Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today in History

On September 10, 1813, the American Naval force commanded by Oliver Hazard Perry (later a Commodore) defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.

At the beginning of the battle, Perry said:

"If a victory is to be gained, I will gain it."

At the end, his battle report to General William Henry Harrison was rather brief, resulting in words that are now famous, though the listing of vessels is usually left off:

"We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop."

This was a decisive victory, but not just for the success of the U.S. in the overall war effort. It marked the first time in history that an entire British naval squadron had surrendered.

Perry was honored with a Congressional Gold Medal and the Thanks of Congress. He also received a promotion to Captain as a result.

Today, a monument at Put-In-Bay bears his name. The National Park Service operates the Perry Memorial and Peace Monument which "was established to honor those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812, and to celebrate the long-lasting peace between Britain, Canada and the U.S. The Memorial, a Doric column, rising 352 feet over Lake Erie is situated 5 miles from the longest undefended border in the world."

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