"We Have Met The Enemy, and they are Ours"

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated


"WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY, AND THEY ARE OURS." On 10 September 1813, after defeating the British fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie, Oliver Hazard Perry, commander of the American fleet, dispatched one of the most famous messages in military history to Maj. Gen. William Henry Harrison. It read: "Dear Gen'l: We have met the enemy, and they are ours, two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop. Yours with great respect and esteem. H. Perry." In 1970 cartoonist Walt Kelly famously paraphrased the statement as "We have met the enemy, and he is us" in an Earth Day poster that featured characters from his long-running strip Pogo and mourned the sad state of the environment.


Welsh, William Jeffrey, and David Curtis Skaggs, eds. War on the Great Lakes: Essays Commemorating the 175th Anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1991.

IrvingDilliard/a. e.

See alsoGreat Lakes Naval Campaigns of 1812 ; Navy, United States ; Perry-Elliott Controversy ; War of 1812 .

More From Encyclopedia.com

You Might Also Like