News of the US: Week One of February 1813

February 1:  A proposal, in later years put into effect by Robert Fulton, appears in the National Advocate, for the building of floating batteries.  One paragraph concludes, “Besides, the decided superiority these floating batteries have, in close action, and heavy battering, TORPEDOES, by their means, could be used with great effect.”–National Advocate, February 1, 1813

February 1:  From Washington — “The bill has passed the House of Representatives for the better organization of the Militia of the U. States, by dividing it into three classes, viz:  the Minor,to comprise all persons liable to Militia duty between the ages of 18 and 21 years; the Junior, to comprise all between 21 and 31; and the Senior, to consist of all between the ages of 31 and 45.”–National Intelligencer, February 2, 1813

February 1:  From Dover, Ohio — “Three men, bearing a flag of truce from Gen. Harrison to Malden, were killed the 1st of this month at the Miami.  The contents of the flag was supposed to get permission to bury the dead, at the river Raisin–they are above ground, and are likely to continue there.  Gen. Harrison is at the Rapids of the Miami.  The weather is very unfavorable–the rivers are nearly impassible–and the roads are breaking up.”–Baltimore Patriot, February 23, 1813

February 2:  From Ogdensburg — “Deserters from Canada cross almost every evening–the number since our last is not correctly ascertained.  A deserter who came over last evening, informs that a party of about 50 Indians arrived at Prescott in the afternoon of yesterday–they are intended no doubt for patrol, as the Canadian militia and regulars cannot be depended on–whole picket guards having deserted.”--Maryland Gazette, February 25, 1813

February 2:  From Chillicothe — “With the most poignant sensations of grief, we perform the melancholy task of announcing to our readers the entire destruction of the advance guard of the North Western Army, consisting of about 1000 men, under the command of gen. Winchester.”–Centinel of Freedom (Newark, New Jersey), February 16, 1813

February 2:  From Philadelphia –“We are authorised to state, says the Democratic Press, that Mr. Redheffer, has explicitly declared that he will not permit the committee appointed by the Legislature to examine the PERPETUAL MOTION.”–Hagers-town Gazette, February 2, 1813

February 3:  from Lexington — “We have seen a letter from Gen. Harrison’s camp near the foot of the Rapids, dated Feb. 3, which states that the flag of truce sent by Gen. Harrison was borne by a Dr. M’Gehen and a Mr. Lemmon of Ohio, and a Frenchman of the Michigan territory.  Mr. Lemmon was found killed and scalped–the other two are supposed to be prisoners.  It is rendered probable that Mr. L. was killed by the Indians without their knowing that he was the bearer of a flag, as they had stopped for the night in a waste cabin in an open place and kindled a fire.”–Missouri Gazette, March 13, 1813

February 3:  From New Orleans – “an express arrived at Washington yesterday morning from New Orleans bringing an account of a serious insurrection having broken out among the troops under the command of General Wilkinson—and a remonstrance from the officers of the army to the president of the United States, praying the immediate removal of Gen. Wilkinson from the command of that army, as the only possible mode of restoring order and discipline in the camp.”—United States’ Gazette, February 10, 1813

February 3:  From Boston — “Much attention has been excited of late to the subject of the formation of New States . . . .  A virulent party pamphlet under the signature of Boreas, has made its appearance, whose object is to exhibit the injury which this will bring to the Northern States.”–Boston Patriot, February 3, 1813

February 4:  From New York — “Mr. John Griswold, in the Packet from Bermuda, informs, that Capt. Porter, in the United States frigate Essex, while cruising on the Line, captured a British Packet from Rio Janeiro for London, took out of her 70,000 dollars, manned and ordered her for the United States.  The Packet was recaptured, and had arrived at Bermuda.”–Raleigh Register,February 26, 1813

February 4:  From Col. John Coffee, Tennessee Volunteers,  Chickasaw Agency — “I arrived with my regiment, yesterday at this place, in fine health and spirits.  I have not, as yet, experienced any want of either rations or forage for the regiment.–We are now an hundred miles South of the Tennessee river, and almost through the Chickasaw nation.  The Indians are remarkably kind and accommodating.”–Nashville Clarion, February 16, 1813

February 5:  From Norfolk — “A flag of truce from the [British] squadron came ashore at the Pleasure House on Friday to land prisoners; and shortly after a plundering party landed at the light-house on Cape Henry, who manfully attacked the pantry and smoke house of Mr. Burrough’s, the keeper, took all his provisions, some cordage, &c. and retired to their boats with flying colours.”—Maryland Gazette, February 18, 1813

February 5:  From Chillicothe – “Gen. Harrison states that the British and Indian force were twenty-one hundred:  that the ground was warmly and obstinately contested; that our troops made the enemy give way, drove them in every charge, and fought desperately . . . .  Our troops were overpowered, and six hundred of our brave fellows taken prisoners.—Gen. Harrison says gen. Winchester, col. Lewis, and brigade major Garret, are among the prisoners.”—Shamrock, February 20, 1813

February 5:  From Philadelphia –“Redheffer having failed to exhibit the model of his Machine to the Pennsylvania Legislature on the appointed day, and afterwards declined the exhibition of it to that body altogether, has produced much doubt as to the reality of his Perpetual Motion.”–Raleigh Register, February 5, 1813

February 6:  From Kaskaskia — “The Indians are collecting in large force up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, and will come down on the first navigation.  Dixon, of Michilimackinac, is at their head.  . . . They might think it worth while to get possession of this river, if it were only to get out their immense property and year’s hunt from the north.  A fleet at the mouth would co-operate for the object.”--Aurora, March 27, 1813

February 6: From the Freeman’s Journal — “we are informed that the army of volunteers organized at Natchitoches, within the United States, far from meeting with a friendly reception at Tejas, have been defeated and cut to pieces.   . . .  the governor came forth with a superior force, surprised them, and cut to pieces this numerous band of freebooters.”–New York Herald, February 6, 1813

February 6:  From Ogdensburgh — “In consequence of the intrusion of the British on our shore, capt. Benjamin Forsyth, on the 6th inst. about 10P. M. left this place with a part of his rifle company and a party of volunteers . . . for the purpose of retaking the prisoners and chastising the enemy for this insolence.  . . .  At 3 P. M. the British garrison was surprised, 52 prisoners were taken . . . . all of which he brought safe to this place, about 8 o’clock the same morning, his party having performed a march through the snow of about 28 miles.”–Weekly Aurora, March 2,1813

February 7:  From Norfolk — “Letters from Norfolk, dated the 7th inst. state, that the Blockading Squadron had increased to 4 ships of the line, 6 frigates, 2 sloops of war, and several smaller vessels; and reinforcements were daily expected.  The English had been employed for several days in surveying the Bay, and anchoring buoys.”–New York Spectator, March 17, 1813

February 7:  From an American on board the prison ship at Jamaica — “Yesterday six men attempted to make their escape in a boat.  The guard, consisting of about forty men, commenced firing from close astern, and I suppose upwards of 150 shot were fired at them, but not one of them was hurt.  They were afterwards re-taken and are now in irons.”–Weekly Aurora, April 13, 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