Who Said, "We Have Met The Enemy And They Are Ours"?

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U.S. naval captain Oliver Hazard Perry (1785–1819) wrote these famous words in a letter to U.S. army general William Henry Harrison (1773–1841) after defeating the British navy at the Battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813. Only twenty-eight years old at the time, Perry was commander of a navy squadron (a group of navy vessels) that met and defeated the enemy during the War of 1812 (1812–15; an armed conflict between the United States and Great Britain). The message he sent to Harrison (who became the ninth U.S. president) was: "We have met the enemy and they are ours: two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop." As a result of this victory, Perry received a gold medal and an official commendation from Congress for the victory.

Further Information: Dillon, Richard. We Have Met the Enemy: Oliver Hazard Perry, Wilderness Commodore. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1978; Oliver Hazard Perry. [Online] Available: www.brigniagara.org/perry.htm, October 25, 2000; Oliver Hazard Perry Papers. [Online] Available http://www.clements.umich.edu/Webguide/Arlenes/NP/Perry.html, October 25, 2000.

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