News of the US: Week One of August 1813

August 1: From Buffalo — “As to news, I will just tell you that Com. Chauncey has arrived at fort Niagara, with a reinforcement from Sacket’s harbor; has gone towards the head of the lake to pay gen. Vincent a visit.  The troops at fort George are under marching orders to co-operate.  P. S. Maj. Chapin has gone in the fleet.”–Pittsburgh Mercury, August 5, 1813

August 1:  From Lower Sandusky — “On the 1st inst. about half a mile from this fort, and in full view, a party consisting of 50 Indians, pursued and took one prisoner, and killed and scalped another.  A few minutes after which, two British gun-boats heaved in sight, and landed 600 British regulars, with several hundred Indians, the whole commanded by General Proctor.”–Baltimore Patriot, August 23, 1813

August 1:  On board H. B. M. Rattler, Captain Gordon — “Capt. Pratt was also informed, verbally, by capt Gordon, that if he saw his commander [Capt. Capel, of La Hogue] ridiculed any more in our papers, he would burn and destroy every thing he fell in with one mile from the land.”–Baltimore Patriot, August 11 1813

August 2:  Creek Agency, 5 o’clock P.M.  — “I am this moment informed an action has commenced at Cowetau.  200 Cherokees had arrived to assist the friendly Indians.  The runner left them fighting.”–Pendleton (S.C.) Messenger, August 21, 1813

August 2:  From Erie — “Our fleet is all under way.  Five light vessels have taken their station outside of the bar.  The two brigs are just gone down to cross with their scows under them to light them over.  No British vessels in sight; but we expect them this evening.  Then, what then?–why we, I hope, will bring them in safe to this harbor.”–Baltimore Patriot, August 13, 1813

August 2:  From New Orleans — “By express of Yesterday, we learn, that 700 Indians had advanced to the settlements on Fish river, and had destroyed several plantations.  Should not their number increase, or if the Spaniards do not join them, they will be severely punished for their temerity, as we can carry into the field about 1000 regular infantry and artillery.”--National Intelligencer, August 31, 1813

August 3:  From Ohio — “On the 3d of August 10000 Ohio militia were on their march to join Harrison’s army, in order to roll back the tide of war upon the foe.  Of this number, 600, with Gov. Meigs at their head, had reached head quarters at Seneca town on the 7th and 8th inst.”–Albany Argus, August 21, 1813

August 3: From Burlington — “Yesterday the British naval force that went to Plattsburgh, made an attack on this place, but the artillery from our batteries and several scows which had been prepared for the purpose, kept them at such a distance that not a single shot reached the town so as to have effect; and they have gone back again.”–New York Commercial Advertiser, August 9, 1813

August 3:  From Albany — “At a late hour last night an officer of the army arrived in this city from Plattsburg, who informs that the British had destroyed all the public property in Plattsburg.  They came up in two sloops and several barges, and landed fifteen hundred men.”–New York Gazette, August 6, 1813

August 4:  Letter from Governor Huntington, [former Ohio governor] from Lower Sandusky — “A little before sun down, on the 2d inst.  The British attempted to carry Fort Stephenson, at Lower Sandusky by assault, and were repulsed with the loss of about 40 men killed in the ditch, among whom was a lieut. Col. (Short) and several other officers.  About the same number were supposed to be killed while advancing to the attack, besides Indians carried away during the action.  Proctor and Elliott were there.  Their force estimated at about 400 in uniform, and as many Indians—They retired, taking their cannon in their boats.  The garrison consisted of 160 men under the command of Major Croghan, and lost but one man killed and four or five wounded.  We have 25 of the enemy prisoners.  The mail is waiting.”– Missouri Gazette, September 11, 1813

August 4:  from Major General Harrison, concerning George Croghan — “It will not be amongst the least of Gen. Proctor’s mortification to find that he has been baffled by a youth who has just passed his twenty-first year.  He is, however, a hero, worthy of his gallant uncle (General Geo. R. Clark).”–Charleston City Gazette, August 19, 1813

August 4:  From Captain Perry, outside of Erie bar — “I have great pleasure in informing you that I have succeeded in getting over the bar the United States vessels, the Lawrence, Niagara, Caledonia, Ariel, Scorpion, Somers, Tigress and Porcupine.  The enemy have been in sight all day and are now about four leagues from us.  We shall sail in pursuit of them at three to-morrow morning.”–Centinel of Freedom, August 17, 1813

August 5:  From Beaufort, S. C. — “I have just returned from visiting the Harbor and Encampments, near Beaufort.  The inhabitants are moving off every thing of value to the Back Country, together with their families–a guard will be left with them, and the active men will return to their duty.   . . .  Torpedoes, floating barrels, rafts to drift with the tide, with trees bored and charged; together with every human invention, now secretly planned, are preparing to destroy the enemy.”–National Intelligencer, August 17, 1813

August 5: From Burlington, Vermont — “On Monday morning, two sloops and one galley made their appearance off this place, and at two o’clock, opened their fire upon us at long shot, the wind being calm.  The enemy not shewing a disposition to engage in a close action, the fire was returned by commodore M’Donough, who managed with great judgement, and a well directed fire by ten 12s and 8s from Churchill’s battery, on a bank of 100 feet in height, under which lay our Sloops and Gun Boats.  . . .  The enemy having every vessel damaged, was soon compelled to sail off, without any damage or making a good shot.”–Raleigh Star, August 20, 1813

August 5:  Report of Major Croghan from Lower Sandusky — General Proctor “sent Colonel Elliott, accompanied by Major Chambers, with a flag, to demand the surrender of the fort, as he was anxious to spare the effusion of blood, which he should probably not have in his power to do, should he be reduced to the necessity of taking the place by storm.  My answer to the summons was, that I was determined to defend the place to the last extremity, and that no force, however large, should induce me to surrender it.”–Democratic Press, August 14, 1813

August 6:  Editorial from Boston — “We repeat, this is not an American war; it is a war of the democratick party, composed as that party is, with, we regret to say, an inter-mixture of honest, deluded Americans, of French partizans, Frenchmen, and the outcasts of the British isles.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, August 6, 1813

August 6:  From Augusta — “We are glad to find by the last night’s Milledgeville mail that the Governor has now a force of nearly 3000 men ready to march against the hostile Indians, which will be joined by 1500 volunteers from Tennessee, and together with the 3d United States Regiment, who are now on their way to Canada, from New Orleans, but whose destination has been countermanded and who will act in consort with our troops, will form a force fully competent for every intended purpose.”–Raleigh Star, August 27, 1813

Tecumseh – One Shawnee Nation commemorative coin.

August 6:  From Madison, Indiana — “The British have crowned Tecumseh, king of all the Indians, that are at war with the United States.  They celebrated the day of his coronation, with the firing of cannon–feasting and dancing, and have given him a brigadier general’s commission.”–Carlisle Gazette, September 3, 1813

August 7:  From Ohio — “The Indian chiefs the Crane, capt. Anderson, Black Hoof and the Snake, breakfasted with gov. Meigs on the 7th Aug. and two hundred and fifty-nine of their warriors have joined gen. Harrison, and intend fighting in defence of the United States.”–Niles’ Weekly Register, August 28, 1813

August 7:  From St. Louis — “We stop the press to inform our fellow citizens below, that a large body of Indians, Chipeways, Ottaways, Folls, Winnebagoes, Pottawatomies and Kickapoos, about 5 or 600 (report says 3000!) have broke into the county of St. Charles.  The Rangers have lost a few men in the first attack.  Every man knows his duty–every generous soul will fly to the post of danger.”–Gettysburg Adams Centinel, September 15, 1813

August 7: From Burlington — “On the morning of the 20th inst. the enemy’s flotilla consisting of two sloops (Growler and Eagle) and one gun boat, hove in sight of this town, and about one o’clock commenced a heavy cannonading . . . .  The unfortunate circumstance of there being but one naval officer here and not a sufficient number of seamen to man the sloops lately fitted up has prevented our being in possession of the whole of the enemy’s naval force that was out.”–Portsmouth New Hampshire Gazette, August 17, 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