News of the U.S.: September 1814

September 1:  From Baltimore — “Baltimore is making all necessary preparations to receive the enemy.  Although no immediate apprehension is felt, they are throwing up entrenchments all round the city.  White, yellow and black, gentle and simple, rich and poor, are all at work; there are no dissentions now:  common danger has levelled them all, the slave is seen digging by the side of his master, and all are engaged in doing the best they can for the common defence.  What are you doing in Philadelphia?”–Democratic Press, September 3, 1814

September 1: From Richard Rush to the mayor of Philadelphia — “Dear Sir–A dispatch was yesterday received by the secretary of state from admiral Cochrane . . . ..  In this dispatch admiral Cochrane explicitly declares it to be his intention to issue to the naval force under his command, an order ‘to destroy and lay waste such towns and districts upon the coast as may be found assailable’.  I beg you will have the goodness to give publicity to this information as soon as may be, at Philadelphia.”–American Watchman September 7, 1814

September 2:  Proclamation of British Colonel Edward Nicholls, Pensacola — “Natives of Louisiana– On you the first call is made to assist in liberating from a fruitless imbecile government, your parental soil.  Spaniards, Frenchmen, Italians, and British, whether settled or residing for a time in Louisiana, on you also I call to aid me, in this first cause.  The American usurpation in this country must be abolished, and the lawful owners of the soil, put in possession.”–Aurora, October 17, 1814

September 2:  Head Quarters, New-York — “The commander in chief has witnessed, with high satisfaction, the alacrity which the division under the command of general Stevens has entered into actual service.  The equipment and soldier-like conduct of the troops, and the large number of volunteers that have joined the division, give honourable testimony of the military and patriotic spirit which, at this interesting crisis, animates all ranks and conditions.  . . .  By order of   the commander in chief.  WASHINGTON IRVING, Aid-de-camp”–Columbian, September 5, 1814

September 3:  From Washington — “This morning a bomb vessel from off Alexandria anchored, out of reach of our cannon shot off the White House (some miles below Mount Vernon on the Virginia side) where a body of our men are stationed, and amused them for some hours with throwing bomb shells at them, which however had no other effect than to accustom the militia to disregard this sort of nuisance.”–Providence Patriot, September 10, 1814

September 3:  From Lake Huron — “on the 3d Sept. ult. about 8 o’clock in the evening, two British gun boats, the one mounting a 6 and the other a 3 pounder, two batteaux, with 130 soldiers, and 20 sailors, and 25 birch bark canoes with 250 Indians suprised the Tygress, while she was lying at anchor in Detour Bay, off St. Joseph’s, boarded and took possession of her after a short contest . . . .”–Shamrock, October 29, 1814

September 5:  From Philadelphia — “The enemy has declared that if he is opposed in going down the river with his booty, he will destroy Alexandria and Georgetown.”–New York Spectator,September 7, 1814

September 5: From Kentucky — “THE LOSS OF THE CAPITAL.  If the public records have been preserved, as we suppose they have, the fall of Washington City will not be felt by the people of the United States.–Congress can convene and transact the national business at any other place just as well as it could be done at Washington.  Thank God, the fall of the American capitol unlike the fall of the French capital cannot be followed by the conquest of the nation.”--Kentucky Gazette, September 5, 1814

September 6:  Letter from Major Zachary Taylor to General Howard, from Fort Madison, Iowa — “he states that the expedition under his command proceeded up the Mississippi as far as to Rock River, where he had an engagement with the Indians and British, in which he had 11 men wounded.  He was compelled to retreat–The British had one 6 and one 4 pounder, and two swivels.  He fell back to the River Demoine, where he made a halt, and is erecting a fort.”–WeeklyRecorder, October 11, 1814

September 7:  From Newburyport — “The gallant Morris is said to be no more.  The enemy with an overwhelming force approached Hampden on Saturday night.  Capt. M. finding that it would be useless to make resistance, gave orders for his crew to leave the ship, and retreat to the shore, and as soon as every person was on shore but himself, he set fire to the train which led to the magazine, and then jumped overboard.  . . .  The Adams immediately blew up with a tremendous explosion.”–Raleigh Register, September 16, 1814

September 7:  From the Town Meeting in Portland, Maine — “The inhabitants of Portland, in town meeting assembled, taking into consideration the important crisis of public affairs; and whilst they shall ever deplore that policy which has involved the country in the calamities of war, they avail themselves of this opportunity to declare to their fellow citizens their united and firm resolution to defend and resist all hostile attacks against that territory, freedom and independence which was acquired by the wisdom of their fathers, and the valor of Washington, with all the means which God and nature has placed in their power.”–Eastern Argus, September 15, 1814

September 7:  From the report of Commodore Porter of his battery on the river bank –“I have understood that in order to bring their guns to bear on our battery, they cut away the upper part of their ports and took the inner trucks from their gun carriages.  When they had passed down, I sent a torpedo after them–it was heard to explode about nine at night, but I have not learnt the effect it produced.”–National Intelligencer, September 13, 1814

September 9:  From Portland — “With heartfelt pleasure we announce the safety and arrival at Portland of the gallant CHARLES MORRIS.  This exhilarating intelligence is received in a hasty letter from Boston to his friends here.”–Providence Patriot, September 10, 1814

September 9:  From Washington — “The Vandals destroyed without remorse this collection of valuable and scarce books [the Library of Congress] the loss of which is irreparable.  If his incendiary hands were not to be arrested by the monument of art exhibited in the south wing of the capitol, it could not be expected the enemy would respect, what none but heathens or barbarians ever before wantonly destroyed, a public repository of history, science and law.”– Providence Patriot, September 17, 1814

September 9:  From Erie, Pennsylvania — Account of Com. Sinclair’s expedition against the British and the stores of the North West Company on Lake Huron:  “Thus we have taken or destroyed all the provisions, stores, &c. for the garrison at Mackinaw, and N. W. C. together with every vessel the enemy had on the Lakes.”–Providence Patriot, October 1, 1814

September 10:  “An intelligent and respectable gentleman who left Buffalo on Sunday morning last, informs, that on Friday and Saturday night, 3000 New York militia crossed over to Fort Erie, with a fixed determination to join the regulars, and follow the destinies of our brave troops now in that fort; and that on his way from Buffalo, he met about 3000 more, on their march thither, all of whom appeared highly animated and determined to follow their brethren in arms.”–New York Spectator, September 21, 1814

September 11:  Off Plattsburgh, Commodore M’Donough to the Secretary of the Navy — “Sir–The Almighty has been pleased to grant us a signal victory on Lake Champlain, in the capture of one frigate, one brig, and two sloops of war of the enemy.”–Scioto Supporter, October 1, 1814.

September 11:  From Philadelphia — “The passengers in this day’s Southern Mail report that 47 sail of enemy’s ships had passed North Point, and that the alarm guns were firing when they left Baltimore.”—Democratic Press, September 12, 1814

September 12:  From Baltimore — “Early on Monday morning, the enemy landed between three and four thousand troops at North Point, about 12 miles from this city. . . . A gentleman who arrived in the stage informs us, that the whole loss of the Americans was 11 killed and 28 wounded.  . . .  That Robert Goodloe Harper fought like a hero, and the good people of Baltimore begin to think at last that Federalists are not tories.Scioto Supporter, October 1, 1814

September 12:  From Baltimore — “The force under General Stricker having met the enemy on the road to Baltimore on Monday afternoon, when a severe engagement took place, and the armies were left engaged at sun-down–the enemy having been repulsed on all points, were on the retreat towards their shipping. . . .  the ships which attacked Fort M’Henry were silenced and obliged to sheer off.”–Providence Patriot, September 17, 1814

September 13:  From Major-Gen. Smith’s account of September 19, of the events this day at Baltimore — “On Tuesday the enemy appeared in front of my entrenchments at the distance of two miles, on the Philadelphia road, from whence he had a full view of our position.  . . .  The enemy’s loss in his attempt on Baltimore, amounts, as near as we can ascertain it, to between six and seven hundred killed wounded and missing.–Gen. Ross was certainly killed.”–Raleigh Register, September 30, 1814

September 13:  Account of a toast given by a Kentuckian imprisoned by British Captain Shaw:  “In reply . . . John M’Kinsay of Bourbon county who was among the captives, gave the following:–“Here’s wishing Capt. Shaw well for his good treatment to us prisoners, and success to all good Republicans & especially, to all true hearted Kentuckians; wishing that we may shortly obtain the SKIN of King George for drum heads and the Shin Bones of all d_____d Tories for Drum Sticks, to beat the Kentuckians to arms to revenge their country’s wrongs for all this, (pointing round to all his fellow prisoners as Captain Shaw had done.”–Nashville Clarion, September 13, 1814

September 13:  From Washington — “We are happy to find that strong defences are about to be erected for this district, to supply the place of those which have been recently destroyed.  The President and acting Secretary of War visited the remains of Fort Washington, (14 or 15 miles below this city) on Saturday last, and it was determined that a strong fort and other works should be immediately erected.”–Weekly Recorder, September 17, 1814

September 14:  Letter from General Macomb, at Plattsburgh — “The General, in the name of the United States, thanks the volunteers and the militia for their distinguished services, and wishes them a happy return to their families and friends.”–Scioto Supporter, October 8, 1814

September 14:  From Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania — “WOLVES!  These destructive animals have lately made a great havoc amongst the flocks of Sheep in Kingston, Exeter, Plymouth, and the vicinity.  To remedy so great and destructive an evil, a number of the inhabitants of said townships, have agreed to meet at the house of N. Hurlbut, in Kingston, on Wednesday the 14th inst. at 2 o’clock, P. M. to devise means to secure themselves against like devastation in future.”–The Gleaner, September 9, 1814

September 14:  From London, reporting on a meeting of Merchants in Glasgow — “It was unanimously Resolved, That the number of American privateers with which our channels have been infested, the audacity with which they have approached our coasts, and the success with which their enterprise has been attended–have proved injurious to our commerce, humbling to our pride, and discreditable to the directors of the naval power of the British Nation–whose flag, till of late, waved over every sea, and triumphed over every rival.”–New York Spectator, November 23, 1814

September 15:  Extract of a letter from Burlington — “It is said, but I think an exaggeration, that Macdonough took more prisoners than he had men.  . . .  Our superior gunnery is again proved, as the enemy had two to one of ours killed or wounded, and they had locks to their guns, which we did not.”–Scioto Supporter, October 8, 1814

September 15:  “From Brigadier General Winder — “The Garrison of Fort M’Henry, under the command of Major Armistead, are entitled to, and receive the warmest acknowledgements and praise from the Brigadier General for their steady, firm and intrepid deportment during an almost incessant bombardment of 24 hours, during which time they were exposed to an incessant shower of shells.”–New York Spectator, September 21, 1814

September 15:  From Plattsburgh, from Mr. Elisha Clarke — “he saw previous to his departure, which was on the 15th, 500 men, mostly Germans, with their officers, (none of a higher rank than a Captain) enter that place with colours flying, and a full band of music.  When within a mile of Plattsburg, they sent in a flag informing of their desertion, and that they were the rear-guard of Sir George Provost’s army, and were part of the army of Wellington.  Nearly 200 other deserters had come in by small parties . . . .”–National Intelligencer, September 27, 1814

September 16:  From New Orleans — “It appears to be the opinion of the most intelligent citizens of New Orleans, that if the war should be continued between the United States and Great-Britain, the enemy will endeavour to restore Louisiana and the Floridas to their ancient owners.  . . .  What ever may be their intention as to this part of the United States, the climate and situation of the country will always serve as a formidable obstacle against an invasion.”–New York Spectator, October 12, 1814

September 16:  From Detroit — “The general opinion here  is, that if we do not very soon receive a reinforcement of mounted men, we shall be completely surrounded by the savage barbarians.  P.S.  Since writing the above, about eighty mounted men, of the Michigan militia, headed by his excellency governor Cass, scoured the woods in this vicinity, and killed three Indians.”–Ohio Register, October 15, 1814

September 17:  From Fort Erie — “Major gen. Brown having previously made his dispositions for attacking the enemy’s batteries, in the vicinity of Fort Erie, sallied out with a considerable part of his force, in the afternoon of the 17th inst.  The battle commenced between two and three o’clock, and continued for more than two hours, with considerable warmth.. . . but our gallant little army . . . drove him from his works . . .”–Weekly Aurora, October 4, 1814

September 17:  Vidette outpost near Baltimore –“Sir–the enemy have not moved since my last.  Mr. Key of this place, arrived yesterday evening in a flag vessel, which was sent down before the attack, and detained until yesterday.  He stated that the officers of the enemy spoke of going to Poplar Island to repair some of their vessels, and thence proceed to Halifax; but he believed this to be far from their intention.”–New York Spectator, September 21, 1814

September 18:  Letter from Maj. General Brown, Fort Erie –“I have the satisfaction to announce to you a brilliant achievement yesterday effected by the forces under my command.  A sortie was made upon the enemy’s batteries.  These were carried–we blew up his principal work, destroyed his battering pieces, and captured 400 prisoners.  The enemy resisted our assault with firmness but suffered greatly.  His total loss cannot be less than 800 men.”–Scioto Supporter, October 8, 1814

September 19:  From Andrew Jackson, concerning “the glorious victory obtained by maj. Lawrence and his little Spartan band, over the combined attack by land and water of the British, Indians and Spaniards.  . . . I also enclose you copies of col. Nicolls’ Proclamation and orders, and those of Sir William Henry Percy.  Col. Nicolls has lost an eye in the late engagement, and Sir William Henry Percy a ship from whom it is fair to presume we will not be troubled again with their Proclamations or orders. . . .  I am, respectfully your most obedient servant, ANDREW JACKSON.”–Scioto Supporter, October 15, 1814

September 19:  From Baltimore — “The bombardment of the fort was very awful.  They threw at least 1500 bombs, weighing from 200 to 220 lb. besides many rockets.  Many of these have been picked up.  They done very little harm, killing only three persons . . . .”–Democratic Press,September 22, 1814

September 19:  From Plymouth, England — “The great expedition sailed.–Sailed yesterday, his majesty’s ships Bedford, Norge, Dover, Alceste, Belle Poule, Hydra, Fox, Gorgon Ulysses, Bucephalus, Niobe, and Portia, with the Norfolk transports.  The above ships constitute the expedition to America, and the most of them are full of troops.”–Weekly Aurora, November 19, 1814

September 20:  From Washington, Message of the President — “Notwithstanding the early day which had been fixed for your session of the present year, I was induced to call you together still sooner, as well that any inadequacy in the existing provisions for the wants of the Treasury might be supplied, as that no delay might happen in providing for the result of the negociations on foot with Great Britain, whether it should require arrangements adapted to a return of peace, or further and more effective provisions for prosecuting the War.””–Providence Patriot, October 1, 1814

September 20: From Baltimore — “Defence of Fort M’Henry.  The following beautiful and animating effusion, which is destined long to outlast the occasion, and outlive the impulse, which produced it, has already been extensively circulated.  In our first renewal of publication, we rejoice in an opportunity to enliven the sketch of an exploit so illustrious, with strains, which so fitly celebrate it.”–Boston Patriot, September 20, 1814,  printing  “The Star Spangled Banner.”

September 21:  From Andrew Jackson at Mobile — “To the free colored inhabitants of Louisiana:  Through a mistaken policy you have heretofore been deprived of a participation in the glorious struggle for national rights in which our country is engaged.  This no longer shall exist.  As sons of freedom you are now called upon to defend your most inestimable blessing.”–AmericanWatchman, November 3, 1814

September 21:  From Baltimore — “It is certain their commander in chief, Gen. Ross, has paid for his cheaply-earned laurels at the Capitol, with the forfeiture of his life at Baltimore.  It is also well ascertained, that the invaders sustained a loss in the last affair, beyond all comparison greater than the loss of Americans in both.  If they make another attempt, it will be a desperate one, and desperately will they be met.  For  ‘The star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, / O’er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.'”–Baltimore Patriot, September 21, 1815

September 21:  Letter from a gentleman taken prisoner by the enemy at Baltimore — “I was put on board the Royal Oak, 74, adm. Malcolm’s flag ship.  The night I was put on board, the body of Gen. Ross was brought into the same ship, put into a hogshead of rum, and is to be sent to Halifax fro interment.”–National Advocate, September 28, 1814

September 22:  In the House of Representatives, a motion by Mr. Johnson, of Kentucky — “Resolved, That a committee be appointed to enquire into the cause which led to the invasion of this city by the enemy, and his success in destroying the Public Buildings and Property; and that they have power to send for persons and papers.”–National Intelligencer, September 24, 1814

September 23:  United States’ sloop Wasp, at sea — “She has been three months and five days at sea, with a complement of 172 men, whose ages average only twenty-three years–the greatest part so green, that is, so unaccustomed to the sea, that they were sea-sick for a week.  In that time however she has destroyed twelve British merchant vessels and their cargoes . . . . we have whipped two of his Britannic Majesty’s sloops of war, and, comparatively speaking, have lost nothing.”–Providence Patriot, November 26, 1814

September 23:  From the Boston Patriot, from a letter from New-Orleans — “Some women who were in the Fort (Bowyer) fought like brave men.”–Kentucky Gazette, November 21, 1814

September 25:  In the neutral port of Fayal, British ships attack the United States’ privateer General Armstrong.  The British had 63 killed and 110 wounded.–National Advocate, February 6, 1815

September 26:  From Washington — “On the 26th ult. a committee was appointed in the H. of R. to enquire into the expediency of removing the seat of government for the present.”–Providence Patriot, October 8, 1814

September 27:  From New York — “We learn from a gentleman who left Plattsburg on Tuesday last, that General Macomb mustered the whole of the deserters from the British army that had arrived at Plattsburg at different times, to the number of between 3 and 400 men; that he had addressed them, purchased their arms, &c. dismissed them, and recommended them to retire into the interior of the country.  They were mostly English, Irish and Scotch.”–Providence Patriot, October 1, 1814

September 28:  From New Orleans — “a vessel had arrived from Vera Cruz, giving the important information, that the Royalists and Patriots had joined in a common cause against Ferdinand the 7th, in consequence of his tyrannical proceedings in putting down the Cortez, and declared the kingdom of Mexico independent.”–Shamrock, November 19, 1814

September 30:  From New Orleans — “There is little or no doubt, but Gen. Jackson will be in possession of Pensacola in 2 or 3 days.  He was transporting troops across the bay to Mobile for that purpose on the 26th inst.  His force is ample, having upwards of 1000 Indians attached to his army.  With Pensacola in our possession, and the point of Mobile well fortified, we have little to fear from the enemy in this quarter.”–Providence Patriot, October 29, 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