Today’s American Minute

By Bill Federer

“We have met the enemy and they are ours,” wrote Navy Capt. Oliver Hazard Perry, who died this day, Aug. 23, 1819. Perry encountered six powerful British warships in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. With no long-range firepower, the winds prevented him from getting in a safe position, and the British cannons crippled his flagship. In a courageous move, he switched to the ship “Niagra,” sailed directly into the British line, firing broadside, and won the battle in 15 minutes. To the sailors on deck he remarked: “The prayers of my wife are answered.”