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Stephen Decatur
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Naval Orientation - Military manual for administrative purposes
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The Civil War - 12966_41
Decatur    was    popular    with    his    men.    He deplored    oaths    and    flogging—the    customary methods of  discipline  used  at  that  time.  He  often addressed his men directly, explaining the kind of conduct he expected of them. Decatur won respect not by demanding it, but by deserving it. OLIVER HAZARD PERRY Many  fighting  slogans  were  coined  during  the War   of   1812.   James   Lawrence’s   dying   words, “Don’t  give  up  the  ship,”  uttered  in  the  ill-fated Chesapeake,  became  the  battle  cry   of  the  Navy. Oliver  Hazard  Perry  carried  them  to  Lake  Erie where a flag containing the words “Don’t  give  up the ship” was hoisted on his ship. During the Battle of Lake Erie, with four-fifths of  the  crew  dead  or  wounded  and  his  ship,  the Lawrence, crippled, Perry faced defeat. He made a perilous passage in an open boat to another ship, the   Niagara,   under   the   guns   of   the   enemy. Exhibiting extraordinary shrewdness and courage in a surprise maneuver, he sailed the Niagara (fig. 2-7) into battle and defeated the enemy within 15 minutes. DR. USHER PARSONS A hero and tradition maker  seldom  mentioned in descriptions of the Battle of Lake Erie was Dr. Usher Parsons. Dr. Parsons was the only surgeon aboard the Lawrence during that battle. Ships   of   this   era   were   shallow-built   with unprotected  cockpits.  (A  cockpit  was  the  junior officers    quarters,    usually    located    below    the waterline.)  During  the  Battle  of  Lake  Erie,  the doctor tended the wounded on the wardroom floor, which  was  nearly  level  with  the  surface  of  the water. Unprotected from enemy fire, this hot and crowded  spot  served  as  the  operating  room  and hospital   in   which   Parsons   and   his   assistants carried on their work. When  all  able  men  were  needed  on  deck  to fight, the doctor carried on single-handed. During the  battle,  five  cannon  balls  crashed  through  the wardroom,  one  of  them  killing  two  men  lying  on the operating table. In all, Dr.  Parson amputated six  limbs  and  dressed  the  wounds  of  many  men before  he  finally  transferred  with  Perry  to  the Niagara. Of  the  96  men  wounded  in  the  battle,  only  3 died—a  remarkable  tribute  to  the  skill  of  the  25- year-old surgeon. In a letter to the Secretary of the Navy,  Perry  wrote,  “Of  Dr.  Parsons,  surgeon’s mate,  I  cannot  say  too  much.”  Dr.  Parsons  was only  one  of  many  doctors  who  made  bravery  a naval tradition. During the quasi-war with France and  the  War  of  1812,  the  names  of  34  medical officers were included in a resolution by a grateful Congress. THOMAS MACDONOUGH Of  perhaps  greater  importance  than  Perry’s victory    was    Thomas    MacDonough’s    brilliant triumph over the British fleet on Lake Champlain. As   the   enemy   ships   closed   in,   “young   Mac- Donough,  who  feared  his  foes  not  at  all,  but  his God  a  great  deal,  knelt  for  a  moment  with  his officers on the quarterdeck.” 134.10 Figure 2-7.-A surprise maneuver turns defeat into victory. Leaving the crippled Lawrence, Perry boarded the Niagara, sailed through the British lines, and attained victory in 15 minutes. 2-10

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