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Oliver Hazard Perry

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Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (August 23, 1785August 23, 1819) was an officer in the United States Navy. He served in the War of 1812 against Great Britain and earned the nickname "Hero of Lake Erie" for leading American forces in the decisive naval victory at the Battle of Lake Erie.

Son of Captain Christopher Raymond Perry (December 4, 1760 - June 8, 1818) and Sarah Wallace Alexander (1764 - December 4, 1830), his younger brother was Matthew Calbraith Perry.

Educated in Newport, Rhode Island, Perry was appointed a midshipman on 7 April, 1799 and assigned to his father's frigate, General Greene. He first experienced combat on 9 February, 1800 off of Haiti. During the First Barbary War, he served in Adams and commanded Nautilus during the capture of Derna.

At his request during the War of 1812 he was given command of U.S. Naval forces on Lake Erie. He supervised the building of a small fleet at what is now Erie, Pennsylvania. On September 10, 1813 Perry's fleet defended against an attacking British fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie. His battle report after victory: "We have met the enemy and they are ours".

While this opened Canada up to possible invasion, it simultaneously protected the entire Ohio Valley. It was the only significant fleet engagement of the war.

Missing image
Stamp_US_1879_90c_Perry.jpg
Perry was honored on 90-cent postage stamps of the late 19th century; this one is from 1879.

In 1819, during an expedition to Venezuela, he died of disease caused by indigenous insects.

At least one county, Perry County, Pennsylvania, is known to have been named after him. The county was formed in 1820.

During the 20th century, the United States Navy named the lead ship of a class of guided missile frigates after Perry, the Oliver Hazard Perry class.

See USS Perry for other ships named for him.

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