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This Day In Founders History – 10 September
In 1813 on this day, near Put-in-Bay, Ohio on Lake Erie, the American flotilla under Oliver Hazard Perry’s command defeated the fleet of Royal Navy ships commanded by Robert Heriot Barclay. Perry had nine vessels with 54 guns and Barclay had six ships with 63 cannons. Perry’s weaponry necessitated a closer-range battle than that of the British fleet, forcing Perry to put his flagship, the USS Lawrence, directly in the line of fire. Nearly 80 percent of the ship’s crew was either dead or wounded and the ship had taken such a beating that Barclay was certain Perry would surrender it. Miraculously, Perry and four crew members were able to successfully navigate the first cutter through enemy fire to the Niagara unscathed. However, before abandoning the Lawrence, Perry and his crew had inflicted much damage to the British fleet, severely wounding Barclay as well as the captain and first lieutenant of every British vessel, leaving inexperienced junior officers in command. The Niagara and the other American vessels were able to overwhelm the British fleet and the British finally surrendered. The Battle of Lake Erie was one of the biggest triumphs of the War of 1812, securing control of the lake and forcing the British to abandon Ford Malden, allowing Harrison’s army to defeat the British in the Battle of the Thames. These two victories insured the state of Ohio and Michigan would remain sovereign U.S. territory.
One notable birthday on this day in history in 1736, that of Carter Braxton. Braxton was a farmer from Virginia. He served as a member of the Virginia legislature and represented his county at the Virginia Convention. Upon Peyton Randolph’s death, Braxton took his place in the Continental Congress. Braxton was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1836, Braxton County, West Virginia was formed and named in Braxton’s honor.