News of the U.S.: January 1815

January 1: From New Orleans — “The enemy’s Congreve Rockets are very harmless weapons, for on the first inst. they threw about 1000 into our camp, and only killed 5 men, and wounded as many more.–The Kentucky troops call them Kentucky Boats with a long steering oar, for they have a handle about the size of a broom stick, 10 or 12 feet long, by which they are thrown with the hand.”–Kentucky Gazette, February 20, 1815

January 1: From Gen. M’Intosh, within 15 miles of Chatahooche — “No exertions on my part shall be wanting to press forward with all the activity that I can, to endeavor to be in time to afford my best endeavors to save our country from the polluted foot of a cruel and oppressive foe.”–Raleigh Register, January 20, 1815

January 2: From Washington — “Col. Chambers has applied to the Legislature of Pennsylvania for encouragement of a curiously constructed gun, of which he is the proprietor and inventor. . . . The gun has seven barrels and discharges 224 times, too rapidly to count, and is capable of being moved in any direction while discharging.”–Raleigh Register, January 6, 1815

January 2: From the British at New Orleans, via Jamaica — “I am sorry to say a few deserters have gone over to the enemy, but I am still more concerned to add, neither Frenchmen or Spaniards afforded the least assistance, but on the contrary are in conjunction with General Jackson, fighting under the distinct banners of their several nations–this, however, is said to be by order of Jackson, as a finesse to let it appear that unanimity prevails among all the inhabitants.”–Richmond Enquirer, March 25, 1815

January 3: From Canandaigua — “Three regiments of the army under General Izard, are on the way from Buffalo, marching east–’tis said, for Greenbush. Two companies passed through this town yesterday. From the orders that have been given for the removal of stores, &c. it is apprehended the residue of the army will soon follow, and thus leave the western frontier totally defenceless!”–Rhode Island American, January 13, 1815

January 3: From Nashville — “A gentleman arrived in this town on Saturday evening, immediately from Nashville, who states, that previous to his departure from that place, the mail from New Orleans had arrived there, which brought intelligence that constant skirmishing had happened between the enemy and gen. Jackson’s army; but no decisive battle as late as the 3d of January . . . .no apprehensions were entertained for the safety of the city.”–Kentucky Gazette,January 23, 1815

January 4: “The convention of delegates at Hartford adjourned on the 4th instant after making public a pamphlet of reasoning and preamble . . . “–Scioto Supporter, January 24, 1815

January 4: From New Orleans — “I still feel assured of the safety of this city. In addition to the Kentucky troops, we have received other reinforcements from the interior of Louisiana–we have to lament for the moment a scarcity of arms; but are hourly in expectation of an ample supply, which the general is informed has left Pittsburg some time since. The regulars, the militia and people, are in high spirits, and the greatest cordiality prevails.”–Louisville Western Courier,January 26, 1815

January 4: From New Orleans — “Gen. Adair arrived on the 4th inst. with his troops, and Gen. Hopkins of this state has also come in with 1000 volunteers; I think our army is now about 12,000 strong. . . . we continue on the defensive and will not assault the enemy’s entrenchments until a proper reconnoitre can be made.”–Baltimore Patriot, February 7, 1815

January 5: Letter from the Post-master at Cape May — “A British 74 sent a flag on shore and reported that they had spoke a brig bound for Halifax from England, in 18 days passage, which told them that preliminaries of peace had been signed by our commissioners.”–Scioto Supporter,January 24, 1815

January 6: From Norfolk — “A flag which went down to the enemy, to effect, if possible, the release of the prisoners captured in the Mail Boat on Saturday last, returned yesterday with the whole of them, except the Master of the boat and a soldier, who were detained. The enemy left it to the choice of the captured negroes to say, whether they would stay, or return to their owners; and they unanimously preferring the latter, were immediately given up.”–Maryland Gazette,January 19, 1815

January 6: From New Orleans — “Our position is a good one; and our General is determined, if the enemy get possession of the City, that they shall walk over the corpses of its most respectable citizens; for he has the front of this line of battle formed with the inhabitants of Orleans, and the Kentucky troops in their rear to steady them.”–Ohio Federalist, February 2, 1815

January 6: “The United States’ Gazette says, that a corps of black troops is raising in Philadelphia for government, and that on their recruiting flag is inscribed ‘Down with the British Faction’ . . . .–Rhode Island American, January 6, 1815

January 7: From New York — “The U. S. Frigate President, weighed anchor, about 10 o’clock this morning, and stood down the Bay with a brisk breeze from the North West. Whether she intends to put to sea, or has merely taken a trip down the Bay for the exercise of her crew, we have not been informed.”–New York Spectator, January 7, 1815

January 8: Letter from Philadelphia from Editor Samuel Relf, to New York, saying that Preliminaries of Peace had been signed. Editor of the Salem Gazette headlines this as “Senseless Peace Rumour.”–Salem Gazette, January 13, 1814

January 8: From St. Francisville, Louisiana — “Report also states, that the enemy is in a starving condition. This much is certain, that on the day of the last engagement our troops took a number of prisoners, and on examination of their knapsacks, found rations of HORSE FLESH, say one and a quarter pound each, which was to last them four days. Under such circumstances they cannot hold out long: and ere this I have no doubt, they are either buried or in safe keeping.”–Eastern Argus, Maine, February 9, 1815

January 9: From Capt. James Kemp, Camp Jackson, below New Orleans — “I have news which as a patriot will relieve you, though it is the news of carnage. . . . The sight was a terrible one to see a field covered with dead and wounded laying in heaps, the field was completely red.”–Augusta Herald, February 16, 1815

January 9: From Gov. Claiborne to Gov. Shelby — “The entrenchments protected our men from the fire of the enemy, and although their batteries poured forth a shower of shells, balls and rockets, they did very little injury, for the most part overshooting the lines, and falling harmless in the field behind.”–Scioto Supporter, February 7, 1815

January 10: From Boston — “We understand the elegant ship Fencible, belonging to the Hon. Mr. Gray, will be launched at Charlestown on the 10th inst. her keel is 13 feel longer than that of the U. S. sloop of war Wasp. There are more than 50 American privateers now at sea–mostly heavy vessels, and excellent sailers.”–Richmond Enquirer, January 18, 1815

January 11: From Sacket’s Harbor –“We have 600 ship carpenters hard at work; and the timber and materials for two Seventy-Fours and a frigate of the first class, are contracted for to be ready in six weeks.   About 2500 of Izard’s army have left Buffalo; some of whom are expected here.”–Providence Patriot, January 28, 1815

January 11: From Cumberland Island, Georgia — “I deem it expedient to apprise you by express, the enemy effected a landing this moment on Cumberland, in two divisions, with nineteen barges.”–Alexandria Gazette, January 28, 1815X

January 11: From Detroit — “The Hartford convention had excited a great degree of interest in Canada; and as soon as those states would declare themselves in open rebellion to the union, which was expected, a large British force would be sent to their aid.”--Ohio Register, February 28, 1815

January 12: From a young American at Cadiz, Spain — “An expedition, of about ten thousand men, to be under the command of general Morillo, has been fitting out from this port for the last three months going to South American, in order to quell the people in that quarter. . . . The affairs in Spain wear a shocking aspect: since the king has returned, every thing has been put a stop to, and he has completely shut their mouths.”–New York Spectator, March 18, 1815

January 12: From Chillicothe — “Gen. M’Arthur has made a requisition on the governor of Kentucky for one regiment of militia, to be marched to Detroit. They are to rendezvous at Georgetown on the 8th of February next.”–Ohio Register, February 7, 1815

January 13: From New York — Building at Sacket’s Harbor is undoubtedly going on, as the enemy must be well informed, if they have no other means of knowledge than our gossiping newspapers. . . . The architects are Mr. Brown and Mr. Eckford of this city. The Court Martial on Gen. Wilkinson is adjourned to Troy.”–Providence Patriot, January 21, 1815

January 13: From New Orleans — “Many of the English officers have brought their families with them, and it is said they have a collector on board.–Every thing proclaims their intention of permanent establishment and their confidence of ultimate success–a confidence still kept alive.”–Baltimore Patriot, February 8, 1815

January 13: From New Orleans, of the battle of the 8th — “Our centre and right was defended by the New Orleans militia and the colored men of St. Domingo, commanded by the brave col. Savary, and a detachment of the 7th and 44th U. States troops.–The whole of our artillery was served by the Baratarians and Frenchmen. The enemy developed his columns, and the carnage began.”–Aurora, February 7, 1815

January 14: From Havana, news of New Orleans brought by H.M. S. Dictator — “he was informed by the Coxwain of the Captain’s gig, who came ashore from the Dictator, then at anchor at the Shears, that she had on board about 400 disabled men belonging to the expedition which had made an attempt upon New-Orleans. This cockswain also said, that they had missed their chance, and that they did not expect to have to contend with more than 300 men at New Orleans.”–New York Gazette, January 31, 1815

January 14: From Richmond, of the Hartford Convention — “The curtain is at last drawn aside, and these ‘grave and reverend Signiors’ are now placed before us. And what have they done? Talk, mere talk–The Mountain was in labor, and out crept a Mouse.”–Richmond Enquirer, January 14, 1815

January 14: From New York — “On Saturday evening, the U. S. frigate President, Com. Decatur, armed brigs Tom Bowline & Macedonian, and schooner Hollins, and one other schooner, went to sea with a fine gale from N. W. about 5 o’clock.–Raleigh Register, January 27, 1815

January 15: From Gen. John Adair to Kentucky Governor Shelby, from New Orleans — “In the action of the 8th, although our line was in a blaze of fire for about 40 minutes, and the ground for 2 or 300 yards on the enemy’s side was literally strewed, and almost covered with killed and wounded, we had but six men killed and seven wounded in our whole lines. . . . May we not rationally conclude that our men were shielded as well as strengthened by that power which rules in war as well as peace.”–Kentucky Gazette, January 30, 1815

January 16: From Savannah — “The reader will find that Gov. Kindeland [of Spanish Florida] has refused peremptorily to allow the British the privilege of landing in East Florida or of carrying on offensive operations in that territory against the frontiers of Georgia, and that the Spanish government determine to adhere to the strictest neutrality.”–Salem Gazette, January 31, 1815

January 16: From Stephen Decatur, describing the loss of the President to the British fleet — “My loss has been severe; the precise number I do not know, but believe it to be between eighty and ninety; of this number about twenty-five are killed. . . . I am in great haste.–We sail today for Bermuda.”–New York Spectator, February 1, 1815

January 16: From New Orleans, report from Robert Butler of the number killed in “action on both sides the river 8th Jan. 1815. Killed.–Artillery, navy, and volunteers at batteries, 3 privates, 7th U. S. infantry, 1 sergeant, 1 corporal; Coffe’s brigade, 1 private; Carroll’s division, 1 sergeant, 3 privates; Kentucky militia, 1 private; Majors Lacoste’s and Dacquin’s volunteers of color, 1 private; Gen. Morgan’s militia, 1 private.–Total killed, 13.”–New York Spectator, February 18, 1815

January 17: From Virginia — “The Virginia Legislature adjourned on the 17th inst. after a session of more than three months. Amongst other important laws, they passed one for authorising a Regular Force for the defence of the Commonwealth, to supercede the necessity of calling out the Militia by drafts, which has been found expensive and improvident . . . .”–Raleigh Register, January 27, 1815

January 17: From Alexandria –“As we predicted, the proceedings of the Convention at Hartford, have been honourable to themselves, and perfectly consistent with the best interests of the country. Upon the adoption of their proposed amendments to the Constitution, depend the relief of the nation from its present embarrassments, and the permanency of its future prosperity.”–Boston Daily Advertiser, January 23, 1815

January 18: From Amelia Island — “In haste I drop a few lines to you. You will have heard, of course, of the possession of St. Mary’s and Cumberland by the British. They still remain there, with about 2000 troops, marines and _______. Admiral Cockburn is at St. Mary’s, plundering. All the property has been shipped, such as cotton, tobacco, brandy, gin, dry goods, &c.”–New York Spectator, February 8, 1815

January 18: From New Orleans — “The enemy have at length taken their departure, after having remained on the banks of the Mississippi for four weeks, within five miles of New-Orleans. They left their encampment on the night of the 18th instant, in the most secret and precipitate manner . . . .”–National Advocate, February 15, 1815

January 19: From off Barbadoes — “the action between the [privateer] Chasseur and L’Espiegle was considered as one of the most gallant since the war. . . . The L’Espiegle was almost cut to pieces and silenced; the Chasseur would have taken possession in five minutes, but for the appearance of a frigate. The Chasseur was much injured in her sails and rigging, but lost only a few men.–Capt. BOYLE is safe. The L’Espiegle lost half her crew in killed and wounded.”–Richmond Enquirer, March 1, 1815

January 19: Letter from W. H. Overton: “A list of Killed and Wounded during the bombardment on Fort St. Phillip, commencing on the 9th and ending on the 18th January, 1815. Captain Wolstonccraft’s Artillery–Wounded 3. Capt. Murray’s Artillery–Killed 2, wounded 1. Capt. Bronten’s Infantry–Wounded 1. Capt. Wade’s Infantry–Wounded 2. Total–Killed 2; wounded 7.”–American Watchman, March 22, 1815

January 19: From Robert Butler, Adjt. gen, New Orleans — “Sir–I have the honor herewith to enclose for the information of the war department, a report of the killed, wounded and missing of the army under the command of major general Jackson, in the different actions with the enemy since their landing.” [The official statement was, that in the various battles at New Orleans, we lost 55 killed, 185 wounded, and 93 missing. Total 333.]–Green Mountain Farmer,March 6, 1815

January 20: From Warren, Ohio, news from Detroit — “A number of Indian Chiefs residing upon the Mississippi and country adjacent, had engaged to the British the cooperation of all the Indian tribes in the event of the British capturing New-Orleans and Detroit, and the American naval forces upon the lakes. They were assured this would be the case–and immense quantities of arms, ammunition, blankets, &c. for the use of the savages, had arrived from England.”–Rhode Island American, February 14, 1815

January 20: From Savannah — “The best accounts I can collect from the south leads me to believe that the British have not left St. Marys to march this way. I begin to think they are waiting there to hear of the fall of New Orleans, when I think they will take possession of the Floridas–or they may be waiting for reinforcements to attack this place.”–New York Gazette, February 2, 1815

January 20: From Warrington, N.C. –“I just heard a great huzza from Mr. Ruffin’s. On enquiry, it appears a gentleman has just passed through Granville from Georgia, who states, that General Jackson has had an engagement with the British at New-Orleans, and defeated them. Killed and taken 4000, with the loss of 900 men on our side.”–Commercial Advertiser, January 30, 1815

January 21: From New Orleans, from Gen. Jackson’s “General Orders”– “The two corps of colored volunteers have not disappointed the hopes that were formed of their courage and perseverance in the performance of their duty. . . . Gen. Humber, who offered his services as a volunteer, has continually exposed himself to the greatest dangers, with his characteristic bravery, as has also the Mexican field marshal Don Juan de Annayer, who acted in the same capacity.”–Weekly Aurora, February 28, 1815

January 21: From Plattsburgh — “The British came into Champlain last week, four miles west of the village, and carried off about 30 tons of hay. . . . the patriotic yeomanry of Vermont are putting themselves in an attitude demanded by the crisis. Great numbers of them have proffered their services to Gen. Macomb, and drawn arms from the United States’ Arsenal at this post.”–Providence Patriot, February 4, 1815

January 21: From the Cayuga Patriot — ‘THE CAMPAIGN Is closed!–Several generals are on furlough–some detailed for court martial duty. General Complaint is less noisy than usual. General Rebellion, it is thought, will go into winter quarters at Hartford. General Frost will soon chain up Sir James L. Yeo’s squadron, and we hope General Government will profit by the occasion.”–reprinted in Washington (Ky.) January 21, 1815

January 22: From Savannah — “Here we are, under martial law; not knowing the hour when the British forces may pay us a visit. We have no positive accounts from the Southward; however, to warrant a positive conclusion, that they are coming this way.–We believe the forces at Cumberland and St. Mary’s to be about 6000 men.”–Baltimore Patriot, February 3, 1815

January 22: From Savannah, 8 P.M. — “We are in hourly expectations of the arrival of Major General Pinckney; who, we are informed, has ordered on 1500 of the South Carolina Militia; among whom are your country sharpshooters, who can pick out a squirrel’s eye at the distance of 100 yards. They will match and beat Woodbine’s motley crew, even if they have half the number. A number of your disciplined officers are expected to start from Charleston for this place on the 24th inst.”–Centinel of Freedom, February 7, 1815

January 23: Off New London — “A letter from an officer [of the U. S. President] to his friend was read in town and forwarded. It was written on board the Pomone. It briefly stated, that the President was captured in the afternoon of the 15th inst. after an action of four hours and a half, by four British ships.”–Providence Patriot, January 28, 1815

January 23: From Boston — “The reader will hardly find in this paper news enough to pay him for the labour of perusing it. It is now 36 days from the latest date from New Orleans. The ordinary course of the mail occupies about 25 days. It is 42 days from the date of the latest Halifax paper received here, and verbal intelligence from the same place is but a few days later. It is a case without a parallel since the commencement of the war.”–Boston Daily Advertiser,January 23, 1815

January 24: From the Nashville Clarion — GLORIOUS NEWS. The mail to-day furnishes us with intelligence of a very signal victory gained by Gen. Jackson at New Orleans, on the 8th inst.”–American Daily Advertiser, February 6, 1815

January 25: From Salem — “We have the pleasure to announce a noble and generous act of Captain John Ordronnaux, late commandeer of the privateer brig Prince of Neufchatel, who visited the prison ship in Salem yesterday, and distributed between three and four hundred dollars amongst the prisoners captured by him during his late cruize . . .” –Providence Patriot, January 28, 1815

January 25: From Savannah — “The enemy landed at the south do not exceed 2000 men: they have the small pox among them, and we are informed that they are falling off very fast with this disease. I think it very probable they will wait for a reinforcement, or the result of the attack on New Orleans; and if successful there they will not probably trouble us much.”–Boston Independent Chronicle, February 9, 1815

January 25: From Nashville — “Lafette, the celebrated pirate, has joined the American army at New Orleans–for which general Jackson has promised him a forgiveness of all his former offenses. He furnished 800 muskets, and between 3 and 400 men, who are said to be very brave. Seven field officers and a cadet, taken on the 8th instant, and a major, several other officers and 100 men, taken on the 23d and 24th of December, have arrived at Natchez, prisoners of war.”–Eastern Argus, Maine, March 2, 1815

January 26: From Kingston, Jamaica –“His Majesty’s troop ship Diomede, of 64 guns, Capt. Kippon, arrived yesterday from the Mississippi, having sailed from thence on the 4th inst. for the purpose of obtaining provisions. . . . on the 2nd instant Major Gen. J. Lambert with several transports with troops from England also arrived, and all the troops were landed and posted within six or seven hundred yards of the enemy’s line, and there is little doubt will effect their purpose of gaining a complete ascendancy.”–Richmond Enquirer, March 25, 1815

January 27: From Boston — “The Resolutions from the Honorable Senate, approving the proceedings of the Hartford Convention, and for appointing three Commissioners to proceed immediately to Washington to make the applications recommended by the Convention, were taken up, read twice, and accepted without debate.”– Salem Gazette, January 31, 1815

January 27: From New Orleans — “On Tuesday we celebrated, in as splendid a manner as possible, our victory and the defeat of the enemy, by the performance of the Catholic religious ceremony of Te Deum, at which General Jackson assisted; and a procession of ladies honoured him with a triumphal arch erected in the square in front of the church, through which he had to pass in his way to the city, where he was received by the city volunteer corps and 18 virgins, representing the 18 states, and in passing under the arch he was crowned by two infants representing the goddess of Liberty and Justice. The remainder of the day was spent in hilarity, and in the evening an illumination and public balls took place.”–Maryland Gazette, March 2, 1815

January 27: From Washington: “The imbecility, incapacity and obstinacy of the majority in congress, so often exposed and commented on by federalists, has at last become so intolerable, that the democrats who elected them can no longer conceal their disapprobation, contempt, and ridicule, of that weak and despised body.”–Salem Gazette, January 27, 1815, reprinting the Baltimore Federal Gazette

January 28: From New Orleans — “I expected ‘ere now to have given you an account of another battle, but our neighbors below being rather displeased at the affair of the 8th, and with the continual cannonading kept up from our batteries, on the 19th at night, took what you call in Pennsylvania a moon light flitting–they left all their heavy cannon, and about 100 of their wounded to our mercy–we took only about 150 prisoners on their retreat.”–American Watchman, February 22, 1815

January 28: From Savannah — “An official despatch reached town this morning to Gen. Floyd, which states that the Enemy evacuated St. Mary’s and Point Petre on Tuesday last, after burning the Barracks and blowing up the Fort at the latter place; and there is no doubt Savannah is ultimately their object.”–Raleigh Register, February 3, 1815

January 29: From Savannah — “General Pinckney has discharged the whole of the militia this afternoon by a general order, read on parade.”–New York Spectator, February 18, 1815

January 29: From Louisiana’s Senator Fromentin– “Major Carmick, who I informed you yesterday was wounded likewise in the battle of the 28th ult. deserves a particular mention. He received at the same instant three balls in his hat, one of which scratched his head, a fourth went through his right arm, a fifth broke the thumb of his right hand, and the sixth killed his horse under him. I am happy to hear that he is in a fair way of recovery, although I fear we have lost his services for the present.”–Baltimore Patriot, February 4, 1815

January 30: From Washington, from the Correspondent of the Evening Post — “there is a letter from Gov. Claiborne to Mr. Fromentin, containing some additional facts. . . . the British are strongly fortified; have a perfect communication with their provisions and it is almost impossible to drive them from their present positions. . . . The Kentucky troops arrived at New Orleans without arms! . . . I have conversed freely with the Louisiana senators and representatives. I think they have little hopes of saving the city.”–New York Spectator, February 8, 1815

January 30: From an officer of the steam boat Enterprize, which reached New Orleans on January 9 with munitions — “We will leave this place in the morning for Natchez, with about fifty passengers, and for our next trip passengers have been engaged; we are doing a very good business, and every body is pleased with the performance of the Enterprize; every person we meet is our friend on account of the services we rendered the public when this city was in danger. We have performed the trip from this place to Natchez in 24 hours less time than any other boat ever did.”– Aurora, April 12, 1815

January 31: From Savannah — “a British bomb ship arrived at St. Mary’s on Friday last, (27th) from the squadron off New-Orleans, in a passage of 6 or 7 days, the officers of which stated, that a general engagement had taken place between the American and British armies, in which the latter was totally defeated; the destruction of British officers was so great that there were scarcely any left to conduct the balance of the army off the field; that the expedition against New-Orleans had been abandoned, and that the remainder of it would be turned against Savannah.”–New York Spectator, February 15, 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