Niagara First Sail
by Paul Kiehl, Jr.
The USS Niagara or US Brig Niagara was the relief flagship of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Perry transferred his flag from the Lawrence to the Niagara when the Lawrence became ineffective. The British were winning at this point, but surrendered after double broadsides from the Niagara destroyed three of their vessels. After the War of 1812, Niagara, along with other warships, were sunk at Presque Island to preserve them. She was raised in 1913 and underwent multiple restorations in the 1930's, in 1963, and lastly in 1988. She is currently a museum ship on Lake Erie, based in Erie, Pennsylvania. Niagara is the last vessel afloat from the War of 1812, and is a National Historic Landmark. However, some debate over whether she is a replica exists, owing to her extensive rebuilding in 1988.
This limited edition print (#71 of 250) is signed in the lower right by the artist, Paul Kiehl, Jr. It depicts the USS Niagara on her first sailing. Five other brigs of the Niagara Class were built between 1812 to 1813. USS Niagara was 110 feet in length, 302 tons displacement, and was built 1812-13 on Lake Erie at Presque Island.
The Steamship Historical Society of America is dedicated to the history and preservation of powered vessels; however, it is the first to acknowledge that sailing vessels are the ancestors of powered vessels and therefore, sailing vessels are important to the history of the powered vessel. For this reason it is appropriate for paintings of sailing ships to be depicted in this Museum.