News of the US: Week Four of September 1812

September 22:  From Lexington — “Kentucky is indeed broke loose.  Volunteers are marching to the frontiers from all parts of the state.  We stated last week there were about 10,000 of our citizens under arms.  We should have been nearer right had we said 15,000.  And most of them go without any regular commissions, not expecting and not caring whether they receive any remuneration from the government or not.  This is practicable patriotism.”–Maryland Gazette,October 15, 1812

September 22:  From Albany — “Brigadier=General Smyth left town on Friday the 18th, to assume the command of the regular troops assembling at Niagara.  He was attended by Capt. Bankhead, of the 8th Reg. Inft. as Brigade Major, and lieut. Smyth, of the 2d Reg. Artillery, his Aid de Campt.”

September 22:  From Boston — “Yesterday, Lieutenant Crane and the Crew of the late U. S. brig Nautilus, came up from Halifax in a Cartel.  On his arrival he informed Commodore Rodgers that he had six of his men put in irons and were to be sent to England to be tried for their lives, the Commander at Halifax charging them with being Englishmen–upon which Commodore Rodgers stopped a Cartel which had just got under way for Halifax, with 120 English prisoners, and took out twelve men, as hostages for the six Americans!”  Richmond Enquirer, September 22, 1812

September 23:  From Natchez, Mississippi Territory–“Arrived here on Monday morning last, Dr. Robertson, from Washington City, on his way to the interior of Mexico, as an agent for the United States, to treat with the existing authorities of that country, and establish a friendly and permanent understanding between the two nations.”–Richmond Enquirer, November 3, 1812

September 23:  From Lexington, Ky — “We have just received intelligence here that Gen. Harrison has left the N. W. army and proceeded with the mounted men to his own territory.  This is like bringing hemp from your country to ours, for there are already more men in that territory than are necessary to effect every purpose.  The army was left under the command of Brig. Gen. Winchester, a gentleman of great respectability and merit, but who does not possess the confidence of the Kentuckians like Harrison.”  New York Spectator, October 14, 1812

September 23:  From a soldier at Pass Christian, La.– “As disease and death had commenced the most formidable ravages in our ranks, upon the Mississippi, our general removed us most wisely in my opinion, to this place, about the beginning of August . . .  Our worthy General [Wilkinson] has never yet been able to visit us, but we expect him daily.  He has found it necessary to remain  in New-Orleans to counteract the machinations of a combination of Burrites, French partizans, and Spanish dependants, with a nest of wretches from our own country, who are straining every nerve to paralize his efforts for the public good; but I feel confident that by his energies, talents and patriotism, they will find themselves completely foiled.”–Charleston City Gazette, November 7, 1812

September 24:  Baptis Irvine, an editor of the Baltimore Whig, takes a “furlough from the quill”  in order to join the volunteer militia company he belongs to.  He will, in future, report from the field, becoming, perhaps, the first “embedded” journalist during a war.–New York Columbian, September 24, 1812

September 24:  From Savannah == “Capt. Williams, of the United States army, marched a few days ago, with a party of twenty-two, including himself, from colonel Smith’s encampment, with two waggons, for St. John’s river, for provisions.  When he got within about twelve miles of St. John’s, an ambuscading party of Indians and ****** (about seventy in number) attacked him and killed one man and a sergeant of the United States army, and wounded six more, among whom was captain Williams who received seven wounds–three through one hand, and the rest in his leg.”–Augusta Herald, October 1, 1812

September 24:  Letter from Cadiz, Spain –“William Kirkpatrick, esq. our consul at Malaga, advises me under date the 19th inst. of the capture, a few days before, of the American brig Polly, of Boston by an Algerine Cruiser.  One of the crew having made his escape, arrived at Malaga, and gave consul Kirkpatrick this information.”–New York Spectator, December 16, 1812

September 25:  From Butler County, Pennsylvania – “On Friday last a number of Volunteers, from east of the mountains, passed through Zelmople [Zelienoople], Butler County, on their way to Meadville, when a man of the name M’Clure of that place, threw out some very abusive epithets against our government, volunteers, &c.  The Volunteers, without any bustle or confusion, took the gentleman, tarred and feathered him, and let him go without any further injury.”==Shamrock, October 24, 1812

September 26:  From Chillicothe — “Gen. Samuel Finley has resigned the Presidency of the Bank of Chillicothe, in consequence of his engaging in an expedition against the enemies of his country.”–Scioto Gazette, September 26, 1812

September 26:  From Virginia — “A Convention of Delegates from eighteen of the most populous, wealthy, and respectable counties in this State, assembled at Staunton on Monday last, and agreed on a list of Electors of President and Vice-President of the United States, who are attached to the Peace, Union and Commerce, of our beloved Country, and averse to foreign alliance.”–Newport Mercury, October 10, 1812

September 26:  From Baltimore — “Ordered, that all the MEMBERS of the FIRST BALTIMORE VOLUNTEERS, appear at Camp, THIS AFTERNOON at five o’clock.  S. H. Moore, Capt.”  The lieutenant of this group was Baptis Irvine, editor of  the Baltimore Whig.–Baltimore Whig, September 26, 1812

September 27:  From Chillicothe — “Gen. Harrison was on Saturday last at Piqua, and is now at St. Marys.  . . .  A small band of heroes, consisting of 20 or 30 effective men, have immortalized themselves, by successfully defending Fort Harrison seven or eight hours against an assault of seven hundred Indians.  After burning the block house and making a breach in the works, the Indians were forced to retreat.  Capt. [Zachary] Taylor had the honor of commanding the party which defended the fort.”–New York Spectator, October 17, 1812

September 27:  From Charleston — “The Nonsuch [privateer]  on the 27th of Sept. ran between a British ship of 16 eighteen pound Carronades and 200 men, and a British schr. of 6 four pounders and 50 or 60 men–within pistol shot of each–and fought them 3 hours and 20 minutes.  According to his log book, capt. Levely had three men killed and eight severely wounded; has his 10 twelve pound Carronades all dismounted, and so much of his rigging shot away that he was under the mortifying necessity of permitting the British vessels to make their escape!”–New York Spectator, November 14, 1812

September 27:  From Albany — “On Sunday last, arrived from New-York, on board of the sloop Euphemia, part of a detachment of Volunteers from the Republican Greens, of that city, under the command of Lieut. co. M’Clure.  Yesterday they disembarked, and marched up to the barracks in Lion-st. escorted by the Republican Greens of this place, commanded by Captain Maher.”–Boston Patriot, October 3, 18812

September 28:  Extract of a letter from Cadiz, Sept 28, 1812–“William Kirkpatrick, Esq. our consul at Malaga, advises me under date the 19th inst. of the capture, a few days before of the American brig Polly of Boston by an Algerine Cruiser.”–Richmond Enquirer, December 15, 1812

September 29:  From Kentucky — “We understand that Gen. Hopkins has written to Gov. Shelby that a greater number of Kentucky volunteers had arrived at Vincennes than the service required!  In consequence of which the Governor had discharged a number of them at Louisville.  More than1200 are said to be returning home, mortified because it is not put in their power to fight their country’s battles.”–Raleigh Register, October 16, 1812

September 29:  From Ohio — “General Harrison presents his compliments to the Ladies of  Dayton and its neighbourhood, and solicits their assistance in making shirts for their brave defenders who compose his army, many of whom are almost destitute of that article, so necessary to their health and comfort–“–Scioto Supporter, October 31, 1812

September 29:  From Utica – “In the night of the 20th inst. Capt. Forsyth [of Stokes county, North Carolina] with 70 of his rifle company and 34 militia men, embarked on board a number of boats at Cape Vincent and went over to a small village called Ganansque, in the town of Leeds, for the purpose of destroying the King’s Store House at that place.  . . . [after a skirmish] Captain Forsyth and his party, with eight prisoners, about sixty stands of arms . . . and some other articles of public property which they had taken from the enemy, then returned to Cape Vincent, not however till they set fire to his majesty’s store house, which was consumed, together with a quantity of flour and pork.”—Raleigh Register, October 16, 1812

September 30:  From Frankfort, Ky. — “His excellency Gov. Shelby yesterday at noon received a letter . . . from Gen. Harrison, by which it appears that he had just received dispatches from the War Department appointing him to the command of all the troops which have been called into service from the western states.”–New York Spectator, October 17, 1812

September 30:  From Mobile Settlement — “Dear Sir, The situation of the southern frontier of the U. States is truly critical.  I know not what is to be calculated upon either from the Indians or the Spaniards.  . . .  the news from Detroit will have a direful influence, and it is not improbable that the whole frontier, from Tennessee to the Bay of Mobile, will within three months be in a flame.”–National Intelligencer, November 12, 1812

September 30:  From Troy, N. Y. — “The Governor left Albany yesterday with his aids, Colonel Livingston and Macomb, for the Western frontier:  they  took a large quantity of camp equipage with them.  Commodore Chauncey rode with the Governor.”–National Intelligencer, October 6, 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