Perrys Victory and International Peace Memorial General Information
Standing at an impressive height of 352 feet, Perrys Victory and International Peace Memorial stands as a majestic symbol of enduring peace and friendship between nations.
Constructed in 1915, this monumental Doric column underwent significant renovations in 2009 and reopened its doors to the public in 2012.
As a national monument, it has become an iconic structure recognized and celebrated throughout Ohio’s Great Lakes region and the entire United States.
Perrys Victory and International Peace Memorial embodies the essence of American tradition and serves as a testament to our nation’s rich history and profound respect for the past.
Its towering presence serves as a reminder of the values we hold dear, including unity, diplomacy, and the pursuit of lasting peace among nations.
A visit to Perrys Victory and International Peace Memorial is not only an opportunity to appreciate its architectural magnificence but also a chance to reflect on the significance of peace and cooperation in shaping the world we live in today.
Perrys Victory And International Peace Memorial Hours & Fees
When planning your visit to Perrys Victory and International Peace Memorial, it’s important to note some basic information to make the most of your experience. While entry to the memorial rotunda is free, access to the observation deck requires a fee and a timed ticket.
These timed tickets can be purchased on the day of your visit at the visitor center.
The fee for individuals aged 16 and older is $10, while children aged 15 and younger can enter for free. Additionally, there are other passes available for different visitor needs.
Parking near the memorial is limited, and the area may be congested due to ongoing seawall construction. To avoid any inconvenience, it is recommended to arrive early or consider parking at the visitor center and walking to the memorial. This will ensure a smoother visit and allow you to make the most of your time exploring the memorial and its surroundings.
Perrys Victory and International Peace Memorial Hours
Please note that the following hours specifically apply to the Memorial Rotunda and Observation Deck at Perrys Victory and International Peace Memorial. The last elevator up to the deck is available until 5:45 pm.
It is important to be aware that exceptions may occur for special events, and there might be adjusted hours due to reduced staffing. Additionally, severe weather conditions can also lead to changes in operating hours.
Tickets and passes to access the Memorial Rotunda and Observation Deck are exclusively sold at the visitor center. For the visitor center’s hours and updates, refer to the Operating Hours & Seasons or check the current conditions.
However, it is important to note that the park walkways, lawns, memorial plaza, and all roads, including State Route 35 (Bayview Ave) are open 24 hours a day.
Visitors can enjoy these areas anytime when visiting Perrys Victory and International Peace Memorial.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding operating hours, ticket sales, and any changes or closures, it is recommended to check the provided resources or contact the visitor center directly. This will ensure you have the latest information, and can plan your visit accordingly to maximize your time at the memorial.
History Of Perrys Victory and International Peace Memorial
The Battle of Lake Erie, War of 1812
At the break of dawn on September 10, 1813, a lookout stationed at Put-in-Bay spotted a British fleet of six vessels beyond Rattlesnake Island to the northwest. Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry wasted no time and swiftly issued orders, preparing his own fleet to engage the British.
With Perry’s fleet stationed on Lake Erie, the British supply route from Fort Malden to Port Dover had been cut off. The British had no choice but to face the American fleet or abandon Fort Malden. The British squadron consisted of six ships armed with sixty-three cannons, while the American flotilla comprised nine vessels equipped with fifty-four guns.
The British ships boasted long guns capable of firing a cannonball up to a mile, accurately reaching half a mile. In contrast, the American ships relied on carronades with a shorter range but capable of inflicting significant damage at close quarters. Perry needed the wind to be at his back to close in within carronade range.
At 7 a.m., the squadron departed from Put-in-Bay harbor, with the American vessels steering west-northwest and the wind blowing from the west-southwest. For over two hours, Perry repeatedly maneuvered his ships, attempting to position them with the wind favorably, but without success.
Frustrated, Perry conceded to the forces of nature at 10 a.m., giving the order to turn his fleet in the opposite direction. However, before the order could be executed, the wind suddenly shifted and blew from the southeast, placing it directly behind the Americans.
Perry’s opponent, Commander Robert Heriot Barclay, was a seasoned Royal Navy officer who had fought alongside Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Two years later, he lost an arm while fighting the French. As the wind changed, Barclay maintained his course, directing his vessels westward and forming a line of battle.
With the wind now favoring him and the British battle line revealed, Perry adjusted his own tactics. The schooners Ariel and Scorpion were positioned off the flagship’s weather bow to engage the first British vessel and prevent the enemy from raking his fleet.
The Lawrence, a 20-gun brig serving as Perry’s flagship, took the third position in line and would confront the Detroit, Barclay’s 19-gun flagship. Following the Lawrence was the Caledonia, a small brig armed with only three guns. The Niagara, Perry’s other 20-gun brig and sister ship to the Lawrence, held the fifth position in the American battle line.
Under the command of Master Commandant Jesse Elliott, the Niagara would engage the 17-gun Queen Charlotte, the second largest British ship. The smaller schooners and sloop occupied the final positions and would face the smaller British vessels.
Just before the battle commenced, Perry hoisted his battle flag at the flagship’s main truck. The navy blue banner bore the crudely inscribed words, “DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP,” chosen as Perry’s battle slogan in remembrance of Captain James Lawrence, a close friend and fallen hero who uttered those inspiring words before his death on June 1, 1813.
Perry’s flagship was named after Lawrence, and the courageous message on the flag clearly reflected Perry’s unwavering determination to emerge victorious.
First Shots Fired The Battle of Lake Erie
At 11:45 a.m., the British ship Detroit fired the first shot from extreme range, a 24-pounder that fell harmlessly near the Lawrence, the American flagship. A few minutes later, another 24-pounder was fired, but this time the heavy ball penetrated Lawrence’s defenses, causing casualties among the American sailors.
As Lawrence’s carronades were still out of range, Commodore Perry ordered the Scorpion, armed with a single long 24-pounder, and the Ariel, equipped with four long 12-pounders, to open fire. Over the next thirty minutes, Perry maneuvered desperately to close the distance, during which time the Lawrence had to pass nearly the entire British battle line, enduring punishment all the way.
Perry faced an additional challenge with the small gunboats at the rear of his formation. Due to the light wind, these schooners and sloop fell behind early, and even with all sails set and using sweeps, they remained two miles astern when the battle began, temporarily out of the immediate engagement.
At 12:15 p.m., Perry managed to close the distance and brought the Lawrence to luff, aligning her starboard guns to bear on the enemy. When the Lawrence unleashed her broadside, the powerful 32-pounders crashed into the British ships, signaling that the advantage would soon shift to the Americans once the Niagara joined the fray.
However, when Perry looked astern, expecting to see the Niagara closing in on Queen Charlotte, he was shocked to find that Captain Jesse Elliott had halted the Niagara’s progress by backing her sails. This unexpected tactic rendered the Niagara immobile.
Initially, Elliott’s actions seemed justified. The Caledonia, positioned directly ahead of the Niagara, also reduced sail. Recognizing the overwhelming firepower of Queen Charlotte, Caledonia’s commander wisely decided to hold back and avoid endangering his vessel.
Following one of Elliott’s procedural directives, which emphasized maintaining position in line, Perry’s second-in-command was simply adhering to his superior’s orders. Elliott initiated the engagement with the Niagara’s 12-pounder bow chaser, the only gun that could be brought to bear from his current position astern of the Caledonia.
As the battle progressed, the Caledonia continued to hesitate, prompting Elliott to decide to move ahead of the smaller brig. Displaying initiative, the Niagara’s captain deviated from the rigid line-of-battle tactic, disregarding one of his superior’s orders. With this move, Elliott could now follow Perry’s second specific order—to engage his designated adversary at close range. The Queen Charlotte was Niagara’s predetermined opponent.
However, instead of closing in on the British line, Elliott maneuvered the Niagara windward, slightly angling away from the enemy ships. The reasons behind this questionable decision are still debated, but regardless of motive, the Niagara’s carronades, accounting for nearly forty percent of Perry’s total broadside strength, remained inactive and out of range.
While the Niagara lingered to windward, the guns of Queen Charlotte were rendered ineffective. Misunderstanding his opponent’s maneuver but eager to bring his guns to bear, the commander of the second largest British vessel allowed his ship to turn and move ahead of General Hunter, positioning Queen Charlotte to assist the Detroit in engaging the Lawrence.
Largely disregarding the smaller American support vessels, the Detroit, Queen Charlotte, and General Hunter focused their broadsides on the Lawrence, while the Niagara remained a mere spectator. Despite Lawrence’s valiant resistance and significant damage inflicted upon the British, the American flagship was overwhelmed by the superior firepower of her adversaries.
At One Point, The Battle Appeared Hopeless For Perry
By 2:30 p.m., the American flagship, the Lawrence, had been reduced to a floating wreck. Every gun on its engaged side was rendered inoperable, and four out of every five able-bodied men were either killed or wounded. Commodore Perry faced the grim reality of surrender.
However, as Perry surveyed the relatively undamaged Niagara, still out of reach but within sight, he made a crucial decision. Gathering four uninjured men, he boarded the flagship’s first cutter and rowed through a storm of enemy fire toward the Niagara. Miraculously, Perry and his crew reached the Niagara unscathed.
After a brief discussion, Perry sent Elliott, his second-in-command, in the same small boat to hasten the lagging gunboats. Meanwhile, Perry prepared the Niagara for immediate action, adjusted the helm, and set sail towards the British line.
Despite the extensive damage inflicted on the Lawrence, the British fleet suffered significant losses. Barclay, their commander, was severely wounded, and each British vessel’s captains and first lieutenants were incapacitated. Junior officers now commanded the British fleet, courageous but inexperienced in navigating ships amidst the chaos of battle.
Upon witnessing the Niagara advancing towards their line, the British attempted to change course, intending to bring their unused starboard broadsides to bear. However, amid the turmoil of the battle, the battered Detroit and Queen Charlotte collided, becoming entangled and unable to maneuver.
Perry skillfully guided the Niagara through the disarrayed British line by exploiting the enemy’s error. Unleashing devastating broadsides from both sides, the American commodore inflicted severe damage on the vulnerable British ships.
As the Niagara cut through the British formation, Perry backed the maintop sail, holding the Niagara stationary while its roaring carronades decimated the enemy decks. By this time, the wind had also picked up, allowing the sluggish gunboats to surge forward and rake the enemy ships from astern.
Shortly after 3 p.m., the British accepted their inevitable defeat, with the four largest vessels surrendering individually. The gunboats Chippawa and Little Belt attempted to escape, but they were pursued and captured by the American ships Scorpion and Trippe. The entire British fleet was now under American control.
The victorious fleet anchored near West Sister Island, where hasty repairs commenced. At this time, Perry composed his famous message to General William Henry Harrison. Perry wrote using a pencil and the back of an old envelope, “Dear General: We have met the enemy, and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop. Yours with great respect and esteem, O.H. Perry.”
The Battle of Lake Erie was one of the most significant triumphs of the War of 1812. The victory secured American control of the lake, compelling the British to abandon Fort Malden and retreat up the Thames River. Harrison’s army pursued the retreating forces and achieved a decisive victory over the small British army and its Native American allies at the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813.
Furthermore, during the subsequent peace negotiations, the dual victories at Lake Erie and the Thames ensured that the states of Ohio and Michigan would remain sovereign territories of the United States of America.
The History Of The Construction Of The Perrys Victory and International Peace Memorial
View From Top Of The Perrys Victory and International Peace Memorial
On A Clear Day, Visitors Can See The Skyline Of Toledo, Detroit, & Cleveland!
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