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November 27, 2013

American failure

Cooperstown Crier


From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Nov. 27, 1813

Compiled, with comments


How Our Generals Quarreled

The campaign, on the St. Lawrence, from which so much has long, confidently, and reasonably expected, has ended far short of its object. ... The main army has taken post near St. Regis, for the winter; and ... the division under General Hampton is hutting on the Saranac.

The abrupt and unexpected termination is openly ascribed to a difference of opinion said to exist between the Generals, Wilkinson and Hampton, in relation to their place of junction. The former directed Hampton to unite with him at St. Regis—the latter thought a point lower down would be better, and took measures accordingly....

We will say nothing at present of the conduct of either of these generals. There are authorities to which they are amenable, and which will no doubt do justice in the case. Our regrets, however, are not the less—Had we got Montreal this campaign, the war was substantially at an end—and that the getting it was a practicable measure, is admitted on all hands. The enemy’s effective force there, regulars, fencibles [local troops] and voltigeurs [riflemen], did not exceed two thousand men. – Albany Argus.

COMMENT: The conduct of the two leading American Generals, James Wilkinson (1757-1825) and Wade Hampton (1752-1835) was widely condemned as incredibly stupid and cowardly.


It is with mingled emotions of regret and disappointment that we learn the operations of our Northern Army are suddenly suspended. We have indeed been led to believe that our brave countrymen were making a rapid advance upon Montreal, with a force sufficient to overpower the enemy and take possession of that important post.

If the [the cause of the suspension in] the statement [above], is true, how contemptible must the two Generals appear in the eyes of their fellow-citizens. ... Their conduct will be judged by the public at large, and we trust that that judgement will pronounce them unworthy to command, if they have suffered local or personal jealousies to interfere with the faithful discharge of the duties they owe to their country. ...

Why have they thus blasted the hopes of thousands who anticipated that the American flag was to be rescued from that disgrace into which it had fallen by the malconduct of her commanding officers? The only ostensible reason is, because the two commanding officers could not agree as to the point of compass where the junction of their forces should take place!

Would to God, (for the honor of our country) such disgraceful proceedings could be forever blotted from the memory of man!

MARRIED — At Hartwick, on Thursday last, by Elder Wier, Mr. John Bunn, to Miss Amity Price, both of that down.

COMMENT: John Bunn (1791-1880) married Emily (Amity) Price (1794-1873), and they are both buried in the Fly Creek Village Cemetery.

At Boston, by the Rev. Dr. Harris of Dorchester, His Excellency Major-General HENRY DEARBORN, of the U.S. Army, to Mrs. SARAH BOWDOIN, widow of the late Hon. James Bowdoin, Esq.

COMMENT: On Oct. 27, 2011, President Barry Mills of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, giving the annual Sarah and James Bowdoin Day address, said of the two:

“James Bowdoin III lived from 1752 until 1811. He was the son of James Bowdoin II for whom the College is named. ... [He] was—as sons can sometimes be — more of a free spirit than his father. Less the serious student and businessman and more one of America’s first connoisseurs of life, culture, and politics. ... He acquired a substantial library, a significant art collection, and an impressive array of scientific materials. ... In 1794 it was $1,000 and 1,000 acres of land from this generous diplomat, agriculturalist, and art collector, that started us off on our noble mission.

“Sarah Bowdoin Dearborn was born in 1761, and ... married her first cousin, James Bowdoin III on May 18, 1781. They did not have any children. In 1805 James and Sarah were sent to Spain on a diplomatic mission...and traveled to London and Paris from1806 and 1808. James Bowdoin III died in 1811 and Sarah then married General Henry Dearborn in 1813, a courtship which attracted the attention of many, including John Adams and Thomas Jefferson as indicated in a rather risque letter from Adams to Jefferson chronicling the relationship. ... Her obituary, in 1826 in the Boston Centinel, described Sarah Bowdoin Dearborn as ‘Born and educated, and living in affluence, she felt for the needy as she had at some time in her life been one of their number; she has clothed, fed and comforted the poor and the sick in both hemispheres.’”

General Henry Dearborn (1751-1829), Secretary of War (1801-1809) and Congressman (1793-1797), is perhaps best known as an indecisive senior American general during the War of 1812.

Printing Invention

American Stereotypes: The legislature of Connecticut, at its late session, incorporated a company for the manufacturing of Stereotypes at Hartford. The Stereotypes are cast in plates, or pages and not singly as the common printing types are cast.

COMMENT: The invention of stereotyping revolutionized the printing of books. A mold made from a page composed with individual types is used to print copies of the entire page. This can then be used for years to reprint the page, while the individual types are redistributed for further use. It made the production of books enormously cheaper, and thus promoted popular literature of all sorts.