News of the US: Week Four of December 1812

The University of Texas has recently added to its Digital Repository, one 1893 issue of the Cherokee Telephone, of Tahlequah, Indian Territory, Oklahoma.

December 22:  From Chillicothe — “A very handsome company of U. S. volunteers, amounting to upwards of 100 men, arrived in this place on Tuesday last, from Petersburg, Va.–They are commanded by capt. McCray; and are all completely equipped.  On Thursday they partook of an elegant dinner at Mr. Buchannan’s hotel, prepared at the expence of the members of the legislature.  We understand they will leave town this day for the purpose of joining the army under Gen. Harrison.”–Scioto Supporter, December 26, 1812

December 22:  Editorial response to the defense of General Smyth of his not crossing into Canada – “All the papers from the west speak in the strongest language of indignation and contempt at the conduct of Gen. Smyth, commander of the army of the centre.  The nation is disgraced in its ‘generals’ and its rulers, almost beyond redemption.”—United States’ Gazette, December 22, 1812

December 22:  From Kaskaskia — “Just as I sat down to write a pretty heavy shock of Earthquake came on, upon which I ran out and found things moving mush as they did last winter at Cincinnati.”–New York Spectator, February 17, 1813

December 23:  From Washington — “The bill from the Senate to increase the navy of the U. S. was read a third time. . . .   Mr. Potter opposed the passage of the bill at considerable length.  Mr. Randolph moved to postpone the further consideration of the bill to tomorrow.  Motion lost.  The question on the passage of the bill was decided as follows:  Yeas 70, nays 56.  So the bill passed.”  Connecticut Mirror, January 4, 1813

December 23:  From Milledgeville — “A detachment of 300 men from the state of Tennessee, under the command of col. John Williams, are now on their way to Point Petre, in order to reinforce, and participate with the United States’ troops and Georgia militia now at that place, in any expedition which may be directed by the government of the United States against the enemy in that quarter, either Spanish or Indian.”--Aurora, January 14, 1813

December 23:  From the Petersburg, Virginia, volunteers at Chillicothe — “The ensign was dispatched to Gen. Harrison for orders–he is this day returned.   Our orders are, to march with every possible dispatch, and join him at Sandusky–where he is at this time.  He knew nothing of our coming; and mentioned, that had he known of our arrival here, he would have met us with pack horses, to expedite our march, and relieve us from a part of our fatigues.”–Baltimore Patriot,January 8, 1813

December 24:  From Chillicothe –“The subscriber will purchase Furs of every kind, rackooon, fox, wild-cat, rabbit, beaver, otter, mink, muskrat, &c. for which hats or cash will be given  . . . As usual, he has a supply of good HATS on hand, for which corn or oats will be taken.  SAMUEL McPHERRIN.”–Scioto Gazette, December 26, 1812

December 24:  From Albany — “The army at Buffalo is represented as in a most deplorable state–a fatal sickness is raging among the troops–and the inhabitants of the village of Buffalo are flying from its contagion.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, January 1, 1813

December 24:  From Augusta — “To-Morrow being Christmas Day, the new roman Catholic Church will be opened for Divine Service, and a dedication sermon preached at 11 o’clock by the Rev. Browne.  After which the Pews will be rented for one year, from the 1st January next.”–Augusta Herald, December 24, 1812

December 25:  From St. Louis — “In last weeks paper, we hastily noticed the murder of a man of the name of Fyke.  We since learn that objections has been made to the paragraph, as prejudging the case, and reflecting on the character of the deceased.  The editor positively denies any such intentions on his part; and he is sure that an enlightened reader will view the paragraph as merely admonitory.  In future he will pursue his business without noticing the reflections of censors, and hopes that his honest endeavors will insure the approbation of the admirers of a free and independent press.  We understand that a reward of 50 dollars, has been offered for Alexis Morin, the murderer of Fyke.”–Missouri Gazette, December 25, 1812

December 25:  From Boston — Jacob Perkins, multi-talented inventor, disputes Mr. Readhefer’s claim to a perpetual motion machine:  “We think this machine, as an invention, to do great credit to Mr. Readhefer; are satisfied that the same power will, by this mode of application, produce a given number of revolutions with less friction, than by any other mode ever invented; and believe that though it will not produce perpetual motion, it may be of great use in the science of horology.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, December 25, 1812

December 25:  From the London Evening Star == “Our maritime superiority is, in fact, part of the law of nations.  It has been the right of the conqueror, since men associated together in civilization, to give laws to the conquered; and is Great Britain to be driven from the proud eminence which the blood and treasures of her sons have attained for her among the nations, by a piece of striped bunting flying at the mast heads of a few fir built frigates, manned by a handful of bastards and outlaws?”–Plattsburgh Republican, December 25, 1812

December 26:  From Albany, from Governor Daniel Tompkins — “Dear Sir,–One hundred and thirty-two mittens and some socks, which you sent to me, as a compliment from certain young ladies of Blenheim, in Schoharie county, to the militia of that county in actual service, were duly received, and have been forwarded to them.”–Albany Gazette, December 31, 1812

December 27:  From New York — “The city corporation having met yesterday morning at the Mayor’s Office, and transacted some ordinary business, adjourned at 11 o’clock to the elegant and spacious Common Council Chamber, for the purpose of carrying into effect their late vote to present the freedom of the city to Capt. Hull in a gold box.”–Salem Gazette, January 1, 1812

December 27, 28:  From Natchitoches — “It is now ascertained that Don Bernardo’s expedition (the adventurers headed by colonel Magee) against the neighboring Spanish provinces has failed.  . . .  [they] are now shut up in Labadie, about 70 miles west of St. Antonio.  No doubt is entertained of their ultimate capture.”–Scioto Supporter, February 20, 1813

December 28:  From General Harrison  == “although it is not my wish to accept of the military appointment I have determined to resign the civil office; and accordingly request the President to receive this my resignation of the government of the Indiana Territory, and my wish not to be considered a candidate for re-appointment.”–Baltimore Patriot, January 19, 1813

December 28: News of St. Augustine — “On the 28th ult. about one hundred and fifty or sixty, officers included, were detached from our regiment, and together with a few regulars and eighteen patriot cavalry, placed under the command of cap. Woodruff of the U. S. riflemen for the purpose of reconnoitering St. Augustine . . . .  From the best information the force in St. Augustine consists of four hundred Spaniards and five hundred blacks.”–Aurora, January 12, 1813

December 28:  From Washington — “The bill to increase the Navy of the U. S. as sent from the senate, authorising the building of four 74 gun ships and six frigates, has passed the house of representatives, and only wants the signature of the president of the United States to become law.”–National Advocate, December 28, 1812

December 29:  From off Brazil — “On the 29th Dec. lat 13, 6, S. lon 38, 2. about 10 leagues from the coast of Brazil, the Constitution fell in with and captured H. B. M. frigate Java, of 49 guns, and manned with upwards of 400 men.  The action continued one hour and 55 minutes, in which time the Java was made a complete wreck, having her bowsprit, and every mast and spar shot out of her.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, February 19, 1813

December 29:  From New Orleans — “we are informed that the army of volunteers organized at Natchitoches, within the United States, far from meeting with a friendly reception at Tejas, have been defeated and cut to pieces.  Mr. P. S. Davenport, resident for more than thirty years at Nagadoches, a man very much attached to, and highly esteemed by the Spanish authorities, was dragged along with many other peaceable Spanish inhabitants by Magee and his troop  of miscreants; he followed them to Trinidad, and from thence to Spiritu Santo, about 40 leagues from St. Antonio de Bejar.  At Spiritu Santo he found the means, with all the Spaniards about him, amounting to near 350, of going over to St. Antonio, and having informed governor Salcedo of the situation and other particulars of the invading army, the governor came forth with a superior force, surprised them and cut to pieces this numerous band of freebooters.  We expect with impatient curiosity the particulars of this shameful affair.”–Charleston City Gazette, February 18, 1813

December 30:  Publication of letter denying perpetual motion by R. Adrain, Professor of Mathematics in Queen’s College, N. Jersey.–New York Herald, December 30, 1812

December 30:  Letter from the captain of a Charleston ship from Gibraltar — “Since writing you last, I have been taken from on board my ship, and am now a close confined prisoner, together with 21 other American captains, on board the prison ship in Gibraltar bay, with all our respective crews.–There is 22 American vessels brought in here as prizes; 13 of which sailed from America under protections or licenses [to carry flour to the British armies in Portugal and Spain] from Foster, the late British minister, and admiral Sawyer.”–Weekly Aurora, April 27, 1813

December 31:  From Chillicothe — “His excellency general Harrison, arrived in town on Tuesday evening last–The object of his visit, we understand, is to consult with gov. Meigs, on some business of importance!!”–New York Spectator, January 23, 1813

December 31:  From British Lieutenant Chads, on board U. S. Frigate Constitution — It is with deep regret that I write you, that his majesty’s ship Java is no more, after sustaining an action on the 29th inst. for several hours, with the American frigate Constitution, which resulted in the capture and ultimate destruction of H. M. ship.  Capt. Lambert being dangerously wounded in the height of the action, the melancholy task of writing the detail devolves on me.”–Democratic Press, June 17, 1813

December 31:   The Java, en route to Bombay, was this day blown up by the crew of theConstitution, “as she was so crippled as to render it impossible to bring her into port.”–National Intelligencer, February 23, 1813

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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