News of the US: April 1815

April 1:  From the French “Mercure” of April –“We actually possess in Paris Mr. John Howard Payne, the first actor in the United States.  After being successful in England, where the uniformity of the language with his own, has permitted him to display his talents, he had come to France, with the design of comparing the manners of the different countries and of gathering from the different systems of declamation, the distinguishing excellencies of each.  Columbian, September 12, 1815

April 1:  Account from Lake Champlain — “An officer who was in the battle on lake Champlain, informs us, that just as the American squadron was entering into action, the gallant commodore displayed this signal:  ‘Impress’d seamen call on every man to do his duty!‘ which (as soon as communicated to the crews of the different vessels) excited in every bosom an enthusiastic ardor that would not be defeated.--Columbian, April 1, 1815

April 1:  From Natchez — “General Thomas, with the Kentuckians [from New Orleans], was at Natchez on the first of April.  They would march by regiments, with an interval of 1 or 2 days between them.  The sick were coming up in the Steam-Boat, and would be left at Natchez, where the general was providing comfortable accommodations for them.”–Richmond Enquirer, May 13, 1815

April 1:  From the Richmond Enquirer — “We understand, that the vessel which has arr. in Hampton Roads, brings dispatches from Ad. Cochrane, to enquire from the Sec. of State why he should have said that the British officers had sold in the W. Indies some of the slaves which they had stolen in the U. S.–So many statements of this sort have been made, and some of them upon oath, that Mr. Monroe could have entertained no doubt upon the subject.”–Richmond Enquirer, April 1, 1815

April 3:  From Fort Hawkins — “A letter from Fort Hawkins, dated April 3, to the Editors of the Georgia Journal, says– ‘General M’Intosh has received orders from General Jackson, to disband the army under his command, immediately.”–National Advocate, April 26, 1815

April 3:  From New York — “The U. S. corvette John Adams, capt. Angus, is under sailing orders for Bermuda, to bring home the prisoners of war.  She dropped down from the Navy Yard on Saturday, and came to anchor in the North River.”–Baltimore Patriot, April 5, 1815

April 4:  From New Orleans — “A number of the planters of Terre aux Boeuf and that neighbourhood, returned on Sunday evening last fro Dauphin Island, where the remains of the British army and navy lies.  . . .  The object of our planters in visiting the British fleet and army was, if possible, to regain their slaves . . .  their journey was without avail; they gained but one slave out of upwards of three hundred carried away.”–Carolina Star, May 19, 1815

April 4:  From Boston — “The elegant pilot boat letter-of-marque sch. Russell, of N. York, ar. at New Bedford on Wednesday evening last, in the remarkably short passage of 92 days from Canton, with a rich Chinese cargo.  . . .  The Isaac Todd came to Canton, loaded with furs, from Columbia River, which had been collected there by the Americans and others.  The establishment has been broken up.””–Richmond Enquirer, April 19, 1815

April 5:  From New York — “The U. States Corvette John Adams, Capt. Angus, sailed from this port yesterday morning for Bermuda, to bring home the crew of the late U. S. frigate President.”–Providence Patriot, April 8, 1815

April 5:  From Milledgeville — “We are informed by an intelligent gentleman who accompanied Col Hawkins on his late expedition down the Chatahouchie, that the quantity of fertile land included in the cession of territory made by the Creek Indians to the United States, and falling within the ultimate limits of this State, is much greater than had been supposed.”–Alexandria Gazette, April 18, 1815

April 6:  From England — suspected riot of the American prisoners held at Dartmoor prison.  Prison guards shoot and kill a number of the prisoners.–Mercantile Advertiser, July 8, 1815

April 7:  From Plymouth, England — Arrived “the Harmony, Normand, from Oporto to London, laden with wines; she was taken the 2d of March by the James Monroe, American privateer, off Cape Finisterre . . . . they left on board the Harmony her mate, Mr. John Nelson, who prevailed on the Frenchmen [from the Monroe] to assist him in retaking his vessel, which they did  . . . .  They hove the American prize-master overboard.”–Raleigh Register, June 2, 1815

April 7:  From Carthagena — “General Morillo, with 10,500 Spanish soldiers, arrived from Cadiz the 7th April at Margarita, and took possession of that place on the 10th, and proceeded to the kingdom of Santa Fee, whereby the whole of that extensive Province will be delivered of the Insurgents, and the coast of Carthagena from the nest of Pirates that have infested those seas for some time past.”–Newport Mercury, May 20, 1815

April 7:  From the Wilkes-Barre Gleaner — “The noise of the drum and shrill sounding fife has ceased in our village.  The girls and boys are getting married, deterred no longer by the fear of a militia draft, or the terrors of a conscription.  The old women are anxiously awaiting fresh supplies of their former beverage, Bohea [tea]–and the young ones as anxiously the arrival of Mr. Hollanback’s waggon, which is to bring up the new calicoes and bonnets.”–Raleigh Minerva,April 7, 1815

April 8:  From Portsmouth, N. H. — “Last evening arrived at this port the private armed sch’r. Fox, Capt. John Winkley from a three months cruize, having made two captures, one of which vessels she destroyed (the ship Antigua) arrived here.  She has on board some bale goods, &c. taken out of the Antigua.  The Fox is one of two vessels only that has run during the whole war, and made seven successful cruizes.”–Scioto Gazette, May 1, 1815

April 8:  From Murfreesborough, Tennessee — “General Winchester and suite arrived in town on Tuesday evening last in good health, on their way home from Mobile.  . . .  When general Winchester left Mobile the British were embarking their troops; and American officer had been sent to receive possession of Fort Boyer.”–Ohio Register, May 16, 1815

April 9:  From Paris — “A decree of the Emperor Napoleon of the 9th of April, recalls to their standards all the soldiers who are faithful to their country.  Such of the Swiss as prefer returning to their own country, are informed that they shall have passports.”–Raleigh Register, June 9, 1815

April 10:  From London — “Friday last a most serious affray took place at Dartmoor Prison, where the American prisoners of war are confined.  It appears that the unfortunate prisoners . . . proceeded to force their way out of the confines of the prison.  Captain Shortland, the resident British agent, went in among them alone, and unarmed, to endeavor to pacify them, but a pistol was snapped at him, and therefore the soldiers fired among the insurgents, when about twelve were killed and thirty wounded.”–Columbian, May 24, 1815

April 10:  From New York — Arrived “The British cartel ship Clarendon, in 12 days from Bermuda, with 400 American prisoners of war, part of the President’s crew,” also “British cartel ship Mars, 12 days from Bermuda, with nearly 400 American prisoners being all that remained there.”-Augusta Herald, April 17, 1815

April 11:  From New York — “Three American vessels from the East Indies, belonging to Minturn and Champlin of New-York, loaded with Teas, Silks, &c. &c. have reached in safety the American ports.  It is remarkable, four vessels, with cargoes belonging to the above concern, have arrived in safety within a few months notwithstanding the numerous British cruisers that invest every sea and every ocean.”–Centinel of Freedom, April 11, 1815

April 11:  From Nashville –“The troops under gen. Carroll were expected to arrive at the Choctaw agency between the 1st and 5th of this month.  The Kentuckians under gen. Thomas, marched up the levee:  and will be at least 8 or 10 days behind gen. Carroll.  Gen. Coffee’s brigade have probably, reached the Tennessee river ere this.  Gen. Carroll’s men had, when last heard from, no provisions except what was in their knapsacks–it being impracticable to get wagons on.”–Western Spy, April 21, 1815

April 12:  Dartmoor prison, England — “On the 12th April, 5200 American prisoners were left in Dartmoor prison–Mr. Beasley had taken up a sufficient number of transports to bring them all home.  . . .  The treatment of our gallant countrymen had been infamous–and the late attack on them, willful and premeditated malice.”–Richmond Enquirer, June 10, 1815

April 12:  “Capt. Smith, prisoner in Algiers, writes to his friends in Salem, under date of April 12, that on the 22d of March, the Dey was murdered by the military, and his first minister raised to the sovereign power; that 16 days afterwards, the new Dey shared the fate of his predecessor; and that all was tumult and consternation, and further violence and plunder were expected.”–Providence Patriot,  July 8, 1815

April 12:  From Boston — “On the 12th instant, the Rev. Edward Everett, was inaugurated as professor of Greek Literature in Harvard University.  He is allowed to spend two years abroad, and has sailed from Boston in the ship New-Packet for Liverpool.”–Rhode Island American, April 21, 1815

April 15:  From Baltimore — “The British ship Clarendon, from Batavia, prize to the private armed ship Young Wasp, of Philadelphia, is in the river.  The C. was captured 82 days ago off the Cape of Good Hope, and has put in, being short of provisions, &c.  She has on board a cargo of 1, 150,000 lbs. coffee . . . .”–New York Spectator, April 19, 1815

April 15:  From Castine — “I have to inform you, that there is no prospect of the British leaving here for some weeks to come.  . . .  I understand that private letters state that the enemy are to remain here until orders are received at Halifax from England.”–Baltimore Patriot, April 27, 1815

April 16:  Papers from England state that “ENGLAND HAD DECLARED WAR AGAINST FRANCE, and that Louis XCIII had arrived in England.”–Raleigh Register, May 26, 1815

April 17:  From the House of Commons, London — “Mr. Horner gave notice, that on Wednesday se’nnight, he would submit a motion to the house on the subject of our discomfiture at New Orleans.”–Aurora, June 2, 1815

April 17:  From New York — “By the schooner Selby, capt. Selby, from Guadaloupe, we learn that the British ships of war Leander, Newcastle, and Acasta frigates, arrived at Barbadoes on the first instant, from an unsuccessful chase of the U. States frigate Constitution, which as the British officers state, escaped from them in a fog.”–Centinel of Freedom, April 25, 1815

April 18:  From Baltimore — “Yesterday afternoon a most unfortunate accident occurred at the Cotton Factory of Messrs.. R. & A. M’Kim, adjoining this city; the engineer was caught between two of the large iron wheels, which nearly tore him asunder, and put an immediate period to his existence.”–Centinel of Freedom, April 25, 1815

April 18:  From Nashville — Yesterday major-general Carroll arrived in Nashville.  . . .  From the departure of the Tennessee militia from this state to their return we understand nearly 500 have been lost principally by the unwholesomeness of the lower country.  This estimate includes the commands of generals Carroll and Coffee.”–Ohio Register, May 16, 1815

April 19:  From New York — “The ship Minerva Smith, Capt. Allen will sail this afternoon for Liverpool.  This ship, we understand, is intended as a regular Packet.  Sir James Lucas Yeo is among her present passengers.”–New York Spectator, April 19, 1815

April 19:  From  New York — “All the American seamen who have been on the Lakes, are on the roads to the seaboard, to man the ships of the expedition now fitting out.  The smell of salt water will be extremely grateful to these gallant tars.”–Adams Centinel, April 19, 1815

April 20:  From Washington — “This city is now honored by the presence of several of our Military and Naval Heroes.  Among the former, besides General Wilkinson, already announced are Generals Scott, Ripley, Macomb and Smyth, Cols. Jessup and Aspinwall; among the latter Comm. Rodgers and Comm. Porter, two of the Commissioners of the Navy Board.  Gen. Brown, Com. Hull, and other officers of rank and standing, are daily expected.”–Salem Gazette, April 28, 1815

April 20:  From Portland, Maine — “We are informed from a source which we have reason to believe, that the British do not intend to leave Castine until they receive further orders from England.”–Susquehanna Democrat, May 12, 1815

April 20:  From a Montreal paper — “Com. Chauncey arrived at Kingston on the 10th—He was received on board the St. Lawrence with a salute of thirteen guns–the naval officers speak of him as a man of genteel manners and address.  General Brown had arrived at Kingston also–who with the Commodore were shewn every possible attention and respect by the heads of our naval and military departments there.”–Ohio Federalist, May 18, 1815

April 22:  From the Montreal Courant, of the Hartford Convention — “From their example of folly and wickedness, let British subjects learn a lesson of wisdom, and never weaken their own government and disgrace themselves, by such a party opposition.”–Richmond Enquirer, May 10, 1815

April 22:  From Kaskaskia — “The account of the destruction of the village of Cote-sans-Dessein, on the Missouri by the Indians, proves not to be so distressing as was first represented–there were but five persons killed and considerable property stolen–the inhabitants defended the village with great bravery and killed seven or eight Indians, two of whom fell by the hands of a woman!”–Ohio Register, June 6, 1815

April 22:  From Philadelphia — “Many of the citizens of Philadelphia, oppressed with the high price of Butter, have agreed not to grease their throats with this precious article, until the price is reduced to 85 cents a pound”.–New York Gazette, April 22, 1815

April 25:  From Erie, Pennsylvania — “The sailors and soldiers at this place have had a serious quarrel.  On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, they were fighting in the streets.  Several on both sides have been badly wounded–one or two dangerously.  There was no interference by the civil authority.  Probably because it had been found ineffectual on a former occasion.  Nothing since one of the magistrates, in attempting to quell a riot, was abused and insulted, and afterwards challenged by an officer of the army to fight a duel, assaulted in the street, and his house partly demolished.”–New York Spectator, May 13, 1815

April 26:  From New York — “The United States’ cartel ship Perseverance, Dill, arrived at Providence, R. I. on the 26th ult. from Halifax, with 160 prisoners, all that remained there.  She sailed from Halifax on the 18th ult.”–Richmond Enquirer, May 10, 1815

April 26:  From Georgia — “On the 26th of April, general Jackson was near the Chickasaw lower line, and had invited a council of the Chocktaws to meet him at the line, to ascertain the amount due that tribe for provisions and services, rendered during the last war.”–Massachusetts Spy, June 28, 1815

April 26:  From Quebec — “It appears that Admiral Cochrane is also ordered home.  Thus the whole of the commanders in chief on the part of Great-Britain, will probably be present at the proposed inquiry into the conduct of the late American war.  In the course of that inquiry, the government and the nation will acquire information which may be useful for determining the policy to be adopted by Great-Britain in her future relations with the United States.  It is evident, that the affairs of Europe for the last twenty-two years have precluded a proper attention to the British interests in America.– Massachusetts Spy, May 17, 1815

April 27:  From New York — “BONAPARTE Restored to the Throne of France without bloodshed, and the Bourbons again dethroned.  Last evening arrived at this port the fast sailing letter of marque Sine-qua-Non, Capt. Pond in 25 days from Rochelle, France, from whence he sailed on the first of April.  Capt. Pond has very politely furnished the Editors of the Mercantile Advertiser with a file of the Paris Moniteur to the 23d of March, inclusive, containing the details of this most extraordinary event . . . .”–Providence Patriot, April 29, 1815

April 27:  From Maine — “the British evacuated Castine, the 27th inst. and went on board 13 transports in the harbor . . . .  Col. Starks, with about 80 soldiers took possession the same day, and hoisted the Yankee stripes.”–Richmond Enquirer, May 10, 1815

April 28:  News of the U. S. Hornet — “On the 28th of April, in lat. 38 long 33, to the eastward of the Cape of Good Hope, the Hornet and Peacock in company, were fallen in with by a British 74 gun ship, who gave chace to the Hornet for 7 hours, during which time Capt. Biddle threw overboard all his guns but one, cables, anchors; boats, provisions, shot, &c and escaped after receiving several shot.  The Peacock continued on her course.”–Raleigh Register, August 11, 1815

April 28:  From British Colonel Nicolls, at Appalachicola —  “On the subject of the negroes lately owned by citizens of the United States or Indians in hostility to the British forces, I have to acquaint you, that according to orders, I have sent them to the British colonies, where they are received as free settlers, and lands given to them.”–Aurora, June 17, 1815

April 28:  From Charleston — “In firing a gun yesterday forenoon, (which was not known  to be shotted,) on board the Spanish brig Santiago . . . for a pilot, the ball passed into the centre of the city, struck a new brick house in Meeting St. belonging to capt. Prioleau, glanced, and buried itself in the garden of Thomas Herry, Esq. on the opposite side of the same street.  This is the second instance, within a few years, of a loaded cannon being discharged into the city, by accident.”

April 29:  From St. Louis — “The undernamed gentry were residents within this and the neighbouring territories previous to the war, and always claimed the rights of citizens of the U. States, but as soon as war was declared, they to a man took part against us, and were active agents in the British interest in different parts of the Indian country.” [There follow sixteen names, headed by Robert Dickson.]–Baltimore Patriot, June 7, 1815

April 29:  From New York — “The first squadron, destined for the Mediterranean, to act against Algiers, is now assembled in this port, and only awaits a favorable wind, to put to sea.  It is commanded by Commodore Decatur, who has hoisted his broad pennant, on board the frigate Guerriere.”–New York Gazette, April 29, 1815

About the Author

Mary Bowden is a researcher working at the Texas Collections Deposit Library at the University of Texas. A little-known but invaluable treasure of U.S. history and the history of American journalism is archived in the collection of bound United States’ Newspapers at the University of Texas at Austin. The collection began more than a century ago and has been stored in recent years in the Texas Collections Deposit Library on the campus of the University of Texas. The sizeable archive is currently in the early stages of being digitized before being moved to a more climate-controlled environment at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus of the University, on the north side of Austin.

Mary Bowden