BOLE Puzzlers

Many serious books have been written about the War of 1812  and the NW Territories, in general; and about the Battle of Lake Erie, in particular.  There are a number of debates for which there is still no clear resolution.  The following seven questions are representative of those debates.  As we approach the bicentennial of […]

Question #7 and Last: ‘Perry’s Luck’

OHP was known for ‘Perry’s luck’.  He moved the under-armed small ships to Erie only with a sudden fog; Barclay returned to blockade Erie only hours after Perry had gotten just enough ships over the bar and under shore battery protection to dissuade Barclay from attacking; on the day of the Battle, the wind changed just when he […]

Question #5: Firepower

Perry’s ships had greater ‘throw-weight’ than those of Barclay; The personnel situation in Barclay’s fleet was as bad as in Perry’s, if not worse; and Barclay’s artillery training was constrained by shortages of powder and shell.   Question: To what extent should we say the outcome of the engagement was a surprise?

Question #4: Racial Perspective

Some critics have noted Perry’s complaint about receiving  “a motley set, blacks, soldiers, and boys” to help man his ships.  He certainly came from a very mainline WASP background; and it appears that his church in RI, at times, had racially segregated its church attendees.  Question:  Was OHP racially prejudiced?