News of the US: Week Four of August 1812

Aug 22: A letter from General Wilkinson, dated New Orleans —  “On the 19th and 20th inst. we were visited at this place by a hurricane, which has left behind it a scene of desolation . . .  millions will not repair the damages; our barracks, hospital, store houses and magazines, have been unroofed, the wall of our barrack-yard prostrated, and our boats all destroyed.” —National Intelligencer, September 22, 1812

August 22:  From Warren, Ohio –“The Post-Rider from Cleveland to this place has this moment arrived with the information that Gen. Hull and his whole army are captured.”  From the Alexandria Gazette — “Our informant saw Gen. Clark in Washington, who informed he had seen the articles of the capitulation, and that Gen. Hull had surrendered with 2,200men, without firing a gun.”–Maryland Gazette, September 3, 1812

August 23:  From New Orleans — “We have had a gale of wind here which has blown all the shipping out of the water.  The U. S. brig Enterprise is high and dry on shore, and the Viper is almost to pieces.  The market-house has blown down, also the barracks for the soldiers.  Fort St. Philip was entirely swampt, and almost all the men drowned.”–National Intelligencer, September 22, 1812

August 23:  From Cincinnati — “Dreadful news has just arrived by express.–The British, on the 16th inst. captured Gen. Hull’s army in Detroit, without his firing a gun.  . . . All is confusion and bustle here.  Cincinnati has lost nearly 200, some of them the best citizens we had.”–New York Herald, September 9, 1812

August 24:  Excerpt from New Orleans:  “Our old military chief Gen. W_______ [Wilkinson] is as usual, up to his eyes in bustle and business, but I fear he is not without his perplexities.  With an enemy at our door–foreign and domestic–without enough of the necessary means of defence, and with the machinations of certain choice spirits of and about this place, how can he be otherwise than perplexed?”–Richmond Enquirer, September 25, 1812

August 24:  From Boston — “The Feast of Squantum was celebrated, on Monday last, with its accustomed hilarity.  It is supposed there were from 500 to 600 citizens, from town and country, present.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, August 28, 1812

August 24:  From Portland – “This morning the Teazer herself came into Portland.  The Teazer has taken during her last cruise, besides the Peter Waldo and Venus, a British ship of 500 tons, called the Osborne, mounting ten 18 pound carronades, and manned with 25 men . . .  The action between them continued for six hours:  fortunately there were none killed or badly wounded on either side.”—Raleigh Register, September 11, 1812

August 25:  “Extract to a gentleman in Baltimore, dated Natchez, Aug. 25:  Latest news from the Spanish country, informs of the revolutionists being in possession of Nacogdoches.  The Spanish commandant had escaped with the cash, his men deserting him.  He will no doubt be overtaken and captured, as mules when packed cannot travel fast.”–National Intelligencer, September 17, 1812

August 25:  Head-Quarters, Lewistown , NY  —  Having received from the British a paper “containing the British official account of the surrender of gen. Hull,” I send a new express a few miles to overtake the other.  “P. S. Sun down.–An occurrence has brought the express back again–he waits a moment–I only have to add that gen. Van Renesselaer’s marquee is this moment full of officers who surrendered with Hull–on parole, this moment from Fort George.  I write without light–read it and sigh for our disgraced country.”–Scioto Supporter, September 19, 1812

August 25:  “The brig Edwin, of this port, Capt. George C. Smith, sailed from Malta the 5th August last, for Salem, and on the 25th was captured by the Algerines, and carried to Algiers.  . . .  Capt. Smith was stripped of every thing, and put to hard labor on the mole, but was released from Slavery by the Swedish consul . . . .”–American Daily Advertiser, January 26, 1813

August 26:  From Chillicothe, Ohio —“DETROIT IS TAKEN!!  Our brave Volunteers and the Heroes of Tippecanoe, are prisoners of War.  Captain Wm. Keys of the first company of Chillicothe volunteers, has just arrived in town from Detroit, and confirms the intelligence, that Hull has shamefully, ingloriously, and disgracefully surrendered to the British and Indians.”–National Intelligencer, September 8, 1812

August 26:  From Nashville — “If Detroit, contrary to every human reason & duty, has fallen, something like treason is afloat somewhere there:  the army it contained was brave.”  Also from Nashville — “Last Thursday was observed as a day of humiliation in Nashville–stores, &c. were all shut up; and an elegant, impressive and truly patriotic discourse was delivered by the Revd. Mr. Blackburn, to a very numerous assembly.”–Nashville Clarion

August 27:  From Albany — “Yesterday sailed from this city for N. York in the Hare, Capt. Olmsted, and in the Gold Hunter, Capt. Keeler, his Excellency the Governor and suite, as commander in chief of the Militia, with Capt. Walker’s company of Artillery, and Capt.  Bulkley’s company, called ‘The Albany Volunteers,’ ordered for the defence of the New York station.”–Salem Gazette, September 14, 1812

August 27:  From Boston — “The anniversary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society will be celebrated at Cambridge, on Thursday, the 27th inst.”–Boston Patriot, August 22, 1812

August 28:  From Pittsburg — Col. Cass of the Ohio volunteers, has just arrived in town, direct from fort Detroit, on his way to the City of Washington.  He confirms the accounts of the deplorable and disgraceful surrender at Detroit by Hull.”–Scioto Supporter, September 5, 1812

August 28:  From Washington — “An express arrived at the General Post Office about 2 o’clock, bringing the news of the capture of Gen. Hull and his whole army.  . . .  It appears by the articles of capitulation that they (the Americans) agreed also to include the Militia of Ohio, which were on their way to join them in the articles.”–Boston Patriot, September 5, 1812

August 28:  From Salem — “The Rev. Mr. Gloucester, regular pastor of the African Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, a member of the Presbytery, and well recommended by the principal Clergy of that city, will preach THIS EVENING, at the Tabernacle, to the AFRICANS of this town; who are particularly invited to attend and hear a very respectable preacher of their own colour.  The whole of the galleries, excepting the singing seats, will be assigned to them.”–Salem Gazette, August 28, 1812

August 29:  From Cincinnati — “Wm. Henry Harrison, in consequence of the united voice of the citizens of Kentucky, expressed by deputies and petitions, from every part of the state, requesting the governor to dispense with all formalities, has been appointed a major-general, and has taken the command of the north western army.”–Plattsburgh Republican, September 25, 1812

August 29:  An Advertisement — “ELOPED from my bed and board, my wife Mary Jeffers, on the 25th inst. without any cause.  This is to give notice to the public not to trust her on my account, as I am determined not to pay any debts of her contracting after this date.  MATTHIAS JEFFERS.”–National Intelligencer, August 29, 1812

August 29:  From Charleston –Last evening arrived at this port the privateer schooner Eagle, capt. Beauleu, of one gun and 42 men, after a cruise of 35 days from New-York.  On the 17th inst. in lat. 3, long. 65, the Eagle fell in with and engaged Grenada, capt. Dutchman, of 11 guns, and the British schooner Shaddock, also commanded by a capt. Dutchman, brother to the commander of the ship–and after an action of an hour and an half, succeeded in capturing both of them.”–National Intelligencer, September 8, 1812

August 30:  From Boston — “The United States frigate Constitution, Capt. Hull, anchored yesterday in the outer harbour, from a short cruise, during which she fell in with the English frigate Guerriere, which she captured, after a short but severe action.”–Maryland Gazette, September 5, 1812

August 30:  Letter from Isaac Hull, on board the Constitution, to the Secretary of the Navy:  “After informing you that so fine a ship as the Guerriere, commanded by an able and experienced officer, had been totally dismasted, and otherwise cut to pieces so as to make her not worth towing into port, in the short space of thirty minutes, you can have no doubt of the gallantry and good conduct of the officers and ship’s company I have the honor to command . . . .”– Raleigh Register, September 18, 1812

August 31:  From New York — Arrived, “The British brig Eliza, Sullivan, 48 days from St. Bartholomews, with 160 puncheons & 20 hhds rum, a prize to the privateer Marengo, of this port, captured on the first of August in lat. 32 long. 51, 55.   The next day heard a cannonading, supposed to be an engagement between the Marengo and a letter of marque.  The Marengo had also captured the brigs Lady Prevost, and Lady Sherbrooke, the latter arrived here.”– National Intelligencer, September 8, 1812

August 31:  From New Orleans —  “Gen. Wilkinson has gone with reinforcements to Fort Plaquemine.  The volunteer militia are to do duty in their absence, under a militia Colonel, and are not to be marched out of the city limits, unless an enemy is actually advancing to attack the city.”–Columbian Centinel, October 7, 1812

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