News of the US: Week Four of March 1813

March 22:  From New Orleans — “We who are trading with the Spaniards have much to fear from their enemies, who are increasing daily.”  First are the Baratarians.  “Besides this enemy, the poor Spaniards have another to encounter in the American privateers who have received commissions from the insurgents or revolutionists in Carthagena; and who capture the property of the Loyal Spaniards.”–Columbian Centinel, May 8, 1813

March 22:  From Kaskaskia, from Illinois Governor Edwards — “A few days ago I transmitted to you important information relative to the British and Indians in the upper parts of this territory.  An express yesterday brought me information that eighteen pieces of cannon and a British officer had arrived at Prairie de Chien.”–Niles’ Weekly Register, May 1, 1813
March 23:  Letter from Kaskaskia — “The waters have been so high, the express with the mail could not proceed last week, nor cannot go on to-morrow.  The country is all a flood; and until the waters fall we cannot expect any mail to or from the eastward.  We have had no regular mail from there since about 2d Nov. last.  All has and is doing by expresses.”–Missouri Gazette, March 27, 1813March 22:  From the London Evening Star of a January date — “Our brave, but thoughtless seamen are decoyed, seduced, cajoled, and purchased into the service of America:  we admit that they at first enter into the Merchant service, but the transition to their men of war is a necessary consequence.  It is, in short, the interest of America to man her navy with British renegadoes–they are better seamen than her own, and they fight with desperation when they come in contact with their fellow countrymen.”–National Advocate, March 22, 1813

March 23:  From Sacket’s Harbor — “Some late accounts from the Westward, mentioned the capture of a British Spy, who had in his possession papers, giving an account of the disposition, and amount of our forces.  Since which, a letter from Albany says, ‘A Mr. Livingston has been hung at Sacket’s-Harbor, as a spy.'”–Salem Gazette, March 23, 1813

March 23:  From Salem — “The Brig Caravan, Captain Heard, from Calcutta, arrived at Salem on Tuesday, with a valuable cargo of piece goods, indigo, &c.  She left Calcutta on the 2nd of October, and Pernambuco, at which place she touched, on the 15th of February.”–New YorkSpectator, March 27, 1813

March 24:  From Sackett’s Harbor — “A Mr. Livingston, a native of Saratoga, has been hung at Sackett’s Harbor, as a spy.”–Baltimore Patriot, March 24, 1813

March 24:  From New Orleans — “The bishop of Carthagena [Venezuela] has arrived at New-Orleans.  He was compelled to leave Carthagena, as it was in the possession of the insurgents.”–Massachusetts Spy, March 24, 1813

March 24:  From Chatham, England, Nassau Prison Ship — “”Dear Brother–I am at present confined in this prison ship, and have no hopes of a speedy exchange.  It is positively my intention, if I do not get a chance in the next cartel, to enter on board of an English East Indiaman for one voyage.  I have been here already five months, and have had scarcely enough to satisfy the cravings of nature.  I can assure you we suffer a great deal; our poor countrymen are dying every day.   . . .  We have nothing allowed us but dry bread and water.”–National Advocate,May 22, 1813

March 25:  From Wilmington, Delaware — “I fear there will be blood shed at Lewistown.  By letters received this night, we are informed that communications have passed between our Governor and Admiral Beresford.  The latter insists on his demand, and says if it be not satisfied, he will endeavor to destroy Lewistown.”–New York Spectator, March 31, 1813

March 25:  From New York — “The United States sloop of war Hornet, Captain Lawrence, has just arrived at the Navy-Yard, from a cruize on the coast of Brazil.  On her return to the United States he fell in with, and engaged off Demerara, the British sloop of war PEACOCK, Captain Peake . . . . So destructive was the fire from the Hornet, that the enemy went down shortly after striking her flag.”–Maryland Gazette, April 1, 1813

March 25:  From Albany — “The report that a British Spy has been lately hung at Sacket’s Harbor, is going the rounds of all the papers–and the name of Livingston is given as the man–We deem it a duty due to the family of Livingston, and to the public at large to contradict this report, in the most pointed terms, and to state, that no British or other spy has been hung at Sacket’s Harbor, or at any other military post in this state.”–New York Herald, March 31, 1813

March 26:  From Gov. Edwards at Kaskaskia — “The Indians appear to be upon the frontier every where.  I have raised, and have in active service, eight volunteer companies from the local militia; notwithstanding which, the savages have committed murders witiin the bounds of every regiment in this territory.”–Gettysburg Adams Centinel, May 26, 1813

March 26:  From Boston — “Yesterday a solemn celebration of the signal victories of the Russian arms over the French took place at t he Chapel Church in Boston; after which, a splendid dinner was given to the Russian Consul at the Exchange Coffee House.”–Salem Gazette,March 26, 1813

March 26:  From Halifax — “A case containing twenty-one paintings and fifty two prints, shipped on board the Marquis De Someruelos by a Mr. J. A. Smith [Joseph Allen Smith], as a present to the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, was, on the petition of the hon. J. Black, restored by a decree of the judge of the court of vice-admiralty, a few days since . . . .”–Columbian,May 6, 1813

March 27:  From New York — “I have this moment learnt on the authority of a letter from Ogdensburgh, from the Post Master there, that the British have taken possession a second time of Ogdensburgh, and have issued a proclamation claiming jurisdiction of fifty miles of country adjoining that place and ordering all citizens within those limits to govern themselves accordingly.  The Post Office which was formerly kept at Ogdensburgh is removed to Cooperstown.”–Pittsburgh  Gazette, April 16, 1813

March 27:  From Sackett’s Harbor — “A person ‘well inclined to the British interest,’ as admiral Sawyer says, of the name of Livingston, was caught near Sackett’s Harbor on his way to the enemy, with plans of the fortifications, &c.  He was tried by a court martial and hung.”–Niles’ Weekly Register, March 27, 1813

March 27:  From St. Louis — “We have it from good authority, that it is the intention of the British to occupy immediately a part of the Illinois Territory, and that they have now at the portage of the Ouisconsin several cannon for a fort to be erected at Prairie du Chien.  This is a position fro whence considerable supplies can be drawn; it is said that an individual farmer of that place annually grows from 80 to 100 acres of wheat, and there are several horse-mills in the village.–Aurora, May 11, 1813

March 28:  From a Virginia volunteer at Zanesville, Ohio — “the best informed people in the army think that nothing decisive can be done before the next winter.  It will never answer to invade a country with militia; some will not cross the lines–others will not submit to any kind of subordination; and, in fact, they would all rather be at home, than courting fame on the embattled field.”–National Intelligencer, April 15, 1813

March 28:  From Norfolk — “A boat has this morning arrived from Hampton, with information that not one frigate is to be seen.  Information has just been received, that thirty-six of their men had escaped from them, and arrived safe at Hampton.”–Baltimore Patriot, April 2, 1813

March 29:  From Vincennes — “About eight days ago, the contractor started a boat of provisions from this place, for fort Harrison.  The boat was attacked yesterday about twelve o’clock, (about six miles from fort Harrison ) by a party of Indians, supposed to have been 140 in number.–Killed two and wounded eight.  The boat was compelled to retreat.”–Pittsburgh Mercury, April 15, 1813

March 29:  From New York — “A letter from the postmaster at Ogdensburg states, that the British have again taken that place, and have declared the country 50 miles this side of the lake theirs.  The inhabitants had abandoned the place, and many had gone to Cooper’s Town.  It was supposed another attempt would be made on Sackett’s Harbor.–Aurora, March 31, 1813

March 29:  From Charleston — “It is with pleasure we announce the appointment, by the President of the United States, of Major M. M. Noah, of this city, to be Consul at Tunis.  . . .  We presume he will take charge of the American affairs in the Mediterranean generally, during the absence of Mr. Lear, who has been driven from his post by the Dey of Algiers.”–Democratic Press,April 13, 1813

March 30:  From Norfolk –“On Friday last five English Sailors belonging to the Dragon and who had been put as a prize crew under the command of a midshipman on board a captured vessel took an opportunity while the officer was below, to make their escape and came ashore in Hampton.  On Sunday four others from the same ship made their escape under similar circumstances.  . . .  One of these men had been thirteen years at sea, and during that time had never set foot on land!”–Wilmington American Watchman, April 7, 1813

March 30: From London — “His Royal Highness the Prince Regent has been pleased . . . to cause it to be signified . . . to the Ministers of Friendly and Neutral powers residing at this Court, that the necessary measures have been taken by the command of his Royal Highness for the blockade of the ports and harbors of New York, Charleston, Port Royal, Savannah, and of the River Mississippi, in the United States of America . . . .”–Democratic Press, May 6, 1813

March 30:  From Buffalo — “last week, capt. Perry, of the U. States Navy, lately commanding at New-port, (R.I.) arrived in this village, on his way to Erie, Pa. to superintend the completing and fitting out a naval force at that place.  The captain we understand, will command the American force on lake Erie the ensuing summer.”–Knoxville Gazette, May 10, 1813

March 31:  News from San Antonio — “Last evening, arrived Mr. Roberts, [at Natchitoches] direct from St. Antonio, bearer of the glorious news that St. Antonio is in possession of the Republicans.  On the last day of March, a general battle was fought, which decided the fate of the Province.”–Richmond Enquirer, June 11, 1813

March 31: From Baltimore — “On Saturday the 1st Battalion of the 6th Regiment under the command of Major Tenant, and on Wednesday the 2d Battalion under Major Peehin, performed their tour of duty at Fort M’Henry, where they were reviewed by Maj. Gen. Smith.  . . .  Practice alone is wanting to make them the first and best of soldiers.”–Baltimore Patriot, April 2, 1813

March 31:  From London — “The detention of the Expedition for the coast of America, now in Plymouth, is reported to be for the purpose of concentrating and strengthening the squadron.  . . .  The battalion of Marines in Frankfort barracks, Plymouth, will embark, it is supposed, as soon as the other battalion arrives in the Sound.  The two battalions consist of 1600 picked men.”–American Daily Advertiser, May 6, 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