The age of fighting sail is usually perceived as a battle for the ocean between European powers, but between 1754 and 1834 there was also a massive shipbuilding effort on both sides of the Great Lakes. These great expanses of fresh water saw the construction of warships that ranged from simple rowing gunboats to gigantic three-deckers that could have held their own in Nelson's line of battle. This book presents the history of the freshwater navies developed by the French, British, and Americans as they struggled to control the wilderness frontier. It covers the ships' designs, building logistics, skilled laborers, and armaments to reveal a story of human ingenuity and success against all odds. Some of the frigates were pre-fabricated in Great Britain, dismantled, and laboriously hauled in pieces up the St. Lawrence for reconstruction on Lake Ontario. The richly illustrated volume contains original drafts and contemporary paintings that bring this little-known shipbuilding story to life for age-of-sail enthusiasts.