Communities in and near the Lake Erie Islands are holding special events in observance of the 200th anniversary of the September 1813 Battle of Lake Erie, a key American victory in the War of 1812.
Americans Under Perry’s Command Defeat British Forces
On Sept. 10, 1813, six British ships commanded by Capt. Robert Heriot Barclay and nine American vessels under command of 27-year-old Oliver Hazard Perry engaged in battle in the waters off South Bass Island. The British anticipated an easy victory over Perry’s forces, but in the course of the battle, every British commander was killed or wounded, leaving the British ships under command of junior officers with limited experience. From the ship Niagara, Perry inflicted heavy cannon-and-gun fire on the British. By nightfall, the British had lowered their flag and surrendered to Perry.
The Battle of Lake Erie, as it became known, made Perry an American hero and a household name. His famous dispatch to Gen. William Henry Harrison following the battle was “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
Perry’s success in the Battle of Lake Erie cut off British supply lines and forced the British to abandon Detroit. It also paved the way for Harrison’s attack on British and Native American forces at the Battle of the Thames.
Island Monument Commemorates Perry’s Victory and Longtime Peace
Perry’s Victory Monument and International Peace Memorial, completed on South Bass Island in 1915, commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie as well as the longtime peace between the U.S. and Canada. You can view the Lake Erie Islands from the top of the monument — a 352-foot fluted Doric column that also serves as a lighthouse — and, in the adjacent National Park Service visitor center, learn more about the battle. Read more about Perry, Barclay and the story of the Battle of Lake Erie at www.nps.gov/pevi/historyculture/index.htm.
Regional Special Events Get Underway This Week
The two-week Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial celebration that gets underway this week includes a fleet of Tall Ships from across the world that will spread across nine ports, eventually uniting to reenact the Battle of Lake Erie on Monday, Sept. 2; a Parade of Sail, Port Festivals in waterfront cities in the U.S. and Canada, Tall Ship tours and many other events. Visit the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial website for related events taking place through Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, the 200th anniversary of the battle.
Learn More About the War of 1812
Get an introduction to the War of 1812 in Ohio and find links to many more places in Ohio associated with it in the story “A War of 1812 Primer” in the May 30, 2012, issue of Ohio Histore-news.
Visit the following Ohio Historical Society sites to learn more about the War of 1812 in Ohio.
Fort Meigs, Perrysburg, a War of 1812 battlefield and reconstructed fort with adjacent museum and visitor center where you can see War of 1812-related exhibits.
William Henry Harrison Tomb, North Bend, final resting place of Harrison, the War of 1812 hero who later became president of the United States.
Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont, though not a War of 1812 site, features the related exhibit The War of 1812 on the Ohio Frontier through Oct. 6, 2013.