Friday, February 17, 2012

Oliver Hazard Perry Statue

Given that Perrysburg was named after Oliver Hazard Perry, you would almost expect there to be a statue in his honor there.  And I found it as I was passing through town.
 Oliver Hazard Perry was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island on August 23, 1785.  He was the son of a US Navy Captain and direct descendant of  William Wallace (of Braveheart fame).
 He served in the War of 1812 and was the hero of the Battle of Lake Erie.  This battle would ensure the American dominace of the lake for the rest of the war and led to the recovery of Detroit from the British.
 At the outset of the battle, he said, "If a victory is to be gained, I will gain it".  I guess they don't teach humility to Naval leaders.  His battle ensign said, "Don't give up the ship".
 This would be an example of a sailor from the time.
 This looks like a midshipman or lower ranked officer.
 A closeup of one of the other statues.
 Initially the battle was in favor of the British.  Perry's flagship The Lawrence was so badly disabled, the British thought he would strike his colors.  He ordered the Lawrence to fire a final salvo as he went to the Niagara to continue the fight.
He won the fight and received the British surrender on the Lawrence.  It was the first time an entire British squadron had surrendered.  His battle report was brief, "We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop."

For his victory, he was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in 1814.  He was awarded command of the Java after the war but had a couple duels.  He died near Port of Spain.  His brother was Matthew Perry, the man who opened up trade with Japan.

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