fleet. Two brigs, the Niagara and the Lawrence, were built with white and black oak and chestnut frames, the outside planking being of oak and the decks of pine. Two gunboats were newly planked up, and work on a schooner was just begun. The vessels had to be vigilantly guarded against attack by the British, who were fully aware of the work being done. The capture of Fort George left the Niagara River open, and several American vessels which had been unable before to pass the Canadian batteries were now, with great exertion, drawn into the lake. These were the brig Caledonia, the schooners Somers, Tigress and Ohio, and the sloop Trippe. An English squadron set out to intercept the new arrivals, but Perry succeeded in gaining the harbor of Erie before the enemy made their appearance.
The American ships were ready for sea on July 10, but officers and sailors were lacking, and it was not until about the close of the month that Perry had three hundred men to man his ten vessels. While the British squadron, under Captain Robert Heriot Barclay maintained a vigorous blockade, Perry found that his new brigs could not cross the bar without landing their guns and being blocked up on scows. Commander Barclay, thinking that Perry could not m