Lake Erie

10 September, 1813

Naval Art of Paul Deacon

This was a fierce and bloody naval battle that occurred when America set out to end the threat of a British seaborne invasion on its left flank by seizing control of Lake Erie.

The British controlled both the lake and Detroit, the major city on it, so to counter the dominant Royal Navy, Washington built 10 ships in a protected river and launched them at enemy shipping.

Commanded by Oliver Hazard Perry, the Americans clashed with six British vessels at Put-In-Bay.

While more numerous than the British, under Captain Robert Barclay, the Americans had fewer cannons and the fight was heavy going.

One of the first losses was Perry's flagship, the USS Lawrence, which was crippled and surrendered, but the commander had already transferred to the USS Niagara.

During the next three hours, the British lost all their ships and suffered almost 180 killed and wounded - half their men. The Americans lost 123 men.

The effect of the battle of Lake Erie was to force Britain to pull its troops out of Detroit and withdraw to Canada.




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