The day before the Battle of Lake Erie and a month before the Thames, he sends this source of inspiration to his son, writing that he should, "diligently study the lives of great men contained in it & that if he is unable to rival their splendid achievements in their country's service, he will at least imitate their private victories"
The Battle of Lake Erie was fought on September 10, 1813, on 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 the British Royal Navy. This ensured American control of the lake for the rest of...
The Battle of Lake Erie was fought on September 10, 1813, on 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 the British 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. It was one of the biggest naval battles of the War of 1812.
On October 5, 1813, General William Henry Harrison, who also was the governor of the Indiana Territory and a future president of the United States, led an army of 3,500 American troops against a combined force of eight hundred British soldiers and five hundred American Indian warriors at Moraviantown, along the Thames River in Ontario, Canada. The British troops were under the command of Colonel Henry Procter. Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief, commanded many of the American Indian warriors. The British army was retreating from Fort Malden, Ontario after Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory in the Battle of Lake Erie in September 1813. Tecumseh convinced Colonel Procter to make a stand at Moraviantown.
The American army won a total victory. As soon as the American troops advanced, the British soldiers fled or surrendered. The American Indians fought fiercely, but lost heart and scattered after Tecumseh died on the battlefield.
William Henry Harrison Signed Copy of Plutarch’s Lives, carried with him during the War of 1812, presented to his son, John Cleves Symmes Harrison, for his birthday. Specifically, the book is Volume II of Plutarch’s Lives, Translated from the Original Greek with Notes Critical and Historical…; by John & William Langhorne. Worcester, Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, Jun. August – 1804. Octavo (4.25″ x 7″), 390 pages.
Harrison has written a long dedication on the first front endpaper: “Willm. H. Harrison sends this set of Plutarch’s to his beloved son J.C. Symmes Harrison in the hope that he will diligently study the lives of great men contained in it & that if he is unable to rival their splendid achievements in their country’s service, he will at least imitate their private victories. Head Qtr. Seneca Town. 9th Sept. 1813.” A later descendant has copied a part of this dedication on the facing pastedown.
John Cleves Symmes Harrison would be celebrating his 15th birthday on September 29 of that year, and General Harrison likely sent these volumes to his son to mark the occasion.
There is a second signature, an ownership signature, “Willm Henry Harrison” on the title page, indicating that he is passing on his own book to his eldest son. Written on the blank page facing the first page text is written: “Presented to J.C.S. Harrison by his beloved Father / September 19, 1813”.
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