African American sailors on the Great
| During the War of 1812, the lack of United States military resources in the Great Lakes region caused the American frontier to be perilously undefended against the threat of British naval power.
President Monroe relied on his naval command led by Commodore Issac Chauncey to build a viable navy to defend America's northern frontier. Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry was assigned by Commodore Chauncey to finalize construction and take command of the Lake Erie flotilla. Perry recruited free black men to serve in the lake naval force. Commondore Chauncey's tainted views towards freed slaves overruled Perry's decision. Undaunted, Perry broke military etiquette and reported to Washington the need for all able bodied men to serve "... I have yet to learn that the Colour of the skin, or cut and trimmings of the coat, can effect a man's qualifications or usefulness..."
Did They Succeed?