This Day in History: "The Battle of Lake Erie, 1813"

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This Day in History: "The Battle of Lake Erie, 1813"

#1 Post by Old No7 » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:01 am

205 Years ago today...

Old No7

The Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes called the Battle of Put-in-Bay, was fought on 10 September 1813, on Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio during the War of 1812.

Nine vessels of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of the British Royal Navy. This ensured American control of the lake for the rest of the war, which in turn allowed the Americans to recover Detroit and win the Battle of the Thames to break the Indian confederation of Tecumseh. It was one of the biggest naval battles of the War of 1812.

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On the morning of 10 September, the Americans saw Barclay's vessels heading for them, and got under way from their anchorage at Put-in-Bay. The wind was light. Barclay initially held the weather gauge, but the wind shifted and allowed Perry to close and attack. Both squadrons were in line of battle, with their heaviest vessels near the centre of the line.

The first shot was fired, from Detroit, at 11:45. Perry hoped to get his two largest brigs, his flagship Lawrence and Niagara, into carronade range quickly, but in the light wind his vessels were making very little speed and Lawrence was battered by the assortment of long guns mounted in Detroit for at least 20 minutes before being able to reply effectively. When Lawrence was finally within carronade range at 12:45, her fire was not as effective as Perry hoped, her gunners apparently having overloaded the carronades with shot.

Astern of Lawrence, Niagara, under Elliot, was slow to come into action and remained far out of effective carronade range. It is possible that Elliott was under orders to engage his opposite number, Queen Charlotte, and that Niagara was obstructed by Caledonia, but Elliot's actions would become a matter of dispute between him and Perry for many years. Aboard Queen Charlotte, the British ship opposed to Niagara, the commander (Robert Finnis) and First Lieutenant were both killed. The next most senior officer, Lieutenant Irvine of the Provincial Marine, found that both Niagara and the American gunboats were far out of range, and passed the brig General Hunter to engage Lawrence at close range.

Although the American gunboats at the rear of the American line of battle steadily pounded the British ships in the centre of the action with raking shots from their long guns from a distance, Lawrence was reduced by the two British ships to a wreck. Four-fifths of Lawrence's crew were killed or wounded. Both of the fleet's surgeons were sick with lake fever, so the wounded were taken care of by the assistant, Usher Parsons. When the last gun on Lawrence became unusable, Perry decided to transfer his flag. He was rowed a half mile through heavy gunfire to Niagara while Lawrence was surrendered. (It was later alleged that he left Lawrence after the surrender, but Perry had actually taken down only his personal pennant, in blue bearing the motto, "Don't give up the ship".)

When Lawrence surrendered, firing died away briefly. Detroit collided with Queen Charlotte, both ships being almost unmanageable with damaged rigging and almost every officer killed or severely wounded. Barclay was severely wounded and his first lieutenant was killed, leaving Lieutenant Inglis in command. Most of the smaller British vessels were also disabled and drifting to leeward. The British nevertheless expected Niagara to lead the American schooners away in retreat. Instead, once aboard Niagara, Perry dispatched Elliot to bring the schooners into closer action, while he steered Niagara at Barclay's damaged ships, helped by the strengthening wind.

Niagara broke through the British line ahead of Detroit and Queen Charlotte and luffed up to fire raking broadsides from ahead of them, while Caledonia and the American gunboats fired from astern. Although the crews of Detroit and Queen Charlotte managed to untangle the two ships they could no longer offer any effective resistance. Both ships surrendered at about 3:00 pm. The smaller British vessels tried to flee but were overtaken and also surrendered.

Although Perry won the battle on Niagara, he received the British surrender on the deck of the recaptured Lawrence to allow the British to see the terrible price his men had paid.

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The British lost 41 killed and 94 wounded. The surviving crews, including the wounded, numbered 306. Captain Barclay, who had previously lost his left arm in 1809, lost a leg and part of his thigh in the action while his remaining arm was rendered "permanently motionless". The Americans lost 27 killed and 96 wounded, of whom 2 later died. The heaviest American casualties were suffered aboard Lawrence, which had 2 officers and 20 men killed, and 6 officers and 55 men wounded.

Of the vessels involved, the three most battered (the American brig Lawrence and the British ships Detroit and Queen Charlotte) were converted into hospital ships. A gale swept the lake on 13 September and dismasted Detroit and Queen Charlotte, further shattering the already battered ships. Once the wounded had been ferried to Erie, Lawrence was restored to service for 1814, but the two British ships were effectively reduced to hulks.

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Re: This Day in History: "The Battle of Lake Erie, 1813"

#2 Post by 2ndovc » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:34 am

Growing up on Laker Erie, the stories of the battle are pretty unavoidable.

The USS Niagara was in town this summer as part of a Tall ship tour. Not as big as you would think and just over 110', but an impressive ship none the less.

Perry's Monument on South Bass Island at the northern end of Put-In-Bay. It went under an extensive restoration just a few years ago. I haven't been up to the top of the monumnet in years, but the view is pretty incredible.


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Re: This Day in History: "The Battle of Lake Erie, 1813"

#3 Post by .45colt » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:45 pm

We live about a mile from Lake Erie, bout an hour east of Cleveland. Many years ago was an article about the battle of Lake Erie In it the author described a local Family Farm only a few miles away as I sit. it the Family Bible someone wrote about the Horrible thunder and storms out over the lake, not knowing at the time what was really happening. In Erie is a really Great place to visit where they have the Niagara docked year round and take Here out sailing All Summer. ... eum-about/

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Re: This Day in History: "The Battle of Lake Erie, 1813"

#4 Post by Sixgun » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:29 pm

Neat pics and stories....thanks-----6
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Re: This Day in History: "The Battle of Lake Erie, 1813"

#5 Post by Ysabel Kid » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:59 pm

Very cool! 8)

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Re: This Day in History: "The Battle of Lake Erie, 1813"

#6 Post by piller » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:00 pm

History of some brave men and their contribution to the start of a great nation. Thank you for posting it.
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Re: This Day in History: "The Battle of Lake Erie, 1813"

#7 Post by AJMD429 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:23 pm

piller wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:00 pm
History of some brave men and their contribution to the start of a great nation. Thank you for posting it.
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Re: This Day in History: "The Battle of Lake Erie, 1813"

#8 Post by JerryB » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:09 pm

Thanks a lot I always enjoy reading of the battle.
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