Near Erie in Erie County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Preparing For Battle
Deep in the Wilderness
Across the Bay lies Erie. In 1812, Erie was a small village of about 400 people and 100 homes. In those days, Erie was surrounded by wilderness and barely accessible by land. Everything was in short supply. Crude, often washed out roads made it difficult to transport provisions such as iron, weapons, and tools from Pittsburgh, PA and Buffalo, NY.
From Nothing to a Fleet
Under the watchful eyes of the patrolling British, Daniel Dobbins, shipbuilder Noah Brown and their crew began the task of building the Lake Erie Squadron on the shores of Erie in September 1812. Their tireless efforts resulted in six American warships, including two 110-foot brigs, the Lawrence and Niagara. In March 1813, Oliver Hazard Perry took command overseeing the construction of the ships. In desperate need of sailors to man his warships, Perry scoured the countryside in search of a crew. Over 500 men eventually fought with Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie.
Five smaller vessels, converted to gunboats, joined the American squadron after Fort Erie was temporarily abandoned by the British in late
Did you Know?
Perry’s crew was made of U.S. Navy seaman, Army soldiers, Marines, free Blacks and regional state militias. Many of the men had never fought in a naval battle or had ever been aboard a ship.
Shipbuilding was backbreaking work done entirely by hand. At the outset of construction, crews used wooden nails because iron was sparse.
”This important place is destitute of defence; we have no ordnance, small arms or ammunition.”
Purser Samuel Hambleton, April 1813
Erected by Presque Isle Partnership, Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, and Erie Community Foundation.
Location. 42° 9.279′ N, 80° 5.446′ W. Marker is near Erie, Pennsylvania, in Erie County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Fisher Drive and Thompson Drive, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is located along the walking path to the Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry Monument at Crystal Point in Presque Isle State Park. Marker is in this post office area: Erie PA 16507, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Climate For War (here, next to this marker); The Perry Monument Fishing on the Sweet Sea (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tribute to a Hero (about 300 feet away); Son of the Sea (about 300 feet away); Perry Monument: A Beacon of the Community (about 300 feet away); Erie's Industrial Explosion (about 400 feet away); And the Misery begins... (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Erie.
More about this marker. Marker is a large, rectangular, composite plaque, mounted horizontally on waist-high posts.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry Monument, Presque Isle State Park
Also see . . . Battle of Lake Erie. Building these ships in 1812 was no easy task. Muddy pathways and battered dirt roads were the transportation routes, often impassable due to melting snow. They started out using horse-drawn sleighs traveling across the thin sheets of ice. This was highly dangerous as the ice wasn’t reliable as the end of winter approached. In some cases horses would puncture the ice and fall through. One factor that made Erie a favorable location was Presque Isle Peninsula. This was the only natural harbor on Lake Erie and served as windbreak for ships. The most important feature of the harbor was the bar and channel. The bar was about a mile wide and was usually about six feet in depth and some cases was lowered to about four feet making it remarkably hard for even a skilled pilot to pass through. The British could see the progress being made but were unable to pass through the bar and get within distance to attack the navel yard. (Submitted on February 16, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • Patriots & Patriotism • War of 1812 • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on February 17, 2019. This page originally submitted on February 14, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 34 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on February 15, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.