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The Battle of Lake Erie and Its Aftermath

A Reassessment

David Curtis Skaggs

Publication Year: 2013

Few naval battles in American history have left a more enduring impression on America’s national consciousness than the Battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813. Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry’s battle flag emblazoned with the message “Don’t Give Up the Ship,” now enshrined at the U.S. Naval Academy, has become a naval maxim. His succinct after-action report—“We have met the enemy and they are ours”—constitutes one of the more memorable battle summaries in American history.

This splendid collection celebrates the bicentennial of the American victory with a review of the battle and its consequences. The volume is divided into three sections.  The first deals with “Military Operations” in the upper Great Lakes, 1812–14, and provides an overview of the War of 1812 in the Old Northwest and western Upper Canada. The second, “Consequences,” assesses the long-term impact of this campaign upon the Native Americans and Euro-Americans who lived in the region and three individuals whose lives were changed by the American recovery of the upper lakes in 1813. The final section, “Memory,” examines two ways the United States keeps the legacy of its first squadron-to-squadron victory alive by maintaining the fragile battle flag that flew on Perry’s flagships and by sailing the replica of US Brig Niagara on the Great Lakes and the East Coast.

Collectively these essays allow the general reader, the military history enthusiast, and the professional historian to take a fresh look at this significant naval engagement and its impact on subsequent historical events. 

Published by: The Kent State University Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Front matter

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

Few naval battles in American history have left a more enduring impress on our national consciousness than the Battle of Lake Erie, 10 September 1813. Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry’s battle flag emblazoned with the message “Don’t Give Up the Ship,” now enshrined at the...

Part I. Military Operations

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pp. 9-17

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The Maumee River Campaign, 1812–1813

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pp. 11-31

During the opening months of the War of 1812, the most important factor shaping the strategic environment within the Detroit theater was British naval control of Lake Erie. Control of Lake Erie permitted the British to move men and supplies easily from the Niagara theater to Detroit,...

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Gaining Naval Dominance on Lake Erie

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pp. 32-43

In the summer of 1812 the surrender of Detroit and the defeat of American forces on the Niagara frontier forced Washington to realize that naval control of Lakes Ontario and Erie were essential components to victory in the Old Northwest and Upper Canada (modern Ontario). The navy sent Commodore...

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“It Is Better to Make a Signal Than to Curse One’s Subordinates”: Oliver Hazard Perry and the Battle of Lake Erie

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pp. 44-61

At its bicentennial, the Battle of Lake Erie remains one of the most famous military engagements in American history. Oliver Hazard Perry’s message announcing his victory—“We have met the enemy, and they are ours”—has become an unforgettable passage, and the commodore, so...

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Invading Canada: Joint Operations Across Lake Erie

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pp. 62-80

On 10 September the sound of guns echoed across Lake Erie, the rumble heard from Detroit to Cleveland. But the outcome of the long-expected naval engagement was unknown to those on shore. The next day General William Henry Harrison ordered his troops garrisoned at Camp...

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“No One Acquired Any Military Glory in This Affair”: The American Attempt to Retake Mackinac, 1814

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pp. 81-97

Humphrey H. Leavitt was cold, wet, sick, and dispirited as he sailed down Lake Huron aboard the U.S. schooner Caledonia in the second week of August 1814. The moaning of injured soldiers and the stench of their wounds had driven the eighteen-year-old aide-de-camp from...

Part II. Consequences

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pp. 99-107

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Odyssey’s End: The Battle of Lake Erie and the Failure of the Delaware Indian Struggle for Autonomy

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pp. 101-125

On 10 September 1813, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry guided a small American naval squadron to victory over an even smaller British squadron near the Bass Islands at the western end of Lake Erie. It was a significant victory for the Americans during the War of 1812, one that was...

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“The Disagreeablest Night I Ever Saw: John Tipton, Tippecanoe, and the Dissolution of the Middle Ground

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pp. 126-142

For twenty-five-year-old ensign John Tipton and the rest of Indiana Territory’s Harrison County volunteer mounted riflemen, the campaign had already been especially grueling and tedious by the time they came within a mile of their Prophetstown target on 6 November 1811. His militia company,...

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The Late War: Black Hawk and the Legacies of Violence in the Great Lakes Region

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pp. 143-156

The Battle of Lake Erie, in which the American fleet led by Master Commandant Oliver Perry defeated the British naval force under the command of Captain Robert Barclay, lasted only a couple of hours on 10 September 1813. Yet it turned the tide of American fortunes in the western...

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The Aftermath of Victory: The Settlement of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and the Surrounding Region

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pp. 157-176

In 1805, just ten years after the Treaty of Greenville had established a fragile peace with the Great Lakes Indian nations, the small number of settlers who lived in the shadow of Fort Wayne turned their attention toward issues that would encourage population growth in the surrounding region. They...

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“A Gallant and Valuable Officer”: The Naval Career of Thomas Holdup Stevens, 1809–1841

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pp. 177-216

On 13 September 1813, three days after securing a bloody, hard-fought victory over the British fleet on Lake Erie, Oliver Hazard Perry sat down to compose a detailed after-action report to Secretary of the Navy William Jones. In this report, meant for public as well as official consumption...

Part III. Memory

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pp. 217-225

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Not Pretty, but Beautiful: Oliver Hazard Perry’s Battle Flag

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pp. 219-235

In a central area of the newly renovated Naval Academy Museum is displayed a flag familiar to Americans, especially those interested in the naval aspects of the War of 1812. It bears the dying words, or reasonable facsimile thereof, of Captain James Lawrence, who was mortally wounded on board his...

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Observations on the Sailing Characteristics of the U.S. Brig Niagara

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pp. 236-249

In the constant search for a more accurate understanding of history, I intend this essay to better acquaint the reader with the shipboard environment, particularly the performance capabilities of the sailing warships of the Lake Erie squadrons, and how these factors affected the commanders’...

Bibliography

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pp. 250-263

Contributors

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pp. 264-266

Index

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pp. 267-274


E-ISBN-13: 9781612777153
E-ISBN-10: 1612777155
Print-ISBN-13: 9781606351796

Page Count: 244
Publication Year: 2013