News of the Us: February 1814

February:  From a Kingston, Jamaica, paper of February — “In the outset of this (to Great Britain) humiliating contest, no preparations, it would appear, were deemed necessary:  the Americans, and their means of annoyance, were regarded with a blind and fatal contempt, and it was thought, that, terrified at the idea of a war with a powerful and warlike nation, capable by its naval power, of destroying their commerce, annihilating their infant navy, and of bombarding, and rendering defenceless, their maritime cities, they would require but little persuasion to induce them to listen to an accommodation. But what has been the result . . . .?  Our naval glory and reputation have suffered by the capture of our men of war–our commerce has sustained the most serious and severe losses–“–Aurora, March 21, 1814

February 2: From Plattsburg — “the British came over to Massena Point, on our side of the St. Lawrence, about 20 miles above French Mills, and . . . they began to fortify the Point.  . . .  Forsythe attacked them with his riflemen, killed several, and drove the rest from the Point over the river and followed them; but after being in Canada a short time, the enemy collected so fast in such force that he was obliged to return.  He had none killed.”–New York Mercantile Advertiser,February 9, 1814

February 4:  From Nashville — “On yesterday afternoon an express arrived here from general Jackson, with the pleasing intelligence of the sixth and seventh glorious victories over the Creek Indians, achieved by the arms of Tennessee, on the 22d and 23d ult.  A few worthies have fallen, but their death was noble.”–Missouri Gazette, March 26, 1814

February 5:  From Chillicothe — “On Saturday last all the British officers remaining on parole at this place, amounting to 17 in number, were put into close confinement, on the retaliatory principle, by orders received from the general government.  These were principally those officers, taken in the conflict on Lake Erie.  We understand they will, in a few days, be sent to Frankfort, Kentucky.”–Scioto Supporter, February 9, 1814

February 5:  From Burlington –“It appears that six of the British officers confined at Burlington, in retaliation for the confinement, by the British Government, of 46 American officers have made their escape.  It will be recollected that the circumstance that gave rise to this system of retaliation was the incarceration, by the British, of 23 American Soldiers, on the ground that they were born within his Majesty’s Dominions, and therefore were guilty of treason, in being found in arms in the American army.”–National Advocate, February 5, 1814

February 5:  From Plattsburgh — “Seventy–six persons, who were taken prisoners at Buffalo and its vicinity, arrived at this place on Thursday last, having left Montreal on Tuesday.  We understand they were exchanged for the militia taken by Col. Clark, at Missisque, last fall.”–Providence Patriot, February 19, 1814

February 6:  From Detroit — “It has been thought, & is indeed now, by some, that the British army intend paying us a visit.  This scares the inhabitants of this place very much, but we should be glad to see the Lads headed by their new General Drummond, from Ireland.  We would give his excellency, larger, hotter, and harder POTATOES, than he has been accustomed to eat in Ireland.”–Louisville Western Courier, March 14, 1814

February 7:  From Mobile — “Last night a party came running into town, frightened almost to death, with one man mortally wounded, who is since dead.  They told us that a very large party of the Creek Indians had on the morning of that day visited the opposite shore of the bay, and when they left it were massacring all the whites.”–Democratic Press, March 30, 1814

February 8:  From the House of Representatives — “RIFLE REGIMENTS.  The bill on this subject was so amended by the senate, that instead of the conversion of five infantry regiments into riflemen, the senate proposed that three additional regiments of riflemen should be raised.  After a long debate, a concurrence with the senate was voted, 81 to 67.”–Massachusetts Spy, February 23, 1814

February 10:  From St. Stephens (now Alabama) — “Weatherford is at Pensacola–He says he is determined to destroy another fort yet–there is a large party with him.  We have not learned his success with the governor.   . . .  Weatherford is active, brave and enterprising.”–National Intelligencer, March 22, 1814

February 12:  “Soldiers pay is raised to 10 dollars per month and 100 dollars bounty, with 320 acres of land at the expiration of the service.”–Missouri Gazette, February 12, 1814

February 12:  From Anthony Butler, at Detroit — “The principal object of this letter is to apprise you of my having some time since dispatched a small but active and confidential detachment to Saint Joseph’s . . . .  Whilst they were at St. Joseph’s they discovered that Dixon had ascended Lake Michigan as high up as Green Bay, with five large boats loaded with merchandize for the Indians.”–Baltimore Patriot, April 12, 1814

February 17:  From New York — “By successive arrivals from Europe, we are now assured, that all apprehensions of French invasion, universal monarchy, conquests, and domination, have vanished into air–into thin air–the bulwark of our religion–the world’s last hope–the fast-anchored isle is secure.”–National Advocate, February 17, 1814

February 18:  From Burlington — “The cantonment at the French Mills is broken up.  The huts and all the water crafts at the Mills are destroyed.  The 6th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th, 21st and 25th regts. of infantry, and one company of artillery, are gone to Sackett’s Harbor, under command of Brig. Gen. Brown.”–National Intelligencer, March 1, 1814

February 18:  From the House of Representatives — “Mr. Richardson of Mass. laid upon the table the following resolution:  Resolved, That the committee on Naval Affairs be directed to enquire into the expediency of providing by law for the appointment of Admirals in the Navy of the United States.”–New York Herald, February 26, 1814

General James Wilkinson

February 19:  From Keene — “By a gentleman residing in this vicinity, who left the French Mills on Sunday last, we are informed, that on Saturday the boats in Salmon river were BURNT by order of general Wilkinson; and on Sunday all the barracks were set on fire.”–Massachusetts Spy, February 23, 1816

February 19:  “”The Legislature of Massachusetts has passed a Law, enacting:   that no keeper of a Jail in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shall receive or keep in confinement any prisoners committed by any other authority than the Judicialauthority of the United States; and requiring the said keepers, to discharge from confinement, all prisoners of war, committed to jails within the Commonwealth under the Executive authority of the United States.”–Alexandria   February 19, 1814

February 20:  From Havana — “Despatches have been received from St. Augustine; and it is stated that the governor of that place, being highly irritated against Mr. Madison, the American President, on account of his treacherous promotion of the rebellion of Florida, had determined to challenge and fight the President in single combat:  but as the governor of the  Island of Cuba is also captain general of the two Floridas, this project could not well be executed without his consent; to obtain which is said to be the object of the dispatches in question.”–Mercantile Advertiser, April 1, 1814

February 21:  From Sackett’s Harbor — “This place is very strong, and defies attack:  we have six block houses calculated to rake every point of approach, and the squadron is advantageously arranged for defensive and destructive purposes.  Captain Chauncey is building three vessels of war, and converting the Sylph [schooner] into a brig.”–Fredonian, March 22, 1814

February 21:  From Washington — “More trouble in the camp!–The President last night indulged Mr. Armstrong, in consenting to the arrest of major-general Wilkinson.  The court martial is organized, and the dispatches, with an official arrest, were dispatched by post this morning.”–Gettysburg Adams Centinel, March 2, 1814

February 22:  “The Memory of Washington was honored on the evening of Friday, the 22d, his natal day by a splendid ball at Tomlinson’s Hotel, at which were present . . .  the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of the State and Navy Departments, the Foreign Ministers, the Judges of the Supreme Court, the French and Swedish Ministers, and many members of Congress, and other strangers of a public character.”–Providence Patriot, March 5, 1814

February 22:  From the Buffalo Gazette, an advertisement — “R. M. Pomeroy begs leave to inform the public and his old customers in particular, that he is again erecting his Eagle Tavern, among the ruins of Buffalo.  He calculates by the 1st of March to be prepared and wait upon company.  . . . Come on then, men of New York; let not hail, snow, rain or mud deter you; come in companies, half-companies, pairs or singly; ride to this place if the distance be far, and pay me dollars, half dollars, shillings and six-pennys.”–Mercantile Advertiser, March 25, 1814

February 23:  “The legislature of Pennsylvania have passed an act for increasing the pay of the members from 3 to 4 dollars per day.”–Scioto Supporter, February 23, 1814

February 24:  From Sackett’s Harbour — “certain information has been received at that post, that 1500 regulars and 500 seamen, were on their march from Kingston, with a view to destroy the shipping  on the upper lake.  The enemy have a great number of boats at Long Point.  The ice in the lake is nearly destroyed; and, should this weather continue much longer, we may expect a visit from that place.”–Richmond Enquirer, March 16, 1814

February 26: “Mr. Kennerly, just returned from Fort Clark (Peoria) informs that a deputation of the Kickapoos came to the fort demanding peace.  That a party of Frenchmen from Detroit had captured 3 British traders at Chicago with their merchandise & took them prisoners on to Detroit.”–Missouri Gazette, February 26, 1814

Postmaster Gideon Granger

February 26:  From Washington — “GIDEON GRANGER, Postmaster General has been dismissed from office by the President of the United States.  He received the following note from the President on the 26th ultimo:  ‘SIR–Your services are no longer required in the Post-Office department:–You will on the receipt of this, consider yourself dismissed.'”–Scioto Supporter, March 10, 1814

February 26:  From Plattsburg — “The Plattsburgh Republican of Saturday last, says — the [the British invaders] were from 2000 to 3000 strong, with eight pieces of artillery.  Gen. Wilkinson instantly mounted his horse on hearing of their approach, and ordered the troops under arms–3000 marched in two columns to meet the foe, under Col. Bissell and Purdy; but when they had proceeded 40 miles, they learnt the enemy had retreated.  The detachment was of course remanded to their quarters.”–Providence Patriot, March 5, 1814

February 28:  In the House of Representatives — “Mr. John Reed of Mass. presented a petition of the town of Fishbury, on the island of Martha’s vineyard, praying that the act laying an embargo may be so modified as to permit them to export their fish, oil, salt, wool, and other domestic articles and manufactures to the states of New York and Connecticut, and to return with bread stuffs and other articles of family necessity–Referred to the committee on Foreign Relations.”–National Intelligencer, March 1, 1814

February 28:  “The Legislature of Massachusetts adjourned the last day of February.  With the exception of the spiteful act of refusing to the general government the use of their prisons, no mischief has been done, whatever may have been in meditation, during the ‘season of bravado.'”–National Intelligencer, March 8, 1814

February 28:  From Windsor, Vermont — “The British who have been for some time, threatening to cross the St Lawrence, have put that threat in execution, have visited French Mills and Malone, destroyed or carried off the stores which Wilkinson had left behind, and returned unannoyed.”–Massachusetts Spy, March 9, 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