Oliver Perry

Oliver Perry

Was there any specific age that you thought that the navy would be the right fit for you?
At age 13, I really started to consider and decide on a naval career

When came your first naval experience?
I was warranted a midshipman in the Us navy in April 7, 1799. Over the next 6 months, I took part in the Quasi War with France and the Tripolitan War against the Barbary pirates.

When did you wish to see active service in the Navy Department?
I was unable to reach my goal, so I contacted a good friend of mine, Commodore Issac Chauncey who was commanding the US naval forces on the Great Lakes. Chauncey was desperate for experienced officers and men, so he successfully secured me as a transfer to the lakes in February of 1813. Chauncey directed me to take command of the small fleet being built on Lake Erie.

What did you do upon arrival in Erie, Pennsylvania?
Upon arrival, I commenced a naval building race with British counterpart Commander Robert Barclay. I constructed the fleet that includes the brigs USS Lawrence and the USS Niagara, as well as 7 smaller vessels. The USS Lawrence, flew a flag bearing the final words of Lawrence, "Don't give up the ship."

Did you say anything when you won?
My victory words were, "We have met the enemy and they are ours."

What did you do after the battle?
After the battle, I received a promotion to captain and serves as side to Major General William Henry Harrison at the Battle of the Thames.

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