extended to neutral vessels in a situation where no laws can operate but the law of nations and the laws of the country to which the vessels belong, and a self-redress is assumed which, if British subjects were wrongfully detained and alone concerned, is that substitution of force for a resort to the responsible sovereign which falls within the definition of war.... The practice, hence, is so far from affecting British subjects alone that, under the pretext of searching for these, thousands of American citizens, under the safeguard of public law and of their national flag, have been torn from their country and from everything dear to them; have been dragged on board ships of war of a foreign nation and exposed, under the severities of their discipline, to be exiled to the most distant and deadly climes, to risk their lives in the battles of their oppressors, and to be the melancholy instruments of taking away those of their own brethren. Against this crying enormity, which Great Britain would be so prompt to avenge if committed against herself, the United States have in vain exhausted remonstrances and expostulations, and that no proof might be wanting of their conciliatory dispositions, and no pretext left for a continuance of the practice, the British Government was formally assured of the readiness of the United States to enter into arrangements such as could not be rejected if the recovery of British subjects were the real and the sole object. The communication passed without effect. British cruisers have been in the practice also of violating the rights and the space of our coasts. They hover over and harass our entering and departing commerce. To the most insulting pretensions they have added the most lawless proceedings in our very harbors, and have wantonly spilt American blood within the sanctuary of our territorial jurisdiction.... Under pretended blockades, without the presence of an adequate force and sometimes without the practicability of applying one, our commerce has been plundered in every sea, the great staples of our country have been cut off from their legitimate markets, and a destructive blow aimed at our agricultural and maritime interests.... Not content with these occasional expedients for laying waste our neutral trade, the cabinet of Britain resorted at length to the sweeping system of blockades, under the name of orders in council, which has been molded and managed as might best suit its political views, its commercial jealousies, or the avidity of British cruisers.... It has become, indeed, sufficiently certain that the commerce of the United States is to be sacrificed, not as interfering with the belligerent rights of Great Britain; not as supplying the wants of her enemies, which she herself supplies; but as interfering with the monopoly which she covets for her own commerce and navigation. She carries on a war against the lawful commerce of a friend that she may the better carry on a commerce with an enemy, a commerce polluted by the forgeries and perjuries which are for the most part the only passports by which it can succeed.... In reviewing the conduct of Great Britain toward the United States our attention is necessarily drawn to the warfare just renewed by the savages on one of our extensive frontiers, a warfare which is known to spare neither age nor sex and to be distinguished by features peculiarly shocking to humanity. It is difficult to account for the activity and combinations which have for some time been developing themselves among tribes in constant intercourse with British traders and garrisons without connecting their hostility with that influence and without recollecting the authenticated examples of such interpositions heretofore furnished by the officers and agents of that Government. Such is the spectacle of injuries and indignities which have been heaped on our country, and such the crisis which its unexampled forbearance and conciliatory efforts have not been able to avert....


Our moderation and conciliation have had no other effect than to encourage perseverance and to enlarge pretensions. We behold our seafaring citizens still the daily victims of lawless violence, committed on the great common and highway of nations, even within sight of the country which owes them protection. We behold our vessels, freighted with the products of our soil and industry, or returning with the honest proceeds of them, wrested from their lawful destinations, confiscated by prize courts no longer the organs of public law but the instruments of arbitrary edicts, and their unfortunate crews dispersed and lost, or forced or inveigled in British ports into British fleets.... We behold, in fine, on the side of Great Britain a state of war against the United States, and on the side of the United States a state of peace toward Great Britain. Whether the United States shall continue passive under these progressive usurpations and these accumulating wrongs, or, opposing force to force in defense of their national rights, shall commit a just cause into the hands of the Almighty Disposer of Events, avoiding all connections which might entangle it in the contest or views of other powers, and preserving a constant readiness to concur in an honorable reestablishment of peace and friendship, is a solemn question which the Constitution wisely confides to the legislative department of the Government. In recommending it to their early deliberations I am happy in the assurance that the decision will be worthy the enlightened and patriotic councils of a virtuous, a free, and a powerful nation....

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION · Why did President Madison not include a specific declaration of war in his remarks to the Congress June 1, 1812. Review ARTICLE 1: Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. · In his message to Congress, how does President Madison build a case for having Congress consider declaring war with Great Britain? What accusations did he level against that nation? What sort of language does he use, particularly in the last paragraph? · What arguments would have been most likely to provoke Americans toward supporting war with Great Britain? · What kinds of documents might reveal answers to questions raised by Madison’s charges?

III. Congressional Debate and Opposition to War · Would the United States “continue passive under these . . . accumulating wrongs,” or “commit a just cause into the hands of the Almighty Disposer of Events,” as Madison implored? Perhaps students will be surprised to learn that the House of Representatives remained torn on the question. Many congressmen had just returned from visits back home and found less than overwhelming support for war. There was vigorous debate. Included here are the views of two congressmen, one a Republican War Hawk (Felix Grundy of Tennessee), the other, Samuel Taggart, a Federalist opponent from Massachusetts. Rep. Felix Grundy, Dec. 1811, Annals of Congress, 12th Congress, 1st Session, pp. 424-427. “. . . not strongly feel the bearing which the late transactions in [the West] have on this subject, upon my mind they have great influence. It cannot be believed by any man who will reflect, that it is not the carrying trade, properly so called about which this nation and Great Britain are at present contending. Were this the only question now under consideration, I should feel great unwillingness . . . to involve the nation in war, for the assertion of a right, in the enjoyment of which the community at large are not more deeply concerned. The true question in controversy is of a very different character; it involves the interests of the whole nation: It is the right of exporting the productions of our own soil and industry to foreign markets. Sir, our vessels are now captured when destined to the ports of France, and condemned by the British Courts of Admiralty, without even the pretext of having on board the contraband of war, enemies’ property, or,


having in any other respect, violated the laws of nations. These depredations on our lawful commerce, under whatever ostensible pretence committed, are not to be traced to any maxims or rules of public law, but to the maritime supremacy and pride of the British nation. This hostile and unjust policy of that country towards us, is not to be wondered at when we recollect that the United States is already the second commercial nation in the world. The rapid growth of our commercial importance, has not only awakened the jealousy of the commercial interests of Great Britain, but her statesmen, no doubt, anticipate the maritime greatness of this Republic. . . . What, Mr. Speaker, are we now called upon to decide? It is, whether we will resist by force the attempt made by that Government, to subject our maritime rights to the arbitrary and capricious rule of her will; for my part I am not prepared to say that this country shall submit to have her commerce interdicted or regulated, by any foreign nation. Sir, I prefer war to submission. Over and above these unjust pretensions of the British government, for many years past they have been in the practice of impressing our seamen, from merchant vessels; this unjust and lawless invasion of personal liberty calls loudly for the interposition of this Government. . . . Although others may deny the savage tribes, uninfluenced by other Powers, would think of making war on the United States, they understand too well their own weaknesses, and our strength. They have already felt the weight of our arms; they know they hold the very soil on which they live as tenants at [our] sufferance. How, then, sir, are we to account for their late conduct? In one way only; some powerful nation must have intrigued with them, and turned their peaceful disposition towards us into hostilities. Great Britain alone has intercourse with those northern tribes; I therefore infer, that if British gold has not been employed, their baubles ands trinkets, and the promise of support and a place of refuge, if necessary, have had their effect. If I am right in this conjecture, war is not to commence by sea or land; it is already begun; and some of the richest blood of our country has already been shed. . . . Another consideration drawn from our past conduct demands the course we have proposed (war). In the year 1808, Congress declared that this nation had but three alternatives left, war, embargo, or submission; since that time no advantageous change has taken place in our foreign relations; we now have no embargo, we have not declared war. I then say it, with humiliation, produced by the degradation of my country, we have submitted. Mr. Speaker, I derive no pleasure from speaking in this way of my country, but it is true, and however painful the truth may be, it should be told. Another reason operates on my mind; we stand pledged to the French nation to continue in force our non-importation law against Britain; without a violation of national faith we cannot repeal it. What effect is the operation of this law producing? It is demoralizing our citizens; men of commercial habits cannot easily change their course of life; those who have lived in affluence cannot consent to beg for bread. No, sir, they will violate this law, they will smuggle; and sir, in politics, as in private life, if you wish men to remain virtuous, lead them not into temptation. This restrictive system operates unequally; some parts of the Union enjoy the same advantages which they possessed when no difficulties attended our foreign relations; others suffer extremely. Ask the Northern man, and he will tell you that any state of things is better than the present; inquire of the Western people why their crops are not equal to what they were in former years, they will answer that industry has not stimulus left, since their surplus products have no markets. Notwithstanding these objections to the present restrictive system, we are bound to retain it, and our plighted faith to the French Government, have tied the Gordian knot; we cannot untie it; we can cut it with the sword. This war, if carried on successfully, will have its advantages. We shall drive the British from our Continent. They will no longer have an opportunity of intriguing with our Indian neighbors, and setting on the ruthless savage to tomahawk our women and children. That nation will lose her Canadian trade, and, by having no resting place in this country, her means of annoying us will be diminished. . . . I am willing to


receive the Canadians as adopted brethren; it will have beneficial political effects; it will preserve the equilibrium of the Government. When Louisiana shall be fully peopled, the Northern States will lose their power; they will be at the discretion of others; they can be depressed at pleasure, and then this Union might be endangeredI therefore feel anxious not only to add the Floridas to the South, but the Canadas to the North of this empire. . . .

The Anti-War Opposition Students may believe that only the Vietnam War (and perhaps now Iraq) have provoked anti-war sentiment in the United States. In fact, the nation was bitterly divided over the War of 1812. American citizens, especially in New England, voiced objections. A long protest against the 1812 Declaration of War, also published in opposition newspapers, was inserted into the Congressional Record by Samuel Taggart, a Federalist from Massachusetts. (The Federalists, in the minority, decided to “boycott� the debate by remaining silent because the majority insisted on debating in secret, which they believed was undemocratic.) It outlines many of the arguments put forth by Federalist opposition to the conflict, which continued right through the end of a very divisive war. . . . Having long been conversant in the quiet walks of civil life. . . I cannot contemplate my country as on the verge of a war which to me appears both unnecessary and impolitic in the outset, and which will probably prove disastrous in the issue; a war which in my view, goes to put not only the lives and property of our most valuable citizens, but also our liberty and independence itself at hazard... With respect to such wars as are purely defensive, nations are, any times, not left to their own choice. Another nation, either more ambitious or more powerful, invades an inoffensive neighbor, with a view to conquest. The nation invaded has no choice left but either resistance or submission. No doubt such unprovoked aggressions legalize war. Whether offensive war is in any case, and under any circumstances, justifiable, is a question which ought to be maturely considered.. . .I shall take it for granted, that it will be on all hands conceded that offensive war ought not to be waged, unless where the causes are great, and the call peculiarly urgent. No one pretends that the war in which we propose to engage is purely defensive. No hostile armament that I know of is upon our border, menacing invasion, or endeavoring to effect a lodgment on our soil. No hostile fleet is hovering on our coast and menacing our cities with either plunder or destruction. . . .We contemplate the invasion of a foreign territory, to which no one pretends we have any right, unless one to be acquired by conquest. It is to be a war of conquest upon land, undertaken with a view to obtain reparation for injuries we have sustained on the water. In the first place. Although our honor is said to be concerned in it, and that it is a war, which cannot, consistent with honor, be avoided, I can see nothing very honorable in it. We make war upon Canada because it is supposed to be defenceless, or at least so much as to afford an easy conquest. . . .If Canada is weak, it is equally inoffensive; and, in that view, its very weakness ought to be its defence against a great and magnanimous nation. The Canadians have done us no wrong. They have been quiet and inoffensive neighbors, . . . [and] have manifested no disposition to covet either our wealth or our territory. . . . Canada has issued no Orders in Council which obstruct our commerce . . . She has not impressed our seamen, taken our ships, confiscated our property, nor in any other respect treated us ill. All the crime alleged against Canada or the Canadians, is that, without any act of their own, they are connected with, and under the protection of a nation which has injured us on the ocean. For this reason . . . a war is to be carried in to the heart of the country; . . . As it respects the impressments of seamen, . . . [the] practice may be oppressive, but it is founded upon a principle which is adopted and more or less practiced upon by every nation, i.e., that the nation has a right, . . . to compel the services of its citizens or subjects in time of war. . . . The principle then being admitted, the only ground of complaint is the irregular application of it to Americans. Great Britain does not claim, she never has claimed the right of impressing American citizens. She claims the right of reclaiming her


own subjects, even although they should be found on board of American vessels. And in the assertion of that claim, many irregularities have without doubt been committed by her officers, on account of the similarity of language, manners, and habits. American citizens have been frequently mistaken for British subjects; but I do not know of any instance in which a real American has been reclaimed, where sufficient testimony of his being an American has been adduced, in which his liberation has been refused. . . . I pretend not to say by what means . . . it will be difficult to adjust that subject by treaty, [but] it will be impossible to settle it by war. . . . It is said to be necessary to go to war, for the purpose of securing our commercial rights, of opening a way for obtaining the best market for our produce, and to avenge the insults, which have been offered to our flag. But what is there in the present situation of the United States, which we could reasonably expect to be ameliorated by war? . . . .[It would be strange indeed, if the United States did not suffer some inconveniences, especially in their mercantile conations and speculations. In a war which has been unequalled for the changes which it has effected in ancient existing establishments . . . it would be equally wonderful, if, in every particular, the rights of neutrals were scrupulously respected. But, upon the whole, we have reaped greater advantages, and suffered fewer inconveniences from the existing state of things than it was natural to expect. During a considerable part of the time, in which so large and fair a portion of Europe has been desolated by the calamities of war, our commerce has flourished to a degree surpassing the most sanguine calculations. Our merchants have been enriched beyond any former example. Our agriculture has been greatly extended, the wilderness has blossomed like a rose, and cities and villages have sprung up. . . We have also authorized the President to accept the services of a volunteer force of fifty thousand men. How large a proportion of these have volunteered I know not, but I have heard of none. In some places the proportion of the detachment of the one hundred thousand militia authorized by law have been draughted and ordered to hold themselves in readiness; perhaps in a few instances, but I believe very few have volunteered. But these do not constitute a force which, according to the principles of the Constitution, can be used in offensive war; and I have heard of but very few instances in which they have volunteered their services, even for the stations to which they are assignable by law. If the recruits of the regular army are in numbers so scanty, and if at the beginning of a war which needs the full glow of national enthusiasm to give it ĂŠclat, recourse must be had to a compulsive process not very different in principle from the conscription of France, to drag our citizens reluctantly into service, . . .[This] conduct [of avoiding military service] speaks louder than any words can do: that the people neither see nor feel the necessity of this war. A thousand resolutions, and noisy pledges of lives and fortunes, which cost nothing, can ever rebut this impression. I am afraid that it will be found that we have mistaken the sentiments of licentious journalists . . . and of officers, contractors, purveyors, and office hunters, who expect to make a gain of war, at the public expense, for the voice of the people. The other subject which merits serious consideration before they engage in war is the source from whence money is to be derived to carry it on. . . . [We] are to be oppressed with heavy, and as they will soon prove, insupportable taxes, while everything like protection is denied. . . . The laying of our citizens under contribution, stripping them of their wealth, emptying the vaults of banks, &c., are some of the least evils to be expected. . . . I can scarcely conceive of a greater absurdity . . . than that of attempting to carry on a war with a naval Power, a war for the express purpose of asserting and recovering our rights on the ocean, without a naval force. The conquest of Canada has been represented to be so easy as to be little more than a party of pleasure. We have, it has been said, nothing to do but to march an army into the country and display the standard of the United States, and the Canadians will immediately flock to it and place themselves under our protection. They have been represented as ripe for revolt, panting for emancipation from a tyrannical


government, and longing to enjoy the sweets of liberty….. . What have they [the Canadians], therefore, to gain in connation with the United States? They want nothing of us, only not to molest them, and to buy and sell on terms of mutual reciprocity. . . . But to invade a country with any prospect of success, the power of the invader needs to be much greater than that of the party invaded. . . During the Revolutionary War a great proportion of the United States was overrun, some places several times, by the British troops. But, were the United States conquered? During the present war in Spain the French troops have overrun the principle part of their country, and in many instances left their footsteps imprinted in blood, and Spain is not conquered at this moment. Such conquests usually last no longer than the places are occupied by a military force. The moment this is withdrawn, the country is still as unconquered as ever, the hostility becomes more embittered, every man becomes a soldier, and the invading enemy is conquered and expelled in his turn. It is said that we have already gone so far that our honor is pledged; we cannot go back, we cannot retreat without indelible disgrace. Indeed, we should render ourselves the reproach of the whole world should we recede from the attitude we have taken, unless Great Britain first relaxes her maritime system, be repealing her Orders in Council. . . .With respect to national honor, this, as I conceive, primarily consists in the inviolable maintenance of justice and good faith between nations, in all public transactions. In everything else, the honor of a nation is to be identified with the happiness, with the great and substantial interests of a nation. Where these great interests can be best promoted by remaining at peace, peace ought to be pursued and maintained by all means. These interests ought never to be jeopardized by engaging in Quixotic enterprises as put everything at hazard, and where nothing can be gained, if successful, in pursuit of the mere phantom, honor. The honor of being celebrated as a warlike nation will very easily be dispensed with, whenever the safety, the prosperity, or the happiness of the people at large is the object aimed at by the Government. . . .Let that kind of honor perish from among nations. Let that principle in a particular manner be expunged, both from the moral and political code of this nation, which would involve the ruin of millions . . . I would, therefore, beseech gentlemen to forget for a single moment the warmth of political discussion, and listen to the claims of humanity, and turn their views to the blood-stained field of slaughter, to the scattered and mangled limbs of thousands of slain, and to the piercing groans of the wounded and dying. These are some of the bloody sacrifices paid to the Moloch of honor and ambition. . . . ~ House of Representatives, 12th Congress, 1st Session, pp. 1638-1679. Questions to Consider: · What are Rep. Grundy’s chief complaints against the British? · What did he consider to be the advantages of war? What did he hope the U.S. would gain from the war? · Were his goals reasonable? Legitimate? · Summarize Rep. Taggart’s arguments against the war. · How effective do you think they would have been in 1812? In what parts of the country? · How relevant are Taggart’s arguments today? War and Democracy: Going Overboard Average citizens also petitioned Congress to protest the move toward war. Here are three examples on American Memory: · Petition of the inhabitants of Nantucket, in the State of Massachusetts · Petitions of sundry inhabitants of Philadelphia county · Petition from the Citizens of Plymouth May 14, 1812


Questions for discussion: ! What constitutional recourse do citizens have when they object to a war? ! What can be learned from these and other citizen protests? ! What arguments were offered in objection to the war? Were they valid? ! How did commercial concerns relate to the protests? Were these valid reasons for avoiding war? ! Were such concerns too localized to be effective? ! From which states were most citizen protests coming? Why? ! Why did the Plymouth protesters point to U.S. relations with France? Was the comparison legitimate? ! How would the Revolutionary War era have influenced Americans, one way or another, in their attitudes about war with the British in 1812? The Final Vote The House of Representatives passed Madison’s declaration of war on June 4. Enough Northern and Southern War Hawks found common ground in expansionism to win the debate, although the vote to declare war was the closest in U. S. history. Upon learning of the vote, President Madison was said by one observer to have turned “white as a sheet,” trembling with the consequences of the nation’s first constitutionally declared war. Students can view the results of the vote for the House of Representatives: June 3, 1812, Declaration of War on American Memory. The vote in the House was 79-49. Use the link to look at the names of those who voted for and against the 1812 Declaration of War. The vote in the Senate (Wednesday, June 17, 1812, Entry (The Senate Passes the Declaration of War) in the Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, 1789-1873 on American Memory) was 19-13, also the closest vote ever on a declaration of war. If desired, use the Biographical Directory on the EDSITEment resource Congress Link to find the states and parties of those voting. Analyzing the Vote: · How did any War Hawks vote? · Did the legislators tend to vote along party lines? · Did legislators from certain regions tend to vote as a bloc? For Small Group Discussion: · Given the evidence you have examined, how might you have voted that summer of 1812? Think of yourself as a western Pennsylvania congressional representative. · Why, in the end, did the United States go to war again Great Britain in 1812? Students should be asked to boil their response down to three clarifying statements to account for this historic decision. IV. The Hartford Convention Anti-war sentiment was concentrated in New England and culminated with the Hartford Convention of 1814. New England states had seldom met their quotas of militiamen, and many New England merchants and farmers traded freely with the enemy. After the British targeted northern ports, some New England Federalists talked openly about seceding from the Union. In an attempt to block secessionist sentiment, moderate Federalists called a convention in Hartford, Connecticut, to propose a series of constitutional amendments protecting sectional rights. The convention leaders brought their proposals to Washington just as news broke of New Orleans and the Treaty of Ghent. To most of the nation, the participants of the Hartford Convention looked like traitors, or at least unpatriotic troublemakers. Although the Federalists saw themselves as being true to the republican traditions of the nation, its founders, and its constitution, their antiwar criticism and regionalism helped to doom the weakened Federalist Party as a national entity on the political scene.


Amendments to the Constitution Proposed by the Hartford Convention, 1814. Therefore resolved.-That it be and hereby is recommended to the Legislatures of the several States represented in this Convention to adopt all such measures as may be necessary effectually to protect the citizens of said States from the operation and effects of all acts which have been or may be passed by the Congress of the United States, which shall contain provisions, subjecting the militia or other citizens to forcible drafts, conscriptions, or impressments, not authorized by the Constitution of the United States Resolved.-That it be and hereby is recommended to the said Legislatures, to authorize an immediate and earnest application to be made to the Government of the United States, requesting their consent to some arrangement, whereby the said States may, separately or in concert, be empowered to assume upon themselves the defense of their territory against the enemy, and a reasonable portion of the taxes, collected within said States, may be paid into the respective treasuries thereof, and appropriated to the payment of the balance due said States, and to the future defense of the same. The amount so paid into the said treasuries to be credited, and the disbursements made as aforesaid to be charged to the United States. Resolved.-That it be . . .. recommended to the Legislatures of the aforesaid States, to pass laws . . . authorizing the Governors or Commanders-in Chief of their militia to make detachments from the same, or to form voluntary corps, as shall be most convenient and conformable to their Constitutions, and to cause the same to be well armed equipped and disciplined, and held in readiness for service; and upon the request of the Governor of either of the other States, to employ the whole of such detachment or corps, as well as the regular forces of the State, or such part thereof as may be required and can be spared consistently with the safety of the State, in assisting the State, making such request to repel any invasion thereof which shall be made or attempted by the public enemy. Resolved.-That the following amendments of the Constitution of the United States, be recommended to the States as aforesaid, to be proposed by them for adoption by the State Legislatures, and, in such cases as may be deemed expedient, by a Convention chosen by the people of each State. First.-Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this union, according to their respective numbers of free persons, including those bound to serve for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, and all other persons. Second.-No new State shall be admitted into the union by Congress in virtue of the power granted by the Constitution, without the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses. Third.-Congress shall not have power to lay any embargo on the ships or vessels of the citizens of the United States, in the ports or harbors thereof, for more than sixty days. Fourth.-Congress shall not have power, without the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses, to interdict the commercial intercourse between the United States and any foreign nation or the dependencies thereof. Fifth.-Congress shall not make or declare war, or authorize acts of hostility against any foreign nation, without the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses, except such acts of hostility be in defense of the territories of the United States when actually invaded.


Sixth.-No person who shall hereafter be naturalized, shall be eligible as a member of the Senate or House of Representatives of the United States, nor capable of holding any civil office under the authority of the United States. Seventh.-The same person shall not be elected President of the United States a second time; nor shall the President be elected from the same State two terms in succession. Resolved.-That if the application of these States to the government of the United States, recommended in a foregoing Resolution, should be unsuccessful, and peace should not be concluded and the defense of these States should be neglected, as it has been since the commencement of the war, it will in the opinion of this Convention be expedient for the Legislatures of the several States to appoint Delegates to another Convention, to meet at Boston, in the State of Massachusetts, on the third Thursday of June next with such powers and instructions as the exigency of a crisis so momentous may require. · What immediate actions of the states did the Hartford Convention call for? · What amendments to the Constitution did the Hartford Convention recommend? · To what specific situations was each resolution a reaction? · What constitutional issues are raised by the Hartford Convention? · What implications did the Hartford Convention have for the future, more serious, sectional crisis the nation would face? The Declaration of War in History Following the War of 1812, Congress exercised its war powers only five times: against Mexico in 1846; Spain in 1898; Germany in 1917; and against Germany and Japan in 1941. Each time, Congress acted in response to a President’s war message. With the exception of the 373-50 vote to enter World War I, all votes were nearly unanimous. As reflected in the 1812 debate, Congress took its power to declare war seriously. After World War II came Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and now Iraq. Throughout this recent history, the U. S. Congress, with the notable, though brief exception of the post-Vietnam War Powers Act designed to inhibit a President’s unilateral ability to make war has essentially surrendered its constitutionally given war-authorization power to the executive branch. The contrast between James Madison reluctantly sending a war message to a divided Congress and modern-day Presidents committing troops to combat operations without a congressional declaration of war is striking. Arising out of this history is this question for student discussion: Relative to the War of 1812 debate, why has Congress generally given the president a freer hand when faced with the prospect of military action? Do the political repercussions from the War of 1812 provide part of the answer? While the war issue in 1812 was not rigidly defined along party lines (approximately 25% of Madison’s Republican Party opposed the war), generally the Federalists opposed the war, while the Jeffersonian Republicans favored it. Following the war (particularly after Andrew Jackson’s rousing victory, which came two weeks after the war was over), it was the Federalists who were discredited. The party withered and soon ceased to exist. In the end, the War of 1812 was a force for coalescing eighteen, loosely confederated states into a more truly national union, and also marked the beginnings of a national psyche that would carry the country across the continent with the ideology of Manifest Destiny. The War of 1812 marked the most vigorous exercise of one of the most important of the constitutional checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches the power to declare war.












Erie sailing master Daniel Dobbins, who initiated the construction of the fleet, was at the time of the battle en route from Erie to Put-in-Bay with a re-supply vessel. He and his crew were later awarded prize money along with the rest of the men. In the minutes before the battle, men spread sand over the decks, to keep the men from slipping and falling on the blood and gore in the heat of battle. Five cannonballs ripped through the walls of Surgeon’s Mate Usher Parsons hospital in the officers wardroom of Lawrence, re-injuring men who had already been bandaged. Perry’s first lieutenant, John Yarnell, looked grotesque: “His nose, perforated by a splinter, had swollen to twice its normal size. Blood from a scalp wound threatened to blind him, but Parsons bound it up with a bandana and Yarnell went back to the deck. At that point he walked into a cloud of cattail down, torn from a piles of hammocks by a cannonball. Wounded a third time, he came below once more for medical help, his bloody face covered with down, looking like a gigantic owl. … the men couldn’t help laughing.” (Pierre Berton, 59) Perry wore a plain blue jacket throughout the battle, so as to not draw attention to himself. This fact helps explain why he remained untouched. A pig got loose during the battle, had its hind legs shot off, and flailed about the deck, hungrily eating away at a pot of spilled peas. Aboard Detroit, a pet bear roamed the deck unhurt, licking the blood of the dead and dying. An obscure woman by the name of Sally McCommons ran a makeshift hospital on Presque Isle in the months following the battle, when the wounded returned to Erie. When President Thomas Jefferson decreased the size of the Navy in 1801, Oliver Hazard Perry was one of only 150 midshipmen retained. Whenever at sea, Perry’s cabin was said to shelve more books than that of any other officer afloat. On September 10, 1813, Perry saw an eagle following his flagship. Since the bird was the national symbol of the United States, Perry took its appearance as no accident, but as a good omen, fate’s way of telling him that victory lay ahead. Perry had a long history of good luck that was dubbed “Perry Luck.” On September 10th this “Perry Luck” was definitely apparent. On his original flagship, Lawrence, every officer on the brig was either killed or wounded, except Perry and his 13 year old brother, James Alexander. As Perry made his famous transfer from Lawrence to Niagara, he was again untouched by British fire.




Perry stowed his “spaniel dog” in the china cabinet below the deck of LAWRENCE during the battle. The cabinet was struck by a cannon that broke the crockery. The dog was unhurt, but howled throughout the battle. Commodore Perry not only won the first United States Navy Fleet action, but with the victory on Lake Erie, he defeated and captured an entire British squadron for the first time in British history. !







On the day of the battle, Perry’s entire squadron numbered 532 crew men. One hundred sixteen of them were incapacitated with “lake fever,” reducing his able-bodied seamen to 416. At the time, “lake fever” was believed to be caused by spoiled food. Today it is thought that “lake fever,” which inflicted the Americans and British troops, was malaria yellow fever, or typhoid. Usher Parsons, a United States surgeon’s assistant during the battle, although himself severely disabled with “lake fever,” cared for the casualties of both sides because the members of the British medical team were seriously incapacitated with the “fever,” wounded, or killed. Parsons, in his weakened condition, made his medical rounds by being carried from vessel to vessel. Approximately 10-15% of the sailors who crewed Perry’s ships during the Battle of Lake Erie were African-Americans. Lawrence’s crew alone accounted for 83 of the killed or wounded of the American total of 123. British casualties were heavier, totaling 135 killed or wounded. In naval battles prize money for each vessel captured was awarded to the victor. Although Daniel Dobbins was the main force in the construction of a Lake Erie fleet, he did not take part in the actual battle. After the battle, however, Dobbins did receive a Sailing Masters share of the prize money. Commodore Perry destroyed British sea power on the upper Great Lakes with his victory. He also assisted General Harrison with the fleet units at the Battle of Thames, which brought Canada under American control. Perry, at the young age of fourteen, survived two bouts of yellow fever while sailing in the Caribbean. Nevertheless, he died on August 23, 1819, of yellow fever on his 34th birthday, near Trinidad.


THE BRIG NIAGARA ~ A Quick Quiz 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

How many sailors were on Niagara? Is there a ship’s bell on Niagara? How many masts does Niagara have? How many sails are on one mast? How many gunports does Niagara have? Give the exact date of the Battle of Lake Erie. How do you steer Niagara, with a tiller or a wheel? How many 32 pound carronades did Niagara carry? How many 12 pound long guns did Niagara carry? Where did the “Battle of Lake Erie” take place? Where is the compass kept? How many men and boys did it take to work one carronade? Where did the surgeon do his work?

KEY TO THE BRIG NIAGARA ~ A Quick Quiz 1. 135 2. Yes 3. 2 4. 4 5. 20 6. September 10, 1813 7. Tiller 8. 18 9. 2 10.PUT-IN-BAY 11.Binnacle 12.7 men, 1 boy 13.Officers’ dining table in the ward room


A QUICK CONNECTION TO THE STANDARDS READING, WRITING, SPEAKING, LISTENING STANDARDS Lesson 1, 2, 4, 5, 9, 13, 14, 16, 20, 22, 30, 31, 32, 33 MATHEMATICS STANDARDS Lessons 10, 12, 17, 18, 19, 21, 23, 26

HISTORY STANDARDS Lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 20, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY STANDARDS Lessons 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 24, 26 FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES STANDARDS Lessons 1, 2, 23, 24, 25 ARTS AND HUMANITIES STANDARDS Lessons 1, 33




Resources Suggested Readings The following is a short list of books which are pertinent to traditional sailing ships. Some books ar specifically instructional; some are historical accounts, and others are fiction but described the age of sail. The titles are not limited to naval history or the War of 1812, but include merchant ships and later periods of sail. The majority of these books are in the Erie Maritime Museum library.

Instructive books on Seamanship Jan Adkins ...................................................................................... The Building of a Wooden Ship Clifford, Ashley .............................................................................. Ashley’s Book of Knot’s John Harland .................................................................................. Seamanship in the Age of Sail Darcy Lever, Royal Navy ............................................................. Young Sea Officers Sheet Anchor Captain Nares, Royal Navy ........................................................... Nares Seamanship 1862 Sam Svenson .................................................................................. Handbook of Seaman’s Ropework Alan J. Villiers ............................................................................... The Way of a Ship Good Stories about the Seafaring Life Joseph Conrad ............................................................................... Mirror of the Sea Joseph Conrad ............................................................................... Youth Richard Henry Dana ..................................................................... Two Years Before the Mast Linda Grand Depauw .................................................................... Seafaring Women Rudyard Kipling ............................................................................. Captain’s Courageous Herman Melville ............................................................................ White Jacket Herman Melville ............................................................................ Billy Budd Eric Newby .................................................................................... The Last Grain Race F. Worsley ...................................................................................... Shackelton’s Boat Journey Naval History & The War of 1812 D.C. Skaggs & G.T. Altoff ............................................................ A Signal Victory Pierre Berton ................................................................................. The Invasion of Canada Pierre Berton ................................................................................. Flames Across the Border Jeffery Bolster ............................................................................... Black Jacks Donald Hickey ............................................................................... The War of 1812 Emily Cain ...................................................................................... Ghost Ships Howard I. Chapelle ....................................................................... History of the American Sailing Navy John Keegan .................................................................................. The Price of Admiralty Brian Lavery .................................................................................. Nelson’s Navy Robert Malcolmson ....................................................................... HMS Detroit Theodore Roosevelt ....................................................................... The Naval War of 1812 N.A.M. Rodger ............................................................................. The Wooden World


Resources Suggested Resources Books Amongst My Best Men: African-Americans and the War of 1812, by Gerard T. Altoff The Building of Perry’s Fleet on Lake Erie 1812-1813, by Max Rosenberg Daniel Dobbins: Frontier Mariner, by Robert D. Ilisevich Deep Water Sailors Shallow Water Soldiers: Manning the US Fleet on Lake Erie 1813, by Gerard T. Altoff Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, by Chris J. Magoc Home Port Erie: Voices of Silent Images, by Robert J. Macdonald and David Frew The Invasion of Canada: Battles of the War of 1812, by Ronald J. Dale Lake Rhymes: Folk Songs of the Great Lakes Region, by Lee & Joann Murdock (songbook, study guide & CD) Oliver Hazard Perry and the Battle of Lake Erie, by Gerard T. Altoff Pennsylvania Trail of History Cookbook, by the Editors of Stackpole Books A Signal Victory, by David C. Skaggs & Gerard T. Altoff Surgeon of the Lakes: the Diary of Dr. Usher Parsons 1812-1814, edited by John C. Fredriksen A Town at Presque Isle: A Short History of Erie, PA to 1980, by Mary Muller A Town at Presque Isle: A Children’s Companion to the History of Erie, PA, by Mary Muller The War of 1812, by Carl Benn

Activity Books & Games “Commodore Perry & Other Paper Dolls of the Flagship Niagara,” by Edward Macie “Dont Give Up the Ship: The Cut & Fold Game of the Battle of Lake Erie,” by Chatham Hill Games “Frigates: The Cut & Fold Game of the War of 1812” by Chatham Hill Games “The War of 1812 Activity Book,” by Richard L. Ruehrwein Videos “The Days of Sail: The Living Legacy of Niagara,”

Many of these resources are available at the Museum’s Shipwright Gift Shop




Acknowledgments MaryJane Phillips Koenig, Editor Joy M. Fetzner, Layout and Graphic Design

Walter Rybka, Erie Maritime Museum Administrator and Senior Captain, U. S. Brig Niagara Mark Thomas Weber, Director of Education, Erie Maritime Museum Dr. Chris Magoc, Past Director of Education, Erie Maritime Museum

Ron Bailey Lance Barclay Ed Bolla Linda Bolla John Eck Dr. Steve Frezza Tim McLaughlin James A. Nagy Penny Rybka Jeff Sherry Dr. Donald Swift Robet J. Wisener cover illustration by Tim McLaughlin

Profile for Flagship Niagara League

Remembering and Teaching America's Forgotten War of 1812  

The Erie Maritime Museum presents its interdisciplinary curriculum with lesson plans targeted to a broad scope of Middle School students (gr...

Remembering and Teaching America's Forgotten War of 1812  

The Erie Maritime Museum presents its interdisciplinary curriculum with lesson plans targeted to a broad scope of Middle School students (gr...