Sunday, June 01, 2008


This Day in the History of Making Lemonade From Lemons

Having been stung, indeed stunned, by three naval defeats in a row during the War of 1812 (USS Constitution defeating HMS Java, USS Constitution defeating HMS Guerriere, and USS United States defeating HMS Macedonian) Captain Sir Philip Broke of the British heavy frigate HMS Shannon, mirroring British naval sentiment, begged Captain James Lawrence of the somewhat ill-fated USS Chesapeake to come out to fight outside Boston off Cape Ann, and Captain Lawrence complied. However, most historians say he had not sufficiently trained his gun crews, where the British gun crews on the Shannon were well trained and outstanding, and the Chesapeake lost the battle in just 13 minutes. As he lay dying, Lawrence uttered the then ironic words, don't give up the ship to men who struck the colors mere seconds after their captain died. As they should have, they had utterly lost the battle and thus the ship.

Still, the United States Navy gained a slogan and thereupon a very, very proud tradition after that.


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