News of the US: Week Three of February 1813

February 15:  From New York — “De Witt Clinton, Esq. is reappointed Mayor of New-York, by the Council of Appointments, a majority of whom are federal.  We understand Mr. Clinton’s discharge of the duties of this important and lucrative office has been very meritorious.”–Baltimore Patriot, February 15, 1813

February 15:  From Baltimore — “the British squadron in the Chesapeake, are using every exertion to capture all vessels passing in or out:  the pilot boats which they have captured, and the schr. Syren are employed for the purpose of decoying within their reach such vessels are bound in, by hoisting the American flag and offering a pilot . . . .”–American Daily Advertiser,February 17, 1813

February 15:  From Washington, from Felix Grundy — “I have just received information, that the Tennessee volunteers under the command of Gen. Jackson have been recalled from service.  . . .  I have called on the Tennessee delegation–and they all state, the thing has been done, without their knowledge.–I cannot account for this proceeding.–I know of no cause, which can justify the ordering them out, & withdrawing them so suddenly.” –Nashville Clarion, March 2, 1813

February 16:  From Albany — “Yesterday the Senate were in committee of the whole, on the revised bill from the Assembly for the preventing of Duelling. . .  .Gen. Lewis took a wide range, and pointed out the various efforts that had been made by the Sovereigns of Europe to check this evil practice, and that all of them had proved vain and futile.”–New York Spectator, February 20, 1813

February 17:  Reprinted from the United States Gazette —  “Gen. Smyth, notwihstanding he has, to use his own emphatically energetic expression, abandoned his ‘ungathered laurels,’ still has a happy knack, of gathering bad metaphors.  In his late letter he quotes from some writer the following expression, ‘An army is an edifice of which the basis is the belly.’ We wonder if this voracious edifice is the Gothick, Ionick or composite order of architecture.”–New York Spectator, February 17, 1813

February 17:  From Pittsburg — “A letter from Gen. Harrison, to a gentleman in Pittsburg, (Penn.) received on the 17th inst. states that the engagement had taken place between the troops under his command, and the combined British, and Indian forces, on the River Raisin, in which the enemy was COMPLETELY DEFEATED.”–The Gleaner, March 5, 1813

February 17:  From Nacogdoches — Yesterday arrived here Jose Maria Mora and Jose Ignatio Y. Barba of this place.  They deserted from our army on the 12th of November, and have now deserted from the enemy, whose camp they left on the 17th ult. with passports to go out for cattle.  Those men . . . report that an engagement took place some days previous to their flight, in which governor Salcedo was defeated, and driven into his entrenchments with great loss.” — National Intelligencer, April  22, 1813

Pride of Baltimore II, replica United States topsail schooner, favored by privateers for its speed and ability to sail close to the wind.

February 18:  From New York — “The cartel ship Bostwick has arrived at Hell-Gate from Bermuda, with 460 American prisoners of war, among whom are the officers and crew of the ship Wasp, who were captured by the British; the officers and crews of the privateers Highflyer, of Baltimore, and Teazer, of this port.”–Charleston City Gazette, March 1, 1813

February 18:  From Washington — “The House went into committee of the whole on the bill, authorizing the Post-Master General to contract with the steam-boats, for carrying the mail.–It was reported to the House and ordered to be  engrossed for a third reading, and afterwards read and passed.”–New York Spectator, February 24, 1813

February 18:  From Chillicothe —  “Upon the arrival of the detachment [of Harrison’s army] at Presqu’Isle, they found that the Indians had decamped.  Our troops pursued them until they came within eight miles of the River Raisin; when finding that they could not come up with them, and the men being exhausted, they returned to camp.  Such was the ardor of the troops to overtake the enemy, that they marched 60  miles in 21 hours!”—National Intelligencer, March 2, 1813

February 19:  From London — “An unanimous vote of both Houses of Parliament last night approved of the war with America, sanctioned its justice, and determined to support the Government in a vigorous prosecution of it.  . . .Parliament did last night give a solemn pledge to the people of the British Empire that at no time . . . will it yield, barter, or fetter the exercise of our great maritime rights–the right of search and the right of impressment.”– Boston Weekly Messenger, April 23, 1813

February 19:  From Boston — “A bill has been recently before Congress for dividing Mississippi into two new States.  We will suppose this bill to pass.  The number of States will then be 20; of which 10 will be in the North and 10 in the South.  The sovereign power of the Union will of course be equally divided between the two Sections.”–Boston Weekly Messenger, February 19, 1813

February 19:  From the West Indies — “”A gentleman from the West-Indies reports that the Saucy-Jack privateer, of this port, arrived off Kingston, Jamaica, in nine days from this port, and harassed the trade of that Island very much, during a few days of her cruise between Port Royal and the east end of the Island.  She had captured a number of the coasting craft and pilot boats, and was chased by the Rhodian, brig, and Morgiana, sloop of war, but escaped them very easily by superior sailing.”–National Advocate, March 9, 1813

February 20:  From Boston — “Arrived, British ship Neptune, Mr. Lord, prize-master, from London for Rio Janeiro, captured . . . by the privateer Decatur of Newburyport.  The Neptune . . . has on board 55 pipes of brandy, 95 casks of porter , 2223 pipes and 32 butts of red and other wines . . . [and] 8 cases of soda-water“–Baltimore Patriot, February 25, 1813

February 20:  From the Northwestern Army — “Letters from the army state, that, as late as the 20th of February, Gen. Harrison had his Head Quarters at the foot of the Miami Rapids; that he was fortifying himself at that station, and that he had abandoned for the winter his enterprise into Canada.”–New York Spectator, March 10, 1813

February 20:  From Boston, a question for Lord High Admiral Russell — “If the present American Navy, consisting of 7 frigates, destroys 5 of the finest ships of the British navy, and captures 500 sail of their merchant ships in the short period of 7 months–how long will it take to destroy the whole British navy, and sweep British commerce from the seas, when the American Navy consists of ten ships of the line, and thirty frigates?–Boston Patriot, February 20, 1813

February 21:  From Maumee, Ohio — “The North Western army has at last convened on the banks of the Maumee.  Our command force probably exceeds three thousand men.  Gen. Tupper’s men are dismissed, and the Kentuckians are leaving camp every day; their time of service has expired.  The campaign is done–offensive operations have ceased for the present season.–Our soldiers are fated to return and share in the common curse seated upon all the armies of the U. States through the preceding year.”–New York Spectator, March 20, 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