(Put-In-Bay) — Two hundred years ago, the phrase, “We have met the enemy and they are ours,” was penned by U.S. Navy Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry in a report notifying General William Henry Harrison that the British had been defeated at the historic Battle of Lake Erie.
To commemorate this resounding triumph of the War of 1812 the U.S. Postal Service dedicated the War of 1812: Battle of Lake Erie Forever stamp today. The First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony took place at the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial on South Bass Island in Lake Erie near the location of the battle.
Available in sheets of 20, customers may purchase the stamps at local Post Offices.
For the stamp art, the Postal Service selected William Henry Powell’s famous painting, Battle of Lake Erie. The oil-on-canvas painting, completed in 1873, was commissioned by the U.S. Congress and placed at the head of the east stairway in the Senate wing of the Capitol in Washington, DC.
It depicts Perry in the small boat he used to transfer from his ruined flagship, the Lawrence, to the Niagara.
(Stamp images courtesy United States Postal Service)
A 19th-century engraving of Perry by William G. Jackman (after John Wesley Jarvis) is shown on the reverse of the stamp pane. Greg Breeding of Charlottesville, VA, served as art director and designer for the stamp.
“By portraying achievers and achievement, ideas and ideals, the Postal Service’s commemorative stamp program honors America’s history, heritage and heroes to bring both historical and contemporary subjects to life,” said U.S. Postal Service Eastern Area Vice President Joshua Colin in dedicating the stamp. “This morning, we continue that proud tradition, as we commemorate the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie, one of our country’s most important naval campaigns.”
In addition to contributing the battle cry ‘Don’t Give Up the Ship,’ to the national lexicon, the battle produced the ‘Hero of Lake Erie,’ Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry. Perry’s courage and gallantry earned him a place in history as one of the country’s greatest naval heroes. His decisive victory over the Royal Navy at Lake Erie prevented the British from penetrating further along the Great Lakes.
Perry’s triumph gave the U.S. control of Lake Erie and allowed the army to recover ground lost early in the war. The British and their allies abandoned outposts on the Detroit frontier and retreated up the Thames River deeper into Upper Canada. General Harrison pursued them and won the Battle of the Thames Oct. 5, 1813, less than a month after Perry’s remarkable victory.
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