"A Signal Victory"
"U.S. Brig Niagara off the Western
Sister Head of Lake Erie, Sept. 10th, 1813
It has pleased the Almighty to give to the arms
of the United States a signal victory over their enemies
on this Lake. The British squadron consisting of
two ships, two brigs, one schooner & one sloop
have this moment surrendered to the force under
my command, after a sharp conflict.
I have the honor to be
Your Obed. Servt.
Letter from Commodore Oliver Perry to Hon. Wm. Jones, Secy. of Navy, September 10, 1813
Early in the War of 1812, the Americans lost control of Detroit and Lake Erie to the British and their Native American allies. The U.S. Navy sent 28-year-old Oliver Hazard Perry to Lake Erie to build a squadron and retake that important waterway.
On September 10, 1813, the Americans defeated the British on Lake Erie. Commodore Perry declared the naval battle “a signal victory.” In a war marked by early failures, this victory secured Ohio and the territories of Michigan and Indiana. It also provided a needed boost in national morale and marked a rare surrender of a complete Royal Navy squadron.
With a crew that Perry once described as “a motley set, blacks, soldiers and boys,” the Americans met Britain’s powerful Royal Navy on Lake Erie. A flag flew above Perry’s ship, the Lawrence, emblazoned with the words “Don’t Give Up the Ship.” This battle cry was the dying command, in an earlier battle, of Perry’s friend Capt. James Lawrence (for whom the ship was named).
In the middle of the battle, however, Perry abandoned the Lawrence because it had become disabled and two-thirds of its crew were casualties. Refusing to surrender, Perry was rowed to the Niagara and then commanded his squadron to an unprecedented victory. After the battle was won, Perry wrote a short report about the victory in a letter to Secretary of the Navy William Jones, shown here.
Perry’s Letter will be on display in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives through September 19, 2013.
"We have met the enemy and they are ours…"
Battle of Lake Erie. September 1813. Oliver Hazard Perry, standing. Copy of engraving by Phillibrown after W. H. Powell, published 1858.
An American squadron commanded by Oliver Hazard Perry defeated a British naval force 200 years ago in the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. The victory secured American control of the lake for the remainder of the War of 1812.
Perry’s Letter to the Secretary of the Navy announcing “A Signal Victory” is on display at the National Archives through September 19. (Ed note: Updated 9/10/2013)
The coolest spot in Washington DC:
The National Archives was one of the first buildings in Washington with air conditioning, and there was concern about the health risks of cool air on the National Archives staff in 1930.The Surgeon General, H.S. Cumming, determined that “during certain extremely hot days, the workers in the Archives Building will complain about the atmospheric conditions if the indoor temperature is kept below 80 degrees while the outdoor temperature rises to the neighborhood of 95 degrees or more. Undoubtedly, a very large proportion of these objections will be encountered among the older employees.”For the full post, go to: http://go.usa.gov/rkM4.