Lawrence, James, 1781–1813, American naval hero, b. Burlington, N.J. He entered the navy in 1798 and saw his first important service in the Tripolitan War. In the War of 1812, as commander of the Hornet, he defeated and sank (1813) the British Peacock. He was promoted to captain and was given command of the Chesapeake at Boston. On his way out of Boston harbor he met, engaged, and was defeated by the British frigate Shannon, which had been blockading Boston. His words "Tell the men to fire faster and not to give up the ship" shouted as he was carried from the deck, mortally wounded, became the popular naval battle cry "Don't give up the ship!"
See biography by A. Gleaves (1904); P. Padfield, Broke and the Shannon (1968).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on James Lawrence from Infoplease:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies