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November 7, 2013

British Retreat

Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Nov. 6, 1813

Compiled, with comments


Gen Proctor’s Withdrawal

Montreal, Oct. 18 — Major General Proctor having sustained by the unfortunate capture of the squadron on Lake Erie, the loss of a very considerable proportion of his military force, which was serving on board that fleet, as well as the principal heavy ordinance necessary for the defense of his military positions—commenced his retreat from the Fort of Sandwich [today’s Windsor, Ontario], on the 24th Sept.; having previously dismantled the posts of Amherstburgh and Detroit, and burned and destroyed every public building and stores of every description.

The retreating regular force consisting of a small detachment of Royal Artillery, a troop of Provincial Dragoons, and the remains of the 41st Regiment, in all about 440 rank and file—which was accompanied by a body of Indian warriors from 10 to 1500....

The American army...followed the route of Major Gen. Proctor’s corps, which having been much retarded by the slow progress of his batteaux [supply boats], they were enabled to come up with the rear guard and loaded boats on the 3rd inst. [October] and succeeded in capturing the whole.

Maj. Gen. Proctor being thus deprived of the means of supporting his little army, was under necessity of awaiting the enemy’s attack; which took place at 4 o’clock on the evening of the 5th inst. near the Moravian Village.

A six pounder [cannon] on the flank, was by some unpardonable neglect, left destitute of ammunition, and the enemy...pressed upon that part of the line, which wanting the support of artillery, was forced by the superior numbers of the enemy.

Major General Proctor exerted himself to rally the troops, who being exhausted with fatigue, not having received any provisions the previous day were unable to make adequate exertion to resist the superior numbers by which they were assailed.

The safety of Maj. Gen. Proctor, the officers of his personal staff and some few others, together with about 50 men, has only as yet been ascertained....

The enemy’s forces employed on this service is estimated from 10,000 to 12,000 strong, including troops of every description.

COMMENT: The precipitate retreat of General Proctor and his troops from Detroit and the Western portion of Upper Canada [today’s Ontario] was as stated due largely to the naval victory of Commodore Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie, which by cutting off the British supply route along that Lake, made their position tactically impossible. It was followed by the disastrous (for him) Battle of the Thames.

Pay day at hand!

On the 27th instant [November] the subscriber proposes to discontinue distributing newspapers. Having faithfully served the public, for two years and a half past, in the capacity of a News Carrier, he trusts that all persons now indebted to him will make payment at or previous to the date named.

Persons living off the post route who receive their papers on Saturdays are requested personally to attend on the 27th inst. at 4 o’clock P.M. at the places where they receive their papers for the purpose of having a settlement; and those who receive them on Monday are requested to attend on the 29th at 10 A.M. for the same purpose.

Those who do not attend to this may expect cost.

GEO. GRIFFITH. Nov. 6, 1813.

COMMENT: This gives some hint as to how newspapers like the Otsego Herald were distributed through the countryside: some subscribers lived along the route followed by the news carrier on Saturday or Monday—others had to travel to some point along that route to get their papers. George Griffiths (ca. 1770-1857) died in Laurens, Otsego County.

Otsego Bank Application

NOTICE is hereby given, than an application will be made to the Legislature of this State, at their next session, by the subscribers and their associates, for an act of incorporation as a Banking Company, in the Village of Cooperstown, & County of Otsego, under the name and style of The President, Directors and Company of the BANK OF OTSEGO, with a capital of Five Hundred Thousand Dollars.


Cooperstown, Oct. 30, 1813.

COMMENT: No bank was actually founded until 1830.

Lawyer in Town

JOSEPH S. LYMAN, Attorney at Law, has opened an office in this village, at the room lately occupied as a Clerk’s office by John Russell. Esq.

Cooperstown, Oct. 29, 1813.

COMMENT: Joseph Stebbins Lyman (1785-1821) came from Northfield, Mass., and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1806. He served as a Democratic-Republican Congressman from 1819-1821, dying shortly after the completion of his term. He is buried in Greenfield, Mass.


A Phenomenon. A shortly after the discovery of Chippewa on Tuesday last, a curious and singular phenomenon was observed on Lake Erie from this village [Buffalo]. Several water-spouts ascended to the clouds; one of which was very large, and the others smaller. The first appearance was like a whirlwind on the water, which raised a spray of a large diameter to a considerable distance in the air, from the top of which was seen to rise a column of water increasing in size until it was lost among the clouds. – Buffalo Gazette.

COMMENT: Water spouts, caused by a temperature difference between the warmer water and colder air a few thousand feet up, are not uncommon on Lake Erie. Three were reported on July 29, 2013. The USS Chippewa, a schooner, had been driven aground near Buffalo on Oct. 12, 1813—where she would remain until burned by the British in December.