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Bicentennial Battle of Lake Erie Pictures and Video

Updated on August 9, 2014

Footage and Images from the Battle

As a sailor on many of America's tall ships, I was delighted and ever-so-fortunate enough to participate in the historic Battle of Lake Erie bicentennial at Put-in-Bay, Ohio, in September 2013. This battle reenactment was the largest in American history, and it faithfully recreated the entire Battle of Lake Erie, which occurred in 1813.

Now that the battle is over, many people are looking for pictures and footage of how the battle went down. Thankfully, I was participating in the battle, and I've got some great bird's-eye shots that I'd love to share with the world.

Scroll through the pictures below and read their captions to read the story of how the battle happened!

Pictures of the Battle Itself (Chronological Order) - Read the captions to read the story!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Pathfinder waits at dock to be summoned out to battle.Tall ships Windy and Friends Good Will also wait at dock.The Flagship Niagara (my home ship) prepares to cast off and head out to the battle site.Behind the Niagara, the Lynx makes way first.Niagara casts off.As Niagara and Lynx head out of the bay to meet the enemy about 5 miles out, we prepare to cast off behind them.The Pride of Baltimore II sails beside us as we head out to catch up to the larger ships and take the lead.As we on Appledore IV took the lead, the rest of our allies began to file into battle ranks behind us.As the ships assembled their battle front behind us, we readied our cannon and they readied theirs.With our fellow ships Niagara, Pride, Lynx, and Windy (among others) formed into ranks, we turned to starboard and engaged the enemy.The Friends Good Will, an enemy ship, falls into line beside us to align her cannon shot with our starboard side.As she pursues us, the line behind breaks and ships veer off of the line to engage each other.The Lynx, one of our most powerful firing ships, returns fire from the enemy's main ship, the Sorlandet (from Norway).We begin to lose the Friends Good Will and are able to return a few good cannon shots before the Friends Good Will drops canvas and surrenders.Our main ship, Windy, has been soundly defeated. Niagara sails over to Windy in order to receive our commodore and become the new leading shipOur commodore safely makes the rowboat journey from the Windy to his new flagship, the Niagara, which has been shielding him from enemy fire.Taking command of his new and still functional flagship, our commodore leaves Windy behind to join the Pride of Baltimore II and reengage the enemy.Niagara returns fire with her most powerful cannons, which can shoot 32lb cannonballs. As a crewmember, I shot those cannons in the past.The Sorlandet, the enemy's flagship, has been severely damaged by our fire and is a sitting duck!Niagara and Pride work together to deliver the final blow. Niagara rakes the Sorlandet starboard and Pride broadsides on port to fire a final round.Sorlandet's crew climb into the rigging to douse the sails (furl/bring in the sails) and signal their surrender. WE HAVE WON THE BATTLE!Tall ship Windy raises full sail to celebrate. Although she did not win the battle, she is still our original flagship and she is proud of it.The Pride of Baltimore is, of course, super satisfied that it, alongside Niagara, delivered the final blow.The Friends Good Will, along with the other enemy ships, turns tail and gets the heck out of there! Victory is ours.
The Pathfinder waits at dock to be summoned out to battle.
The Pathfinder waits at dock to be summoned out to battle.
Tall ships Windy and Friends Good Will also wait at dock.
Tall ships Windy and Friends Good Will also wait at dock.
The Flagship Niagara (my home ship) prepares to cast off and head out to the battle site.
The Flagship Niagara (my home ship) prepares to cast off and head out to the battle site.
Behind the Niagara, the Lynx makes way first.
Behind the Niagara, the Lynx makes way first.
Niagara casts off.
Niagara casts off.
As Niagara and Lynx head out of the bay to meet the enemy about 5 miles out, we prepare to cast off behind them.
As Niagara and Lynx head out of the bay to meet the enemy about 5 miles out, we prepare to cast off behind them.
The Pride of Baltimore II sails beside us as we head out to catch up to the larger ships and take the lead.
The Pride of Baltimore II sails beside us as we head out to catch up to the larger ships and take the lead.
As we on Appledore IV took the lead, the rest of our allies began to file into battle ranks behind us.
As we on Appledore IV took the lead, the rest of our allies began to file into battle ranks behind us.
As the ships assembled their battle front behind us, we readied our cannon and they readied theirs.
As the ships assembled their battle front behind us, we readied our cannon and they readied theirs.
With our fellow ships Niagara, Pride, Lynx, and Windy (among others) formed into ranks, we turned to starboard and engaged the enemy.
With our fellow ships Niagara, Pride, Lynx, and Windy (among others) formed into ranks, we turned to starboard and engaged the enemy.
The Friends Good Will, an enemy ship, falls into line beside us to align her cannon shot with our starboard side.
The Friends Good Will, an enemy ship, falls into line beside us to align her cannon shot with our starboard side.
As she pursues us, the line behind breaks and ships veer off of the line to engage each other.
As she pursues us, the line behind breaks and ships veer off of the line to engage each other.
The Lynx, one of our most powerful firing ships, returns fire from the enemy's main ship, the Sorlandet (from Norway).
The Lynx, one of our most powerful firing ships, returns fire from the enemy's main ship, the Sorlandet (from Norway).
We begin to lose the Friends Good Will and are able to return a few good cannon shots before the Friends Good Will drops canvas and surrenders.
We begin to lose the Friends Good Will and are able to return a few good cannon shots before the Friends Good Will drops canvas and surrenders.
Our main ship, Windy, has been soundly defeated. Niagara sails over to Windy in order to receive our commodore and become the new leading ship
Our main ship, Windy, has been soundly defeated. Niagara sails over to Windy in order to receive our commodore and become the new leading ship
Our commodore safely makes the rowboat journey from the Windy to his new flagship, the Niagara, which has been shielding him from enemy fire.
Our commodore safely makes the rowboat journey from the Windy to his new flagship, the Niagara, which has been shielding him from enemy fire.
Taking command of his new and still functional flagship, our commodore leaves Windy behind to join the Pride of Baltimore II and reengage the enemy.
Taking command of his new and still functional flagship, our commodore leaves Windy behind to join the Pride of Baltimore II and reengage the enemy.
Niagara returns fire with her most powerful cannons, which can shoot 32lb cannonballs. As a crewmember, I shot those cannons in the past.
Niagara returns fire with her most powerful cannons, which can shoot 32lb cannonballs. As a crewmember, I shot those cannons in the past.
The Sorlandet, the enemy's flagship, has been severely damaged by our fire and is a sitting duck!
The Sorlandet, the enemy's flagship, has been severely damaged by our fire and is a sitting duck!
Niagara and Pride work together to deliver the final blow. Niagara rakes the Sorlandet starboard and Pride broadsides on port to fire a final round.
Niagara and Pride work together to deliver the final blow. Niagara rakes the Sorlandet starboard and Pride broadsides on port to fire a final round.
Sorlandet's crew climb into the rigging to douse the sails (furl/bring in the sails) and signal their surrender. WE HAVE WON THE BATTLE!
Sorlandet's crew climb into the rigging to douse the sails (furl/bring in the sails) and signal their surrender. WE HAVE WON THE BATTLE!
Tall ship Windy raises full sail to celebrate. Although she did not win the battle, she is still our original flagship and she is proud of it.
Tall ship Windy raises full sail to celebrate. Although she did not win the battle, she is still our original flagship and she is proud of it.
The Pride of Baltimore is, of course, super satisfied that it, alongside Niagara, delivered the final blow.
The Pride of Baltimore is, of course, super satisfied that it, alongside Niagara, delivered the final blow.
The Friends Good Will, along with the other enemy ships, turns tail and gets the heck out of there! Victory is ours.
The Friends Good Will, along with the other enemy ships, turns tail and gets the heck out of there! Victory is ours.

Perry's Announcement

“We have met the enemy, and they are ours; two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.”

Prettiest Pictures

Click thumbnail to view full-size
An overhead view of all of the ships around the battle site, including some of the actual battleships (which, of course, are bigger than the rest).Look at all of them attacking each other!A big blast from Niagara sends out a cloud of smoke after a few pounds of gunpowder go off.This is just a fantastic shot -- can't get enough of it. The very moment a cannon fires on Niagara.Ships exchanging cannon fire.The Pride of Baltimore at her finest! No, this is not a painting.
An overhead view of all of the ships around the battle site, including some of the actual battleships (which, of course, are bigger than the rest).
An overhead view of all of the ships around the battle site, including some of the actual battleships (which, of course, are bigger than the rest).
Look at all of them attacking each other!
Look at all of them attacking each other!
A big blast from Niagara sends out a cloud of smoke after a few pounds of gunpowder go off.
A big blast from Niagara sends out a cloud of smoke after a few pounds of gunpowder go off.
This is just a fantastic shot -- can't get enough of it. The very moment a cannon fires on Niagara.
This is just a fantastic shot -- can't get enough of it. The very moment a cannon fires on Niagara.
Ships exchanging cannon fire.
Ships exchanging cannon fire.
The Pride of Baltimore at her finest! No, this is not a painting.
The Pride of Baltimore at her finest! No, this is not a painting.

As one of the pleasure boaters that viewed the re-enactment, it was pretty cool to see it live. The committee did a good job of trying to recreate an important piece of Ohio history.

— Mike, from Cleveland

Videos of the Battle

A video I took from the deck as I watched the Niagara sail off in front of us. "Should we aim for the ships in front of us?" To which we emphatically respond, "YEAH!"

Niagara fires a barrage of four of her most powerful shots -- a view from on deck!

Another on-deck view of a cannon fire.

Another video I took. I missed the first of two consecutive shots but captured the second.

Was the Bicentennial Battle Worth It?

Was the ship battle worth all of the effort?

Of course! It was great!

Of course! It was great!

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    No. Spectators couldn't even see it from land!

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      Do you have pictures or video from this historic event? SEND THEM!!! I would love to publish them! Let's work together to make a great resource for images and footage from the battle. Have a question about the reenactment? I was a crewmember, so I'd love to answer!

      Questions? Comments? Let me know!

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