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Christopher Raymond Perry

PERRY, Christopher Raymond, naval officer, born in Newport, Rhode Island, 4 December, 1761; died there, 1 June, 1818. He was fifth in descent from Edround Perry, a Quaker, who came from Devonshire, England, to Sandwich, Massachusetts, and wrote "A Railing against the Court of Plymouth," dated 1st day, 1st month, 1676, for which he was heavily fined. His son emigrated to Rhode Island. Christopher enlisted in the " Kingston Reds," served in the patriot army, and then on a privateer, and on the " Mifflin." He was captured and lay three months in the "Jersey" prison-ship, but escaped, re-enlisted on the "Trumbull," and was in the battle with the "Watt." Again on a privateer he was captured and kept a prisoner at Newry, Ireland, where he first met his future wife, Sarah Alexander. In the mercantile marine he made voyages to the East Indies, and on 9 January, 1798, he was made post-captain in the United States navy. He built and commanded the " General Greene," cruising in the West Indies, co-operating with Tons-saint L'Ouverture in the civil war in Santo Domingo, and displaying the United States flag in Louisiana. In 1801, when the navy was nearly disbanded, Captain Perry was made collector of Newport, and later he returned to private life.--His wife, Sarah Alexander, born in Newry, County Down, Ireland, in 1768" died in New London, Connecticut, 4 December, 1830. Her grandfather, James Wallace, an officer in the Scotch army and a signer of the Solemn League and Covenant, fled in 1660, with others, from County Ayr to the north of Ireland. She was left an orphan at an early age, grew up in the family of her uncle, and became thoroughly familiar with the historic ground of the neighborhood of Newry. Accompanying her parents' friend, Mr. Calbraith to this country, she married on her arrival, at the house of Dr. Benjamin Rush, Mr. Perry, then mate of the ship. She became the mother of five sons--Oliver Hazard, Raymond H. J., Matthew Calbraith, James Alexander, and Nathanael Hazard--all of whom were officers in the United States navy. Of her three daughters, Sarah Wallace married Captain George W. Rodgers, United States navy, and the other, Jane Tweedy, married Dr. William Butler, United States navy, the father of Senator Matthew Calbraith Butler, of South Carolina. To great strength of character Mrs. Perry added high intellectual power and rare social grace, training her children with extraordinary care to high ideals of life and duty. After the victory on Lake Erie, some farmers in Rhode Island declared it was in reality "Mrs. Perry's victory."--Their son, Oliver Hazard, naval officer, D. in South Kingston, Rhode Island, 23 August, 1785" died in Port Spain, Island of Trinidad, 23 August, 1819, was carefully trained by his mother, who "fitted him to command others by teaching him early to obey," narrated to him the deeds of her military ancestors, and taught him how and what to read. His favorite books were the Bible. Plutarch's "Lives," Shakespeare, and Addison. In the private schools of Kingston, Tower Hill, and Newport he made rapid progress, and excelled in the study of mathematics and navigation. lib was the pupil of Count Rochambeau. At the age of eleven he was confirmed in the Protestant Episcopal church. In 1797 he removed with his father to Warren, Rhode Island, where the latter supervised the building of the frigate " General Greene," and Oliver received his commission as midshipman, 7 April, 1799. He cruised in the West Indies, visiting also Louisiana, and in the "Adams," " Constellation," "Constitution," and "Essex" served twice in the Tripolitan war. He was made a lieutenant, 15 January, 1807, and, after building a fleet of gun-boats, commanded the schooner "Revenge," cruising off the southern coast of the United States. He was honorably acquitted by a court of inquiry that was summoned to examine into the loss of the " Revenge" by wreck off Watch Hill, Rhode Island, 8 January, 1811. In command of the Newport flotilla of gun-boats, in waiting for the war of 1812, he gave prolonged and detailed study to the science and art of gunnery and naval tactics. When the French engineer Toussard, at the request of Gem Washington, wrote, and in 1809 published, his "Artillerist," the name of Oliver Hazard Perry was among the first on the list of subscribers. When the war with England began there was probably no better ordnance officer in the American navy, and in the training" of his crews he was unwearied in personal attention to details. By assembling his gun-boats occasionally, he gained actual knowledge of the evolutions of a fleet. He also practised sham battles by dividing his force into two nominally hostile squadrons, and thus acquired facility in manceuvring several vessels, and a knowledge of how and when to take advantage of critical moments and situations. He applied repeatedly for a sea command, but being" disappointed in obtaining either the "Argus" or the " Hornet," he tendered his services to Commander Isaac Chauncey on the lakes, at whose request he was ordered to Lake Erie. Within twenty-four hours after receipt of orders, on 17 February he had sent off a detachment of fifty men, and on the 22d he set; out with his younger brother, Alexander. Travelling chiefly in sleighs, he reached Erie on 27 March. There he found Noah Brown, shipwright, and Sailing-Master Dobbins, awaiting the arrival of fifty carpenters from Philadelphia, who were more than five weeks in making the wintry journey. From the virgin forest the squadron was to be built, but the keels of two twenty-gun brigs and three gun-boats had already been laid. Incredible toil and protracted attention to details, in a country little better than a, wilderness, enabled Perry to collect a force of nine vessels of 1,671 tons, with 54 guns capable of throwing a broadside of 936 pounds of metal, of which 288 pounds could be fired at long range. In his squadron, only the " Lawrence" and "Niagara," of 500 tons burden, could be considered men-of-war. These carried each 20 guns, 2 being long twelve-pounders, and 18 of them thirty-two-pounder carronades. The other vessels were of slight construction, without bulwarks, but were armed with heavy long guns, which constituted their excellence. The long-range guns were the chief dependence of the Americans, as their carronades were useless except at very short range. These fired a scattering charge at a low velocity, but with frightful effect at a few rods' distance, and could be worked by small squads rapidly. In the "yard-arm engagements" of the British these weapons had been very effective since their invention in 1769. They took their name front the Carron iron-works in Scotland. To make his carronade fire most effective, Perry relied not only on grape and canister shot. but on the favorite American ammunition, langrage. This dismantling shot was made out of scraps of iron sewed up in leather bags. Encouraging apparent prodigality at the anvils, though real economy in fixed ammunition, a large quantity of bits of bolts, bars, hoops, chisel-cut-tings, and splinters were collected and made into carronade cartridges. As the aim of the naval artillerist of to-day is to pierce the boiler or disable the rudder, so in the days of sailing-ships the purpose was to cut away masts, sails, and rigging, converting the enemy's ship into a helpless hulk. In addition to numerical superiority in ships and weight of metal thrown, the Americans were destined to have the advantages of wind and the smooth water, which enabled the small vessels to he off safely at long range and damage the enemy. Perry's force in men consisted of about 500 landsmen and sailors, many of whom had never seen salt water. These were, after five months' constant drilling, changed into good artillerists. On the British side, Captain Robert Heriot Barclay, surmounting almost equal difficulty, dismantling the fort at Amherstburg to equip his largest ship, finally succeeded in collecting a squadron of six vessels of 1,460 tons, manned by nearly 500 men. His cannon were 63 in number, nine more than the American. but most of his metal was carronade, his total broadside was but 459 pounds, and of this only 195 pounds could be fired at long range. In long-gun metal the Americans excelled the British three to two, in carronades two to one, in ships three to two. Perry moved out from Put-in bay on the morning of 15 September, 1813, with all his squadron, including the " Lawrence," "Niagara," "Caledonia, Scorpion," " Porcupine," "Tigress," "Ariel," " Seiners," and "Trippe," to meet the British force, , consisting of the "Chippewa," "Detroit," "Hunter, "Queen Charlotte," "Lady Prevost," and "Little Belt." Barclay, one of Nelson's veterans, though "confronted by famine and Indian treachery," expected easy victory. As the fleets approached each other at about eleven o'clock, the bugle sounded from the flag-ship, the men of the whole British line gave three cheers, and the long guns of the "Detroit" opened on the "Lawrence " at the distance of a mile and a half. By noon the battle began in earnest, in the form of a duel, the heaviest vessel in each fleet confronting the other. Being able to employ at once a heavier battery in a smaller space, Barclay had at first a manifest advantage With more enthusiasm than science, the gunners of the " Lawrence," depending too much on their carronades, fired too fast, and, overshotting their stumpy guns, were unable seriously to harm the "Detroit," though pitting" and denting her sides The "Lawrence." on the contrary, was reduced by the steady British fire to a hulk. After two hours only one gun was left mounted, the cockpit was crowded with wounded, and only eighteen unharmed men. including commander and surgeon, were left on board. Meanwhile the most effective gunnery on the American side had been done by the heavy cannon of the " Caledonia." " Scorpion," and " Ariel," which had nobly assisted Perry, while the "Nigara, for some reason, had remained in the rear, and the more distant vessels were able to do little to prevent what seemed an imminent British victory. At this moment, with the audacity of genius, Perry called four sailors to man the boat, and with his brother Alexander, the flag of the "Lawrence" wrapped round his arm, he left his ship. At first shielded by the battle smoke, and then safely escaping the volley of the enemy, he reached, after a fifteen minutes' pull, the "Niagara." Sending Captain Elliot to bring up the laggard vessels, he ordered sail to bring his best ship close to the " Detroit." The breeze now freshened, quickly speeding the "Niagara" and the American schooners into action. The " Queen Charlotte," in endeavoring to get a position for a broadside, to be followed by boarding the coining "Niagara," was disabled in her sail-gear by the langrage shot of Perry's carronades, and, falling foul of the " Detroit," the two ships became entangled. Taking advantage of this, the American schooners took raking positions. The full battery of the "Niagara," joining in the steady and rapid fire, swept the British decks, and filled the air with canister, grape, ball, and scrap-iron, while the Kentucky riflemen in the tops, acting as marines, picked off every enemy visible. At three o'clock the British flag was hauled down, and for the first time in her history Great Britain lost an entire squadron, which surrendered to a young man of twenty-seven. On the deck of the "Lawrence" Perry despatched to the secretary of the navy a brief account of the victory, and shortly afterward to General William H. Harrison, the famous line" "We have met the enemy, and they are ours." In the military operations at Detroit and in the battle of the Thames, 5 October, 1813, he took an important part, both with his fleet and as commander of the naval battalion on the land, and on his return to the east he was honored by public demonstrations in many towns and cities. Congress voted him thanks, a medal, and the rank of captain. The city of Boston presented him with a set of silver, and other cities voted him thanks. He assisted in the defence of Baltimore, and in the squadron that was sent to the Mediterranean in 1815 he commanded the frigate "Java." In June, 1819, while in command of the "John Adams" and other United States vessels in the West Indies, he was attacked by the yellow fever in the Orinoco, and died after a brief illness. His remains, removed by act of congress in a ship-of-war, were buried in Newport, 4 December, 1826. In addition to the granite obelisk erected by the state of Rhode Island and a marble statue by Walcutt, which was dedicated in Cleveland, Ohio, in September, 1860, a bronze statue of Perry by William G. Turner was unveiled on 10 September, 1885. It stands opposite his old home, and was erected by citizens of Newport. The state of Ohio has also placed in the capitol at Washington a picture of the battle of Lake Erie and of Perry leaving the "Lawrence " for the " Niagara." Biographies of Perry have been written by John M. Niles (Hartford, 1820)" Alexander S. Mackenzie (2 vols., New York, 1843)" and James Fenimore Cooper, in his " Lives of Distinguished American Naval Officers" (Philadelphia, 1846). See also the account of the dedication of the statue at Cleveland, with the addresses and other proceedings (Cleveland, 1861).--Another son, Matthew Calbraith, naval officer, born in Newport, Rhode Island, 10 April, 1794 ; died in New York city, 4 March, 1858, entering the navy as midshipman, 16 January, 1809, served in the schooner " Revenge" under his brother Oliver. He was ordered, on 10 October, 1810, to the flag-ship " President," and for three years was trained under the eye of Commander John Rodgers. He was in the affair of the "Little Belt," of which his diary gives a clear account, and in the chase of the "Belvidera" when Rodgers fired the first hostile shot afloat in the war of 1812; and in the cruises as commerce-destroyer of the " President" in the seas of northern Europe when twenty British men-of-war in pairs were scouring the ocean for the American frigate. He was made a lieutenant, 27 February, 1813, spent several months of inaction on the blockaded frigate " United States," and, after recruiting work and service on the brig " Chippewa," he obtained furlough and made commercial voyages to Europe. In 1819 he was executive officer of the "Cyane" to convoy the first colony of negroes from this country to Africa. In an interview with the Portuguese governor of Teneriffe, who despised republics, Lieutenant Perry refused an honorary salute unless returned gun for gun. In 1821, in command of the "Shark," he selected the site of the future Monrovia. All his life he was a diligent student of books and a keen observer of men and things, and he so mastered the question of ship hygiene that the regulations for use on the African station drawn up by him were in force for many years. He was one of the first naval officers to see clearly into the underlying causes of scurvy and to experiment successfully upon its prevention. Under Commander David Porter in the West Indies in 1822 he fought and ferreted out pirates, making also a voyage to Africa and another in 1823 to Mexico, where he began and later mastered the Spanish language. As executive officer of the line-of-battle-ship "North Carolina," then the finest war-vessel and carrying the heaviest floating armament in the world, he went to the Mediterranean, protecting American commerce from Greek pirates. At home he studied the question of recruiting, and founded the first United States naval-apprenticeship system. In command of the sloop "Concord" in 1829 he took John Randolph as envoy to the czar in the first American man-of-war to enter Russian waters. At a private audience that was granted Perry by Nicholas, he was offered high rank in the Russian navy, but declined. He entertained and was entertained by Nehemet All, conqueror of Khartoum and founder of the khedival dynasty of Egypt. From the swords presented to Perry the " Mameluke grip " was copied for adoption into the United States navy. He commanded the forty-four-gun frigate "Brandywine" in the brilliant naval demonstration of Commander Patterson in the harbor of Naples when the reluctant Ferdinand II. and Count Cassaro paid the spoliation claims that were urged by President Jackson on the arrival in the bay of the sixth United States war-vessel. As master-commandant, 7 January, 1833, he began ten years of shore duty at the Brooklyn navy-yard. This decade of study and application, most fruitful in results in naval science and of influence upon our marine, caused him in after-years to be spoken of as "a chief educator of the United States navy." To summarize results, he organized the Brooklyn naval lyceum, still active with museum, library, trophy-room, and correspondence, assisted to found and liberally contributed to the "Naval Magazine," studied and tabulated the action of the tides at Gardiner's island for the United States and British admiralty charts, declined the command of the Antarctic exploring expedition, though furnished, mainly by himself, the dietetic directions for the cruise, organized the first steam service, and from 1838 till 1840 commanded the first steam war-vessel of our navy, the "Fulton II.," making the engineers on a par with the other officers, the staff equal with the line, and, when the " Fulton" struck and badly damaged the brig "Montevideo." he noted the principle of sinking an enemy by collision, studied the problem practically and mathematically, and urged the adoption of the ram on war-steamers. He studied the problems of ordnance and armor, resistance and penetration, and was one of the committee that reported on the Stevens iron-clad battery. In charge of the school of gun-practice at Sandy Hook, he demonstrated the safety in use and the power of horizontal shellfire from navy cannon and the effect of pivot-gun firing on the decks of ships, deducing ideas that are valuable in ship-construction. He organized and directed the school of apprentices for sail and steam service of the navy, went to Europe in one of the first steamships regularly crossing the Atlantic to study light-house illumination, and secured the passage of laws that adopted the Fresnel system of lenses, the first light being placed at Sandy Hook. With William C. Redfield he was influential in effecting revolutions in naval architecture. The steamers "Missouri" and " Mississippi," then without peers in the world, were built in their chief features according to ideas that he strenuously insisted upon, and were conspicuously a success, while later ones, built on plans that he had condemned, were failures. He was made a captain on 15 March, 1837, and in command of the yard, and on 12 June, 1841, he hoisted the commodore's broad pennant. He commanded the eighty-gun squadron in Africa in 1843-'5, enforcing the Webster-Ashburton treaty, carrying out a powder-and-ball policy at Berribee against the savages, and securing a decent burial-ground for Americansailors. In the Mexican war he had oversight of the steam navy, and at the siege of Vera Cruz, in command of the Gulf fleet, when Scott's light artillery was unable to breach the walls, he landed six of the heaviest ship's guns, and in "the naval battery" sent picked crews to batter down the wall at only 800 yards' distance. In two . days the sailors fired 1,300 rounds, reducing the wall to rubbish and making a breach fifty feet wide, enabling Scott's army to dictate terms and proceed into the interior. He formed the first United States naval brigade of sailors trained as infantry, captured Tuspan, Tabasco, and Laguna, and blockaded the coast, occupying every important landing-place until the end of the war. In the fishery disputes with Canada he visited the waters of Newfoundland and assisted to bring about the reciprocity treaty of 1854. He organized and commanded the expedition to Japan, delivering the president's letter on 14 July, 1853, and on 31 March, 1854, signing a treaty of peace, amity, and protection to American sailors. On his return he wrote the report of the expedition, to which were added papers on special subjects by other writers and a preface and notes by Reverend Francis L. Hawks, D.D. The whole work is entitled "Report of Commander Perry's Expedition to Japan " (3 vols., Washington, 1856). A bronze statue in Touro park, Newport, Rhode Island, a marble bust by Erastus D. Palmer, of Albany, oil-portraits at Annapolis and Brooklyn, and a gold medal presented by the merchants of Boston, commemorate his services. See "Life of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, a Typical American Naval Officer," by William Elliot Griffis (Boston, 1887).--Matthew Calbraith's son, Natthew Calbraith, naval officer, born about 1821 ; died in New York city, 16 November, 1873, was appointed a midshipman in the United States navy, 1 June, 1835, and ordered to the frigate " Potomac." he was acting master of the brig " Somers" during its first cruise and the famous mutiny (see MACKENZIE, ALEXANDER S.), was on the frigate "Cumberland" during the Mexican war, and by permission of his father joined the army on the staff of Gem Robert Patterson. He was made a lieutenant, 3 April, 1848, and served for several years on the coast survey. After various services he was placed on the retired list, receiving his commission as captain, 4 April, 1867. His sea-service covered a period of over fifteen years. -Christopher Raymond's grandson, James Alexander, soldier, born in New London, Connecticut, 11 December, 1828, is the son of Nathanael Hazard. He was graduated at the United States military academy in 1851, assigned to the 2d artillery, and served against the Seminole Indians in 1852. He was assistant professor of mathematics at West Point in 1852-'7, in frontier service in the northwest during hostilities with the Sioux and Chippewa Indians, and became captain in the quartermaster's department. He served in the civil war as chief quartermaster of the Department of Florida, and participated in the relief and defence of Fort Pickens. On 20 April, 1862, he became lieutenant-colonel of volunteers, and in 1864 he was made chief of a bureau in the quartermaster's department with the rank of colonel. He was brevetted major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel, on 13 March, 1865, and also brigadier-general, United States army, for faithful and meritorious services in that department. He was commissioned major on 29 July, 1866, and lieutenant-colonel on 3 March, 1875. Since 1869 he has served as chief quartermaster of various departments, and he is now (1888) assistant quartermaster-general of the division of the Pacific.--Oliver Hazard's grandson, Thomas Sergeant, author, born in Newport, Rhode Island, 23 January, 1845. His mother is great-granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin. He was graduated at Harvard in 1866, studied at the Sorbonne and College of France, and at the University of Berlin. He was tutor in German at Harvard from 1868 till 1872, and instructor in English there from 1877 till 1881. Mr. Perry was editor of the "North American Review" from 1872 till 1874, and is the author of " Life and Letters of Francis Lieber" (Boston, 1882) ; "English Literature in the Eighteenth Century" (New York, 1883); "From Opitz to Lessing" (Boston, 1885) ; " The Evolution of the Snob" (1887); and "History of Greek Literature" (New York, 1888).

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