WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY
OLIVER HAZARD PERRY
Oliver Hazard Perry and the battle of lake erie
Naval officer Oliver Hazard Perry lost his ship the USS Revenge in 1811. With the United States facing defeat in the War of 1812, 27 year old Perry was given the chance to save his career and family honor by taking on the impossible mission of building a squadron of ships in the wilderness along Lake Erie.
The resulting exploits of Oliver Hazard Perry and his incredible victory in the Battle of Lake Erie became legendary and proved to be a watershed of history. Personally dodging bullets, escaping capture in a sudden fog, winds shifting in his favor, surviving unscathed the shot and shell of battle, turning defeat into victory - all became part of "Perry's Luck." It was said that, "More than any other battle... the victory on Lake Erie was won by the courage and obstinacy of one man."
With the victory Perry became a national hero and ironically, he befriended his captured British adversary, Robert Barclay. The Lake Erie battle also left him in a controversial feud with his second-in-command, Jesse Duncan Elliot, over their respective actions that eventful day. That controversy survives to this day.
A Rhode Island native, Perry was above all else a family man who was devoted to his wife Elizabeth. He attributed his surviving the horrific combat of the battle to "the prayers of my wife."
He was described as an able, resourceful, determined and charismatic officer. He died, on his birthday, at the age of only 34. He was so respected that he was honored with a full military funeral - by his former enemies - the British.