Michael Cooper, a living historian, spoke to the senior men at the 3M Club at Ohio Living Cape May this past Monday on the importance of the two major naval battle on Lake Erie and Lake Champlain during the War of 1812 with the British.
This was Cooper’s third time to address the senior men’s group and, as before, he came dressed in the military attire of the military at the time.
“Both of these naval battles are considered most important to the eventual victory of the very young United States. Only the Battle of New Orleans is ranked more important in history,” explained Cooper.
“The British plan was to win the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain and move south. Also the capture of New Orleans and a move north was the two-pronged strategy of the British. Losing those two naval battles reversed the thinking of the British.”
Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry was considered the hero of the Great Lakes battle. In his famous message to William Henry Harrison, commander of the land forces stationed at Ft. Meigs, Perry said, “We have met the enemy and they are ours!”
It was also in this naval battle on Lake Erie that the American commander, James Lawrence, though mortally wounded, stated, “Don’t give up the ship,” before he died. It became the standard bearer and still flies at Annapolis.
The victory of the American navy on Lake Champlain, though out-gunned, was equally important.
“The ability of the American ships to out maneuver the British ships turned the tide. The Treaty of Ghent was largely influenced by both of these naval victories.”
Again Michael Cooper did a great job with his knowledge of American history entertaining the group of senior men gathered at the Campus Center at Ohio Living Cape May.
The 3M Club meets at 9 a.m. in the Campus Center at Ohio Living Cape May on the first and third Mondays of each month. All senior men are invited. For more information about the 3M Club call Abby Ellsberry, Director of Business Development at 382-2995 or Bob Holmes at 382-3673.