News of the U.S.: October 1814

October 1:  From Frankfort, Kentucky — “We stop the mail to state the glorious news, that Fort Bowyer [at Mobile Point about 18 miles from Mobile town] is safe–One officer burnt, four men killed, and five wounded on our side.  The other side cut to pieces.  By next mail a full detail.  Your’s, A. JACKSON.”–Scioto Supporter, October 8, 1814

Early October:  From Florida — “GEN. NICHOLLS, Commander of his B. M. forces in the Floridas, has issued a proclamation, insulting in the highest degree to every American.  He calls on the inhabitants of Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee, to assist in liberating from a fruitless, imbecile government, their parental soil:  and says, the American usurpation in this country must be abolished, and the lawful owners of the soil, put in possession.”–The Gleaner, October 28, 1814

October 2:  From a letter from Paris — “We have heard of the destruction of Washington, and regret its fate.  The conduct of the British in that instance is generally disapproved here.  The Englishmen here on the contrary, are much elated in their success, and, notwithstanding the temporary check experienced since, speak of America as a conquered country, and of a great proportion of their states on the eve of returning to their former allegiance.”–Maryland Gazette,January 19, 1815

October 4:  From Herkimer — “information had been received of an expected attack on Sackett’s Harbor–Sir James Yeo having got out of Kingston with his large ship, and was in sight;  as was also the troops on the land side, headed by Sir George Prevost in  person, with his whole force.”–Ohio Register, October 22, 1814

October 4:  “It is said that the greater part of Prevost’s killed were shot in the head–the Vermontsharp shooters say they would be ashamed to be seen shooting at the body of a squirrel; and that they did not choose to throw away their powder on an Englishman’s carcase, when his head was so handy.”–Weekly Aurora, October 4, 1814

October 5:  Motion made in the House of the Legislature of Massachusetts — “Moved, That a committee be appointed to confer with all the New-England States . . .   to repair to the city of Washington immediately, then and there personally to make known to the President, the general opinion of all the New-England States in regard to the present war, and the manner in which it has been conducted, and inform him that he must either resign his office, as President, or remove those Ministers and other Officers of the general Government, who have by their nefarious plans ruined the nation–“–National Intelligencer, October 13, 1814

October 5: From London “On Monday night a very hot press took place on the river Thames, and 800 men were lodged in the tender.  The alleged purpose of the measure is to enable the admiralty to man some sloops of war, and other smaller vessels, to chase away or capture the American privateers which are occasioning such general destruction of the trade.”–Aurora,November 28, 1814

October 6:  From Erie, Pa. — “all the British have gone to fort George and Niagara.  They are completely panic stricken.  Their prisoners acknowledge they never before had such hard fighting.  The enemy buried his cannon before he moved off.  We have raised a considerable number of them.”–Scioto Supporter, October 22, 1814

October 6:  From England — “We hear from authority, that the Wasp, American sloop of war, which recently fought and sunk the Avon, did not lose a man, and had but one wounded.  She has since sent a cartel into Plymouth with a challenge to engage any two brigs in his Majesty’s service.”–The Gleaner, December 9, 1814

October 7:  In the Senate — “Mr. Goldsborough, from the joint committee on the Library of Congress, reported a joint resolution, empowering the committee to contract for the purchase of the Library of Mr. Jefferson, late President of the United States, for the use of Congress; and the resolution was read.”–National Intelligencer, October 8, 1814

October 8:  “The secretary of the navy has appointed commodore Porter to command the Steam Battery constructing by Mr. Fulton at New York.”–Scioto Supporter, October 8, 1814

October 8:  From Albany — “Gen. Izard was at Lewistown with his army.  Chauncey was blockading the enemy in Kingston!  Lieut. Dickerson, with a detachment, had captured five boats of the enemy’s, loaded with goods of the North-Western Company, valued at 12,000 dollars.  350 seamen have gone from Lake Champlain to join Chauncey.  320 British prisoners are 7 miles from this, coming down from Erie.”  Providence Patriot, October 15, 1814

October 8:  From St. Louis — “On Saturday last, Maj. [Zachary] Taylor who was sent to Rock river by Gen. Howard, returned from the new fort erected on the Mississippi, within two miles of the rapids.  Its scite is admirably calculated not only for the command of the rapids, but of the three mouths of the Le Moine, on an eminence ninety feet above the level of the river.”–National Intelligencer, November 1, 1814

October 9:  From Nantucket — Arrived the private armed brig, Prince of Neufchatel, Ordoneaux, commander, of New York.  “On the 11th was chased by a frigate, at  7 P. M. was obliged on account of the current to come to an anchor, at 9 P. M. was attacked by 6 barges from the enemy which came along side with view to board . . . in 20 minutes, the enemy cried out for quarters; the barges contained 104 men; 2 of these were sunk, 3 drifted off, apparently with no living man on board, and one was taken possession.”–Shamrock, October 22, 1814

October 10:  Message from the President — “I lay before Congress communications just received from the Plenipotentiaries of the United States, charged with negotiating peace with Great Britain; shewing the conditions on which alone that government is willing to put an end to the war.”–Scioto Supporter, October 22, 1814

October 10:  From Lake Champlain, direct.—Lieut. Perry, who arrived in town on Monday evening from Lake Champlain, confirms the account of desertions from Sir George Prevost’s army, and informs that they amounted to between 600 and 800, all of which were on their way to White Hall.”—United States Gazette, October 12, 1814

October 10:  From Jamaica — “Most of the ships and troops from the Chesapeake, were to rendezvous at Negril Bay, at the west end of Jamaica, there to be joined by other troops and ships, for an expedition said to be against New-Orleans or St. Augustine.”–Massachusetts Spy, December 14, 1814

October 11:  From Boston — “We understand letters have been received from Canton, as late as Feb. 22, 1814, by which we learn, that the consignees of the American vessels in China, had prudently resolved to lay up their ships until the conclusion of a peace between Great Britain and the United States.–Richmond Enquirer, October 13, 1814

October 12:  Letter from Sackett’s Harbor — “We are still fortifying this post with breastworks, that surround the whole Harbor, and a new battery that will mount sixteen 44’s.  We are in daily expectation of an attack from the enemy by land and water.  The fleet is in port. I think this post can be defended against any force the enemy can bring against us.”–Scioto Supporter, November 5, 1814

October 12:  From Fort Erie — “Yesterday Gen. Izard’s division crossed the strait at Black Rock, and to-day we are under orders to be prepared to march at a moment’s warning.  We may get ‘cracked crowns and pass them current too,’ but our overland movements have given the enemy time to render the position of Chippewa almost impregnable.”–Richmond Enquirer, October 15, 1814

October 12:  From Milledgeville –“A requisition has been made on the executive of this state by the general government, for 2,500 of the classed militia, who are to be held in readiness, subject to the orders of gen. Jackson, who will be able to meet the enemy, should they invade the Mississippi territory or Louisiana, with an army of ten thousand men.”--Aurora, October 27, 1814

October 13:  Advertisement:  “On Tuesday the 18th inst. a TURTLE DINNER will be given at Isaac Parker’s Tavern, to Celebrate  the glorious result of the late Election in this Congressional District, and in Anne-Arundel county.  All persons who consider the issue as auspicious are invited to participate.”–Maryland Gazette, October 13, 1814

October 14:  From Sacket’s Harbor — “a friend writes, under date the 14th, that on the 12th the British were heard sealing their guns, and it was expected their large ship was out, but an attack was rather desired than feared at the Harbor, the troops  under Col. Mitchell being well prepared to receive the enemy.”–Providence Patriot, October 22, 1814

October 14:  From Detroit — “We arrived at this place on Sunday last, after a circuitous route of 100 miles (from the river Raizin,) passing some Indian villages on the river Huron, but found no Indians except on warrior, 3 squaws and 3 children–the citizens of the neighborhood of Detroit have generally left their plantations and fled to the town for safety.”–Louisville Western Courier,November 9, 1814

October 15:  From Cincinnati, editorial — “The present is an eventful crisis, big with the fate of millions yet unborn;–the storm in Europe has apparently subsided, which has set at liberty the physical force of G. Britain, which now is exerted on the peaceful shores of the west, for the extermination of the only remnant of liberty that has escaped the fangs of tyranny.”–Western Spy,October 15, 1814

October 15:  From Frankfort, Kentucky – “We understand that the Secretary of War has ordered 2500 of the drafted militia of this state to be marched to Gen. Jackson, and to be placed under his command without delay. [In addition to the above requisition, we are authorized to state that Gen. Jackson will accept a volunteer battalion of Dragoons, as well as any other volunteer company, battalion or regiment of foot, which may be organized and offer their services—Ed.]”—United States Gazette, November 9, 1814

October 15: From Massachusetts — “The British ships Spence & Leander, captain Ragget of the British navy have announced to several towns in Barnstable county, Massachusetts, that ‘they would destroy all the towns that were assailable.’  . . .  To exact money to save the private property of the people, when they dare not land, is an infamy heretofore unknown.”–Western Spy, October 15, 1814

October 16:  From Washington — “Major General Scott, who has been appointed to the 10th Military District, enters on the duties of his command.  A morning state of the troops in service within the District, whether regulars, volunteers or militia, will be forwarded without delay to the office of the Assistant Adjutant General, Baltimore, at which place Head-Quarters will be established until further orders.”–National Intelligencer, October 18, 1814

October 16: From Nashville –“Gov. Blount received orders by last mail to call out 5,0000militia, to be sent immediately to gen. Jackson.  Government have received intelligence, ‘that the enemy contemplate an expedition against the State of Louisiana, through the Mobile, with intention to occupy all the country to Cape Florida to the Provinces of Spain westward of the Mississippi.”–Pittsburg Mercury, November 2, 1814

October 17:  From New Orleans via Baltimore — “accounts had been received from Mexico, that province had declared itself independent, (both Royalists and Patriots joining) on receiving information of the rejection by Ferdinand VII of the constitution formed by the Cortes.”–Providence Patriot, October 29, 1814

October 17:  In the House of Representatives, discussion on the purchase of Jefferson’s library – “The objections to the purchase were generally its extent, the cost of the purchase, the nature of the selection, embracing too many works in foreign languages, some of too philosophical a character, and some otherwise objectionable.  Of the first description, exception was taken to Voltaire’s works, &c. and of the other to Callender’s Prospect Before Us.”—United States’ Gazette, October 26, 1814

October 18:  From Boston — “According to a letter from Castine, dated on the 13th inst.  that place is to be the only port of entry for the district.  There were frequent arrivals from Halifax, and boats from the neighboring ports of the Penobscot.  The writer is of opinion that the British intend permanently to hold the district, and attach it to New-Brunswick, or form it into a new Province.”–Baltimore Patriot, October 22, 1814

October 18:  From London — “Failure of an attack upon Baltimore.  . . .  The gallant General Ross, like another Wolf, closed his earthly career in the advance of the intrepid men whom he so courageously led against this great depository of the hostile spirit of the United States towards England . . . “–American Watchman, November 30, 1814

October 19:  From New York — “By the passengers in the eastern stage last evening we are informed, that the Yankee privateer, of Bristol, R. I. had arrived at Newport, bringing in with her a large British Transport, having on board FIVE HUNDRED REGULAR TROOPS, which she had captured after an engagement, in which the Yankee, it is said, lost 20 men.”—National Advocate, October 19, 1814

October 19:  From Chaptico, Maryland — “I passed through Chaptico shortly after the enemy left, and, I am sorry to say, their conduct would have disgraced Cannibals:  The houses were torn to pieces–the well which afforded water for the inhabitants was filled up–and what is still worse, the Church and the ashes of the dead shared an equally bad or worse fate.”–Louisville WesternCourier, November 9, 1814

October 20: From Boston — “Arrived at Providence, on Wednesday, the American schooner Sally, 260 tons, capt. Van Allen, of New York, four months and a half from Canton, with a cargo of teas, silks, &c. valued at $500,000, belonging to Minturn and Champlin, of N. York.  Capt. Van Allen has seen only one vessel of war on his passage, and has spoken no vessels.–Aurora, November 1, 1814


October 21:  From New Orleans — “The troops of the United States took yesterday by surprise, without fighting, the Port of Barataria, and the establishment of the pirates and smugglers, with all their effects.  As a military post, it is essential to preserve it.  It will be of immense importance to the city of New Orleans.”–United States Gazette, October 21, 1814

October 21:  From The Gleaner – “Although almost every letter in the Alphabet, from A to Z has done its duty, no one has borne the brunt of battle with more bravery than B.  Brown beat the British at Bridgewater—while Bainbridge, Blakely, Burrows, the two Biddles, Beal, Budd, have battered John Bull, till it has become impossible for him not to believe that if he does not behave better, we will, with bullets, bombs and bayonets, give him a belly-full.”—United State’s Gazette,October 21, 1814

October 21:  From Gen. Jackson –“Gen Coffee had not joined him on that day, but was close by.  Gen. Taylor was a little in the rear of Gen. Coffee.  The route of the East Tennessee troops, lately called into service, has been changed by Gen. Jackson.  They are ordered through the Creek nation to Fort Claiborne, on the Alabama.”–New York Spectator, November 23, 1814


October 22:  From Buffalo — “The army under major gen. Izard, is expected to return to Fort Erie, in a day or two, without having accomplished the object of the expedition.–The season has already set in very cold, and as the army, for the sake of expedition, moved with but two tents to a company, almost all the men have to lay out in the snow and rain.”–Scioto Supporter, 1814

October 22:  From a Kentucky volunteer at Detroit — “Many of the citizens of Detroit are treacherous rascals, and in reality dislike the Americans–although they profess to be friendly.–To prevent them from starting runners to the British, the general [M’Arthur] has given out, that his destination is to Saganaw, and Indian village.  He has even gone so far, in order to deceive them, to order some cannon up the lake; & has succeeded in producing the desired impression, amongst the British partizans, as well as all others (not in the secret) here.”–Kentucky Gazette, November 21 1814

October 24: From a London paper, –announces Pakenham will lead the British army.  “Several millions of buck-shot are shipping at Portsmouth, in the Leonidas frigate, Captain W. King, for America.  This description of shot has been in common use with the Americans in the present war, and the mangling wounds they inflict (when not attended with death) so to protract the recovery of our soldiers, that their services are lost to the army for a considerable time.  The formation of the weapon is–a large shot at the bottom of a cartridge, resting upon three small ones; and these four are fired off with the usual quantity of power.  The Americans always use them in wild fowl shooting, which amusement being universally practised by them from their earliest years, makes the expert and dangerous rifle troops they are.  England has to mourn the loss of a Ross by such hands; the fellow fired at him from behind some brush wood.”– Trenton True American, December 5, 1814.

October 24:  From New Orleans — “During the last week seven full companies of the 7th regiment U. S. infantry arrived at the barracks in this city under the command of major John Nicks.”--Aurora, November 29, 1814

October 25:  From Buffalo — “The militia under the gallant Porter will be discharged in a few days.  The regular troops will shortly be in winter quarters, on which side of the river is not yet known.  It is believed that the enemy will attack Sackett’s Harbor, with all the disposable force of the two provinces.”–Scioto Supporter, November 12, 1814

October 25:  From Governor Shelby at Frankfort to Major General Thomas of the Kentucky militia –“it has occurred to me that it would be advisable for you to invite those men who go under your command, and have it in their power, to take with them their rifles.  . . .  I have no doubt but that when they join Gen. Jackson, he will organize a separate body of riflemen to act as a light corps.  It will certainly be more agreeable to our active woodsmen to serve in that way, than in the lines with their muskets, &c.”–Louisville Western Courier, November 2, 1814

October 25:  From Nashville — “Fifteen thousand British troops are said to have sailed from Ireland on the 15th of September, for the city of New Orleans.  In consequence of this intelligence the secretary of war has ordered the governor of this state to furnish 5000 men without delay, to be marched to general Jackson’s headquarters.”–Democratic Press, November 17, 1814

October 26:  From Henry Toulmin, Fort Stoddart — “I have but a moment whilst the post rider is getting his horse, to inform you that gen. Jackson and his suite left my house yesterday for the fort built by col. Benton, and called after the brave Montgomery, on the other side of the Alabama river.  The third regiment is now on its way from Mobile to the same place.”–Pittsburgh Mercury, November 30, 1814

October 27:  Latest news from England — “The British do not permit their vessels to cross the Channel to Ireland, without convoy, on account of the American privateers having made such havoc on their coast.  The general opinion in England was, that peace would be made on their own terms, after having sufficiently punished us.”–Salem Gazette, December 6, 1814

October 28:  From the New York Legislature at Albany — “Resolved unanimously, That the House of Assembly of the state of N. York view with mingled emotions of surprise and indignation, the extravagant & disgraceful terms proposed by the British commissioners at Ghent–that however ardently they may desire the restoration of peace to their country, they can never consent to receive it at the sacrifice of national honor and dignity . . . .”–RichmondEnquirer, November 4, 1814

October 28:  From Sackett’s Harbor — “General Brown is daily expected here, and as soon as he arrives there will be no difficulty in keeping what militia is now here, and his presence will induce others to come in.”—Maryland Gazette, November 10, 1814

October 29:  From New York — “Arrived, on Saturday evening, the elegant and very fast sailing private armed brig Chasseur, of Baltimore, Thomas Boyle, Esq. commander, of 16 guns (long 12’s) and 130 men, from a brilliant cruize of 3 months on the coast of England, Ireland, the Western Islands, Bermuda and Halifax, in which she has made 18 prizes, manned 9 of them, burnt 4, and made cartels for the prisoners of the remainder, and has on board a cargo of indigo, &c., taken out of one of her prizes, valued at 70,000 dollars.”–New York Spectator, November 2, 1814

October 29:  From New York — “The Fulton entered the water under the flag of the United States, and an emblematic standard, representing the genius of America standing securely amidst the destruction of her maritime enemies by explosion and conflagration from our harbor defences, under the memorable inscription of ‘Free Trade and Sailors’ Rights.’ A band of music was launched in her, and responded to the patriotic airs from the shore, and boats in the vicinity.”–Colombian, October 29, 1814

October 30:  From Col. Hawkins at the Creek Agency — “I have from several quarters this information–The Seminoles have had a gathering at Perryman’s for mischief.  They are making their war food.  They have received orders from the British to make ready, and to strike on this side without delay, when the British are ready to strike on the other.  They were to be ready by this full moon.”–Weekly Aurora, November 22, 1814

October 30:  From Nashville  “By letters received in town on Friday last, general Jackson avows his intention of attacking Pensacola.  The army have left their head quarters near Mobile; and were joined by gen. Coffee’s mounted men, (who have been dismounted) six miles from gen. Jackson’s late encampment, on the 30th ult.”–Weekly Aurora, December 13, 1814

October 31:  “From Albany — “The militia and volunteers in service with the army under Gen. Izard (late Gen. Brown) in Upper Canada, have been dismissed with thanks for their honorable and brave conduct.”–Providence Patriot, November 5, 1812

October 31:  From John Adair to the Kentucky militia — “Many of you own good Rifles, and most of you know well how to use them:  I invite any man who has it in his power, to carry his own arms. . . .  It will enable you to meet the enemy at once, with arms you are accustomed to.”–Louisville Western Courier, November 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