We Have Met the Enemy: Oliver Hazard Perry: Wilderness Commodore by Richard Dillon

We Have Met the Enemy: Oliver Hazard Perry: Wilderness Commodore

byRichard Dillon

Kobo ebook | December 18, 2014

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“We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”

—Oliver Hazard Perry to General William Henry Harrison, September 10, 1813

Oliver Hazard Perry fought perhaps the most perfect single battle in American naval history.

How Perry turned certain defeat in what has become known as the Battle of Lake Erie, into a monumental victory is one of the greatest naval achievements of all time.

More—he insured the success of William Henry Harrison’s Northwest Territory campaign, in which he soldiered as a volunteer aide to General Harrison. He ended Tecumseh’s plans for an Indian Confederation. He dashed forever Britain’s dream of blocking the United States in its westward march.

Richard Dillon, working from primary and secondary sources, many of them available for the first time, not only details Perry’s remarkable coup, but reveals the very human man, with his share of foibles, alongside the hero.

In 1811 Perry was named to create a fleet on Lake Erie. He chose Presque Ile Bay as the one harbour safe from the existing British lake fleet. Perry spend the spring and summer of 1813 doing the impossible—building first a shipyard, then a fleet of ten vessels in the frontier outpost of Erie, Pennsylvania.

The bar at Erie was not deep enough to pass Perry’s ships out into the lake. (But neither could the British enter the bay over the shallows; hence his choice of harbor.) He bided his time until his opponent Captain Robert Barclay sailed away for a brief respite. Then his men, in a frenzy of activity, emptied their ships of all guns and heavy gear and buoyed them with pontoons until they could be boosted across the sandbar. Perry got them safely into deep water in the neck of time. And when Barclay’s fleet came up to resume the blockade of Erie, Perry bluffed them away with his still undermanned and almost unarmed flotilla.

Once reinforced by a unit under the command of Jesse D. Elliott, Perry attacked the British fleet in his flagship Lawrence; Elliott was to bring the Niagara into action beside him. Elliott unaccountably hung back, and the Lawrence was shot to pieces by the three strongest Britishers.

Perry turning certain defeat into a monumental victory is one of the greatest naval achievements of all time.


“This book is well written and very inspiring. You can't help but get the impression that Commodore Perry would have been an awesome businessman in today's world.

Rich in detail and lively in verbiage, this book is hard to put down. In Navy Basic Training I had been taught that here was a man to admire. Read this book and discover greatness.”

—Mark R. Garner

Title:We Have Met the Enemy: Oliver Hazard Perry: Wilderness CommodoreFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:December 18, 2014Publisher:The Write ThoughtLanguage:English

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