News of the US: First week of March 1813

March 1:  From Natchez, with extract of a letter from Nacogdoches  —  Yesterday arrived here Jose Maria Mora and Jose Ignatio Y. Barba of this place.  . . .   Those men, interrogated individually and separately, report that an engagement took place some days previous to their flight, in which governor Salcedo was defeated, and driven  into his entrenchments with great loss.  That he had come to a resolution of raising his camp [at La Badie[ and retiring to St. Antonio.  His troops are in the greatest distress for provisions, naked, have no tobacco and are much disunited.”–Richmond Enquirer, April 30, 1813

March 1:  From St. Louis — “Territory of Missouri General Orders, March 1.  The usual orders for the musters of the battalions in the spring, will not now be given.  The threatened invasion of our settlements by the northern indians requires arrangements of another character.  To repel and if possible chastise these inroads, if they should be attempted, the acting Commander in Chief orders . . . that the several militia companies throughout the territory do also muster for inspection . . . and thereafter hold themselves in constant preparation for the defence of the country.”==Missouri Gazette, March 6, 1813

March 1:  From Nantucket, from Mayhew Folger — Letter to the Lords of the Admiralty, concerning Folger’s visit to Pitcairn’s Island in 1808, and sending to them the azimuth compass that had belonged to the Bounty.–Weekly Aurora, June 11, 1816

March 2:  From Watertown, New York — “Capt. Forsyth and his little valiant army, since their defeat, passed through here on their way to Sackett’s Harbor.–They generally stated, that in the action at Ogdensburgh, capt. Forsyth had about 5 or 6 killed, several wounded and about 50 taken prisoners.  The loss of the British were estimated from 150 to 200 killed and a great many wounded.  The ordinance on the batteries was so skillfully directed that roads were frequently cut through solid columns of the enemy, which Forsyth’s riflemen were so advantageously concealed as to fire with effect nearly every shot.”–National Advocate, March 15, 1813

March 2:  From Lexington, Kentucky — “It will be recollected by the readers of the Kentucky Gazette, that Mr. Smith, its proprietor, became a volunteer in that gallant band of heroes which composed Capt. Hart’s company.  . . . he has been fortunate enough to escape the carnage of the last battle, and is expected to return home, in the course of a few days, to resume his editorial labors.”–Kentucky Gazette, March 2, 1813

March 2:  From a gentleman at New York — “I have just read with inexpressible regret the speech of Mr. Clay, (the Speaker) on the army bill–what a figure will it cut when translated into the languages of Europe!  With what exalted notions will it inspire those nations of the dignity of our legislature, and the politeness of our manners . . . –Hagers-Town Gazette, March 2, 1813

March 3:  This day signed into law, an Act — “To encourage the destruction of the armed vessels of war of the enemy.  . . .  That during the present war with great Britain it shall be lawful for any person or persons to burn, sink or destroy any British armed vessel of war, except vessels coming as cartels or flags of truce; and for that purpose to use torpedoes, submarine instruments, or any other destructive machine whatever.”–Missouri Gazette, May 1, 1813

March 3:  From Washington — “At 12 o’clock on the night of the 3d instant, expired, from its constitutional impotency, the Twelfth Congress of the United States.  It came into being, contaminated with follies and vices, the successive and abundant crop of six generations–and, as we fear, has transmitted them for more deadly fruit to its successors!”–Massachusetts Spy, March 10, 1813

March 4:  From Washington — “At 12 o’clock this day, James Madison, the President of the United States elect having attended at the Capitol for the purpose of taking the Oath of Office, delivered to the vast concourse of people assembled on the occasion the following speech.”–Maryland Gazette, March 11, 1813

March 4:  From Plattsburgh — “the 15th reg’t commanded by col. Pike, left the encampment at this place for the westward.  The detachment occupied about one hundred sleighs, with from five to seven men in each.  Part of a company of artillery, with two pieces of ordnance accompanied the detachment.  Their destination is supposed to be Ogdensburgh, or Sacket’s Harbor.”–Plattsburgh Republican, March 5, 1813

March 4:  From Savannah — “On the evening of the 22d ult. brigadier general Flournoy received an express from Camp Pinkney stating, that the volunteers sent against the Lotchway Seminole Indians had returned and had completely defeated them.  . . .  Mr. Wildear, who had a son murdered and scalped some months ago by these savages, went on the expedition, and found his son’s scalp in one of their houses.”–Democratic Press, March 22, 1813

March 5:  From Chillicothe — “Two gentlemen arrived in town last night from the army, and bring the important information that Gen. Harrison has gone on to Malden with 3,000 men for the purpose of destroying the Queen Charlotte, and other vessels there, some of which are said to be building.”–New York Spectator, March 20, 1813

March 5:  From Boston — “The rumour of a victory gained by gen. Harrison is undoubtedly without foundation.  He has not yet come within sight of an enemy, and at present there is but a slight probability that he ever will.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, March 5, 1813

March 5:  From Philadelphia — “A brilliant Naval Victory gained by the frigate Essex, capt. Porter, terminating in the capture and destruction of the British frigate Castor . . . .  The news reached Philadelphia on Friday evening on a stage way bill, from Chester, on which it was also said, the Essex had arrived in the Delaware.”–New York Spectator, March 10, 1813

March 5:  From Sackett’s Harbor — “This place has been for some time past and is now in a great uproar and confusion, owing to an expected attack from the British.  The women and children have all deserted the place, and the soldiers now occupy the houses.  Troops are pouring in hourly. This day we expect 1700 soldiers here, colonel Pike’s regiment and some volunteers from Albany.”–Democratic Press, March 17, 1813

March 6: From Montreal via Keene, N. H. — A Gentleman . . . declared to us that he read a handbill, just received from Montreal, . . .  which gave an unofficial account of the SURRENDER of  Gen. HARRISON and HIS ARMY to the British, amounting to three thousand men, near fort Malden.”–New York Spectator, March 13, 1813

March 6:  From Chili via Buenos Ayres — Royalist attack on Conception:  “Mr. Poinsett, the American consul general, had been preparing for a trip to Conception; in this case, had it been carried into effect, he would have fallen an unsuspecting sacrifice, together with the president of the Chili Junta.  The arrival of the U. S. frigate Essex at Valparaiso, on the 6th of March, had detained him.”–Boston Gazette, September 9, 1813

March 6:  From Sackett’s Harbor –“Our regiment the 15 th suffered much from the severity of the weather, on the march:  so much so, that two of our men were frozen to death and others rendered unfit for duty.   I shall long remember the fifth and sixth of March, as being the coldest days I have ever yet experienced.”—United States’ Gazette, April 10, 1813

March 7:  From Norfolk — “the Blockading Squadron had increased to 4 ships of the line, 6 frigates, 2 sloops of war, and several smaller vessels, and reinforcements were daily expected.  The English had been employed for several days in surveying the Bay, and anchoring buoys.”

March 7:  From Natchitoches –“An express arrived here yesterday from the Province of Texas, bringing a number of letters confirming the report of the death of Col. M’Gee.  He died of sickness at Labahia on the 6th of February.  The command of the Revolutionary army at Labadie, devolved on col. Samuel Kemper–Col. Reuben Ross is second in command.”–New York Herald, April 21, 1813

The Headliners Foundation appreciates and supports efforts to preserve our national journalistic legacy and suggests that Texans and others who love journalism and its rich history in this country consider donating to their state’s efforts to put these early newspapers online.  Contact your state library, historical society or university.  For a list of historic newspapers online, use this link: http://guides.library.upenn.

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