(Senate - May 23, 2013)

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[Pages S3863-S3864]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS


                              OF LAKE ERIE

  Mr. TOOMEY submitted the following resolution; which was referred to 
the Committee on the Judiciary:

                               S. Res.153

       Whereas the 9 vessels in the United States naval fleet on 
     the Great Lake of Erie during the War of 1812 were assembled 
     and stationed at Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania;
       Whereas the American forces, under the command of 28-year-
     old Rhode Island native Oliver Hazard Perry, were tasked to 
     subdue the enemy fleet on the lake and sever its vital supply 
     lines to the northwestern front;
       Whereas the United States fleet met its adversaries a short 
     distance from Put-in-Bay, Ohio on September 10, 1813;
       Whereas during the intense fight that ensued, the flagship 
     of Commodore Perry, the U.S. Brig Lawrence, was disabled and 
     its crew suffered over an 80 percent casualty rate;
       Whereas Commodore Perry refused to surrender, courageously 
     boarded a small rowboat, traversed a half-mile through 
     hostile waters, and transferred his command to the U.S. Brig 
       Whereas the U.S. Brig Niagara steered back into the heart 
     of the battle, outmaneuvered its foes, and forced the 
     subsequent surrender of the entire British fleet on Lake 
       Whereas 100 sharpshooters from the Kentucky militia 
     stationed on board the flotilla provided devastating covering 
     fire throughout the encounter;
       Whereas to communicate the conclusion of the engagement to 
     Major General William Henry Harrison, Commodore Perry 
     provided the historic and succinct battle summary: ``We have 
     met the enemy, and they are ours--two ships, two brigs one 
     schooner & one sloop.'';
       Whereas the victory solidified American control of Lake 
     Erie for the duration of the conflict, enabling United States 
     forces to retake Detroit and win further battles in the Old 
     Northwest and the Niagara Valley;
       Whereas the state of Pennsylvania to this day maintains the 
     U.S. Brig Niagara as its State ship;
       Whereas the battle flag of Commodore Perry, ``Dont Give Up 
     the Ship'', is preserved in the United States Naval Academy 
     Museum in Annapolis, Maryland; and
       Whereas the battle is immortalized in the United States 
     Senate by the masterpiece painted by William Henry Powell in 
     1873: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, That the Senate--
       (1) recognizes the 200th anniversary the Battle of Lake 
       (2) remembers with great pride this significant victory in 
     the ``Second War of Independence'' of the United States;
       (3) commends the city of Erie, Pennsylvania and the Perry 
     200 Commemoration Commission for their efforts to ensure the 
     appropriate recognition of this historic event; and
       (4) expresses its deepest gratitude to all the sailors and 
     marines who gave their lives in honorable service to the 
     United States of America on the Great Lake of Erie 200 years 

  Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. President, I am submitting a resolution to 
commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie.
  In the history of United States, the War of 1812 is often an 
overlooked chapter. However, for any visitor intrepid enough to forego 
the elevators in the Senate side of the Capitol, it is impossible not 
to notice one important day within those years of turmoil and war. 
Dominating the staircase is a massive rendition of the Battle of Lake 
Erie, painted by William Henry Powell in 1873.
  The Battle of Lake Erie was one of the few unquestioned American 
triumphs in the war. In the center of Powell's painting is the young 
and courageous Oliver Hazard Perry. On September 10, 1813, after two 
hours of intense fighting, defeat stared Commodore Perry dead in the 
face, yet he refused to succumb. The painting depicts the famous point 
in the battle when Perry transfers his command from his disabled 
flagship to the U.S. Brig Niagara to begin the fight anew. His 
determination would pay off as the confused and battered enemy fleet 
would be unable to sustain the ongoing punishment from the Niagara's 
cannonade. One by one each enemy vessel would strike their colors as 
they were forced to relinquish control of the Great Lake of Erie.
  The dramatic encounter breathed new life into a damaged American war 
effort and captured the imagination of our young nation. Contributing 
in no small way to this victory was Pennsylvania's own city on the 
lake, Erie, that provided the safe locale, supplies, and muscle 
necessary to build the victorious fleet in limited time.
  Just as the Battle of Lake Erie would test the resolve of the young 
commander Perry and his fleet, the overall war would test the resolve 
of our young nation. For those who think that partisan division is 
something unique to our country's current condition, I encourage you to 
look back to the bitter struggles between the Republicans and 
Federalists at the beginning of the 19th century. Those years would 
produce not only disagreement on the direction of our nascent union but 
also uncertainty of the ultimate success of this great experiment in 
representative government and the war very nearly tore us apart.
  This upcoming bicentennial affords us the opportunity to reflect on 
the challenges overcome by our forefathers to shape and preserve this 
great nation that we have inherited. My friends in Erie and the Perry 
200 Commemoration Commission will spend this summer paying tribute to 
this great battle and its participants, and I thank them for their hard 
work and dedication to ensure their appropriate recognition. I am 
hopeful this resolution can help bring attention to this remarkable 
event that so moved our Nation 200 years ago.

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