195 years ago today, the small U.S. fleet under Commodore O.H. Perry defeated the British fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie. Perry's flagship, the Lawrence, was so badly damaged during the battle that he transferred his command to the brig Niagra. Perry's fleet had powerful guns, but they had to tack under long-range (and highly accurate) British guns to get close enough to fire them. A live fire demonstration of a reconstructed gun deck section shows the hellish punishment Perry's men would have taken as the inched their way towards the British.
Luck and perseverance won the day for the fledgling American Navy, and the United States maintained control of the Great Lakes shipping routes.