News of the US: Week Four of June 1812

June 21:  “The frigates President, Commodore Rodgers, the Congress, United States, and sloops of war Hornet and Argus, went to sea on Sunday afternoon.”–New York Spectator, June 24, 1812

June 21:  Letter from Frederick Town to the Baltimore Whig —  “As war is declared, and hostilities must soon commence, I think it necessary for public information to state, for your paper, the condition and order of the muskets furnished the greater part of the troops in service.  At this place, we have several hundred stand of arms, sent from the factory at Springfield.  . .  .  I find them very indifferent.  The barrels uneven, not of the same thickness, and very flawy; the locks badly finished, the pans particularly soft, the main springs rough, stiff, and at the same time very brittle . . . .”–Weekly Aurora, July 7, 1812

June 21:  Letter from St. Simon–“There has been some skirmishing before St. Augustine, in which there has been eight or nine lives lost on each side.  It is also said, that the Indians have come down, and driven off a number of cattle and horses belonging to the Patriots.  Report says, that four vessels are daily expected at St. Augustine, from Porto Rico, with troops.”–New York Spectator, July 11, 1812

June 22:  “A letter received by a gentleman in this place from Baltimore, states that a large mob collected in that city on the night of the 22d ult. and completely demolished the house and Printing office of the Editors of the Baltimore Federal Republican [an anti-war paper].”–Scioto Supporter, July 4, 1812

June 22:  A Prisoner of War — “The Baltimore papers state that Captain Wilkinson of the Marines belonging to the [British] Belvidere frigate, was recognized and taken prisoner as he was on his way from Norfolk to Hampton with the declaration of war in his pocket.  The frigate was said to be off the Capes.”–New York Spectator, July 1, 1812

June 23:  From Boston, June 24  –“Yesterday on the promulgation of the Declaration of War, the feelings of the commercial part of the town were immediately expressed by all the vessels hoisting their colours half-mast–with the exception of four coasting vessels.–Scioto Gazette, July 11, 1812

June 23:  Encounter between the  U. S. President and HBM BelvideraBelvidera escapes with damage.–Connecticut Mirror, July 13, 1812

June 23:  From Col. Cass’s regiment, Camp Necessity, Ohio — ‘Our camp was fortified last night by falling trees all around.  To-day a soldier of the 4th [Boyd’s] regiment was fired on by an Indian some distance from the camp.  . . .  To-day the men are building a blockhouse–a company of men will be left to guard it.  To-morrow morning the army will march.”–Plattsburgh Republican, August 7, 1812

June 24:  From Niagara, June 28 — “The news of War reached the British (Niagara) Fort-George, the 24th, by express, two days before it was received at our military station.  . . .  The news of war was very unwelcome on both sides the river.  They have been for six years in habits of friendly intercourse, connected by marriages and various relationships.” —Scioto Gazette, August 1, 1812

June 24:  From Boston — “The first fruits of war will probably be on the ocean.  The British have on the Halifax, Newfoundland and West India stations, three sail of the line, twenty-one frigates, nineteen sloops of war, and eighteen smaller vessels–making a total of  61 armed vessels.”–New York Spectator, June 17, 1812

June 24:  From Providence – “On Wednesday evening last the President’s Proclamation was received in this town.  The bells of the several houses of worship tolled during the greater part of yesterday, the shops and stores were generally shut, and the flags of the shipping at the wharves, as well as that on the Great Bridge, were displayed at half-mast.  Every thing wore the aspect of mourning, expressing the feelings of our citizens upon the great national calamity which has befallen us.”–New York Spectator, July 4, 1812

June 25:  From Baltimore — “Preparations for privateering are progressing with activity in this port.  In a few days, we believe, several elegant, valuable and fast-sailing schooners will be ready for sea.”–Scioto Spectator, July 11, 1812

June 25:  Extract of a letter from Burlington, Vermont — “We had yesterday the alarming intelligence that a Declaration of war had passed the Senate.  What will become of us!  I tremble for the fate of our country, for that of my friends and my own family.  I may be dragged from my wife and children to engage in this hopeless contest.” –New York Spectator, July 11, 1812

June 25:  From New York –“We learn with pleasure that there is now erecting, by order of government, a line of Telegraphs between the Highlands, in N. Jersey, and our Navy Yard.”—United States’ Gazette,  June 29, 1812

June 26:  From Boston, an editorial on the announced war with England — “A happy, a brave, a virtuous people, by what fatality, by what spell, by what unhallowed machination, or rather, by what vindictive judgment, have we become engaged in a common cause with that outcast from all good, that enemy of his species, that grand disturber of the world’s peace, that arch-fiend, Napoleon Bonaparte.  Yes, it is true, we are to draw the sword against what remains in this world of patriotism, of liberty, and of religion.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, June 26, 1812

June 26:  From Columbia, S.C. — “About 3 o’clock on Friday morning last, an express arrived in this town in five days from the city of Washington, on his way to New-Orleans, who furnished us with the all important intelligence of a DECLARATION of WAR by the U. States against G. Britain and her dependencies . . . .”–National Intelligencer, July 25, 1812

June 27:  From Washington — “Two important decisions have been made in the House of Representatives to-day; the one a refusal to agree to any repeal or modification of the non-importation–the other, a postponement until the next session of the bills for laying the War-Taxes.”–National Intelligencer, June 27, 1812

June 27:  Washington Theatre — “On Saturday Evening, June 27, 1812, will be presented the Tragedy of ROMEO & JULIET, (written by Shakespeare.)”--National Intelligencer, June 27, 1812

June 28:  From Canandaigua, New York — “An Express reached town yesterday morning, which left the lines Sunday evening at 5 o’clock, with information, that the British forces were assembling in considerable numbers near the river, and that their movements indicated a preparation to cross to the American shore.  In consequence, Maj. Mullahy, commanding officer at this place, immediately prepared his troops, about 200, and marched last evening for the frontiers.”–New York Herald, July 11, 1812

June 29:  This day was “fixed upon by the late President of the Orleans Convention, Mr. Poydras, for the election of a Governor of the new State of Louisiana, fourteen Senators & twenty-five Representatives to  the General Assembly.”–Raleigh Register, July 10, 1812

June 29:  From Buffalo — “I have this day been in Council with the principal Chiefs and Warriors of the Six Nations of Indians, and I find them, as heretofore, determined to remain at PEACE with the United States.  . . .  Erastus Granger, Indian Agent.”-New York Spectator, July 18, 1812

June 30:  From Pittsburgh — General Hull, with 1500 men “reached the rapids of the Miami of  the Lake about the last of June.   . . .  What does the general do but put on board a vessel there, all the baggage of the army, his own baggage, his hospital stores, an officer of the 4th regiment and 30 men, with the officer’s wives, &c. and the vessel sailed for Detroit, while the army had but about 70 miles to march.  Unfortunately the British had the declaration of war several days before it reached Detroit . . . and at Fort Malden, mouth of Detroit River, she was captured–the next day, the ladies were very politely sent across to Detroit in a flag boat, the officer, a prisoner, however, was the husband of one of them.”–Connecticut Mirror, August 3, 1812

June 30:  From Washington — “It is said that the unfortunate Burr has arrived in Newburyport from France, and is on his way thence to N. York.”–National Intelligencer, June 30, 1812

June 30:  From Baltimore — “Being threatened, one of the wealthiest and most useful importing merchants of this place has removed all his goods into a public store house.  He is now preparing to leave the city, having made arrangements to remove to Philadelphia.  Other importers of British goods have been threatened in the same way and are terrified.”–Boston Weekly Gazette, July 17 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