More Important Than Perry's Victory

By David Curtis Skaggs

Second was its magnitude: A complete surrender of a Royal Navy squadron was virtually unknown in the era of Horatio Nelson. With his triumph, Perry cut off the logistical tail of British forces on the frontier that led not only to the evacuation of Detroit, but also to the conquest of southwestern Upper Canada by General Harrison’s army. Perry was, in the eyes of many, the savior of the Old Northwest from British control.

Finally was the drama: Perry’s transfer of his flag from one ship to the other was not unknown in naval annals, but was spectacular and appealed to the public as an example of courageous leadership. Coupled with this were the images of the iconic battle flag and a pithy report that summarized the outcome in earthy, simple words.

If his fellow countrymen have heaped praise on him, so have historians. In the mid-19th century historian and Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft exalted the commodore: “The personal conduct of Perry throughout the 10th of September was perfect.” 1

The great historian Henry Adams wrote: “More than any other battle of the time [this] was won by the courage and obstinacy of one man.” When selecting 20 of the most important naval leaders of the first two centuries of U.S. history, James Bradford of Texas A&M University commissioned War of 1812 authority John K. Mahon of the University of Florida to write an essay on Perry as the “Savior of the Northwest.” Mahon concludes:

This tiny action . . . ranks as one of the decisive battles of American history when one considers the results. By gaining control of Lake Erie, and with it the waterways between Upper Canada and Michigan, it transferred the initiative to the Americans. The British found their position in Michigan and Ohio untenable; they were forced to withdraw, and the Northwest was preserved for the United States. William Henry Harrison was now able to invade Canada . . . [and] at the Battle of the Thames . . . broke the fighting power of the British west of Niagara River.

Who would contradict former U.S. Naval Academy Professor Craig Symonds, who selected the Battle of Lake Erie as one of the five most important naval conflicts of our national history? He summed it up with: “For the United States the Battle of Lake Erie was a Lilliputian Trafalgar fought on fresh water, with consequences every bit as profound for America’s future as Trafalgar was for Britain’s survival. Perry’s victory secured the northwestern frontier for the United States.” 2

The Battle of Lake Erie

Despite such praise for and the importance of the Battle of Lake Erie, we need to look closely at it and the Lake Champlain victories through the most significant tools of analysis—what was the tactical and strategic importance of each battle?

Tactically, the Battle of Lake Erie was not one of the best conducted fleet engagements of the Age of Fighting Sail. At Presque Isle Bay (Erie, Pennsylvania) Perry, with the able assistance of a master shipwright and dozens of skilled workmen, built in short order a squadron superior in force than anything the Royal Navy could construct at Amherstburg on the Detroit River. He brought forward some converted merchantmen from the Niagara River to augment his force and secured necessary iron from Pittsburgh and armament, laboriously brought over the Niagara Escarpment and ferried to Erie, giving him a distinctive firepower advantage over his Royal Navy opponent, Commander Robert H. Barclay. The Americans won the logistical war on Lake Erie. With his shipwright’s assistance Perry brought his brigs over the Presque Isle bar and into the lake, an accomplishment Canadian naval historian Alec Douglas has called “the most decisive naval achievement of the war on the lakes.” 3

Perry’s nine vessels had a 2-to-1 advantage in weight of metal when compared to that of Barclay’s six-ship squadron. Although Barclay’s HMS Detroit was larger than either of Perry’s two brigs, the Detroit carried a varied armament of cannon taken off the ramparts of Fort Malden that were inferior in firepower to either of Perry’s twin brigs, the Lawrence or Niagara . If Perry could bring the Lawrence ’s short-ranged carronades into action against the Detroit , he should be able to overcome her. However, this meant that Perry’s other vessels, especially the Niagara , had to engage their designated foes and not allow the British to destroy the two American brigs by concentrating fire of several ships on one of them and subsequently attacking the other.

Compounding Barclay’s difficulties were the differences in armament of his two leading vessels, the Detroit and Queen Charlotte . The former was armed mostly with long guns and the Queen Charlotte with short-range carronades. The Detroit ’s best fighting chance was to engage in a running battle outside the carronade range of the Lawrence or Niagara ; for Queen Charlotte , the battle was best fought at close range so that carronades would have the most effect.

If firepower gave the U.S. Navy a distinct advantage, Perry took a number of disadvantages with him into this engagement. The first was inexperience among the American ship captains—only Lieutenant John Packet of the schooner Ariel had fought in a ship-to-ship engagement. 4 The Battle of Lake Erie would be the first squadron-to-squadron action in U.S. Navy history. In combat experience, Barclay had a decided advantage as a veteran of the Battle of Trafalgar, with several other officers who had been tested in battle.

On the other hand, Perry had a slight advantage in experienced sailors, although both squadrons were heavily manned by soldiers. Since seamanship did not play an important part in the battle, this advantage was negligible. The British had a few more men than the Americans, but this was not a significant advantage, although they may have been healthier than the Americans were, which should have assisted them. More important was that Perry’s men participated in live-fire exercises with the great guns before the battle while the British utilized only dry-fire exercises. This undoubtedly contributed to the greater accuracy and greater volume of fire of American gunners in the battle.

‘Engage . . . in Close Action’

The real tactical issue regarding the Battle of Lake Erie revolves around command-and-control during the engagement. Commander Barclay’s subordinates contained a few very junior members of Nelson’s “Band of Brothers.” They had observed fleet maneuvers and combat operations and understood the subordinate initiative necessarily required during changing combat situations. The officers’ mess of a Royal Navy ship constituted a school of advanced naval tactics for its junior members. Twenty years of almost constant naval warfare against France and Spain had honed the British junior officer corps in a way unknown to their American counterparts. Thus Barclay could expect devoted service to his tactical objectives and commander initiative by his various ship captains, something that was very rudimentary in the U.S. Navy.

The historical record does not provide a description of just what Barclay’s orders were to his captains. However, it appears he decided on a somewhat unusual arrangement of sailing his flagship at the head of his line. He thereby hoped to inflict enough damage at long range on the leading American brig so that he could leave her for the Queen Charlotte and the other ships while the Detroit encountered the second brig. The mix-and-match armament of his two largest ships was such that no normal tactic could suffice. It was risky, but as Canadian historian Fred Drake wrote: “Barclay was damned if he fought a close action, damned if he ranged in a running fight, and damned if he had not fought at all.” 5

Barclay’s best opportunity for achieving this maneuver would be for his squadron to have the weather gage—to be to the windward of Perry—so that he could control the distance between the two squadrons. Perry also desired the weather gage, since to have it would allow him to close the distance between the two squadrons and fully employ his carronades.

Perry issued two orders to his captains: “pay attention to preserving their stations in line” and “engage your designated adversary, in close action.” He concluded at least one of his commanders’ conferences with a paraphrase of Lord Nelson: “If you lay the enemy close alongside you can’t be out of place.” As he expected Barclay to place the Detroit in the center of his line, Perry ordered the Niagara in the van in opposition to the expected place for the Queen Charlotte .

On the morning of 10 September 1813, the wind favored Barclay, but before the two squadrons could meet the wind shifted and Perry gained the weather gage. Barclay then hove to off Middle Sister Island and awaited Perry’s arrival. Before the squadrons met, Perry determined the Detroit was in the British van, and he exchanged places with Lieutenant Jesse Elliott’s vessel, the Niagara , with the converted merchant ship Caledonia between them. Barclay’s line was compact when his first ranging round fell short of the Lawrence , while Perry’s line stretched for over two miles. Instead of waiting for the trailing vessels to close up, Perry impetuously headed straight for the Detroit . The Caledonia came forward and began firing her long guns at her foe with the Niagara behind her. Instead of closing with the Queen Charlotte , Elliott kept the Niagara behind the Caledonia and out of range for his carronades to engage his designated foe. Unable to inflict any damage on the Niagara with his carronades and knowing Barclay’s intention to damage the American brigs one at a time, the Queen Charlotte ’s captain brought his brig forward to assist the Detroit in the attack on Perry’s Lawrence .

Elliott rigidly followed Perry’s order to maintain his position in line even though he did not engage the Queen Charlotte , and for an hour and a half that ship, along with the Chippawa and Detroit , pounded the Lawrence , rendering her helpless. During the entire period Perry made no signal nor sent any midshipman ordering Elliott to change position. Finally, Elliott, thinking Perry was either dead or severely wounded, brought the Niagara forward about the same time the commodore decided to transfer his flag to Elliott’s brig. Up to that moment, one might argue Perry had been a better captain of the Lawrence than a commodore of his squadron. Upon boarding the Niagara , Perry ordered Elliott to bring the trailing gunboats into action while he took the undamaged Niagara and broke through the British line, quickly forcing the Chippawa , Detroit , and Queen Charlotte to surrender. The other American vessels captured the remainder of Barclay’s squadron. 6

This is not the place to discuss the long argument over who was responsible for why Elliott did what he did and Perry didn’t do what he might have done. It is important to understand that, tactically, Perry did not fight his squadron as efficiently as it might have been fought. This is not to denigrate the courage he demonstrated while fighting the Lawrence nor the skilled seamanship of his employment of the Niagara . In the final analysis, the test of a commander’s abilities is not that he could have done something better than he did, but how well the outcome of a battle achieves the desired tactical and strategic ends.

Outcomes Exaggerated

Strategically, Perry’s victory allowed the reconquest of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and the seizure of Upper Canada between roughly modern London and Windsor, Ontario. The Harrison-Perry campaign clearly relieved citizens of the state of Ohio and the territories of Indiana and Illinois of British-Indian attack and forced several tribes in the area to sue for peace. On the other hand, the Americans were unable to recapture Fort Michilimackinac in 1814 and consequently the British and their Indian allies had control of the Upper Peninsula and present-day Wisconsin. 7 Had peace been settled on the basis of uti possidetis —land in control in 1814—a sizable portion of the modern United States would have fallen into British hands, and America would have been left in control of the Detroit Strait. Historians engage in considerable hyperbole when claiming Perry saved the whole of the Old Northwest.

On the other hand, the British did lose naval control of the upper lakes, and their army was forced to withdraw from the Detroit area. Tecumseh’s Indian confederacy collapsed. But strategically, the British delay in forcing the reconquest of the Lake Erie basin until the fall of 1813 may well have saved Lake Ontario from American dominance. Remember, Perry’s ships were ready to sail by early July, but for a month he lacked crewmen and officers to man them. Had the Lake Erie campaign been resolved earlier, perhaps some of Perry’s seamen and officers, and maybe Perry himself, might have been available for service with Commodore Isaac Chauncey during a 28 September 1813 battle that is known as the Burlington Races. If the outcome of that engagement had resulted in Royal Navy defeat rather than escape, then British naval parity on Lake Ontario would have been destroyed, and the American ability to invade eastern Upper Canada would have been greatly enhanced. Instead Chauncey hoarded men and officers, Barclay was enabled to complete the Detroit, and Perry could not actively campaign until mid-August.

Moreover, the victories on Lake Erie and at the 5 October 1813 Battle of the Thames had no impact on the United Kingdom’s willingness to terminate what it called the Second American War. In other words, Perry’s victory contributed little to international strategic and diplomatic policies.

The Lake Champlain Front

Let us for a moment return to the fall of 1812, when Perry languished in Newport, Rhode Island, hoping for a saltwater command. He may have had a little regret upon learning in September that Lieutenant Thomas Macdonough, considerably below him in rank, had received command of the virtually nonexistent naval forces on Lake Champlain, the traditional invasion route between Canada and New York. The 107-mile-long lake looks like a two-bladed dagger pointing toward the Hudson Valley at one end and the St. Lawrence Valley to the north. For a century and a quarter it had been the pathway between French and British colonies and later between the American rebels and the British in Quebec. In effect, Lake Champlain constituted a freshwater sallyport from which an army could strike at the economic heartland of either country, but its military use required naval superiority. With the Adirondacks on the New York side and the Green Mountains on its Vermont banks, controlling the lake’s waters was essential for any ground operation’s success.

Young Macdonough, only 27 in 1812, received one of the most challenging commands available if one assumed the traditional invasion route would be used again. For a variety of reasons, major operations did not occur in the Lake Champlain Valley during the first two years of the war. This allowed Macdonough, now a master commandant, to build a small squadron and secure dominance of the lake for most of the time prior to 1814. But in that year things changed: His Majesty’s Government decided to reverse its North American strategy from defensive to offensive, and Lake Champlain became a major focus for a joint army-navy attack designed to reconfigure the American-Canadian boundary in Britain’s favor.

Secretary of State for War Lord Bathurst informed Canadian Governor-General Sir George Prevost in June that he would be reinforced with 10,000 new troops and that he was “to commence offensive operations on the Enemy’s Frontier before the close of this Campaign.” Among a multitude of tasks allotted to him, Prevost was to take an advanced position on Lake Champlain that would significantly improve Lower Canada’s security. The British sought to hold a position that would in the final treaty add to Lower Canada a port and fort from which the St. Lawrence Valley would be protected and New York and New England could be threatened. But Bathurst also counseled that any such push should be made only while “always however taking care not to expose His Majesty’s forces to being cut off by too extended a line of advance.” 8 This phrase merely reinforced the caution that always characterized Prevost’s conduct of military operations.

Forcing the Attack

Even before this decision in London, Commodore Sir James Yeo, commander of the Royal Navy’s North American lakes squadrons, ordered the construction of a brig for use on Lake Champlain. Macdonough requested permission to construct a brig at his winter quarters in Vergennes, Vermont, and thus countered the British effort with a shipbuilding race that would characterize the naval effort on this lake. On 11 April 1814, just 40 days after her keel had been laid, the 143-foot Saratoga slid into the waters of Otter Creek. The shipwrights also took the hull of an uncompleted steamboat and turned it into the schooner Ticonderoga . 9 (Thus Macdonough’s two principal warships bore names that would continue to gain fame in the U.S. Navy long after this conflict— Saratoga and Ticonderoga .)

But the British upped the ante. They built the 37-gun Confiance , which when completed would be the largest vessel on the lake, twice the tonnage of the Saratoga . President James Madison overruled Secretary of the Navy William Jones’ determination not to add to the Lake Champlain squadron and ordered the construction of the brig Eagle , which was done in a spectacularly fast 19 days. When all the shipbuilding was finished, the Royal Navy had a slight firepower advantage over the American squadron.

Macdonough carefully calculated his options. He felt obligated to protect American Brigadier General Alexander Macomb’s army troops in south Plattsburgh from naval bombardment and the opening of a waterborne supply route to Prevost’s forces. They had reached Plattsburgh on 6 September and were facing Macomb’s outnumbered men across the Saranac River. Therefore, Macdonough could not withdraw to the protective narrow channel of the upper lake to the south. His squadron had too many inexperienced soldiers serving on board its vessels to risk an open-lake engagement against an enemy with more firepower. So he decided to anchor his squadron near the mouth of Plattsburgh Bay.

As a tactician, Macdonough effectively positioned his vessels to receive the enemy and forced that foe to attack him at anchor. He took every advantage he could of his battle position. He understood the necessity of preparing for every contingency and of having multiple tactical options available. As commodore, he effectively communicated his desires and objectives to his subordinates and inspired them with not only an effective battle plan but also the broader objective of supporting General Macomb and the national objective of repelling the British invaders. While his subordinates did not fully support him in the battle, they provided a greater degree of cooperation than did Perry’s commanders, especially Jesse Elliott.

‘Both Sides Fought with Ferocity’

For the Royal Navy’s Confiance , carrying 27 24-pounder long guns as her principal armament, and the Linnet , with 16 12-pounder long guns, an engagement at long range was preferable. They might pummel the Saratoga and Eagle , armed principally with short-range carronades, forcing the Americans either to leave their anchorage or be pounded to death. However, Macdonough so positioned his squadron that when the British rounded Cumberland Head, the north-northeast wind they had used to sail up the lake was altered by the peninsula behind which the Americans anchored. The head’s mass broke up the breeze, and it turned variable from west-northwest, right in British Commodore George Downie’s face.

Macdonough’s two years of service on Lake Champlain had determined his positioning, as he fully understood the impact of Cumberland Head on wind characteristics to any squadron attacking him. He perceived the necessity of deploying his ships to take advantage of his experience and knowledge. Downie, on the other hand, had just recently been sent to command the British squadron and had never sailed the lake before this cruise. On top of all that, the Royal Navy officer had a distain for the U.S. Navy and exhibited that most dangerous of all commander attributes—hubris. He would anchor the Confiance well within the range of the Saratoga ’s carronades.

The wind direction kept the square-sailed British ships from attacking in the formation Downie desired. He hoped to run by the Eagle before taking on the Saratoga , but the wind forced him to sail directly toward Macdonough’s flagship. This subjected Downie’s vessel to raking fire down the full length of her deck before he could anchor and unleash his first broadside. Early in the battle Downie lost his life, and still both sides fought with ferocity for over an hour and a half. Gradually the Saratoga ’s starboard guns were silenced, and to maintain his fire, Macdonough executed the dramatic move that determined the battle’s outcome.

In his prebattle preparations, Macdonough had placed kedge anchors with hawsers at the four corners of the Saratoga . Now he had his tars haul the various hawsers to rotate the ship 180 degrees so that her port guns were able to fire a devastating broadside at the Confiance . She soon surrendered and was followed by all but 12 gunboats, which quickly fled the scene. The victory deprived Prevost of a secure supply route for his army, and he quickly withdrew to Canada. The British attempt to secure an outpost on Lake Champlain had failed.

The True Savior of the Old Northwest?

Strategically, one can never fully assess the proportion Macdonough’s victory had in the final diplomatic equation. It occurred concurrently with the repulse of the British at Baltimore, the defeat of a Redcoat assault on American-held Fort Erie on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, and the inability of either side to maintain naval dominance of Lake Ontario. There is no doubt that the situation Macdonough helped to create caused the Duke of Wellington to recommend to the British Cabinet that it reject its uti possidetis demands and accept the status quo antebellum. Thus one could argue that Macdonough did more in a strategic sense to allow the United States to reassert its claim to the upper portion of the Old Northwest than did Perry.

From a counterfactual point of view, one wonders what would have happened to the American union if Macdonough had lost. Would the Hartford Convention, with its threatened New England secession, have sought the disunion remedy? On the other hand, it was fortunate for the British that they concluded peace when they did, for had the negotiations been delayed until after news of Major General Andrew Jackson’s victory at New Orleans arrived in Europe, the Americans might have renewed their quest for territorial concessions and expanded neutral rights on the seas.

Why, one might ask, are Macdonough’s achievements so lost to most students of American history? The first reason is timing. The Lake Champlain battle comes almost simultaneous with the British burning of Washington, the repulse of the British combined-arms assault on Baltimore, and the successful defense of Fort Erie. Too much was happening at the same time, and Macdonough’s achievement is lost in the good and bad news from various fronts. A second reason involves drama—or rather the lack of it. Certainly Macdonough achieved a naval victory the equivalent of or greater than Perry’s triumph, but he did not dramatically transfer his flag from one vessel to another, and he did not coin a pithy phrase that was easily memorized by generations to follow. The movement from the Lawrence to the Niagara is easily illustrated, while the winding of a vessel 180 degrees is both hard to explain and most difficult to represent visually.

Two Commanders Compared

In conclusion, Macdonough’s victory on Lake Champlain was more important tactically, strategically, and diplomatically than Perry’s. This is also the view of a number of persons who examined the conflict over the years. But I must admit that Macdonough’s reputation continues in relative obscurity when compared with such naval contemporaries as Edward Preble, Stephen Decatur, and Oliver Hazard Perry.

In his History of the Navy of the United States of America , James Fenimore Cooper wrote in 1839: “In the navy, which is better qualified to enter into just estimates of force, and all the other circumstances than enhance the merits of nautical exploits, the battle of Plattsburgh Bay is justly ranked among the very highest of its claims to glory.” Four decades later Theodore Roosevelt in The Naval War of 1812 proclaimed: “Captain Perry showed indomitable pluck, and readiness to adapt himself to circumstances; but his claim to fame rests much less on his actual victory than on the way in which he prepared the fleet that was to win it.” Thus Perry’s greatness was as the builder of a fleet, not as its commander. On the other hand, Roosevelt praised Macdonough’s “skill, seamanship, quick eye, readiness of resource, and indomitable pluck,” which made him “the greatest figure in our naval history” before the Civil War. 10

In the 20th century there has been a continued chorus of compliments among naval history specialists on Macdonough’s behalf. Alfred Thayer Mahan concluded that Macdonough’s victory “more nearly than any other incident of the War of 1812, merits the epithet ‘decisive.’” In his Oxford History of the American People , Samuel Eliot Morison concurred, also describing the naval battle of Plattsburgh as “decisive.” Ohio State Professor Harry Coles concluded that the triumph at Plattsburgh was “to the War of 1812 what Saratoga was to the American Revolution. In both cases a major attempt at invasion was foiled and a change in diplomacy resulted.” And naval architect and historian Bill Dunne called the winding of the Saratoga “one of the great exploits of naval history.” British scholar Jeremy Black credits Macdonough’s triumph to “excellent American seamanship, good command decisions, and the strength of the short-range American carronades.” In a recent book Troy Bickham writes: “the battle effectively signaled the end of the war for Britain.” 11

Finally, in a recent popular history of the War of 1812, Walter Borneman writes: “Perhaps Thomas Macdonough should have come up with a catchier victory report of his own. And perhaps history has indeed given Macdonough short shrift.” 12 And let’s face it, a banner proclaiming “Don’t Give Up the Ship” has much more dramatic appeal down through the years than Macdonough’s signal to his squadron just before the battle began: “Impressed seamen call on every man to do his duty.”

This is not to denigrate Oliver Hazard Perry’s achievement; it was considerable and deserves great praise as the first squadron victory of the U.S. Navy. It was an engagement that Perry should have won because he so skillfully created a stronger fleet than the British could create on Lake Erie. But one needs to contrast Lake Erie’s tactical conduct and strategic consequences with those of Thomas Macdonough and his gallant officers and seamen on that fateful 11th of September 1814. If Perry is to be labeled the “Savior of the Old Northwest,” then Macdonough was not merely the “Savior of the Old Northeast,” but also a major contributor to the favorable diplomatic termination of the conflict. Consequently, the Battle of Lake Champlain deserves far more attention and credit than it has been given in the popular history of the United States. During the bicentennial of the War of 1812, the acknowledgement of Macdonough’s achievement will hopefully receive its due.

1. George Bancroft, History of the Battle of Lake Erie, and Miscellaneous Papers (New York: Robert Bonner’s Sons, 1891), 141, 187, 188, 189.

2. Henry Adams, The War of 1812 , H. A. De Weerd, ed. (Washington, DC, 1944), 69. John K. Mahon, “Oliver Hazard Perry: Savior of the Northwest,” in James C. Bradford, ed., Quarterdeck and Bridge: Two Centuries of American Naval Leaders (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997), 67. Craig L. Symonds, Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles That Shaped American History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 79.

3. W. A. B. Douglas, “The Honor of the Flag Had Not Suffered: Robert Heriot Barclay and the Battle of Lake Erie,” in W. Jeffrey Welsh and David Curtis Skaggs, eds., War on the Great Lakes: Essays in Honor of the 175th Anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1991), 35.

4. Tyrone G. Martin, “The Constitution Connection,” Journal of Erie Studies 17 (fall 1988), 39–46.

5. Frederick C. Drake, “Artillery and Its Influence on Naval Tactics: Reflections on the Battle of Lake Erie,” in Welsh and Skaggs, eds., War on the Great Lakes , 29.

6. For the Battle of Lake Erie, see David Curtis Skaggs and Gerard T. Altoff, A Signal Victory: The Lake Erie Campaign, 1812–1813 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997) and David Curtis Skaggs, Oliver Hazard Perry: Honor, Courage, and Patriotism in the Early U.S. Navy (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2006).

7. For a brief summary of the war in the upper Midwest, see Barry Gough, Fighting Sail on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2002), 1–136.

8. Bathurst to Prevost, 3 June 1814, reprinted in J. Mackay Hitsman, The Incredible War of 1812 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1965), 249–51.

9. For the Battle of Lake Champlain, see W. M. P. Dunne, “The Battle of Lake Champlain,” in Jack Sweetman, ed., Great American Naval Battles (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1998), 85-106; and David Curtis Skaggs, Thomas Macdonough: Master of Command in the Early U.S. Navy (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2003).

10. James Fenimore Cooper, History of the Navy of the United States (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2001 reprint), 417. Theodore Roosevelt, The Naval War of 1812 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1987 reprint), 254, 356.

11. Alfred T. Mahan, Sea Power in its Relation to the War of 1812 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1904), vol. 2, 381. Harry L. Coles, The War of 1812 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), 171. Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965), 392. Dunne, “Battle of Lake Champlain,” 103. Jeremy Black, The War of 1812 in the Age of Napoleon (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009), 161. Troy Bickham, The Weight of Vengeance: The United States, the British Empire and the War of 1812 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 169.

12. Walter R. Borneman, 1812: The War that Forged a Nation (New York: Harper Collins, 2004), 225.



Conferences and Events

View All

From the Press

23 February - Seminar

Sat, 2019-02-23

David F. Winkler

3 March - Lecture

Sun, 2019-03-03

Stephen A. Bourque

Why Become a Member of the U.S. Naval Institute?

As an independent forum for over 140 years, the Naval Institute has been nurturing creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.

Become a Member Renew Membership