Sunday, March 31, 2013

News Of War Arrives in Bladensburg, March 31, 1814

               Arrival of Admiral Cochrane with a strong force (mentioned below) at Bermuda. 
Vice-Admiral Alexander Cochrane, HMN.
Wikipedia image

               It is reported but upon what authority we are no able to say that our government has signified its determination to listen to no further terms of accommodation whatever of AMERICA, but is bent upon prosecuting the war with the most rigid severity.

               Sunday ar. H. M. ship Asia, 74,[1] Vice Admiral Sir Alex. Cochrane, K. B. hon. Captain Paget, and Superb, 74,[2] Captain Wainwright, from England, Majestic,[3] Captain Hayes, and Sophia,[4] Captain Lockyer, from a cruise[].[5]
               A large British force coming to America
                                             London, Jan. 31.

               Preparations have been made on a  a [sic} large scale to enable Sir A. Cochrane, to take with him a very large force, both naval and military.

               Sir Alexander takes with him about 4000 Marines, under the immediate command of Major Nickols.  Sir Alexander will also take with him a strong body of riflemen and battering artillery, Congreve Rockets, shrapnell [sic] shells, with all the ammunition &c: necessary to give effect to these engines of destruction.[6]  

Congreve rocket -
See Note below
Science Museum/Science & Society Picture 
               Capture of another French Frigate.

               The Majestic has brought in the fine new French frigate Terpsichore, of 44 guns and 300 men, captures the 2d February off the Western Islands, after a slight resistance, having 2 killed and 2 wounded, sails and rigging much shattered.  The Terpsichore was in company with the Atalanta frigate, which sailed in co. from L'Orient (then 23 days out) & and Indiaman.  The Majestic gave chase to them, and in about 5 hours came ip with the Terpsichore, and captured her, and the Atalanta made all sail and escaped with the Indiaman.  They had captured the day previous a Spanish vessel from Lima with specie and a valuable cargo.[7]
               Of the Constitution Frigate.
                                                            Barbadoes [sic], Feb. 17.

               This morning arrived schr. Lovely-Ann, from Bermuda, bound to Surinam.

               She was captured Sunday evening last by the American Frigate Constitution,[8] Capt. Stewart, about 300 miles to the windward od this Island, and sent here, with an American Midshipman on board, as a cartel, having previously received the officers and crew of his majesty's schr. Pictou,[9] also from Bermuda, that had been captured on the Monday following by the said frigate and burnt.  Last evening the cartel fell in with the Venerable 74,[10] and two other British cruisers, about 120 miles to the windward, to whom they gave the intelligence.  The Venerable immediately went in chase, and the probability is that she will fall in with her.  The Constitution left Boston the last of Dec. but had made no other captures.

USS Constitution
National Park Service

               The letter of marque brig. Argus- Howe,[11] of Boston, 4 days out from Savannah was captured by the San Domingo, 74,[12] and arrived at Bermuda about the 7th Feb.

               About 6000 troops were daily looked for at Bermuda, (from, England,) 13th inst.[13]
Mr. Topliff has conversed with a gentleman from Bermuda, who favored him with the papers.  He informed him that [ ] ships of the line, 3 frigates . and 2 sloops of war, were at Bermuda 13th inst. that 500 Americans were there in a distressed situation, and it was expected they would be sent to England.  It was stated in Bermuda that Ad. Cockburn had asserted that in the ensuing summer the Yankees would be made to feel what it was to be at war with England.  Some ports in the U, States were to be bombarded in the spring.

               It was said that from 10 to 15 sail of the line were coming out to join Admiral Cochrane.  The Sandomingo [sic] was expected about the 20th inst. at bermuda, when Admiral Warren would return her to England.  Admiral Cochrane would then take commend of the Bermuda and Halifax stations.

               Flour at Bermuda was 20 dollars plenty[14] - Beef 20 - 22 dollars - Pork scarce - Corn 2 dollars bush.  Fresh provisions not to be had at any price. [15]

[1] HMS Asia was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. In the British Royal Navy, a third rate was a ship of the line which from the 1720s mounted between 64 and 80 guns, typically built with two gun decks (thus the related term two-decker). Years of experience proved that the third rate ships embodied the best compromise between sailing ability (speed, handling), firepower, and cost. So, while first rates and second rates were both larger and more powerful, the third-rate ships were in a real sense the optimal configuration. HMS Asia was off Chesapeake Bay in July 1814. The Royal Marine Artillery company of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Marines were ferried from Bermuda to the Chesapeake aboard HMS Asia, via HMS Tonnant. During the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Asia was moored off Baltimore, along with HMS Seahorse, Severn and Surprise.  HMS Asia was among Admiral Alexander Cochrane's fleet moored off New Orleans at the start of 1815.  In support of the attack on New Orleans, 107 Royal Marines from Asia were disembarked. From Wikipedia.
[2] HMS Superb was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, and took part in an attack upon Wareham, Massachusetts during the War of 1812. From Wikipedia.
[3] HMS Majestic was built as a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, but was reconfigured into a 58-gun fourth-rate frigate in 1813. From Wikipedia.
[4] HMS Sophie was an 18-gun Cruiser class brig-sloop of the Royal Navy. During the War of 1812 Sophie participated in the economic war against American trade, capturing or destroying numerous small merchant vessels, and in an unsuccessful attack on Fort Bowyer, Alabama. From Wikipedia.
[5]  Alexandria Gazette Commercial and Political; Date: 03-31-1814;Page: [2].
[6] Alexandria Gazette Commercial and Political; Date: 03-31-1814;Page: [2].
[7] Alexandria Gazette Commercial and Political; Date: 03-31-1814;Page: [2].
Note Congreve rocket image: Replica, shown with a soldier and two 32 lb carcass rockets in Hyde Park, London. The Bombarding Frame consisted of a ladder; two rocket troughs; two supporting legs for the ladder; a tie bar for supporting the legs and a gun bucket. The Frame would be tied to the mast of a rocket ship and the rockets fired, the trajectory being varied by altering by the slope of the ladder. Sir William Congreve (1772-1828) successfully demonstrated a solid fuel rocket in 1805, and the following year his rockets were used in action for the first time, fired from special boats against the French fleet off Boulogne. Congreve's rockets had a range of up to about 2.5 km. They were effective, despite being somewhat inaccurate and prone to explode prematurely. Image number: 10278260 Credit: Science Museum/Science & Society Picture 
[8] USS Constitution was rated as a 44-gun frigate, though she would often carry over 50 guns at a time.
[9] HMS Pictou was a 16-gun schooner built as the American privateer Syren which was captured by the Royal Navy on 20 April 1813. Pictou was one of five British warships captured or destroyed during the War of 1812 by the American frigate USS Constitution. From Wikipedia.
[10] HMS Venerable was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. From Wikipedia.
[11] USS Argus was a brig in the United States Navy. From Wikipedia.
[12] HMS San Domingo was a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy. From Wikipedia.
[13] Alexandria Gazette Commercial and Political; Date: 03-31-1814;Page: [2].
[14] One dollar in 2010 approximately equal to $10.334 in 1814:
[15] Alexandria Gazette Commercial and Political; Date: 03-31-1814;Page: [2].

Articles transcribed by John Peter Thompson. March 31, 2013.

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