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PUT-IN-BAY, OHIO — Two hundred years later, Americans didn’t give up the ships and again won on the waters of Lake Erie.
A fleet of tall ships on Monday re-enacted the Battle of Lake Erie two centuries after the U.S.-British clash considered a turning point in the War of 1812.
Fifteen ships on the lake’s open waters northwest of South Bass Island took part in the celebration of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s capture of a British fleet near Put-In-Bay.
Hazy weather at the re-enactment’s start gave way, allowing visitors a good view if they climbed to the top of the 352-foot monument that commemorates the victory, The Port Clinton News-Herald reported.
Heather Thomas of Avon and her 5-year-old daughter went to the top of the monument to try to see the battle — which at a distance appeared to be a dance of white dots.
“We didn’t realize they would be holding it so far away,” Heather Thomas said. “It’s beautiful up there.”
The event drew thousands of people throughout the Labor Day weekend.
Steve Roberts, a ranger at the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial National Park, said he cannot remember so many people being on the island as there were Sunday, when about 1,300 people visited the monument.
Technology, however, changed things a bit during the re-enactment. The man portraying Perry didn’t switch ships using a longboat; he used a motorboat, while helicopters and airplanes circled overhead and law enforcement and U.S. Coast Guard vessels patrolled the waters.
This time around, people took pictures of the battle — many with cellphone cameras.