News of the US: May 1814

May 1:  From Sackett’s Harbor from Commodore Chauncy —  “I am happy to have it in my power to inform you that the United States ship ‘Superior,’ was launched this morning, without accident.   . . .  This ship has been built in the short space of eighty days, and when it is taken into view, that two brigs of 500 tons each have also been built, rigged and completely fitted for service since the first of February, it will be acknowledged that the mechanics employed on this station have done their duty.”–Missouri Gazette, June 4, 1814

May 2:  Letter from A. S. Bulloch, Navy Agent, Savannah — “Sir–I have the pleasure to inform you that the British sloop of war Epervier, Wales, late master, arrived last evening at Tybee, a prize to the American sloop of war Peacock, capt. Warrington.  She was taken after an action of 40 minutes, during which 8 of her men were killed and several wounded, among whom is her 1st lieutenant, who lost his right leg and arm.”–Scioto Supporter, May 21, 1814

May 3:  Editorial from Salem — “New-York has returned to her wallowing in the mire of democracy.  The election in the city has terminated in the choice of 2 democratic Members of Congress, and 11 Members of Assembly, by a majority of 179.”–Salem Gazette, May 3, 1814

May 4:  From Savannah, a letter dated May 4th, 8 P. M. — “I have only time before the closing of the mail to say that the U. S. slop of war Peacock, Capt. Warrington, after a close chase ever since she took the Epervier, has arrived safe at this port, having on board 118 prisoners, and 120,000 dollars in specie.”–Salem Gazette, May 19, 1814

May 4:  News from Philadelphia — “Mr. George Clymer, of Philadelphia, press maker, has lately invented and completed an iron printing press, on a plan entirely new.”–Massachusetts Spy, May 4, 1814

May 5:  From Alexandria — “It appears that the enemy in our waters, are making preparations for a considerable stay amongst us.  They have taken possession of Watts and Tangier Islands, and have erected Barracks, Hospitals &c. and made every other necessary arrangement.”–Alexandria Gazette, May 5, 1814

May 6:  “The Albany Register of Tuesday last contains a report of the attack and capture of the post of Oswego, on  the 6th instant, by a British force of 1500 men.  The report was brought to Albany by a gentleman from Onondago, where, it was stated, an express bearing the news had arrived.”–National Intelligencer, May 17, 1814

May 6:  From the Philadelphia Register — “It is said the Creek Indians lately held a council to determine whether they should not, to save provisions, which are very scarce, put their women and children and all invalids to death–and it was lost by three votes only.”–Mercantile Advertiser,May 6, 1814

May 7:  From London — “The Americans have no experienced officers.  They have no discipline.  They will, too, I dare say, think because they beat England in the last war, they can do it again, and much easier having now five times as numerous a population.  . . .  They will, if our troops should really land in their country, have to contend with those who have defeated French armies, with skill of all sorts; experience in the men as well as the officers, with courage, discipline, and the habit of victory.”–Connecticut Mirror, June 27, 1814

May 7: From London — “An expedition is intended to be embarked from Cadiz for the Mississippi, to consist of 12,000 Spanish troops, for the purpose of being employed in the recovery of Louisiana, &c.”–The War, June 28, 1814

May 9:  From Onondaga, New York — “On Thursday the enemy’s fleet appeared off Oswego, consisting of 3 ships, two brigs, two schooners and 11 gun boats, full of men–they were twice repulsed in attempting to land–On Friday, however, they made good their landing, with a body of about 1800 men, after a very severe conflict; captured the fort, and took six prisoners.” — Plattsburgh Republican, May 21, 1814

May 10:  From Boston — “The captain of the British sloop of war Nimrod, informed a passenger in the Swedish ship Carlota, that Lord Wellington was coming to America with ONE HUNDRED & FIFTY THOUSAND MEN.” — Gettysburg Adams Centinel, May 25, 1814

May 10 — From a Virginia paper  “This defeat of the Creeks must be gratifying to all who feel an interest in their country’s weals as it will greatly tend to terminate the southern war, and give the nation the services of this able general (Jackson) in another quarter, where good generalship seems to be a scarce commodity.”–Nashville   May 10, 1814

May 11:  From Detroit — “You have, no doubt, been informed, that on the 11th ult. a party of regulars were sent to the Rapids of St. Clair, for the purpose of building a fort; and that they have been subsequently reinforced by five hundred Ohio Militia, &c.–Well! the fort is nearly completed, in a very commanding situation, and has been named after the gentleman who superintended its formation, Captain Gratiot, of the Engineers.”–Providence Patriot, July 23, 1814

May 11:  From New York — “The new and elegant steam boat Fulton, commanded by captain Elihu S. Bunker, arrived in this city from Albany, yesterday morning, in eighteen hours and twenty-five minutes, without the aid of the wind, having no masts or sails, and depending on her engine alone for motion; being the shortest time in which a passage of that distance, 160 miles, was ever performed by the force of steam.”–Mercantile Advertiser, May 11, 1814

May 12:  From Halifax — “The New Zealander sailed from Valparaiso 14th December . . . was soon after captured by the Essex, ordered to the Marquesas, and sailed from thence the 28th December.  The following British ships had been taken by the Essex, viz. the Sir Andrew Hammond, Seringapatam, and Greenwich; and their crews were employed in making batteries at the Island of Timor, which Capt. Porter was fortifying.”–Providence Patriot, May 28, 1814

May 13:  Public Notice from Plattsburgh –“The Inhabitants of the Village of Plattsburgh and its Vicinity are hereby notified, that a complaint has been made to the Civil Authority, against the disorderly practice of discharging fire arms in and about the Village.  In ordinary times, acts of the kind complained of, would be extremely dangerous to the lives of our citizens, and would be a breach of the peace, but in our present situation, they are absolutely hostile to the public safety; and therefore cannot be suffered to pass unpunished.”–Plattsburgh Republican, May 14, 1814

May 13:  From Pittsburg — “We omitted to mention that the Steam Boat BUFFALO was safely launched on the 13th ult. from the yard of Mr. Latrobe.  This Boat . . . is intended to trade regularly between Louisville and Pittsburg, once a month, as long as the water will admit.  She has two Cabins and four State rooms for private families, and will conveniently accommodate 100 persons with beds.”–National Intelligencer, June

May 14: From Carthage, Tennessee — “The Gallant Jackson is on his way home, with the militia of West Tennessee; who will in a few days, if not already, be discharged.  The General will be here in the course of the present week:  Preparations are making, to give him a dinner, &c. as a tribute of respect so justly due for his meritorious service.”–Carthage Gazette, May 14, 1814

May 15:  From the Burlington Sentinel Extra — “Yesterday morning a little before sunrise, the enemy’s fleet commenced a heavy and spirited fire upon our batteries at the mouth of Otter Creek River, Vergennes.  Com. Macdonough came down the river with his new sloop of war, and several of his gallies, and in one hour, the enemy were compelled to retreat, without our losing one man! or suffering the least injury!”–Providence Patriot, May 21, 1814

May 16:  From Col. Jesse Pearson, Camp near the Coosa and Tallapoosa  — “Your Excellency is doubtless informed that the fighting part of this War is pretty well over; but in my opinion there still remains much to be done to restore permanent tranquility among this people.” There are still lurking in small bodies of from 1 to 2 hundred hostile Indians in different parts of the nation, principally below this on the right bank of the Alabama.”–Raleigh Star, June 10, 1814

May 16:  From a speech by the governor of Connecticut — “The wonderful changes continually occurring in that region [Europe] will produce their proper effect here, by admonishing us of the evils of unprincipled ambition and a thirst of conquest, and by teaching us to place a just estimate upon our own happy forms of government.”–Connecticut Mirror, May 16, 1814

May 17:  From Boston — “We learn that Capt. Hull has received information, in which he places perfect confidence, that a powerful armament has been fitted out at Bermuda, designed to make an attack upon the 74 building at Portsmouth, N. H.  The armament is to be furnished with a great number of congreve rockets.”–New York Spectator, May 21, 1814

May 18:  From Middlebury, Vermont — “On the 2d of March, the timber of the new ship which has been lately finished at Vergennes, was standing in the forest.  Her keel was laid on the 6th of the same month, and she was launched on the 11th of april!  Her length of keel is 130 feet; breadth of beam 37.  Burthen rising 500 tons, mounts six long 24’s eight 41’s, and fourteen 32 pound carronades.  . . .  She is called the Saratoga.”--Aurora, June 1,1814

May 18:  Editorial of the Connecticut Mirror — “If Wilkinson is to be tried and shot, merely because he went to work hap-hazard, and threw away a few lives in attempting to batter down stone walls four feet thick, with pop-guns–who will hereafter do our fighting?”–New York Spectator, May 18, 1814

May 19:  From Chillicothe — “We learn that captain John B. Campbell has set out from Put-in-Bay on a secret expedition.  A deserter from Long Point, it is said, gave information that a party of British, about 400, were on that peninsula, manufacturing flour and building small vessels–it is therefore probable that Colonel Campbell is gone thither to dislodge them.”–National Intelligencer, May 28, 1814

May 20:  From Ohio — “On the 20th ult. just before sun set, a tremendous tornado, accompanied with thunder, lightning ad rain, passed thro’ the western district of this country.  . . . The track of this hurricane, taken in its greatest latitude, and particularly where it crossed the road from Chillicothe to Lebanon is about two miles wide; but the most remarkable part of the ruin may be estimated at a mile and a quarter wide.  Scarce one tree in a thousand is seen standing.”–Scioto Supporter, June 4, 1814

May 20:  From Philadelphia — “Gen. Joseph G. Swift, of the U. S. Engineers, is elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.  He has recently been on a visit to Massachusetts, his native state, and has returned to West-Point, where we understand he is to superintend the erection of a new and extensive Military Academy.”–Raleigh Register, May 20, 1814

May 21:  From a London paper — A London orator called for a vigorous war with America until “America accedes to the following demands:  a new boundary line for Canada; the independence of the Indians; the Americans to be excluded from the fisheries on the coast of British North America; the Americans to be excluded from the British West Indies; the Americans to be excluded from East India; the Americans not to be allowed to incorporate the Floridas, and the cession of New Orleans to be required, in order to insure to us the due enjoyment of our privilege to navigate the Mississippi.” —National Advocate, August 9, 1814

May 23:  From Washington – “Gen. Jackson is appointed a Brigadier General in the army of the United States, and by brevet has the honorary rank of Major General.  This appointment, we doubt not, will meet with the general approbation.”—United States’ Gazette, June 1, 1814

May 24:  From Portsmouth,  N. H.– “A regiment of infantry in Newbury, and another in Salsbury and Amesbury, have been ordered to hold themselves in readiness to march to the assistance of this place  in case of an attack.  We understand that a number of Fulton’s Torpedoes have been prepared for this port.  So that should there be an attack from the enemy a fair experiment will probably be made with them.”–Providence Patriot, May 28, 1814

May 25:  From Boston — “The fine letter of marque brig Rambler, Capt. Edes, sailed from this port on Wednesday last, for Canton.”–Providence Patriot, May 28, 1814

May 25:  From the London Times –“There is in this country such a contempt for the American government, that we cannot bring ourselves to think them of consequence enough to require any effort; and thus the reptiles escape, because we will not take the trouble to crush them.” –Maryland Gazette, July 28, 1814

May 26:  From Portsmouth, N. H. — “A regiment of infantry in Newbury, and another in Salisbury and Amesbury have been ordered to hold themselves in readiness to march to the assistance of this place in case of an attack.  We understand that a number of Fulton’s Torpedoes have been prepared for this port.  so that should there be an attack from the enemy, a fair experiment will probably be made with them.”–National Intelligencer, June 4, 1814

May 28: From a London paper — “It is computed, that the reinforcements which have joined sir George Prevost since the last campaign, will enable him to take the field with an army of 20,000 effective men.  This force will move against the American army from the Canadian frontiers, whilst 12,000 of the best troops of the duke of Wellington’s army, commanded by lord Hill, will be landed on the American shores, and commence by threatening Mr. Madison’s capital.”–National Advocate, August 1, 1814

May 29:  From Salem – “Among the prisoners who arrived here in the Union cartel, from Halifax, was Mr. Joshua Penny, pilot, belonging to Long Island, who was seized at his house and taken from his bed in the night, by the British, and carried on board the Ramilies on suspicion of having been concerned in some torpedo experiment, and of piloting Com. Decatur’s barges.  Mr. Penny has been detained nine months.”—United States’ Gazette, June 4, 1814

May 30:  Advertisement — “LINARD & DUVAL . . . Having contracted with the proprietor of the Soda Water Establishment, for a constant supply during the summer, they have provided accommodations for Ladies and Gentlemen who may wish to drink thereof.  As the Water has been proved and found superior, they hope to be able to make it profitable to themselves.  They will commence making Ice Cream on Monday next, when Ladies and Gentlemen can be accommodated at their store.”–Providence Patriot, May 28, 1814

May 30:  From New York — Arrived “the private armed schr. Chasseur, Wm. Wade, commander, of Baltimore, from a cruize of 131 days, and last from the coast of Portugal . . . The Chasseur has been chased during her cruize, ten different times, by British ships of war, all of which she outsailed with ease.”–Aurora, June 1, 1814

May 31:  From Sackett’s Harbor –“A number of our boats, coming from Oswego with cannon and rigging for the new vessels, put into Sandy Creek–being well manned with sailors, riflemen and Indians, under the command of Captain Woolsey, of the navy . . . .  Our commander, apprehending an attack, placed the riflemen and Indians in the woods, on each side of the creek, and sent a few raw militia, with the show of opposing the enemy’s landing.  The plan succeeded. . . .  the whole force of the enemy 137 in number, surrendered, with their gun boats, five in number.”–Providence Patriot, June 11, 1814

May 31:   From the Georgia Journal — “We stop the Press, after the greater part of our papers had been struck off, to publish the following important intelligence, contained in a letter from Col. Hawkins, dated Creek Agency, 31st May, 1814, which states . . . .  That there has arrived at the mouth of the Appalatchicola, in Florida, English troops to the amount of Two Thousand, who are building houses, and have called upon the Indians to join them; that the Eufaulaus had received an invitation from them, but had refused to go; that all the lower towns have already gone.”–National Advocate, June 18, 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