Oliver Hazard Perry

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Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry (August 23, 1785 – August 23, 1819) was born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, the son of Captain Christopher Raymond Perry and Sarah Wallace Alexander, and a direct descendant of William Wallace.[1] He was an older brother to Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry who compelled the opening of Japan to the West by threat of force. As a boy, he lived in South Carolina, sailing ships practicing for his future career as an officer in the US Navy. He served in the War of 1812 against Britain, and at the age of 27 earned the title "Hero of Lake Erie" for leading American forces in a decisive naval victory at the Battle of Lake Erie.[1]

Contents

Biography

Educated in Newport, Rhode Island, Perry was appointed a midshipman in the United States Navy on April 7, 1799. During the Quasi-War with France, he was assigned to his father's frigate, the USS General Greene. He first experienced combat on February 9, 1800, off the coast of the French colony of Haiti, which was in a state of rebellion.[2]

During the First Barbary War, he initially served on the USS Adams and later commanded USS Nautilus during the capture of Derna. At Perry's request during the War of 1812, he was given command of United States naval forces on Lake Erie. Prominent merchant seaman Daniel Dobbins was charged with building the American fleet by U.S. Secretary of the Navy Paul Hamilton in Erie, Pennsylvania on Presque Isle Bay and Perry was named chief naval officer.

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