News of the US: Week Two of February 1813

February 8:  From Captain Benjamin Forsyth, at Ogdensburgh, of the exercise on February 6 — “The troops behaved extremely well, in obeying orders, pressing forward with undaunted courage, treating the prisoners with great hospitality, and in paying true respect to private property.”–Baltimore Patriot, February 24, 1813

February 8:  From Plattsburgh – “General Armstrong it appears, since my last, has been appointed secretary of war.  The change I deem most salutary—and so will every officer who considers the welfare of his country superior to every other consideration; for I believe he will not be guided by those octagonal politicians who play round the chair of state.”—United States’ Gazette, February 27, 1813

February 8:  From Baltimore — “The Spanish brig San Francisco, from Baltimore bound to Havanna, was also stopped by the [British] squadron, and the following endorsement inscribed on her register:  ‘I do hereby certify that the Bay of the Chesapeake and ports therein are under a strict and rigorous Blockade . . . “–National Intelligencer, February 16, 1813

February 9:  From New Orleans — Doctor Robinson (who passed through Natchitoches on his way to the interior Province of Texas, with the plausible pretext to order the banditti from this country to retire from the territory of a friendly power which they had invaded, taking Nacogdoches, obliging the inhabitants to march with them; after robbing them in the most shameful manner of every household article, cattle and other effects) has arrived at last at San Antonio de Bexar, where he was well received by the Spanish authorities, to whom he proclaimed the object of his visit . . . .”–New York Spectator, March 20, 1813

February 9:  From Petersburg, Virginia — “Our artillery returned from Norfolk a few days ago.  Yesterday orders were received from our governor for the Light Infantry Blues to march immediately to Norfolk–it is a fine company, 60 strong.  All is bustle here. Norfolk is threatened by a British fleet.”–Baltimore Patriot, February 12, 1813

February 10:  From Washington — “The interesting ceremony of counting out the votes for President and Vice President of the United States took place yesterday, as required by the Constitution, in the presence of both Houses of Congress.  . . .  And JAMES MADISON was accordingly declared to be elected President of the United States for four years from the 4th day of March next; and ELBRIDGE GERRY Vice-President for a like term.”–Charleston City Gazette, February 22, 1813
February 10:  From Natchitoches, March 15, 1813 — “we have this morning received Bernardos’ official dispatch to Col. Ross, stating, that on the 10th ult the army under his command, consisting of 500 troops  and one piece of artillery, defeated Salcidos’ whole force in a general battle.  He states Salcidos’ force to have been 600 strong, besides several pieces of artillery.  Bernardo, flushed with success, invites all friends to his cause, to come with goods by land and by sea, duty free, and that Matagorda will be immediately opened.”–New York Spectator, May 1, 1813

February 10:  Letter from Cadiz, Spain — “The Inquisition in Spain is forever abolished:  on the 3d inst. the great and important question was decided, and deputations from all parts of Spain to the Cortes have in behalf of the people, manifested their approbation on the happy event.  Cadiz is all joy on the occasion, and was illuminated three nights successively.”–Democratic Press, March 25, 1813

February 11:  From a Jamaican paper — “A report has prevailed for a few days past of the capture of the American privateer Saucy Jack [of Charleston], by the Moselle brig, and that she was afterwards sent to Nassau, New Providence.  We should be very happy to have it authenticated, as this vessel has offered considerable annoyance to our trade, and is one from the swiftness of her sailing, that would be most likely to elude our cruizers.”–New York Spectator, March 17, 1813

February 11:  “A gentleman directly from Ogdensburg, states, that on Saturday night last, Capt. Forsyth, with about 200 men crossed over to Elizabethtown, (a village on the Canada side) broke open the gaol, and liberated fifty Americans who were confined there in consequence of not complying with the regulations of the British government.  He also took 150 stand of arms, & the guard consisting of 52 men.”–Plattsburgh Republican, February 12, 1813

February 11:  From Buffalo — “We have this morning received 450 paroled American prisoners of war.  Among them are Gen. Winchester, and 14 other officers of Harrison’s army.—they were taken in the action of French Town, on the River Raisin the 23d ult & have marched down Lake Erie to Buffalo.  . . .  Many have died on their march down the Lake.”–New York Herald, March 3, 1813

February 12:  From the Adjutant General’s Office, Washington City — “All regimental officers and soldiers on furlough, and belonging to the several corps of the army, serving on or near the Niagara river, are hereby directed to join their respective corps immediately.”–New York Spectator, February 24, 1813

February 12:  From Harrison’s army — “spies whom Gen. Harrison had sent out to obtain information, returned here on the 10th, and stated that they had discovered a party of British and Indians, supposed about six hundred. . . .  volunteers were required, and 1500 immediately paraded; the command assigned to colonel Perce of the Pennsylvania, and col. Connell of the Virginia Militia.  After marching on the ice about 27 miles, it was ascertained that the enemy had heard of us and had precipitately returned to Malden.”–Plattsburgh Republican, March 12, 1813

February 12:  From Philadelphia — “We learn by a gentleman who left Wilmington last Wednesday night, that a British squadron off the capes of Delaware, has declared it in a state of strict blockade.”–Baltimore Patriot, February 15, 1813

February 13:  From Pinkneysville (future Alabama) — “I have just received information, that the mounted volunteers from Tennessee (600) have arrived at Natches, and general Jackson”s flotilla, 1500 more, are momently expected.”–Baltimore Patriot, March 13, 1813

February 13:  Editorial on General Smyth — “We do know, of our own knowledge, that Gen. Smyth has published many untruths of the Pennsylvania Brigade, to shift the blame from his own shoulders on theirs, and for this reason we cannot give credit  to his statements, and we are led to think more meanly of him than we would wish to do of any man who is honored with an epaulet in the service of the United States.”–Democratic Press, February 13, 1813

February 13:  From Utica — “I saw an officer last evening from Buffalo, who left there on Monday last, and saw an express from Gen. Harrison, who stated that he had defeated the British and Indians at the River Raisin opposite Malden, and that he would take immediate possession of Malden.”–Democratic Press, February 26, 1813

February 14:  From Erie — “we are informed, that there are building at that place, 4 gun-boats, and 2 twenty gun vessels.  The gun-boats are in a considerable state of forwardness; all the teams and men in the neighborhood are put in requisition, and five hundred ship carpenters and sailors are expected there by the 1st of April.”–New York Spectator, April 10, 1813

February 14:  From Cape Henry  — “A band of veterans from the British squadron, landed at the light house on Cape Henry, and bravely attacked the pantry and smoke house of the keeper, and captured his hams, minced pies and sausages–after which they returned with flying colors to their ships.”–Niles’ Weekly Register, February 20, 1813

February 14:  News of General Harrison — “On the 14th [he] had his head quarters at the Rapids.  It is presumed, from previous accounts, that he has with him the ordinance and military stores.  He was engaged in erecting fortifications, intends leaving a strong garrison there and will proceed on as early as possible to Malden.”—Pittsburgh Mercury, February 25, 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