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War of 1812 News Stories



Pre-War News
Submitted by Nancy Piper

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , April 15, 1812

Ninety pieces of field artillery (part of them brass) were received at this place from Washington City last week, the carriages and harness for which are now making and sixty of them will be ready for the field by the middle of May for the use of the old regiment of United States light artillery and the two new regiments of artillery now raising. Fifty 18 pounders, for traveling carriages are ordered to be completed as soon as possible. – N. York Columbian

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , April 15, 1812
Recruiting in Canada
We have seen copies of handbills circulating in Canada by the British recruiting officers. They offer five Guineas Bounty, and a quantity of land at the end of the service. The term of enlistment is three years.
The British are preparing vessels of war on the Lakes and marching additional troops to the forts. – Bost. Pat.

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , April 22 1812
The President of the United States has called on the governor of this state, for twelve hundred men to march immediately for Detroit. The governor has accordingly issued his orders to the commandant of divisions, who are each to furnish 300 men, to be divided into five companies. A draft will be immediately made on the militia unless a sufficient number should volunteer their services. We understand that several gentlemen in this county are at present engaged in raising volunteer companies.

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , May 20 1812
Batavia, N.Y., April 18, 1812
We stop the press to announce the intelligence of an armed British and Indian force on the Canada side of the Niagara river, apparently with an intention to make a descent on the American side. It is stated that the Indians are receiving supplies of arms and provisions from the British military stores at Newark; and that boats are in readiness to transport their men across the river.
We learn that intelligence has been transmitted to Messrs, Porter and Barton from some of their friends in Upper Canada stating that it is advisable for them to remove their families from the river.
A messenger has been sent express from Lewistown on Niagara river to Gen. Hall of Ontario county, to call out the militia immediately. The companies in this place are embodying to march at a moment’s warning.

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , June 3, 1812
An Act To Raise an Additional Military Force
Be it enacted by the Senate or House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there be immediately raised, ten regiments of infantry, two regiments of artillery and one regiment of light dragoons, to be enlisted for the term of five years, unless sooner discharged.

Sect. 2 And be it further enacted, That a regiment of infantry shall consist of eighteen captains, eighteen first lieutenants, eighteen second lieutenants, eighteen ensigns, seventy two sergeants, seventy two corporals, thirty six musicians and eighteen hundred privates which shall form two battalions, each nine companies. A regiment of artillery shall consist of twenty captains, twenty first lieutenants, twenty second lieutenants, forty cadets, eighty sergeants, eighty corporals, one hundred and sixty artificers, forty musicians and fourteen hundred and forty privates which shall form two battalions, each of ten companies. The regiments of cavalry shall consist of twelve captains, twelve first lieutenants, twelve second lieutenants, twelve cornets, twenty-four cadets, forty-eight sergeants, forty-eight corporals, twelve saddlers, twelve farriers, twelve trumpeters and nine hundred and sixty privates, which shall form two battalions, each of six companies.

Sect. 3. And be it further enacted, That to each regiment raised under this act, whether of infantry, artillery or light dragoons, there shall be appointed one colonel, two lieutenant colonels, two majors, two adjutants, one quarter master, one paymaster, one surgeon, two surgeon’s mates, two sergeant majors, two quarter master sergeants and two senior musicians.

Sect. 4. And be it further enacted, That there shall be appointed two major generals, each of whom shall be allowed two aids to be taken from the commissioned officers of the line and five brigadier generals, each of whom shall be allowed a brigade major and an aid to be taken from the captains and subalterns of the line; and there shall be appointed one adjutant general and one inspector general, each with the rank, ray and emoluments of a brigadier general; the said adjutant general shall be allowed one or more assistants, not exceeding three, to be taken from the line of the army, with the same pay and emoluments as by this act are allowed to a lieutenant colonel; the said inspector general shall be allowed two assistant inspectors, to be taken from the line of the army, each of whom shall receive, while acting in said capacity, the same pay and emoluments as by this act are allowed to a lieutenant colonel; there shall also be appointed such number of hospital surgeons and mates as the service may require, with one steward to each hospital.

Sect. 5. That when an officer is detached to serve as brigade-major or aid, or as an assistant to the adjutant-general or inspector-general, on the appointment of a general officer, or as adjutant or quartermaster on the appointment of a colonel, he shall not thereby lose his rank.

Sect. 6. And be it further enacted, That the major-generals respectively shall be entitled to $200 hundred dollars monthly pay with $20 dollars allowance for forage monthly, and fifteen rations per day. Their aids-de-camp shall each be entitled to twenty four dollars monthly, in addition to their pay in the line and ten dollars monthly for forage and four rations. The brigadier general respectively shall be entitled to one hundred and four dollars monthly pay, twelve rations per day and fifteen dollars per month for forage, when not found by the public.

Sect. 7. And be it further enacted, That all other officers, cadets, noncommissioned officers, musicians, artificers and privates, authorized by the act shall receive the like pay, forage, rations, clothing and other emoluments as the officers of the same grade and the corps, cadets, non-commissioned officers, musicians, artificers and privates of the present military establishment.

Sect. 8. And be it further enacted, That each ration shall consist of one pound and a quarter of beef or three quarters of a pound of pork, eighteen ounces of bread or flour, one gill of run, whisky, or brandy, and at the rate of two quarts of salt, four quarts of vinegar, four pounds of snap and one pound and a half of candies to every hundred rations.

Sect. 9. And be it further enacted, That every non-commissioned officer, musician and private of the artillery and infantry, shall receive annually the following articles of uniform clothing, to wit: one hate, one coat, one vest, two pair of woolen and two pair of linen overalls, one coarse linen frock and trousers, for fatigue clothing, four pair of shoes, four shirts, two pair of short stockings, one blanket, one stock and clasp and one pair of half gaiters; And the secretary of war is hereby authorized to cause to be furnished to the paymaster of the respective districts such surplus of clothing as he may deem expedient, which clothing shall under his directions be furnished to the soldiers, when necessary at the contract prices and accounted for by them out of their arrears of monthly pay.

Sect. 10. And be it further enacted, That the officers, non-commissioned officers, musicians and privates of the said corps shall be governed by the rules and articles of war which have been established by the United States in Congress assembled, or by such rules which have been established by the United States in Congress assembled, or by such rules and articles as may be hereafter by law established.

Sect. 11. And be it further enacted, That the commissioned officers who shall be employed in the recruiting service shall be entitled to receive for every effective able bodied man, who shall be only enlisted by him for the term of five years and mustered, of at least five feet six inches high (and between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years) the sum of two dollars; Provided nevertheless, That this regulation so far as respects the age of the recruit, shall not extend to musicians or to the soldiers who may re-enlist into the service: And provided also, That no person under the age of twenty-one years shall be enlisted by any officer or held in the service of the United States without the consent in writing of his parent, guardian or master first had and obtained if any be have; and if any officer shall enlist any person contrary to the content and meaning of this act, (…?...) such offence he shall forfeit (..?...) amount of the bounty and (…?...) person so recruited may have received from the public, to be deducted out of the pay an emolument of such officer.

Sect. 12. And be it further enacted, That there shall be allowed and paid to each effective able bodied man recruited as aforesaid, to serve for the term of five years a bounty of sixteen dollars; but the payment of eight dollars of the said bounty shall be deferred until he shall be mustered and have joined some military corps of the United States for service. And whenever any non-commissioned officer or soldier, shall be discharged from the services, who shall have obtained from the commanding officer of his company, battalion or regiment, a certificate that he had faithfully performed his duty whilst in service, he shall moreover be allowed and paid in addition to the said bounty, three months pay, and one hundred and sixty acres of land and the heirs and representatives of those non-commissioned officers or soldiers who may be killed in action or die in the service of the United States shall likewise be allowed the said additional bounty of three months pay and one hundred and sixty acres of land to be designated, surveyed and laid off at the public expense in such manner and upon such terms and conditions as may be provided by law.

Sect. 13. And be it further enacted That the said corps shall be paid in such manner, that the arrears shall at no time exceed two months unless the circumstances of the case shall render it unavoidable.

Sect. 14. And be it further enacted, That if any officer, non-commissioned officer, musician or private shall be disabled by wounds or otherwise, he shall be placed on the list of invalids of the U.S. at such rate of pension and under such regulation as are or may be directed by law: Provided always, that the compensation to be allowed for such wounds or disabilities, to a commissioned officer, shall not exceed for the highest disability half the monthly pay of such officer, at the time of his being disabled or wounded; and that no officer shall receive more than half pay of a lieutenant colonel: and that the rate of compensation to non-commissioned officers, musicians and privates shall not exceed five dollars per month: And provided also, That all inferior disabilities shall entitle the persons so disabled to receive an allowance proportionate to the highest disability.

Sec. 15. And be it further enacted, That if any commissioned officer in the military establishment of the United States shall while in the service of the United States, die, by reason of any wound received in actual service of the United States and leave a widow or if no widow, a child or children, under sixteen years of age, such widow or if no widow, such child or children shall be entitled to and receive that the monthly pay to which the deceased was entitled at the time of his death, for and during the term of five years. But in case of death or intermarriage of such widow before the expiration of the said term of five years, the half pay for the remainder of the time shall go to the child or children of such deceased officer: provided always, That such pay shall cease on the decease of such child or children.

Sec. 16. And be it further enacted, That if any non-commissioned officer, musician or private, shall desert the service of the United States, he shall in addition to the penalties mentioned in the rules and articles of war, be liable to serve for and during such a period as shall with the time he may have served previous to his desertion, amount to the full term of his enlistment; and such soldier shall and may be tried by a court martial and punished, although the term of his enlistment may have elapsed previous to his being apprehended or tried.

Sec. 17. And be it further enacted, That every person not subject to the rules and articles of war, who shall procure or entice a soldier in the service of the United States, to defect or who shall purchase from any soldier, his arms, uniform, clothing or any part thereof; and every captain or commanding officer of any ship or vessel who shall enter on board such ship or vessel as one of his crew, knowing him to have deserted, or otherwise carry away any such soldier, or shall refuse to deliver him up to the orders of his commanding officer, shall upon legal conviction, be fined at the discretion of any court having cognizance of the same, in any sum not exceeding three hundred dollars, and be imprisoned any term not exceeding one year.

Sec. 18. And be it further enacted, That every officer, non-commissioned officer, musician and private shall take and subscribe the following oath or affirmation, to wit: I, A.B. do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against their enemies or opposers whomsoever; and that I will observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the orders of the officers appointed over me according to the rules and articles of war.

Sec. 19. And be it further enacted, That there shall be appointed to each division a judge advocate who shall be entitled to the same pay and emoluments as a major in the infantry, or if taken from the line of the army, shall be entitled to thirty dollars per month in addition to his pay, and the same allowance for forage as is allowed by law for a major of infantry.

Sec. 20. And be it further enacted, That where any commissioned officer shall be obliged to incur any extra expense in travelling and sitting on general courts martial, he shall be allowed a reasonable compensation for such extra expense actually incurred, not exceeding one dollar and twenty-five cents per day to officers who are not entitled to forage, and not exceeding one dollar per day to such as shall be entitled to forage.

Sec. 21. And be it further enacted, That no non-commissioned officer, musician or private, during the term of his service, shall be arrested on a mesne process; or taken or charged in execution for any debt or debts contracted before entitlement, which were severally under twenty dollars at the time of the contracting the same, nor for any debt whatever contracted after enlistment.

Sec. 22. And be it further enacted, That whenever any officer or soldier shall be discharged from the service, except by way of punishment for any offence, he shall be allowed his pay and rations, or an equivalent in money, for such term of time as shall be sufficient for him to travel from the place of discharge to the place of his residence, computing at the rate of twenty miles a day.

Sec. 23. And be it further enacted, That the subsistence of the officers of the army, when not received in kind, shall be estimated at twenty cents per ration.

Sec. 24. And be it further enacted, That there shall be appointed to each brigade one chaplain, who shall be entitled to the same pay an demoluments as a major in the infantry.

Sec. 25. And be it further enacted, That no general, field or staff officer, who may be appointed by virtue of this act, shall be entitled to receive any pay or emoluments until he shall be called into actual service, nor for any longer time than he shall continue therein.

January 11, 1812
James Madison

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , June 10 1812
A declaration of public war without limitation or qualification against Great Britain passed on Thursday in the House of Representatives. The minority (about 50) disdained to speak to the question, as from the closing of the doors, their sentiments could not be known by their constituents. – Baltimore paper

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , June 17, 1812
Raleigh, (N.C.) May 29, 1812
His Excellency the governor of this state has received a letter from the Secretary of war, under date of the 21st inst., requesting him to order into actual service such part of the quota of the militia of this state, required by his letter of the 15th of April, as Major General Pinckney may deem necessary for the defense of the fortifications on the sea-board.

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , JULY 8, 1812
On Sunday last, an express passed through Albany for Canada; said to be the bearer of dispatches from the British Minister at Washington, giving an account of the declaration of war by Congress against G. Britain.

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , JULY 29, 1812
New Fashioned War
Boston, July 3, 1812
We learn that on the arrival of the declaration of war at Eastport, the inhabitants of that place went over to St. Andrews and took by force all the British goods they could find. Then the British mustered, came over the line and took by force all the flour &c. that they could find. We are happy to learn no lives were lost in either of the campaigns.

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , August 5, 1812
Notice To Aliens
Department of State, July 7th 1812
All British Subjects within the United States are required forthwith to report to the marshals (or to the persons to be appointed by them) of the respective states or territories within which they may reside, their names, their age, the time they have been in the United States, the persons composing their families, the places of their residence and their occupations or pursuits; and whether and at what time they have made the application to the courts required by law as preparatory to their naturalization – and the Marshalls, respectively are to make to Department of State, returns of all such British subjects with the above circumstances annexed to their names.

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , August 26 1812
From Frankfort, Ken., Aug. 5, 1812
By the last western mail Governor Scott received a letter from Governor Edwards of the Illinois territory, dated the 23d ult., in which he states that he has discovered as formidable a combination of Indians as the western country has ever had to contend with; of the agency of unprincipled British emissaries in producing it and of immediate danger to this part of the American frontier.” It is stated in the letter that 1500 warriors were assembled on the banks of the Illinois river and had canoes enough to transport the whole of them – 3377 consisting of different nations were lately assembled at Prairie de Chein, at St. Joseph’s Fort, and on Lake Michigan and its borders several thousands. He also states that “all hopes of peace by any other means than hard fighting must now be abandoned.” Governor Edwards says the Indians in the Illinois territory had the declaration of war some days before it was known at Kaskaskia. From the information detailed above, and from confidential information received, which it is improper to publish, we have no doubt but the volunteers from this state will be called upon to march against the Indians in a few days.
Mr. Thomas D. Carneal, assistant quartermaster to General Hull’s army, arrived this morning express from General Hull to our executive. He left Head Quarters at Sandwich on 29th ultimo. General Hull requests a reinforcement of men from this state. He also mentions that Fort Michilimacinac was taken by the British aided by about 1000 Indians.
Governor Harrison has also requested four companies of militia infantry as a reinforcement in this territory.
Governor Edwards communications are such as to justify the ordering on a reinforcement to that quarter. We understand that orders will immediately issue to comply with these requests and it is the wish of the Governor that every officer and soldier of the detachment of this state should be in place to carry into effect the orders as soon as issued; of which they will be notified by express.

The Centinel, Gettysburg, Pa , August 26 1812
From Lexington, August 14, 1812

Gov. Harrison arrived in this place on Sunday evening. It is expected that the remainder of the Kentucky Volunteers will be ordered to the Indiana territory and under the command of Gov. Harrison to commence a campaign against the Indians on Lakes Michigan and Huron and ultimately to co-operate with Gen. Hull in reducing Michilmackinac, which fort is remarkably strong and well supplied with ammunition. A strong force in that quarter would seem indispensably necessary to guard the frontier against destructive predatory incursions from the Indians.
Gov. Edwards too, of the Illinois wants a guard and must be protected.
We are convinced that nothing will so well please the volunteers of this state as to be placed under the command of Harrison – their unbounded confidence in his talents and skill will stimulate them under the severest hardships and would undoubtedly lead them to perform feats of valor that would do honor to our fathers.

The Centinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), October 14, 1812
Reports have reached town that the British had blockaded the Mississippi and seized Balize. General Wilkinson had left New Orleans with a detachment of his army in the Steam boat, to reinforce Fort Plaqueemine. He had previously called on the Governor of the state for 2200 militia to be placed under his command – 300 had already volunteered at New Orleans to garrison the city. – Ken. Gaz.

The Centinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), October 21, 1812
The inhabitants of the frontier towns in Vermont are flying into the interior, leaving their homes, and seeking protection among their friends. A family from Eden arrived here a few days since. They are in fear of the Indians who are collecting on the lines and there is on American force between Derby and Swanton, about eighty miles. – Keene, N.H. paper

The Centinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania), December 16, 1812
Brief Sketch of the Seat of War.
As the situation of places on our north and north-western frontier, with their distance from each other, must be interesting to our readers, we subjoin the following short sketch, regretting that our means of information have been too limited to make it as complete as we could have wished. As far, however, as the statement goes, it may be relied on to be accurate.

DETROIT is situated on a river of the same name, 20 miles above the head of lake Erie. This river, opposite to Detroit, is three quarters of a mile in width, with a current of about three miles an hour and of sufficient depth to carry any vessels which navigate the lakes. All the waters which empty into the lake of the Woods, Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron, pass down Detroit river into Lake Erie.

The Town of Detroit contains from one hundred to one hundred and fifty houses, mostly frame, which have all been built since the year 1805; the old town having been entirely destroyed by fire in June of that year.

The garrison stands at the north-west corner of the town, about 300 yards from the river, and is situated on a small elevation, so as to overlook the surrounding plains. The whole face of the country is very level, becoming flat and marshy as you proceed a few miles back from the river.

From Detroit to Brownstown, a Wyandot Indian village, is a distance of 18 or 19 miles. It is on the river about 1 mile above the lake and opposite to Fort Malden on the Canada side.

From Brownstown to the river Raisin, a distance of 18 miles, there are no settlements of whites, being mostly Indian lands. There were a number of families residing on this river, previous to the surrender of Detroit, but they all fled after that period, either to Detroit or the settlements in the state of Ohio, in consequence of the hostility of the Indians.

From the river Raisin to the foot of the Rapids of Maumee river, a distance of 34 miles, there are no settlements. On this river there was a considerable settlement, but the inhabitants all fed to the state of Ohio, at the same time with those living on the river Raisin, and from the same cause.

From the Rapids of Maumee to Sandusky river, is a distance of 40 miles, being such low swampy lands that there have been no settlements made on the road between these two places. At the mouth of Sandusky the first settlement on the lake within the state of Ohio commences, which continues with short intervals to Buffalo, through part of the states of Pennsylvania and New York. From Sandusky river to Cleveland is a distance of about eighty miles, and from thence to Erie, in Pennsylvania, about 100 miles, and 90 from Erie to Buffalo.

BUFFALO, is situated at the foot of Lake Erie, within a few hundred yards of the lake, nearly opposite the British Fort Erie and between two and three miles there-from.

BLACK ROCK is about two miles below Buffalo, at the foot of a very considerable rapid in the river, which is here about the same width of Detroit river. From Black Rock to the fall of Niagara, is a distance of about 20 miles and from thence to Lewistown, 8 or 9 miles, opposite Queenstown on the Canada side.

FORT NIAGARA stands at the head of Lake Ontario, 8 miles below Lewistown and nearly opposite to Newark and Fort George. From the falls down to Lake Ontario, the river is not more than from a quarter to half a mile wide. – Pittsburg Mercury




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