News of the US: Week One of July 1812

July 1:  “About 120 black troops arrived, it is said with a new Governor from Havanna, at Pensacola, about the beginning of July. . . .  There are now probably between four and five hundred troops at Pensacola.  The number at Mobile is, perhaps not more than 60 or 70.”–Raleigh Register, August 21, 1812

July 1:  From Augusta, Maine –“With agony of soul we are compelled–reluctantly compelled–to announce the melancholy and overwhelming tidings of a Declaration of WAR–a War which for some time past has been threatened–a War of which we have recently expressed our fears would involve our once happy and prosperous country to indescribable horror and bloodshed . . . Alas! alas! a dark day has commenced–Sorrow, gloom, and deep distress are visible in the countenances of our wisest and best citizens.”–Salem Gazette, July 10, 1812

July 1:  From Washington — “The house went into com. of the whole, Mr. Desha, in the chair, on the bill making further appropriations for the defence of the maritime frontiers of the U. States.”–Maryland Gazette, July 9, 1812

July 2:  From Washington — “The bill imposing an additional duty of 100 per cent. on all foreign imported goods has become a law.”–National Intelligencer, July 2, 1812

July 2:  Advertisement — “The sale of the Real Estate of Gen. Washington, which was to have taken place on the 29th ult. will take place on the premises at 12 o’clock on Monday the 6th Inst.”–National Intelligencer, July 2, 1812

July 2:  Taken from a Philadelphia paper — “The Louisiana Gazette of June 6 states that Red Thunder, the principal chief of the Sioux of the river St. Peter, on his way to Prairie du Chien, found six lodges of his nation dead by famine, forty-five other lodges of the same nation could not be found, and are supposed to have famished in the plains; spots were discovered where those starving wretches had pounded for food, such bones of the Buffaloe as had lain undisturbed in the prairie for years.”–Augusta Herald, July 16, 1812

July 3:  From Raleigh — “The Editors of the Register would here state, in justification of certain citizens of Raleigh who had the cannon discharged on hearing that Congress had declared War against Great-Britain, that the firing was not intended as an expression of joy that War was about to take place (as was insinuated last week by the Editors of the Minerva) but of approbation of the course taken by the General government.”–Raleigh Register, July 3, 1812

July 3:  From Halifax — “Having understood that the inhabitants of Easport have manifested a disposition to avoid hostilities with the subjects of Great Britain . . . we have respectively issued orders to the Naval and Land forces to respect the persons and property of the inhabitants of Eastport . . . .J. C. Sherbrooke, H. Sawyer”–New York Spectator, July 25, 1812

July 3:  In the House of Representatives – “Mr. Gholson presented the petition of col. Z. M. Pike, praying compensation for certain services rendered by him to the United. States.  Ordered to lie on the table.”—United States’ Gazette, July 9, 1812

July 4:  From New York — “On Saturday last, was celebrated, with unusual splendor, the 36th anniversary of American Independence.  As usual salutes were fired, and the Bells rung, at sunrise, mid-day, and sunset; and the Masters of vessels in port displayed their flags at mast head during the day.  The military force of our city never appeared to greater advantage, on any former occasion.”–New York Spectator, July 8, 1812

July 4:  Advertisement –“WASHINGTON THEATRE.  On Saturday Evening, July 4, 1812, Will be performed a favorite Comedy, in five acts. (never acted here,) called, HE WOULD BE A SOLDIER.”–National Intelligencer, July 4, 1812

July 4:  A toast given at Machias, Maine by Gen. John Cooper:  “A speedy peace with the only nation that stands between us and slavery.”–New York Herald, August 15, 1812

July 5:  From New York — “Preparations for telegraphic communications between the Narrows and the Navy-Yard, are making with all practicable expedition, by Captain Chauncey and the officers of government.  A mast and Yard were yesterday erected on Signal Hill, at Staten-Island, and the whole line will be completed immediately.”–Connecticut Mirror, July 6, 1812

July 5:  From New York:  “The frigate Essex, Capt. Porter ,having been completely repaired, sailed yesterday morning, with a fine westerly breeze.  On her fore top gallant mast was hoisted a white flag with these words, ‘A free trade and sailors’ rights.'”–National Intelligencer, July 8, 1812

July 6:  From Washington —“Mr. Clay (Speaker) after wishing the members a pleasant journey home, adjourned the house until the first Monday in November.”–Maryland Gazette,  July 16, 1812

July 6:  From Detroit, from an officer of the 4th Regiment — “I have the pleasure to announce to you my arrival (yesterday) at this place, after a long and excessively fatiguing march, the distance being over six hundred miles . . . There being a packet for this place, at the Miami of the Lake, in the river, to reduce the number of waggons, Gen. Hull ordered us to put our baggage on board to be sent round by water.  An express arrived the same night with the declaration of war, and to my great sorrow, on my arrival here, I learned the British at Malden had received it 24 hours before us, and captured the vessel with all our baggage.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, July 31, 1812

July 6:  From a letter from John Adams to Elkanah Watson –” To your allusion to the war, I have nothing to say, but that it is with surprise that I hear it pronounced, not only by Newspapers, but by persons in authority, ecclesiastical and civil, and political and military, that it is an unjust and unnecessary war; that the declaration of it was altogether unexpected, &c.  How is it possible that a rational, a social, or a mortal creature can say that the war is unjust, is to me utterly incomprehensible.  How it can be said to be unnecessary, is very mysterious.  I have thought it both just and necessary for five or six years.  How it can be said to be unexpected is another wonder.  I have expected it more than five and twenty years, and have had great reason to be thankful that it has been postponed for so long.  –Boston Patriot, Aug 1, 1812

July 7:  Department of State –“All British subjects within the United States are requested forthwith to report to the Marshals (or to the persons to be appointed by them) of the respective states or territories within which they may reside . . . .”--Scioto Gazette, August 1, 1812

July 7:  From a letter from Dr. James Reynolds, Detroit — “In order to hurry the march of the army to Detroit, the sick were put on board of a boat and schooner, with public property, and the greater part of the officers’ clothing.  I took command of the boat loaded with sick.  . . .  On the 3d, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon we arrived at Detroit, where I was received with open arms, and here I first heard of war being declared.”–Weekly Aurora, August 4, 1812

July 7:  From Chillicothe, by yesterday’s mails — “The fourth U, S. Reg. was escorted into camp by the Ohio Army, on the 10th [ult.].  A triumphal arch had previously erected by the troops in honor of the fourth regiment, which marched under the Arch; on the front of the Arch was painted in large letters. ‘TIPPICANOE–THE EAGLE–GLORY.”–Boston Patriot,  July 8, 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