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Otsego Herald

August 15, 2013

Americans imprisoned


“I, John Nichols, a native of Durham, State of Massachusetts ... say, that I ... was taken by a press gang ... I gave the Lieutenant my Protection ...

I then asked the lieutenant for my Protection; he answered “I will give it to you with a hell to it,” and immediately tore it up before my face ... I was drafted on board the Aboukir 74 [guns], where I remained three years and ... was in the grand battle between the Russians and the French in the month of June, 1812.

“The American Consul ... applied for my discharge, which was granted...but kept from me until the war broke out. I then determined to give myself up as a prisoner of war, let the consequence be what it would ...

“[T]he Captain told me I was an Englishman ..., and kept me in irons 24 hours, after which I was taken to the gangway and received one dozen with the cat on my bare back. The captain then asked me if I would go to duty and I told him no — I would sooner die first ... [T]he same was repeated four days successively, and I received four dozen on my naked back. After the fourth day I was a prisoner-at-large ... John Nichols ... Salem Register, July 17, 1813.”


In the afternoon of the 15th [July] was witnessed at Red Hook, N.Y. a most astonishing and awful phenomenon, occasioned, as is supposed by the bursting of a cloud. It presented itself in the form of a tremendous whirlwind, descended to the ground, and for the space of 4 or 5 miles swept every thing before it — houses, barns and trees (some of which were between 2 and 3 feet diameter) were prostrated in its course. It is not ascertained that any lives were lost, but the threatening aspect it assumed, and the destruction it effected are truly deplorable and indescribable [sic].

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Otsego Herald
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