Perry 200 Celebrates the Forgotten

By Kimberly Eddy

This Saturday, May 25th from 10:00 AM until Noon, in conjunction with the Perry 200 celebration, a Memorial Dedication to the Erie’s Unknown Soldiers and Sailors who died valiantly in the Battle of Lake Erie will be held at the Erie Cemetery located at xxx.

The Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes called the Battle of Put-in-Bay, was fought on September 10th 1813, in Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio during the War of 1812. Nine vessels of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of Great Britain’s Royal Navy. This ensured American control of the lake for the rest of the war, which in turn allowed the Americans to recover Detroit and win the Battle of the Thames to break the Indian confederation of Tecumseh.

The British suffered 41 casualties and 94 wounded, with the surviving crews, including the wounded, numbered 306. The Americans suffered 27 casualties and 96 wounded, of whom 2 later died.

After the Battle of Lake Erie in September 1813, wounded soldiers and sailors both American and British/Canadian were brought to Erie to be treated.

Those who died were buried near the foot of French Street. In 1859, when railroad lines were laid in the area, the graves were relocated to the Erie Cemetery. For the past 154 years, an unmarked, common grave at Erie Cemetery has been the final resting place for Unknown Soldiers and Sailors from the Battle of Lake Erie.

The dedication will feature Dr. Allan Belovarac of Mercyhurst University, noted Battle of Lake Erie scholar, who will address the attendees about the role played by the enlisted men serving as sailors and soldiers.

As part of the dedication, wreaths will be laid to honor the Unknown Soldiers by two presenters, the first is Cemetery Corporator Mr. Everett D. Walker, with the second being offered in honor of the African Americans who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie, being laid by Johnny C. Johnson, Secretary of the Harry T. Burleigh Society of Erie.

The dedication is free, open to the public, and will take place rain or shine. There will be moderate uphill walking to reach the memorial site on the hill at the south end of the Erie Cemetery. The ceremony will last about one hour, allowing attendees who wish to then see the Perry 200 Grand Patriotic Parade to do so.

For further information on this Memorial Dedication, or the Veterans of the War of 1812 interred in Erie Cemetery, please call Betsy MacKrell at the Erie Cemetery office at 814-459-2463, or email