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January 10, 2013

Warships ordered

Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

For Saturday, Jan. 9, 1813

Compiled, with comments


Died, at Cleveland, in the state of Ohio, on the 6th ult. [December] of the typhus fever, MR. ELEAZAR, Jun.

COMMENT: Eleazar Loomis, Jr. was born April 30, 1788 in the Town of Otsego, the son of Eleazar Loomis (1766-1847) and Julia Coleman (1768-1836). He never married. He had five brothers and four sisters. The family originally came from Lebanon, Connecticut. I have not discovered what young Eleazar was doing in Ohio.

Miracle in the near east

It is confidently rumored that the Rev. Mr. Mendior the Portuguese Rabbi, received a letter a few days since from the Rabbis of Jerusalem, informing him that there had been no darkness in the sacred city for three days and three nights, in consequence of a cloud of fire which rested on a tree in the vicinity, and that the third day it vanished, to the general consternation of the inhabitants.

The tree, it is observed, was not damaged by the miraculous and awful event; we are confidently assured by very serious authorities, that no doubt exists among the children of Israel, in this metropolis, as to the verity of this extraordinary communication.

The following is a letter from Malta: “I have to inform you of a phenomenon in Syria, in April last. A pillar of fire, of an immense size was seen towards the east, and remained in view three days and nights, during which no sun, moon, or stars were seen, yet the light was sufficient for seeing any object. This has given rise to many conjectures among the learned men of this place. The Nile has risen two months before the usual time.

COMMENT: Though this event was noted in other newspapers, which in turn were cited in at least one private diary, I have not found any further details.

A tragic accident 

New York, Dec. 24. Extraordinary Accident. During the last week, a marine on board of one of the gun-boats at the Wall-about, having loaded a musket too deeply, was attempting to draw the charger, when an officer on board seized the musket, directed the musket over the side of the boat, and fired into the water, the ball glanced from the water, passed through a thick board fence, and through the body of a man who happened to be standing on the opposite side.

The man survived his wounds but a few minutes. The gun-boat was lying about 50 yards from the shore, and about 80 or 100 from the person who was accidentally killed.

COMMENT: Muskets were loaded through the barrel. President Jefferson had had built large numbers of small gun-boats to defend the major American harbors.

Warships ordered

Navy Bill – On Wednesday the 23d ult. [December] the final question was taken in the House of Representatives of the U.S. on the bill from the Senate, for building four 74’s and six frigates, which passed ayes 76, nays 56. The House has also passed the bill from the Senate for remitting the merchants’ bonds, ayes 64, nays 61.

The Secretary of the navy has stated to Congress, that a 76 gun ship is equal to three frigates of 44 guns, but that the cost of her building and maintenance will only be about 50 per cent more than the cost and support of a frigate. – United State Gazette.

COMMENT: a “74” was a three-masted warship carrying 74 cannons. A frigate was a three-masted warship with only one deck for cannon under its topside deck. American frigates were generally larger and stronger than those of the British Navy, but the British had far more larger warships.

War in Florida

A letter from New Orleans, dated Nov. 30, states that the U.S.troops at that place had received orders to take possession of West Florida, as far as the Perdido.

Accounts from Georgia mention that Maj. Gen. PINCKNEY had set off to take command of the troops destined for Florida, with a view to occupy it for the United States. – United States Gazette.

COMMENT: The Perdido River today marks the boundary between Florida and Alabama. From 1804 the territory known as West Florida (the coastal zone between the Mississippi and the Perdido) was the subject of a boundary dispute between Spain and the United States. It was resolved in 1819 when America acquired all of Florida, and West Florida now constitutes the coastal areas of Alabama, Mississippi, and the eastern portion of Louisiana. American settlers in West Florida had on several occasions sought to secede from Spanish Florida.

Major General Thomas Pinckney (1750-1828) was one of a distinguished South Carolina family. He served as Governor of South Carolina (1787-1789), as Congressman from South Carolina (1797-1801), and as United States Minister to Great Britain (1792-1797). He almost became Vice President in 1796. He served in the Army during the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

British deserters

Ogdensburgh, Dec. 22. Last Sunday evening four British soldiers of the Glengarain [Glengarry?] Regiment, got on board of a boat at Prescot [Prescott] Harbor and pushed off. They were discovered and pursued until within a few rods of the [American] shore, when they called loudly for assistance. The pursuers gave up the chase on observing a number of our soldiers advancing to assist the deserters.

COMMENT: The Glengarry Light Fencible Fegiment, recruited from Glengarry County in Upper Canada (across the St. Lawrence River from Ogdensburg), was formed early in 1812.