Last updated: March 12, 2015
- Put-in-Bay, OH
- Battle of Lake Erie
- International Peace Memorial
- OPEN TO PUBLIC:
Rising above Lake Erie, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial was constructed between 1912 and 1915 to honor those who fought and died during the Battle of Lake Erie, and to commemorate the lasting peace between nations once at war—the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. Situated on South Bass Island in Ohio, the 352 foot Doric Column is the only international peace memorial in the National Park System. The remains of three American and three British officers killed during the battle lie under the rotunda.
Throughout the late summer of 1813, the U.S. Navy’s Lake Erie squadron, anchored at South Bass Island, effectively cut off British supplies to their forces in the Detroit River valley. The British were now at a crossroads: either retreat and abandon their Indian allies, or strike from their naval base at Fort Malden/Amherstburg. They chose to attack. On the dawn of September 10, 1813, Robert Barclay led 6 warships toward the American fleet anchored at Put-in-Bay.
For the young U.S. Navy, this was its first fleet action—and it began badly. Perry’s flag ship, the U.S. Brig Lawrence became so disabled after two hours of fighting that Perry abandoned it and, after navigating a small rowboat through heavy gun fire, boarded its sister ship, Niagara. He then resumed the fight. In the span of 15 minutes the British were forced to surrender.
Never before had the Royal Navy suffered the capture of an entire squadron. The Battle made Oliver Hazard Perry a national hero and gave the United States a much needed morale boost. The British, with no way to move supplies to their Lake Erie base retreat inland after burning down Fort Amherstburg. Harrison’s U.S. forces pursued them into Upper Canada.