|Name:||Oliver Hazard Perry|
|Birth Day:||August 23, 1785|
|Death Date:||Aug 23, 1819 (age 34)|
|Birth Place:||South Kingston, United States|
As per our current Database, Oliver Hazard Perry died on Aug 23, 1819 (age 34).
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He was appointed at age thirteen as a midshipman in the US Navy.
As a boy, Perry lived in Tower Hill, Rhode Island, sailing ships in anticipation of his future career as an officer in the United States Navy. He was the oldest of five boys born to Christopher and Sarah Perry. Perry came from a long line of accomplished naval men from both sides of his family. His mother taught Perry and his younger brothers to read and write and had them attend Trinity Episcopal Church regularly, where he was baptized by Reverend William Smith on April 1, 1794, at the age of nine. Reverend Theodore Dehon, rector of the church from 1797 to 1810, had a significant influence on the young Perry. He was educated in Newport, Rhode Island.
Through his father's influence, Perry was appointed a midshipman in the United States Navy, at the age of thirteen, on April 7, 1799. Perry sailed aboard USS General Greene, of which his father was commanding officer, on her maiden voyage in June 1799. The ship made its first stop in Cuba, charged with receiving American merchant ships and providing escort from Havana to the United States. Perry's service aboard General Greene continued during the Quasi-War with France. He first experienced combat on February 9, 1800, off the coast of the French colony of Haiti, which was in a state of rebellion.
Beginning in April 1809, he commanded the sloop USS Revenge, engaging in patrol duties to enforce the Embargo Act, as well as a successful raid to regain an American ship held in Spanish territory in Florida. On January 9, 1811, Revenge ran aground off Rhode Island and was lost. "Seeing fairly quickly that he could not save the vessel, [Perry] turned his attention to saving the crew, and after helping them down the ropes over the vessel's stern, he was the last to leave the vessel." The subsequent court-martial exonerated Perry, placing blame on the ship's pilot. In January 2011, a team of divers claimed to have discovered the remains of Revenge, nearly 200 years to the day after it sank. Cannons from Revenge were salvaged by the U.S. Navy in 2017.
Following the court-martial, Perry was given a leave of absence from the Navy. On May 5, 1811, he married Elizabeth Champlin Mason of Newport, Rhode Island, whom he had met at a dance in 1807. They enjoyed an extended honeymoon touring New England. The couple would eventually have five children, with one dying in infancy.
Perry married Elizabeth Champlin Mason in 1811. They had five children, four of whom lived to maturity. They were:
On September 10, 1813, Perry's command fought a successful fleet action against a squadron of the Royal Navy in the Battle of Lake Erie. It was at the outset of this battle that Perry famously said, "If a victory is to be gained, I will gain it." Initially, the exchange of gunfire favored the British. Perry's flagship, USS Lawrence, was so severely disabled in the encounter that the British commander, Robert Heriot Barclay, thought that Perry would surrender it, and sent a small boat to request that the American vessel pull down its flag. Faithful to the words of his battle flag, "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP" (a paraphrase of the dying words of Captain James Lawrence, the ship's namesake and Perry's friend), Perry, with Lawrence's chaplain and purser as the remaining able crew, personally fired the final salvo, and then had his men row him a half-mile (0.8 km) through heavy gunfire to transfer his command to USS Niagara. Once aboard, Perry dispatched Niagara's commander, Captain Jesse Elliott, to bring the other schooners into closer action while he steered Niagara toward the damaged British ships. Like Nelson's Victory at Trafalgar, Niagara broke the opposing line. Perry's force pounded Barclay's ships until they could offer no effective resistance and surrendered. Although he had won the battle aboard Niagara, he received the British surrender on the deck of the recaptured Lawrence to allow the British to see the terrible price his men had paid. Perry's battle report to General William Henry Harrison was famously brief: "We have met the enemy and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop."
"Don't give up the ship", a phrase repeated by Captain James Lawrence during his dying days after being wounded by enemy fire aboard the Chesapeake on June 1, 1813, became the battle cry of Oliver Hazard Perry. Perry learned of Lawrence's demise upon arrival at Presque Isle and commanded that Lawrence would be honored with the name of a brig, which would simply be called Lawrence. A battle flag would also be needed, and the words of Perry's good friend Lawrence would be just the battle cry suited for the coming days. A woman named Margaret Forster Steuart, resident of Erie Pennsylvania, wife of Army Captain Thomas Steuart and sister to Thomas Forster, both friends of Perry's, Forster being commander of the Erie Light Infantry that had guarded the fleet, was enlisted to make the battle flag. With the help of her two daughters, three nieces, and a cousin, she had the flag ready for Perry within just a few days. As of July 2009, Perry's flag, Steuart's work, and Lawrence's dying words can still be seen today, as the flag has been placed on display at Bancroft Hall.
In recognition of his victory at Lake Erie, in 1813 Perry was elected as an honorary member of the New York Society of the Cincinnati.
Although Perry is often referred to as "Commodore Perry," it should be kept in mind that, prior to the American Civil War, commodore was not a rank in the U.S. Navy but, rather, the title of an officer in command of a squadron of two or more ships. Perry first held the title of commodore when he took command of the Lake Erie squadron in 1813.
On January 6, 1814, Perry was honored with a Congressional Gold Medal, the Thanks of Congress, and a promotion to the rank of Captain. This was one of 27 Gold Medals authorized by Congress arising from the War of 1812.
In May 1814, Perry took command of a squadron of seven gunboats based in Newport. He held this command for only two months as in July he was placed in command of USS Java, a 44-gun frigate which was under construction in Baltimore. While overseeing the outfitting of Java, Perry participated in the defenses of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., during the British invasion of the Chesapeake Bay. In a twist of irony, these land battles would be the last time the career naval officer saw combat. The Treaty of Ghent was signed before Java could be put to sea.
For Perry, the post-war years were marred by controversies. In 1815, he commanded Java in the Mediterranean during the Second Barbary War. While moored in Naples, Perry slapped the commander of the ship's Marines, Captain John Heath, whom Perry considered incompetent and insubordinate. The ensuing court-martial found both men guilty, but levied only mild reprimands. After the crew returned home, Heath challenged Perry to a pistol duel, which was fought on October 19, 1817, on the same field in Weehawken, New Jersey where Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton. Heath fired first and missed. Perry declined to return fire, satisfying the Marine's honor.
Perry's return from the Mediterranean also reignited the feud with Elliott. After an exchange of angry letters, Elliott challenged Perry to a duel, which Perry refused. (While it was normally considered cowardly to refuse a duel, Perry's stature as a hero was such that no one doubted his physical courage and few felt that Perry had wrongly offended Elliott's honor.) He instead, on August 8, 1818, filed formal court-martial charges against Elliott. Perry filed a total of six charges and twenty-one specifications including "conduct unbecoming an officer," and failure to "do his utmost to take or destroy the vessel of the enemy which it was his duty to encounter."
In 1818 Perry purchased a large house on Washington Square in Newport which was built in 1750 for merchant Peter Buloid. The house remained in the Perry family until 1865 and now serves as the headquarters for Oliver Hazard Perry, a sail training ship.
In 1819, Perry sailed for the Orinoco River, Venezuela, aboard of the frigate John Adams with the frigate Constellation and the schooner USS Nonsuch, arriving on July 15 to discourage piracy, while still maintaining friendly relations with Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Buenos Aires. Shifting his flag to USS Nonsuch, due to its shallower draft, Perry sailed upriver to Angostura to negotiate an anti-piracy agreement with President Simón Bolívar. A favorable treaty was signed on August 11 with Vice-President Francisco Antonio Zea in the absence of Bolivar (who was engaged in the liberation of New Granada), but when the schooner started downriver, many of her crew, including Perry, had been stricken with yellow fever.
Despite the crew's efforts to reach Trinidad for medical assistance, the commodore died on board USS Nonsuch on August 23, 1819, his 34th birthday, as the ship entered the Gulf of Paria and was nearing Port of Spain. He was buried in Port of Spain with great honors while the Nonsuch's crew acted as honor guard.
His remains were later taken back to the United States in 1826 and interred in Newport, Rhode Island. Originally interred in the Old Common Burial Ground, his body was eventually moved to Newport's Island Cemetery.
Perry's son Oliver Hazard Perry, Jr. entered the Navy as a midshipman in 1829, rose to the rank of lieutenant and resigned in 1849. He served on the United States Exploring Expedition under Captain Charles Wilkes from 1839 to 1842. Although he is buried in the same cemetery as his parents, for unknown reasons, he is not buried in the same plot with his parents.
Perry's son Christopher Raymond Perry graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1842. He served during the Mexican War and fought at the Battle of Palo Alto on May 8, 1846, and at the Battle of Resaca-de‑la‑Palma on May 9, 1846. He died on active duty as a 1st lieutenant in 1848.
Perry's son Christopher Grant Champlin Perry was a physician, and served as commander of the Artillery Company of Newport from April 1848 until his death in 1854. In May 1849 he was commissioned as a brigadier general in the Rhode Island Militia and given command of the 1st Brigade encompassing Newport and Bristol Counties.
In 2016, principal photography began on We Have Met the Enemy, a feature-length documentary produced by Lou Reda (Vietnam in HD, The Blue and the Gray), for a planned spring 2017 release.
Currently, Oliver Hazard Perry is 236 years, 9 months and 0 days old. Oliver Hazard Perry will celebrate 237th birthday on a Tuesday 23rd of August 2022.
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