HUGH C. MACDOUGALL
THE OTSEGO HERALD
From the Otsego Herald
for Saturday, Sept. 26, 1812
Compiled, with comments
by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL
Weather: Utica 1812 Almanack: High winds with some rain.
Cincinnatti, August 31.
About 2,000 volunteers completely armed and equipped and furnished with 30 days provisions, have mounted their war horses and are at Urbanna, destined to protect our frontiers from savage barbarity until relieved by the army now on their march thither! They are composed of the most respectable and useful citizens the state of Ohio can boast of. Kentuckians broke loose for the defence of their Country.
On Wednesday last 500 regulars under the command of Col. Wells, marched through this town for the general rendezvous at Urbanna — and on Thursday a detachment of Kentucky volunteers amounting to about 1,800 men, under the command of Brigadier General Payne, marched through for the same place.
The whole were in high spirits, and are some of the best stuff in Kentucky — they seem indignant at the late news, anxious to wipe the stain from the American name; and all of them were eager and determined to march under the banner of [William Henry] Harrison, who has taken the command of the North Western army.
Three complete regiments of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and 500 mounted riflemen are on their way to take the same route — they will be here in a few days.
COMMENT: William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) was probably the pre-eminent American General during the War of 1812. He was appointed Commander of the North Western Army on Sept. 17, 1812. Harrison had already served as a Congressional delegate and as Governor of Indiana Territory, and achieved fame by defeating a coalition of Indians at Tippecanoe in 1811. He would go on to recapture Detroit from the British, invade Upper Canada, and win a major victory over the British at the Battle of the Thames in 1813. After the war he served in a variety of capacities, and was elected president of the United States in 1840 (“Tippecanoe and Tyler Too”) in the first campaign to use modern populist (“e.g. log cabin”) tactics. But he died of pneumonia a month after being sworn in as president in March 1841.
On Saturday the 12th instant, William Leonard, jun. a native of Plymouth, Mass. committed a forgery on the Bank of America in this city, in the names of A. & D. Coffin & co. He presented a check for 1,500 dollars, which was paid; and shortly after the forgery was detected, and proper means were taken to arrest said Leonard, who was pursued to Philadelphia, where he was taken by one of our police-officers and brought to this city yesterday morning and after undergoing an examination at the police office, where he confessed the fact of the forgery, he was committed to Bridewell.
The sum of $1,450 were found in the hands of said Leonard, which he delivered up to the high Sheriff of Philadelphia. — Mercury Advertiser
Among the interesting incidents in the late action between the Constitution and the Guerriere, the following will contribute to shew [sic] the high spirit of our gallant tars. In the heat of the action, one of the crew of the Constitution, perceiving that the flag at the foretopmast-head had been shot away, went up and lashed it in such a manner as to make it impossible for shot to take it away without taking the mast with it. We understand that the secretary of the navy intends taking suitable notice of this brilliant act. — National Intelligencer.
COMMENT: In a war which brought comparatively little American glory, the exploits of US naval vessels received heavy (and deserved) public attention. Also, the papers every week were filled with the names and details of British merchant ships that had been captured and brought as prizes into U.S. ports by privateers.
A coaster from Connecticut for Philadelphia, carried a pamphlet containing governor Griswold’s message and the proceedings thereon, as a passport which will enable him, in case he should be met with by an enemy cruiser, to escape capture and condemnation. He conceives it impossible that the British should molest a vessel sailing under so friendly a flag as that of Connecticut. —Columbian.
COMMENT: While Connecticut was largely opposed to the war, I do not know whether this anecdote is true, or whether British warships or privateers would in fact have paid any attention to such a “passport.”
Plunder in Detroit
It is said that the British officers on taking possession of the fort, were so overjoyed on the sight of the cannon captured from the British at the Battle of Bennington that they actually knelt down and kissed them!
Notwithstanding the articles of capitulation we understand, there was an indiscriminate plunder of private property. An officer who was under the escort of a flag of truce, was accosted by the savages and robbed of his horse, hat, spurs and even the money in his pockets. When about to resist this act of violence, he was reminded by the officer commanding the flag, that he must submit. He could not restrain the violence of the savages!
The secretary of the territory had his house broken open and rifled of all the plate and other valuable articles which they could carry off. His glasses, chairs, tables and other heavy furniture were entirely demolished. His beds ripped open and their contents thrown into the street. his carpeting abused in the most indecent manner and rendered useless.
COMMENT: After a military victory, participating Indians were frequently uncontrollable, and looted and destroyed at their pleasure.