Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Battle of Lake Erie

This decisive battle, one of the largest naval battles of the War of 1812, took place on Lake Erie near the Bass Islands off of the coast of Ohio. The Battle of Lake Erie took place on September 10, 1813, between nine United States Navy vessels and six vessels from the Royal Navy of Great Britain.

The British, led by Lieutenant Robert Heriot Barclay, were unable to obtain supplies in the summer of 1813 due to the construction of the American fleet at Presque Isle (today Erie, Pennsylvania), led by Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry. The British, who occupied all of Michigan Territory, were left with no choice but to try to open the supply lines by engaging the Americans. Shots were exchanged and both sides sustained heavy casualties. A few minutes after 3 p.m. the four largest British vessels surrendered one by one. The two remaining gunboats tried to escape, but the Americans captured the entire British fleet.

After the surrender, Perry dispatched one of the most famous messages in military history to Major General William Henry Harrison. It read: “We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two Ships, two Brigs, one Schooner and one Sloop.”

In total, 41 British men were killed with 94 wounded, while 27 Americans were killed with 94 wounded. The U.S. controlled Lake Erie for the rest of the war, which allowed the Americans to regain Detroit and Michigan Territory.



"Battle of Lake Erie - Commodore Perry's Victory"

Print showing Perry's "Niagara"

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