News of the US: Week One of December 1812

December 1:  From Lexington, Ky. — “The military preparations and movements on the Mississippi and in Tennessee, indicate that our government is no longer disposed to tolerate the outrages committed by the Creek Indians and negroes, on our southern frontier, or to suffer the ports of Florida to continue as they have been the asylum of the British, or to be used for the purpose of annoying out commerce.”–New York Spectator, December 23, 1812

December 1:  From Salem — “Poor Massachusetts has received a torrent of the most outrageous and foul-mouthed abuse from the Madisonian Binns, because her recent elections have caused an alarm at Washington.  He contemptuously calls the people psalmsinging jesuits–Caleb Strong, a hypocrite–the country, the region of codfish and onions–defies her–threatens her with the vengeance of Pennsylvania, Vermont, &c.–with non-intercourse and starvation.”–Salem Gazette, December 1, 1812

December 1:  From Ogdensburg — “Last Tuesday two or three British gun-boats attempted to intercept some boats that had been sent up the river by captain Forsyth, of the U. S. regiment, for the purpose of obtaining fuel; on observing which, capt. Forsyth manned a boat with 12 men and went against the enemy, and, notwithstanding the fire of the gun-boats, one of which mounted a twelve pounder, he succeeded in getting within rifle shot of them, and forced them to sheer off.”–Plattsburgh Republican, December 25, 1812

December 2:  New York Herald publishes Address of General Smyth to the Soldiers of the Army of the Centre, which includes this paragraph — “Soldiers!  You are amply provided for war.  You are superior in number to the enemy.  Your personal strength and activity are greater.  Your weapons are longer.  The regular soldiers of the enemy are generally old men, whose best years have been spent in the sickly climate of the West-Indies.  They will not be able to stand before you, when you charge with the bayonet.”–New York Herald, December 2, 1812

December 2:  From Dayton, Ohio – “General Harrison is still engaged in collecting supplies for his army, an undertaking, at this season of the year, and in the present condition of the roads, attended with difficulties almost inconceivable.  We believe all idea of invading Canada from this quarter sooner than spring is already abandoned.”—United States’ Gazette, December 30, 1812

December 2:  From Boston — “The U. States’ troops surrendered at Detroit, have arrived at Boston from Quebec for exchange.”–Connecticut Gazette, December 2,  1812

December 3:  From Natchitoches — “The revolutionary army is said to consist of 1000 to 1200 men.  On Saturday last we received intelligence that they were surrounded in the Fort of Labadie, about 70 miles from St. Antonio, by 50 Spanish troops and Indians commanded by Governor Salcedo and Col. Herera.  The same day we had letters from Magee, dated Labadie, 19th Oct. stating that he was intrenched there, and that the enemy, about 600 strong, were in sight but would not be brought to battle.  That captain Slocum, at the head of 18 men,  attacked and put to flight 150 of them.  . . .  the courier who bro’t the last news heard firing of cannon for 3 hours the morning before he left Labadie—so that we daily expect important news.”—Charleston City Gazette, January 29, 1813

December 3:  From an American in Brazil — “The prince regent has declared his wish for a neutral state, and published his proclamation for the observance of it.  But what act of neutrality can he maintain, with a considerable part of his territories in possession of British troops, his ports filled with British naval ships, and his ministers nominated by the British cabinet.”–National Advocate, February 22, 1813

December 4:  “Mrs. Jerome Bonaparte has petitioned the legislature of Maryland for an annulment of her marriage contract, and her petition has been granted.”=- Boston WeeklyMessenger, December 4, 1812

December 4:  “The choice of Madisonian Electors, in N. Carolina, renders it certain that there will be no change in the Presidency, for the ensuing four years.  This is sufficiently unpleasant, but to us it is no surprise.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, December 4, 1812

December 4:  From Buffalo — “on Friday last, a movement being resolved upon, the troops removed from their several encampments, and concentrated their forces in the vicinity of Black Rock.  On Saturday morning, at 8 o’clock, a party of about 200 sailors and soldiers, under the command of Capt. King, made a descent upon the enemy’s shore; attacked and carried three several batteries, dismounted and spiked their cannon and destroyed their gun carriages.”–New York Spectator, December 16, 1812

December 5:  A note to Governor Tompkins from Newburgh, New York — “Accompanying this, your excellency will receive a package of 280 woollen stockings, 80 mittens; they are forwarded to you by the ladies of this village, with the request that you will send them to those of the Volunteer corpse [sic] now on duty on our northern frontier whom your excellency may suppose to be most in want of them”–Plattsburgh Republican, January 1, 1813

December 5:  From New London — “This day I had the pleasure of seeing the U. States come up to town, and have been on board her. . . .  Captain  Carden [of H. B M. frigate Macedonian] has just said  ‘That he shall advise his B. M. Government to order all the frigates from this station, as no British frigate can cope with a Yankee, and none but a ship of the line can do any thing with them.  He has seen much service, but never saw such a tremendous fire before . . .  ‘”–Richmond Enquirer, December 19, 1812

December 5:  “I have just time to inform you, that general Smyth has had his troops several times under arms and in his boats, in order to cross from Black Rock into Canada . . .  On Tuesday, the troops were accordingly ordered down to the river and into the boats; but were soon ordered back again.  . . . From what motives gen. Smyth has acted I know not:  but I am confident, that by omitting to go over, he has saved his army.”–Weekly Aurora, December 22, 1812

December 6:  Letter from Buffalo giving an elaborate description of the attack on  the house of Federalist Pomeroy, who “had, by some imprudent and unjustifiable expressions, given offence to the volunteer company from Baltimore, and to a number of the Irish Greens, from New-York and Albany.”–Albany Gazette, December 21, 1812

December 7:  From New York — “America, for whom it was reserved to disarm the lightning of Heaven, to discover first the use of the Quadrant, and then the Perpetual Motion, is now snatching the trident of Neptune from the Mistress of the Ocean, and giving signal proofs of he own naval superiority.  On the 25th of October off the Western Islands, the frigate United States, Com Decatur, fell in with the British frigate Macedonian . . . and after a close engagement of 17 minutes, succeeded in capturing her, and has arrived with the prize off New-London, on her way to this port.–Maryland Gazette, December 10, 1812

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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