The profile portrait used for this stamp was taken from a statue by Wolcott.
During the War of 1812, Oliver Hazard Perry earned the designation "Hero of Lake Erie." Appointed a midshipman in 1799, he served aboard the General Greene, which was commanded by his father, during the Quasi-War with France. During the Tripolitan War, he made two cruises to the Mediterranean.
At his request, Perry was given command of the U.S. naval forces on Lake Erie in 1813. During the spring and summer, he drilled his men in artillery fire and built a small fleet. On September 10, he set out from Put-in-Bay, OH, to meet an attacking British squadron. Perry's forces held out during the long and bloody battle until the British commander surrendered. Perry reported, "We have met the enemy and they are ours," in describing the first time in history that a whole British naval squadron surrendered. The victory not only made the Ohio Valley safe from British attack, but it also opened part of Upper Canada to American invasion. That battle was the only significant fleet engagement of the war.