Aug. 23, 1785 South Kingstown Washington County Rhode Island, USA
Aug. 23, 1819, Trinidad And Tobago
United States Naval Officer. Naval hero of the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Born in South Kingston, Rhode Island, at the age of 13 he entered the United States Navy as a midshipman. In 1812 he was given the rank of Commodore and placed in command of the forces on Lake Erie after war broke out with England. No ships were in existence there, so he had to build a fleet, a very difficult as iron, cannon, anchors, ropes and supplies had to be carried a long distance to the site near Erie, Pennsylvania. Perry and his men successfully completed six vessels by July 1813, which were joined by others from Buffalo. On September 10, 1813 this American fleet fought a British squadron off the island of Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Perry was aboard his flagship "USS Lawrence", however, this vessel took heavy British fire. Carrying his Battleflag emblazoned with the words, "Don't give up the ship", he abandoned the heavily damaged "Lawrence" and by small boat transferred to the nearby "USS Niagara" and sailed her into the British battle line. His cannon fire from the "Niagara" compelled a British surrender. Perry reboarded the heavily damaged "Lawrence" and received the British surrender on her deck and penned the famous words, "We have met the enemy and they are ours". He was the first in history to defeat an entire British squadron and successfully bring back every ship to his base. In 1819 he was sent to Venezuela on a diplomatic mission during which he contacted yellow fever and died at sea near Trinidad on his 34th birthday. He was buried at Port of Spain, Trinidad with full military honors. In 1826, his remains were moved to Newport, Rhode for burial. Many sites and towns across America are named for the Admiral, however none as immense and stunning as the Perry National Monument in Put-in-Bay, Ohio, which commemorates his victory during the war of 1812. The 352 foot Doric column edifice with an observation deck is also the burial place for some of the men, both American and British who perished in the battle of Lake Erie.