Excerpt:Â During the War of 1812, Commodore Thomas McDonough was in charge of an American naval fleet defending Lake Champlain in New York against the attacking British forces. A report of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives in 1854 tells the story of one memorable morning: September 11, 1814. Â
[J]ust as the sun rose over the eastern mountains, the American guard-boat on the watch was seen rowing swiftly into the harbor. It reported the enemy in sight. ... [Y]oung McDonough summoned his officers around him, and there, on the deck of the Saratoga, read the prayers of the ritual before entering into battle. . . . "Stir up thy strength, O Lord, and come and help us; for thou givest not always the battle to the strong, but canst save by many or by few." It was a solemn, thrilling sight, and one never before witnessed on a vessel-of-war cleared for action. . . . Of the deeds of daring done on that day of great achievements, none evinced so bold and firm a heart as this act of religious worship.
The battle that day near Plattsburgh, New York, would be one of the crucial and decisive battles of the war, preventing the British from entering and controlling northern New York.