From the Otsego Herald, for Thursday, Feb. 16, 1815, compiled, with comments.
Jackson’s official account
Letter from Major General [Andrew] Jackson ... Jan. 13, 1815.
Early on the morning of the 8th, the enemy, having been actively employed the two preceding days in making preparations for a storm, advanced in two strong columns on my right and left. They were received, however, with a firmness which defeated all their hopes.
My men, undisturbed by their approach, which indeed they had long anxiously wished for, opened upon them a fire so deliberate and certain, as rendered their scaling ladders and fascines [bundles of sticks for filling ditches]. as well as their more direct implements of warfare, perfectly useless. — For upwards of an hour, it was continued with a briskness of which there have been but few instances perhaps, in any country.
In justice to the enemy it must be said they withstood it as long as could have been expected from the most determined bravery. At length, however, when all prospect of success became hopeless, they fled in confusion from the field — leaving it covered with their dead and wounded.
Their loss was immense. I had at first computed it at 1,500; but it is since ascertained to have been much greater. Upon information, which is believed to be correct, Colonel (Arthur P.) Haynes, the Inspector General, reports it to be in the total 2,600. His report I enclose you.
My loss was inconsiderable; being only seven killed and six wounded. Such a disproportion in loss, when we consider the number and kind of troops engaged, must, I know, excite astonishment, and may not, every where, be fully credited; yet I am perfectly satisfied that the account is not exaggerated on the one part, nor underrated on the other.
The enemy having hastily quitted a post which they had gained possession of, on the other side of the river, and we having immediately returned to it, both armies at present, occupy their former positions.
Whether after the severe losses he has sustained, he is preparing to return to his shipping, or to make still mightier efforts to attain his first objective, I do no pretend to determine. It becomes me to act as though the latter were his intention. ...
The force with which he landed must undoubted be diminished at least 3,000 ... Yet he is still able to shew a very formidable force.
There is little doubt that the commanding general, sir Edward Packenham (1778-1815), was killed in the action of the 8th, and that major generals (John) Keane (1781-1844) and (Samuel) Gibbs (1771-1815—he was actually killed) were badly wounded. ... ANDREW JACKSON, Maj.-Gen.Commanding.
COMMENT: This was in many ways the most important battle of the War of 1812, which not only saved New Orleans from capture by the British, but ended the war with a feeling of victory on the part of the Americans. It also served to propel Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) to two terms, from 1829-1837, as President of the United States. Jackson’s troops, entrenched with many cannon, simply slaughtered Gen. Packenham’s forces marching against them in an open field.
Office of the Albany Argus, 12 Feb., 1815, 5 p.m.
“Governor Tompkins has this morning received intelligence by express ... announcing the pleasing intelligence that a Treaty of Peace was signed at Ghent on the 24th of Dec., ratified by the Prince Regent (later King George IV) on the 29th, and left England on the 2d of January. ... Hostilities are to cease upon the ratification by the American government.”
COMMENT: The treaty was ratified unanimously by the U.S. Senate on February 18, 1815, thus bringing to a formal end the War of 1812.
Cooper’s Horse Stolen
20 Dollars Reward, will be given to any person who will return a HORSE, which was stolen from the stable of the subscriber, on the 19th (January) and marked as follows: two white hind feet — mare-headed — has been nicked but carries a bad tail — a little lame in one of his fore feet — good trotter —lively good eye — about fifteen hands high — bright bay color — has been hogged but his mane now half grown.
There was taken at the same time a common saddle and bridle, the latter having a piece of untanned skin, with the hair out, upon the head-stall.
JAMES COOPER. Cooperstown, Jan. 24, 1815.
COMMENT: This was, indeed, James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), the author, who would add “Fenimore” as a middle name in 1826. The thief, one Daniel Chapin, was finally captured and tried, and in August sentenced to seven7 years in jail. For details see Wayne Franklin, “James Fenimore Cooper: The Early Years,” Yale University Press, 2007, pp. 187-191
Horses were sometimes “nicked” by cutting a tendon so that their tails would be carried in a high position, or “hogged “— their manes shaved off — both for cosmetic reasons. “Nicking” is today often prohibited by law.
From the subscriber, on the 11th (February), an indented apprentice boy named Zenas P. Clark. All persons are forbid harboring or trusting said boy under penalty of the law. Any person who will apprehend said boy, shall receive one cent reward, but no charges paid. Ralph Worthington, Cooperstown, Feb. 15th,1815
COMMENT: Ralph Worthington (1778-1828) came to Cooperstown from Colchester, Conn., in 1802, and became a hatter and later a banker. His home at 13 Main St., built in 1802, still stands. In 1803 he married Clarissa Clark, and they had four children.
The “one cent reward” shows that Worthington didn’t really want Zenas Clark back — the ad was to protect him from paying anything charged by Clark. The runaway may be the Zenas Clark (1795-1864) who came to Potsdam in 1816, founded the Potsdam Gazette, and later became a prominent citizen of that town.