News of the US: Week Two of May 1813

May 8:  Letter from Henry Miller, brigadier general, Baltimore, to HBM Admiral Warren, re John O’Neale —  “Nothing in the course of public duty would be more painful to me, than the obligation of resorting to the law of retaliation, on this or on any other occasion; but, sir, in the event of O’Neale’s execution, painful as may be the duty, it becomes unavoidable, and I am authorised and commanded to state to your excellency, that two British subjects shall be selected by lot, or otherwise, and be immediately executed.”–Charleston City Gazette, May 24, 1813

May 8:  From Salem, Mass. — Dull Times!—Every kind of business is injured by the war.  Sunday before last there was not a single intention of marriage published!—an occurrence which has not taken place since the last war.”–Charleston City Gazette, June 4, 1813

May 8:  From St. Louis — “Arrived here a few days ago from the mouth of Columbia river, Mr. Robert Steuart, one of the partners of the Pacific Fur Company, accompanied by Messrs. R. Crooks, Jos. Miller and Robert M’Clellan, with three hunters.  We learn that Mr. Steuart is bound to New York with despatches [for John Jacob Astor].”– American Daily Advertiser, June 14, 1813

May 8:  From Natchitoches — News from San Antonio:  Defeated Royalists had their throats cut ” by an order of Bernardo, unknown to any of the Americans, who sent the next day and had them buried.  I shudder at the horrid assassination; yet glory in the victory.  This affair opens a door for General Toledo, who sends his respects to you from Nacogdoches, being on his way to join the army.”–Charleston City Gazette, June 15, 1813

May 9:  General Orders, Headquarters, Camp Meigs, by John O’Fallon — “It rarely occurs that a general has to complain of excessive ardor of his men–yet, such always appears to be the case when the Kentucky militia are engaged.”–Missouri Gazette, June 19, 1813

May 9:  From Delaware — Messrs. Gallatin and Bayard sailed from New-Castle on Sunday last for St. Petersburg, in the ship Neptune.  A great concourse of people attended to witness their departure.  They carry with them the best wishes and highest confidence of their fellow citizens.–Niles’ Weekly Register, May 15, 1813

May 10:  Reply of Admiral Warren, to Henry Miller —  “Sir—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 8th instant, respecting a man named O’Neale, taken by a detachment from the squadron under the orders of Rear Admiral Cockburn.  This man has been released upon the application of the Magistrates of Havre-de-Grace, on parole.  I was not informed of this man being an Irishman, or he would certainly have been detained to account to his Sovereign and country, for being in arms against the British colors.”–Charleston City Gazette, May 24, 1813

May 10:  Letter of John O’Neill, Havre-de-Grace  — “No doubt before this, you have heard of my defeat.  On the 3d instant, we were attacked by 15 English barges at break of day.  . . .  When the alarm was given I run to the battery and found but one man there, and two or three came afterwards.  After firing a few shots they retreated, and left me alone in the battery.  The grape shot flew very thick about me.  . . .and then retreated to the commons, where I kept waving my hat to the militia, who had run away, to come to our assistance:  they, however, proved cowardly, and would not come back.  . . . I was carried on board the Maidstone frigate, where I remained until released, three days since.”–Charleston City Gazette, May 22, 1813

May 10:  From New York — “”We understand that Com. Decatur has reduced the number of guns on board the United States frigate United States, to 48, in consequence of his ship hitherto having a disposition to hog.  The United States formerly carried 54 guns.”–National Intelligencer, May 15, 1813

May 11:  From the Postmaster at Kaskaskia — “The last mail from Vincennnes the carrier requested an escort from the Saline, to meet him at the Wabash.  The escort was sent by capt. White.  After waiting some time there, returned not having met the mail.  At Jordan’ts fort on Sunday, 2d inst. three men went out to get wood, one of the three by the name of Barber was killed; another named James Jordan, was wounded in the leg.”–Cincinnati Western Spy, June 12, 1813

May 11:  From the Montreal Canadian Currant —  “By a dispatch just arrived from U. C. the pleasing intelligence is received, that the much talked of American general Harrison, with an escort or advanced guard of three hundred men has been taken by the Indians, commanded by Tecumseh, and mostly cut to pieces.”–Democratic Press, June 5, 1813

May 11:  From Montreal — “Sir James Lucas Yeo, who arrived at Montral about the 6th May with 450 able and experienced seamen under his orders, left there on the 11th inst. to take the command on the Lakes–if Com. Chauncey’s permission can be obtained.  He was accompanied by gen. Prevost, with five companies of grenadiers, for Upper Canada.”–Caarlisle Gazette, June 4, 1813

May 12:  From Bermuda — “This harbor is full of American vessels, prizes to the English, and numbers are continually coming in, and they sell very low.  There are no men here at present.”–Richmond Enquirer, June 18, 1813″

May 12:  From Albany — “The express left Albany on Wednesday the 5th, reached Niagara on Friday, left there on Saturday afternoon, and returned here on Wednesday morning, having rode about 700 miles in seven days and nights.”–National Intelligencer, May 18, 1813

May 13:  From Lower Sandusky — from R. J. Meigs, Governor of Ohio, to the Ohio volunteers.  “The British and their barbarian allies have abandoned the siege of Fort Meigs.  . . .  General Harrison, I am pleased to inform you, is in camp adjoining.—Return to your homes—I thank you—the frontiers shall be safe.”–Charleston City Gazette, June 5, 1813

May 13:  From Sacket’s Harbor — “The day before yesterday our squadron hove in sight . . . .  the whole of the fleet are loaded with the spoil taken at Little York.  . . . such as royal plate, candlesticks, watches, and even the governor’s coat and epaulets.”–Harrisburgh Chronicle, May 31, 1813

May 13:  From Lower Sandusky –“Had it not been for the infernal spirit which gets into men to think they can do all things when they have done but part, the principal part of Proctorr’s army, all his cannon and stores must have fallen into our hands.  The conduct of the Kentucky troops in disobeying orders is astonishing.  They passed the river and got within two hundred yards of the British fortification before they were discovered.  They drove them aback, spiked their cannon and might have brought them off.  But no,–they fell to fight away the Indians and were led off one and a half miles.”–National Advocate, May 29, 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