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Battle of Lake Erie

History -- Military history -- List of battles

The Battle of Lake Erie was fought on September 10, 1813, during the War of 1812.

The British had been blockading the port of Erie, Pennsylvania during the summer of 1813, but on August 1 they unexpectedly withdrew. The American ships in the harbour were finally able to leave, and throughout August Captain Oliver Perry prepared for the inevitable battle while keeping a close eye on the British ships at Detroit.

On September 10, British Commodore Robert Heriot Barclay, in his flagship the HMS Detroit, met Perry near Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Barclay's six ships outweighed and outgunned Perry's nine, including Perry's flagship the USS Lawrence; the Lawrence faced an unfavourable wind and was destroyed in the course of the battle. However, Perry was able to transfer command to the USS Niagara, a ship equal in size and strength to the Lawrence, but which had not yet been engaged in the battle. As the HMS Detroit had suffered some damage, the Niagara was able to capture it, along with the other five British ships.

Each side suffered about 100 casualties. After the battle, Perry sent his famous message to General William Henry Harrison, "We have met the enemy and they are ours." Due to the outcome of the battle, Britain retreated from Detroit and lost control of Lake Erie for the remainder of the war.