John Armstrong to William Henry Harrison

War Dept.

May 31st. 1813


Your letter of the 19th instant has been received. Arrangements will be made for increasing the medical staff of your command.

Herewith inclosed you will receive a copy of the contract for supply- ing the troops in the state of Ohio. You are authorized to fill the blank attached to the copy and to appoint agents to deliver over to Messrs. Orr & Greeley - - such provisions now in deposit as you may deem proper to issue according to the agreement, taking their triplicate receipts for the same; one of which must be transmitted to the Accountant of this Dept & one to the superintendent General of Military supplies, that Orr & Greely may be held accountable for the provisions so received.

I have the honor to be very respectfully your ob Servt.

John Armstrong

Major Genl. Harrison



Sacket's Harbour

A letter is received in this town, from Sacket’s Harbour, of 30th May, which, in addition to the principal details of the late affair at Sacket’s Harbour, adds the following:- “While the enemy’s fleet was approaching this place, they unfortunately for us, discovered part of Major Aspinwall’s detachment coming down in boats, about twelve miles from this place; and immediately despatched a large number of regulars and Indians on shore; our troops having also landed, an action took place, in which the English were victorious; Lts Drew and Cranston, and 15 privates are supposed to be killed; and Capt. Bradford, and Lt. Wheelock, of the Dragoons, with about 100 privates taken prisoners.”


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-June 11, 1813.


Extract of a letter from an Officer in the army, dated Fort Meigs, May 29

Extract of a letter from an Officer in the army, dated Fort Meigs, May 29.

“The sick of our (Bowell’s regiment) amounts to 220 or more

“What government means to do with the Kentucky forces, I cannot conjecture; but this I know, if we stay here four months longer, we will not be able to carry home one fourth of the number that marched from Kentucky. Our strongest are doomed to bend to the overwhelming influence of sickness and deaths.-Yesterday a man dropped dead while eating.-He had been in very merry strain but soon he was stricken with a deadly blow. To day a man died in the same way. Two or three are buried every day, and the paths to death are so numerous in this fort, that it will be a miracle if many escape.

“Yesterday some deserters came from Detroit to this place. They brought information that the British were fortifying at Brownstown, but that an army of 3000 men would meet with no serious opposition until they got to Malden, where the last stand would be made. They said that Col. St. George and General Proctor’s aid, had retired in disgust. The former will receive a pension for life. They mentioned likewise, that Gen. Proctor had offered $500 reward to any person who would procure a prisoner, or intercept the mail to this place-40 Indians were deputed on this service. Their term of service expires to-day, and as they have not succeeded to this plan, we may expect a succession of Indians around our Fort.”

“Frequent alarms are given, and a scouting party was sent out to discover and defeat any party of Indian signs were discovered.”


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-July 2, 1813.


Capture of Fort George

Capture of Fort George.
Respository Office, Canadaigna,
May 29, 7 o’clock, P.M.

About sunrise 28th inst, our troops commanded by General Dearborn, embarked in boats under the immediate command of Gen. Lewis, and landed under cover of the cannon of Com. Chauncey’s squadron on the opposite shore about 2 miles west of Newark; they were met on the margin of the lake by all the enemy’s force at that post; a brisk engagement ensued which lasted about 30 minutes, when the British retreated in great disorder, being pursued by our troops in every direction-they immediately blew up their magazines in fort George, and evacuated the works leaving the British colours flying, which were soon supplanted by the American standard. Every battery below the hights of Queenstown was silenced, and our light artillery and light dragoons crossed at the five-mile meadows about noon. When our informant left Niagara, (6 o’clock, P.M.) all was silent except the pursuing of strangling parties up the river towards Fort Erie; some prisoners had been brought over. Our loss is not known, but report states that we had only 12 men killed, and one officer, Major King, wounded.
By a gentleman from Buffaloe we learn, that early this morning the British blew up their batteries opposite Black Rock, and fled to fort Erie.

Another account of this affair, after stating the army to have been under the command of Generals Lewis, Boyd and Winder, and confirming the blowing up of the magazines, with the loss of some of their own men, says; -“the enemy then pushed for Queenston; but at two o’clock, they were seen retreating from the scene of Gen. Van Rensselaer’s action, and our troops in full pursuit; that it was said the enemy had destroyed all the batteries from fort George to fort Erie; and that the whole British it was expected would surrender in a few days.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-June 11, 1813.

British Attack on Sacket's Harbor

British Attack on Sacket’s Harbor.


Extract of a letter dated Sacket’s Harbor, May 29.
“The British fleet of 5 or 6 sail, were discovered off our harbor early yesterday morning-By 9 o’clock it was reduced to a certainty that it was their intention to land. Alarm guns were immediately fired, and every preparation made to give them a warm reception. A light wind and some other causes prevented their landing until 4 o’clock this morning, when they effected it, with considerable loss. The action continued warm and general until 6 o’clock, when it terminated in the retreat of the enemy to their fleet.
I am not able to give you the number of killed or wounded, on either side, but it is considerable on both. Lt. Col. Mills, of the volunteers, is among the slain. Col. Backus, of the 1st regt. Light Dragoons, is aid to be mortally wounded. Two General Officers of the enemy were found dead in the field. It is understood that Gov. Prevost commanded the enemy. General Brown commanded our forces, and fought bravely.-The enemy are now making out of the harbor. You must wait for particulars. In haste, &c.

A letter from an officer received this morning, dated at 4 o’clock, P.M. on the 29th, says:-

“One Colonel, one or two Majors we know to have been killed.-Several of their officers (wounded) we have prisoners. Col. Mills is killed-No other officer of note on our part. Gen. Brown commanded. Col. Backus, I fear, is mortally wounded-shot through the breast-Gen. B. though in the thickest fire, is untouched.”
We also learn from the letter above quoted, that the British squadron still lay off the bar; that the result of a second attack was not feared, as Lt. Col. Tuttle had that moment arrived with his regt. 700 strong. We regret to say, that the naval officer who had command of part of the naval stores, apprehensive that the enemy would carry the place, ordered them to be set of fire the early part of the engagement.-Argus.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-June 4, 1813.


Victory of York


The letter of the brave but unfortunate captain MOORE, while it has filled with sorrow the hears of those whose friends were killed or wounded in battle, has placed the victory of York in a more brilliant light than any which it has hitherto been seen.-It may indeed prove the ground work of speedy and decisive success in an attempt to conquer and occupy the province of Upper Canada. In this signal triumph of the American arms, the traduced corps of Baltimore volunteers have performed their duty, with honor to themselves and credit to the city. They have alike (illegible) their calumniator, who accuse them of being destitute of courage, to shame, and their foreign enemies to flight. Abhorred be the man who unjustly reviles the gallant soldier while defending his country’s right and advancing its glory in distant regions!




Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-May 28, 1813.

Exchange of Prisoners

Exchange of Prisoners.

We have the pleasure to state, (says government paper) that effectual measures are in progress for the relief of our unfortunate countrymen, in captivity with the enemy. A cartel, by which all the system for the proper treatment, release and exchange of prisoners has been fixed, was agreed on and signed some days since, between Gen. Mason, Commissary General of prisoners on the part of the United States, and Col. Barclay, General Agent for prisoners on the part of Great Britain. By this among other things, it is stipulated that two cartel vessels of the burthen of 500 tons together, shall be constantly kept by each government in the service of removing prisoners of the two nations, to be released on account or exchanged. On our part, the two vessels have been already purchased, fitted and dispatched, to bring home our prisoners suffering in the West Indies. The U.S. cartel Analostan, Capt Smith, left this place for Jamaica on the 2d inst. to touch in Hampton Roads, and take off British prisoners, and on the 13th inst. the United States’ cartel ship Perseverance, Captain Dill, sailed from Philadelphia for Barbadoes, to touch at New York to take in British prisoners in like manner. Both vessels are to return with American prisoners to Providence in Rhode-Island-one of the stations agreed on for the exchange of prisoners of war.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 28, 1813.

Daily sufferings among the people of the District of Maine, and of Marblehead, and Cape Cod

The sufferings which we daily hear of among the people of the District of Maine, and of Marblehead, and Cape Cod, excite a lively interest. These people are deceived as to the true causes of their sufferings, by the men who attach themselves to our present national rulers. The collectors, marshals, district attornies, custom house officers, military officers, commissaries, army contractors, commissioners, &c. &. Who are growing FAT and RICH, while the people suffer and starve, will impudently assert, that this detestable, ruinous war, is just and necessary. Such men rejoice at every British outrage hoping that our passions will get inflamed, and that we shall unite in carrying on the war, without remembering who made it, or why it was made.  

But it ought to be repeated at the doors of the meeting houses, and in all places, times and seasons, that this war was made by the men who spend the revenue which the northern states pay;-that the sole object of the war now is to protect and employ British, Irish and Scotch sailors, to the exclusion of our own. It will cost the American people many, many millions of dollars to attempt by war, that which war will never produce, viz. the right of taking from a foreign nation its subjects. Now this is a claim against the law of nations, and against the principles which the American people ought to support, and ought to fight for, whenever it is set up against them, as it is now set up against them, as it is now set up by them against England.

Why does not Mr. Madison make an armistice? All this summer and autumn the Canadians who bear us no malice, and who have done us no wrong, are to be harassed by our costly troops;-and all this summer, and all this autumn our seaports are to be harassed, and probably burnt by the British! GOD forbid! that Mr. Madison should descend to the tomb without having constitutionally answered to his suffering fellow-citizens for this official acts!


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May28, 1813.


In Senate-Friday, May 28

In SENATE-Friday, MAY 28.

The Secretary delivered a Message from the Governor, communicating a letter from the Secretary at War of the United States, referred to in His Excellency’s Speech.

War Department, March 15, 1813.

“SIR-In answer to your Excellency’s letter of the 1st instant, (enclosing a Resolution of the Legislature of Massachusetts of Feb. 27, 1813, addressed to the President of the United States, and “requesting such supply of muskets as may be conveniently furnished, and as may be considered the proportion to which the Commonwealth may be entitled,”) I have the honor to inform your Excellency, that as the arms provided in virtue of the act of April 23rd, 1803, for arming and equipping the whole body of the militia of the United States, have been inconsiderable, in proportion to the militia to be supplied, the President has deemed it most conductive to the general interest, to supply in the first place, the frontier States, and the militia who have come forward in the service of the country.

“When the state of the public Arsenals will justify the measure, Massachusetts will receive her proportion of arms, agreeably to the provisions of the law. Very respectfully, I have the honor to be, your Excellency’s most obedient servant, JOHN ARMSTRONG.

His Excellency CALEB STRONG,

Governor of Massachusetts.”


Read and committed to the Hon. Messrs. Welles and Foster, with such as the Hon. House may join.

[The House joined Messrs. Lloyd, Gardner, and Richardson.]


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-June 4, 1813.


Letter To Leiutenant Dudley From George H. Rodgers

Montreal Gaol
May 12, 1813.

I am requested by Doctor M'Keehan to inform you of his present unpleasant situation. He is at this time so unwell as to be confined to his bed, and has no chance of getting any thing to make him comfortable. No person attends here to examine our situation; neither have we a chance to send out after any necessaries that we want.
I am confident the doctor's case requires some very speedy aid, particularly as it respects his confined situation, lodging, &c.

Yours, respectfully,
Geo. H. Rodgers, United States' Army.

Lieutenant Dudley.


On the 31st January last I was ordered, by General Harrison, to proceed to the river Raisin, with a flag of truce, and from thence to Malden, if not stopped by the Indians. We arrived at the foot of the rapids of the Miami, at dark, and not finding a company of rangers as expected, we encamped in a cave, the horse and carryall before the door, and the flag standing by them. About midnight the Indians fired in upon us, killed Mr. Lemont, wounded myself in the foot, and made us prisoners. After despatching Mr. Lemont with the tomahawk, scalping and stripping him, they seized my horse, harness, great coast, blankets, and other clothing, and one hundred dollars in gold, which the General had sent to procure necessaries for the wounded of General Winchester's army.
That night I was made to walk more than twenty miles, to where Captain Elliot was stationed with a party of Indians. The captain treated me politely, and sent me to Colonel Proctor. I was scarcely seated before the Colonel began to exclaim against Gen. Harrison; said he has been used to fight Indians and not British; found fault with my instructions, and said the flag was only a pretext to cover a bad design. I rebutted his insinuations with indignation, which I believe has been the cause of all my troubles since. I was not recognized, in my official character, until the 5th of February, when I was informed by Proctor's aid that I should attend on the wounded with Doctor Bower, and that I would be sent to the United States, but by a different route from that which I came. Doctor Bower in a few days was sent home and I detained.
On the 2d of March, I was arrested, by order of Colonel Proctor, and accused of carrying on a private correspondence. On the 8th, without having any trail, ordered to Montreal, and hurried on from Fort George, night and day, although thinly clothed, and the weather very cold.  From Kingston to Prescott, I was made to eat with the officers' servants. This course of torture being finished, on the 28th, when I arrived in Montreal, and without being asked any questions, or suffered to ask myself, I was put into the dungeon, eight or ten feet below the surface of the ground, where I had neither bed nor bedding, chair, bench, or stool; denied pen, ink, and paper, or even the use of a book for two weeks. The  only current of air that passed through my apartment came through the bowels of the privy! Here I was kept thirty-three days, when I was, to my great joy, put up with the American prisoners, and with them permitted to remain, till last Monday, when I was liberated by the intercession of Lieutenant Dudley, of the navy. Colonel Baynes, aid to the Governor, told me the outrage which had been committed on my person was contrary to his orders.
I left fourteen American prisoners in gaol, viz: George H. Rodgers, United States' army; Wm. Hollenback, Onis Hooker, Philaster Jones, Harry Jones, Lewis Minor, Zebina Conkey, Phiney Conkey, Canton; Seth Barnes, Camden; Jared Witheril, John Campbell, Schoharie; Major Watson, Ogdensburg; Alexander M'Gregor, Balston, who were kept in close confinement, notwithstanding Colonel Lethbridge and Major Shackleton had pledged their words to Captain Conkey, before he left Montreal for Quebec, that they should have the liberty of the town during the day. But the Captain was scarcely gone, when the pledge was either forgotten or disregarded. The prisoners now are not permitted to procure such things as their small stock of money would provide. Sometimes they are half a day without water, and two or three days without food; and if they complain they are cursed by the gaoler, and told they are only allowed a quart of water in the day. I am requested to represent their situation to General Dearborn, which I intend to do as soon as I arrive at Sackett's Harbor.
This is a sketch of the indignities I have had to put up with since the last of January.

I am, yours, &c.
Samuel M'Keehan,
Surgeon's Mate 2d Reg't Ohio Militia.

Albany, May 24th, 1813.

Courtesy of Library of Congress

From Alexander Coffin Jr. to J. Mason

May 24, 1813

I have received your favor of the 22d instant, and hasten to reply to the questions therein, respecting the case of Captain Jeduthan Upton, late commander of the privateer brig Hunter, of Salem.  Captain Upton was taken in the month, I believe, of November last, off the Western islands, by the British frigate Phoebe, Captain Hilliard.  In chase, Captain Upton, as is usual in such cases, threw his guns overboard to ease his vessel, in hopes by that means to facilitate his escape from the enemy; but this not availing, he was, as above stated, taken and carried into Plymouth, in England, where, on his arrival, he was immediately, with his first lieutenant, Mr. Wayne, put into Mill prison, and refused his parol, on he plea he had not on board, when captured, fourteen mounted carriage guns above the caliber of four pounders.  After having been thus closely confined for three or four months in a filthy jail, they were in the month of March taken out and sent on board the prison ship at Chatham, where, when I left England in April last, they still were, in a worse situation, if possible, that in Mill prison. The allowance, sir, to American prisoners, in England, you are acquainted with; it is, therefore, not necessary for me to mention it here. It is but justice to state, that the captain Upton and Mr. Wayne, but all would not do; they were deaf to his petition, lost as they are to every sentiment of honor, and every principle of humanity.
Except Captain Upton and his first lieutenant, all the rest of his officers and crew were sent on board the prison ship on their first arrival at Plymouth; amongst them was the doctor of the Hunter, Mr. Carter, who came home in the cartel Robinson Potter. What I have stated respecting the treatment of Captain Upton and Mr. Wayne, I know to be facts, as I had the honor spending twenty-four hours in Mill prison with them, and heard those facts related by themselves.

Very respectfully, I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Alexander Coffin, Jr.

Courtesy of Library of Congress

The Enemy Repulsed!

The Enemy repulsed!

Extract of a letter from Brigadier-General Jacob Brown to his Excellency Governor Tompkins, dated

“We were attacked at the dawn of this day by a British regular force of at least 9 hundred men, most probably 12 hundred. They made good their landing at Horse Island. The enemy’s fleet consisted of two ships and four schooners, and thirty large open boats. We are completely victorious. The enemy lost a considerable number of killed and wounded on the field, among the number several officers of distinction. After having re-embarked, they sent me a flag, desiring to have their killed and wounded attended to. I made them satisfied on that subject. Americans will be distinguished for humanity and bravery. Our loss is not numerous. But serious, from the great worth of those who have fallen. Col. Backus, of the 1st reg. of light dragoons, nobly fell at the head of his regiment, as victory was declaring for us. I will not presume to praise this regiment; much gallant conduct on this day merits much more than praise. The new ship, and Com. Chauncey’s prized, the Duke of Gloucester, is yet safe in Sacket’s Harbour. Sir Geo. Prevost landed and commanded in person. Sir James Yeo commanded the enemy’s fleet. In haste, &c.


It is very possible that we shall again be attacked, as Sir George must feel very sore. We are, however, greatly reinforced from the country; and the arrival of 450 regulars, under Col. Tuttle, who arrived very shortly after the action was over; and I trust that you may be satisfied, that we shall not be disgraced.


Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-June 11, 1813.


Joseph Badgry to Return Meigs

May 24th 1813

there being no mail from Fort Meigs to Delaware since the siege was raised, I omited writing from thence - I was at the Fort three days the damage done to the fort by the enemies shot and shell was scarcely preceptable - fatigue parties were daily employed in cuting up stumps filling of holes trenching the [illeg.] & cleaning the camp. General Clay was very sick the the Pleurisy -- the Command devolved of Colonel Miller who appears to be a very active officer. No enemy to be heard of in that quarter Numbers of the wounded had died & it was thought that several more would die - Officers & men appeared in good Spirits & ready for another attack if the British & indians wish to return
I hope another stroke at Malden will finish British influence over the Indian tribes in the Northwest
Accept Dear Sir the affectionate regards Of your old friend & humble Servant
Joseph Badgry

Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society


Albany, May 22

ALBANY, MAY 22.-On Sunday evening, two schooners under the command of Lieut. Pettigrew, having on board 100 picked men, under Capt. Willoughby Morgan, for the 12th Reg’t, sailed for the head of Lake Ontario, for the purpose of seizing a quantity of public stores. On their arrival, they found the public stores guarded by about 80 regulars; the guard retreated before our men landed; the stores were brought away, and the public buildings burned.-The expedition returned on Tuesday last, without loss.

The day after Lieut. Pettigrew sailed for the head of the Lake, Com. Chauncey, with the remainder of the fleet sailed for Sacket’s Harbor.

The return of the fleet from the Harbor is daily looked for, with a very respectable reinforcement.

[Com. Chauncey, sailed from Sacket’s Harbor, on Tuesday last.-Argus.]


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 28, 1813.



From G. Cockburn to Captain Stewart

His Britannic Majesty's Ship Marlborough
In Lynhaven Bay
May 21, 1813

In the absence of Sir John Warren, I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter under date of the 20th current, complaining of the conduct of Commodore Berresford towards some American prisoners of war returning to Philadelphia on parole, and of his having detained on board the Poictiers Mr. John Stevens and Thomas King.
No report of these circumstances have yet reached Sir John Warren or myself from Commodore Berresford; but I have no hesitation in assuring you sir, that every inquiry would have been made into them, and every satisfaction and explanation thereon, which the case might have required, would have been offered to your Government and yourself, with the least possible delay, had it not been for the threat with which your representation on this subject is accompanied, the tenor of which being likely to produce an entire change in the aspect of our communications, and particularly in what relates to the individuals which the fate of war has placed within the power of our respective nations, it totally precludes the possibility of my now entering further into the subject than to assure you your letter shall be transmitted to the right honorable the Commander-in-chief by the earliest opportunity, and whenever his answer arrives it shall be forwarded to you without delay.
I have the honor to be, sir, with high consideration, your most obedient humble servant,
G. Cockburn, Rear Admiral

Courtesy of Library of Congress

Particulars relative to the Capture of York

Particulars relative to the Capture of York.

By an express who arrived here on Wednesday last, from Niagara, the Editor of the Argus has been furnished with the following interesting particulars relative to the capture of York, which are derived from an authentic source.

The enemy’s force amounted to 1200 men, and consisted of regulars militia and Indians. He lost 300 in killed and wounded, mostly regulars, and 400 taken prisoners, principally militia. A 32 gun ship, nearly ready to launch, was burnt on the stocks, and a vessel mounting 12 guns, and another mounting 8, were captured in the harbor, and have been added to our squadron. Our troops found in the place nearly 100 cannon, among which were several handsome pieces of brass ordnance, a great quantity of fixed ammunitions and naval stores, Indian goods, and several hundred barrels of pork and flour. The cannon and navel stores were destined for the enemy’s use on the lakes.

Our loss was principally occasioned by the explosion of the magazines, and amounted to 54 killed and 196 wounded-of the latter six died previous to Saturday last. The wounded were conveyed to Niagara, where Gen. Dearborn arrived the early part of last week. There was but one man killed on board the squadron, and but one wounded.

In fifteen minutes after the shipping anchored, the intrepid Forsyth had his riflemen landed and formed on the beach-the infantry immediately joined him. The charge upon the enemy, who covered the banks, was impetuous. Not an officer or soldier, it is remarked, shrunk from his duty. The enemy was closely followed into the fort and the British flag pulled down by Capt. Forsyth.


Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-May 21, 1813.


Militia of the District of Columbia

Five hundred of the Militia of the District of Columbia, have been ordered to rendezvous at the City of Washington, by the 20th inst. for the protection of that place, in case of an attack by the enemy.
The British Squadron.-The greater part of the enemy’s fleet now in the bay, had descended on Sunday night, nearly to Point Look-out, and there anchored-and we have certain intelligence that they had not appeared at the mouth of the Potomac on the morning of Monday, as was yesterday reported in this City. That our readers may be enabled to attach the proper degree of credit to such rumors in future, we have authority to state, that steps have been taken to insure the earliest conveyance of information from Point Look-out-and therefore should the hostile squadron enter our river, the fact will be communicated in this city within twenty-two hours afterwards. No surprize need be apprehended.
Nat. Int.
Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-May 21, 1813.

Sacket's Harbor


Is the name given to a handsome village situated at the east end of Lake Ontario, about 18 miles from the river St. Lawrence. It was first taken in possession of, by purchase by Mr. Sacket, of Jamaica, Long Island, in 1799. In 1801, only three families had settled there. Previous to this period, a great degree of prejudice existed against the Lake shore, as unhealthy, from an erroneous idea that the neighbourhood of fresh water lakes was more unhealthy than the sea-shore: without ever reflecting that the Lake of Geneva is celebrated for its healthfulness, and that it is only shallow fresh waters, just enough to cover rotting vegetables, that is unhealthy.

The village of Sacket’s harbour now contains a number of large and elegant built houses, and it is settling so fast that half-acre house lots have sold from 12 to 1500 dollars, and since it has become a military post, for twice that sum.

The most interesting part of this settlement is its curious and highly valuable Harbour. This bason of water is hardly so large as our millpond was before they began to fill it up.-[Illegible] says it contain but ten acres, we believe it to be more than twice that size. The entrance to it is about a quarter of a mile wide for here two opposite points approach cowards each other like the Punto and Moro castle at the entrance of the Havanna, leaving the passage or entrance before mentioned. Indeed Sacket’s Harbour is the harbour of the Havanna in miniature. Its entrance is strongly fortified. Besides a respectable fort, there are four blank houses round this singular bason of deep water, which is bordered by a natural all of lime stone, of about 30 feet high.

It is about 36 miles from Kinston; and is now rendered interesting by being the Head Quarters of our army under Gen. Dearborn, and the station of our fresh water fleet under Com. Chauncey.-Boston Patriot.  


Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-May 21, 1813.


Serious Disaster

Serious Disaster.

NEW YORK, MAY 21.-By the following letters, our readers will find that Kentucky has again to mourn the loss of many of her valuable citizens. It appears that a detachment of 800 men, under the command of General Clay, were on their way to reinforce Fort Meigs; when they arrived near the fort, General Harrison sent an order to General Clay, to make an immediate attack on the enemy; this was done with success-four batteries taken possession of, and the cannon spiked. Our troops, elated with success, remained too long in a situation liable to be surrounded by the enemy. The British and Indians soon received a reinforcement, and, before our men could reach the fort, were, with the exception of 150, either killed or taken prisoners:-

From the Nation Intelligencer Extra.

Chillicothe, May 10.
An express arrived yesterday from the army, bringing the important intelligence contained in the following letters. We have only time to add, that we hope that the numerous reinforcements now on their mareh to join Harrison, will arrive at the Rapids before the enemy effect their retreat; in which case we may venture to predict that Malden will be ours before the lst of June.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May28, 1813.


Public Revenue

Public Revenue.

Massachusetts has paid into the Customs since the commencement of the government, in 1791, more than FORTY-TWO MILLIONS of Dollars; and Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio, collectedly, only about FIFTEEN MILLIONS. A part of this revenue was pledged for the protection of Commerce and the security of our harbors against invasion. Now what is the fact; has this immense amount of income been expended, with the millions of loans borrowed, for the above purposes, or for the maintenance of our maritime rights? Certainly not so; but for the purpose of raising a standing army, that shall first drill itself into discipline, by foreign conquests, and then be made the instrument of perpetuating the government in the hands of those who have established this military dynasty. To secure this, our Northern Commerce must be destroyed-and the people brought, from necessity, to seek the field, rather than starve in our deserted streets.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 21, 1813.



From Charles Stewart to John B. Warren

United States' Frigate Constellation
Off Norfolk
May 20, 1813

I have the honor to represent to your Excellency, that a part of the officers and crew of the late United States' brig Vixen, returning from Jamaica on parole as prisoners of war, were, on entering the Delaware, taken out of the flag of truce by Commodore Berresford, commanding on that station, and detained until a part of the crew of the Poictiers, then prisoners at Philadelphia, were demanded by him and sent down in exchange; that ultimately he detained on board the Poictiers John Stevens, carpenter, and Thomas King, seaman, late of the United States' brig Vixen, on plea of their being subjects of his Britannic Majesty.
This violation of the rights of prisoners on parole is so contrary to the usage of all civilized nations, that I trust your Excellency will give such instructions upon that head as will prevent a similar violation in future.
I have it in command, from my Government, to state to your Excellency that, in retaliation for so violent and unjust a procedure, on the part of Commodore Berresford, in detaining the above Mr. John Stevens and Thos. King, that four subjects of his Britannic Majesty will be immediately selected and held in durance, subject to the same treatment, in all respects, which may be shown towards the aforesaid two persons during their detention.  I hope your Excellency will give this subject you earliest attention, and direct the release of Mr. Stevens and Thomas King, who have been so improperly detained on board the Poictiers.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your Excellency's most obedient servant,
Charles Stewart,
Commanding Officer of the United States' Naval forces at Norfolk

Courtesy of Library of Congress



OGDENESBURGH, MAY 19-The British continue to fortify Prescott-a deserter states their force at 1000 men-500 more are stationed at Johnstown, a short distance below Prescott. The enemy have the exclusive navigation of the St. Lawrence; boats, laden with the munitions of war, troops, &c. are almost daily passing Prescott on their way to the lakes.

It is reported that Gen. Provost was at Prescott last Saturday, on his way to Kingston.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-June 4, 1813.


OGDENESBURGH, MAY 19-The British continue to fortify Prescott-a deserter states their force at 1000 men-500 more are stationed at Johnstown, a short distance below Prescott. The enemy have the exclusive navigation of the St. Lawrence; boats, laden with the munitions of war, troops, &c. are almost daily passing Prescott on their way to the lakes.

It is reported that Gen. Provost was at Prescott last Saturday, on his way to Kingston.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-June 4, 1813.


Richmond, May 18

Richmond, May 18.

The British attempted, some day last week, to cutout one of our coasters which was lying off the country of Matthews. The militia of that country stood to their arms and beat off the enemy’s barge. One of our men was shot thro’ the thigh: from the different in the show of men which the barge exhibited on going and returning, it was supposed that 8 or 10 of their men were shot down.

The corpses of two British seamen have been found floating on the Bay shore-they were supposed to have been drowned in the desperate attempt to swim from their ship.


Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-May 28, 1813.


British Admiralty criticized British Admira Warren

May 17, 1813
The British Admiralty’s assessment of British Admiral Warren criticized Warren for not being as aggressive in his actions in the Chesapeake as expected, among other complaints.
Letter from First Secretary of the Admiralty John W. Croker to Admiral Sir John B. Warren, R.N.:
Admiralty Office
17 May 1813
Secret Duplicate
I have received and laid before my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty your Letter No. 104 of the 28th of March last with its enclosures, relative to the offer made by M. de Dasckoff, of the mediation of His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of all the Russias for reestablishing Peace between his Majesty and the United States of America, and I have their Lordships Commands to repeat to you their approbation that neither you or Rear Admiral Cockburn should have thought yourselves authorized to enter into any Negotiation, or to defer or relax you measures of hostility on the proposition from the Russian Minister, or from the American Government.
I have it further in Command to acquaint you that their Lordships see no reason why Rear Admiral Cockburn should have consented to permit the communication of the Americans with the Chesapeak to be continued, when he could have prevented it, and they cannot but express their opinion that the regular communication by Letter which he has granted may on several obvious occasion be of the greatest injury and danger to our Military operations.
Their Lordships hope that as soon as it was ascertained that the Constellation was beyond the reach of Naval attack, you kept no more ships in the Chesapeak then were necessary for the complete and secure Blockade of that River, and that in the distribution of your force, you have particularly attended to their Lordships former directions to keep as much as possible, a line of Battle Ship with each Squadron of Frigates….
I have their Lordships Commands to refer you to my various Letters relative to sending to me your disposition of the Squadron under your Command, and to express their great surprise that you should not have sent home by the Childers, the account of the disposition of your ships, as far as you could collect it, of the state and condition thereof. The want of these Accounts is a serious inconvenience to their Lordships, and one which you do not in any degree endeavor to obviate, by stating in your dispatches which have been received, any particulars relative to the situation of the Squadron under your Command.
I am Sir Your Most Obedient humble Servant

From W. Jones to Charles Stewart

Navy Department
May 17, 1813

You are hereby authorized and instructed to address a letter to Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, representing the following facts and determination, viz. That a part of the officers and crew of the late United States' brig Vixen were returning from Jamaica, on parole, as prisoners of war, and entering the Delaware, when Commodore Berresford caused them to be brought on board the Poictiers, and detained until a part of the crew of that ship, whom he demanded in exchange, were sent down from Philadelphia; that ultimately, he detained John Stevens, carpenter, and Thomas King, seaman, two of the aforesaid crew of the Vixen, on the plea of their being British subjects, as appears by a letter from Commodore Berresford to Lieutenant Drayton, late first of the said brig Vixen; and that you are commanded explicitly to declare, that, in retaliation for the violent and unjust detention of the said John Stevens and Thomas King, the Government of the United States will immediately cause four British subjects to be selected and held in duress, subject to the same treatment, in all respects, that the said John Stevens and Thomas King may receive during their detention.
On the receipt of the admiral's answer, you will communicate the same to me without delay.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. Jones

Courtesy of Library of Congress


From the Bay


The British have burnt the small towns of Georgetown and Fredric, in Cecil county, Md. The towns are situate on Sassafras creek, which empties into the Bay.

The U.S. Frigates President & Congress went to sea from Boston on the 1st instant. Two British frigates having been seen a day or two before off the coast, an engagement may be expected.


Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-May 14, 1813.



New Orleans, March 21

New Orleans, March 21.

The brig Syren. Of 16 guns, sailed on Friday last on a cruise. She is commanded by Captain Bainbridge (brother to him who has recently distinguished himself)-he is as brave as Julius Caesar, and his officers and crew equally so. There has been off the Balize for some days, a British sloop of war, carrying 22 or 24 guns called the Herald. This is rather too great an odds, as the Syren mounds no more than 6 guns, and those not of the kind of metal suitable for her as she was unfortunate a few months past in having to throw her guns overboard after getting upon a [illegible]; but notwithstanding if he comes in contact with her, he will go to the bottom sooner than strike. He received, a few days past, a CHALLENGE from the British [illegible], that he [on board his Britannic Majesty a sloop of war Herald.] would be glad if Captain Brainbridge would favor him with some of the sweet notes of the Syren-and that he, in return, would favor him with the tune of [illegible]Britannica.


Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-May 14, 1813.

May 14, 1813: The War

May 14, 1813:


Extract of a letter from an officer in the army to his friend in Zanesville, Ohio, dated Camp Meigs,

April 15th 1813.

“We suffered excessively from cold and wet in descending the river from cold and wet in descending the river to this place from Amanda. We rushed on over rocks & sand bars, upsetting some of our crafts and arrived here, fearful lest the garrison might be attacked before our arrival, and which we yet daily look for. Our spies have come in and state that eight hundred British and Indians are encamped eighteen miles below this, and we are working late and early in the garrison, entrenching, raising batteries, & c. Apart of the Pennsylvania militia volunteered for 15 days until we should arrive here. Now their time is out, and when they depart we shall be as badly off as they were before we came. We have not men enough as yet to defend the garrison safety if we should be attacked, but will do as well as we can in that event.”

Dated the 19th.

“We daily expect an attack from the British, and continue working almost night and day preparing to give them a hot reception.


Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-May 14, 1813.

Norfolk, May 14

NORFOLK, MAY 14.-On Wednesday last the squadron of the enemy stationed in Lynnhaven Bay was augmented to 18 sail. Yesterday 15 sail (being all that could be seen from Hampton roads) made sail and stood for the Capes. We learn this morning that nine of them were at anchor last evening abreast of the Capes, the remainder having gone to sea.

WE have it from the authority of a gentleman who has been detained as a prisoner on board the British squadron for some time past, that Admiral Warren declared “he would either be in Washington very soon, or the congress should hear the thunder of his cannon!”


Published din the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 28, 1813.


York* (The Capital of Upper Canada) taken

(The Capital of Upper Canada) taken.
Extract of a letter from Major Gen. Lewis, to the Post Master at Utica, dated
Niagara, April 29, 1813-Sire,-our troops from the harbor arrived at Little-York at sun rise on the morning of the 27th, where, after a sharp conflict, we succeeded in carrying the place and all the out works. We lost by the explosion of a mine several men, and unfortunately Gen. Pike among the number. Sheafe made his escape with what regulars he had left.

Yours, &c.



Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 14, 1813.


Death of General Pike

There are letters in town from Generals Dearborn and Lewis, and Commodore Chauncey.-They states, that General Pike was killed by a stone, and not blown up as mentioned above. There was at York a frigate of thirty-two guns, ready to be launched, which the English burnt. The flotilla was to leave York immediately, for the purpose of making an attack at another point on the lake.

[Ed. N.Y. Gazette.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 14, 1813.


York was evacuated by our forces

The following account, which represents our loss as much less than the accounts before received, is from Albany:-

York was evacuated by our forces; who bro’t off two small vessels only, and burnt a third on the stocks. The loss of the Americans in the whole affair was only 18 killed in the battle, and 36 by the explosion of the mine-among the latter, Gen. Pike. No Indians were captured, and three or four only of their dead bodies found on the scene of action. Of the British forces, about 900 militia, and 100 regulars, were made prisoners. The militia were paroled. These particulars may be relied on.


Published din the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 14, 1813.

Distressing situation of the District of Maine

Distressing situation of the District of Maine.

Extract of a letter from gentleman of the first respectability and property, to his correspondent in this town, dated Castine, May 3d.

“I do most earnestly request you to purchase me some Indian Corn, as we are starving here for bread, and not a bushel to be purchased for love or money-Don’t for God’s sake fail-If you cannot get Corn send me Flour or Groat-Bread.”


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 14, 1813.

Two vessels arrived at Fort Niagara

Two vessels arrived at Fort Niagara on the 3d inst. and landed Gen. Dearborn, Com. Chauncey, and 27 wounded men. Gen. Lewis met Gen. Dearborn there, and it was said had received orders to cross the Niagara with his troops, and occupy Little York.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 14, 1813.


Maritime Protection


When the administration, in the plentitude of their folly or madness, declared an offensive war against Great-Britain, they assured the nation, through their Intelligencer, that all the necessary preparation had been fully made, not only for the complete safety of the seaboard, and the protection of our extended frontiers, but also for the immediate conquest of Upper and Lower Canada. To say nothing of conquests or of the frontiers, which are at a distance, let us look at the state of preparation in our ports, bays, and harbors. In the Chesapeake those preparations have been partially tried, and what resistance has been afforded-In regard to the waters of the Delaware, and the city of Philadelphia itself, what security do they derive from any exertions of the general government of the United States? Where are our armed ships?-Where are the gun-boats?-Where are there troops of the United States sufficient to repel even one hundred men who should attempt to land, burn the arsenal, our magazine or even our city? Gone, alas I at the very moment the enemy appeared, hundreds of miles into the interior, under the pretence of making foreign conquests. It does not become us, under present circumstances, to say what our actual situation is; but it behoves our citizens to inquire into it, and to ascertain what the government have done for their protection in return for the ample resources which have been drawn from them.

[U.S. Gaz.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 14, 1813.

Philadelphia papers

The Philadelphia papers confirm the news of the burning of George-Town and Fredrick-Town.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 14, 1813.


Four persons apprehended as spies, and said to be British officers, (one of whom has been working as a gardener in our United States arsenal) have been apprehended, and committed to Arch-street prison.

[Philad. Gaz.


Published in the Boston Weekly Messenger-May 14, 1813.


Letter from Andrew Jackson to John Armstrong

May 10th. 1813

  This will be handed to you by Colo Thos. H. Benton commandant of the 2nd Regt of Tennessee Volunteer Infantry--who having detained here since the 22nd ultimo for the determination of the President on the further service, of the Detachment of Volunteers under my command--from the delay of communications on this subject, a belief has arisen, that our services to the North west will not be called for by the President--Colo. Benton having abandoned a profitable profession for the tented fields, and having determined during the continuation of the war, to continue in the field of Mars if goverment will give him employ in her armies, goes on with this view to the city of washington--did I think any thing was necessary to be said on the fitness of Colo. Benton to command, it would be here added--his uniform good conduct, his industry and attention to the decipline & police of his Regiment speak more for his fitness than words--and a personal acquaintance with Colo. Benton will soon decide on the capacity of his mind relative tacticts and military operations--
    I have recd advices from Natchez stating that the asst D. q. Master of that department, has refused to pay the waggoners employed by him to hall the sick and necessary baggage of my detachment to the Tenessee river--and he further states as I am advised by letter from the waggoners, that he is thus instructed by Colo. Shamburgh not to pay them-- I have to ask that instructions be given for this expence to be paid, and that no other circumstance will be permitted to arise, farther to embitter the minds of the Detachment--they took the field with the promptness--the have and do stand ready to obay the call of their goverment for the tendered north west service--they merit more attention than they have recd--their minds from the privations they have suffered from the agents of goverment withholding from them their Just and necessary supplies are sufficiently disgusted--and if the agents of goverment are thus permitted to act with impunity the disgust will become so general in the west that the administration will loose that united support that it uniformly recd in this State--in this believe a candid man--
    I refer you to Colo. Benton for information you will find him capable of giving it on every subject--I am sir with due consideration and respect--

                                                                                       Andrew Jackson


Letter From Samuel M'Keehan To Lieutenant Dudley

Montreal Prison,
May 9, 1813

Yesterday Sir George's aid came and informed me that the nature of my confinement had been contrary to his orders, and Colonel Lethbridge was required to restore me my liberty. I was also informed, that you and myself would probably, in a few days, be sent to the Untied States. Colonel Lethbridge told me he would send for me at 3 o'clock, and take my parole. In less than one hour, Major Shackleton called, and said the Governor, after a more mature consideration, had concluded he could not let me have my liberty until he would hear from General Proctor.
Two or three days after my imprisonment, Major Shackleton told me that General Proctor had promised, with the next despatches, to send on all the papers relating to my case, and that then I would have a hearing.
So you may see punishment by torture is not yet abolished. If they had drove a dagger through my heart, my punishment would have been much less, and their compassion much greater.

Yours, &c.
Samuel M'Keehan.

Major Shackleton also told me that Colonel Baynes was unauthorized to tell me what he did.
S. M'K.

Lieutenant Dudley.

From Luther Savage to James Monroe

May 9, 1813

Annexed is Captain Samuel Chew's deposition, taken before Judge Edwards at New Haven.  We expected it in season to have forwarded it by Mr. Dodd, but received it last evening by Mr. Huntington, the United States' Attorney for Connecticut district, and now forward it to you per mail.

Yours, respectfully,
Luther Savage & Co.

Connecticut District,
On this day, the 7th of May, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirteen, personally came before me, Pierpont Edwards, Judge of the district court of the United States, for the district aforesaid, Samuel Chew, of the city of New Haven, in the said district, and being duly sworn, deposeth, the the was a Bridgetown, in the Island of Barbadoes, in the West Indies, in the moth of February now last past; that on board a British prison ship, at Barbadoes, there were confined about five hundred and twenty-three American prisoners, of the crews of private armed vessels of the United States and merchantmen, captured since the war. At the time the deponent was at Barbadoes the American prisoners were supplied with bread and some meat; as to vegetables, the deponent was not informed.  The regulations on board the said prison ship compelled the prisoners to go below decks, where they were confined at evening and until morning; as many as could were suspended in hammocks, and still there was not sufficient room below them for all the lie down.  In this respect the situation of the prisoners was not only extremely uncomfortable, but hazardous, and more especially, should there be, as was apprehended, a scarcity of provisions during the approaching hot months.  The deponent was not permitted to go on board said prison ship, but derived his information from masters of vessels, prisoners at said island, who were allowed occasionally to go on board said prison ship, with whom the deponent is personally acquainted, and in whose representations he has the most perfect confidence, and entertains no doubt of the facts by them stated; and this statement is given at the request of the confidence, and entertains no doubt of the facts by them stated; and this statement is given at the request of the friends of some of the prisoners at Barbadoes, particularly of the crew of the privateer Blockade, at Hartford.

Pierpont Edwards, District Judge of Connecticut District.

I, Pierpont Edwards, Judge of the district court of the United States for the Connecticut, do hereby certify and make known to all whom it may concern, that Captain Samuel Chew, the within named deponent, is a gentleman to me well known, having known him for many years: he is the son of Captain Samuel Chew, late of the city of New Haven, deceased, and who fell by a cannon ball on board an American vessel during the revolutionary war: that the said deponent is a man of strict integrity, and attached to the constitution and Government of the United States, and the most perfect confidence is due to his said representations so as a aforesaid sworn to.

Pierpont Edwards, District Judge of Connecticut District.

Courtesy of Library of Congress

The War. Good News from the North-Western Army


Copy of a letter from Gen’l W.H. Harrison to the Secretary of War.
Head Quarters, Camp Meigs, 9th May, 1813.

SIR-I have the honor to inform you that the enemy having been several days making preparations for raising the siege of this post, accomplished this day the removal of their artillery from the opposite bank, and about 12 o’clock left their encampment below were soon embarked and out of sight. I have the honor to enclose you an agreement entered into between Gen. Proctor and myself for the discharge of the prisoners of the Kentucky militia in his possession, and for the exchange of the officers and men of the regular troops which were respectively possessed by us. My anxiety to get the Kentucky troops released as early as possible, induced me to agree to the dismission of all the prisoners I had, although there was not as many of ours in Gen. Proctor’s possession. The surplusage is to be accounted for and an equal number of ours released from their parole, whenever the government may think proper to direct.
The two actions on this side of the river on the 5th, were infinitely more important & more honorable to our arms, than I had at first conceived. In the sortie made upon the left flank, Captain Waring’s company of the 19th regt. a detachment of 12 months volunteers under Maj. Alexander, and three companies of Kentucky militia under Col. Boswell, defeated at least double the number of Indians and British militia.
The sortie on the right was still more glorious; the British batteries in that direction were defended by the grenadier and light infantry companies of the forty-first regiment amounting to 200 effectives and two companies of militia, flanked by a host of Indians. The detachment sent to attack these consisted of all the men off duty belonging to the companies of Croghan and Bradford of the 17th regt. Langham Elliott’s (late Graham’s) and Waring’s of the 19th, about 80 of Major Alexander’s volunteers, and a single company of Kentucky militia under Capt. Sebry, amounting in the whole to not more than 340. Yet the event of the action was not a moment doubtful, and had not the British troops been covered in their retreat by their allies, the whole of them would have been taken.

It is not possible for troops to behave better than ours did throughout; all the officers exerted themselves to execute my orders and the enemy, who had a full view of our operations from the opposite shore, declared that they had never seen so much work performed in so short a time.

To all the commandants of corps I feel particular obligations. These were Colonel Miller of the 19th infantry, Col. Mills of the Ohio militia. Maj. Stoddard of the artillery, Maj. Ball of the dragoons, and Maj. Johnson of the Kentucky militia. Captain Gratiot of the engineers having been for a long time much indisposed, the task of fortifying this post devolved upon Captain Wood. It could not have been placed in better hands. Permit me to recommend him to the President, and to assure you that any mark of his approbation bestowed on Capt. Wood, would be highly gratifying to the whole of the troops who witnessed his arduous exertions.

 From Major Hukill, acting Inspector General, my aid-de-camp Major Graham. Lieutenant O’Fallon, who has done the duty of assistant Adjutant General in the absence of Major Adams, & my volunteer aid-de-camp John Johnson, Esq. I received the most useful assistance.

I have the honor to enclose you a list of the killed and wounded daring the siege and in the two sorties; those of the latter were much greater than I had at first expected.

Want of sleep and exposure to the continued rains which have fallen almost every day for some time past, renders me incapable of mentioning many interesting particulars; amongst others a most extraordinary proposition of Gen. Proctor’s, on the subject of the Indians within our boundary-this shall form the subject of a communication to be made to-morrow or next day and for which I will provide a safer conveyance than that which carries this. All the prisoners and deserters agree in saying that the information given to Major Stoddard by Ryland of the British having launched a sloop of war this spring, is incorrect, & the most of them say that the one wich is now building will not be launched for many weeks.

I have the honor to be, sir, with great respect, your humble servant,

Hon. John Armstrong, Sec’y of War.

P.S.-Captain Price of the regiment light artillery, and the 20 regulars, prisoners with Gen. Proctor, were taken on the N.W. side of the river, with the Kentucky militia. We had no prisoners taken on this side during the siege.


Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-May 28, 1813.