The best known naval battles of the War of 1812 were single ship duels between US Navy frigates and ships of the Royal Navy. Nevertheless, the two most important American naval victories of the War of 1812 were fought in fresh water, hundreds of miles from the ocean. Neither involved large fleets of ships, yet each was critical to the outcome of the war.
One hundred and ninety nine years ago today, on September 10, 1813, in what has become known as the Battle of Lake Erie, five schooners, three brigs and a sloop, under the command of Oliver Hazard Perry defeated and captured two ships, two schooners, a brig and a sloop of the Royal Navy at Put-in-Bay in Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio. The victory gave the Americans control of Lake Erie for the rest of the war, denying the British and Canadians a key supply line and allowing the Americans to retake Detroit and win the Battle of the Thames to break the Indian confederation of Tecumseh.
A commemoration of the 199th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie is being held today at 5:30 PM at the Perry monument at Presque Isle State Park in Pennsylvania.