Light winds on September 10, 1813… turned the battle of Lake Erie into a slug fest. Neither commander could gain any true advantage in weather gauge- the two squadrons lay opposite one another, blasting away. American Oliver Hazard Perry’s flagship, Lawrence was taking the brunt of British fire as the rest of his command struggled to follow his aggressive example. Two British brigs pounded Perry’s ship until every gun was disabled and four-fifths of the crew was dead- Perry fled on a dingy, rowing a half-mile to the brig Niagara. Novelist and historian CS Forester wryly noted, “…it was as fortunate for the Americans that the Lawrence still possessed a boat that would float, as it was that Perry was not hit.”
Perry brought the rest of the American squadron… into line and drove the Niagara directly through the British formation. The two largest British ships collided and became entangled. Perry’s aggressiveness overwhelmed the slower British ships- nearly every man aboard the two largest was killed. The surrender took place at approximately 3:00pm, just three hours after the first shot was fired. Perry accepted the surrender aboard the recaptured Lawrence, so the British officers could see the carnage his command endured. Perry cabled his counterpart on land, General William Henry Harrison;
We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.
Yours with great respect and esteem,