When war broke out in 1812, neither the United States Navy nor the Royal Navy had more than a token force on the Great Lakes. However, once the shooting started, it sparked a ship-building arms race that continued throughout the war. This book examines the design and development of the warships built upon the lakes during the war, emphasizing their differences from their salt-water contemporaries. It then goes onto cover their operational use as they were pitted against each other in a number of clashes on the lakes that often saws ships captured, re-crewed, and thrown back against their pervious owners. Released in 2012 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the outbreak of the war, this is a timely look at a small, freshwater naval war.