News of the US: Week Four of May 1813

May 21:  From Wilmington –“Very recent accounts from Lewistown, state, there were three or four frigates and one sloop of war inside the Capes, and two large vessels, supposed to be frigates, outside, together with barges, &c.  So that this squadron is greater now than it has been at any time since the commencement of the blockade of the Delaware.  We hope the people will be prepared for any attack the enemy make.”–New York Spectator, May 26, 1813

May 21:  From Sacket’s Harbor — “It was first taken possession of, by purchase by Mr. Sacket, of Jamaica, Long Island, in 1799.  . . .  The village of Sacket’s harbour now contains a number of large and elegant built houses, and it is settling so fast that half-acre house lots have sold from 12 to 1500 dollars, and since it has become a military post, for twice that sum.”–Raleigh Register, May 21, 1813

May 21:  From Halifax — “Arrived an American brig from Portland, for Havanna, prize to the Curlew; the American privateers Montgomery, and Julian; the brig Diomede from Manilla for Boston; and a schr. all prizes to  the Nymphe frigate.  Also arrived the American privateer Cossack.”–American Daily Advertiser, June 16, 1813

May 22:  From St. Louis — “As we have had no papers or letters from the east or south for several weeks past, we remain in perfect ignorance as to the progress of Harrison’s army.”–Missouri Gazette, May 22, 1813

May 22:  From the Philadelphia Aurora —  Men imprisoned at Bermuda, boarded a  British schooner and sailed her to the United States, making their way to Philadelphia.  Once out to sea, “we found it necessary to have a form of order on board; therefore Samuel G. Parker was unanimously elected master . . . .”–Boston Patriot, May 22, 1813

May 22:  From the Albany Argus — “On Saturday last arrived here from Montreal, where he had been buried alive 33 days in a pestiferous dungeon, Dr. M’Keehan, of the Ohio Militia, who was made prisoner in January last, while bearing a flag of truce to the enemy!–Democratic Press, May 29, 1813

May 23:  From New Bedford — “A brig under Swedish colors, from St. Barts, for Portland, came to anchor yesterday afternoon, off Holmes’ Hole, landed a number of American prisoners, who had been put on board her from La Hogue, 74 . . . .  Our informant says they were treated very unhandsomely on board La Hogue, plundered of quadrants, books, clothes, &c.”–Boston Gazette, May 27, 1813

May 23:  Latest from England — “The exchange of prisoners between this country and England, has been entirely suspended, in consequence of the demand by our government that British subjects naturalised in the U. States should be exchanged against British seamen.”–Democratic Press, May  28, 1813

May 23:  From Augusta — “Mr. Fromentin, a Senator in Congress from Louisiana, arrived here last evening on his way to Washington.  Mr. Fromentin travelled here through the Creek nation without interruption.  . . . At the house of Manac, a chief of considerable property and influence, a number of runners from the North Western Indians were constantly assembled, and were daily going and returning from the seat of war, and they have much earlier information of events in that quarter than their white neighbors.”–National Advocate, June 11, 1813

May 24:  Letter of General Dearborn, from Niagara — “General Sheaffe’s baggage and papers fell into my hands; the papers are a valuable acquisition  A SCALP was found in the Executive andLegislative Council Chamber, [at York] suspended near the Speaker’s chair, in company with the mace, &c.”–Charleston City Gazette, May 24, 1813

May 24:  This day fixed for the assemblage of the Thirteenth Congress — “Since the last session of Congress, the interior of the Hall of Representatives has been so arranged as to admit on its floor the additional Representatives, who came in under the last census . . . .”–Charleston City Gazette, May 31, 1813

May 25:  The President’s Message to Congress summarized occurrences since their dissolution, including Russia’s offer of mediation “as the common friend of the United States and G. Britain, for the purpose of facilitating a peace between them.”–Maryland Gazette, May 27, 1813

May 25:  From New York — “Sailed from Newport last week, the Yankee, of 19 guns and 200 men, and Blockade, of 15 guns, both belonging to Mr. D’Wolf, of Bristol—who has on the stocks a ship for privateering to carry 32 guns.  [The Yankee had the remarkable luck on her last cruise, to capture seven prizes and get them all in safe.]”–Charleston City Gazette, June 8, 1813

May 26:  From the Boston Patriot, from John Quincy Adams, in Russia — Of Great Britain, “She blockades our coast, and is resolved to crush us instantly upon the ocean.  We must sink without a struggle under her hands or we must have a navy.  .  . .  I am now writing you with Fahrenheit’s thermometer at 30 degrees below 0 . . . .  If the winter in the western hemisphere has been like this God bless the companions in arms of generals Dearborn and Harrison.”–Aurora, May 26, 1813

Stephen Decatur

May 26:  From New-London — “Yesterday morning Com. Decatur, with his squadron attempted to get to sea, but, discovered two 74 gun ships and a frigate near Montaug, he returned into port.  The Ramilies and Orpheus, followed our ships as far as Gull-Island, when they bore away, and came to anchor near Port-Pond Bay.  The militia are ordered out, and furnaces for heating shot are preparing both sides of the harbour for any emergency.”–New York Spectator, June 5, 1813

May 26:  From New York — “Gov. Tompkins is re-elected Governor of New-York; notwithstanding which, the Friends of Peace have carried a majority in the lower branch of the Legislature.”–The Gettysburg Adams Centinel, May 26, 1813

May 27:  From Morgan Lewis –“Fort George and its dependencies are ours.  The enemy, beaten at all points, has blown up his magazine and retired.  . . . Our loss is trifling, perhaps not more than 20 killed, and twice that number wounded.  The enemy has left in the hospital 124, and I sent several on board the fleet.  We have also made about 100 prisoners of the regular forces.”–Harrisburgh Chronicle,  June 21, 1813

May 27:  From Commodore Decatur’s squadron — “the mainmast of the United States frigate was struck with lightening, which tore away the commodore’s broad pendant and brought it down on deck,, passed into one of the portholes, down the after hatchway, through the ward room into the Doctor’s room, put out his candle, tore up his bed, and then passed between the skin and ceiling of the ship, and tore up about 20 nails of her copper at water’s edge.”–Harrisburgh Chronicle, June 7, 1813

May 27:  From St. Francisville, Louisiana — “Arrived in this village, yesterday morning, colonel Samuel Kemper, commander of the American volunteers in the service  of the Mexican republic, the invincible hero of Labahia and St. Antonio.  It is understood that he is on furlough, and intends to return to the army of the republic as soon as he can conveniently arrange his affairs.”--Aurora, June 29, 1813

May 28:  “A Letter from Boston dated Friday, states that Captain Lawrence of the Chesapeake having received a challenge from Commodore Brooke commanding the Shannon, had accepted it, on the single condition that the Commodore should pledge his honor that he would be alone.  The condition is said to have been accepted and the Frigate was to sail on Sunday.  No American in principle can doubt that the issue will be honorable to the U. States.”–Democratic Press, June 1, 1813

May 28:  From Niagara from Commodore Chauncey — “Deeming the command of Lake Erie of primary importance, I dispatched Capt Perry yesterday with 55 seamen to Black Rock, to take the five vessels there to Erie as soon as possible . . .  Mr. Eckford has, with uncommon exertions, prepared these vessels for service since the capture of York.  . . .  The two brigs built at Erie have been launched.”–Charleston City Gazette, June 16, 1813

May 28:  From U.S. Agent for Vaccination, Baltimore — “The undersigned . . . hereby gives Notice, that genuine Vaccine Matter will be furnished to any physician or other citizen of the U. States who may apply to him for it.  . . .  such directions, &c. how to use, will be furnished with the Matter, as will enable any discreet person, who can read and write, to secure his own family from the small pox, with certainty, without any trouble, danger, or expense.”–Salem Gazette, May 28, 1813

May 29:  From Sackett’s Harbor, from Brigadier-General Jacob Brown – “We were attacked at the dawn of this day, by a British regular force, of at least nine hundred men, most probably 1200.—They made good their landing at Horse Island.  The enemy’s fleet consisted of two ships and four schooners, and thirty large open boats.  We were completely victorious.”—Shamrock, June 5, 1813

May 29:  From Boston — “The privateer ship Invincible Napoleon, of 16 guns, arrived at Portland on Wednesday night last, prize to the privateer schr. Young Teazer, Johnson, of New York, of 5 guns, captured off Halifax, without resistance.  The fate of this ship is truly extraordinary.  She was originally a French privateer from Bayonne, and after capturing 8 prizes, was taken by the British brig of war Mutine, after a warm action.   A few days after she was fallen in with by the Alexander of this port and the British prize crew surrendered her without resistance.  She had arrived within sight of Salem, when she was chased ashore at Cape Ann by the Shannon and Tenedos frigates, succeeded in getting her off, and ordered her for Halifax and again within a short distance of her port of destination, she is compelled to change masters for the fifth time, and is at last safely moored in an American port.”–Missouri Gazette, July 10, 1813

May 29:  From Plymouth, England, on the capture of the Revenge, American schooner — “An American seaman taken in the above schr. on finding he was going to Mill Prison, discovered himself to be a woman, and that she had worn men’s clothes these three years.  . . .  She has a comely face, sunburnt as well as her hands, and appeared, while in men’s clothes, a decent, well looking young man.”–American Daily Advertiser, July 15, 1813

May 30:  British Account of the Attack on Sackett’s Harbor — “His Excellency the commander of the forces considers it an act of justice due to the detachment placed under the command of col. Baynes, to express his entire approbation of their conduct in the recent attack made upon Sackett’s harbor, at day break on the morning of the 29th inst.  The regularity and patient firmness exhibited by the troops, under circumstances of peculiar privation and fatigue, have been exceeded only by the intrepid gallantry in action, forcing a passage at the point of the bayonet, through a thickly wooded country, affording strong positions to the enemy, but not affording a single spot of cleared ground favorable for the operations of the troops.”–Salem Gazette, June 22, 1813

May 30:  For the Baltimore Whig, from Newark, Canada — “Our friends hereabouts are greatly relieved by our visit–they had been terribly persecuted by the Scotch myrmidons of England.  . . .  This is a most charming country; but its uncertain destiny, together with the vexations the farmers endured by being dragged out in the militia, has left the fields in a great measure uncultivated.”–National Intelligencer, June 15, 1813

May 30:  From a Petersburg, Virginia, volunteer at Fort Meigs, Ohio:  “Yesterday arrived in camp, four Americans who formerly lived at Detroit.  They took a boat from the wharf and made their escape.  They informed us that the Indians are holding councils among themselves separate from the British.  . . .  They are very much dissatisfied and discouraged at their disappointment in not taking Fort Meigs.”–Harrisburgh Chronicle, June 28, 1813

May 31: From Eagle-Works, N.J.  — “Yesterday we were alarmed by the appearance of the enemy who landed about noon.  There were two barges, having about 60 men.  . . .  Twenty of our militia drove them from the shore.  . . .  They have the advantage by getting out of the reach of our musket shot, and playing upon us with a six pounder . . . .  At every discharge of their six pounder our men gave three cheers.”–Gettysburg Adams Centinel, June 16, 1813

May 31:  From Boston — “We understand that the officers of the British squadron  in the sound, had a ball on Block Island a few evenings since.”–American Daily Advertiser, June 5, 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