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On September 10, 1813, American Captain Oliver Hazard Perry led his home-built 10-vessel fleet to victory against a six-vessel British squadron commanded by Captain Robert H. Barclay in the Battle of Lake Erie. Perry’s triumph, marked by his legendary message to General William Henry Harrison, ‘We have met the enemy and they are ours,’ was of great strategic value for the United States because it ensured American control of the Northwest Territory. During the battle, Perry left his badly damaged Lawrence and transferred his motto flag, reading, ‘Don’t Give Up the Ship,’ to Niagara. From there he continued the fight.

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Perry’s Miraculous Victory in Lake Erie

With Oliver Hazard Perry’s flagship dead in the water, the British had apparently won the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie. But then the quick-thinking American commander turned the tables and snatched an astounding victory in the bloodiest naval fight of the War of 1812.