News of the US: Week two of August 1812

August 8:  Letter from Detroit:  “The alarming prospect before us you can have no idea of.  Horror and dismay has given to every countenance the most gloomy appearance.  But a few days ago we landed triumphantly on the shores of our enemy–and now we have precipitately fled, under cover of the night to Detroit.”–Raleigh Register, September 4, 1812

August 8:  From Savannah –“The British have converted a Spanish vessel at Bermuda into a prison ship and have already immured in its dungeons a number of American seamen.”–National Intelligencer, August  20, 1812

August 8:  From Chillicothe — On the 8th, Lieut. Col. Miller of the U. S. army, was detached with 650 men, part regulars of the 4th regiment, and part Ohio volunteers, to open the communication between the river Raisin and Detroit.  . . . On the 10th, he was about to proceed on his march to the river Raisin, when he received orders from Hull to return to Detroit.”–Boston  Patriot, September 5, 1812

August 9:  From Lansingburgh, NY  — “Col. Bane, adjutant-general of the British army in Canada, passed thro’ this village on Saturday afternoon, for Gen. Dearborne’s head-quarters, at Greenbush. . . . They returned on Sunday, at noon, when Major Clark informed a gentleman of the village, that Col. Bane was the bearer of a proposition from Gov. Provost to Gen. Dearborne, for a suspension of hostilities for sixty days.”–New York Herald, August 15, 1812

August 9:  From Detroit — “On the 9th inst. col. Miller, with 60 troops under his command, had a hard battle, about 18 miles from this place.  The British and Indians were defeated, with considerable loss.  We have taken a great number of Indian scalps, with a number of prisoners.  Our army had 14 killed and 40 wounded”.–Weekly Aurora,  September 1, 1812

August 9:  From Natchitoches — “General Adair is still spoken of as commander in chief of the Volunteers from the States; but says he will not act unless authorised by government.  There are 140 troops on the Sabine daily augmenting, commanded by lieutenant Magee late of the U. S. Army–called here Colonel.”–Richmond Enquirer, September 19, 1812

August 10:  From Trenton — “The Legislature of this state met on Tuesday and adjourned on Friday last about noon.  During their sitting an act was passed authorising the governor to draw on the United States’ military Store-keeper at New York for one thousand stand of arms . . . .  These arms, &c. are to be deposited at such place or places as the Government may direct, and delivered by his order to the militia when called into actual service.”– National Intelligencer, August 22, 1812

August 10:  From the camp before St. Augustine — “We are encamped about 2 miles from the city of St. Augustine.  The Spaniards have about 1000 men in that place.  We are frequently aroused from our slumbers by the alarm guns of the picket guard when the nights are dark but this signifies little, as we are not afraid of the Dons, although much inferior to them in number.”–Nashville Clarion, September 30, 1812

August 11:  “A letter from Boston states, that the privateer ship Catharine of 18 guns, belonging to William Gray, Esq. of Boston, has captured his Britannic majesty’s brig Plumper.”–National Intelligencer, August 11, 1812

August 11:  From General Hull at Detroit —  “The fall of Michilimackinac, the tardy operations of our army at Niagara, and almost all the Indians having become hostile, have totally changed the prospects of this army.  My communication is almost entirely cut off.  There are but small quantities of provisions, and the most fatal consequences must ensue, unless the communication is soon opened and very strong reinforcements arrive.”—Raleigh Register, September 4, 1812

August 12:  From Catskill — “We understand the light infantry and artillery companies of this village, have received orders to be in readiness to march for New York in a few days.”–National Intelligencer, August 22, 1812

August 12:  From New York – “Arrived here yesterday through the sound, the English brig Lady Sherbrooke, James Wilson, prize-master, a prize to the Marengo privateer of this port.  . . .  She is the first prize that has been brought in here since the war.”–-United States’ Gazette, August 17, 1812

August 13:  Extract of a letter from Captain David Porter–“I have the honour to inform you that on the 13th his Britannic majesty’s sloop of war Alert, capt. T. L. O. Laugharn, ran down on our weather quarter; gave three cheers, and commenced an action (if so trifling a skirmish deserves the name) and after 1 minutes firing struck her color, with 7 feet water in her hold, much cut to pieces, and three men wounded.”–Nashville Clarion, September 30, 1812

August 13:  From Camden, S.C.– “The Governor of this state has called a special meeting of the Legislature, to take place on Monday the 224th inst.  The principal object of this extra session we understand to be to provide more effectually for the defence of Charleston and to arrange the election districts throughout the state.”–National Intelligencer, September 1, 1812

August 13:  From Natchez – “News has just reached here, that a party of the royalists of the province of Texas, who were sent to the Sabine river to dispute the passage of the Americans into their country, received them with ‘Viva la American,’ and joined their standard with joyous acclamations . . .” — United States’ Gazette, September 10, 1812

August 14:  Latest from Halifax — “Captain Williams informs us, that the Letter of Marque ship Catherine, belonging to Wm. Gray, Esq. of Boston, was captured, and sent into Halifax, by the British brig of war, Colibri,  after a running fight of several hours.  The Catherine was very much shattered, but lost none of her men.  The Colibri had one man killed, and 7 or 8 injured.”–National Intelligencer, August 18, 1812

August 14:  From New York – “The hulk of a ship of about 200 tons was anchored on Friday the 14th inst. between the islands, and fired at by one of the Gun Boats, by the garrison in Castle Williams, and by detachments from the City Artillery on the Battery, and in the South Fort.—The distance of the object, was about three quarters of a mile.  Three hundred and twenty-two shots were fired, of which two hundred and fifty-three took effect, and sixty-nine were unsuccessful.”—Shamrock, August 29, 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