A Signal Victory: The Lake Erie Campaign, 1812-1813 by David Curtis SkaggsThe Battle of Lake Erie on 10 September 1813 is considered by many to be the most important naval confrontation of the War of 1812. Made famous by the American fleet commander Oliver Hazard Perrys comment, We have met the enemy and they are ours, the battle marked the U.S. Navys first successful fleet action and was one of the rare occasions when the Royal Navy surrendered an entire squadron. This book draws on British, Canadian, and American documents to offer a totally impartial analysis of all sides of the struggle to control the lake. New diagrams of the battle are included that reflect the authors modification of traditional positions of various vessels. The book also evaluates the strategic background and tactical conduct of the British and the Americans and the command leadership exercised by Perry and his British opponent, Commander Robert H. Barclay. Not since James Fenimore Coopers 1843 book on the subject has the battle been examined in such detail, and not since Alfred Thayer Mahans 1905 study of the war has there been such a significant reinterpretation of the engagement. First published in hardcover in 1997, the book is the winner of the North American Society for Oceanic Historys John Lyman Book Award.
Battle of Lake Erie Facts and Overview
The battle also helped turn the war in the west against the British and their allies. When the war broke out the British quickly took control of Lake Erie. Their navy was small and with many of assets assigned to Europe to fight Napoleon they were forced to build more ships from the resources that were available in America. The American Navy was in a similar situation and also had to build a fleet within the Great Lakes. This resulted in an arms race with both sides trying to see who could build a fleet the quickest. Meanwhile, the British suffered a defeat at the Battle of York that caused them to lose many of their resources and damage their supply line. The British were expecting an easy victory, however, they would be surprised at how competent the American navy had become.
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 When the war broke out, the British immediately seized control of Lake Erie. They already had a small force of warships there: the sloop-of-war Queen Charlotte and the brig General Hunter. The schooner Lady Prevost was under construction and was put into service a few weeks after the outbreak of war. These vessels were controlled by the Provincial Marine , which was a military transport service and not a naval service. Nevertheless, the Americans lacked any counter to the British armed vessels.
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Billowing smoke enveloped the battling ships, obscuring the results from the spectators standing on shore only a few miles away. The firing was incessant for the space of three hours This victory was an important part of the War of because it allowed America to gain control of Lake Erie, preventing the British from penetrating the middle of the United States. Before this triumph, American troops had suffered multiple defeats at the hands of the British and, as a result, their morale was diminishing. When the War of was declared in June, the U.