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Navy Week: U.S. Brig Niagra

Navy-Week-Brig-Niagra

The Brig Niagra sailing ship is a restoration of the vessel that served as the flagship for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry during the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.

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The Brig Niagra is among the vessels scheduled to visit Toledo during Navy week.

Public tours: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26.

Built: 1813 (torn down and rebuilt 1988).

Commissioned: 1813/1990.

Type of vessel: Brig.

Engines: Sailing vessel with backup diesel engines.

Home port: Erie, Pa.

Normal operating area: Museum vessel in the Great Lakes.

Crew: 40 (16 professional, 24 volunteer); War of 1812 crew, 155 men.

Background: Also known as the Flagship Niagara, this two-masted sailing vessel is a direct descendant of the flagship of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's fleet that defeated British naval forces in the Battle of Lake Erie on Sept. 10, 1813 -- a pivotal turn in the War of 1812. The reconstructed ship serves as a fully operational, working museum, open for tours when it is home at the Erie Maritime Museum as well as during port calls elsewhere when it tours.

Other information:

◼ Owned by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Niagara is operated by the Flagship Niagara League, which offers historical presentations as well as instructional programs, including continuing education for teachers, Scouting classes, and sailing instruction. Day sails and voyages up to several weeks long also are available to the public.

◼ The original Brig Niagara was one of nine vessels built or converted in 1812-13 for the Lake Erie naval fleet. Commodore Perry transferred to the Niagara after the Lawrence, his initial flagship in the Battle of Lake Erie, became disabled by enemy bombardment, and it was from the Niagara that he declared victory in the battle by proclaiming, "We have met the enemy, and they are ours."

◼ The Niagara was later scuttled in Misery Bay off Erie, Pa., from which it was retrieved and restored for centennial celebrations in 1913.

◼ In 1988, it was dismantled and rebuilt, with some original timbers used in nonstructural locations. It was re-commissioned in 1990. The Niagara, designated in 1988 as the Flagship of Pennsylvania, has visited Toledo several times since then.

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