News of the US: December 1813

December:  From a London paper of December last, remarks on the defeat of the Boxer by the U. S. Enterprize –“the Boxer was literally cut to pieces, in sails, rigging, spars and hull; whilst the Enterprize, her antagonist, was in a situation to commence a similar action immediately afterwards.  The fact seeems to be but too clearly established, that the Americans have some superior mode of firing; and we cannot be too anxiously employed in discovering to what circumstances that superioritiy is owing.”==Baltimore Patriot, April 4, 1814

December 1:  From New York — This evening Mr. Cooper performs his favorite character of Macbeth, for the third time this season, we understand by the particular desire of General Harrison, and we learn by the play bill that the Theatre will be illuminated and decorated with a transparency in honor of his victory.”–Richmond Enquirer, December 7, 1813

December 2:  Editorial — “Less money than would build a frigate, less money than would support a regiment of soldiers for a year, would make the Capitol of the U. States the wonder and admiration of all beholders, instead of being, as it now is, the pretence for sneers at the niggardliness, regret for the fickleness, or pity at the poverty of the government.”--National Intelligencer, December 2, 1813

December 2:  From Pittsburgh — “On Monday evening last, the large and elegant steam boat, VESUVIUS, owned by Messrs. Fulton and Livingston, was safely launched into her destined element, from the ship-yard, on the Monongahela.  We understand she is designed as a regular trader from the falls of Ohio to New-Orleans.”–Pittsburgh Mercury, December 2, 1813

December 3:  From the Baltimore Whig — “We have published to day an extraordinary proclamation issued by the new federal Governor of Vermont, recalling home those Vermontese militia who . . . had been detached to the defence of a part of the frontier of New-York . . . .  Those who are acquainted with the character of Governor Chittenden, his pliability, weakness and insignificanceas a politician, and his depl;orable deficiencey of intellect . . . will not be astonished at finding that he has suffered himself to be made a tool in the hands of the northern junto, to countenance their unconstituional and disobedient conduct in relation to the militia of Massachusetts.”–Carlisle Gazette, December 3, 1813

December 4:  From Plattsburg — “Maj. Pinckney, aid to Gen. Wilkinson, arrived at this post a few days since, with orders from Gen. Wilkinson, we understand, to arrest Maj. Gen Hampton–the General had however left this for the southward, and Maj. Pinckney has gone on to execute his orders.”–Gettysburg Adams Centinel, December 29, 1813

December 4: “On Saturday evening the beautiful new and very fast sailing pilot boat Amanda, capt. Sawyer, returned from [HBM] the Plantagenet, off Sandy Hook, having been dispatched as a flag of truce, for the purpose of ransoming the sloop Ann-Maris, from Philadelphia, with an organ on board for St. John’s Church.    . . .  Capt. Lloyd would not ransom the organ for less that $2000 . . . .”–New York Herald, December 8, 1813

December 5:  From Lake Champlain, from Commoore Macdonough — “I have the honor to inform you the enemy mae his appearane on this lake yesterday with six heavy gallies, manned apparently with upwards of 400 men folowing close after our look-out boat whichc was bringing the intelligence.  . . .  The chase continued three hours; I was much surprized to see him refuse battle . . . .”–Baltimore Patriot, December 21, 1813

December 6:  From New York — “Congress meet this day.  Having made arrangements to receive the President’s Message by Express, the Editors of the New-York Gazette hope to be enabled to lay it before the public in 28 or 30 hours after it is delivered.”–New York Gazette, December 6, 1813

December 8: From New York — “By the ship Criterion Capt. Clarke, which arrived at this port on Thursday last in 82 days from Tulchuana, (coast of Chili) we have received the following late news from the [U. S.] Essex frigate.  . . .  Capt. Porter experienced no difficulty in obtaining men–he had fitted out three of his prizes, and had upwards of 300 men on board the Essex.”–Commercial Advertiser, December 8, 1813

December 9:  From Tennessee — “General Robertson writes to Gov. Blount of the 9th inst.  That George Colbert has agreed to head the war party of the Chickasaws; that there will be 200 warriors; who go as mounted men to join Gen. Jackson; to continue with the General so long as he may require them.”–Nashville Whig, December 15, 1813

December 10:  From Nathan Ford, Ogdensburgh, to Gen. James Wilkinson — “In your passage down the St. Lawrence upon your expedition to Montreal, you landed your troops, three miles above this village.  Your illiberal, and ungentlemanly abuse of my character, on that day, and the succeeding evening, was such as none but a man of your cast, would have indulged in.  . . . I shall now leave you, to the enjoyment of your Bilingsgate ribaldry, your hot rum, and your honey-sweet squaws.”–Democratic Press, December 16, 1813

December 10:  From Nantucket — “This morning arrived in this port the schooner Comet, of New-York, from Charleston, having been taken by an English frigate and retaken by the President, Com. Rodgers.”–National Intelligencer, December 21, 1813

December 11:  From New York — “Swift Travelling–The express who brought the Presiden’ts Message to this city, left Washington 20 minutes after 12 at noon–left Baltimore 45 minutes after 2 P. M. arrived at Philadelphia 10 minutes before 12 at night.  Thus it will be seen, that from Washington to Philadelphia, a distance of 150 miles, he travelled at the rate of more than 12 1/2 miles an hour; which, considering the badness of the roads, is perhaps equal to any thing ever performed in any country.”–New York Gazette, December 11, 1813

December 11:  From Washington, Georgia — “We have seen a letter from a gentleman in Gen. Jackson’s army, to his friend in this place, dated at Fort Strother, 11th of December, which states, that Gen. Cooke had not at that time, joined Jackson–that Jackson’s men were 60 miles only from a body of 3000 hostile Indians, against whom they would march as soon as supplies of provisions were obtained.  The writer states, also, that at one period the men were so destitute of provisions as to have to eat raw hides.”–Connecticut Gazette, February 2, 1814

December 12:  Letter from Gen. John Floyd to Gov. Early of Georgia — “I herewith forward to you the Pipe of the old Tallisee or Tame King, taken at the battle of Autossee.– The friendly Indians observe, that it was the pipe of the greatest man in their nation, and who was for many years their king; but he had grown old and foolish–had forsaken them–that he was now dead, and as none of his successors had acquired sufficient dignity to be entitled to it, requested that I should send it to my king, meaning your excellency.  It is valuable for its antiquity!  This once respected and venerable chief used this pipe at the treaty of Shoulderbone* and how long before is unknown.  *The treaty of Shoulderbone was held in ’86.”–Maryland Gazette, January 8, 1814

December 14:  From Canandaigua == “Col. Dobbin informs us that on the 10th inst. gen. McClure received correct information, that the British army that had been at Burlington, had moved down as far as the 12 mile creek to attack fort George, where the militia had been principally discharged.  In pursuance of orders from the secretary of war, the general finding it impossible with his reduced force, to defend the fort, ordered the village of Newark to be destroyed, and fort George to be razed to its foundation.”–Weekly Aurora, December 28, 1813

December 14:  Letter from Mississippi — “Information was received last evening, that a British force of 2000 troops had arrived at Pensacola, and that a British squadron had swept all the American property afloat on the coast between Orleans and Pensacola.”–Niles’ Weekly Register, January 8, 1814

December 15:  A reprint of an article in the London Courier, June 17, 1813 —  “There are arguments in our colonial Journals, tending to prove that there exists a necessity for our government’s taking possession of the province of New-Orleans.  . . .  Take New-Orleans, which is at the threshold of our West Indian Islands, and which could furnish them with provisions at half the price they have been accustomed to pay:  By such conduct, firm allies would be created on the continent, our West India planters would be gratified; and the integrity of the Spanish dominions in America guaranteed from traitorous insults.”–Scioto Supporter, December 15, 1813

December 15:  From Nashville — “So soon as the citizens of Davidson heard that General Jackson was in need of further aid, they volunteered with a spirit unparalleled:  several full companies were made up in 5 or 6 days.  This single county has turned out one hundred and fifty hearty robust patriots, willing to brae all danger for the protection of their country’s rights.”–National Intelligencer, January 4, 1814

December 16:  “The United States barracks at Derby, Vt. were burnt on the 16th ult. by a small party of British, there being no troops in that quarter to oppose the marauders.–Their contents consisted, it is stated, of about 1000 cartridges, 30 camp kettles, several axes, saws &c. and about 300 lb. of lead were carried off by the enemy.”  Scioto Supporter, January 19, 1814

December 17:  From Nashville — “There has been an express arrived from General Jackson, informing the Governor, that 8 British Frigates had arrived at Pensacola on the Mobile Bay, not far from New-Orleans, and it is the general belief, that they will join the Indians on our frontier.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, January 14, 1814

December 17:  From Calcutta — “Accounts from Canton to Oct. 28, state, that all the Company’s ships had arrived safe, not any tyfoong (or Hurricane) having this year been experienced in the China Seas–and that the non-arrival of Americans in China had occasioned a temporary scarcity of cash.”–American Daily Advertiser, August 16, 1814

December 18:  From on board the prison ship Malabar, Halifax harbor — “In my last letter I wrote you that I had great expectations of getting home soon; but I am now sorry to say that every hope of that kind has vanished; for, since writing the last, we have all been put in close confinement.  Nine of us are put into a hole six feet long and five feet wide, and I fear it will be still worse, if possible.”–Democratic Press, January 28, 1814

December 19:  From Headquarters, Upper Canada — “Lieut. general Drummond congratulates the troops under his command upon the brilliant success which has crowned the attack made this morning on Fort Niagara.  It was assaulted an hour before day light, and after a short but severe contest, it was carried with a very sight loss on our part–that of the enemy was 65 killed and 15 wounded, all by the bayonet–the remainder of the garrison, to the number of 350 regular troops and artillery, were made prisoners–27 pieces of ordnance were found in the fort.”–Maryland Gazette, January 19, 1814

December 19:  From Niagara — “on Sunday morning Fort Niagara was taken by storm, by a British force consisting of about 3000 regulars, militia and their savage allies; that there were only three who had the good fortune to escape from the Fort . . . “–New York Spectator, December 29, 1813

December 19:  From Batavia — “As the most part of the arms are in  Fort Niagara, if that is taken, we shall have but few public arms in this part of the state; therefore, every man who has a gun, carry it with him.  Indeed this would be necessary, because the enemy is between us and the fort.”–Aurora, January 1, 1814

December 20:  From Buffalo, to Governor Tompkins — “I would respectfully represent to your excellency, that on the morning of yesterday, the enemy crossed over a little below Lewistown–they have burnt Lewistown, and every house from that place to within two and a half miles of Schlosser, and the Tuscarora village is also burnt.”–Baltimore Patriot,  January 1, 1814

December 20:  From Washington, from Felix Grundy  — “A Bill, laying an embargo on all ships and vessels in the ports and harbors of the United States, has passed both houses . . . .  By this measure I hope to see this experiment fairly made–whether, we have not honest men enough in this nation to prevent traitors from feeding our enemies.”–Nashville Clarion, January 11, 1814

December 21:  From Philadelphia — “The Commander of the Naval Forces on this Station, has received instructions to prevent the departure of any vessels from his district, contrary to the act of Congress laying an Embargo, passed at Washington on Friday last.”--American Daily Advertiser, December 21, 1813

December 21:  From Salem — “If the rumor should prove true, that the British have attacked Gen. Wilkinson in his present reduced, skeleton condition, the enemy will undoubtedly find him another Bony-part.”–Salem Gazette, December 21, 1813

December 22:  From Portsmouth — ” Have just returned from Portsmouth, which exhibits a scene, from the ravages of last night’s fire, that beggars all description:  Have only time, while the stage stops, to say, That about 250 buildings (some compute them at 300) were burnt.  . . . The fire, we hear, first caught in a stable, and we understand the scene of its  ravages comprised much of the most valuable part of the town.–The wind was strong, and human effort must have been feeble in the struggle against the elements.”–Salem Gazette, December 24, 1813

December 22:  From Erie — “I now inform you, that the British have crossed over the river at Lewistown, and have burnt that place and Manchester to ashes, and are on their march to Buffaloe.  We expect by this time Buffaloe is in ashes.  What will take place next God only knows.”–Scioto Supporter, January 12, 1814

December 23:  From Savannah –“It appears by a report of the 10th from the chiefs to colonel Hawkins, that the friendly Indians lost in the battle of Autossee, 17 killed and 31 wounded.  The Mad Dog’s Son and the Long Lieutenant, two distinguished warriours, were among the slain.  It is said that the hostile Indians have embodied on the right of the Tallapose, about three miles below Autossee.”—United States’ Gazette, January 8, 1814

December 23:  From Huntsville, Mississippi Territory – “Since the battles of Tallushatche and Talladega the army of Gen. Jackson has crumbled to pieces.  The whole of his volunteer infantry are returning home—insisting that their time of service expired on the 10th of this month, being the anniversary of their rendezvous at Nashville.”—United States’ Gazette, January 25, 1814

December 24:  Letter from a young lady visiting Portsmouth, N. H. — “Language fails me in describing what I beheld at that awful period, when the assistance of females was required, and freely, nay eagerly given, in forming a line to pass the buckets through Penhallow street to the water.  Females of all ranks were unwearied in their exertions, until the fire was checked.”–National Intelligencer, January 11, 1814

December 24:  From Governor Tompkins at Albany, on Fort Niagara being taken  –“Major Gen.. Hall has been ordered to repair to that frontier with as many of his division as may be necessary to expel or destroy the invaders.  The British have with them a number of Indians, and continue to sanction their massacres.”–Carolina Star, January 7, 1814

December 25:  Editorial of New York Spectator — “our troops, in obedience to the orders of the Secretary at War, have destroyed Fort George, spiked the British cannon at the Fort, burnt the village of Newark, and abandoned ‘the uppermost Canada.’  That it was a prudent and judicious measure to evacuate Fort George, we entertain no doubt; but why spike the cannon?–Why not convey them across the Niagara river, and plant them upon the American Fort?– And why burn that beautiful village?  We cannot but consider this last measure as deeply disgraceful to the American character.”==New York Spectator, December 25, 1813

December 25:  Letter from Gen. M’Clure from Batavia, New York — “It is a notorious fact that the night on which Fort Niagara was captured, Capt. Leonard left the Fort about 11 o’clock, p. m.  I am assured that he has since given himself up to the enemy and that he and his family are now on the Canadian side of the Strait.–New York Herald, January 15, 1814

December 26:  From Buffalo — “On Friday I proceeded with thirty mounted volunteers to Lewiston.  The sight we there witnessed was shocking beyond description; our neighbors were seen lying dead in the fields and roads, some horribly cut and mangled with tomahawks, others eaten by the hogs, which were probably left for the purpose, as they were almost the only animal found alive.  It is not yet ascertained how many were killed, as most of the bodies were thrown into burning houses and consumed.”–New York Spectator, January 8, 1814

December 27:  From Washington — “The dispute between Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Grosvener has been settled through the mediation of Mr. King and the Speaker; and as I am informed by Mr. Clay, satisfactory and honorable to both gentlemen.  The meeting was to have taken place this day, at one o’clock.”–New York Spectator, January 1, 1814

December 28:  From northern New York –“We learn from a credible source that the enemy’s force, consisting of 1100 regulars, 200 militia, and about 200 Indians, landed undiscovered at the Five Mile Meadows in the evening of the 28th inst.  . . .  On their way to the fort [Niagara] they inhumanely massacred a number of defenceless invalids of gen. Harrison’s army, left in the hospital at Youngstown–“–Carlisle Gazette, January 14, 1814

December 28:  From Montreal — “An officer in Gen. Drummond’s army, writes, that the ordnance and other stores found in Fort Niagara, are immense.–Besides 3000 stand of arms, there was in the single article of clothing worth 50,000l. sterling. A well-timed and sharp=set war-whoop from 5000 Indian warriors, made just at sunrise, threw the enemy into trepidation; who with their degenerate Indians, fled in all directions, leaving the frontiers to its fate.”–New York Mercantile Advertiser, January 15, 1814

December 28:  “On Friday evening there was a meeting of patriotic and influential gentlemen of all parties, at the house of Mr. Fulton, to investigate the principles and utility of a steam vessel of war, invented by that gentleman, for harbor and coast defence.  The plan was received with enthusiasm by all present.”–Aurora, January 18, 1814

December 29:  From Plattsburgh — “Several days ago General Hampton left this place, and his army, very suddenly and unceremoniously; but at that time it was not known that he had been arrested by gen. Wilkinson, for disobedience of orders in the late campaign. Should he be acquitted on trial, I think he will ot be empoyed any more by the government, as he has become ery unpopular with bootoh armies.””– Carthage Gazette,  January 22, 1814

December 29:  From the House of Representatives – “the house resolved itself into a committee of the whole, Mr. King of N. C. in the chair, on the bill for appointing an additional judge in the Missouri Territory.  In the course of the sitting, Mr. Hemstead, of Missouri, explained the circumstances . . . .  The settlement of Arkansas, for which an additional judge was asked, was situated, he said, at the distance of two hundred miles from New Madrid, where the courts are now held, and, since the late earthquakes, the road had become so nearly impassable, that a circuit of three hundred miles was required to pass from one place to the other.”—United States’ Gazette, January 5, 1814

December 30:  From Albany — “An express arrived last evening with despatches for the Governor, from whom we have received the distressing intelligence, that the villages of Buffaloe and Black Rock were destroyed by the British, on Thursday, the 30th ult.–that Mrs. Lovejoy, whose husband was serving in the militia, was murdered by the Indians or British . . . that Gen. M’Clure had retired to his residence, accompanied by about 150 regulars as a safeguard to cover his retreat from an exasperated populace.”–New York Spectator, January 8, 1814

December 30:  From New York — “Let every man who condemns the folly and extravagance with which the war has been conducted,–Let every man who regrets the sacrifice of our brave officers and soldiers,–Let every man that feels for the wretched inhabitants of the frontiers, who have been exposed to slaughter, through the madness of our rulers,–In short, let all those who wish for the return of Peace and Commerce, come forward and vote for PETER A. JAY.”–New York Gazette, December 30, 1813

December 31:  From Alexandria –“The government, it is said, have received information of a contemplated attack on the southern coast under the command of Admiral Cockburn . . .”–Raleigh Register, January 7, 1814

December 31:  In the House of Representatives — Passed, 137 to 18 “Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to cause to be laid before this House any information in his possession not improper to be communicated, which may tend to illustrate the causes of the failure of the arms of the United States on the northern frontier.”–Raleigh Register, January 14, 1814


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