News of the US: Week Three of May 1813

May 14:  From Charleston, an advertisement — Published for the benefit of the author, one of the Vixen’s crew: “The Sailor’s Narrative.  A Narrative of the Capture of the U. S. Brig Vixen, by the British Frigate Southampton; and of the subsequent loss of both Vessels, on a Reef of Rocks off Conception Island; with some accounts of the sufferings of the crew; their manner of deliverance; and final deposit in the Prison Ships at Port Royal, Jamaica.  The whole interspersed with various Remarks, relative to the treatment shewn to and conduct observed by the Prisoners.”–Charleston City Gazette, May 14, 1813

May 14:  From Fort Stoddart – “After the last victory of Gen. Jackson over the Creeks, they began to flock to the country lying between this place and Pensacola, where they have been constantly making depredations on our cattle and have killed the few individuals that were exposed on the east side of the bay.  It is supposed that there are from 1000 to 1,500 in this part of the country.  The Choctaws are after them, and it is said that wounded Creek Indians are daily going into Pensacola.”—Shamrock, June 18, 1813

May 15:  From St. Louis — “By a gentleman from Fort Madison, arrived here a few days ago, we have received positive information, that Dixon, the celebrated indian trader, is at Rock river, collecting all the bands of indians of the Mississippi with the avowed intention of attacking this territory.  . . .  We have now on the northern frontier three companies from this town and neighboring counties with a few regulars—and should the executive require it. All will march to meet the enemy, should he approach our border.”–Missouri Gazette, May 15, 1813

May 15:  From Winchester, Massachusetts — “Seven Waggons loaded principally with specie, from the banks of Alexandria and Potomac, arrived here yesterday, accompanied by two officers of the banks and an escort, and deposited their treasure in the vaults of the bank at this place.”–Salem Gazette, May 28, 1813

May 15:  From Natchitoches — “The melancholy fate of Governor Salcedo, and General Herrara [of San Antonio] is ascertained; opposed to them in arms, I cannot but deplore that they have fallen by the hands of assassins–the escort which had them in charge were native Spaniards, not Americans.”–Albany Argus, June 15, 1813

May 16:  Letter from Norfolk — “I was yesterday evening at the Capes, where there were four 74’s, five frigates, one ship apparently a merchantman, two brigs of war and armed schrs, making in all 22 sail.  . . . Four deserters who came from them two nights ago inform us, that there are two frigates and some small vessels yet up the Chesapeake.”–New York Spectator, May 26, 1813

May 16:  “On Sunday last, for the first time we believe since the war, the shores of Massachusetts were violated by an act of hostile aggression.  The British frigates Shannon and Tenedos were seen from this town in the forenoon standing towards Cape Ann in pursuit of a ship; and afterwards a firing was heard from them, which appeared and was reported to be directed against the town of Gloucester.”–Salem Gazette, May 18, 1813

May 16:  From San Antonio — “Such has heretofore been the uncertainty of our expresses ever reaching Natchitoches, and such the unpleasant situation in which our army had been placed for several months, I felt but little anxious to write to a friend, knowing it would have a disagreeable effect on his finer feelings.  But since we have now secured the freedom and independence of the province of Texas, I feel as a renovated being, once more favored with the enjoyment of liberty.”–Aurora, August 18, 1813

May 17:  From the Executive of Maryland to the Legislature — “Since the adjournment of the Legislature, considerable alarms have pervaded the State, in consequence of the appearance of a large naval force within the waters of the Chesapeake, and the wanton destruction of our houses and property by the squadron of the enemy.  We have furnished all the means within our power to repel the invasion of the enemy, and as our resources are too limited to afford complete protection, it is for the wisdom of the Legislature to make such further provision as the exigencies of the State, in their opinion, may require.”-Maryland Gazette, May 20, 1813

May 17:  From Sackett’s Harbor — “we have verbal intelligence, that commodore Chauncey arrived there with his squadron the early part of last week, with the stores, &c. taken at York; and that they were employed day and night in unloading and embarking troops with whom it was believed he was to proceed immediately to Niagara.”–Centinel of Freedom, May 25, 1813

May 17:  From Cleveland –“My letter to you on the 10th inst. did not prove to be correct, as to the number we had taken prisoners by the enemy; as it appears we have lost between 4 and 500.  . . .  About 200 of them came this way on their road home.  The poor fellows were striped of every rag of clothing, except their trowsers and shirts, and some had their shirts taken.  . . . It is said that Tecumseh is not killed, as was stated before.”--Centinel of Freedom,  June 1, 1813

May 18: From Nashville — “The detachment of Tennessee volunteers, under the command of major general Jackson, have returned home.  They left Camp Jackson, near Natchez, on the evening of the 25th March, and reached Columbia, T. on the 19th inst.  Thus making a march of 460 miles in the short space of 25 days.”–Aurora, May 27, 1813

May 18:  From Albany — “The recent election in our state affords perhaps the first instance on record in this country, of the political complexion of a house of assembly being decided by negrovotes.  It is a notorious fact, that the votes of the people of color in the city of New-York, carried in the federal assembly ticket, and thereby secured a federal majority in the lower house!”–Albany Argus, May 18, 1813

May 18:  From Norfolk — “On Saturday last four British sailors were taken up by the patrol guard at the bay side, and brought to town.  . . .  One of the Scotchmen says, he was in the expedition against Havre de Grace, and that [Admiral[ Cochrane  not only led on the forces in person, but took the most active and conspicuous part in the disgraceful scenes which were acted on that occasion.  . .  .The sailor also observed, that the Admiral delighted in little enterprizes of this kind, and that he was always foremost when any attack was to be made on shore.”–New York Spectator, May 26, 1813

May 19:  From New London — “Fifteen dead bodies have floated on shore near the hulk of the brig Holkar, from which it is evident the British lost more men in destroying that vessel than was at first supposed.”–American Daily Advertiser, May 25, 1813

May 19:  From Dayton, Ohio — “Between 20 and 30 Indians arrived in town on Monday last, as hostages from the Miami tribe.”–Niles’ Weekly Register, May 29, 1813

May 20:  From New York — “Capt. Stinman, of the ship Enterprize, who arrived at this port last evening, informs, that on Monday, off the Hook, he was boarded by the first lieutenant of the Acasta frigate who informed him that after the 19th inst. the port of New-York would be blockaded.  The Acasta was in want of water, and took nearly all that was on board the Enterprize.”–Maryland Gazette, May 27, 1813

May 20:  From Burlington — “Arrived in town last evening, Dr. Samuel M’Keehan, from Montreal, who was seized while bearing a flag of Truce from General Harrison to Colonel Proctor.–He has been confined in the cells of Montreal Jail for thirty three days (eighteen feet beneath the surface of the earth,) destitute of the necessaries and comforts of life.”–Richmond Enquirer, June 4, 1813

May 20:  From Halifax — “Information from Halifax, to May 20, received by the way of Eastport, says, the Plantagenet, 74, has arrived there with 7 or 8 transports and 1500 German troops.  The transports and others with additional troops, were to sail immediately for Quebec.”–Aurora, June 12, 1813

May 20:  From Kentucky — “Stephen Ormsby, Esq. who was a member of the last Congress, is elected to the Thirteenth Congress from Kentucky, in the place of John Simpson, a member elect, who was killed in the battle at the River Raisin.–National Intelligencer, May 20, 1813

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