Oliver Hazard Perry

If ever a name given to an infant was prophetic for the life he would lead, it was certainly so of the infant christened Oliver Hazard Perry.  Born on August 23, 1785 to Christopher Raymond Perry and Sarah Wallace Perry, from earliest childhood his ambition was to be a US naval officer.  He came by this naturally as his father had served aboard a privateer in the American revolution, meeting Perry’s mother while he was a prisoner of war in Ireland.  In 1799 Christopher Perry was appointed a Captain and place in command of the US Navy frigate General Greene.  13 year old Oliver went with him as a midshipman, beginning his naval career.

During the First War Against the Barbary Pirates, he served aboard the USS Adams.  At the age of 17 he was promoted to Lieutenant.  In 1804 when the pirate stronghold at Derna was taken, he commanded the schooner, the USS Nautilus.

After the Barbary War, he supervised the construction of a flotilla of small gunboats during 1806-07 in Rhode Island and Connecticut, a task he found tedious at the time, but which would serve him in good stead later.

In April he obtained the sea command he had been eager for and was appointed to command the schooner USS Revenge.  Perry’s command aboard the Revenge turned out to be the low point of his career.  The Revenge suffered extensive damage in a storm in June of 1810, Perry was plagued with illness, and on January 8, 1811, the schooner struck a reef off Block Island Sound off the coast of southern New England and sank.  Perry was cleared in the ensuing courtmartial, but he could be excused if he suspected that his naval career was coming to an abrupt end. (more…)

Published in: on September 12, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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