A Monument to the Triumph of Napoleon in PlasterDon't tell anyone but there is a plaster elephant, 78 feet tall, standing in the middle of the plaza in Paris. The plaza is the former site of the Bastille, the prison that became the symbol of tyranny and sparked a popular uprising against the French monarchy known as the French Revolution. The Bastille was torn down and replaced with a fountain, but somehow the statue of a woman with water pouring forth from her breasts didn't seem appropriate so Napoleon decreed that a monument of triumph be built, but the Arc de Triomphe isn't going to work there, so Napoleon decides on a bronze elephant with a hollow leg so that people can enter and climb to the top. At this point in the construction, the base of the monument is complete, but a new architect is hired. He decides to build a full-size model of the elephant in wood and plaster to give people an idea of what the final product will be like. It looks magnificent in drawings, but in person it is less than magnificent. With the turn in Napoleon's fortunes this year, the delivery of the bronze is quietly cancelled. The plaster model will remain on display for several years and become the home for rats and a hiding place for a fictional character in Victor Hugo's novel, Les Misérables.     
'Don't Give Up the Ship!' The Battle Flag of Lake ErieThis is the War of 1812 and the British have blockaded Lake Erie with two war ships they already had on site. They cut off the supply line to Detroit while British forces cross the Detroit River. They capture a United States ship named the Adams in port. The US forces need more gun ships on Lake Erie to challenge the British, but the only effective way to do that is to build new ships, so they do. The facilities for building ships is inadequate, but they have a master ship builder and the iron will of Captain Oliver Perry. (He is the older brother of Matthew Perry who will open up the ports of Japan for American shipping whether they like it or not.) Captain Perry will challenge the British on the Lake, but first, he wants a new battle flag. His friend suggests the dying words of Captain James Lawrence of the frigate USS Chesapeake be written across the flag, "Don't Give Up the Ship." With a shortage of experienced sailors on both sides, Captain Perry sets out to challenge the British on his flagship, the Lawrence. Perry catches the best wind called the "weather gauge". He sails right into the British squadron and pounds away with cannon fire. Ships become entangled as their rigging crashes all around. It soon becomes a melee. The damage to Perry's ship, the Lawrence is horrifying, but in the end, the British surrender control of the Lake.  
In Other News
- Mexico declares its independence from Spain. 
- Jane Austen publishes "Pride and Prejudice" 
- The waltz becomes the most popular dance in Europe.