News of the US: February 1815

February 1:  From Norfolk — “For twenty years past, we do not remember to have experienced so much, and such extreme cold weather, as we have this winter.  Our river, in some places, is nearly frozen over, and but for the high wind last night the navigation of Elizabeth river, would have been closed; a circumstance that has not occurred for thirty years past.  The severity of the weather has compelled all the enemy’s ships that were in Lynhaven, to put to sea.”–Richmond Enquirer, February 8, 1815

February 1:  From J. R. Glover to Capt Westful, of the [HBM] Anaconda, Cumberland Island — “We have established our head quarters here, after ransacking St. Mary’s from which we brought property to the amount of fifty thousand pounds, and had we two thousand troops, we might yet collect a good harvest before peace takes place.”–New York Spectator, April 1, 1815

February 2:  From the first Louisiana Gazette published after the expulsion of the British — “We learn from his statement that the loss of the British, from the landing to their final discomfiture was 1525 killed, 2190 wounded, 845 prisoners, and by desertion and natural death at least 300.–total 4,860.”–Plattsburgh Republican, March 18, 1815

February 3: From Providence — “Three months have elapsed since the reception of a single article of news from England or Ghent.  Our last London dates were to November 5.  Since Mr. Madison’s war has destroyed all regular and legitimate trade, it is seldom that we receive intelligence from Europe, except through the medium of privateers and despatch vessels.”–Rhode Island American, February 3, 1815

February 3:  From Charleston  — “The southern mail has just arrived, and brings account, that col. Woodbine is taken prisoner, and all his force cut to pieces.  General M’Intosh did the business.  (I expect we will soon have Cochburn.)  This is certainly true.  Lieut. Laughlin arrived here this morning with the flotilla and the British tender and 36 prisoners–who were sent to prison.”–National Advocate, February 16, 1815

February 4:  From the Federal Republican — “Through the Court Paper [the National Intelligencer] the latest official intelligence from Orleans, is permitted to ooze out by drops, something like the sweat upon the walls of the old capitol.  This is vexing.  Mr. Madison may as well lift the gate and let the flood through.”–Commercial Advertiser, February 4, 1815

February 4:  National Intelligencer Extra.  Washington, 9 o’clock, A. M.  –“ALMOST INCREDIBLE VICTORY.  From New-Orleans.  Dates up to the 13th January–the enemy attacking our entrenched army on the 8th, beaten and repulsed by Jackson and his brave associates, with great slaughter.”–reprinted in New York Spectator, February 8, 1815

February 6:  From New York — “By the Southern Mail of this Morning, advices are received from New-Orleans to the 13th ult. announcing, that our forces under the gallant Jackson obtained a most splendid and decisive victory over the enemy on the 8th of January.  On that day, at early dawn, the enemy came up in solid columns, and attempted to carry our lines by storm.  They were received with unexampled bravery, and repulsed with almost incredible slaughter.”-“–New York Spectator, February 8, 1815

February 6:  From Lexington — “Gov. Shelby has recommended to the Legislature of this State the passage of a law and a bill is now pending for that purpose, which may possibly pass, for detailing and organizing ten thousand men from the militia, to serve 6 months after their arrival at the place of rendezvous.  The object is to send them as a reinforcement to General Jackson.”--Ohio Register, February 14, 1815

February 7:  From a Quebec newspaper –“New Orleans should not only be taken but kept: and on no account given up at a peace.  . . .  The enemy may be numerous, but they can be very little better than a rabble, by no means fitted to face veteran troops particularly when impelled by the prospect of much and valuable spoil, with which New Orleans abounds.”–Aurora, February 25, 1815

February 7:  From Dorchester County, Maryland — “a British tender was just within the mouth of Little Choptank, and a cake of ice was drifting her toward the shore, within about 400 yards.  Joseph Stewart and others to the number of 19, went to the spot, and finding a mound of ice about 150 yards from the tender . . . using it as a breast work commenced a fire on the tender.  . . .  After an engagement of two hours the British cried for quarters and surrendered.”–West Virginia Farmer’s Repository, March 2, 1815

February 7:  From New York — “Messrs. Otis, Perkins, and Sullivan, commissioners from Massachusetts, passed through this city for Washington on Tuesday afternoon.”–New York Gazette, February 9, 1815

February 8:  From Brig. Gen. Winchester from Mobile — “On the 8th inst. Fort Bowyer, on Mobile Point, was invested by the forces of the enemy by land and water.  . . . the garrison of Fort Bowyer is composed of sterling materials, and will only be conquered by an overwhelming force.–Weekly  Aurora, March 22, 1815

February 8:  From the Constitution, off Spain —  “We have been quite unlucky in meeting with the enemy, having only made one prize of inconsiderable value since leaving home.  Our prospects now are very bright; we spoke a Dutch ship this morning, who gave us the agreeable intelligence, that she fell in with a British frigate yesterday . . . .  I observe the terms of the treaty, as they appear in the English papers, are very favorable to us; but you know we may be quite ignorant of the matter, as the law allows the legality of all captures made even until 30 days after the ratification.”–National Intelligencer, April 6, 1815

February 8:  From New Orleans — “We understand that a skirmish was fought a few days ago at the Bay of St. Louis, between a small detachment of militia and a part of the enemy who had landed for the purpose of stealing cattle; two of the militia were wounded; three of the enemy were killed an 27 taken prisoners; including a naval officer of some rank.”–Raleigh Register, March 24, 1815

February 9:  From the House of Representatives — “The bill making appropriations for rebuilding or repairing the public buildings in Washington was read the third time and passed 78 to 63.”–Raleigh Register, February 24, 1815

February 10:  From Portsmouth, New Hampshire — “It is worthy of remark that some of the salutes that were fired in this town, on Friday last in honor of the victory at New-Orleans, were from the elegant brass pieces, taken from the enemy by the privateer Harpy, and since purchased by the town–and the brilliant rockets thrown from the Coffee-House, were taken in the ‘Stranger,’ by the Fox.  Thus while the defeat of their army furnishes us the cause of joy, the capture of their ships furnish us with the means of public rejoicing.”–New Hampshire Gazette,February 14, 1815

February 10:  From Mobile — “Our little town is in arms, and 1200 militia and Indians are under orders to embark with the first fair wind, to assist in the defense of the Point, which is attacked, and has been closely invested, with the most tremendous cannonade, for 54 hours.”–Raleigh Register, March 17, 1815

February 11:  “ARTICLES OF CAPITULATION: Agreed upon between Lieut. Col. Lawrence, and Maj. Gen. Lambert, for the surrender of Fort Bowyer, on the Mobile Point, 11th February, 1815.”–Augusta Herald, April 6, 1815

February 11:  From New Orleans — “A person who was made prisoner, and carried on board the British fleet, writes:  ‘They never for a moment doubted the complete success of the expedition; and were much surprised to find that men of property and standing, not belonging to the regular army, should be found arrayed against them.  The whole force landed by them, (including sailors and marines) amounted to 15,000 men; one much larger than they had calculated upon being necessary to take possession of our city; but they had determined, on getting here, to fortify strongly, and hold the country.'”–Centinel of Freedom, March 28, 1815

February 11:  From New York —   “No event has occurred since the termination of the Revolutionary War, which has produced in this city such an instantaneous and lively expression of joy and gratitude, as the GLAD TIDINGS OF PEACE, which reached us at 8 o’clock on Saturday Evening.”–New York Spectator, February 15, 1815

February 12:  From Sir Thomas Cochrane of the [HBM] Surprise, from Cumberland Island —  “We are in daily expectation of a flag of truce to inform us of Mr. Madison’s having ratified the treaty . . . .  I think we have had quite enough of war for some years to come, although I should have wished we had made the Yankees more sensible of our power and ability to punish them should they again provoke us.”–Commercial Advertiser, March 29, 1815

February 13:  From St. Simon’s, on the British rampage –“In truth it is impossible to state circumstantially the loss which the unfortunate inhabitants have sustained; cattle slaughtered in every direction; property of every description held in requisition, or destroyed.  My feelings prevent my adding to this hateful catalogue of woe.”–Aurora, March 3, 1815

February 14:  From the New York Columbian — “Another Sunday Job, Has been undertaken by John Bull, at New Orleans, but (notwithstanding ‘the better day the better deed’) with no better success than commodore Downie had on Lake Champlain.  Like the unfortunate commodore, the commander in chief, lieut. gen. Pakenham goes home, if at all, in as ‘good spirits’ as general Ross or Sir Peter Parker.”–Centinel of Freedom, February 14, 1815

February 14:  Taken from the Boston Daily Advertiser, speculating on the effects of the Battle of New Orleans — “One effect all men agree will probably follow, and that is, that the negotiators from the Eastern States will be received with hauteur and insolence, and all modifications or propositions for the retaining of our resources for our own defence will be rejected.”–SalemGazette, February 14, 1815

February 14:  Instructions from the Post Master General — “Mr. Charles Bell, the bearer hereof, is charged with despatches relative to the state of peace, which has recently taken place between the U. States and G. Britain.  I . . . have only to request your aid in furnishing or procuring horses; or in case Mr. Bell should be unable to proceed, to employ a new messenger, so often as occasions may require, to forward these despatches to Orleans . . . .  Mr. Bell will rest four hours a night, and travel 80 miles in day time, and proceed as far as he can stand it.  The rider may take the lower road direct to Columbia, so as to pass off the shortest route.”–Baltimore Patriot, April 14, 1815

February 15:  From Maine — “We learn from the East that the British have received at Castine a reinforcement of 1000 men from Bermuda and St. Johns N.B.; and that, in consequence of the insufficient accommodations at that place, they have moved a detachment to Buckstown, situated about 18 miles above Castine on the East side of the Penobscot . . . .”–Vermont Mirror,February 15, 1815

February 17:  From Massachusetts — “The Hon. Messrs. Otis, Perkins and Sullivan, will probably arrive at the city of Washington about the same moment that PEACE is proclaimed at the Capitol.  Many are therefore of opinion they will return without entering upon their negotiation:  but we hope they will persevere in accomplishing the object of their mission, and make provision for future wars.”–Salem Gazette, February 17, 1815

February 17:  From Washington, disagreement between House and Senate — “The point of difference is, that the house proposes to ascribe the merit of the great achievements on the banks of the Mississippi, principally to the militia volunteer force; whilst the Senate has given the merit generally to the regulars, volunteers and militia, in language admitting the inference, it is contended, that our force was principally a regular force.”–Carolina Star, March 3, 1815

February 18:  “The President of the United States has issued his proclamation, fully pardoning the violators of the laws, lately assembled in the island of Barataria; in consequence of their volunteering, and essentially aiding, in the defence of New-Orleans.”–Providence Patriot,February 18, 1815

February 18:  From the National Advocate — “New-Orleans is rescued, it is secure.  American valor has again come in contact with the veterans of the old world, and the bloodhounds of England are destroyed.  The riflemen of Tennessee and Kentucky have mowed down like grass, the ranks of the ferocious Islanders.  Immortal is the name of Jackson — immortalized is the city of New Orleans.  Let no man hereafter despair of the republic.”–Plattsburgh Republican, February 18, 1815

February 18:  From Washington — “By an order from the war department, of the 18th Feb. all military, volunteers and detachments in the service of the U. S. were discharged.”–MassachusettsSpy, March 8, 1815

February 19:  From Andrew Jackson at New Orleans — “The flag vessel which was sent to the enemy’s fleet has returned; and brings with it  intelligence, extracted from a London paper, that on the 24th of December, articles of Peace were signed at Ghent, by the American commissioners and those of his Britannic majesty.  We must not be thrown into false security by hopes that may be delusive.”—Raleigh Register, March 31, 1815

February 20:  From Havanna — “By a gentleman of veracity just arrived from the Havanna, we learn that the Plantagenet of 74 guns, had arrived there from the Mississippi, with the bodies of generals Packenham and Kean, preserved in hogsheads of rum.  About 1000 wounded men were also on board the British ships, inclusive of 80 officers, and the fact of a comptroller and collector with numerous clerks–a printing press, and all the apparatus of a permanent establishment having accompanied the expedition, was a matter of notoriety.”–Weekly Aurora, February 28, 1815

February 20:  From New York — “Some of the effects of the news of peace.  Our markets of every kind experienced a sudden and to many a shocking change.–Sugar instance fell from 26 dollars per cwt. to 12.50.  Tea which sold at $2.25 on Saturday, yesterday was purchaseable at $1.  . . . Sailor’s rights beat time to the sound of the hammer at every wharf, and free trade looked briskly up; no longer did it live in toasts alone.”–Augusta Herald, March 2, 1815

February 20:  From Captain Stewart of the U. S. Constitution — “On the 20th of February last, the Island of Madeira being about W. S. W. distant 60 leagues, we fell in with his Britannic majesty’s two ships of war, the Cyane and Levant, and brought them to action about 6 o’clock in the evening, both of which after a spirited engagement of 40 minutes, surrendered to the ship under my command.”–Plattsburgh Republican, May 20, 1815

February 21:  News of Georgia via Washington — “An officer, a Colonel or General, by the name of Clarke in the State of Georgia, has shot Governor Early through the neck, in his own house–Early’s life is despaired of; the dispute arose upon a Veto which the Governor had put to a Law.”–New York Spectator, March 4, 1815

February 21: Advertisement from the London Public Advertiser — “WANTED–The spirit which animated the conduct of ElizabethOliver and William. –Better negociators of more gunpowder.  LOST–all idea of national dignity and honor.  FOUND –That any insignificant state may insult that which used to call herself Mistress of the Waves.”–Centinel of Freedom, February 21, 1815

February 22:  Boston newspapers give the order of “the Solemn Service, as performed by the Legislature of Massachusetts, at the Stone Chapel, on the 22d of Feb, 1815, in celebration of Peace between the United States and Great-Britain.”  Several of Handel’s choruses were featured.–Boston Evening Gazette and General Advertiser, February 25, 1815

February 23:  From New York’s National Advocate — Died, on the 23d instant, ROBERT FULTON Esq. of a fever which had consigned him for several days.  During life he possessed polish and refinement in an eminent degree.  His social qualities were of the highest order.  In works of taste, and in every thing belonging to the fine arts, he was a great proficient.  To all these attainments, excellent as they are, he added the powers of an inventive mind.”–Augusta Herald, March 16, 1815

February 23:  From Savannah — “A gentleman from St. Simon’s informs, that the enemy evacuated that Island on Monday week, and that previous to their leaving plundered the Planters there and on the Main of upwards of 600 negroes, and, in short, every thing which fell in their way–he further states that the people are extremely distressed from the ravages of the enemy.”–Carolina Star, March 3, 1815

February 24:  From Albany –‘A correspondent observes that the line of expresses, under the direction of Messrs. Goodyear, of New-York, Kelsey, of Poughkeepsie, and Baker, of this city, carried the intelligence of the arrival of the Treaty of Peace at New York, from that city to Misisque Bay, Lower Canada, a distance of more than 340 miles in less than 38 hours.”–New York Spectator, February 25, 1815

February 25:  Notice to Mariners — “Vessels bound to the West-Indies, Great Britain, France, Spain and Portugal may safely commence their respective voyages at any time after the start of March, provided they do not proceed to the southward of the 23d degree of north latitude, to the northward of the 50th degree of north latitude, or to the eastward of the 36th degree of west longitude, before the 20th day of March.  In like manner, all vessels bound to any other part of the world may sail, at pleasure, after the 1st day of March, if they are cautious not to overrun, within the prescribed time, the prescribed latitude and longitude.”–Boston Evening Gazette and General Advertiser, February 25, 1815

February 25:  From Montreal — “The disagreeable news from New Orleans is confirmed by general Jackson’s official letter of the 19th ult.  It seems positive that our hopes are withered in that quarter, where they a few weeks before were considered in a fair way; a proof that it is not always the wisest policy to take the bull by the horns.  But the British character has been nobly sustained; if we have lost many valuable lives, and a few pieces of ordnance, we have lost no colours!!!!–Weekly Aurora, March 14, 1815

February 25:  From France — “The emperor [Napoleon] left Elba on the 25th of February at 5 in the afternoon, in a brig of 26 guns, with 400 of his guards, accompanied by three other vessels, having on board 200 infantry, 100 Polish lighthorse, and a battalion of flankers off 200 men.”–Albany Argus, May 2, 1815

February 26:  Off Havana — the private armed schr. Chasseur, Capt. Boyle, “Captured, after a gallant and well contested action, H. B. M. schr. St. Lawrence  . . .  commanded by Lieut. Gordon; she was carried after a close engagement of 8 minutes, with a loss of 40 killed and wounded, including all the officers, Lt. G. and the second in command among the latter.  The Chasseur lost 5 killed and 7 wounded.”–Providence Patriot, March 25, 1815

February 27:  From Boston — “Peace and War Dance, By some of the Oneida Indian Warriors who formed part  of the American Army at the Battles of Fort George, Saunee Creek & Chippewa, will be exhibited THIS EVENING, February 27, at the Columbian Museum, Tremont street.”—Boston Independent Chronicle, February 27, 1815

February 28:  From Connecticut — “The sch. Sine-qua-non, Pond, master, from Rochelle, for New-York, in 26 days, arrived at Milford, (Conn.) Tuesday evening, and brings intelligence, that on the 28th of February Bonaparte landed at Frejus, from Elba, with 600 men, and erected his standard, to which many of the neighboring people flocked.”–Salem Gazette, April 28, 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