Ohio Archæological and Historical Society
Publications, Volume XX

Ohio Archæological and Historical Society Publications, Volume XX [1911], Page 415 [Click for larger image]Page 415

THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE IN BALLAD AND HISTORY. BY CHARLES B.GALBREATH. Perry's victory on Lake Erie stands out pre-eminent among the naval exploits of the War of 1812. And this is true, not only by virtue of the comparative importance of the battle and its results, but because it combined in an unusual degree the elements of intrepidity, patriotic fervor and personal valor that captivate the imagination, live in legend and story and song, and make up what we are pleased to style the poetry of war. In spite of Cooper's criticism of the young commander, and the contention of Roosevelt that the battle was not a remarkable achievement—that greater things had been accomplished by McDonough on Lake Champlain, the commanding figure of Perry, as he passes from the shattered Lawrence to the Niagara in a frail boat through a storm of bullets and grape-shot, stands forth undimmed and undiminished in its original luster and heroic proportions. The premonitory silence of the approaching fleets; the daring advance of the commander's ship; the roar of cannon and the fierce onslaught of the encircling line of the enemy; the shattered hull, the splintered masts and the reeking deck of the Lawrence, where valor strove desperately to keep aloft the stars and stripes and the banner inscribed, "Don't give up the ship;" the reckless bravery of Perry as he bore the latter from his flag-ship and raised it over the Niagara; the striking of the colors of the Lawrence; the fierce renewal of the combat; victory snatched from the jaws of defeat; the thunders of floating armaments forever silenced on our northern "inland seas!” In the short space of a few hours we have here, on the romantic waters of the West, in action and fortune, an event dramatic and kaleidoscopic, that lives in ballad and history, and sheds luster on the "men behind the guns," the young commander, and the young republic. The battle of Lake Erie is doubtless destined to more

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