Facts and Events
United States Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (August 23, 1785 – August 23, 1819) was an American naval commander, born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. He was the son of USN Captain Christopher Raymond Perry and Sarah Wallace Alexander, and the older brother of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry.
Perry served in the West Indies during the Quasi War with France, the Mediterranean during the Barbary Wars, in the Caribbean fighting piracy and the slave trade, but is most noted for his heroic role in the War of 1812 during the Battle of Lake Erie. During the War of 1812 against Britain, Perry supervised the building of a fleet at Erie, Pennsylvania, at the age of 27. He earned the title "Hero of Lake Erie" for leading American forces in a decisive naval victory at the Battle of Lake Erie, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal and the Thanks of Congress. His leadership materially aided the successful outcomes of all nine Lake Erie military campaign victories, and the fleet victory was a turning point in the battle for the west in the War of 1812. He is remembered for the words on his battle flag, "Don't Give Up the Ship" and his message to congress which reads in part, "We have met the enemy and they are ours;".
Perry became embroiled in a long-standing and festering controversy with the Commander of the , Captain Jesse Elliott, over their conduct in the battle, and both were the subject of official charges that were lodged. In 1815, he successfully commanded the in the Mediterranean during the Second Barbary War. So seminal was his career that he was lionized in the press (being the subject of scores of books and articles), has been heavily memorialized, and many places and ships have been named in his honor. Was commander of the U.S. fleet in the battle of Lake Erie, September 10, 1813.