War and Conflict

War of 1812

Who said, “We have met the enemy and they are ours”?

It was Captain Oliver Hazard Perry (1785–1819) who wrote the famous words in a letter to General William Henry Harrison (1773–1841) after defeating the British at the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. An improvised U.S. squadron commanded by Captain Perry, 28 years old, achieved the victory in the War of 1812 battle. The message he sent to Harrison (who later went on to become the ninth U.S. president) was: “We have met the enemy and they are ours: two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop.” Perry received a gold medal and thanks from Congress for the victory.


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