The Associated Press
Tall ships battling on Lake Erie.
PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio – Cannon fire will ring out again on the waters of Lake Erie when tall ships re-enact a battle that marked a turning point in the War of 1812.
The bicentennial re-enactment of the Battle of Lake Erie will highlight a Labour Day weekend festival on Ohio Lake Erie’s islands. Many of the ships will be on display for tours and some will provide rides.
There are 16 tall ships scheduled to take part in the re-enactment on Labour Day. It will take place on the lake’s open waters about 26 kilometres northwest of South Bass Island on the site of the skirmish in on Sept. 10, 1813.
Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry defeated a British fleet during the battle that secured control of the lake for the U.S.
Standing on the deck of the Niagra, Perry unfurled the command: “Don’t Give Up the Ship.”
Perry raised the flag bearing those words that he transferred from his own ship, the Lawrence, before defeating 200 years ago. The motto came from the dying command of another U.S. naval officer, James Lawrence, during the War of 1812.
The commodore also later famously wrote in a dispatch about the battle: “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
While the re-enactment won’t be visible from land, boaters can register to be right in the middle of the action, said Jill Bauer, a spokeswoman with the area’s tourism office, Lake Erie Shores & Islands.
In the days leading up to the re-enactment, some of the boats will be docked along Port Clinton, Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass Island and Kelleys Island. Some will be open for tours and daily sails from Aug. 30-Sept. 1. Tickets for the 90-minute sails are $45-60.
Among the ships expected to take part are a reconstructed version of the Niagara, which has four replica cannons; the Sorlandet, the oldest full-rigged tall ship in the world and Liana’s Ransom, with its crew of pirates.
There also will be historical demonstrations, U.S. Navy Band concerts, and concerts featuring a variety of musicians.
Larry Fletcher, executive director of the Ottawa County Visitors Bureau, said the events are expected to draw big crowds, including military and history fans.
“They’re coming from a much wider area because this is not an opportunity that is going to come around again,” he said. “This is going to be the first time that there will be a wide-scale re-enactment, and it will likely be the last time.”