|Ft Schlosser’s Old Stone Chimney, just above Niagara Falls, NY. Perry and his men most likely warmed themselves before this fireplace on the way to the Battle of Ft. George 203 years ago.|
Upon hearing of American plans to attack Ft. George in Canada, Oliver Hazard Perry set off in a four-oared open boat at Erie, Pennsylvania to join the American assault forces near the mouth of the Niagara River. The 100 mile, 24 hour trip brought him and his men to Ft. Schlosser (https://dmna.ny.gov/forts/fortsQ_S/schlosserFort.htm) on May 25, 1813.
By Perry’s own account, “As we arrived at Schlosser it rained violently. No horse could be procured. I determined to push forward on foot; walked about two miles and a half, when the rain fell in torrents I was obliged to take shelter in a house at hand…”
Perry’s sailors found him a horse and he eventually joined the successful attack on Ft. George where he was complimented on being, “…present at every point where he could be useful, under a shower of musketry, but fortunately escaped unhurt.”
Fort Schlosser is one of the stops on what we call the Perry Trail. The trail starts at the site of the sinking of his ship, USS Revenge off Watch Hill, Rhode Island in 1811. It extends through Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Michigan, Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland where Perry had command of the newly constructed frigate USS Java during the failed British attack on Ft. McHenry (site of the” Star Spangled Banner”) in 1814.
Perry’s trail represents one man’s journey from the depths of disgrace, through duty and adversity, to redemption and the heights of glory. The trail has many waypoints, such as Ft. Schlosser, and a number of others hidden amidst modern development. But each historic stop along the way has its own part of the whole story to tell. Indeed, Perry's exploits make for one of the great stories in history – one that we are bringing to the medium of motion pictures for everyone’s entertainment, education and inspiration.
There are statues of Perry, a massive monument to his victory at Put-In-Bay, Ohio and innumerable books and articles about him and the Battle of Lake Erie. The recent bicentennial commemorations, particularly at Erie and Put-In-Bay, again brought attention to the man and the momentous events of 1813. Yet in 2016, few people have any knowledge of this history and why it matters.
Motion pictures are the most powerful and memorable art form. Bringing the story of Oliver Hazard Perry and the Battle of Lake Erie to film, with all its emotional impact, is certainly the best way of re-telling this story to a worldwide audience, now, and for generations to come.
The process of making Perry/Battle of Lake Erie films has been a journey with its own trail. Along the way our team has encountered writers, historians, re-enactors, historical societies, museums, Perry descendants, community and business leaders, local, state and US elected officials, the US Navy, Hollywood and television professionals. Our film production team continues to expand and move forward, together with growing support from many other people in the US and Canada appreciative of a true super-hero.
With this blog we will be sharing the rest of the journey and quest to bring back to life, on film, the characters and character of the man that decided the fate of four nations and set the bar for bravery and service that has never been surpassed.