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The Battle of Lake Erie 1813

US Captain Oliver Perry

During the summer of 1813 over 100 of The Royal Newfoundland Regiment were assigned as gunners and marines on the British Fleet on Lake Erie. In September 1813 Commodore Barclay led the British Fleet from the Detroit River to Put-In-Bay. He had with him six ships and 407 officers and men. The American Fleet commanded by Captain Oliver Perry, totaled nine ships with 532 officers and men including a number of Kentucky sharpshooters.

On the morning of 10 September both fleets opened fire just off West Sister Island in Put-In-Bay. The battle of Lake Erie lasted about three hours. Although the British pressed the attack they lost the Battle of Lake Erie to a superior American naval force.

British Commodore Barclay

The battle itself was a complete disaster for the British. It was the first time in history that an entire British fleet was defeated and completely captured by an enemy. Barclay was badly wounded and lost full movement in his one remaining arm. At his inevitable court martial, Barclay was absolved of all blame for the Lake Erie defeat. He had to wait another ten years however, to be promoted to the rank of full navy captain.

Fourteen members of The Royal Newfoundland Regiment were killed and their remains committed to Lake Erie. Another twenty five were wounded and were held as prisoners of war and forced to march through Ohio to Frankfort, Kentucky where they spent the remainder of the war under appalling conditions. Lt.Garden, of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, was also killed in action. He was buried with full military honours by the American victors and is buried beneath the Peace Monument in Ohio.

The Battle of Put-in-Bay, Lake Erie, 1813