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One would have thought to find the entrance to the great 
Valley of the Mississippi far more imposing than any of our 
continent's Atlantic portals, such as New York harbor, Dela- 
ware bay, the Chesapeake, the St. Lawrence. It might, at 
least, have been expected that such a river as the Mississippi 
would have poured itself into the sea with a certain grandeur 
and decision. Once it may have done so. Forty thousand 
years ago, as Sir Charles Lyell computes, when whales sported 
where now the alligators of the Delta bask in the sun upon 
wet land, when the line of Gulf coast was two hundred miles 
north of where it now is, and the river's mouth was near thp 
blufib of Baton Bouge, the Father pf Waters may have 
ended his wonderful course in a manner answerable, in some 
d^ree, to his volume and importance. Not so in these latter 

When the geologist just named was pursuing his r^ 
searches at the mouth of the Mississippi, an old pilot pointed 
out to him an island where, he said, deer could be found, and 
which he described as "very high land." 

" How high above the sea ?" asked the innocent geologist. 

" Three orfourfeety' was the pilot's reply. 

And thinking it unreasonable to expect a stranger to be* 
lieve BO startling an assertion on the credit of a single indi- 
vidual, he appealed to the bystanders for confirmation. 

" It 's all that," said one of them ; " for it was only just 
covered during the great hurricane.'' 


It is such a dead level throughout the Delta of the Mia- 
fiissippi that the forests, as seen in the distance from the river, 
look like a line of highlands. In all Louisiana there is not a 
hill two hundred feet high. The streets of New Orleans are 
only nine feet ahove the level of the Gulf of Mexico. 

The Mississippi is apparently the most irresolute of rivers; 
the bed upon which it lies cannot long hold it in its soft em- 
brace. Wearing away the concave side of its numberless bends, 
rushing through new channels, slicing off acres in an hour, 
leaving lakes where it foimd forests, holding dissolved in its 
yellow tide land enough for a plantation, and carrying down 
in one season more trees than the Black Forest can boast, it 
reaches at last the Delta — that cesspool and general emptying* 
place for half a continent. Arriving there with its deep, 
narrow volume of waters — two hundred rivers in one — ^it can 
no longer contain itself, but breaks into several channels, and 
pushes its way through the black ooze of its own depositing, 
in a manner which looks helpless and sprawling, but which is 
in reality the shortest and directest way by which that pro- 
digious torrent could find its way to the deep waters of the 
Gulf. There are so many streams, bayous, lagoons and 
branches of the great river in the Delta, that it looks on the 
map like a damaged spider's web, with New Orleans in the 
midst thereof representing the spider. 

This dismal and amphibious region, this great Slough of 
Despond, is the crowning marvel and mystery of the Missis- 
sippi river. It is a forming world. Nature is there, as at 
Nia^ra, cauc:ht in the act. That dreary scene of impassable 
.wiTp, trembling prairie, firm pnurie through which men 
dig for fish, stagnant bayou, rank reeds, dense forest, and hab- 
itable land, is geology transacting openly before men's eyes. 
The materials with which nature works are lying about loose, 
subject to inspection. Dead level as it is, the mass of de- 
posited matter is inconceivable. They have bored down into 
thc» Delta six hundred feet, without piercmg through to the 
original bottom of the Gulf; finding still the trunks and 
stumps of forests that once waved their foliage over the 

1814] NEW 0BLEAK8. 13 

fltreaiiL Yet nearly the entire majss is as incohesive as when 
the river first left it on the shore. 

The explanation of the simple process by which a narrow 
strip of ]and along the banks of the main river became^ in the 
progress of ages, firm enough for man's uses, will best de- 
scribe the scene of the events about to be related. The banks 
of the Mississippi in the Delta, says Lyell, are higher than 
the swamps adjacent^ because, when the river overflows, the 
coarser part of the sediment is deposited first where the speed 
of the current is first checked. " The water usually runs 
there with a gentle current among herbage, reeds and shrubs; 
and is nearly filtered of its earthy ingredients before it arrives 
at the swamps." Thus, the features of the scene along the 
river are four in number : first, there is the river itself, half a 
mile wide ; secondly, the levee, or edge of the river banks, 
now increased in height and breadth by the hand of man ; 
thirdly, a strip of arable, rich land, a mile wide ; fourthly, 
the swamp, impassable, though thickly wooded. That long 
strip of firm land, pleasant now to look upon, with its plant- 
ers' villas and fields of sugar, is the wealth of the Delta. 
Except where the city interrupts, it was and is a series of 
plantations, which usually extend from the river to the 
swamp, and are separated from each other by canals, ditches 
and fences. 

Water, water everywhere ; not only on, under, and in 
the earth, but in the air also. The water of the river, flow- 
ing down from colder regions, meets in the Delta the south 
wind from the Gulf. Fog is the instantaneous result. In 
the winter months, fogs of the densest description frequently 
overspread the river and the line of plantations, coming and 
going with the south wind. In a few minutes every object 
is hidden from view. As speedily, when the wind changes 
or the warm sun rises, the mist breaks away and disappears. 
In all the afbirs of man transacted during the winter months 
in this singular, unfinished region, whether those afiairs be 
peaceful or warlike, fog plays an important part. 

On the last of the great bends of the Mississippi, one hun« 


dred and five miles from its mouth, in a part of the line of 
habitable land, selected originally by chance, but which 
proved to be the best spot in the Delta for a city, with the 
Mississippi in front of it, and those two large, shallow bays, 
called Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne, close behind i1^ 
stands the city of New Orleans. It is, necessarily, a crescent 
city. Though it now extends back in one direction seven 
miles, yet it can never have a general breadth of more than 
two until the river has filled in the shores of Lake Borgne. 

In 1814, when the cotton trade and sugar culture were in 
their infancy, and when no steamboat had yet ascended the 
Mississippi, New Orleans was neither a rich nor a populous 
city. It contained twenty thousand inhabitants. Its mer- 
chants were l?ut petty traders, compared with the sugar lords 
and cotton kings of the present day. Nolte, the veracious, 
declares that not a merchant of New Orleans then possessed 
an independent capital of an amount sufficient for speculative 
operations in cotton. The war, moreover, had deprived the 
city of all its business, and nearly the whole population was 
reduced to idleness and ill humor. Of money there was so 
little in the city that dollars were cut into small pieces for 

Yet New Orleans would have been a rich prize to the 
enemy. Cotton was then selling in England at two shillings 
a pound, and the manufacturing interest was beginning to be 
clamorous for a freer supply and lower prices. At New Or- 
leans were stored one hundred and fifty thousand bales of 
cotton, the product of two years culture, worth in England 
more than half a million sterling ; all of which, a London 
ministerial paper informed the manufacturers of Manchester, 
would soon be thrown into the market. And so it was ; but 
not precisely in the manner hinted at in the London news- 
paper. Besides this vast store of cotton, there were ten 
thousand hogsheads of sugar in the city, worth a million and 
a quarter of dollars, and a great number of sea-going vessels 
lying along the levee, uninhabited, their seams yawning in thp 
Bun. As tiie attempt to capture New Orleans cost England 




a million sterling, the expedition might have paid its ex« 
penses in mere plunder, if the attempt had succeeded. 

The twenty thousand inhabitants of New Orleans — ^who 
and what were they ? Pnxjise information on this point can 
not be procured at this late day. French Creoles were the 
basis and majority of the population ; an indolent, pleasure 
loving lace, devoid of enterprise, and hard to move from the 
luxurious routine of their existence. Many Spaniards were 
resident there, the relics of the ancient regime. But the 
American residents were the life and enterprise of the place ; 
men of an adventurous cast of character, many of whom had 
left their native States for reasons which they were not accus- 
tomed to mention in polite companies. The rascals of all 
nations were largely represented. For fugitives and adven- 
turers, it was the Texas of a later day, and the San Francisco 
of the present. And there was a floating multitude of sailors, 
merchants, supercargoes, and other miscellaneous individuals, 
detained in the city by the war, unemployed, restless, discon- 

It has been asserted a thousand times that the attach- 
ment of the Louisianians to the United States was neither 
general nor decided at this period. Governor Claiborne him- 
self was of that opinion, which he communicated to Q-eneral 
Jackson, and tlirough him to history. Not only did the 
events of the succeeding winter gloriously disprove the charge, 
but investigation now enables us to show precisely how it 

Between Governor Claiborne and a majority of the legis- 
lature there existed a bitter and long-standing feud. It 
dated as far back as 1806, when the Governor gave deep of- 
fence to a large number of the people by zealously seconding 
the measures of General Wilkinson, in crushing the enter- 
prise of Aaron Burr against Texas and Mexico. In 1812, 
when Louisiana was admitted into the Union, Claiborne was 
elected the first governor of the State, but soon found him- 
Belf involved in fierce hostility with the legislature. A com- 
plete history of this difference would lead us too far from our 



object, and would be alike needless and uninteresting ; but a 
single occurrence of the spring session of 1814 will suffice to 
show the state of feeling existing between the executive and 
legislative powers. The resignation of a judge left a vacancy 
on the bench of the supreme court, to supply which the gov- 
ernor sent a respectable nomination to the legislature. That 
body refused to confirm the nomination. A second name was 
sent in by the governor with the same result. A third, a 
fourth, a fifth nomination was made, and still the irate legis- 
lature refused to confirm. Then the l^islature sent a name 
to the governor, intimating that that was the gentleman, and 
he only, who would be acceptable. The governor, resenting 
this interference with his prerogative, declined to nominate 
the legislative favorite. After a "stormy session of two 
months," the legislature adjourned, leaving the judgeship 
vacant, and Q-ovemor Claiborne in the worst possible humor.* 

Each of these hostile powers had, as a matter of course, 
embittered partisans among the people. To this cause is 
partly to be attributed an event of which Governor Claiborne 
complains in one of his letters to Jackson. A requisition of 
a thousand militia had been made to assist in avenging the 
massacre of Fort Mims and reducing the Creeks to subjec- 
tion. The militia refused, point-blank, to leave the State, 
alleging that the forces of Louisiana were no more than suf- 
ficient for its own protection. If the State should be invaded, 
of which there was danger, they would be found prompt to 
expel the invader, but until that occurred they should remain 
at home. 

That the people and their rulers were divided among 
themselves ; that party spirit ran high ; that personal ani- 
mosities were numerous and bitter ; that the old population 
distrusted the new settlers, and the new settlers the old popu- 
lation, neither believing that the other would risk life and 
fortune in defense of their homes and country, is evidently 
true. But that there was any considerable or respectable 

* Letter flx)m New Orleans in N. 7. Evening Post, Bommer of 1814. 

1814.] HEW OBLBANB. 17 

party in the State ill-affected or disloyal to the United States, 
will never be asserted by any one who looks closely into the 
history of the period. Governor Claiborne, a worthy son of 
Vii^nia, a man of revolutionary ancestry, was entirely patri- 
otic in his feelings and well-intentioned in his measures. The 
Legislature was factious and inefficient. It contained a strong 
French element, and the French are wanting in the legislative 
faculty. The people were divided among themselves, fond 
of their ease, incredulous of the threatened danger, distrust- 
ful of their rulers and of one another, and in such a temper 
generally that no power within themselves could reunite or 
rouse them to exertion. 

Accordingly, nothing effective was done, or proposed, for 
the defense of the city as late as the middle of September. 
The British force that was beaten off and put to flight by 
the little garrison of Fort Bowyer could have taken New 
Orleans, if they had known exactly where to land, and by 
what road to march. They could have gone quietly into the 
public square of New Orleans and there encamped, without 
firing a shot or seeing an armed man. 

The singular effects produced upon the official mind by 
the arrival of Jean Lafitte's pregnant packet of papers we 
have seen. The publication of those papers, however, about 
the 12th of September, had results of a different character. 
There was a man among the people of New Orleans who 
knew too well the character of the Barratarian chiefs not to 
believe implicitly their word, and too intelligent not to com- 
prehend all the importance of their communications. That 
man, as before intimated, was Edward Livingston, the legal 
adviser of the Lafittes. 

Edward Livingston plays a first part in the career of An- 
drew Jackson. They met upon the threshold of their public life, 
and it so chanced that at each of the three great crises jf Jack- 
ion's life Edward Livingston was by his side, always his able, 
his faithful, his eloquent ally. He is a man whose character 
needs elucidation and should have it. He was a much abler 
and better man than most of the American statesmen whose 

VOL, n. — 2 


names are as familiar in our ears as household words. Touch- 
iug his moral character, some evil things are said — ^many 
noble and heroic things are known. To his talents and 
energy all his contemporaries testify. 

Bom upon one of the hereditary estates of the Livings- 
tons in the State of New York, his early career at the bar 
and in Congress gave promise of the most splendid results to 
himself and to his country. Among the young men who be- 
lieved in Jefferson and democracy there was none whose ser- 
vices in battling with the reactionary ideas of Hamilton and 
Adams were more highly valued by Mr. Jefferson than his. BAa 
speech against the Alien Bill was printed on satin, and hung 
up in thousands of the taverns and parlors of the democratic 
States. He saw them himself in the western country years 
after the odious law was repealed. He was one of the inti- 
mates of Aaron Burr, and I infer, from several particular 
circumstances, as well as from the general course of his early 
life, that the showy character of Burr was not without its in- 
fluence upon him. But this is only inference. Burr's lavish 
and wrong generosity, his fondness for dashing speculation, 
his skill in the subtleties of the law and the mysteries of 
politics, his interest in codifying, as evinced by his passionate 
admiration of Jeremy Bentham, his perfect courage and won- 
derful tenacity of purpose, I am reminded of in reading of 
the character and deeds of Edward Livingston. I see no 
credible traces of that laxity of moral principle, partly his 
own, partly belonging to his age, which marred much of 
Burr's career, and rendered his ruin irremediable. 

Livingston, too, was a ruined man, when Burr feU at 
Wechawken. Returning from Congress in 1801, he was 
appointed by President Jefferson Attorney for the United 
States for the State of New York, and by the Governor of - 
tnat State Mayor of the city ; offices which yielded him a 
large revenue. It was Edward Livingston who, in 1803, as 
Mayor of the city, laid the foimdation stone of our fine City 
Hall, in the presence of a vast assemblage, and gave, says the 
old newspapers, a hundred dollars as drink-money to the 

1814.] NEW OBLEAKB. 19 

"Workmen. During the prevalence of the yellow fever in New 
York, in 1803, the conduct of the Mayor was all that it could 
be of daring and humane. He kept a list of all the infected 
houses, and visited them every day, saving lives that have not 
yet all run their course. At length his own turn came. He 
was prostrated with the fell disease. " Then," he used U\ 
say,* " I received the reward of what I had done for the peo- 
pla As soon as it was known that I was in danger, the street 
in which my house was situated was blocked by the crowd," 
Young people strove for the privilege of watching by his bed 
side, and every delicacy the city afforded was sent in to him. 
He recovered to find himself a defaulter to the general gov- 
ernment to the amount of fifty thousand dollars, through the 
misconduct of his subordinates. He resigned both his offices; 
gave up his property; left his home and the scene of his early 
triumphs ; and did what Aaron Burr ought to have done, 
but had not the moral strength to do ; he went to New 
Orleans, and began again the practice of the law at the bot< 
tom of the ladder. 

It was not difficult for a man of his endowments and 
celebrity to reach speedily the first position at the bar of the 
South-west. But he was in search of rapid fortune, and en- 
gaged in a gr6at land speculation, which embroiled him with 
Jefferson, involved him in long litigation, and made him un- 
justly odious to the Creoles of New Orleans, Sympathizing, 
as it appears, with the schemes of Burr for the conquest of 
Mexico, he led the American residents in their opposition to 
the high-handed measures of Wilkinson in crushing that en- 
terprise, and defended the confederates at the bar. He gave 
the Lafittes the aid of his legal talents ; and the moral feel- 
ing of that time does not seem to have revolted at the con- 
nection between those smugglers and a man who had been a 
conspicuous member of Congress, and was the leader of the 
bar and of the society of New Orleans. Nolte, it is true, 
•peaks of Livingston as a man of no principle, and retail^ 

* Pemoonvtio !^yiew. tqL vUL 


much scandal respecting his alleged sharp and anscmpnloiu 
practice of the law. But Nolte, besides being evidently the 
mere echo of the floating gossip of New Orleans, is a mas 
who is incapable by nature of uttering, because he is incapa* 
ble by nature of knowing, the unadulterated truth. 

But if the professional life of Edward Livingston presents 
him sometimes in a doubtful light, his public actions seem to 
be altogether great and noble, and worthy of his honorable 
name. As a defender in arms of his adopted State, as a leader 
of the people in the day of peril, as the codifier of their laws, 
as a wise and humane writer upon penal law, as the potent 
ally of Jackson, when Jackson was most in the right, he ren- 
dered such services as neither Louisiana nor the United States 
can forget. 

An anecdote, showing the quiet strength of this man's 
character, will be pardoned here, before we proceed. He bad 
completed his great work on penal law, the result of thre^ 
years' arduous toil. " Before it was delivered to the printer, 
anxious that no errors might remain in it, he passed a great 
part of the night in comparing it himself with the original 
ilraught. He went to bed at a late hour, with the pleasing 
reflection of having finished a most laborious task. Not long 
afterwards he was awakened by a cry of fire, which was found 
to proceed from the room where his papers had been left 
They were all consumed. Not a note or memorandum was 
saved. Though stunned at first by the sudden misfortune, 
his equanimity and industry soon led him to repair it. Be- 
fore the close of the same day he quietly commenced the 
task of re-composition ; and, in two years afterward, he pre- 
sented his work to the Legislature of Louisiana, in a shape 
more perfect than that in which it originally was." * 

Upon reading the papers forwarded by Lafitte, Livingston 
caused a meeting of the citizens of New Orleans to be con- 
vened at Tremoulet's coffee-house, to concert measures fur dt>- 
fense, and to repel the insinuations of Nichol's proclamation. 
The meeting occurred on the 15th of September. Upon tak- 

* Natkmal POrtrmit GftUecy. 

1814.] KEW 0BLEAK8. 21 

ing the chair, Livingston presented a series of spiiited reso- 
mtionSy breathing union and defiance, and supported th^m by 
a speech of stirring eloquence. They were passed by accla- 
mation. A Committee of Public Defense, nine in number, 
with Edward Livingston at its head, was appointed, and di- 
rected to prepare an address to the people of the State. The 
meeting adjourned ; and the spirit that was to save the city 
began to live in the hearts of the people. The address of the 
Committee of PubKc Defense, written by the master-hand of 
tlie chairman, was soon promulgated, and contributed power- 
folly to rouse the apathetic and discordant community. 

This address, considering the circumstances, was really a 
masterpiece of composition. With all the requisite swell 
and animation of style, it was chiefly an artful appeal to self- 
interest, a play upon the fears of the slow and incredulous 
Creoles. " Fellow-citizens," began the concluding and clinch- 
ing paragraph, '^ the navigation of the Mississippi is as ne- 
cessary to two millions of our western brethren as the blood 
is to the pulsation of the heart. Those brave men, closely 
attached to the Union, will never suffer, whatever seducing 
offers may be made to them — they will never suffer the State 
of Louisiana to be subject to a foreign power, and should the 
events of war enable the enemy to occupy it, they will make 
every sacrifice to recover a country so necessary to their exist- 
ence. A war ruinous to you would be the consequence. The 
enemy, to whom you would have had the weakness to yield, 
would subject you to a military despotism, of all others the 
most dreadful ; your estates, your slaves, your persons would 
be put in requisition, and you would be forced at the point of 
the bayonet to fight against those very men whom you have 
▼oluntarily chosen for fellow-citizens and brethren." 

This address was widely circulated throughout the State, 
and' served as a preparer-of-the-way for active operations. 
More than that it could not do. The publication of the ad- 
dress, and the gift of a saber to the commandant of Fort 
Bowyer, were the only acts of the Committee of Public De- 
fense that I find recorded. It may have induced the forma- 


tion of new uniformed companies of volunteers ; it may have 
stimulated the militia to a more vigorous drill ; it may have 
induced the Q-ovemor to convene the L^islature ; but its 
main effect was upon the feelings and the fears of the people. 
On the 5th of October the Legislature, in obedience to 
the summons of Governor Claiborne, assembled at New Or- 
leans. Factious and incredulous of danger, it did nothing, it 
attempted nothing for the defense of the city. Disputes of 
the most trivial character engrossed the minds of the mem- 
bers. One faction so hated the Q-ovemor that it was enough 
for tim to propose or desire a measure for them to vote it 
down. A committee was named to inquire what was needful 
to be done for defense, but four weeks passed away before it 
reported, and then there was no need of its reporting. Thanks 
were voted to Gkneral Jackson for his recent services, and 
then the vote was reconsidered. It was proposed that the 
members should take an additional oath of fidelity to the 
United States ; and after wasting precious days in debate, 
the question was postponed. No money was appropriated ; 
no new forces were raised ; no law designed to annoy the 
enemy or preserve the city was passed. Not that there 
were not efficient and patriotic men in the Legislature ; but 
what can a few individuals effect in a body whose minds are 
as lethai^c as their ill-temper is chronic, active and bitter ? 
Louis Louallier well described the state of things, in his Be- 
port as chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, pre- 
sented on the 22d of November, after the Legislature had 
been in session six weeks. " Are we always," he asked, " to 
see the several departments intrusted with our defense lan- 
guishing in inactivity, which would be inexcusable even in 
time of peace ? No proof of patriotism appears but in a 
disposition to avoid all expense, all fatigue. Nothing has yet 
been done. No success can be hoped for but by a course the 
very opposite of that hitherto. If the Legislature superadds 
its inaction to that of the community, capitulation, like that 
of Alexandria, must, before long, be the result of such cul- 

1-1 i: M 

1814.] KXW OBLEAKh. 23 

Their leaders thus divided and inert, what could be ex-/ '^li^^ 
pected of the people ? It was a time of universal fault-find- ^ 
ing. The people denounced the Legislature. The L^islature ^^^-, 
accused the Governor. The Governor divided the blame be- 
tween the Legislature and the people. The Creoles said the 
Americans were mere adventurers, who would not fi;5ht for 
the soil they did not love. The Americans had faith neither 
in the efficiency nor the loyalty of the Creoles. Both Ameri- 
cans and Creoles distrusted the floating population of Irish 
and French emigrants. All had some fear of an insurrection 
of the slaves. Every man had his scheme, or his system of 
measures, which, he knewj would save the city, if it were 
adopted. But none could bring any plan to bear, or get all 
the opportunity he wanted for making it known. 

In a word, there was no central power or man in New 
Orleans in whom the people sufficiently confided, or who pos- 
sessed the requisite lawful authority, to call out the resources 
of the State and direct them to the single object of defeating 
the expected invader. There was talent enough, patriotism 
enough, self-forgetting zeal enough. The uniting man alone 
was wanting ; a man of renown sufficient to inspire confi- 
dence — a man unknown to the local animosities, around 
whom all parties could rally without conceding anything to 
one another. 

Precisely such an individual, the very man of all othen 
for such a time and scene, was close at hand. 



Of the mode of General Jackson's entrance into New Or- 
leans we have a pleasant and picturesque account from the 
pen of Mr. Alexander Walker, a resident of the Crescent city, 
and author of the little work, entitled, " Jackson and New 
Orleans \" one of the bes^-executed and most entertaining 

24 Lirx or akdbxw jaoksok. [1814. 

pieces of American history in existence. What Mr. Walker 
has told so interestingly and well need not be told again in 
any words but his : — 

^^ The Bayou St. John empties into Lake Pontchartrain 
at a distance of seven miles from the city. Here, at its 
mouth, may be seen the remains, in an excellent state of 
preservation, of an old Spanish fort, which was built many 
years ago by one of the Spanish governors, as a protection of 
this important point ; for, by glancing at the map of New 
Orleans and its vicinity, it will be seen that a maritime power 
could find no easier approsu^h to the city than through the 
Bayou St. John. This fort was built, as the Spaniards built 
all their fortifications in this State, where stone could not be 
procured, of small brick, imported from Europe, cemented 
with a much more adhesive and permanent material than is 
now used for building, and with walls of great thickness and 
solidity. The foundation and walls of the fort still remain, 
interesting vestiges of the old Spanish dominion. On the 
mound and within the walls stands a comfortable hotel, 
where, in the summer season, may be obtained healthful 
cheer, generous liquors, and a pleasant view of the placid and 
beautiful lake, over whose gentle bosom the sweet south wind 
comes with just power enough to raise a gentle ripple on its 
mirror-like surface, bringing joy and relief to the wearied 
townsman and debilitated invalid. What a different scene 
did this fort present forty years ago I Then there were laige 
cannon looking frowningly through those embrasures, which 
are now filled up with dirt and rubbish, and around them 
clustered glittering bayonets and fierfce-looking men, full of 
military ardor and fierce determination. There, too, was 
much of the reality, if not of ^ the pomp and circumstance' 
of war. High above the fort, from the summit of a lofty 
staff, floated not the showy banner of old Spain, with its Ot- 
tering and mysterious emblazonry, but that simplest and most 
beautiful of all national standards, the stars and stripes of 
the republic of the United States. 

'' From the Fort St. John to the city the distance is six 


or seven miles. Along the bayou, which twists its sinuoos 
course like a huge dark green serpent through the swamp, 
lies a good road, hardened by a pavement of shells, taken 
from the bottom of the lake. Hereon city Jehus now exer- 
cise their fast nags and lovely ladies take their evening air« 
ings. But at the time our narrative commences it was a 
very bad road, being low, muddy, and broken. The ride, 
which now occupies some twenty minutes very delightfully, 
was then a wearisome two hours' journey. 

" It was along this road, early on the morning of the 2d 
December, 1814, that a party of gentlemen rode at a brisk 
trot from the lake towards the city. The mist, which during 
the night broods over the swamp, had not cleared off. The 
air was chilly, damp and uncomfortable. The travelers, how- 
ever, were evidently hardy men, accustomed to exposure, and 
intent upon purposes too absorbing to leave any consciousness 
of external discomforts. Though devoid of all military dis- 
play, and even of the ordinary equipments of soldiers, the 
bearing and appearance of these men betokened their connec- 
tion with the profession of arms. The chief of the party, 
which was composed of five or six persons, was a tall, gaunt 
man, of very erect carriage, with a countenance full of stem 
decision and fearless energy, but furrowed with care and . y^^ 
anxiety. His complexion was sallow and unhealthy ; his 
hair was iron grey, and his body thin and emaciated, like 
that of one who had just recovered from a lingering and pain- 
ful sickness. But the fierce glare of his bright and hawk-like 
eye betrayed a soul and spirit which triumphed over all 
the infirmities of the body. His dress was simple and nearly 
threadbare. A small leather cap protected his head, and a 
short Spanish blue cloak his body, whilst his feet and legs 
were encased in high dragoon boots, long ignorant of polish 
oi blacking, which reached to the knees. In age he ap- 
peared to have passed about forty-five winters — the season 
for which his stern and hardy nature seemed peculiarly 

" The others of the party were younger men, whoefl spirits 



ond movements were more elastic and careless, and who re- 
lieved the weariness of the journey with many a jovial story, 

" Arriving at the high ground near the junction of the 
Canal Carondelet with the Bayou St. John, where a bridge 
spanned the Bayou, and quite a village had grown up, the 
travelers halted before an old Spanish villa, and throwing 
their bridles to some grinning negro boys at the gates, dis- 
mounted and walked into the house. On entering the gal- 
lory they were received in a very cordial and courteous manner 
by J. Kilty Smith, Esq., then a leading New Orleans merchant 
of on er])rise and public spirit, and who, a few months ago, still 
survived, one of the most venerable of that small band of the 
early American settlers in the great commercial emporium of 
the South, who, outliving several generations, still linger in 
green old age amid the scenes of their youthful struggles, and 
survey, with proud satisfaction, the greatness to which that 
city has grown, whose tender infancy they witnessed and 
helped to nurse and rear into a stiu-dy and robust maturity. 
On the bayou, in an agreeable suburban retreat, Mr. Smith 
had established himself. Here he dispensed a liberal hospi- 
tality, and lived in such a style as was regarded in those 
economical days, and by the more frugal Spanish and French 
populations, as quite extravagant and luxurious. 

" Ushering them into the marble-paved hall of his old 
Spanish villa, Mr. Smith soon made his guests comfortable. 
It was evident that they were not unexpected. Soon the 
company were all seated at the breakfast table, which fairly 
groaned with the abundance of generous viands, prepared in 
that style of incomparable cookery for which the Creoles of 
Louisiana are so renowned. Of this rich and savory food the 
younger guests partook quite heartily ; but the elder and 
leader of the party was more careful and abstemious, confin- 
ing himself to some boiled hominy, whose whiteness rivaled 
that of the damask tablo-cloth. In the midst of the break- 
fast, and whilst the company were engaged in discussing the 
news of the day, a servant whispered to the host that he was 
wanted in the ante-room. Excusing himself to his guesti\ 


Mr. Smitli retired to the ante-room, and there found himself 
in the presence of an indignant and excited Creole lady, a 
neighbor, who had kindly consented to superintend the prepa- 
rations in Mr. Smith'^s bachelor establishment for the recep- 
tion of some distinguished strangers, and who in that behalf 
had imposed upon herself a severe responsibility and labor. 

" * Ah ! Mr. Smith,' exclaimed the deceived lady, in a half 
reproachful, half indignant style, * how could you play such 
a trick upon me ? You asked me to get your house in order 
to receive a great Greneral. I did so. I worked myself al- 
most to death to make your house comme il faut^ and pre- 
pared a splendid dt^euner, and now I find that all my labor 
is thrown away upon an ugly, old Kaintuck-flat-boatman, 
instead of your grand Greneral, with plumes, epaulettes, Jong 
sword, and moustache.' 

" It was in vain that Mr. Smith strove to remove the de- 
lusion from the mind of the irate lady, and convince her 
that that plainly-dressed, jaundiced, hard-featured, unshorn 
man, in the old blue coat and bullet buttons, was that famous 
warrior, Andrew Jackson. 

" It was, indeed, Andrew Jackson, who had come fresh 
from the glories and fatigue of his brilliant Indian campaigns, 
in this unostentatious manner, to the city which he had been 
sent to protect from one of the most formidable perils that 
ever threatened a community. Cheerfully and happily had 
he embraced this awful responsibily. He had come to defend 
a defenseless city, situated in the most remote section of the 
Union — a city which had neither fleets nor forts, means nor 
men — a city whose population were comparatively strangers 
to that of the other States, who sprung from a different na- 
tional stock, and spoke a different language from that of the 
overwhelming majority of their countrymen — a language en- 
*irely unknown to the General — to defend it, too, against a 
power then victorious over the conqueror of the world, at 
whose feet the mighty Napoleon lay a prostrate victim and 
chained captive. 

^^ After partaking of their breakfast, the General, taking 


out his watch, reminded his companions of the necessity ot 
their early entrance into the city. In a few minutes carriages 
were procured, and the whole party rode toward the city by 
the old Bayou road. The General was accompanied by Major 
Hughes, commander of the Fort St. John, by Major Butler, 
and Captain Beid, his secretary, who afterwards became one 
of his biographers, Major Chotard, and other ofiSlcers of the 
staff. The cavalcade proceeded to the elegant residence of 
Daniel Clark, the first representative of Louisiana in the Con- 
gress of the United States, a gentleman of Irish extraction, 
who had acquired great influence, popularity, and wealth in 
the city, and died shortly after the commencement of the war 
of 1812. Here Jackson and his aids were met by a committee 
of the State and city authorities and of the people, at the 
head of whom was the Governor of the State, who, in earnest 
but rather rhetorical terms, welcomed the General to the city, 
and proffered him every aid of the authorities and the people, 
to enable him to justify the title which they were already con- 
ferring upon him of " Saviour of New Orleans." His Ex- 
cellency, W. C. C. Claiborne, the first American Governor of 
Louisiana, a Virginian of good address and fluent elocution, 
then in the bloom of life, was supported by the leading civil 
and military characters of the city. There in the group was 
that redoubtable naval hero. Commodore Patterson, a stout, 
compact, gallant-bearing man, in the neat undress naval uni- 
form. His manner was slightly marked by hav4:eurj but his 
movement and expression indicated the energy and boldness 
of a man of decided action, as well as confident bearing. 

" Here, too, was the then Mayor of New Orleans, Nicho- 
las Girod, a rotund, affstble, pleasant old French gentleman, 
of easy, polite manners. There, too, was Edward Livingston, 
theli the leading legal character in the city — a t^ll, high- 
shouldered man, of ungraceful figure and homely counte- 
nance, but whose high brow, and large, thoughtful eyes, 
indicated a profound and powerful intellect. By his side 
«tood his youthful rival at the bar — an elegant, graceful, and 
sn') wily-dressed gentleman, whose figure combined the com- 


pact dignity and solidity of the soldier with the ease and 
grace of the man of fashion and taste, and who, as the sole 
survivor of those named, retained, in a remarkable degree, the 
elegance and grace which characterized his bearing forty years 
ago to the day of his very recent and lamented decease. We 
refer to John R. Grymes, so long the veteran and chief orna- 
ment of the New Orleans Bar. 

'^ Such were the leading personages in the assembly which 
greeted Jackson's entrance into New Orleans. 

" The General replied briefly to the welcome of the Gov- 
ernor. He declared that he had come to protect the city, and 
he would drive their enemies into the sea, or perish in the 
eflfort. He called on all good citizens to rally around him in 
this emergency, and, ceasing all differences and divisions, to 
unite with him in the patriotic resolve to save their city from 
the dishonor and disaster which a presumptuous enemy 
threatened to inflict upon it. This address was rendered into 
French by Mr. Livingston. It produced an electric effect 
upon all present. Their countenances cleared up. Bright 
and hopeful were the words and looks of all who heard the 
thrilling tones and caught the heroic glance of the hawk-eyed 
General. The General and staff then reentered their car- 
nages. A cavalcade was formed, and proceeded to the build- 
ing, 106 Royal-street — one of the few brick buildings then 
existing in New Orleans, which now stands but little changed 
or affected by the lapse of so many years. A flag unfurled 
from the third story soon indicated to the population the 
headquarters of the General who had come so suddenly and 
quietly to their rescue." 

Jackson has come 1 There was magic in the news. Every 
¥ritne8s, living and dead, testifies to the electric effect of the 
General's quiet and sudden arrival There was a truce at 
once to indecision, to indolence, to incredulity, to factious 
debate, to paltry contentions, to wild alarm. He had come^ 
80 worn down with disease and the fatigue of his ten days^ 
ride on horseback that he was more fit for the hospital than 
fche field* But there was that in nis manner and aspect which 


revealed the master. That will of his triumphed over the 
languor and anguish of disease, and every one who approached 
him felt that the man for the hour was there. 

He began his work without the loss of one minute. The 
unavoidable formalities of his reception were no sooner over 
than he mounted his horse again, and rode out to review the 
uniformed companies of the city. These companies consisted 
then of several hundi-ed men, the elite of the city — ^merchants, 
lawyers, the sons of planters, clerks and others, who were 
well equipped, and not a little proud of their appearance and 
discipline. The General complimented them warmly, ad- 
dressed the principal officers, inquired respecting the num- 
bers, history and organization of the companies, and left 
them captivated with his frank and straight-forward mode of 

The new aid-de-camp, Mr. Livingston, as he rode from the 
parade-ground by the General's side, invited him home to 
dinner. The General promptly accepted the invitation. It 
chanced that the beautiful and gay Mrs. Livingston, the leader 
of society then at New Orleans, both Creole and American, 
had a little dinner party that day, composed only of ladies, 
most of whom were young and lively Creole belles. Mr. Liv- 
ingston had sent home word that General Jackson had arrived, 
and that he should ask him to dinner ; a piece of news that 
threw the hospitable lady into consternation. " What shall 
we do with this wild General from Tennessee ?" whispered 
the girls to one another; for they had all conceived that Gen- 
eral Jackson, however becomingly he might comport himself in 
an Indian fight, would be most distressingly out of place at 
a fashionable dinner party in the first drawing-room of the 
most polite city in America. He was announced. The yoimg 
ladies were seated about the room. Mrs. Livingston sat upon 
a sofa at the head of the apartment, anxiously awaiting the 
inroad of the wild fighter into the regions sacred hitherto to 
elegance and grace. He entered. Erect, composed, bronzed 
with long exposure to the sun, his hair just beginning to turn 
grey, clad in his uniform of coarse blue cloth and yellow buck- 


skilly his high boots iSapping loosely about his slender legs, 
he looked; as he stood near the door of the drawing-room, the 
very picture of a war-worn noble warrior and commander. 
He bowed to the ladies magnificently, who all rose at his en- 
trance, as much from amazement as from politeness. Mrs. 
Livingston advanced toward him. With a dignity and grace 
seldom equaled, never surpassed, he went forward to meet 
her, conducted her back to her sofa, and sat by her side. The 
fair Creoles were dumb with astonishment. In a few minutes* 
dinner was served, and the General continued, during the 
progress of the meal, to converse in an easy, agreeable manner, 
in the tone of society, of the sole topic of the time, the coming 
invasion. He assured the ladies that he felt perfectly confident 
of defending the city, and begged that they would give them- 
selves no uneasiness with regard to that matter. He rose 
soon from the table and left the house with Mr. Livingston. 
In one chorus, the young ladies exclaimed to their hostess, 

" Is this your back woods-man ? Why, madam, he is a 
prince I"* 

Ketuming to his quarters, the Greneral summoned the en- 
gineers resident in the city ; among others. Major Latour, 
afterwards the historian of the campaign. The vulnerable 
points and practicable approaches were explained and dis- 
cussed, and the readiest mode of defending each was consid- 
ered and determined upon. Every bayou connecting the city 
with the adjfiwent bays, and through them with the Gulf of 
Mexico, was ordered to be obstructed by earth and sunken 
logs, and a guard to be posted at its mouth to give warning 
of an enemy's approach. It was determined that the neigh- 
boring planters should be invited to aid in the various works 
by gangs of slaves. Young gentlemen pressed to head quar- 
ters offering to serve as aids to the General. Edward Liv- 
ingston, whose services in that capacity had been previously 
offered and accepted, was with the General from the first, 
doing duty as aid-de-camp, secretary, translator, confidential 

* To a ladj present at the dumer party the reader is indebted for this prettj 


adviser, and connecting link generally between the Com- 
mander-in-Chief and the heterogeneous multitude he had 
come to defend Never before, in the space of a few hours, 
did such a change come over the spirit of a threatened 
and 'mperiled city. The work to be done was ascertained 
and distributed during that afternoon and evening ; and it 
could be said, that before the city slept, every man in it able 
and willing to assist in preparing for the reception of the 
enemy, whether by mind or muscle, had his task assigned 
him, and was eager to enter upon its performance. 

The demeanor of General Jackson on this occasion was 
wich as to inspire peculiar confidence. It was that of a man 
entirely resolved, and entirely certain of being able to do 
what he had come to do. He never admitted a doubt of de- 
feating the enemy. For his own part, he had but one simple 
plan to propose, nor would hear of any other ; to make all 
the preparations possible in the time and circumstances ; to 
strike the enemy wherever, whenever, in what force soever, he 
might appear ; and to drive him back headlong into the sea, 
or bring him prisoner to New Orleans. A spirit of this kind 
is very contagious, particularly among such a susceptible 
and imaginative people as the French Creoles — a people not 
wise in counsel, not gifted with the instinct of l^slation, but 
mighty and terrible when strongly commanded. The new 
impulse from the General's quarters spread throughout the 
city. Hope and resolution sat on every countenance. 

Jsu^kson was up betimes on the following morning, and 
set out in a barge, accompanied by aids and engineers, to see 
with his own eyes the lower part of the river. The principal 
mouth of the Mississippi was naturally but erroneously the 
first object of his solicitude and he had dispatched CoL A. 
P. Hayne from Mobile to the Balize, to ascertain whether 
the old fort there commanded the mouth of the river, and 
whether it could be made available for preventing the en- 
trance of a hostile fleet. Colonel Hayne reported it uselesa 
Some miles higher up the river, however, at a point where the 
navigation was peculiarly difficult, was Fort Philip, which, 


it was supposed, and the event proved, could be rendered an 
impassable barrier to the enemy's ships. Thither Jai^on 
repaired. He perceived the immense importance of the posi- 
tion, and, with the assistance of Major Latour, drew such 
plans, and suggested such alterations of the works, as made 
the tort entirely equal to the defense of the river. The stream, 
as every one knows, is narrow and swift, and presents so many 
obstacles to the ascent of large vessels, that an enemy unpro- 
vided with steamboats, would scarcely have attempted to 
reach New Orleans by the river, even if no fort was to be 
passed. Jackson returned to the city after six days absence, 
with little apprehension of danger from that quarter. 

Desirous of seeing every thing for himself, he proceeded 
immediately upon a rapid tour of inspection along the bord- 
ers of Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne, those broad, 
shallow bays which afford to the commerce of New Orleans 
BO convenient a back gate. He visited every bayou and for- 
tification, suggesting additional works, and stimulating the 
zeal of the people. He had then completed the first survey 
of his position, and, upon the whole, the result was assuring. 
He thought well of his situation. At least he had little fear 
of a surprise. 

One glance at the lake approaches to the crescent city, 
before we proceed. Lake Pontchartrain is land-locked, except 
where a narrow strait connects it with Lake Borgne. That 
strait was defended by a fortification which, it was hoped, was 
capable of beating off the enemy. But not by that alone. 
Lake Borgne, too shallow for the admission of large sea-going 
vessels, would be crossed by the enemy, if crossed at all, in 
small coasting craft or ships' boats. Accordingly, on that lake 
Commodore Patterson had stationed a fleet of gun-boats, six 
in nimiber, carrying in all twenty-three guns and one hundred 
and eighty-two men, the whole under the command of Lieu- 
tenant Thomas Ap Catesby Jones. Lieutenant Jones was 
ordered to give prompt notice of the enemy's coming, and if 
threatened with attack to retire before the enemy, and lead 
him on to the entrance of the strait that led into Lake Pont- 

VOL. II. — 3 


cliartraii), and there anchor^ and fight to the last eztremitj. 
With the peculiar advantages of position which the place af- 
forded, it was confidently expected that he would be able to 
defeat any force of small craft that the enemy were likely to 
have at command. 

It is evident that Lake Pontchartrain was universally re- 
garded at the time as the most natural and obvious means of 
reaching the city, and the gun-boats were chiefly relied upon 
for its defense. Upon them, too, the General mainly relied for 
the first information of the enemy's arrival. If the gun-boats 
failed, the fort upon the strait was open to attack. If the gun- 
boats failed, the vigilance of the pickets at the mouths of the 
bayous was the sole safeguard against a surprise. If the gun- 
boats failed. Lake Borgne offered no obstacle to the approach 
of an enemy, except its shallowness and its marshy shores. 
If the gun-boats failed, nothing could hinder the enemy from 
gaining a foothold within a very few miles of the city, unless 
the sentinels should descry their approach in time to send 
ample notice to the Greneral. While the gun-boats continued 
to cruise in the lake, the city had a certain ground of security, 
and could sleep without fear of waking to find British r^- 
ments under its windows. 

But where was the army with which General Jackson 
was to execute his design of hurling into the Gulf of Mexico 
the invading host ? Let us see what force he had, and what 
forces he expected. 

The troops then in or near New Orleans, and its sole de- 
fenders as late as the middle of December, were these : two 
half-filled, newly-raised regiments of regular troops, number- 
ing about eight hundred men ; Major Planch6's high-spirited 
battalion of uniformed volunteers, about five hundred in 
number ; two regiments of State militia, badly eq'iipped, 
some of them armed with fowling pieces, others with mus- 
kets, others with rifles, some without arms, all imperfectly 
disciplined ; a battalion of free men of color ; the whole 
amounting to about two thousand men. Two vessels-of-war 
lay at anchor in the river, the immortal little schooner Caro- 


Una and the ship Louisiana, neither of them manned, and no 
one dreaming of what importance they were to prove. Com- 
modoie Patterson and a few other naval oflGicers were in the 
city ready when the hour should come, and, indeed, already 
rendering yeoman's service in many capacities. General Cof- 
fee, with the army of Pensacola, was approaching the city by 
slow marches, contending manfully with an inclement season, 
swollen streams, roads almost impassable, and scant forage. 
He had three hundred men, nearly a tenth of his force, sick 
with fever, dysentery, and exhaustion. But he was coming. 
Greneral Carroll, burning with zeal to join his old friend and 
commander, had raised a volunteer force in Tennessee early 
in the autumn, composed of men of substance and respecta- 
bility, and, after incredible exertions and many vexatious de- 
lays, had got them afloat upon the Cumberland. The State 
had been so stripped of arms that Carroll's regiment had not a 
weapon to every ten men. So many men had gone to the 
wars from Tennessee, that Peter Cartwright, that valiant son 
of the Methodist Church militant, found his congregations 
thin, and his ingatherings of new members far below the 
average — " So many of our members," he says, " went into 
the war, and deemed it their duty to defend our common 
country under General Jackson." An extraordinary rise of 
the Cumberland, such as seldom occurs in November, enabled 
General Carroll to make swift progress into the Ohio, and 
thence into tke Mississippi, where another piece of good for- 
tune befel him, so important that it may almost be said to 
have saved New Orleans. He overtook a boat load of mus- 
kets which enabled him to arm his men, and drill them daily 
in their use on the roofs of his fleet of arks. 

And thereby hangs a tale, only brought to light within 
the last year. That priceless load of muskets was one of two 
boat-loads that left Pittsburgh for New Orleans about the 
same time. For economy's sake, their captains were per- 
mitted by the contractor to stop at the river-towns for the 
purpose of trading. On one of the boats, however, there 
chanced to take passage a merchant of Natchez^ Mr. Thomaa 


L. Servoss, who had visited New York on business, and waa 
then on his return home. When he left New York, that city 
was in a ferment on account of Mr. Gallatin's warning letter, 
and extensive preparations were in progress for the defence of 
the city against the expected expedition. But Mr. Servoss 
Lad received letters from the delegate in Congress from the 
Mississippi territory, which convinced him that New Orleans, 
not New York, was the enemy's object. Full of this idea, he 
urged the captain of his boat, by every means in his power, 
to hasten along without stopping. Captain, crew and pas- 
sengers, all worked together for this object, and with such 
success, as to reach the lower Mississippi in time to supply 
General Carroll's regiment. The other boat, on those days 
when Jackson would have bought its precious freight with 
half its weight in gold, was four hundred miles up the river ; 
and its astonished captain was soon after brought down to 
the city in irons to answer for his supposed dilatoriness. 

Two thousand Kentuckians, under General Thomas ana 
General Adair, were also on their way down the Mississippi ; 
the worst provided body of men, perhaps, that ever went fif- 
teen hundred miles from home to help defend a sister State. 
A few rifles they had among them, but no clothing suitable 
for the season, no blankets, no tents, no equipage. Besides 
food, they were furnished with just one article of necessity, 
namely, a cooking kettle to every eighty men /♦ In a flotilla 
of boats, hastily patched together on the banks of the Ohio, 
they started on their voyage, carrying provisions enough for 
exactly half the distance. They were agreeably disappointed, 
however, in their expectation of living a month on half ra- 
tions, by overtaking a boat loaded with flour ; and, thus sup- 
plied, they went on their way, ragged but rejoicing. 

Such was General Jackson's situation — such the posture 
of affairs in New Orleans — such the means and prospects of 
defense— on the fourteenth of December : two or three thou- 
sand troops in the city ; four thousand more within ten or fif- 

* Letter of Qoneral Adair to General Jackson, in Kentackj Reporter, 181*' 


teen days' march ; six gun-boats on Lake Borgne ; two armed 
vessels on the river ; a small garrison of regulars at Fort St. 
Philip ; another at the fort between the two lakes ; the ob« 
Btruction of the bayous still in progress ; the citizens hopeful 
and resolute, most of them at work, every man where he 
could do most for the cause ; the General returning to hiB 
quarters from his tour of inspection. 



At the western extremity of the island of Jamaica there 
are two headlands, eight miles apart, which inclose Negril 
Bay, and render it a safe and convenient anchorage. If the 
good Creoles of New Orleans could have surveyed, from the 
summit of one of those headlands, the scene which Negril 
Bay presented on the twenty-fourth of November, 1814, it is 
questionable if Greneral Jackson could have given them the 
slightest confidence in his ability to defend their native city. 
The spectacle would have given pause even to the General 

It was the rendezvous of the British fleet designed for the 
capture of New Orleans. The day just named was the one 
appointed for its final inspection and review, previous to its 
departure for Lake Borgne. A fleet of fifty armed vessels, 
many of them of the first magnitude, covered the waters of 
the bay. There lay the huge Tonnant, of eighty guns, one 
of Nelson's prizes at the battle of the Nile, now exhibiting 
the pennant of Sir Alexander Cockrane, the admiral in com- 
mand of this imposing fieet. Rear-Admiral Sir Edward Cod- 
rington was also on board the Tonnant, a name of renown in 
the naval history of England. There was the Royal Oak, a 
teventy-four, the ship of Bear- Admiral Malcolm. Four otner 


seventy-fours, the Norge, the Bedford, the Asia, the Rami- 
lies, formed part of the fleet ; the last-named in command of 
Sir Thomas Hardy, the beloved of Nelson, to whom the dying 
hero gasped those immortal words, " Kiss me, Hardy ; I die 
content." There, too, were the Pictator, of fifty guns ; the 
Gorgon, of forty-four ; the Annide, of thirty-eight, com- 
manded by Sir Thomas Trowbridge, of famous memory ; the 
Sea-horse, of thirty-five, under Captain James Alexander 
Gordon, late the terror of the Potomac ; the Belle Poule, of 
thirty-eight, a ship of fame. Nine other ships, mounting 
thirty-eight, thirty-six, and thirty-two guns ; five smaller 
vessels, each carrying sixteen guns ; three bomb craft and 
eleven transports completed the formidable catalogue. Nor 
were these all the vessels destined to take part in the entei 
prise. A fleet frpm Bordeaux was still on the ocean to join 
the expedition at the entrance of Lake Borgne, where, also, 
Captain Percy's squadron from Pensacola, with Nichols and 
the brave Captain Lockyer, were to efiect a junction. And 
yet other vessels, direct from England, with the general ap- 
pointed to command the army, were expected. 

The decks of the ships in Negril Bay were crowded with 
red-coated soldiers. The four regiments, numbering, with 
their sappers and artillerymen, thive thousand one hundred 
men, who had fought the battle of Bladensburg, burnt the 
public buildings of Washington, and lost their general near 
BiUtimore, the summer before, were on board the fleet. Four 
regiments, under General Keane, had come from, England 
dirvot to reinforce this army. Two regiments, composed in 
part of nt^o troops, supposed to be jKX^uliarly adapted to 
the climate of New Orleans, had been drawn from the 
West Indies to join the exjxHiition. The fleet could furnish, 
if ivquired, a bvxiy of fifteen hundred marines. Greneral 
Keane found himself, on his arrival fn>m Plymouth, in com- 
mimd of an i\rmy of seven thousand four hundred and fifty 
men, whioh the marines of the fleet could swell to eight 
thous^ind nine hunvlred and fifty. The number of sailurs 
eoald scarvvlv have been less than ten thousand* of whom a 


Jarge proportion could, and did, assist in the operations con- 

Here was a force of nearly twenty thousand men, a fleet 
of fifty ships, carrying a thousand guns, and perfectly ap 
pointed in every particular, commanded by oflScers some of 
whom had grown gray in victory. And this great armament 
was about to be directed against poor, swamp-environed New 
Orleans, with its ragged, half-armed defenders floating down 
the Mississippi, or marching wearily along through the mire 
and flood of the Gulf shores, commanded by a general who 
had seen fourteen months' service, and caught one glimpse of 
a civilized foe. The greater part of General Keane's army 
were fresh from the fields of the Peninsula, and had been led 
by victorious Wellington into France, to behold and share in 
that final triumph of British arms To these Peninsular 
heroes were added the ninety-third Highlanders, recently from 
the Cape of Good Hope ; one of the " praying regiments" of 
the British army ; as stalwart, as brave, as completely ap- 
pointed a body of men as had stood in arms since Cromwell's 
Ironsides gave liberty and greatness to England. Indeed, 
there was not a regiment of those which had come from Eng- 
land to form this army which had not won brilliant distinc- 
tion in strongly-contested fields. The elite of England's army 
and navy were afioat in Negril Bay on that bright day of 
November, when*the last review took place. 

The scene can be easily imagined — the great fleet of ships 
spread far and wide over the bay, gay with flags and alive 
with throngs of red uniforms ; boats rowed with the even 
stroke of men-of-war's-men gliding about among the ships, or 
going rapidly to and from the shore. On board all was ani- 
mation and movement. The most incorrigible croaker in the 
fleet could not, as he looked out upon the scene on that bright 
lay of the tropical winter, have felt a doubt that the most 
easy and complete success awaited the enterprise. As every 
precaution had been taken to conceal the destination of thd 
expedition, the oflScers expected to find the city wholly unpre- 
pared for defense To occupy, not to conquer Louisiana, waa 


supposed to be but the preliminary business of the army. 
From New Orleans, as the basis of operations, they expected 
to ascend the Mississippi, pushing their conquests to the right 
and left, and, effecting a jimction with the army of Canada, 
to overawe and hem in the western States. So certain were 
they of taking New Orleans, that several gentlemen with their 
families were on board the fleet who had been appointed to 
civil oflSces in the city of New Orleans. Among others, a 
collector for the port, accompanied by his five beautiful 
daughters. Many wives of oflScers were on board, anticipating 
a pleasant winter among the gay Creoles of the Crescent City. 
Music, dancing, dramatic entertainments, and all the diver- 
sions of shipboard, were employed to relieve the monotony of 
the voyage. 

The day after the review, the Tonnant, the Ramilies, and 
two of the brigs weighed anchor and put to sea. The next 
morning the rest of the fleet followed. 

The voyage to Lake Borgne, the landing of the army on 
its marshy shores, and indeed every incident of the campaign, 
80 far as the English wore concerned, has been graphically 
described by officers who served in the expedition. These 
gentlemen evidently had no thought but to tell the unvarn- 
ished truth. The candor and modesty, the highbred, unaf- 
fected kindliness of tone which mark all of those personal 
narratives that I have been able to procurg, give the reader 
many a ping to think that the stupidity or the ambition of 
cabinets should have miulo it the duty of sucb men, so valiant 
and goixl-humored, to go to the Delta of the Mississippi for a 
purpose so unnatural and al>surd. It may also be truly said 
that the English jx^rsonal narratives, both of the revolution- 
ary war and of the war of 1812, give us a higher idea of 
American courage and endunvnoe than is always afforded by 
our own t^x^ eulogistic historians. This is jxirtly owing to 
the fact that wo read the English narrative without any sus- 
picion that the gv^^xl ci^nduot of Americans is overstated, or 
their failuK»s oi>ncvaU\l, and j^artly because it belongs to the 
charactoi :f genuine Englishmen to do justice to an enemv 


that defeats them, as well as to a rival by whom in peacefu] 
pursuits they ar** surpassed. In unfolding, therefore, thfl 
wonderful series of events which followed the sailing of the 
fleet from Negril bay, I shall, as often as possible, let Eng« 
liflh oflScers, who took part in them, tell their side of the 
strange, the almost incredible story. 

The following is from that singularly interesting work by 
the " Subaltern," entitled " The British Campaigns at Wash- 
ington and New Orleans," published at London in the year 
1836.^ The passage contains some errors, which will be ob- 
vious to the reader, and omits several important circumstances, 
which will be supplied hereafter. 

The fleet was weighing anchor, and standing down Ne- 
gril Bay: 

" It is impossible," says the Subaltern, " to conceive a finer sea view 
than this general stir presented. Our fleet amounted now to upwards of 
fifty sail, many of them vessels-of-war, which, shaking loose their topsail^ 
snd lifting their anchors at the same moment, gave to Negril Bay an i^ 
pearance of bustle such as it has seldom been able to present In half* an 
hour all the canvass was set, and the ships moved slowly and proudly from 
their anchorage, till, having cleared the head-lands, and caught the fair 
breeze which blew without, they bounded over the water with the speed 
of eagles, and long before dark the coast of Jamaica had disappeared* 

'' There is something in rapidity of motion, whether it be along a high 
road, or across the deep, extremely elevating ; nor was its effect unper- 
oeived on the present occasion. It is true that there were other causes for 
the high spirits which now pervaded the armament, but I question if any 
proved more efficient in their production than the astonishiug rate of our 
sailing. Whether the business we were about to undertake would prove 
bloody, or the reverse, entered not into the calculations of a single indi- 
vidual in the fleet. The sole subject of remark was the speed with which 
we got over the ground, and the probability that existed of oui soon reach- 
ing the point of debarkation. The change of climate^, likewise, was not 
without its effect in producing pleasurable sensations. The further we got 
from Jamaica, the more cool and agreeable became the atmosphere ; fi*om 

^ The Duke of Wellington, as we learn fit>u Mr. Samuel Rogers* Beoo]le(^ 
CiooB, had a high opinion of the writings of the Subaltern. '* The Subaltern, 
Hid the dake, "is excellent, particularly in the American expedition to Nm 
OrieaiUL He deacribes all he 8ee&" 


wbicb circnmstance we were led to hope that, in spite of its southern lati- 
tude, New Orleans would not be found so oppressively hot as wo had been 
taught to expecL" 

" It is not, however, my intention to continue the detail of this voyage 
longer tliau may be interesting; I shall therefore merely state that| the 
wind and weather having undergone some variations, it was the 10th of 
December before the shores of America could be discerned. On that day 
we found ourselves opposite to the Chandeleur Islands, and near the en- 
trance of Lake Borgnc. There the fleet anchored, that the troops might 
be removed from the heavy ships into such as drew least water j and from 
this and other preparations it appeared that to ascend tliis lake was the 
plan determined upon." 

....** To reduce the forts which command the navigation of the 
river was regarded as a task too difficult to be attempted ; and for any 
ships to pass without their reduction seemed impossible. Trusting, there- 
fore, that the object of the enterprise was unknown to the Americans, 
Sir Alexander Cochrane and General Keane determined to effect a land- 
ing somewhere on the banks of the lake ; and, pushing directly on, to take 
possession of the town before any effectual preparation could bo made for 
its defense. With this view the troops were removed from the larger into 
the hghter vessels, and these, under convoy of such gun-brigs as the shal- 
lowness of the water would float, began on the 13th to enter Lake Borgne. 
But we had not proceeded far when it was apparent that tho Americans 
were well acquainted witli our intentions and ready to receive us. Five 
large cutters, armed with six heavy guns each, were seen at anchor in the 
distance; and, as all endeavors to land, till these were captured, would 
have been useless, the transports and largest of the gun-brigs cast anchor, 
whilst the smaller craft gave chase to tlie enemy. 

" But these cutters were built purposely to act upon the lake. They 
accordingly set sail, as soon as the English cruisers arrived within a certain 
distance, and, running on, were quickly out of sight, leaving the pursuers 
fisLSt aground. To permit them to remain in the hands of the enemy, how- 
ever, would be fatal, because, as long as they commanded the navigation 
of the laJvC, no boats could venture to cross. It was, therefore, determined 
at all hazards, and at any expense, to take them ; and since our lightest 
craft could not float where they sailed, a flotilla of launches and ships' 
barges was got ready for the purpose. 

" This flotilla consisted of fifty open boats, most of them armed with a 
carronade in tlie bow, and well manned with volunteers from tho different 
Bbips-of-war. The command was given to Captain Lockyer, a brave and 
skilful oflicer, who immediately pushed off; and about noon came in si^t 
of the enemy, moored fore and aft;, with broadsides pointing towards him 
Having puUcd a considerable distance he resolved to refresh his men be* 


fore he hurried them into action ; and, accordingly, letting fall grapplings 
jast beyond the reach of the enemy's guns, the crews of the dififerent boats 
oooUy ate their dinner. 

<< As soon as that meal was finished, and an hour spent in resting, the 
boats again got ready to advance. But, unfortunately, a light breeze wlich 
had hitherto favored tlicm now ceased to blow, and they were in couse- 
quen.*^ compelled to make way only with the oar. The tide also ran 
strong against them, at once increasing their labor and retarding their 
progress ; but all these difl&culties appeared trifling to Britisli sailors ; and, 
giving a hearty cheer, they moved steadily onward in one extended line. 

" It was not long before tlie enemy's guns opened upon them, and a 
tremendous shower of balls saluted their approach. Some boats were 
sunk, others disabled, and many men were killed and wounded ; but the 
rest pulling with all their might, and occasionally returning the discharges 
from their carronades, succeeded, after an hour's labor, in closing with the 
Americans The marines now began a deadly fire of musketry ; while the 
seamen, sword in hand, sprang up the vessels* sides in spite of all oppo- 
sition ; and sabring every man that stood in their way, hauled down th«» 
American ensign, and hoisted the British flag in its place. 

" One cutter alone, which bore the commodore's broad pennant, was not 
so easily subdued. Having noted its preeminence. Captain Lockyer di- 
rected his own boat against it ; and happening to have placed himsetf in 
one of the lightest and fastest sailing barges in the flotilla, be found himself 
alongside of his enemy before any of the others were near enough to ren- 
der him the smallest support. But nothing dismayed by odds so fear^ 
ful, the gallant crew of this smaU bark, following their leader, instantly 
leaped on board the American. A desperate conflict ensued, in which 
Captain Lockyer received several severe wounds; but, after fighting from 
the bow to the stem, the enemy were at length overpowered ; and other 
barges coming up to the assistance of their commander, the commodore's 
flag shared the same fate with the others. 

" Having destroyed all opposition in this quarter, the fleet again weighed 
anchor and stood up the lake. But we had not been many hours under 
sail when ship after ship ran aground ; such as still floated were, there- 
fore, crowded with the troops from those which could go no further, till 
finally the lightest vessel stuck fast ; and the boats were of necessity 
hoisted out to carry us a distance of upwards of thirty miles. To le con- 
fined for so long a time as the prosecution of this voyage would require in 
one posture was of itself no very agreeeble prospect ; but the confinement 
was but a trifling mbery, when compared with tliat which arose from the 
change in the weather. Instead of a constant bracing frost, heavy rains, 
wch as an inhabitant of England cannot dream of, and against which no 
doak could furnish protection, began. In the midst of these were the troopf 

44 LIFE OF ANDREW JA0K80N, [1814 

embarked in their new and straitened transports, and each di^'iBion, aftot 
•n exposure of ten hours, landed upon a smadl desert spot of earth, called 
Pine Island, where it was determined to collect the whole army, preTiooa 
to its crossing over to the main. 

'' Than this spot it is scarcely possible to imagine any place more com- 
pletely wretched. It was a swamp, containing a small space of firm ground 
at one end, and almost wholly unadorned with trees of any sort or descrip* 
tion. There were, indeed, a few stunted firs upon the very edge of the water, 
but these were so diminutive in size as hardly to deserve a higher classifica- 
tion than among the meanest of shrubs. The interior was the resort of 
wild ducks and other water fowl ; and the pools and creeks with which it 
was intersected abounded in dormant alligators. 

'* Upon this miserable desert the army was assembled, without tents or 
huts, or any covering to shelter them from the inclemency of the weather; 
and in truth we may fairly affirm that our hardships had here their com- 
mencement After having been exposed all day to a cold and pelting rain, 
we landed upon a barren island, incapable of furnishing even fuel enough to 
supply our fires. To add to our miseries, as night closed, the rain general^ 
ceased, and severe frosts set in, which, congeahng our wet clothes upon 
our bodies, left little animal warmth to keep the limbs in a state of activity; 
and the consequence was that many of tlie wretched negroes, to whom 
frost and cold were altogether new. fell fast asleep, and perished before 

" For provisions, again, we were entirely dependent upon the fleet 
There were here no living creatures which would suffer themselves to be 
caught ; even the water fowl being so timorous that it was impossible to 
approach them within musket shot Salt meat and ship biscuit were, there- 
fore, our food, moistened by a small allowance of rum ; faro which, though 
no doubt very wholsome, was not such as to reconcile us to the cold and 
wet under which we suflfered. 

" On the part of the navy, again, all these hardships were experienced 
in a four-fold degree. Night and day were boats pulling from the fleet to 
the ii^land, and from the island to the fleet; for it was the 21st before all 
the troops were got on shore ; and as tliere was httlc time to inquire into 
men*s turns of labor, many seamen were four or five days continually at 
the oar. Thus, tliey had not only to bear up against variety of tempera- 
ture, but against hunger, fatigue, and want of sleep, iu addition ; three as 
fearful burdens as can be laid upon the human frame. Yet, in spite of all 
this, not a murmur nor a whisper of complaint could be heard tliroughout 
the li hole expedition. No man appeared to regard the prusent, whilst 
every one looked forward to tlie future. From the general down to the 
youngest drum-boy, a confident anticipation of success seemed to pervade 
all ranks ; and in the hope of an ample reward in store for them, the toils 


' '.r 


and grieyancea of the moment were forgotten. Nor was this anticipation 
the mere ofispring of an overweening confidence in themselves. Several 
Americans had already deserted, who entertained us with accounts of the 
alarm experienced at New Orleans. They assured us that there were not 
at present five thousand soldiers in the State; that the principal inhabit- 
ants had long ago lefl the place ; that such as remained were ready tc 
join us as soon as we should appear among them ; and that, therefore, we 
might lay our account with a speedy and bloodless conquest. The same 
persons likewise dilated upon the wealth and importance of the town; 
upon the large quantities of government stores there collected ; and the 
rich booty which would reward its capture ; — subjects well calculated to 
tickle the fimcy of invaders, and to make them unmindful of immediate 
afflictioDB, in the expectation of so great a recompense to come. 

" It is well known, that at the period to which my narrative refers an 
alliance, offensive and defensive, subsisted between the government of 
Great Britain and the heads of as many Indian nations, or tribes, as felt 
the aggressions of the settlers upon their ancient territories, and were dis- 
posed to resent them. On this side of the continent our principal allies 
were the Choctaws and Chcrokees, two nations whom war and &mine had 
reduced from a state of comparative majesty to the lowest ebb of feeble- 
ness and distress. Driven fi'om hunting-ground to hunting-ground, and C^ 
pursued Hke wild beasts wherever seen, they were now confined to a nar- V 
row tract of country, lying chiefly along the coast of the Gulf, and the bor- 
ders of the lakes which adjoin to it. For some time previous to the arrival 
of the expedition, the warriors of these tribes put themselves under the 
command of Colonel Nickolls, of the Royal Marines, and continued to 
harass the Americans by frequent incursions into the cultivated districts. It 
80 happened, however, that, being persuaded to attempt the reduction of a 
fort situated upon Mobile Point, and being, as might be expected, repulsed 
with some loss, their confidence in their leader, and their dependence upon 
British aid, had begun of late to sufier a serious diminution. Though not 
very profitable as fiiends, their local position and desultory mode of war- 
fiu*e would have, rendered them at this period exceedingly annoying to us 
as enemies; it was accordingly determined to dispatch an embassy to their 
settlements, for the purpose of restoring them to good humor, or at least 
discovering their intentions. 

" Whilst the troops were assembling upon Pine Island a cutter, having 
proper officers on board, and carrying presents of clothing, arms, and rum, 
was dispatched upon this business. It reached its place of destination in 
Btfety, and the ambassadors found very Uttle difficulty in bringing back the 
fickle Indians to their wonted reliance upon British support. Several of 
the chie& and warriors, indeed, requested and obtained permission to visit 
oar admiral and general, and to follow the fortunes of our troops ; and a 


very grotesque and singulai appearance they presented as they stood upon 
the quarter-deck of the Tonnant. But the costume, habits and costoma 
of these savages have been too frequently and too accurately described 
elsewhere to render any account of them, on the present occasion, desdra- 
ble. It is sufficient to observe, that whilst they gazed upon over3rthing 
around them with a look expressive of no astonishment whatever, they 
were themselves objects of eager curiosity to us ; and that they bore our 
close inspection and somewhat uncourteous deportment with the most per- 
fect philosophy. But to my tale. 

" The enemy's cutters having fallen into our hands, at an early hour on 
the morning of the 16th the disembarkation of the troops began. So de- 
fident) however, was the fleet in boats and other small crafl fit to navigate 
the lakes, that it was late on the evening of the 21st before the last divi- 
sion took up its ground upon Pine Island, and even then the inconveni- 
ences of our descent were but beginning. The troops had yet to be ar- 
ranged in corps and brigades ; to each of these its proportion of commis- 
saries, purveyors and medical attendants, etc., etc., required to be allotted ; 
and some attempt ^t establishing dep6ts of provisions and mihtary stores 
behoved to be made. In adjusting these matters the whole of the 22d 
was occupied, on which day the general likewise reviewed the whole ol 
the army. This being ended, the force was next distributed into divisions, 
or corps, and the following is the order it assumed. 

" Instead of a light brigade, the general rosolved to set apart three bat- 
talions as an advanced guard. The regiments nominated to that service 
were tlie 4th, the 85th Light Infantry, and the 95th Rifles , and he selected 
Colonel Thornton of the 85tii, as an officer of talent and enterprise, to com- 
mand them. Attached to this corps were a party of rocket-men, with two 
light three-pounders — a species of gun convenient enough where celerity 
of movement is alone regarded, but of very little real utility in the field. 
The rest of the troops were arranged, as before, into two brigades. The 
first, composed of the 21st, 44th, and one black regiment, was intrusted to 
Colonel Brook ; and the second, containing 'the 93d, and the other black 
corps, to Colonel Hamilton, of the 7th West India regiment. To each of 
these a certain proportion of artillery and rockets was allotted ; whilst the 
dragoons, who had brought their harness and other appointments on shore, 
remained as a sort of body-guard to the general, till they should provide 
themselves with horses. 

"Tb'> adjustment of these matters having occupied a considerable part 
c( tlie 2*i6d, it was determined that all things should remain as they were 
till next morning. Boats, in the meantime, began to assemble from all 
quarters, supplies of ammunition were packed so as to prevent the possi- 
bility of damage by moisture, and stores of various descriptions were got 
ready. But it appeared that^ even now, many serious inconveniences must 


be endured, and obstacles snrmounted, before the troops could reach the 
vene of action. In the first place, from Fine Island to that part of the 
main towards which prudence directed us to steer was a distance of no I 

lees than eighty miles. This of itself was an obstacle, or at least an incon- j 
venience of no slight nature; for, should the weather prove boisterous, \ 
open boats, heavily laden with soldiers, would stand little chance of escap- \ •^- 

ing destruction in the course of so long a voyage. In the next place, and -^ ^ 

what was of infinitely greater importance, it was found that there were not^ ^ ^> 
throughout the whole fleet; a sufiBcient number of boats to transport above ^ ^-^ -^ 

one-third of the army at a time. But to land in divisions would expose our J", 

forces to be attacked in detail, by which means one party might be cut to J^ . "^.^ 
pieces before the others could arrive to its support The undertaking was, >A ^ '^ 
therefore, on the whole, extremely dangerous, and such as would have been t^=^ -^ 

probably abandoned by more timid leaders. Ours, however, were not so {^^ xj 

to be alarmed. They had entered upon a hazardous business, in whatever 
way it should be prosecuted ; and since they could not work miracles, they 
resolved to lose no time in bringing their army into the field, in the best 
manner which circiunstances would permit. 

" With this view, the advance, consisting of sixteen hundred men and 
two pieces of cannon, was next morning embarked. I have already stated 
that there is a small creek, called the Bayou dc Catiline, which runs up from 
Lake Pontchartrain through the middle of an extensive morass, about ten 
miles below New Orleans. Towards this creek were the- boats directed, 
and here it was resolved to effect a landing. When wc set sail the sky 
was dark and lowering, and before long a heavy rain began to fall Con- 
tinuing without intermission during the whole of the day, towards night 
it as usual ceased, and was succeeded by a sharp frost; which, taking effect 
upon men thoroughly exposed and already cramped by remaining so long 
in one posture, rendered our limbs completely powerless. Nor was there 
any means of dispelling the benumbing sensation, or effectually resisting 
the cold. Fires of charcoal, indeed, being lighted in the sterns of the boats, 
were permitted to bum as long as daylight lasted ; but as soon as it grew 
dark they were of necessity extinguished, lest the flame should be seen by 
row-boats from the shore and an alarm be tlms comnumioated. Our situa- 
tion was, therefore, the reverse of agreeable ; since even sleep was denied 
us, from the apprehension of fatal consequences. 

" Havirg remained in this uncomfortable state till midnight, the boats 
cast anchor and hoisted awnings. There was a small piquet of the eneir.y 
Stationed at the entrance of the creek by which it was intended to effect 
our landing. This it was absolutely necessary to surprise ; and while the 
rest lay at anchor, two or three fast-sailing barges were pushed on to execute 
the service. Nor did they experience much difficulty in accomplishing 
their object Nothing, as it appeared, was less dreamt of by the AmoH- 


cans than an attack from this quarter, consequently, no persons could be I 
on their guard than the party here stationed. The officer who conducted the 
force sent against them, found not so much as a single sentinel posted I but 
haying landed his men at two places, above and below the hut which thej 
inhabited, extended his ranks so as to surround it^ and closing gradually in, 
took them all fast asleep without noise or resistance. 

** When such time . had been allowed as was deemed sufficient for the 
accomplishment of this undertaking, the flotilla again weighed anchor, and 
without waiting for intelligence of success pursued their voyage. Hitherto 
we had been hurried along at a rapid rate by a fair breeze, which enabled 
us to carry canvass ; but this now left us, and we madfe way only by row- 
ing. Our progress was therefore considerably retarded, and the risk of 
discovery heightened by the noise which that labor necessarily occasions; 
but in spite of these obstacles we reached the entrance of the creek by 
dawn, and about nine o'clock were safely on shore. 

" The place where we landed was as wild as it is possible to imagine. 
Gkze where we might nothing could be seen except one huge marsh, covered 
with tall reeds; not a house nor a vestige of human industry could be 
discovered ; and even of trees there were but a few growing upon the banks 
of the creek. Yet it was such a spot as, above all others, favored oar 
operations. No eye could watch us, or report our arrival to the Americao 
GkneraL By remaining quietly among the reeds we might effectuaDy 
conceal ourselves from notice ; because, from the appearance of all aronnd, 
it was easy to perceive that the place which we occupied had been seldom, 
if ever before, marked with a human footstep. Concealment, however, 
was the thing of all others which we required ; for be it remembered that 
there were now only sixteen hundred men on the main land. The rest 
were still at Pine Island, where they must remain till the boats which had 
transported us should return from their conveyance, consequently many 
hours must elapse before this small corps could be either reinforced or sup- 
ported. If, therefore, we had sought for a point where a descent might 
be made in secrecy and safety, we could not have found one better calca- 
lated for that purpose than the present, because it affisrded every meanii 
of concealment to one part of our force, untQ the others should be able to 
come up. 

" For these reasons, it was confidently expected that no movement 
would be made previous to the arrival of the other brigades ; but, in our 
expectations of quiet, we were deceived. The deserters who had come in, 
and accompanied us as guides, assured the general that he had only to show 
himself, when the whole district would submit They repeated that there 
were not five thousand men in arms throughout the State ; that of these 
not more than twelve hundred were regular soldiers, and that the whole 
'brce was at present several mOes on the opposite side of the town, expect 


ing an attack on that quarter, and apprehending no danger on this. These 
argnments, together with the nature of the ground on which we stood, so 
ill calculated for a proper distribution of troops in case of attack, and so 
well calculated to hide tne movements of an army acquainted with all the 
passes and tracks which, for aught we knew, intersected the morass, in- 
duced our leader to push forward at once into the open oountry. As soon, 
therefore, as the advance was formed, and the boats had departed, we be- 
gan our march, following an indistinct path along the edge of the ditch or 
canaL But it was not without ma. y checks that we were able to proceed. 
Other ditches, similar to that whose course we pursued, frequently stopped 
us by running in a cross direction, and falling into it at right angles. These 
were too wide to be leaped, and too deep to be forded ; consequently, on 
an such occasions, the troops were obliged to halt, till bridges were hastily 
constructed of such materials as could be procured and thrown across. 

** Having advanced in this manner for several hours, we at length found 
ourselves approaching a more cultivated region. The marsh became grad- 
ually less and less continued, being intersected by wider spots of firm ground; 
the reeds gave place by degrees to wood, and the wood to inclosed fields. 
Upon these, however, nothing grew, harvest having long ago ended. They 
accordingly presented but a melancholy appearance, being covered with 
the stubble of sugar cane, which resembled the reeds which we had just 
quitted in eveiy thing except altitude. Nor as yet was any house or cot- 
tage to be seen. Though we knew, therefore, that human habitations 
could not be far off, it was impossible to guess where they lay, or how 
numerous they might prove ; and as we could not tell whether our guides 
might not be deceiving us, and whether ambuscades might not be laid for 
our destruction, as soon as we should arrive where troops could conveni- 
ently act, our march was insensibly conducted with increased caution and 

" But in a little whfle some groves of orange-trees presented them- 
Belves, on passing which two or three farm-houses appeared. Towards 
these our advanced companies immediately hastened, with the hope of 
surprising the inhabitants, and preventing any alarm from being raised. 
Hurrying on at double-quick time, they surrounded the buildings, suo- 
oeeded in securing the inmates, and capturing several horses ; but^ becono* 
ing rather careless in watching their -prisoners, one man contrived to effect 
ois escape. Now, then, all hope of eluding observation might be laid aside. 
The rumor of our landing would, we knew, spread faster than we could 
march, and it only remained to mak#that rumor as terrible as possible. 

^ With this view the column was commanded to widen itn files, and to 
present as formidable an appearance as could be assumed. Changing our 
order, in obedience to these directions, we marohed, not in sections of eight 
or ten abreast, but in pairs, and thus contrived to cover with our smaU 

Youn, — 4 


division as large a tract of ground as if we had mustered thrice our pre»* 
ent numbers. Our steps were likewise quickened, that we might gain, if 
possible, some advantageous position, where we might be able to cope with 
any force that might attack us ; and, thus hastening on, we soon arrived at 
the main road, which leads directly to New Orieans. Turning to tlie right^ 
we then advanced in. the direction of that town for about a mile, when, 
havhig reached a spot where it was considered that we might encamp in 
comparative safety, our little volumn halted, the men piled their arms, and 
a regular bivouac was formed. 

" The country where we had now estabhshed ourselves answered, in 
every respect, the description which I have already given of the neck of 
land on which New Orleans is built It was a narrow plain of about a 
mile in width, bounded on one side by the Mississippi, and on the other by 
the marsh from which we had just emerged. Towards iho open ground, 
this marsh was covered with dwarf- wood, having the semblance of a for- 
est, rather than of a swamp; but on trying the bottom it was found that 
both characters were united, and that it was impossible for a man to make 
his way among the trees, so boggy was the soil upon which they g^w. 
In no other quarter, however, was there a single hedge-row, or plantation 
of any kind, excepting a few apple and other truit-trees in the gardens of 
such houses as were scattered over the plain, the whole being laid out in 
large fields for the growth of sugar-cane, a plant which seems as abundant 
in this part of the world as in Jamaica. 

" Looking up towards the town, which we at this time faced, the marsh 
is upon your right, and the river upon your left. Close to the latter runs 
the main road, following the course of the stream all the way to New Or- 
leans. Between the road and the water is tnrown up a lofty and strong 
embankment, resembling the dykes in Holland, and meant to serve a simi- 
lar purpose; by means of which the Mississippi is prevented from over- 
flowing its banks, and the entire flat is preserved from inundation. But 
the attention of a stranger is irresistibly drawn away from every other ob- 
ject to contemplate the magnificence of this noble river. Pouring along 
at the prodigious rate of four miles an hour, an immense body of water ia 
spread out before you, measuring a full mile across, and nearly a hundred 
fathoms in depth. What this mighty stream must be noar its mouth I can 
hardly imagine, for we were here upwards of a hundred miles from the 

" Such was the general aspect of the country which we had entered ;— 
our own position, again, was this. Whe three regiments, turning off fix>m 
the road into one extensive green field, formed three close columns within 
pistol-shot of the river. Upon our right, but so much in advance as to be 
of no service to ue, was a large house, surrounded by about twenty wooden 
hnta, probably intended for the accommodation of slaves. Towards thif 


house there was a slight rise in the ground, and between it and the jamp 
was a small pond of no great depth. As far to the rear again as the first 
was to the front^ stood another bouse, inferior in point of appearance, and 
skirted by no out-buildines: this was also upon the right; and here Gen- 
eral Keane, who accompanied us, fixed his head-quarters ; but neither the 
one nor the other could be employed as a covering redoubt, the fiank of 
the division extending, as it were, between them. A little way in advance, 
again, where the oui posts were stationed, ran a dry ditch and a row of 
\oity palings, affording some cover to the front of our line, should it be 
formed diagonally with the main road. The left likewise was well secured 
by the river ; but the right and the rear were wholly unprotected. Though 
in occupying this field, therefore, we might have looked very well had the 
conntry around us been friendly, it must be confessed that our situation 
hardly deserved the title of a military position." 

Two questions occur to the reader during the perusal of 
this narrative : First, why did Lieutenant Jones, instead of 
returning to the pass leading into Lake Pontchartrain, give 
battle elsewhere, and so lose his gun-boats ? Secondly, how 
was it that an army could -land twelve miles below New Or- 
leans; at the mouth of such an important stream as the 
Bayou Bienvenue, without opposition from a general so vigi- 
lant as General Jackson ? 

With regard to the battle of the gun-boats, the official 
dispatch of Lieutenant Jones, which does justice to every cir- 
mmstance except his own gallantry, supplies the requisite 
explanation. "About 1, a.m., on the 14th," says Lieutenant 
Jones, in his sailor-like and straight-forward dispatch, dic- 
tated as soon as he was sufficiently recovered from his wound, 
" the wind having entirely died away^ and our vessels became 
unmanageable, came to anchor in the west end of Malheureux 
island's passage. At daylight next morning, still a perfect 
calm, the enemy's flotilla was about nine miles from us, at 
anchor, but soon got in motion and rapidly advanced on us. 
The want of wind, and the strong ebb-tide which was setting 
through the pass, left me but one alternative, which was, to 
put myself in the most advantageous position to give the 
enemy as warm a reception as possible. The commanders 
were all called on board and made acquainted with my inten* 


tionSy and the position which each vessel was to take, the 
whole to form a close line abreast across the channel, an- 
chored by the stem, with springs on the cable, etc., etc. Thus 
we remained anxiously awaiting an attack from the advancing 
foe, whose forces I now clearly distinguished to be composed 
of forty-two heavy launches and gun-barges, with three light 
gigs, manned with upward of one thousand men and officers. 
About 9 30, the Alligator (tender) which was to the south- 
ward and eastward, and endeavoring to join the division, was 
captured by several of the enemy's barges, when the whole flo- 
tilla came to, with their grapnels, a little out of reach of our 
shot, apparently making arrangements for the attack. At 
10 30, the enemy weighed, forming a line abreast in open or- 
der, and steering direct for our line, which was unfortunately 
in some degree broken by the force of the current, driving 
Nos. 156 and 163 about one hundred yards in advance. As 
soon as the enemy came within reach of our shot, a deliberate 
fire from our long guns was opened upon him, but without 
much eflfect, the objects being of so small a size. A-t ten 
minutes before eleven, the enemy opened a fire from the 
whole of his line, when the action became general and de- 
structive on both sides, o o o o The actiop con- 
tinued with unabating severity until forty minutes past twelve 
o'clock, when it terminated with the surrender of No. 23, all 
the other vessels having previously fallen into the hands of 
the enemy." 

Captain Lockyer's dispatch coincides with that of Lieu- 
tenant Jones in all essential particulars. He reports his loss 
at seventeen killed and seventy-seven wounded. The Ameri- 
can loss, in killed and wounded, was about sixty ; all the 
v5ommanders of gun-boats being wounded except one. The 
cx^mbat over, the Americans were taken on board of one of 
the enemy's ships, where the wounded were cared for with the 
assiduity and tenderness which their situation required. For 
many a day of agonizing suspense they lay in their hammocks, 
listening to i^very sound, and scanning the faces of their at^ 


tendants to read in their ever deepening seriousness J;he his- 
tory of what was passing on shore. 

The mouth of the Bayou Bienvenue, where the British so 
easily and secretly landed, had early attracted the attention 
of General Jackson. It was, and is, a lonely, desolate placep 
resorted to only by fishermen and touiists. A little colony 
of Spanish fishermen had built a few rude huts there for their 
accommodation during the fishing season. A picket, consist- 
ing of a sergeant, eight white men and three mulattoes, had 
been stationed in the village by General Viller^, a planter of 
the neighborhood, to whom Jackson had assigned the duty 
of guarding the spot. No one anticipating danger in that 
quarter, the picket gradually relaxed their vigilance. Two 
British officers. Captain Spencer of the Carron and Lieuten- 
ant Peddie of the army, disguised in blue shirts and old tar- 
paulins, landed without exciting suspicion, bought over the 
Spanish' fishermen and their boats, rowed up the bayou, 
reached the firm land along the banks of the great river, and 
drank of its waters. Having carefully noted all the features 
of the scene, questioning the negroes and others whom they 
met, they returned to Pine Island, whence they guided the 
advance of the British army to the fatal plain. 

It is denied by all American writers that the picket at the 
fisherman's village was surprised in the manner stated by the 
" Subaltern." Mr. Alexander Walker, who collected his in- 
formation from the men themselves, gives this account of what 
transpired on the night of the landing : 

" Nothing oocurred to attract ikm notice of this picket until about mid- 
night on the 22d, when the sentinel on duty in the village called his com- 
rade, and informed him that some boats were coming up the bayou. It 
was no fake alarm. These boats composed the advanced party of the Brit- 
ish, which had been sent forward from the main body of the flotilla, under 
Oaptain Spencer, to reconnoitre and secure the village. 

'' The Americans, perceiving the hopelessness of defending themselvct 
against so superior a force, retired for concealment behind the cabin, where 
^hey remained until the barges had passed them« They then ran out and 
endeavored to reach a boat by which they might escape. But they were 
observed by the British, who advanced towards them, seised the boat be> 


fore it could be dragged into the water, and captured four of the picket 
Four others were afterwards taken on land. Of the four remaining, three 
ran into the cane-brake, thence into the prairie, where they wandered 
about all day, until, worn down with fatigue and suffering, they returned to 
the village, happy to surrender themselves prisoners. One only escaped, 
and after three days of terrible hardships and constant perils, wandering 
over trembhng prairies, through almost impervious cane-brakes, swimming 
bayous and lagoons, and living on reptiles and roots, got safely into the 
American camp. 

" The prisoners were shut up in one of the huts and closely guarded. 
One of them, a native Louisianian (Mr. Ducros), was separated from his 
companions and placed in a boat, in which were Captain Spencer and other 
British officers. The boat returned to the lake, and near the mouth of the 
bayou was met by the main body of the British flotilla, when Captain 
Spencer introduced his prisoner to a tall, black-whiskered, youthful man, in 
military undress, as General Keanc, and to another rough and stern-look- 
ing, white-haired old gentleman, in plain and much worn clothes, as Sir 
Alexander Cochrane. These two distinguished officers then proceeded to 
interrogate Mr. Ducros very closely. But with the prompt Irish wit of 
the one, and the deep Scotch calculation of the other, they did nOt succeed 
in extracting any very valuable or pleasing intelligence from the shrewd 

'^ Valuable the information was not to the British, but as the sequel will 
show, invaluable to the Americans was one item of news which Mr. Ducros 
succeeded in passing off upon the inquisitive British. It was the state- 
ment that Jackson had from twelve to fifteen thousand armed men to de- 
fend the city, and four thousand at the English Turn. By a preconcert 
the other prisoners confirmed this estimate. It greatly surprised the gen- 
eral and admiral, and led Uiem to doubt the character and veracity of the 
fishermen, who had made so light of the defenses of the city, and rendered 
it necessary that the greatest caution and prudence should be observed in 
their movements. Thus it is that traitors and renegades are distrusted, 
even when they have truth on their side. The timely fiction of the pris- 
oners proved a shield for the city." 

Major Latour, however, gives a different account of the 
origin of the timely fiction. He intimates that, during the 
evening of the twenty-second, the pickets, when assembled in 
one of the huts, fell into conversation respecting the number 
of men under Jackson's command. As General Jackson 
was not the man, in such circumstances, to understate hie 
resources, the number of his troops, arrived and coming, was 


really supposed .by the people to be three times as great as it 
was. The picket, adopting the rumored numbers of the vari- 
ous corps, honestly computed the army at fifteen or twenty 
thousand men, and so stated it to the British officers. This 
version is less romantic, but more probable, than that of Mr. 
Walker, and has the additional merit of being thirty years 
older ; Major Latour having published in 1816, Mr. Walker 
in 1856. 

Be that as it may — there the British were, sixteen hun- 
dred of them, within eight miles of New Orleans, and not a 
man in the city suspecting their arrival 



While Lieutenant Jones and Captain Lockyer were bat- 
tling so fiercely for the mastery of Lake Borgne at midday, 
on the fourteenth of December, General Jackson was return- 
ing to New Orleans from his tour of inspection, not ill-con* 
tent with what he had seen. Bad news traveled fast that 
day. Before he reached the city he had heard that the gun- 
boats were lost ; that the enemy were masters of the lake ;' 
that a fleet such as the Gulf of Mexico had never borne before' 
covered the deep waters nearest New Orleans ; and that the 
city was panic-stricken at the intelligence. 

It was at such moments that General Jackson appeared 
to most striking advantage. Comprejiending the full extent 
of the disaster, he was neither dismayed nor discouraged. 
All the warrior was aroused, and the " light of battle" shone 
in his worn and meager countenance. With that calm im- 
petuosity, that composed intensity, which belonged to him at 
such times, he began at once, and there, on the spot where 
thft ill newf met him, to adjust his plans to the altered cir- 


cumstances. Orders were issued on the instapt, and conveyed 
away as soon as. issued, to strengthen with men and cannon 
the fort which guarded the access to Lake Pontchartrain, and 
that which defended the Chef-Menteur, a bayou emptying 
into Lake Borgne. The substance of his swift orders to Cap- 
tain Newman, who conunanded in the pass between the lakes, 
was, " Defend the post to the last extremity. At the last 
extremity, spike guns, blow up fort, retire to the Chef-Men- 
teur, and fight again 1" 

Now, Forward, gentlemen ! Before night-fall the Gen- 
eral reached the frightened city, reassuring it in some degree 
by his presence. The pen first, the sword afterwards, was 
invariably the way with this indomitable son of Mars. There 
was rapid writing that night at head-quarters, and eloquent 
writing, too, that can not now be read without a stirring of 
the blood. The next day, more writing, and a hurried dis- 
patching of expresses to all the points of the compass. The 
letters written and dictated by the General on this occasion 
are alive in every line with the high- wrought feeling of the 

To the officer in command of Fort Philip he wrote, ac- 
quainting him with the arrival of the enemy, and ordering him 
to hold the fort while a man remained alive to point a gun. 
To General Coffee : " You must not sleep irntil you reach me, 
or arrive within striking distance. Your accustomed activity 
is looked for. Innumerable defiles present themselves where 
your services and riflemen will be all important. An oppor- 
tunity is at hand to reap for yourself and brigade the appro- 
bation of your country." To General ^Winchester, who com- 
manded at Mobile : ^" The enemy will attempt, through Pass 
Huron, to reach you ; watch, nor suffer yourself to be sur- 
prised ; haste, and throw sufficient supplies into Fort Bow« 
yer, and guard vigilantly the communication from Fort 
Jackson, lest it be destroyed. Mobile Point must be sup- 
ported and defended at every hazard. The enemy has given 
08 a large coast to guard ; but I trust, with the smiles of 
Ueaven, to be alle to meet and defeat him at every point ht 


may ventme his foot upon the land.'' To Q-eneral Carroll 
he sent a steamboat, to hasten his descent o£ the river, and a 
dispatch, concluding, ^^ I am resolved, feeble as my force is, 
to assail the enemy on his first landing, and perish sooner 
than he shall reach the city." General Thomas, who com- 
manded the expected Kentuckians, and Colonel Hinds, of the 
coming Mississippi dragoons, were addressed in a similar 
strain. The Secretary of War was promptly advised of the 
new posture of affairs. " But," said the General to him, 
" the country shall be defended, if in the power of the physi- 
cal force it contains, with the auxiliary force ordered. There 
are no arms here. Will the government order a supply ? If 
it will, let it be speedily." From these last words, it is evi- 
dent the General anticipated a long campaign— certainly did 
not anticipate a single event of the next twenty-four days. 

The consternation that prevailed in the city, and that was 
fisist spreading into the country, was not forgotten amid the 
labors of the busy and exciting night that followed the Gen- 
eral's return. The wildest rumors were abroad. The enemy's 
fleet was generally believed to consist of three hundred ves- 
sels. Treason was said to be working in the city. The old 
fear of an insurrection of the slaves was revived. To allay 
apprehensions and to strike terror to traitors, if traitors there 
were in the town, a proclamation was published on the morn- 
ing of the 15th, which was eminently Jacksonian in spirit, 
though probably penned by Edward Livingston : — 

** To THE CrnzEKS oV New Orleans : 

The Major General commanding has, with astonishment and regret^ 
ieamod that great consternation and alarm pervade your city. It is true the 
enemy is on our coast, and threatens an invasion of our territory ; but it is 
equally true, with union, energy, and the approbation of heaven, we will 
beat him at every point' his temerity may induce him to set foot upon our 
loiL Thft Gkneral, with still greater astonishment, has heard that British 
•missaries have been permitted to propagate seditious reports among you, 
Jbat the threatened invasion u with a view of restoring the country to Spain, 
fii>m a supposition that some of you would be willing to return to your an- 
cient government Believe not such incredible tales — ^your government it 
at peaije with Spaii -it is the vital enemy of your country, the commop 


enemy of mankind, the highway robber of the world that threatens you, 
and has sent his hirelings among you with this false report to put you off 
you* guard, that you may fall an easy prey to him; — then look to your 
libeities, your property, the chastity of your wives and daughters— take a 
retrospept of the conduct of the British army at Hampton and other places^ 
where it has entered our country, and every bosom which glows with pat- 
riotism and virtue will be inspired with indignation, and pant for the arri* 
yal of the hour when we shall meet and revenge those outrages against ihe 
laws of civilization and humanity. 

The General calls upon the inhabitants of the city to trace this un- 
founded report to its source, and bring the propagator to condign punisb* 
ment. The rules and articles of war annex the punishment of death to any 
person holding secret correspondence witli the enemy, creating false alanns, 
or supplying liim.with provisions; and the Qt^neral announces his unoltex^ 
able determination rigidly to execute the martial law in all cases which may 
come within his province. 

The safety of the district intrusted to the protection of the Greneral, 
must and will be maintained with the best blood of the country; and he 
is confident that all good citizens will be found at their posts, with their 
arms in their hands, determined to dispute every inch of ground with the 
enemy ; that unanimity will pervade the country generally ; but should 
the General be disappointed in this expectation, he will separate our 
enemies from our friends — those who are not for us are against us^ and 
will be dealt with accordingly. * 

Events now follow one another with a rapidity that puz* 
zles and distracts the narrator. Later in the day on which 
this ominous proclamation appeared, the measure was con- 
cluded upon which was hinted at in its closing sentences. 
The General determined to place the city under martial law. 

This important step was not the act of a moment, though 
the final decision to venture it was sudden. Nor does it ap* 
pear to have been suggested by General Jackson. Before 
Jackson arrived, it was the general expectation among the 
leading men, tbat the coming of General Jackson and the 
proclamation of martial law would be events nearly simulta- 
neous. The subject was daily talked of at head-quartera 
The measure was recommended at a meeting of judges and 
members of the bar. • The opinion was general among the 
American residents, that nothing short of the possession of 


absolute power would enable the General to wield the entu^ 
resources of the town, and direct them undiminished against 
the foe. The written opinion given by Edward Livingston 
probably expressed the feeling of the bar upon the subject ; 
" Martial law can only be justified by the necessity of the 
case. The General proclaims it at his risk, and under his 
responsibility, not only to the government, but to individuals ; 
because it is a meiisure unknown to the Constitution and laws 
of the United States. The effect of its proclamation is to 
bring all persons in the district comprised by it within the 
purview of such law, so that all those in that district capable 
of defending the country are subject to such law by virtue of 
the proclamation, and may be tried by it during its contin- 
uance." That is to say, the measure is utterly unlawful ; 
but if the General adopts it, the people must be made to sub- 
mit. The opinion was not calculated to hasten the measure, 
and the General hesitated. 

Meanwhile, the British fleet arrived, the gun-boats were 
captured, the people were in alarm, rumors of disaffection and 
treason pervaded the city. Sailors abounded in the streets, 
Vmt Commodore Patterson could procure no sufficient force 
to man his two armed vessels, the Carolina and Louisiana, 
the possible importance of which to the defense of the city 
was beginning to be conjectured. The Commodore, at length, 
despairing of milder measures, proposed to Governor Clai- 
borne, and Governor Claiborne to the Legislature, that the 
habeas corpus act be suspended, in order that sailors might 
be impressed. The Legislature refused to comply with the 
Governor's recommendation, but proceeded, instead, to pass 
an act offering twenty-four dollars a month to any sailors 
that might engage in the public service. This act appeared 
to the General totally inadequate to a crisis in which the 
delay of an hour might prove fatal. In a moment of disgust 
at the apparent lukewarmness and inefficiency of the Legis- 
lature, General Jackson determined to take all power into his 
own hands. • 

In conversing with Major Eaton upon this desperate 


measure, General Jackson onoe expressed himself in termc 

like these : " I very well knew the extent of my powers, and 

that it was far short of that which necessity and my situation 

f . required. I determined, therefore, to venture boldly forth, 

./ V^ &nd pursue a course correspondent to the difficulties that 

I r pressed upon me. I had an anxious solicitude to wipe oflP 

the stigma cast upon my country by the destruction of the 

\W * / * CapitoL If New Orleans were taken, I well knew that new 

difficulties would arise, and every effort be made to retain it ; 
1 and that, if regained, blood and treasure would be the sacri 
.:^ ' ""^ fice. My determination, therefore, was formed not to halt at 

trifles, but to lose the city only at the boldest sacrifice ; and 
to omit nothing that could assure success. I was well aware 
that calculating politicians, ignorant of the difficulties that 
surrounded me, would condemn my course ; but this was not 
material. What became of me was of no consequence. H 
disaster did come, I expected not to survive it ; but if a suc- 
cessful defense could be made, I felt assured that my coun- 
try, in the objects attained, would lose sight of and forget 
the means that had been employed." 

Martial law was proclaimed on the sixteenth of Decem- 
ber, converting the city of New Orleans into a camp, and all 
its citizens into soldiers. 

The proclamation was in the words following : ' 

*' Major-General Andrew Jackson, commanding the seventh TJmted 
States military district, declares the city and environs of New Orleans 
under strict martial law, and orders that in future the following rules be 
rigidly enforced, viz. : 

« Every individual entering the city will report to the adjutant-gene- 
ral'R office, and, on failure, to be arrested and held for examination. 

'' No persons shall be permitted to leave the city without a permission 
in writing, signed by the General or one of his staflf. 

" No vessels, boats, or other craft will be permitted to leave New Or- 
leans or Bayou St John without a passport in writing from the General 
or one of his stafi^ or the commander of the naval forces of the United 
States on this station. 

" The street lamps shall be extinguished at the h^ur of nine at night, 
lAer which time persons of every description found in the streets, or no* 


at their respective homes, without permission in writing, as aforesaid, and 
'not having the countersign, shall be apprehended as spies and held for ex- 

In a word, all the inhabitants of New Orleans were sub- 
jected to the roles and restrictions which govern soldiers in 
presence of the enemy. All able-bodied men, of whatever 
race, color, rank or condition, were also compelled to serve 
either as soldiers or sailors. The old men and the infirm were 
formed into a veteran guard for the police of the town and 
the occupation of its forts, a venerable body, including in its 
rolls many men of the highest social and political distinction. 
Men of English birth were alone exempt from service. 

The proclamation of martial law was wholly, greatly, and 
immediately beneficial. The panic subsided. Confidence re- 
turned. Cheerfulness was restored. Faction was rendered 
powerless ; treason, on any considerable scale, impossible. 
While the danger lasted, not a voice was raised against a 
measure which united the people as one man against the in- 
vaders of their soiL It was felt to be a measure that grew 
inevitably out of the necessities of the crisis, and one which 
alone was adequate to it. 

It seemed to have a good effect even upon the Legislature, 
for, soon after, they passed an act suspending the legal en- 
forcement of debts for four months. The judges closed theii 
courts, and discharged without bail some of the prisoners 
awaiting trial. Criminals, even, whose term of imprisonment 
was within two months of expiring, were set at liberty and 
enrolled among the volunteers. The governor recommended 
the Legislature to adjourn for fifteen or twenty days, as tho 
times were unpropitious for deliberation. That sapient body 
replied that it would cost them more to go home and return 
than it would to remain, and therefore they remainqd, passing 
their time in the most ordinary and frivolous legislation. 
Their doorkeeper expressed his sense of their conduct by re- 
questing leavd of absence that he might shoulder a musket 
and go against the enemy, and the Legislature, without taking 
the hint or suspecting the satire, granted leava 


On one of these stirring and eventful days it was tiiat 
Jean Lafitte reappeared upon the scene. A large number of 
his band were in prison ; others were concealed in the city 
and its vicinity to avoid arrest. Forgetting in the excitement 
of those hours that Jackson had stigmatized the Barratariaiui 
as a " hellish banditti," and was thus publicly committed to 
their exclusion from the ranks of honor, Lafitte sought an 
interview with the General, and oflfered him his services and 
those of his companions. The General was, at first, disin- 
clined to receive them. But the judge before whom they had 
been arraigned, a committee of the Legislature, the district 
attorney who was to try them, Edward Livingston, and a 
large number of the American residents, all uniting in re- 
commending the acceptance of Lafitte's ofier, the General 
consented, and the whole band was formed into two most 
efficient companies of artillery-men, who rendered more es- 
sential service in the defense than any other companies of 
equal number. So destitute at this time was the city of the 
munitions of war, that the very flints of these privateers' 
pistols were received as a precious prize, and transferred to 

On Sunday, the 18th of December, one of those balmy, 
brilliant days that are the glory of a southern winter. General 
Jackson reviewed the troops then assembled in the city. 
Though the presence of the General had pervaded New Or- 
leans, and his name had been the theme of every tongue, he 
had shown himself but seldom to the people. Partly from 
curiosity to see a chief so renowned, and partly to behold the 
military spectacle, the entire population thronged the public 
square where the review was to take place. The uniformed 
companies, the State militia, the veteran guard, the new vol- 
unteers, a company of marines, the bronzed and stalwart Bar- 
ratarians, were drawn up under the walls of the ancient 
Spanish cathedral, clad in their best attire, and decorated 
with bouquets ; while from the windows, piazzas, and roofs 
around, bright eyes and gay costumes gave memorable bril- 
liancy to the scene. The evolutions and exercises were per* 

1814.] THE AMEiilOAN TROOPS. 63 

termed with an accuracy and promptness whicli surpris<d and 
delighted the vast concourse, and elicited from the General 
the wannest commendations. At the close of the review, Ed- 
ward Livingston advanced from the group that surrounded 
the General, and read in fine, sonorous tones, and with an en- 
ergy and emphasis worthy of the impassioned words he spoke, 
that famous address to the troops which contributed so power- 
fully to enhance their enthusiasm, and of which the survivors, 
to this hour, have the most vivid recollection. This address, 
like that previously quoted, was Jackson's spirit in Living- 
ston's language : * 

To THE Embodied Militia. — "Fellaw Citizens and Soldiers: The Gtjneral 
oommanding in cliiet* would not do justice to the noble ardor that has ani- 
mated you in the hour of danger, he would not do justice to his own feeling, 
if he suffered the example you have shown to pass without public notice. 
Inhabitants of an opulent and commercial town, you have, by a spontaneous 
effort) shaken off the habits which are created by wealth, and shown that you 
are resolved to deserve the blessings of fortune by bravely defending thera. 
Long strangers to the perils of war, you have embodied yourselves to face 
them with the cool countenance of veterans; and with motives of disunion 
that might operate on weak minds, you have forgotten the difference of lan- 
guage and the prejudices of national pride, and united with a cordiality that 
does honor to your understandings as well as to your patriotism. Natives of 
the United States I They are the oppressors of your infant political existence 
with whom you are to contend ; they are the men your fathers conquered 
irhom you are to oppose. Descendants of Frenchmen 1 natives of France ! 
Uxey are English, the hereditary, the eternal enemies of your ancient 
^untry, the invaders of that you have adopted, who are your foes. Span- 
ards I remember the conduct of your allies at St Sebastians, and recently 
at Pensacola, and rejoice that you have an opportunity of avenging the 
brutal injuries inflicted by men wh<? dishonor the human race. 

" Fellow-citizens, of every description, remember for what and against 
whom you contend. For all that can render life desirablo^for a country 
blessed with every gift of nature — for property, for hfe — for those dearef 
than either, your wives and children — and for liberty, without which, coun- 
try, life, property, are no longer worth possessing ; as even the embraces 
of wives and children become a reproach to the wretch who would 
deprive them by his cowardice of those invaluable blessings. You are to 

• Xba maniiscript^ in the handwriting of Eklward livingston, still existaL 


contend for all this against an enemy whose continued efforc is to de^riFO 
you of the least of these blessings ; who avows a war of yengeance and 
desolation, carried on and marked by cruelty, lust^ and horrors unknown to 
civilized nations. 

" Citizens of Louisiana I the General commanding in chief rejoices to 
see the spirit that animates you, not only for your honor but for your safety; 
for whatever had been your conduct or wishes^ his duty would have led, 
and will now lead him to confound the citizen unmindful of his rights with 
the enemy he ceases to oppose. Now, leading men who know their righta, 
who are determined to defend them, he salutes you, brave Louisianians, as 
brethren in arms, and has now a new motive to exert all his faculties, whidh 
shall be strained to the utmost in your defense. Continue with the energy 
you have begun, and he promises you not only safety, but victory over the 
insolent enemy who insulted you by an affected doubt of your attachment 
to the Constitution of your country. 

To THB Battauon OF UNIFORM COMPANIES. — " When I first looked at 
you on the day of my arrival I was satisfied with your appearance, and 
every day's inspection since has confirmed the opinion I then formed. Your 
numbers have increased with the increase of danger, and your ardor has 
augmented since it was known that your post would be one of peril and 
honor. This is the true love of country I You have added to it an exact 
discipline, and a skill in evolutions rarely attained by veterans ; the state of 
your corps does equal honor to the skill of the officers and the attention of the 
men. With such defenders our country has nothing to fear. Every thing 
I have said to the body of militia applies equally to you — ^you have made 
the same sacrifices — ^you have the same country to defend, the same 
motive for exertion — but I should have been unjust had I not noticed, aa 
it deserved, the excellence of your discipHne and the martial appearance of 
your corpa 

To THE Men of Color. — "Soldiers! Prom the shores of Mobile I col- 
lected you to arms — I invited you to share in the perils and to divide the 
glory of your white countrymen. I expected much from you, for I was 
not uninformed of those qualities which must render you so formidable to 
an invading foe. I knew that you could endure hunger and thirst and all 
the hardships of war. I knew that you loved the land of your nativi^, 
and that, hke ourselves, you had to defend all that is most dear to maou 
But you surpass my hopes. I have found in you, united to these qualitiei^ 
that noble enthusiasm which impels to great deeds. 

" Soldiers I The President of the United States shall be informed of 
your conduct on the present occasion, and the voice of the Beprescntativei 
of the American nation shall applaud your valor, as your Ghnend now 


imiaes your ardor. The enemy is near. Bis safls cover the lakes. But 
the braye are united; and if he finds us contending among ourselves, it 
will be for the prize of valor, and fame its noblest reward." 

The troops, all glowing with the fervor of this address, 
were dismissed to their several quarters and homes, to resame 
in the evening or on the morrow their military duties. The 
people slowly dispersed, cheerful and confident, as though the 
spectacle they had seen and the words they had heard had 
given them assurance of safety and triumph. 

The next day came the joyful tidings of General Coffee's 
approach, with his mounted sharpshooters. Jackson's dis- 
patch found him near Baton Rouge, one hundred and twenty- 
nine miles above the city, whither he had wandered in search 
of forage and subsistence. Late on the evening of the seven- 
teenth he received the General's urgent commands. The 
greater part of his horses were worn down with fatigue and 
scarcity ; three hundred of his men were sick ; all were weak- 
ened by long exposure and incessant marching ; his force was 
scattered over a compass of several miles. He spent the night 
in preparation. Early on the morning of the eighteenth, 
leaving his sick and his worst-mounted troops at Baton 
Bouge, he started on his march to the city, with a body of 
twelve hundred and fifty men. Before the close of the day 
he found it necessary again to divide his little army. Leav- 
ing behind four or five hundred, who could not keep up the 
prodigious pace at which he marched, he pushed on with 
eight hundred, whose horses were in better condition. The 
first day he marched fifty miles ; the second day seventyy ar- 
riving within a few miles of New Orleans ; on the morning 
of the third day he encamped vnthin four miles of the city, 
and rode forward to grasp his general by the hand, and re- 
ceive his orders. 

The arrival of General Coffee and his huntsmen raised 
still further the spirits of the people. "Coffee," says the 
author of "Jackson and New Orleans," " was a man of noble 
aspect, tall and herculean in frame, yet not destitute of i cer- 
tain natural dignity and ease of manner. Though of great 
VOL. n. — c 



height and weight, his appearance on horseback, mounted on 
a fine Tennessee thorough-bred, was striking and impressive. 
CoflFee brought with him less than eight hundred men. They 
were, however, admirable soldiers, who had been hardened by 
long service, possessed remarkable endurance, and that useful 
quality of soldiers of taking care of themselves in any emer- 
gency. They were all practiced marksmen, who thought 
nothing of bringing down a squirrel from the top of the loftiest 
tree with their rifles. Their appearance, however, was not very 
military. In their woolen hunting-shirts, of dark or dingy 
color, and copperas-dyed pantaloons, made, both cloth and 
garments, at home, by their wives, mothers and sisters, with 
slouching wool hats, some composed of the skins of raccoons 
and foxes, the spoils of the chase, to which they were addicted 
almost from infancy — with belts of untanned deer-skin, in 
which were stuck hunting-knives and tomahawks — with their 
long unkempt hair and unshorn faces. Coffee's men were not 
calculated to please the eyes of the martinet, of one accus- 
tomed to regard neatness and primness as essential virtues of 
the good soldier. The British were not far wrong when they 
spoke of them as * a posse comitatus, wearing broad beavers, 
armed with long duck guns.' But the sagacious judge of 
human nature could not fail to perceive beneath their rude 
exterior those qualities which, in defensive warfare at least, 
are far more formidable than the practiced skill and discipline 
of regulars." 

About the same time came in Colonel Hinds, with his 
regiment of Mississippi dragoons, who had marched two hun- 
dred and thirty miles in four days ! On the twenty-second, 
the flotilla of General Carroll arrived, with another regiment 
of Tennesseeans, and what was even more important, a sup- 
ply of muskets, the want of which was secretly racking the 
General with anxiety. The streets were thronged with armed 
men, conveying to the inexperienced mind the impression that 
a great army was present. 

Major Latour gives us a lively French picture of New 
Orleans, as it appeared during the few last days of waiting 

1814.1 THE AXEBIOAN TB00P8. ffj 

for the landing of the enemy : " Such was the universal 
confidence inspired by the activity and decision of the Com- 
mander-in-chief, added to the detestation in which the enemy 
was held, and the desire to punish his audacity, should he 
presume to land, that not a single warehouse or shop was 
shut, nor were any goods or valuable effects removed from the 
city. At that period, New Orleans presented a very affect- 
ing picture to the eyes of the patriot, and of all those whose 
bosoms glow with the feelings of national honor, which raise 
the mind far above the vulgar apprehension of personal dan- 
ger. The citizens were preparing for battle as cheerfully as if 
it had been a party of pleasure, eacb in his vernacular tongue 
singing songs of victory. The streets resounded with Yankee 
Doodle, the Marseilles Hymn, the Chant du Depart, and other 
martial airs, while those who had been long unaccustomed to 
military duty were furbishing their arms and accouterments. 
Beauty applauded valor, and promised with her smiles to re- 
ward the toils of the brave. Though inhabiting an open town, 
not above ten leagues from the enemy, and never till now ex- 
posed to war^s alarms, the fair sex of New Orleans were ani- 
mated with the ardor of their defenders, and with cheerful 
serenity at the sound of the drum presented themselves at the 
windows and balconies to applaud the troops going through 
their evolutions, and to encourage their husbands, sons, 
fikthers, and brothers, to protect them from the insults of our 
ferocious enemies, and prevent a repetition of the horrors of 

To this Major Latour adds an incident, which, though it 
escaped official notice at the time, he regarded as "worthy to 
be compared, as an example of patriotism, with the most bril- 
liant instance of the same kind recorded in ancient histories." 
'^ Madame Devance Bienvenu," he says, "a respectable 
widow, and rich inhabitant of Atakapas, after sending her 
four sons to the defense of their country, in Captain Dubu- 
clay's company of dragoons, wrote to Governor Claiborne that 
■he* sincerely regretted having no other sons to offer to her 
oountry, but that if her own services, in the duty of taking 

68 LIFB OF ANDBBW JA0K80K. [1814. 

care of the wounded, should be thought useful, notwithstand- 
ing her advanced age, and the great distance of her residencey 
she would hasten to New Orleans for that purpose." 

The letters written by Americans at New Orleans, during 
this week of excitement and suspense, and published in the 
northern newspapers, confirm the statements of Major La- 

One letter, written on the 16th, two days after the gun- 
boat battle, thus concludes : " We are weak here at present- • 
say twelve hundred regulars and two thousand militia. We 
expect Coffee, with two thousand more, in a day or two, and 
ere long the Kentucky and Tennessee drafts. When they all 
arrive we are ready to stand against any number the British 
may send. As we are, they may outnumber us, but even if 
my Lord Wellington trained them they are not better sol- 
diers. We will weather the storm like honest fellows, and 
if our weakness is taken advantage of, they shall at least havu 
a fight in miniature. Our old General stands it nobly, and 
is full of fight. The French turn out handsomely." 

Another letter, also written on the 16th, says : " It would 
be presumptuous to predict the result of an invasion, but ap- 
pearances justify the expectation of its not being ineffectually 

A letter of the 17th contains the following ; " If they 
effect a landing, a battle must decide the fate of the city* 
All here have full confidence in General Jackson, and calcu- 
late on a favorable result." ..." General Jackson has 
established the most perfect order and police. He is confident 
he can defend the place." 

A letter of the 22d says : " All this, you may considei, 
has produced a great deal of alarm and some little confusion 
—but custom is a great thing, and by degrees it will become 
familiar ; but I hope the British will not continue long here, 
for they can not expect to be successful unless they have a 
very strong force, and every inch of ground will be contested. 

1814.] JA0K80N GOES TO MEET THE BNEMl. 69 



" One man contrived to effect his escape," says the Subal- 
tern in that part of his narrative which describes the sur- 
rounding of a planter's house near the banks of the Missis- 
sippi, and the seizure of its inmates. 

How many a gallant life hung upon the chances of that 
one man's capture ! How many a wife, mother, sweetheart, 
over the sea, had been spared xhe desolation of their lives had 
one of the shower of bullets, amid which he fled, have stopped 
his flight ! How difierently it might have fared with New 
Orleans, with General Jackson, with the invading army, if 
ihe news from the ViUer^ plantation had been delayed but a 
few hours ! 

The individual invested with such sudden and extreme 
importance was young Major Gabriel Viller^, the son of Gen- 
oral Viller^, a Creole planter of ancient lineage, upon whose 
plantation the British were then halting. Major Yillerd it 
was who had stationed the picket at the mouth of the bayou 
by which the English troops had gained the banks of the Mis- 
sissippi, and stood now upon the high road leading to the 
prize they were in search of, and within a few miles of it. 
The adventures of this young man upon that eventful day, 
as gathered from his own lips, have been aflectingly told by 
the admirable author of ^' Jackson and New Orleans." 

" Secure in his outposts," says the author referred to, " the major was 
nttiDg on the front gallery of the house, looking toward the river, and 
qmetly enjoying his cigar, whilst his brother Celestin was engaged in clean- 
ing a fowUng-piece. Suddenly the major ohserved some men in red coats 
nmning toward the river. Immediately he leaped from his chair and 
rushed into the hall, witb a view of escaping hy the rear of the house. 
What were his honor and dismay to encounter at the hack door several 
irmed men. One of these was Colonel Thornton, who irth drawn sword 


called to Cho major to surrender. There were no braver men than the Vfl- 
leres; their heritage was one of dauntless courage and chivahry — but re- 
sistance under such circumstances would have been madness. With in- 
finite mortification the young Creole surrendered. Celestin had already 
been arrested in the yard. The two young men were then confined in one 
of the rooms, closely guarded, until General Keane could come up. These 
events occurred at half-past ten o'clock, on the morning of the 23d of De- 
cember. Surrounded and vigilantly guarded by his captors, Major Vil- 
lerd watched eagerly for an opportunity to escape. He felt that if he 
should remain imprisoned, the calumniators of his race would find in the 
circumstance some color for the aspersions of the patriotism and fidelity 
of the Creoles of Louisiana. To repel so base an inference, he determined 
to incur every peril. Springing suddenly from the group of soldiers, he 
leaped through the window of the room in which he was confined, and 
throwing down several of the British, #ho stood in his way, ran toward a 
high picket fence which inclosed the yard ; clearing tliis at a bound, in 
the presence of some fifty British soldiers, several of whom discharged their 
arms at him, he made for tlie woods with that celerity and agility for 
which the young Creole hunter is so distinguished. The British immedi- 
ately started in hot pursuit, scattering themselves over the field so as to 
surround the fugitive. * Catch or kill him,* was Thornton's order. 

" Traversing the field behind the house, Villerd plunged into the cypress 
forest which girts the swamp, and ran until the boggy nature of the soil 
began to impede his progress. He could distinctly hear the voices of hia 
pursuei*s rallying one another and pointing out the course which he had 
taken. Sis i-ecapture now seemed inevitable, when it occurred to him to 
dimb a large live-oak, and conceal himself in its thick evergreen branches^ 
As he was about to execute this design his attention was attracted by a 
low whine or cry at his feet. He looked down and beheld his favorite 
setter crouched piteously on the ground, by her mournful look and action 
expres-sing more strongly than could tlie human face or form her sympathy 
for the perils of her master, and her desire to share his fate. The faithful 
creature had followed her master in his flight. What could Villcrd do with 
the poor animal ? Her presence near the tree would inevitably betray him. 
There was no other hope of escape. His own life might not be of so much 
Talue, but then the honor of his family, of a proud lineage, the safety of the 
city of his birth, with whose fortunes those of his family had been so con- 
spicuously associated, the imminent peril in which Jackson and his soldiers 
would be placed by the surprise of the city — these and other considera- 
tions, such as should influence and control a gallant and honorable man, 
suppressed and overwhelmed all tender emotions of pity and aflbction. The 
sacrifice had to l>e made. With a deep sigh and eyes full of tears, the young 
Creole seised a large stick and striking the poor, fawning, faitliful dog ai 

1814] JA0E80K 00E8 TO MEET THE ENEMT. 71 

the cowered at his feet^ soon dispatched her. Concealing the dead body, hn 
isccnded the tree, where he remained until the British returned to 
their camp, and the pursuit was relinquished. He then slipped stealthily 
down, and stealing along the edge of the woods hurried to a plantation 
below, where he found his neighbor, Colonel de la Ronde, who, hearing of 
the approach of the British, was hurrying up from Terre aux Boeuis to join 
JTackson. Obtaining a boat, Viller^ and De la Ronde rowed across th • 
river, and reached in safety the plantation on the right bank of the 
Mississippi of P. S. Dussau de la Croix, one of the Committee of Public 
Safety of New Orleans. Horses were quickly saddled, and Villerd, De la 
Ronde, and De la Croix leaping upon them, put spui-s to their animals, and 
rode towards the city as rapidly as the swifl litUc Creole ponies could 
bear them. 

" Thirty-seven years had passed, and the gallant young Creole hero of 
this adventure, emaciated by long sickness and prematurely old, surrounded 
by a family of gallant sons and lovely daughters, sat in that very gallery, 
and on the very spot on which he was surprised by the British, and related 
with graphic distinctness, with kindling eye and voice, hoarse with emo- 
tion, the painful sensation, the agonizing remorse which agitated his soul, 
when compelled to sacrifice his faithful dog to prevent the surprise of his 
native city and save his own honor. A few weeks after, his worn frame 
was consigned to the mausoleum which incloses the mortal remains of 
many otlier members of a fumily whose name is so highly honored in the 
annals of Louisiana." 

*^ During all the exciting events of this campaign Jackson had barely 
the strength to stand erect without support ; his body was sustained alone 
by the spirit within. Ordinary men would have shrunk into feeble imbe- 
ciles or useless invalids under such a pressure. The disease contracted in 
the swamps of Alabama still clung to him. Reduced to a mere skeleton, 
unable to digest his food, and unrefreshed by sleep, his life seemed to be 
preserved by some miraculous agency. There, in the parlor of his head 
quarters in Royal street, surrounded by his faithful and efficient aids, he 
worked day and nighty organizing his forces, dispatching orders, receiving 
reports, and making all the necessary arrangements for the defense of the 

" Jackson was thus engaged at half past one o'clock, p. ic., on the 23d 
of December, 1814, when his attention was drawn from certain documents 
be was carefully reading by the sound of horses galloping down the streets 
with more rapidity than comported with the order of a city under martial 
law. The sounds ceased at *iie door of his headquarters, and the sentinel 
on duty announced the amval of three gentlemen who desired to see th€ 
gacral immediately, having important intelligence to communicate. 

** ' Show them in,* ordered the GkneraL 




** The visitors proved to be Mr. Duaaau de U Croix, Major Qabrid Yil* 
ler^Y and Colonel de la Ronde. They were stained with mud and neariy 
breathless with the rapidity of their ride. 

'* ' What news do you bring, gentlemen ?' eagerly asked the GknenL 

''' Important 1 highly important!' responded la Croix. 'Hm 
British have arrived at Viller^'s plantation, nine miles below the city, and 
are there encamped. Here is Major Villerd, who was captured by tliem, 
has escaped, and will now relate his story.' 

" The Major accordingly detailed in a clear and perspicuous manner the 
occurrences we have related, employing hia mother tongue, the French 
language, which de la Croix translated to the GkneraL At the dose of 
Major YillerS's narrative, the Gkneral drew up his figure, bowed with dis* 
ease and weakness, to its full height, and with an eye of fire and an em- 
phatic blow upon the table with his clenched fist, exclaimed, 

'' * By the Eternal, they shall not sleep on our soil V 

'' Then courteously inviting his visitors to refi'esh themselves, and up • 
ping a glass of wine in compliment to them, he turned to hia secretary and 
aids and remarked, 

" * Gentlemen, the BnrnsH are below, we must fight them to-miobt.' ** 

It was not quite a surprise. The evening before, Jackaon 
had received information from Colonel Do la Bonde that 
some strange-looking vessels had been seen in Lake Borgne, 
below the city, and he had dispatched Major Latour and 
Major Tatum to ascertain if the report were true. "We 
left town," says Major Latour, in his historical memoir, " at 
eleven o'clock in the forenoon of the 23d, and when we ar- 
rived at the boundary of Bienvenu's and la Bonde's plan- 
tations we met several persons flying toward town, who told 
us that the British had got to General Viller^'s house by the 
canal, and had taken prisoner Major Yiller^, the general's 
son. It being of the utmost importance to inform General 
Jackson of an event no longer doubtful, Major Tatum imme- 
diately returned to town, and I proceeded forward as far aa 
over th3 boundary of Lacoste's and Viller6'8 plantationSi 
whence I discovered British troops occupying the ground 
from the commencement of the angle made by the road in 
that place to the head of the canal. I approached within 
rifle-shot of those troops, and judged that their number must 

1814.] JA0K80N U0E8 TO MEET THE EKEHT. 73 

amount to sixte^i or eighteen hundred men. It was then 
half past 1, p. M." 

Jackson was, therefore, not wholly imprepared to hear of 
ike landing. He proceeded to act as though every thing had 
occurred exactly as he had anticipated. His troops were 
widely scattered at the moment. General Coffee's brigade 
was still encamped near the spot where they had first halted, 
four or five miles above the city. Major Planche's battalion 
was at the Bayou St. John, two miles from headquarters. 
The State militia, under Governor Claiborne, were on the Gen- 
tilly road, three miles away ; the regulars were in the city, 
but variously disposed. General Carroll, with his Tennes- 
seans, appear to have been still in the boats that brought 
them down the river. Commodore Patterson, too, was some 
distance off. In a manner perfectly quiet and composed. 
General Jackson dispatched a messenger to each of the corps 
under his command, ordering them with all haste to break 
up their camp and march to positions assigned them : Gen- 
eral Carroll to the head of the upper branch of the Bienvenu ; 
Gk)vernor Claiborne to a point further up the Gentilly road, 
which road leads fromufhe Chef-Menteur to New Orleans ; 
the rest of the troops to a plantation just below the city. 
Commodore Patterson was also sent for, and requested to 
prepare the Carolina for weighing anchor and dropping down 
the river. 

These orders issued, the General sat down to dinner and 
ate a little rice, which alone his system could then endure.* 
He then lay down upon a sofa in his office and dosed for a 
short time. It was the last sleep the General was to enjoy 
for seventy hours or more — ^for five days and nights, one 
writer positively asserts. Who else could have slept at such 
a time ? Before three o'clock he mounted his horse and 
rode to the lower part of the city, where then stood Fort St. 
Charles, on groimd now occupied by the Branch Mint build- 

^ The Oeneral mentioned this to the Rev. Dr. Edgar, of Nashville. His onl^ 
f)od that day was taken at this meaL It consisted of three or four tabl« •flpoonl 
\Si of rice and half a cup V x)ffee. 

74 LIFE OF AKDBEW JA0K80N. [1814. 

ing. Before the gates of the fort hg took his station, wait- 
ing ti) see the troops pass on theu* way to the vicinity of the 
enemy's position, and to give his final orders to the Yarions 
commanders. Drawn up near him, in imposing array, was , 
one of the two regiments of r^ulars, the 44th infantry. Col- 
onel Ross, mustering three hundred and thirty-one muskets. 
Around the General were gathered his six aids. Captain But- 
ler, Captain lleid, Captain Chotard, Edward Livingston, Mr. 
Davezac, Mr. Duplessis. The other regiment of regulars, the 
7th infantry, Major Peire, four hundred and sixty-five mus- 
kets, had already marched down the road, to guard it against 
the enemy's advance. With them were sixty-six marines, 
twenty-two artillerymen and two six-pounders, imder Col- 
onel McRea and Lieutenant Spotts, of the regular artillery. 
Captain Beal's famous company of New Orleans riflemen, 
composed of merchants and lawyers of the city, were also 
below, defending the high road. A cloud of dust on the 
levee, and the thunder of horses' feet, soon announced to the 
expectant General the approach of cavalry. Colonel Hinds, 
of the Mississippi dragoons, emerged from the dust-cloud, 
galloping at the head of his troop, i^om he led swiftly by 
to their designated post. Cofiee, with his Tennesseans, was 
not far behind. Halting at the General's side, he conversed 
with him for a few minutes, and then, rejoining his men, gave 
the word, " Forward at a gallop," and the long line of back- 
woodsmen swept rapidly past. Next came into view a parti- 
colored host on foot, at a run, which proved to be Major 
Planch^'s fine battalion of uniformed companies. " Ah I" 
cried Jackson to his aid Davezac, " Here come the brave 
Creoles." They had run all the way from the Fort St. John, 
and came breathless into the General's presence. In a mo- 
ment they too had received their orders, and were again in 
motion. A battalion of colored freemen, under Major Dao- 
quin, and a small body of Choctaw Indians, under Captain 
Jugeant, arrived, halted, passed on, and the General had seen 
his available force go by. The number of troops that went 
that afternoon to meet the enemy was two thousand one hiux" 




died and thirty-one,* of whom considerably more than half 
had never been in action. 

The commanders of the diflFerent corps had all received 
the same simple orders : to advance as far as the Bodriguez 
Canal, six miles below the city, and two miles above the 
Viller6 plantation ; there to halt, take positions, and wait 
for orders to close with the enemy. The Kodriguez Canal 
was no more than a wide, shallow ditch, which extended 
across the firm ground from the river to the swamp. 

During the bustle attending the departure of the troopa 
the city seemed still confident and cheerful. As the men hur- 

* The exact enameration, according to Major Latour, was as follows: 

Detachment of marines, under the command of Lieutenant Bcl- 
levue, 66 men stroDg 

A detachment of artillery, with two six-pounders, under the 
immediate command of Colonel M'Rea and Lieutenant Spott, 22 

7th Regiment, Major Peire, 465 

44fch, commanded hy Captain Baker, • . .331 


Major PUmchPa BaUaUon, 

Garabiniers, Captain Roche, 86 

Dismounted Dragoons, Major St Geme^ ... 78 

Louisiana Blues, Captain White, 31 

Francs, Captain Hudry, 33 

Qiaaseurs, Captain Guibert, 69 

The battalion of St Domingo men of color, Major Dacquin, . 210 

Choctaws, Captain Pierre Jugeant, 18 


The left, commanded by Greneral Coffee, was composed as 

Tennessee Volunteer Mounted Riflemen, forming General 

Coffeo*s Brigade, . . * 563 

Orleans 1 Jfle Company, Captain Beale^ . . . .62 

Ifjasissippi Dragoons, Major Hmds^ 107 


In an 2131. 

Eaton states the total to have been 2167, and odds that ho derived thp 
lh>m Colond K Butler, Acliutant-GeneraL 


ried along the levee the windows were crowded with ladiei 
waving their handkerchiefs, and hiding with smiles the anx- 
iety that rent then* hearts. Husbands, fethers, brothars, 
nephews, friends, were recognized in the moving masses of 
soldiers. Wives, mothers, sisters, were discerned at the fam- 
iliar windows. The salutations then hurriedly given were the 
last that were ever exchanged between some of those panting 
soldiers and those they loved. 

Nolle relates an incident of his departure that shows us 
something of the feeling of the hour : ^^ Just as I had put on 
my uniform and taken my musket, a broker ran after me to 
offer me a lot which must be sold that day, because the owner 
feared that they would fall into the hands of the English. 
' OflFer something, Mr. Nolte,' said the broker. I had not the 
heart to offer fifty per cent, lower than the price, and, there- 
fore, offered seven cents, more with the view of getting rid of 
the broker than of speculating. In a few moments he came 
back, notes in hand, and said, ^ Mr. Nolte, the cotton is yours.' 
There was no time to deliver it, however, for we were obliged 
to march. This little affair was spoken of at Jackson's head- 
quarters as a proof of my trust in a fortunate result of the 

" On that very day," says Mr. Walker, " a nimiber of the 
ladies of the city met at the residence of Mrs. Cenas, at 
present the consort of Colonel William Christy, himself a 
veteran of 1814-'15, for the purpose of plying their needles 
in the noble task of preparing clothing for the soldiers of Jack- 
son's army, many of whom arrived on the levee in a very ragged 
and destitute condition. While they were thus busily engaged, 
the news was brought into the room that the enemy had just 
landed and were marching on the city. Of course, the ladies 
were a little nervous at first when the alarming intelligence 
was communicated, but Mrs. Cenas remarked that they need 
be under no fear as long as they had Jackson to defend them 
At the suggestion, however, of one of the party, a message 
was despatched by the ladies to the General, inquiring ^what 
they were to do in case the city was attacked ?' 


" ' Say to the ladies/ Jackson promptly replied, * not to 
be uneasy. No British soldier shall enter the city as an enemy 
unless over my dead hody/ " 

This was, perhaps, the origin of the story, so often re- 
peated, of the women and children running out into the streets 
in consternation, and gathering round the Generars horse* 
Nolte says : "Jackson's resolution was now taken. * We wiU,* 
said he, ' now give them a little taste of what they have to 
expect. They shall find out whom they have to deal with.' 
When he heard the women and children crying for terror in 
the streets, he ordered Livingston to tell them that he was 
there, and that the British should never get into the city so 
long as he held the command." Again, says Nolte : " The 
General was burning with impatience to come to close quar- 
ters with the red coatSy as he called them. Ho wanted to 
fight. There was no computation of relative force, and not 
much idea of tact or plan. Jackson had bent all the strength 
of his will on one single point, and that was to meet and 
drive off the red coats. ' I will smash them,' he would ex- 
claim, * so help me God 1' " 

The General's message to the ladies might have been re- 
assuring for the moment. But when, at last, the town was 
emptied of the armed men, who for so many days had 
thronged its streets, and given a feeling of security to its 
inhabitants, a strange and horrible stillness fell upon the 
place. No accustomed tramp of passing troops ; no dashing 
by of mounted officers ; no exercising in the public grounds ; 
no sound of bugle, drum, or martial band. It was a town 
of anxious women and old men, who could do nothing but 
listen for the expected cannonade, and speculate upon the 
chances of the night. Colonel Napier had not then so elo- 
quently written of the brutal and diabolic excesses of the 
British soldiery at the sack of the Spanish towns. But noth- 
ing was thought too monstrous for them to attempt if Jack- 
son should be unable to preserve the city from their despoil-- 
ing hands. Many of the ladies of New Orleans, we are told, 
bad provided thems^^lves with daggers, which they wore in 


their belts that night instead of the domestic and congenial 

The last corps of the army had disappeared in the distance, 
and still the General lingered before the gates of Fort St. 
Charles^ looking, with a slight expression of impatience on 
his countenance, toward that part of the river where the 
Carolina was anchored. He saw her, at length, weigh her 
anchor, and move slowly down the stream. She had been 
manned within the last few days, and well manned, as it 
proved, though some of her crew only learned their duty by 
doing it. Captain Henly commanded the little vessel. Com- 
modore Patterson, however, was in no mood to stay in New 
Orleans on such a night, and so went in her to the scene of 

The General had no sooner seen the Carolina under way, 
than he put spurs to his horse, and galloped down the road 
by which the troops had gone, followed by all of his staff, 
except Captain Butler. Much against his will. Captain But- 
ler was appointed to command in the city that night. It 

• And then was revived that vague and horrible terror of an insurrectioii of 
the slaves. Mr. C. J. Ingersoll, says : — *' It was reported, and believed in camp^ 
that a British officer visited the city in disguise, and danced at one of the balla 
The highways were covered with the British Colonel NichoU's proclamation fiom 
Pensacola, inviting the slaves to insurrection. So intense was the dread of the 
inhabitants of that fearfUl revolt, that Judge Martin represents the old inhabitants^ 
during the anxious night of the 23d December, when Qeneral Jackson led his 
small disposable force to attack the British at their first landing on ViUer^'s planta- 
tion, as painfully excited by a mere report that Jackson, before his departure, had 
taken measures, and given orders, for blowmg up the magazme, and setting fire 
GO various parts of the city, in case the British succeeded in forcing his ranka 
While frequent explosions of musketry and artillery remmded them that their sons 
were facing warlike soldiers, they grieved, says this historian, that their oom« 
mander's inexperience appeared demonstrated by the rash step imputed to him. 
Apprehension was entertained that British emissaries would be ready to induce 
the slaves to begin the conflagration of their owners* houses, and march towards 
the city, spreading terror, dismay, fire, and slaughter — Jackson*8 firing it being 
taken for the signal to begin the havoc. The idea of thus finding themaelvea 
witl\ Vieir wives, children, and old men, driven by the flames of their houses to* 
wards u black enemy bringing down devastation, harrowed up the minds of tht 
mhabitants." — General Jackson^s Fine, p. 12. 


was four o'clock in the afternoon when the Carolina left her 
anchorage, and General Jackson rode away from before the 
gates of Fort St. Charles. The day was Friday. 



That halt of the English troops, when a two hours' march 
would have given them at least temporary possession of New 
Orleans, has subjected General Keane to animadversion from 
friend and foe. But is the criticism just which condemns 
that unfortunate officer ? I think not. A very slight exam- 
ination of the situation, as it must have appeared to him, is 
sufficient to show that to have acted otherwise he must have 
been a Napoleon or a fool. He was neither of those charac- 

Major-General John Keane was an Irishman, who, begin- 
ning the career of arms in Egypt under Sir Kalph Abercrom- 
bie, advanced rapidly and deservedly in his profession during 
the French wars, and held now this important independent 
command while he was still in the prime of life. He was a 
handsome, dashing officer. At the head of his regiment of 
impetuous Irishmen, he had led the assault on many a hotly- 
contested field, and never without winning for himself and his 
command an ample share of the honors of the fight. In this 
campaign, too, up to the moment of the halt, his conduct was 
equally bold and skillful. To have gained the threshold of 
New Orleans in the face of obstacles so numerous and so 
novel, landing where alone an unobstructed landing was 
probable, and pushing forward to a point so near the prize 
with such suddenness and secrecy, was a proof of generalship 
which only needed a few hours more of good fortuD ) to have 
woo the applause of the whole world. 

60 LIFE OF AKDBEW JA0K80N. [1814 

Why halt, then ? Chiefly because a train of concnmng 
circumstances had fixed in his mind the conviction that New 
Orleans was full of troops. He knew, also, that they were 
commanded by " Andrew Jackson, Esquire,'* as one of the 
British narrators styles the General ; and, in all probability, 
Colonel Nichols and his comrades had conveyed some impres- 
sion of Jackson's quahty to the minds of the British officers 
in command. General Keane had with him a body of six- 
teen hundred men ; in twelve hours his force would be 
doubled ; in twenty-four, trebled ; in forty-eight, quadru- 
pled. It was, moreover, a tradition, nay, a settled article of 
faith, in the English army, that the Americans never at- 
tacked, but waited to be attacked ; happy if they could but 
hold their ground against a disciplined foe. The men of the 
advance, too, besides being debilitated by ten weeks of ship- 
board, were extremely fatigued by the labors and exposures, 
day and night, of the last week. How natural, therefore, — 
how inevitable the determination of the British general to 
give his troops a night's rest on the first ground that afforded 
facilities for it ; and the next morning, with renewed strength 
and doubled numbers, to march upon the town. 

It was not alone the representations of the captured 
picket that deceived General Keane as to Jackson's numbers. 
The day after the loss of the gun -boats, Mr. Shields, a purser 
of the United States navy, and Dr. Murrell, had been sent 
with a flag of truce to the admiral of the British fleet ; the 
doctor to attend the wounded Americans, the purser to pro- 
cure the liberation of the captured officers on parole. The 
admiral, suspecting that the real object of these gentlemen 
was to ascertain the strength of the expedition, thought pro- 
per to detain them on board his ship, and there they remained 
till the campaign was over. They were closely questioned by 
the admiral as to the cbndition of the city, and the number of 
troops under Jackson's command ; but, of course, no informa- 
tion could be elicited from them. "Shields," says Major 
Eaton, who is the authority for this story, " waa j>erceived to 
be quite deaf, and calculating on some advantage to be de- 


rived from this circumstance, he and the doctor were placed 
at night in the green room, where any conversation which 
oocorred between them could readily be heard. Suspecting, 
perhaps, something of the kind, after having retired, and 
every thing was seemingly still, they began to speak of their 
vituation, the circumstance of their being detained, and of 
the prudent caution with which they had guarded themselves 
igainst communicating any information to the British ad- 

"*But,' continued Shields, *How greatly these gentle- 
men will be disappointed in their expectations, for Jackson, 
with the twenty thousand troops he now has, and the rein- 
forcements from Kentucky, which must speedily reach him, 
will be able to destroy any force that can be landed from these 

" Every word was heard, and treasured, and not supposing 
there was any design, or that he presumed himself overheard, 
they were beguiled by it, and at once concluded our force to 
be as great as it was represented ; and hence, no doubt, arose 
the reason of that prudent care and caution with which the 
5nemy afterwards proceeded ; for, as it was remarked by a 
British officer, the actual strength of General Jackson's army 
though repeatedly sought after, could never be procured ; it 
was a desideratum not to be obtained." 

Add to these circumstances the fact that General Keaue 
was only in temporary command of this army. General Sir 
Edward Pakenham, a connection of the Duke of Wel- 
lington, and a favorite of the English ministry, was the 
person for whom the command and the credit of the expedi- 
tion were designed. He had not yet arrived, but was hourly 

In accordance with the plan previously pursued in thi^se 
pages, the reader shall be afforded an opportunity of survey- 
ing the occurrences of this decisive day and night as they 
appeared to English actors in them, and as they seemed to 
American participants. 

The " Subalt^n" resumes his narrative : ^^ Noon had 

VOL. Hd — 6 


just passed, when the word was given to halt, hj which 
means every facility was afforded of posting the piquets with 
leisure and attention. Nor was this deemed enough to secure 
tranquility : parties were sent out in all directions to recon- 
noitre, who returned with an account that no enemy nor any 
trace of an enemy could be discerned. The troops were ac- 
cordingly suffered to light fires, and to make themselves com- 
fortable ; only their accouterments were not taken off, and 
the arms were piled in such form as to be within reach at a 
moment's notice. 

" As soon as these agreeable orders were issued, the sol- 
diers proceeded to obey them both in letter and in spirit 
Tearing up a number of strong palings, large fires were lighted 
in a moment ; water was brought from the river, and provi- 
sions were cooked. But their bare rations did not content 
them. Spreading themselves over the country as far as a 
regard to safety would permit, they entered every house, and 
brought away quantities of hams, fowls, and wines of various 
descriptions ; which being divided among them, all fared weU, 
and none received too large a quantity. In this division of 
good things they were not unmindful of their officers ; for 
upon active warfare the officers are considered by the privates 
as comrades, to whom respect and obedience are due, rather 
than as masters. 

. " It was now about three o'clock in the afternoon, and all 
had as yet remained quiet. The troops, having finished their 
meal, lay stretched beside their fires, or refreshed themselves 
by bathing, for to-day the heat was such as to render this 
latter employment extremely agreeable, when suddenly a 
bugle from the advanced posts soimded the alarm, which was 
echoed back from all in the army. Starting up, we stood to 
our arms and prepared for battle, the alarm being now suc- 
ceeded by some firing ; but we were scarcely in order when 
intelligence arrived from the front that there was no danger, 
only a few horse having made their appearance, who were 
checked and put to fiight at the first discharge. Upon this 
information our wonted confidence returned, and we again 


betook ourselves to our former occupations, remarking thaty 
as the Americans had never yet dared, to attack, there was no 
great probability of their doing so on the present occasion. 

**In this manner the day passed without any further 
alarm ; and darkness having set in, the fires were made to 
blaze with increased splendor, our evening meal was eaten, 
and we prepared to sleep." 



FouB o'clock in the afternoon. — Most of the American 
troops have reached the Rodriguez Canal ; others are coming 
up every moment. They are all on, or near the high road, 
which runs along the river's bank. The second division of 
the British army, consisting of the 21st, the 44th, and the 
93d EUghlanders, is nearing the fisherman's village, at the 
mouth of the Bayou Bienvenu. The party in advance ia 
descent and unsuspecting on and about the Viller^ planta* 
tion. General Keane and Colonel Thornton are pacing the 
piazza of the Yiller6 mansion, Keane satisfied with his posi- 
tion, Thornton distrusting it. 

Half-past four. — The first American scouting party, con- 
sisting of five mounted riflemen, advance toward the British 
camp to reconnoiter. They advance too far, and retire with 
the loss of one horse killed and two men wounded. The firel 
blood of the land campaign is shed ; Thomas Scott, the 
name of the first woimded man. Mfyor Planch6'8 battalion 
of Creole volunteers are now beginning to arrive. Our friend 
Nc^lte was serving in one of the companies. If Nolte were 
on.y as reliable as he is interesting, he would be a valuable 
-\id to us at this moment. Of the march from the city to tnts 
rondezvouB he gives us this record • " Our major, Planch^ 


was very much agitated. He turned round to me and said, 
in almost piteous tones, 

" * Alas ! I scarcely feel that I have courage enough to 
lead fathers of families to battle !' 

" But our captain, Roche, who was * made of stemer 
0iu£r/ and might be called a practical soldier, rejoined, 

" ^ Don't talk in that way, major ! Come now I thaf 8 
not the kind of tone to use at this time !' 

" With these words, he wheeled about to us and shouted, 

" * Come, lads ! forward ! Do your duty like brave fel- 
lows !' 

" The Villere plantation was about eight or nine miles 
from the city. We hurried toward it with a zeal which, for 
inexperienced militia, who had not yet smelt powder, might 
have been called almost heroic, had not Jackson's own ex- 
ample spurred us on, or had not many remained in careless 
ignorance of what awaited them. With our silent band of 
musicians in front, almost at a running pace, we reached Vil- 
ler6's plantation within about two hours, just as twilight was 
drawing on, and in profound silence." 

Five o'clock. — The General is with his little army, serene, 
determined, confident. He believes he is about to capture or 
destroy those red-coats in his front, and he communicates 
some portion of his own assurance of faith to those around 
him. First, Colonel Hayne, inspector-general of the army, 
shall go forward with Colonel Hind's hundred horsenlen, tc 
see what he can see of the enemy's position and numbers. 
The hundred horsemen advance ; dash into the British pick- 
ets ; halt while Colonel Hayne takes a survey of the scene 
before him ; wheel, and gallop back. Colonel Hayne reports 
the enemy's strength at two thousand. But what are these 
printed bills stuck upon the plantation fences ? 

" LouisiANiAKS ! Remain quiet in your houses. Youb 


Signed by General Keane and Admiral Cochrane. A 
negro was overtaken by the returning reconnoiterers, with 




printed copies of this proclamation upon his person, in Span* 
ish and French.* 

Twilight deepens into darkness. It is the shortest day of 
the year but four. The moon rises hazy and dim, yet bright 
enough for that night's work, if it will only last. The Ameri- 
can host is very silent ; silent, because such is the order ; 
silent, because they are in no mood to chatter. The more 
provident and lucky of the men eat and drink what they have, 
but most of them neither eat nor hunger. As the night drew 
on the British watch-fires, numerous and brilliant, became 
visible, disclosing completely their position, and lighting the 
Americans the way they were to go. 

Six o'clock. — The General-in-Chief has completed his 
scheme, and part of it is in course of execution. It was the 
simple old backwoods plan of cornering the enemy ; the best 
possible for the time and place. Cofiee, with his own rifle- 
men, with Beale's New Orleans sharpshooters, with Hinds^ 
dragoons, was to leave the river's side, march across the plain 
to the cypress swamp, turn down toward the enemy, wheel 
again, attack them in the flank, and crowd them to the river. 
With General Coffee, as guide and aid, went Colonel De la 
Ronde, the proprietor of one of the plantations embraced in 
the circle of operations. A circuitous march of five miles 
over moist, rough, obstructed ground, lay before General Cof- 
fee, and he was already in motion. Jackson, with the main 
fighting strength of the army, was to keep closer to the river, 
and open an attack directly upon the enemy's position ; the 
artillery and marines upon the high road ; the two regiments 
of regulars to the left of the road ; Planch6's battalion, Dac- 
qiiin's colored fireemen, Jugeant's Choctaws, still further to 
the left, so as to complete the line of attack across the plain. 
The Carolina was to anchor opposite the enemy's camp, close 
in shore, and pour broadsides of grape and round shot into 
their midst. From the Carolina was to come the signal of 
attack. Not a shot to be fired, not a soimd uttered, till the 
ichooner's guns were heard. Then — Coffee, Planchd, r^a- 

*LatoQr, 90. 



lars, marines, Indians, n^oes, artillerj, Jackson, all advance 
at once, and girdle the foe with fire 1 

Half-past six. — The Carolina arrives opposite General 
Jackson's position. Edward Livingston goes on board of 
her, explains the plan of attack, commnnicates the General's 
orders to Commodore Patterson, and returns to his place at 
the General's side. " It continuing calm," says the Com- 
modore in his official dispatch, '^ got out sweeps, and, a few 
minutes after, having been frequently hailed by the enemy's 
sentinels, anchored, veered out a long scope of cable, and 
sheered close in shore abreast of their camp." The Com- 
modore's " few minutes" was three quarters of an hour, at 
least, according to the other accounts. He had more than 
two miles to go before reaching the spot where he " veered 
out the long reach of cable" — itself an operation not done in 
a moment. 

Seven o'clock. — ^The night has grown darker than was 
hoped. Coffee has made his way across the plain. Behind 
a ditch separating two plantations he is dismounting his men« 
Cavalry could not be employed upon such ground in the 
dark. Leaving the horses in charge of a hundred of his rifle- 
men, he is about to march with the rest to find and charge 
the enemy. He has still a long way to go, and wants a full 
hour, at least, to come up with them. General Coffee, a man 
of few words, and intent on the business of the hour, delivers 
an oration, in something like these words : 

" Men, you have often said you could fight ; now is the 
time to prove it. Don't waste powder. Be sure of your 
mark before firing." 

Jackson is nearly ready to advance. The susceptible Cre- 
oles, of course, could not fall in on such a night for such a 
purpose without enacting a scene or two. "At this mo- 
ment," says Nolte, " Captain Boche stepped in front, and 
commanded — 

" * Sergeant Roche !' 

" This was his brother. The latter advanced, and was 
met by the Captain, who said, 


" * Let ofl embrace, brother ; it may be for the last time/ 

" The request was complied with. Then came a second 
word of command : 

" ' Sergeant Roche, to your post !' " 

There is still a wide gap between General Jackson's divi- 
sion and that under command of General CoflFee. Colonel 
Boss, who is acting to-night as brigadier-general (for Jack- 
son had no brigadier), has been ordered, as soon as the fire 
opens, to close that gap with the uniformed companies and 
the colored freemen. 

Half-past seven. — The first gun from the Carolina booms 
over the plain, followed in quick succession by seven others— 
the schooner's first broadside. It lays low upon the moist 
delta a hundred British soldiers, as some compute or guess.* 
Jackson hears it, and yet withholds the expected word of 
command. Coffee hears it, too soon, but he makes haste to 
respond. The English division then landing at the fisher- 
man's village hear it, and hurry tumultuously toward the 
scene of action, and the boats go madly back to Pine Island with 
the news. New Orleans hears it. A great crowd of women, 
children, old men and slaves, assembled in the square before 
the State-house, see the flash and listen to the roar of the 
guns, with emotions that can be imagined, not described. 

Other broadsides follow, as fast as men can load. And 
yet, strange to say, the people on board the terrible schooner 
knew nothing all that night of the effect their fire produced ; 
knew not whether they had contributed anything or nothing 
to the final issue of the strife. Commodore Patterson simply 
says : " Commenced a heavy (and as I have since learned, 
most destructive) fire from our starboard battery and small 
arms, which was returned most spiritedly by the enemy with 
congreve rockets and musketry from their whole force, when, 
after about forty minutes of most incessant fire, the enemy 

* Qeneral Keane, in his o£Bcial report, (which is fall of errors,) says that onJ^ 
mie man foU at the first fire, Captain Cooke, in his " Narrative/' sajs, manff 
fen. Mr. Walker thinks, one hundred. The Subaltern says, ** it stoepi dows 
wmnUirs.* THj a poor biographer dear reaier. 


was silenced. The fire from our battery was continaed till 
nine o'clock upon the enemy's flank while engaged in the field 
with our army, at which hour ceased firing, supposing, firom 
the distance of the enemy's fire (for it was too dark to see 
anything on shore), that they had retreated beyond the range 
of our guns. Weighed and swept across the river, in hopeB 
of a breeze the next morning, to enable me to renew the 
attack upon the enemy, should they be returned to their en* 

So much for the Carolina. What she did, we know. 
But I defy any living being to say with positiveness, and in 
detail, what occurred on shore. The contradictions between 
the British and American accounts, and between the various 
American narratives, are so flat and irreconcilable, that the 
narrator who cares only for the truth pauses bewildered, 
and knows not what to believe. But exactness of detail is 
not important in describing this unique battle. A more suc- 
cessful night attack, or one that more completely gained, not 
the object proposed, but the objects most necessary to be 
gained, was never made. That fact alone might suffice. Yet 
let us peer into the thickening darkness, and see what we can 
discern of the credible, the probable, and the certain, borrow- 
ing other people's eyes when our own fail. 

Jackson opened his attack with curious deliberation. He 
waited patiently for the Carolina's guns. And when the 
thunder of her broadside broke the silence of the night, he 
still waited. For ten minutes, which seemed thirty, he let 
the little schooner wage the combat alone, hoping to fix the 
attention of the enemy exclusively upon her. 

Then-— Forward ! 

A mistake occurred at the very start. So, at least, avers 
Major Eaton, whose work was written under Jackson's own 
eye. The troops were ordered to march toward the enemy 
in coluinns, and those nearest the General's person did so. 
But the larger number, instead of moving in columns and 
itarting ofl^ to the left, so as to fill the gap bctwen Jackson's 
and Cofl^ee's divisions, marched in line. For a few minutes 

1814.] THB NIGHT BATTLE. 8i^ 

all went well, and the whole division was rapidly nearing the 
enemy, full of courage and enthusiasm. But soon, by the 
turn of the river, the ground was found to be too narrow for 
the line, which first became compressed, then confused j and, 
finally, Planche's battalion was forced out of the line, and 
compelled to form in the rear. Jackson saw nothing of this, 
however ; no one saw it except those whom it immediately 
ooncemed. Major Pianche himself scarcely comprehended it 
—60 dark was the night, so broken the ground. 

Down the high road, close to the river, with the seventh 
regiment, the artillery and the marines, Jackson advanced. 
A light breeze from the river blew over the plain the smoke 
of the Carolina's incessant fire, to which was added a fog 
then beginning to rise from the river. Lighted only by the 
flash of the guns and the answering musketry and rockets, 
the General pushed on, and had approached within less than 
a mile of the British headquarters, when the company in ad- 
vance, under Lieutenant McLelland, received a brisk fire 
from a British outpost lying in a ditch behind a fence near 
the road. Colonel Piatt, quartermaster-general, who waa 
with this company, ran to the front, and seeing the red- 
coats, by the flash of their own guns, cried out — 
" Come out, and fight like men on open ground." 
Without giving them time to comply with this invita- 
tion, he poured a volley into their midst, and kept up an ac- 
tive fire for four or five minutes. The British picket gave 
way, and over the fence leaped Piatt's company, and occu- 
pied the post they had abandoned. This was the first suc- 
cess of the battle, but it was very short. In a few minutes, 
a large party of British, two hundred, it is said, came up to 
regain their lost position, and opened a fire upon the victorious 
company. Its gallant commander. Lieutenant McLelland, 
fell dead; Colonel Piatt was wounded; a sergeant was killed; 
several of the men were wounded ; and it was going hardly 
with the little band. In the nick of time, however, the two 
pieces of cannon were placed in position on the road, and began a 
most vigorous fire, relieving the advanced company, and com- 


pellmg the enemy to keep his distance. A second time the 
Americans were successful, for a moment. Soon a formidaUe 
force of British came up the road, and opened a tremendous 
firb upon the artillerymen and marines, evidently designing 
to take the guns. The marines recoiled before the leaden 
tempest. The horses attached to the cannon, wounded by 
the fire, reared, plunged, became unmanageable, and one of 
the pieces was overturned into the ditch by the side of the 
road. It was a moment of frightful and nearly fatal confu* 
sion. Jackson dashed into the fire, accompanied by two of 
his aids, and roared out with that startling voice of his — 

" Save the guns, my boys, at every sacrifice.'* 

The electric presence of the General restored and rallied 
the marines as another company of the seventh came up, and 
the guns were " protected," says Major Eaton, which proba- 
bly means drawn out of danger. All this was the work of a 
very few minutes. 

The other companies of the seventh, and the whole of the 
forty-fourth, were meanwhile engaged in that miscellaneous, 
desultory, indescribable manner, of which the Subaltern's 
narrative will in a moment give us some idea. 

Major Planchd was not long in the rear. He marched his 
battallion to the left to find an opening for attack. Unfor- 
tunately he did not march far enough to the left ; but ad- 
vancing toward the enemy before he had gone beyond the 
forty-fourth, one of his companies mistook that regiment for 
one of the enemy's, and opened fire upon it, wounding several 
men. Planche gallantly atoned for the deplorable error, led 
his battalion against the enemy, and gave them several effec- 
tive volleys. Our acquaintance, Nolte, now catches his first 
glimpse of the red coats. He desires us to understand that 
he surveyed the scene with the composure of a veteran. " It 
was by the flash of the muskets," he says, " that we, for the 
first time, got a sight of the red coats of the English, who 
were posted on a small acclivity in front of us, about a gun- 
shot distant. I noted this circumstance, and at the sam« 
vioment observed the peculiar method of firing by the English. 

1814.] THE NIOHT BATTLE. 91 

who still kept tip the old custom of three deep ; one row of 
men half kneeling, and two other ranks firing over their shoul- 
ders. This style of firing, along with the darkness of the 
evening, explained to me the reason why the enemy's balls, 
which we heard whistling by, mostly flew over our heads, and 
only seven men were wounded, five of them belonging to our 
own company. After the lapse of about twenty minutes, the 
word was passed to cease firing. On the English side only a 
few retreating discharges were dropped in from time to time. 
We saw about sixty English captured by the Tennessee rifle- 
men, and led off towards the road, and at the same time 
learned that about one half of our sharpshooters from the 
city had fallen into the hands of the English." 

Before these simultaneous attacks the English gradually 
gave way. Not at every point, however. But, upon the 
whole, the Americans gained upon them, and got nearer and 
nearer the British headquarters. 

General Coffee, though the signal came a little too early 
for him, was in the thick of the fight sooner than he had ex- 
pected. Having reached the Viller^ plantation, he wheeled 
toward the river, and marched in a widely extended line, each 
man to fight, in the Indian fashion, on his own account. He 
expected to come up with the enemy near the river's bank, 
and would have done so if the Carolina had begun her fire 
half an hour later. The enemy, however, had then had time 
to recover from their confusion, to abandon the river, and to 
form in various positions across the plain. General CoffeeT 
had not advanced a hundred yards from the swamp before he 
wag astonished to find himself in the presence of the British 
eighty-fifth. "A war of duels and detachments" tnsued, 
with varying fortune. But the deadly and unerring fire of 
Coffee's cool riflemen, accustomed from of old to night war- 
£Eu:e with Indians, acquainted with all the arts of covert and 
approach, was too much for the British infantry.** From 

* "The short rifle of the English service was not eqaal to the long and deadly 
Bfltmrocnt of the western hunter and Indian fighter. For many years (v/ler the 
Vots of Iiacoste bore striking proofs of the accuracy of the aim of the TenneA- 

92 LIFE OF ANDBEW JA0K80N. [1814 

orange grove, from behind negro huts, the eighty-fifth slowlj 
retired toward the river, until, at length, they took post he* 
hind an old levee, near the high road. Bayonets alone could 
dislodge them thence, and the Tennesseans had no bayoneta. 
Coffee, too, retired to cover, and sent to the General for 

Captain J. N. Cooke, a British officer, who wrote a nar- 
rative of this unexampled campaign, gives a lively picture of 
the battle at the time when Coffee was fighting his way across 
the plain : " Lumps and crowds of American militia, who 
were armed with rifles and long hunting knives for close 
quarters, now crossed the country ; and by degrees getting 
nearer to the headquarters of the British, they were met by 
some companies of the rifle corps and the eighty-fifth light 
infantry ; and here again such confusion took place as seldom 
occurs in war — the bayonet of the British and the knife of 
the American were in active opposition at close quarters 
during this eventful night, and, as pronounced by the Ameri- 
cans, it was ' rough and tumble.' 

" The darkness was partially dispelled for a few moments 
now and then by the flashes of fire-arms ; and whenever the 
outlines of men were distinguishable, the Americans called 
out, ' don't fire, we are your friends !" Prisoners were taken 
and retaken. The Americans were litigating and wrangling, 
and protesting that they were not taken fairly, and were hug- 
ging their fire-arms, and bewailing their separation from a 
^favorite rifle that they wished to retain as their lawful prop- 

seans, and of the severity of tho combat in this part of the field. ConceaKng 
themselves behind the huts, the British waited until tho Tcnncssoaus got into 
Uie midst of them. Then thoy rashod forward and engaged with them hand to 
hand. Neitlicr party having bayonets, they were forced to club their guns, and 
thus many fine rifles were mined. But tho more cautious of the Tcnnesseanfl 
preferred their long knives and tomahawks to tlius endangering that arm which 
is their chief reliance in war, their inseparable companion in peace and war. 
Many a British soldier who was found dead on tho field, with heavy gashes on 
his forehead, or deep stabs in his bosom, was buried under the conviction that 
be came to hLs death by that military and chivalrio weapon, tho sword.**—* 
Jackson and yew Ofkans. 

1814.] THE NIGHT BATTLE. 93 

"The British soldiers, likewise, hearing their mother 
tongue spoken, were captured by this deception ; when such 
mistakes being detected, the nearest American received a 
knock-down blow ; and in this manner prisoners on both 
aides, having escaped, again joined in the fray, calling out 
lustily for their respective friends. Here was fighting, and 
straggling flashes of fire darting through the gloom, like the 
tails of so many comets. 

"At this most remarkable night-encounter the British 
were fighting on two sides of a ragged triangle, their left face 
pounded by the fire from the sloop, and their right face en- 
gaged with the American land forces. Hallen was still fight- 
ing in front at the apex. 

" At one time the Americans pushed round Hallen's right, 
and got possession of the high road behind him, where they 
took Major Mitchell and thirty riflemen going to his assist- 
ance. But Hallen was inexorable, and at no time had more 
than one hundred men at his disposal ; the riflemen coming 
up from the rear by twos and threes to his assistance, when 
he had lost nearly half his picket in killed and wounded. 
And behind him was such confusion that an English artillery 
officer declared that the flying illumination encircling him was 
BO unaccountably strange that had he not pointed his brass 
C5annon to the front at the beginning of the fight he could not 
have told which was the proper front of battle (as the English 
soldiers were often firing one upon the other, as well as the 
Americans), except by looking towards the muzzle of his 
three pounder, which he dared not tire, from the fear of bring- 
ing down friends and foes by the same discharge ; seeing, as 
he did, the darkness suddenly illuminated across the country 
by the flashing of muskets at every point of the compass." 

The incidents attending the capture of Major Mitchell 
are amusiagly related by the author of " Jackson and New 
Orleans." " As the 93d Highlanders," says this diligent 
writer, "were expected every moment to reach the camp, 
Major Mitchell was strongly impressed with the belief that 
Coffee's men, who wore hunting-shirts, which, in the dark, 


were not unlike the Highland frock, were the men of the SSd, 
and greatly needing their aid, he eagerly advanced, calling 
out, ** Are those the 93d ?' ^ Of course,' shouted the Ten- 
nesseans, who had no particular numher. Mitchell thereupon 
pushed holdly forward mthin a few feet of the men, when Cap- 
tain Donaldson stepped in front, and slapping the astounded 
Briton on the shoulder, called out, * You are my prisoner,' 
and requested the Major's sword. This request was enforced 
by half a dozen long rifles, which covered his body at every 
assailable point. With infinite mortification the gallant 
Major surrer.dercd, and with several other prisoners was 
borne oflf by the Tennesseans. Though at the moment of 
his capture, and subsequently. Major Mitchell was treated 
with the kindness and generosity due to a gallant foe, he 
never recovered his good humor, and embraced every oppor- 
tunity of exhibiting his spleen and disgust. The oblique 
movement of Coffee's brigade to the right produced some dis- 
asters which were sorely lamented by the Americans," 

The Subaltern's narrative of tiiis fearful and glorious 
night is singularly interesting. He says truly that no man 
could know much of what passed except the events that oc- 
curred in his immediate presence, and therefore he confines 
his narrative to what he lamself did and saw : 

" My friend Grey and m3rself had been supplied by onr soldiers with a 
jouple of fowls taken from a neighboring hen-roost^ and a few bottles of 
excellent claret, borrowed from the cellar of one of tlie houses near. We 
nad built ourselves a sort of hut, by piling together in a conical form a num- 
ber of large stakes and broad rails torn up from one of the fences; and a 
bright wooden fire was blazing at the dgor of it. In the wantonness of 
triumph, too, we had lighted some six or eight wax-candles, a vast quan* 
tity of which had been found in the store-rooms of the chateaux hard by ; 
and having done ample justice to our luxurious supper, we were sitting in 
great splendor, and in high spirits, at the entrance of our hut^ when the 
alarm of the approaching schooner was communicated to us. With the 
sagacity of a vet<.'ran, Grey instantly guessed llow matters stood : he was 
the first to hail the suspicious stranger, and, on receiving no answer to his 
challenge, he was the first to fire a musket in the direction of her anchor 
age. But he had scarcely done so when she opened her broadside, causing 

1814.] THE KIGHT-BATTLE. 90 

the instantaneous ubandonment of fires^ viands, and mirth, throughout the 

** As we contrived to get our men tolerably well around us, Qrcj and 
mjself were among the first who rushed forth to support the pickets, and 
cbedc the advance of the enemy upon the right. Passing as rapidly as 
might be through the ground of encampment, amidst a sh:wer of grapo- 
9hot from the vessel, we soon arrived at the pond, which, being forded, we 
found ourselves in front of the farm-house, of which I have already spoken 
as composing the headquarters of (General Keane. Here we were met by 
a few stragglers from the outposts, who reported that the advanced com- 
panies were all driven in, and that a numerous division of Americans was 
approaching. Having attached these fugitives to our little corps, we pushed 
on, and in a few seconds reached the lower extremity of a sloping stubble- 
field, at the other end of which we could discern a long line of men, but 
whether they were friends or foes the darkness would not permit us to 
determine. We caUed aloud, for the purpose of satisfying our doubts; 
but the signal being disregarded, we advanced. A heavy fire of musketry 
instantly opened upon us, but so fearful was Grey of doing injury to onr 
ovni troops, that he would not permit it to be returned. We accordingly 
pressed on, our men dropping by ones and twos on every side of us, til\ 
having arrived within twenty or thirty yards of the object of our curiosity. 
it became to me evident enough that we were in front of the enemy. But 
Grey's humane caution still prevailed ; he was not convinced, and till ho 
should be convinced it was but natural that he should not alter his plans. 
There chanced to be near the spot where we were standing a huge dung- 
heap, or rather, a long, solid stack of stubble, behind which we directed the 
men to take shelter, whilst one of us should creep forward alone, for the 
purpose of more completely ascertaining a fact of wliich all, except my 
brave and noble-minded comrade, were satisfied. The event proved that 
my sight had not deceived me ; I approached within saber's length of the 
fine, and having ascertained, beyond the possibility of doubt, that the line 
was composed of American soldiers, I returned to my friend, and again 
urged him to charge. But there was an infatuation upon him that night, 
for which I have ever been unable to account He insisted that I must be 
mistaken ; he spoke of the improbability which existed that any part of 
the enemy's army should have succeeded in taking up a position in rear of 
the station of one of our outposts, and he could not be persuaded that the 
troops now before him were not the 95th rifle corps. At last it was agreed 
between us that we should separate; that Grey, with one half of the party, 
dioald remain where he was, whilst I, with the other half, should make a 
abort detour to the right, and come down upon the flank of the line from 
whose fire we had sufiered so severely. The plan was carried into imme- 
diate execution. Taking with me about a dozen or fourteen men, I quitted 
Qxcji and we never met again. 


" How or when he fell I know not; but, judging from the spot and atti* 
tude in which I afterwards found his body, I conceive that my back oonld 
have been barely turned upon him, when the fatal ball pierced his braixL 
He was as brave a soldier and as good a man as the British army can boast 
ofj beloved by his brother oflBcers and adored by his men. To me he was 
as a brother ; nor have I ceased even now to feel, as often as the 23d of 
December returns, that on that night a tie was broken, than which the 
progress of human life will hardly furnish one more tender or more strong. 
But to my tale. 

" Leaving Grey — careless, as he ever was in battle, of his own person, 
and anxious, as far as might be, to secure the safety of his followers — ^I 
led my little party in the direction agreed upon, and fortunately falling in 
with about an equal number of English riflemen, I caused them to take 
post beside my own men, and turned up to the front. Springing over the 
paling, we found ourselves almost at once upon the left flank of the enemy, 
and wc lost not a moment in attacking it. But one volley was poured in, 
and then bayonets, musket-butts, sabers, and even fists came instantly into 
play. In the whole course of my military career, I remember no scene at 
all resembling this. We fought with the savage ferocity of bull-dogs, and 
many a blade, which till to-night had not drank blood, became in a few 
minutes crimsoned enough. 

" Such a contest could not, in the nature of things, be of very long con- 
tinuance. The enemy, astonished at the vigor of our assault, soon began 
to waver, and their wavering was speedily converted into flight Nor did 
we give them a moment's time to recover from their panic. With loud 
shouts we continued to press upon them, and, amidst the most horrible din 
and desperate carnage, drove them over the field and through the Httle 
village of huts, of which notice has already been taken as surrounding the 
mansion on oiir advanced right. Hero we found a number of our own 
people prisoners and under a guard of Americans. But the guard fled as 
we approached, and our countrymen, catching up such weapons as came 
first to hand, joined in tlie pursuit. 

^* In this spot I halted my party, increased, by the late additions, to the 
number of forty ; among whom were two gallant young oflJcers of the 
95th. We had not yet been joined, as I expected to be joined, by Grey, 
and feeling that we were at. least far enough in advance of our own line, 
we determined to attempt nothing further, except to keep possession of the 
village should it bo attacked. But whilst placing the men in convenient 
situations, another dark line was pointed out to us, considerably to the left 
of our position. That we might ascertain at once of what troops it was 
composed, I left my brother officers to complete the arrangements which 
we had begun, and walking down the field, demanded, in a loud voice, to 
be informed whc they were that kept post in so retired a situation. A 

1814.] THE NIGHT BATTLE. 97 

voice from the throng made answer that thej were Americans, and begged 
of mc not to fire upon my friends. Willing to deceive them still further, 
I asked to what corps they belonged ; the speaker replied that they were 
the second battalion of the first regiment, and inquired what had become 
oi the first battalion. I told him that it was upon my right, and assuming 
a tone of authority, commanded him not to move from his present situation 
tin I should join him with a party of which I was at the head. 

** The conversation ended here, and I returned to the village, whei«, 
communicating the result of my inquiries to my comrades, we formed our 
brave Httle band into hne, and determined to attack. The men were cau- 
tioned to preserve a strict silence, and not to fire a shot till orders were 
given, and they observed these injunctions, and with fixed bayonets and 
cautious tread advanced along the field. As we drew near, I called aloud 
for the commanding officer of the second regiment to step forward, upon 
which an elderly man, armed with a heavy dragoon saber, stepped out of 
the ranks. When he discovered by our dress that we were English, this 
redoubtable warrior lost all self-command ; he resigned his sword to me 
without a murmuf , and consented at once to believe that his battalion was 
surrounded, and that to offer any resistance would but occasion a needless 
loss of blood. Nor was he singular in these respects : his follower?, placing 
implicit rehance in our assurances that they were hemmed in on every side 
by a very superior force, had actually begun to lay down their arms, and 
would have surrendered, in all probability, at discretion, but for the supe- 
rior gallantry of one man. An American officer, whose sword I demanded, 
instead of giving it up, as his commander had done, made a cut at my head, 
which with some difficulty I managed to ward off, and a few soldiers near 
him, catching ardor firom his example, discharged their pieces among our 
troops. The sound of firing was no sooner heard than it became general, 
and as all hope of success by stratagem might now be laid aside, we were 
of necessity compelled to try the effect of violence. Again we rushed into 
the middle of the throng, and again was the contest that of man to man, 
in dose and desperate strife, till a panic arising among the Americans thej 
dispersed in all directions and left us masters of the field. 

" In giving a detail so minute of my own adventures this night I beg 
to repeat what has been stated already, that I have no wish whatever to 
persuade my readers that I was one whit more cool or more daring than 
my companions. Like them I was driven to depend, from first to last» 
upon my own energies; and I believe the energies of few men fail them 
when they are satisfied that on them alone they must depend. Nor was 
Ifae case different with my comrades. Attacked unexpectedly, and in the 
dark, — surrounded, too, by a numerous enemy, and one who spoke the 
nme language with ourselves, — ^it is not to be wondered at if the order 
ad routine of civilized warfare were everywhere set at nought Eaob 
Toiv n. — 7 


man who felt di^xned to command was obeyed bj those who stood m 
him, wiUiOQt any question being asked as to his authority ; and more feati 
ofindiTidoal gallantry were performed in this single ni^t than many re^* 
okr campaigns might fiimish an opportunity to peifonn. 

^ The night was far spent, and the sound of firing had begun to wax 
fiunt) when, checking the ardor of our brave foUowerSi we collected them 
once more together, and fell back into the Tillage. Here, likewise, consid- 
liable numbers from other detachments assembled, and here we learned 
that the Americans were repulsed on every side. The combat had been 
long and obstinately contested : it began at eight o'clock in the evening 
and continued till three in the morning — but the victory was ours. True, 
it was the reverse of a bloodless one, not fewer than two hundred and Gftj 
of our best men having fallen in the struggle : but even at tlie e:Epense of 
soch a loss, we could not but account ourselves fortunate in escaping from 
the snare in which we had confessedly been taken. 

" To me, however, the announcement of the victory brought no rejoic- 
ing, for it was accompanied with the intelligence that my friend was among 
the killed. I well recollect the circumstances under whieh these sad newi 
reached me. I was standing with a sword in each hand — my own and 
that of the officer who had surrendered to me, and, as the reader may 
imagine, in no bad humor with m3rself or with the brave fellows about 
me, when a brother officer, stepping forward, abruptly told the tale. It 
came upon me like a thunderbolt; and casting aside my trophy, I thought 
only of the loss which I bad sustained. Regardless of every other matter, 
I ran to the rear, and found Grey lying behind the dung-heap, motionleei 
and cold. A little pool of blood, which had coagulated under his head, 
pointed out the spot where the ball had entered, and the position of hit 
limbs gave proof that he must have died witliout a struggle. I can not 
pretend to describe what were then my sensations, but of whatever nt^ 
ture they might be, little time was given for their indulgence ; for the bugle 
sounding the alarm, I was compelled to leave him as he lay, and to join 
my corps. Though the alarm proved to be a false one, it had the good 
effect of bringing all the troops together, by which means a regular line 
was now, for the first time since the commencement of the action, formed. 
In this order, having defiled considerably to the left, so as to command the 
highway, we stood in front of our bivouac till dawn began to appear 
when, to avoid the fire of the schooner, we once more moved to the 
nver*8 bank, and lay down. Here, during the whole of the succeeding 
day, the troops were kept shivering in the cold, frosty air, witliout fixei^ 
without provisions, and exhausted by fatigue ; nor was it till the retom 
of night that any attempt to extricate them from their comfortless situaUon 
eodld be made. 

<( Whilst others were thus reposing, I stole away, with two or thrJM 

1814.] THB NIGHT BATTLE. 99 

men, for tlie purpose of performing the last sad act of affection wliidi it 
was possible for me to perform for my friend Grey. As we had com- 
pletely changed our ground, it was not possible for me at once to discover 
the q>ot where he lay ; indeed, I traversed a large portion of the field 
before I hit upon it Whilst thus wandering over the arena of last night's 
contest, the most shocking and most disgusting spectacles everywhere 
met my eyes. I have frequently beheld a greater number of dead bodiei 
within as narrow a compass, though these, to speak the truth, were no* 
meroQS enough, but wounds more disfiguring, or more horrible, I certainly 
nrver witnessed. A man shot through the head or heart lies as if he 
were in a deep slumber ; insomuch, that when you gaze upon him you 
experience little else than pity. But of these many had met their deaths 
from bayonet wounds, saber cuts, or heavy blows from the butt ends of 
muskets ; and the consequence was, that not only were the wounds them- 
selves exceedingly frightful, but the veiy countenances of the dead exhib- 
ited the most savage and ghastly expressions. Friends and foes lay to- 
gether in small groups of four or six, nor was it difficult to tell almost the 
rerj hand by which some of them had fallen. Nay, such had been the 
deadly closeness of the strife, that in one or two places an English and 
American soldier might be seen with the bayonet of each &stened in the 
other's body. 

" Having searched for some time in vain, I at length discovered my 
friend lying where, during the action, we had separated, and where, when 
Ifae action came to a close, I had at first found him ; shot through the tenn 
pies by a rifle bullet so remarkably small as scarcely to leave any trace of 
its progress. I am well aware that this is no fit place to introduce the wovlc* 
ing of my own personal feelings, but he was my friend, and such a friend 
as few men are happy enough to possess. We had known and loved each 
other for years; our regard had been cemented by a long participation in 
the same hardships and dangers ; and it can not therefore surjurise if even 
now I pay that tribute to his worth and our fiiendship which, however 
unavailing it may be, they both deserve. 

'' When in the act of looking for him I had flattered myself that I 
■boald be able to bear his loss with something like philosophy, but when I 
beheld him pale and bloody I found all my resoJution evaporate. I threw 
myself on the ground beside him, and wept like a child. But thb was no 
time for the indulgence of useless sorrow. Like the royal bard, I knew 
that I should go to him, but he could not return to me, and I knew not 
whether an hour would pass before my summons might arrive. Lifting 
Inm, therefore, upon a cart, I had him carried down to headquarter bouse^ 
DOW converted into an hospital, and having dug for him .<i grave at the bot- 
tom of the garden, I laid hLn there as a soldier should be laid, arrayed, not 
in a shroud, but in his uuform. Sv^ the privates whom I brought with 

(00 LIFE OF ANPBEW JA0K8ON. [1814 

me to assist at his funeral mingled their tears with mine, nor are mtnj ao 
!brtmiate as to return to the parent dust more deeply or more sincerelj 2*- 

'' Retiring from the performance of this melancholy duty, I strolled into 
the iiuspital and visited the wounded. It is here that war loses it grandeur 
And show, and presents only a real picture of its effects. Every room in 
(he house was crowded with wretches mangled, and apparently in the 
most excruciating agonies. Prayers, groans, and, I grieve to add, the most 
horrid exclamations, smote upon the ear wherever I turned. Some lay at 
length upon straw, with eyes half closed, and hmbs motionless; some en- 
deavored to start up, shrieking with pain, while the wandering eye and 
incoherent speech of othera imlicuted the loss of reason, and usually fore- 
told the approach of death. But there was one among the rest whose tup* 
pearance was too horrible ever to be forgotten. He had been shot throng^ 
the windpipe, and the breath making its way between the skin and the 
fiesh had dilated him to a size absolutely tcrriiic. His head and face were 
particularly shocking. Every feature was enlarged beyond what can well 
be imagined ; whilst his eyes were so coiupletely hidden by the cheeks and 
forehead as to destroy all resemblance to a human countenance. 

" Passing through the apartments where the private soldiers lay I next 
came to those occupied by officers. Of these there were five or six in one small 
room, to whom httle better accomiuotlation could be provided than to their 
inferiors. It was a sight pecubarly distressing, because all of them chanoed 
to be personal acquaintances of my own. One had been shot in the head, 
and lay gasping and insensible ; anoilier had received a musket ball in the 
belly, which had pierced through an< i lodged in the back-bon& The former 
i^peared to suffer but little, giviiJg n > signs of life, except what a heavy 
breathing produced; the latter was i:i tlie most dreadful agony, screaming 
out, and gnawing the covering un; -r which he lay. There were many 
besides these, some severely and oth> s slightly hurt; but as I have already 
dwelt at sufficient length upon a pa' :ul subject^ I shall only observe, that 
to all was afforded every assistance w.iich circumstances would allow; and 
that the exertions of tlieir medical nitendants were such as deserved and 
obtained the grateful thanks of even the most afiSicted among the sofferen 

General CoflFee's own narralive of the night battle, as con- 
tained in a hasty letter to liis father-in-law, is before me. 
" My brigade," he says, " mot ■ lie enemy's line near four hun- 
dred yards from the river. T';ic fire on both sides was kept 
up mostly very brisk until w- drove them to the river bai]^ 
where they gave a long and lu^ivy fire, and finally the enemy 


fdl behind the levee or river bank that is thrown up. The 
battle had now lasted near two and a half hours. The r^^^ 
laiB had ceased firing near one hour before I drew my men 

That is all this modest hero had to say of his exploits 

His young relative, John Donelson, was more full with 
r^ard to his general's deeds and his own. " I came," he wrote 
to his father, " very nigh falling into the hands of the enemy 
with the whole of my company, on the night of the 23d. 
Some minutes after the action had commenced. General Cof- 
fee ordered a charge. 1 immediately, as soon as I understood 
the order, moved on to the charge with my company. The 
enemy gave way both to my right and left. I charged on 
near Lord Pakenham's quarters, made several prisoners and. 
killed several of the enemy. I passed on to the end of a large 
garden and halted, discovering none of the enemy in front, 
and intended waiting until the men who charged on my left 
came up, but they were met and repulsed by the enemy. 
The enemy having discovered the position that I had taken, 
fell immediatelv in my rear, and marched directly towards. 
me. I hailed tnem as they advanced, thinking that they were 
the men that had charged on my left. They answered that. 
they were General Coffee's men, having by some means learned 
the General's name. They advanced within about ten steps, 

ordered us for d d Yankee rebels to lay down our arms. 

Discovering my mistake, I answered them, they be d d, 

and ordered my men to open a fire upon them, which they done^ 
and brought tliem to a halt, which enabled us to make good 
our retreat to the right, and fell in with Colonel Williamson's 
regiment. They advanced upon us at port arms, and as soon 
$s they discovered that we did not intend to surrender, the; 
were ready at once to fire. Never did I experience such a 
shower of shot in all the engagements that I have been in 
heretofore. Three of my men fell dead. Three surrendered; 
the balanoe I got off safe. Major Cavannough, who had 


fisJlen in with me in the charge, likewise surrendered. I haye 
enjoyed my health tolerably well since I haye been here. 

^^ Uncle Jackson, I am afraid, will not be able to stand 
this climate long. He looks very badly at present, and haa 
broken very much." * 



tiucH were the scenes enacted on the plains of the Delta 
in the evening of December the 23d, 1814, for about the space 
of an hour and a half. 

Nine o'clock. — The Carolina, as we have seen, ceases her 
deadly fire. The second division of English troops have 
arrived, and mingled in the battle, more than repairing the 
casualties of the night in the English army. The fog, rising 
from the river, has spread densely over the field, first envel- 
oping Jackson's division, which was nearest the river, then 
rolling over the entire plain. The General has heard nothing 
of G-eneral Coffee since he parted with him at six o'clock. He 
concludes now to suspend all operations till the dawn of day. 
Coffee's messenger finds the General, at length, and departs 
with an order for General Coffee to withdraw his men from 
the field, and rejoin the right wing with all despatch. 

Ten o'clock. — The American troops have retired, and are 
jpread over the plain a mile or more from the scene of con- 
flict. The wounded, all of them that can be found, are 
brought in and conveyed toward the city. The inhabitants 
of New Orleans have learned enough of the issue of the fight 
to allay their apprehensions of immediate danger; but women 
still sit at home or flit about the streets in an agony of sus- 
pense, to learn something of the fate of fathers, huslMinds an^ 

* MSa of TenneflBeo Historical SodetiF 

1814] AVTkB IHB BATTLB. 103 

brothers. The arrival of British prisoners is noised al)oat| 
cheering all bat those who have staked more than life in the 
contest Gk^neral Jackson has, as yet, no thought but to re- 
new the battle the moment it is light enough to find the foe ; 
and, to that end, sends a dispatch to General Carroll, who is 
goaiding the city from attack from above, ordering him, if no 
sign of an enemy has appeared in that quarter, to join the 
main body instantly with all his force. General Carroll will 
lose no time in obeying a command so welcome. 

The battle over, we can reckon up its cost, while the 
troops, re-assembled, are eagerly narrating their several ad- 
ventures, or performing sad duties to wounded comrades and 

The British have lost, to-night, according to General 
Keane's official report, forty-six killed, one hundred and 
Bity-seven wounded, and sixty-four prisonere and deser'ters. 
Lieutenant De Lacy Evans, afterwards member of Parlia- 
ment, and, more recently, one of the heroes of the Crimea^ 
was among the wounded. The American loss was : killed| 
twenty-four ; wounded, one hundred and fifteen ; missing^ 
seventy-four. Among the Americans slain. General Jackson 
and General Coffee had to lament Lieutenant Lauderdale, of 
Tennessee, their beloved comrade and efficient officer in the 
Creek war. 

With individual exceptions, few in number and unim- 
portant in result, the men of both armies had done their hard 
duty welL Fields more brilliant have been won and lost; but 
this was far more than a common battle, where the combat- 
ants are puppets and the cause the rivalship of kings. These 
rough riflemen were the men who had first conquered the 
western world from the wilderness and the savage, and had 
now rushed to defend it from the invader. The warfare in 
which they were engaged was entirely legitimate and noble, 
and it was peculiarly fit that the heroes of the occasion should 
have been Jackson, Coffee, and their brave Tennesseans. 

We may not refuse space in these pages to the passage of 
Gtenoral Jackson's dispatch^ in which he distributes, and re* 


•jords imperishably, the honors of the night. "The best 
compliment," says the General, " that I can pay to Gleneral 
Coffee and his brigade is to say they behaved as they have 

' always done while under my command. The seventh, led by 
Major Peire, and the forty-fourth, commanded by Colonel 
Boss, distinguished themselves. The battalion of city mili- 
tia, commanded by Major Planch^, realized my anticipations, 

' and behaved like veterans. Savary's volunteers* manifested 
great bravery ; and the company of city riflemen, having 
penetrated into the midst of the enemy's camp, were sur- 
rounded, and fought their way out with the greatest heroism, 
•bringing with them a number of prisoners. The two field 
pieces were well served by the officer commanding them. All 

* my officers in the line did their duty, and I have every reason 
to ^e satisfied with the whole of my field and staff. Colonels 
Butler and Piatt, and Major Chotard, by their intrepidity, 
saved the artillery. Colonel Hayne was everywhere that 
duty or danger called. I was deprived of the services of one 
of my aids. Captain Butler, whom I was obliged to station, 
to his great regret, in town. Captain Beid, my other aid, 
and Messrs. Livingston, Duplessis and Davezac, who had 
volunteered their services, faced danger wherever it was to be 
met, and carried my orders with the utmost promptitude. 
Colonel Dellaronde, Major Villere of the Louisiana militia. 
Major Latour of engineers, having no command, volunteered 
their services, as did Drs. Kerr and Flood, and were of great 
assistance to me." 

Thus every one is mentioned with honor, excepting alone 
the General in command, the energy of whose single soul had 
made possible the encounter. Major Latour gracefully sup- 
plies the omission. " It would not be proper," he proudly says, 
**for one whose name has been mentioned in general orders to 
make particular mention of the several individuals who dis- 
tinguished themselves. But," he adds, " I can not decline 
paying the tribute of justice to General Jackson, to say that 
no man could possibly have shown more personal valor, more 


^ The colored fireemeD, raised by Ool. Savary, bat oommanded hj M^jor Daoqnia 

1814] AFTER THE BATTLE. 100 

finnness and composure, than was exhibited by him throng 
the whole of this engagement, on which depended, perhaps, 
the fate of Louisiana. I may say, without fearing to be 
taxed with adulation, that on the night of the 23d G^eneral 
Jackson exposed himself rather too much. I saw him in ad- 
vance of all who were near him, at a time when the enemy 
was making a charge on the artillery, within pistol shot, in 
the midst of a shower of bullets, and in that situation I ob- 
served him spiriting and urging on the marines and the right 
of the seventh regiment, who, animated by the presence and , 
voice of their gallant commander-in-chief, attacked the en- 
emy so briskly that they soon forced him to retire." 

One o'clock in the morning. — Silence reigns in both camps. 
There have been occasional alarms during the night, and some 
firing ; enough to keep both armies on the qui vive. Noise 
of an approaching host from the city is heard soon after one, 
which proves to be General Carroll and his men, who have 
marched down with Tennessean swiftness. But Jackson has 
changed his mind. British deserters have brought informa- 
tion of the arrival of reinforcements to General Keane's army, 
and of still further forces to arrive on the morrow. Is it pru- 
dent to risk the campaign and the city upon an open fight 
between twenty-five hundred raw troops without bayonets, 
and six or seven thousand perfectly disciplined British soldiers, 
who have bayonets and know how to use them ? That 
question, argued around the General's bivouac at midnight, 
admitted of but one answer. Nolte and others assign to 
Eklward Livingston the merit of having dissuaded the General 
from his purpose of renewing the strife at the dawn of day. 
But the supposition is not necessary. The study of Jackson's 
campaigns will convince any one that he was quite as remark- 
able for prudence as for daring. To him may be justly ap- n^ ^^^ 
plied McLeod's description of Charles Edward : " He was the 
most cautious man, not to be a coward, and the bravest man, 
not to be rash, that I ever saw." It was resolved, then, in 
&e midnight counsel on the fog-covered field, to retire at day- 
faroak to the old position behind the Bodriguez canal, there to 



1U6 LIFB OF ANDBKW JA0K80N, [1814 

throw np whatever line of defense might be poasible, and 
await the enemy's attack. The two men-of-war shall an- 
chor off the levee and cover the high road with their guxus. 
If necessary, the levee shall be pierced, and the plain between 
the two armies flooded. Hinds' dragoons, who could not join 
in the night battle, shall bold their position between the two 
armies, and conceal the contemplated movements. 

Slowly, very slowly, the hours of darkness wore away. 
" The night," says Nolte, " was very cold. Wearied by onr 
long march, and standing in the open field, we all wanted to 
make a fire, and at length, at the special request of our major, 
permission to kindle one was obtained. Within twenty min- 
utes we saw innumerable watch-fires blazing up in a line ex- 
tending, like a crescent, from the shores of the Mississippi to 
the woods, and stretching far away behind the plantations of 
Villerd, Lacoste, and others, occupied by the English, on whose 
minds, as well as on our own, the impression must have been 
produced, that Jackson had many more troops under his com- 
mand and near the spot than any one had supposed." 

The fires were not lighted too soon ; for, in the fight, 
many of Coffee's men had thrown away their long coats, and 
stood shivering through the night in their shirt-sleeves. In- 
deed, both brigades of Tennesseans were in sorry plight with 
regard to clothes when they arrived, and few came out of the 
battle with a whole garment. There will be busy sewing- 
circles to-morrow in New Orleans, seasoned, not with scandal, 
but with tales of the brave deeds done by the ragged heroes 
of the night battle. And all over the field shall wander, after 
dawn, cold Tennesseans, hunting up lost coats, lost toma- 
hawks and knives, lost horses, and, alas ! lost comrades, cold 
for ever, for whom there will be proud mourning in the log- 
houses of Tennessee. " These poor fellows," wrote a British 
officer who, with General Keane, walked over part of the field, 
" presented a strange appearance ; their hair, eye-brows, and 
lashes were thickly covered with hoar-frost, or rime, their 
bloodless cheeks vying with its whiteness. Few were dressed 
Ui military uniforms, and most of them bore the appearance 

1814] AFTBB THE BATTLE. 107 

of farmers or husbandmen. Peace to their ashes I they had 
nobly died in defending their country." * 

Before me are two letters, written the night after the bat- 
tle, which, though they contain little that the reader does not 
know, have still a certain value as showing the feeling of the 
hour at the scene of action. With what breathless interest 
they were read in the northern newspapers of that day, when 
the heart of the country stood still, waiting, with blended hope 
and fear, to learn the issue of events transpiring at New Or- 
leans, no reader of this generation can know. The following 
was written at New Orleans, at one o'clock on the morning 
of the 24th, by a gentleman who had been in the action, and 
brought out of its fog and darkness eleven prisoners. 

" Before I had time to fold up the letter I wrote you to- 
day the alarm-gun was sounded, and I forthwith repaired to 
the tented field." .... 

" We commenced the engagement about half-past seven, 
which continued pretty hot until about a quarter after nine, 
when the firing ceased, on the part of the British first. I can 
not tell the number of killed and wounded on either side. 
Towards the close of the engagement, our company of rifle- 
men was broken by a charge from the enemy, and has sufiered 
a good deal. Captain Beole commanded the right and myself 
the left of the company. I had then with me only fifteen 
men, three of whom were wounded, and I had also eleven 
prisoners, a part of the army that was at Washington. In 
this situation I thought it best to order my men to march 
towards the swamp, and accordingly marched about halfway 
to town, back of the plantations. I have safely delivered the 
prisoners, and am now at home very much fatigued. I shaU 
set out again before day with my men to the field of battle. 
Our army is well formed and will not be surprised. To-mor- 
row morning the battle will be renewed. The two armies 
nearly keep their ground. I believe we have the advantage 
10 far, but I con give you nothing particular. Our army has 
been reenforced to-night by one thousand of General Carroll's 

^ BoooUectioDS of an ArUlleiy Offloeri vol. i. p. 31L 


men, and I expect hard fighting to-morrow. The prisoners 
that our company have made state their numbers to be about 
twelve thousand men, and about three thousand debarked, 
with whom we fought ; that they are commanded by General 
Keane ; that there are two regiments of blacks, one thousand 
men each."** 

The other letter was written at four o'clock on the same 
morning, by an exempt soldier serving in the city : 

"I wrote you by the last mail, advising of the alarm that pervaded this 
city, in consequence of the approach of the enemy. I have now to inform 
you that, one o'clock yesterday, intelligence had been received that a land- 
ing had been effected on the slioro of Lake Borgne, and that they had 
penetrated to the Mississippi, at a distance of about six miles below the 
town; the alarm was given, and before five o'clock General Jackson, with 
a chosen corps of about two thousand mon, left the town to meet them, 
and at seven an action commenced and lasted nearly two hours, terminat- 
ing in tlie retreat of the enemy to the woods, but not without considerable 
loss on our part, particularly amongst tlie uniform companies of militia of 
the city. I was not myself in the action, being in a corps of ten men who 
were by law exempt from militia duty, but who since the alarm had been 
doing duty in the city. I was with my company on guard, and have already 
had brought to my post ten of the prisoners, and learn there are about 
twenty more at other posts in the city. 

*' The men that I have with me, I mean prisoners, stated that the force 
is commandetl by Admiral Cochrane and General Keane, that it consists 
of about three thousand men, and thao they expected to have taken the 
city this morning by dayb'ght, not apprclicmling any resistance. They have 
not been able to laud their artillery, and unless they effect their escape in 
the night there is no doubt they will have to surrender in the morning. 
General Jackson having at least double their force, supported by tlio ship 
Louisiana, of twenty gmis, schooner Carolina, of fourteen, and a gun-boat, 
which will annoy them severely. 

" The troops of all descriptions are eager for battle, and from all ac- 
counts have performed in the first engagement with prodigious valor. 
Chew was in the heat of it in a rifle corps, and took one prisoner and killed 
Bevera others — he came up with a party of prisoners and returned to the 
field ol action at daylight The enemy was taken by surprise ; they were 
encamped for the night, and were at supper wlien the action commenced 
on our part. We have so many contradictory stories respecting the killed 
ind wounded, that I do not think it propc. to say anything on ♦be subject 
—none of your acquaintances seem to have suflered. 

* NatunuU InidUgencer^ January 21, 1815. 

1814.] DEOEHBEB T WENT T - FO U BTH. 109 

'^ I do not think you need apprehend anything for me, as it is not prob- 
able that the company that I command will be called out of town. Should, 
however, circumstances require, I must submit, however reluctantly, and 
trust my fate to the disposer of all human events. 

" From the Grovemment or State House, at which I was posted, I could 
distinctly see the fire ; and the report of the guns has, as you may suppose, 
excited a great alarm amongst the inhabitants. Should any further parties 
olars be received before the closing of the mail at six o'clock, I will add 

"At the moment of closing I learn that a colonel, two majors, and threo 
oaptains, prisoners, have come to town. 

" Six o'clock^ A. M, — ^I'he day is breaking, and we are in anxious ear* 
pectation of heaiing it ushered in by the sound of our artillery."* 



The Roderiguez canal was an old mill-race, partly filled 
up and grown over with grass. In the early days of the col- 
ony the planters built their mills on the levee, and obtained 
water power by cutting canals from the river to the swamp, 
through which poured an abundant flood during the periodi- 
cal swellings of the river. The Roderiguez canal crossed the 
plain where the plain was narrowest ; and this circumstance 
it was that rendered the position chosen by General Jackson 
for his line of entrenchments the very best which the vicin- 
ity afforded. 

Daylight dawned. The fog slowly lifted. Never was the 
blessed light of day welcomer to the longing sons of men. 
The earliest light found the main body of Jackson's army in 
their former position behind the immortal canal. Every thing 
that New Orleans could furnish in the shape of spade, shovel, 
pickaxe, crowbar, wheelbarrow, cart, had been sent for, houn 

* New York Evening Post, January 26, 1815. 

110 LIFB OF AHDBKW JA0K80K. [1814 

before, and the first supplies b^an to arrive almost as soon 
as the men were ready to use them. Now let there be such 
digging, shoveling, and heaping up of earth, as the Delta of 
the Mississippi, or any other delta under heaven, has never 
seen since Adam delved ! 

'^ Here," said Jackson, ^^ we will plant our stakes, and 
not abandon them until we drive these red coat rascals into 
the river or the swamp." 

The canal was deepened and the earth thrown up on the 
side nearest the city. The fences were torn away, and the 
rails driven in to keep the light soil from falling back again 
into the canal. Soft palms, which had never before handled 
anything harsher than a pen, a fishing-rod, or a lady's waist, 
blistered and bled, and felt it not. Each company had its 
own line of embankment to throw up, which it called its 
castle, and strained every muscle in fierce but friendly 
rivalry to make it overtop the castles of the rest. 

The nature of the soil rendered the task one of peculiar 
difficulty. Dig down three feet anywhere in that singular 
plain and you come to water. Eurth goon became the scarcest 
of commodities near the lines, and had to be brought from 
far, after the first hours. An idea occurs to an ingenious 
French intellect. Cotton bcUes! The town is full of cotton; 
and lo ! here, close to the lines, is a vessel laden with cotton, 
waiting for a chance to get to sea. But let Nolte tell the 
story of his own cotton : — 

" Jackson, who at once adopted the plan, was anxious to lose no tiina 
It was intimated to him that in the city he could procure plenty of cotton, 
at from seven to eight cents per pound ; but that it would cost a whde 
day to bring it to the spot He was then told that not far from the camp^ 
and in the rear of his position, there lay a bark in the stream laden with 
cotton, for Havana ; the name of this vessel was the PaUas, unless my 
memory, afler the lapse of thirty-eight years, deceives me, and she was to 
have sailed before the arrival of the British force. Her cargo consisted of 
two hundred and forty-five bales which I had shipped previously to the 
invasion, and the remainder, about sixty bales, belonged to the Spaniard, 
named Fernando Alzar, resident at New Orleans. It was only when the 
•otton had been brought to the camp, and they were proceeding to lay tht 

1814.] DBOBHBBB T W B N T T-F U BT H . Ill 

first bales in the redoubt^ that the marks struck my attention, and I reoog- 
oised my own property. Adjutant Livingston, who had been my usual 
fegal counsel at New Orleans, that same evening inspected battery No. 3, 
where the men were arranging some bales. I was somewhat vexed at the 
idea of their taking cotton of the best sort, and worth from ten to eleven 
cents, out of a ship already loaded and on the point of sailing, instead of 
procnring the cheaper kind, which was to be had in plenty throughout the 
suburbs of the city, at seven or eight cents, and said as much to Livingston. 
He, who was never at a loss for a reply, at once answered, 'Well, Mr. 
Nolte, if this is your cotton, you, at least, will not think it any hardship to 
defend iL'* This anecdote, which was first related by myself, gave rise to 
the story that Jackson, when a merchant was complaining of the loss of 
his cotton, had ordered a sergeant to hand the gentleman a rifle, with the 
remark, ' No one can defend these cotton bales better than their owners 
can, and I hope you will not leave the spot I' " 

The story is not all told by Nolte, however. The idea, 
plausible as it was, did not stand the test of service. The 
first cannonade knocked the cotton bales about in a manner 
that made the General more eager to get rid of them than he 
had been to use them. Some of the bales, too, caught fire, 
and made a most intolerable and persistent smoke, so thal^ * 
days before the final conflict, every pound of cotton was re- 
moved fi'om the lines. ^ A similar error was made by the 
enemy, who, supposing that sugar would ofler resistance to 
cannon balls equal to sand, employed hogsheads of sugar in 
the formation of their batteries. The first ball that knocked 
a hogshead to pieces and kept on its destructive way un- 
checked, convinced them that sugar and sand, though often 
found together, have little in common. 

During the 24th the entire line of defense, a mile long, 
was begun, and raised, in some places, to a height of four or 
five feet The work was not interrupted by the enemy for a 
moment ; nor was there any alarm or sign of their approach. 
Before night two small pieces of cannon were placed in posi- 
tion on the high road. 

Id the course of the morning Major Latour was ordered 
to cat the levee at a point one hundred yards below the 

* Jactem and New OiImdi. 

112 LIFB OF AHDBKW JA0K80K. [1814 

The water rushed through the opening and flooded the road 
to the depth of three feet. A day or two after an engineer 
was sent below the British camp to let in the water behind 
them, so as to render their position an island. If the river 
had been as high as it occasionally is in December, and always 
is in the spring, the campaign would have had a ludicrous and 
bloodless termination ; for nearly the whole plain could have 
been laid under water, and the enemy would have found no 
sufficient resting place for the soles of so many feet. It 
chanced, however, that the rise of the river at this time was 
only temporaiy. The water soon fell to the level of the road; 
and the piercing of the levee really aided the English, by fill* 
ing up and rendering more navigable the creeks in their rear, 
by which their supplies were brought up. For a day or two 
only the flooding of the road was serviceable in giving an ap- 
pearance of perfect security to the lines near the river. 

Early in the morning the Carolina, from her anchorage 
opposite the British camp, and the Louisiana, from an ad- 
vantageous position a mile above, played upon the enemy 
whenever a red coat showed itself within range. Q-enersd 
Keane found himself, to his boundless astonishment, be- 
sieged ! Not a colunm could be formed upon the plain, 
which was torn up in every direction by the Carolina's accu- 
rate and incessant fire. Never was an army more strangely, 
more unexpectedly, more completely paralyzed. They could 
do absolutely nothing but cower under embankments, skulk 
behind huts, lie low in dry ditches, or else retire beyond the 
reach of that terrible fire which they had no means of silencing 
or answering. 

The Subaltern thus continues his narrative : — 

" Not a moment was lost by the sailors (during the night of the 23d) 
in returning to Pine Island. Intelligence of the combat spread like wild- 
fire ; the boats were loaded even beyond what was strictly safe, and thuo^ 
by exerting themselves in a degree almost unparalleled, our gallant seamen 
succeeded in bringing the whole army into position before dark on the 24th. 
The second and third brigades, therefore, now took up tlieir ground upon 
»he spot where the late battle had been fou^^t, and resting their right upon 


ihe woody morasa extended so fur towards the river as that tho adTanoe 
by wheeling up might continue the line across the entire plain. 

" But instead of taking part in this formation the advance was still fetr 
tered to the bank, from which it was additionally prevented from moving 
by the arrival of another large ship (the Louisiana), which cast anchor 
about a mile above the schooner. Thus were three battalions kept station- 
ary by the guns of these two formidable floating batteries, and it was clear 
that no attempt to extricate them could be made without great loss, unless 
under cover of nights Duiing the whole of the 24th, therefore, they re- 
mained in this uncomfortable situation ; but as soon as darkness had well 
set in a change of position was effected. Withdrawing the troops, com- 
pany by company, from behind tho bank, Gkneral Keane stationed them 
in the village of negro huts ; by which means the high road was aban- 
doned to the protection of a picket, and the lefl of the army covered by a 
large chateau. 

" Being now placed beyond risk of serious annoyance from the ship- 
ping, the whole army remained quiet for the night How long we were 
to continue in this state nobody appeared to know ; not a whisper was 
circulated as to the time of advancing, nor a surmise ventured respecting 
the next step hkely to be taken. In our guides, to whose rumors we had 
before listened with avidity, no further confidence was reposed. It was 
quite evident, either that they had purposely deceived us, or that their in- 
formation was gathered from a most imperfect source ; and hence, tiiough 
they were not exacUy placed in confinement^ they were strictly watched, 
and treated more like spies than deserters. Instead of an easy conquest^ 
we had ahready met with a vigorous opposition ; instead of finding the in- 
habitants ready and eager to join us, we found the houses deserted, the 
cattle and horses driven away, and every appearance of hostility. To 
march by the only road was rendered impracticable, so completely was it 
commanded by the shipping. In a word, all things had turned out dia- 
metrically opposite to what had been anticipated ; and it appeared thai 
instead of a trifling aflair, more likely to fill our pockets than add to our 
renown, we had embarked in an undertaking which presented difficulties 
not to be surmounted without patience and determination." 

To which a passage from the narrative of Captain Cooke 
may be added, though his censures of General Keane are un- 
just. For General Keane to have advanced, on the 24th, in 
the face of such a fire, and against a city which he still sup- 
posed to swarm with troops, would have been the height of 
rashness, even if it had been possible, which it, probably, 

VOL. n. — 8 


** Tne morning of the 24th/' says Captain Cooke, " broke sluggishly 
and the smoking ports of the sloop (it was a sore thorn in the side of the 
British headquarters) still projected its iron thunder amongst the besieged, — 
for how can persons be designated otherwise under such circumstances t 
The British troops would have been too glad to have been ordered to ad- 
vance from a spot where they were so annoyed. And, by marching on the 
skirts of the wood on their right^ they might have reached New Orleans, 
free from harm of any consideration, at the distance of a mile from the 
American sloop and the ship of sixteen guns, and also nearly three quarters 
of a mile from the crcscnt battery, which, being isolated, and once turned, 
would have been no longer tenable 

" As a proof thereof this Held- work, which was open from behind, in 
the end swelled into importance, as a sort of memento of the utter want if 
enterprise on the part of the British general. And in front of this battery 
hinged a series of military maneuvers more remarkable than perhaps is to 
be shown in the annals of the world. And, alas, it proved too true that 
insignificant objects are not to be despised, and left to be captured at the 
will and pleasure of the dilatory. 

" The whole of this day was lost by the British general, and thereby 
gained by his opponent, the former preferring to keep his troops under an 
irritating fire rather than move on. Every five minutes gained by the 
Americans was of vital importance, and every hour lost by the British, 
who were waiting for reinforcements, was the coming death-blow to their 
final hopes of success; for fresh troops and guns were in like manner com- 
ing from a distance to the assistance of Gkneral Jackson, and the hopes of 
the Americans were excited, supposing the Brirish were really crippled, 
which was not the case. The whole of this day most of the people, now 
placed under martial law in New Orleans, were anxiously looking for the 
entrance of the British, minute afler minute, and were lost in chagrin and 
amazement when night again closed without their entrance into the city." 
[Who told you that, Captain 7\ 

" By the morning of the 25th, all the scattered remains of the British 
force were landed by piecemeal, hour after hour, from the Isle aux Poix, 
owing to the prodigious exertions of the sailors. All eyes were still cast 
on the American schooner, whose sides still smoked by day, and at night 
▼omited iron harbingers from its ports into the bivouac of the Britisli, so 
that, in point of fact, the city of New Orleans and General Jackson now 
heeame only a secondary consideration, and the discussion was how to get 
rid of this watery dragon ; for the destruction of which heavy guns were 
lent for to the fleet, if possible, to blow her out of the water. 

" Gkneral Jackson, profiting by this floating deception, placed there to 
•Uare the British general, took advantage of his own maneuver, which, 
fortunately for him, had the desired effect; and he prolonged the broad dilok 


by making a cut across the high road to the bank of the Mississippi, about 
one hundred jai ds behind the crescent battery on the high road. 

" This work was executed as a sort of forlorn hope to save New Or- 
leans even for a day. And behind this cut and the ditch the American 
general, with the most prompt dispatch, constructed a barricade of nearly 
three quarters of a mile in leugih, extending from the Mississippi on his 
right to the impassable wood on his left, all across a flat and naked plain, 
and within a few hundred yards of the British out-guards. 

" The manner of putting this barricade together was most curious, as, in 
the first instance, detached barrels and sugar casks were brought up and 
left here and there standing isolated, the apertures between them being 
filled up with mud and all sorts of odds and ends placed along the edge of 
the ditch, so as to form a temporary screen to protect the defenders against 
nmsketry ; the barricade, being liardly breast high, looked like some con- 
temptible expedient, but the ditch, ten feet wide and two or three feet 
deep, protected this barricade in front, making a pretty tolerable field posi- 
tion in the first instance. 

*' Four heavy pieces of cannon were now in the crescent battery, which 
made it somewhat more respectable. The rude barricade, as a war strat- 
agem, was botched together in a sore, straggling way, but was added to 
and improved in strength from hour to hour, and the interstices betwixt 
the casks and other crevices of these rough and ready materials were 
caulked up with mud and other materials first coming to hand. All this 
labor was executed without any annoyance from the British advanced 
posts, and actually within one mile and a quarter of their headquarters, by 
a defeated mass of peasantry, who only stood their ground because no one 
molested them. And perhaps history affords no example of a similar ex- 
pedient being executed under suob circumstances across a naked plain ** 

Another officer, Captain Hill, of the artillery, posted at the 
landing place to hurry forward the guns, tells us that ." the 
day dragged on most miserably ; at the arrival of every boat 
my inquiries were renewed about ^ these vile guns,' but noth- 
ing satisfactory could I learn. Small parties of troops con- 
tinued to land, and were immediately sent forward. Amongst 
the officers I encountered many old acquaintances, who were, 
for the most part, extremely anxious in their inquiries of 
what had already occurred ; and some absolutely expressed 
their fears that they should be too late to see a shot fired, as, 
before they got up to their brigades, they imagined New Or- 
leans must be in the possession of the British* These appre- 

116 LIFE OF ANDREW JA0K80K. [1814 

hensions I very easily quieted, giving them my honest opin- 
ion that we should find more difficulty in the conquest than 
had been anticipated ; and from no other cause than the dis- 
tance we wore from our supplies, and the various obstac'es 
existing to the transport of troops and ammunition,'' 

The omnipresent activity of General Jackson on this im- 
portant day no words can adequately describe. We catch 
brief glimpses of him, in the various narratives, riding along 
the rising line of embankment, cheering on the laboring troops, 
cheered by them as he passed, suggesting expedients here, ap- 
plauding those of others there, passing quick decisive judg- 
ments on the plans of the engineers, sending oflf aids, hearing 
reports, spying the enemy through his glass, keeping every 
man at his utmost stretch of exertion. It was not the enemy 
in his front that gave him the most anxious concern ; for he 
felt that, for the moment, he was master of the situation 
there. But he had been surprised once, in spite of all his 
vigilance. Might he not be surprised again ? There were so 
many avenues of approach to the city. Might not the seem- 
ing inactivity of the enemy be a feint, designed to cover a 
landing elsewhere ? A party was sent, in the course of the 
day, to Barrataria, under the command of Major Reynolds, 
and the guidance of Jean Lafitte, to resist any attempts in 
that region ; at least, to give timely notice if the enemy 
should enter the bay. Messengers were dispatched to all 
other vulnerable points, exhorting and commanding the pick- 
ets and garrisons to sleepless vigilance. " The battery I have 
placed under your command," he wrote to Major Lacoste, at 
the Chef-Men teur, " must be defended at all hazards. In you 
and the valor of your troops I repose every confidence ; let 
me not be deceived. With us every thing goes on well ; the 
enemy has not yet advanced. Our troops have covered them- 
selves with glory ; it is a noble example, and worthy to be 
followed by all. Maintain your post, nor ever think of re- 
treating." Major Latour was hurried oflf with a reinforce- 
ment of two hundred men to strengthen the post ; for, among 
the rumors of the day, was one that the enemy were prepar- 


ing to attack the half-finished works at the head of Lake 

There was no rest for General Jackson, and, what waa 
more remarkable, he seemed to need none. Major Eaton 
makes a statement on this subject which severely tasks the 
credulity of his readers. "The concern and excitement," .^ -> 

says Eaton, " produced by the mighty object before him, were J l- "- \i 
such as overcame the demand of nature, and for Jive days ' i-*-^ 

and four nights he was without sleep, and constantly em- / / / ; 

ployed. His line of defense being completed on the night of ) ' / * 

the 27th, he, for the first time since the arrival of the enemy, 
retired to rest and repose." Edward Livingston, in careless, 
familiar conversation, used to say, "three days and three 
nights. Nor, during these days," the same gentleman was 
accustomed to say, "did the General once sit at table or 
take a regular meal. Food was brought to him in the field, 
which he would oftenest consume without dismounting, and 
always without discontinuing the transaction of business." 
When Mr. Livingston, fearful of the consequences of such 
unremitted toil upon a constitution severely shattered, would 
remonstrate with him, and implore him to take some repose, 
he would reply : " No, sir ; there's no knowing when nor 
where these rascals will attack. They shall not catch m*^ 
unprepared. When we have driven the d — d red coat viUains 
into the swamp, there will be time enough to sleep." 

And on this busy Saturday, the day before the best day 
of the Christian year, while such events as these were trans- 
piring on the Delta of the Mississippi, what a different scene 
was enacting at Ghent, three thousand miles away 1 In Sen- 
ator Seward's Life of John Quincy Adams we read : " Mr. 
Todd, one of the Secretaries of the American Commissioners, 
and son-in-law of President Madison, had invited several gen- 
tlemen, Americans and others, to take refreshments with him 
on the 24th of December. At noon, after having spent some 
time in pleasant conversation, the refreshments entered, and 
Mr. Todd said : * It is ttoelve o'clock. Well, gentlemen, I anr 
nounce to you that peace Acw been made and signed between 




118 LIVE OV AKDBSW JA0K80K. [1814 

America and England.' In a few momentSy Messrs. Qallatin, 
Clay, Carroll and Hughes entered, and confirmed the annun* 
ciation. This intelligence was received with a burst of joy 
by all present The news soon spread through the town, and 
gave general satisfaction to the citizens. At Paris the intel- 
ligence was hailed with acclamations. In the evening the 
theaters resounded with cries of ^ God save the Americans.' '' 
Had there then been an Atlantic telegraphic cable I 1 



A MERBY Christmas, I had almost written ; foi, indeed, 
there was merriment in both armies on that Christmas Sun- 
day, that doubly sacred festival of the religion of peace and 
good will. 

The American troops, at work all day upon the entrench- 
ments, under the eye of a leader in whom they confided, and 
whose approving word was felt to be reward enough, were 
very cheerful, and not unfrequently gay and hilarious. From 
earliest dawn to latest dusk the work went on ; the entire 
available brain and muscle, both of the city and the army, 
being concentrated upon the single object of rendering the 
lines impregnable. With one exception, every horse in New 
Orleans was employed in the public service, also all oxen and 
mules. Whoever could dig, whatever could draw, whoever 
could devise and direct, whatever tool or instrument could be 
turned to account, was drawn into that vortex of devoted and 
cheeerful endeavor.* 

* The foUcwiDg stoiy (from the Cleyeland, Ohio, Review) seems to rest oo 
good authority. It is probable enough : — " Captain Shrove was oommander of a 
vessel which plied the * Father of Waters,' and which, during the period Genenu 
Jackson had New Orieans under martial law, made its appearance at the levee 
of tiiat dsy. General Jackson, being apprised of Uie arrival of the vessel, at 


One horse alone^ as I have said^ was exempt. To Edward 
Livingston, as a special mark of favor, and for a purpose only 
^ess dear to Jackson's heart than Livingston's, was granted 
the privilege of retaining one of his horses from the publio 
service. In the minds of all the people there was some dim 

KDt fi>r Captain Shreve, and announced to him that he should consider himself 
his crew and vessel, as in the service of Grovemmenl, and hold himself in readi- 
ness to discharge anj duty that might be imposed upon him. Captain Shreve 
accepted the conditions, and obtained permission from General Jackson to make 
some repairs to his vessel, before being compelled to do active service. 

'* While these repairs were in progress, and the British army was diuly ex 
pocted, a number of citizens applied to Captam Shreve, requesting him to con- 
vey their &milies fifty miles up the river to a place of safety. The Captain 
explained his situation, but assured them that if they could obtain Grcneral Jack- 
son's coDsent, he would himself interpose no objection. A deputation of the dti- 
sens applied to General Jackson, and obtained his consent. Captain Shreve had 
freighted his vessel with many ladies and children, and a quantity of valuable 
goods, when he received a message from General Jackson, ordering him to per- 
fana some service, which would compel him to discharge liis living freight, and 
disarrange bis plans. Captain Shreve bluntly told the officer who bad brought 
the message that he would not obey the order. The officer expostulated with 
Shreve, and held up to hun the terrors of Jackson's displeasure ; but Shreve 
was built of quite as unbending metal as General Jackson, and indignantly r&> 
fhaed to do the bidding. 

** The officer returned to the ' old chie^' and detailed to him Captain Shreve's 
reftisaL In a towering passion, the General ordered a file of men to arrest Shreve^ 
■Dd bring him into his presence. 

little time elapsed before the enraged Captain stood in the presence of the 
GeneraL The latter, fiercely eyeing Captain Shreve, in a voice husky with in- 
tenae passicm, made the Inquiry : 

" 'By \, Captain Shreve, dare you disobey my orders V 

" * Yes, by , I dare V was the vehement reply of the undaunted Captain. 

*' Jackson could not repress the expression of surprise which spread itself over 
his &oe at the unexpected reply of the daring Captain, and, in a tone of voice 
coosiderably milder than his first inquiry, bade Shreve explain his conduct. 
Upon the explanation being given, Jackson dismissed him, simply saying that 
be had forgotten his promise to the citizens, whose wives and children Captain 
Shreve then had unon his vessel 

" During Jackson's presidency Congress made appropriations for the removal 
of the snags, which made the navigation of the Mississippi river very dangerous. 
Notwithstanding that many of his political friends applied to General Jackson 
to secure the appointment to superintend that important work, and that Captain 
Shreve was his political enemy. General Jackson persisted in awarding the place 
to the stem and honest old captain ; and the soccess with which he performod 


outline of a plan to be pursued in case the enemy should take 
the city. Such confidence had Edward Livingston in the 
aonor and humanity of the Barratarian chiefs, that he had 
assigned to Pierre Lafitte the chaise of his beloved wife and 
child. If the British should succeed in penetrating the lines, 
Pierre, whose post was at Fort St. John, two miles above the 
city, was to hasten to Livingston's residence, and convey to 
a place of safety, in a little chaise that stood ready for the 
pui'pose, Mrs. Livingston and her daughter, then a beautiful 
child of seven, afterwards famous as Cora Livingston, the 
belle of Washington in President Jackson's day. It is 
pleasant to know that the grim and steadfast warrior, amid 
all the hurly-burly of the siege, found time to love and caress 
this little girl, and win her heart. She sat in his lap and 
played around his high splashed boots, at headquarters, while 
he was busied in the afiairs of his great charge. All children 
loved this man, and liked to get very close to him, and be 
noticed and fondled by him ; but none loved him better than 
this fair child, who saw him first when he was in his fiercest 
mood, worn with war, disease and care. Nothing could ex- 
ceed his tenderness to her. For her sake, and for the sake 
of those who loved her, he allowed one poor nag to repose in 
his stable, while every other serviceable quadruped was hard 
at work in the soft mire and cold mist of the delta. 

There was no exemption for men, however. Even those 
fathers of families whom Major Planch^ commanded found 
it hard to get permission to go to town for an hour or two. 
Some of them were a whole week at the lines without seeing 
their families. Nay, the gentlemen volunteers who surrounded 
the General's person, and over whom he had no military au- 
thority, discovered that he had taken them at their word very 
literally, and expected them to set an example of endurance 

Ihe duty attested Jackson^s sagacity. Shreve invooted apparatus adapted to 
the prosecution of the work, and completed it to the satiafaction of all interested ; 
tnd at a late day succeeded in removing the g^reat Rod river raft, which had 
been considered impracticable. This raft waa over thirty miles in length, and 
for years had blocked up the entire river." 


and diligeQce. It may have been on this Christmas day thai 
a pretty scene occurred between the General and Louis Liv- 
ingston (a fine, gallant youth of sixteen, the son of Edward 
Livingston), which shows at once the delicacy and the firm- 
ness of Jackson^ 

" May I go to town to-day, General ?" asked the young 
man who had been complimented with the title of Cap- 

" Of course. Captain Livingston," rephed the General, 
'* you may go. But ought you to go ?" 

The youth blushed, bowed, saluted ; and, withdrawing 
without a word, returned to his duty. 

The ladies of the city were all assiduity. There was work 
enough for every kind heart and nimble hand in New Orleans. 
A hundred wounded soldiers, and as many more sick from 
exposure were tenderly cared for by the Ursuline sisters, who 
were, and are, ever prompt where suffering and danger unite 
to repel aU who are less fearless and devoted than themselves. 
Coffee's ragged heroes were soon supplied with the most essen- 
tial articles of clothing, through the generosity and diligence 
of the sewing circles. Major Eaton, writing years after and 
from the midst of the men whom the ladies of New Orleans 
had relieved, and speaking, as it were, for them, says : 
" Such generous conduct, in extending assistance at a mo- 
ment when it was so much needed, while it conferred on those 
females the highest honor, could not fail to nerve the arm of 
the brave with new zeal for the defense of their benefactresses. 
This distinguished mark of their patriotism and benevolence 
is still remembered, and often as these valiant men are heard 
to recount the dangers they have passed, and with peculiar 
pride to dwell on the mingled honors and hardships of the 
campaign, they breathe a sentiment of gratitude to those who 
conferred upon them such distinguished marks of their kind- 
ness, and who, by timely interference, alleviated their misfor- 
tunes and their sufferings." 

The light of that Christmas morning found the English 
Army disheai'tened^ almost to the degree of despair. ^^ I shall 


3at my Christmas dmner in New Orleans/' said Admiral 
Cochrane on the day of the landing. The remark was re- 
ported by a prisoner to General Jackson, who said, ^^ Perhaps 
so ; but I shall have the honor of presiding at that dinner.'' 
As usual, when affairs go wrong, the General in conmiand 
was the scapegoat. By every camp-fire, in every hut, at every 
outpost the conduct of General Keane was severely criticized. 

" Why, Wilky," asked an officer, who arrived some days 
after the landing of the British advance — " why, Wilky, how 
is it that you have not provided us with good quarters in New 

Orleans, as we expected ? Why, what the d ^1 have you 

been about ?" 

" At this question," says Captain Cooke, who tells the 
story, " Wilkinson looked exceedingly vexed, and, clapping 
his hands to his forehead, and coloring up deeply, he turned 
away, stamping his foot, according to his usual custom when 
put out, and giving his arm a peculiar swing, answered, 

" * Oh ! say no more about it.' 

" And then placing his arm within mme, we paced up and 
down for a long time, when he opened such a budget of as- 
toimding information, concerning the hesitation shown for the 
previous days, as to make the very military blood curdle in 
one's veins. And, on being further questioned by myself, as 
to the groat stoppage, answered — 

" ' Bullets stopped us — ^bullets — that's all 1' 

" But declared that the lines in front were now grown 
formidable, and that the only chance of taking them was by 
a well-concerted and simultaneous rush, when, should the 
ditch prove too deep in front of these lines, short-planked 
ladders would be the only means to cross it, by raising them 
on end, and letting them drop across the ditch, and then for 
the assailants to run over them." 

Such was the feeling of the British army, and such will 
ever be the feeling of an army that is " stopped" in its career 
of expected triumph by any cause whatever. 

Though this was the habitual feeling of the British 
troops from the night of the twenty-third until the end, 


yet an event on this Christmads morning occurred which, foi' 
the time, dispelled the prevailing gloom. This wajs the 
sudden arrival in camp, to take the command of the troops, 
of Major General Sir Edward Pakenham, and with him, as 
second in command, Major General Samuel Gibbs ; ^besides 
several staff officers of experience and distinction. In a mo- 
ment hope revived and animation reappeared. General Pak- 
enham, the brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington, a 
favorite of the Duke and of the army, was of North of Ire- 
land extraction, like the antagonist with whom he had come 
to contend. Few soldiers of the Peninsular war had won such 
high and rapid distinction as he. At Salamanca, at Badajoz, 
wherever, in fact, the fighting had been fiercest, there had 
this brave soldier done a man's part for his country, often 
foremost among the foremost. He was now but thirty-eight 
years of age, and the record of his bright career was written 
all over his body in honorable scars. Conspicuous equally for 
his humanity and for his courage, he had ever lifted his voice 
and his arm against those monstrous scenes of pillage and 
outrage which disgraced the British name at the capture of 
the strongholds of Spain ; hanging a man upon one occasion 
upon the spot, without trial or law, and thus, according to 
Napier, " nipping the wickedness in the bud." 

Surely this young captain, whose name is associated with 
victory, wiU speedily relieve his troops from their uncomfort- 
able position. Like so many other British soldiers, his ruling 
idea of warfare was to close with your enemy at the first 
moment possible, and achieve everything by that "simul- 
taneous rush" of which the irate Wilkinson spoke. 

The British service seems to develop every high and noble 
quality of man and soldier, except generalship. Up to the 
hour when the British soldier holds an independent com- 
mand he is the most assured and competent of men. Give 
him a plain, unconditional order — Go and do that — and he 
will go and do it with a cool, self-forgetting pertinacity of 
daring that can scarcely be too much admired. All of the 
man below the eye-brows is perfect. The stout heart, the 


high purpose, the dexterous hand, the enduring frame, are 
his. But the work of a general in command demands head 
— a cool, calculating head, fertile in expedients ; a head that 
is the controlling power of the man. And this article of 
head, which is the rarest production of nature everywhere, is 
one whiCh the brave British soldier is apt to be signally want- 
ing in ; and never so much so as when responsibility rests 
upon him. To such men as Andrew Jackson responsibility 
is inspii'ation ; to others it is paralysis. ^ 

General Pakenham inherited General Keane's erroneous 
information respecting Jackson's strength. Keeping this 
fact in view, his first measure seems judicious enough. Let 
us quote the Subaltern's account of Christmas day in the 
British camp : — 

" Hoping every thing from a change of leaders," says the 
Subaltern, " the troops greeted their new leader with a hearty 
cheer ; whilst the confidence which past events had tended 
in some degree to dispel returned once more to the bosoms 
of all. It was Christmas day, and a number of officers, club- 
bing their little stock of provisions, resolved to dine together 
in memory of former times. But at so melancholy a Christ- 
mas dinner I do not recollect at any time to have been pres- 
ent. We dined in a bam ; of plates, knives and forks, there 
was a dismal scarcity, nor could our fare boast of much 
either in intrinsic good quality or in the way of cooking. 
These, however, were mere matters of merriment : it was the 
want of many well-known and beloved faces that gave us 
pain ; nor were any other subjects discussed besides the ami- 
able qualities of those who no longer formed part of our mess, 
and never would again form part of it. A few guesses as to 
the probable success of future attempts alone relieved this 
topic, and now and then a shot from the schooner drew our 
attention to ourselves ; for though too far removed from the 
river to be in much danger, we were still within cannon-shot 
of our enemy. Nor was she inactive in her attempts to mo- 
lest. Elevating her guns to a great degree, she contrived 
occasionally to strike the wall of the building within whi 3h 


we sat ; but the force of the ball was too far spent to pone- 
trate, and could therefore produce no serious alann. 

" Whilst we were thus sitting at table, a loud shriek was 
heard after one of these explosions, and on running out we 
found that a shot had taken effect in the body of an unfortu- 
nate soldier. I mention this incident, because I never beheld 
in any human being so great a tenacity of life. Though 
fairly cut in two at the lower part of the belly, the poor 
wretch lived for nearly an hour, gasping for breath, and giv- 
ing signs even of pain. 

" But to return to my narrative : as soon as he reached 
the camp, Sir Edward proceeded to examine, with a soldier's 
eye, every point and place within view. Of the American 
army nothing whatever could be perceived except a corps of 
observation, composed of five or six hundred mounted rifle- 
men, which hovered along our front and watched our mo- 
tions. The town itself was completely hid, nor was it pos- 
sible to see beyond the distance of a very few miles, either in 
front or rear, so flat and unbroken was the face of the coun- 
try. Under these circumstances, little insight into the state 
of affairs could be obtained by reconnoitering. The only 
thing, indeed, which we could learn from it was, that while 
the vessels kept their present station upon the river no ad- 
vance could be made ; and, as he felt that every moment's 
delay was injurious to us, and favorable to the enemy, he re- 
solved to remove these incumbrances, and to push forward as 
soon as possible." 

To blow the Carolina out of the water, then, is General 
Pakenham's first resolve. Till that is done he thinks no 
movement of the troops is possible. "With incredible toil, 
nine field pieces, two howitzers, one mortar, a furnace for 
heating balls, and a supply of the requisite implements and 
ftmmur ition, were brought from the fleet and dragged to the 
British camp. By the evening of the 26th they have all ar- 
rived, and are ready to be placed in position on the levee as 
soon as darkness covers the scene of operations and silences 
the Carolina's exasperating fire. The little schooner lay near 


the opposite shore of the river^ just where she had dropped 
her anchor after swinging away from the scene of the night 
action of the 23d. There she had remained immovable ever 
since^ firing at the enemy as often as he showed himself. A 
succession of northerly winds and dead calms rendered it im* 
possible for Captain Henly to execute his purpose of getting 
nearer the British position, nor could he move the vessel 
higher up against the strong current of the swollen Mis- 
sissippi In a word, the Carolina was a fixture^ a floating 

What is very remarkable, considering the great annoyance 
caused by the fire of this schooner, she had but one gun, a 
long twelve, as Captain Henly reports, which could throw a 
ball across the river 1 

A considerable number of slaves found their way on this 
Christmas day to the British camp. Captain Hill tells us 
something about these fugitives, who afterwards gave so much 
diplomatic trouble : "Every thing," he says, "appeared much 
in the same state at headquarteris as when I had quitted it the 
past morning, with the exception that numerous slaves be- 
longing to the estate had returned to it, and many of them 
were busily employed under the direction of the commissaries. 
These negroes were all attired in a strange looking and rudely 
fashioned dress ; it was composed of a coarse French blanket, 
or horse-cloth, with loose sleeves and a hood ; their shoes 
weie made of bullock's hide undressed, with the hair on the 
outside, serving to display the extraordinary and ill-shaped 
feet which characterize an African. 

" While sauntering round the plantation, awaiting with 
all due patience the moment which was to deprive me of my 
present appointment, I was accosted by a young negro, of 
great intelligence of feature, who, in very excellent French, 
implored me to order a collar of spikes with which his neck 
was encompassed to be taken off. To my inquiries as to the 
reason of its being placed on him, he replied that as soon as 
he heard of the landing of the English he had endeavored to 
leave his master at New Oi leans, intending to join us ; his 


purpose was discovered, and his attempt punished by the 
coUar being fastened round his neck ; he had, however, fled 
to the wood, and made his way, with considerable difficulty, 
to the camp. He also explained, in piteous tones, that he 
had not been able to lie down since his flight, the collar being 
80 contrived as to prevent the wearer from using any other 
than an upright position. 

" This ingenious symbol of a land of liberty I took im- 
mediate measures to have removed at our farrier's forge ; and 
no sooner was the poor devil released from it than he threw 
himself upon the earth, and placed one of my feet upon his 
head, which instantly reminded me of the flrst meeting be- 
tween those dear friends of my youth, Crusoe and Friday. 
Lifting the boy from the ground, I asked him if he were dis- 
posed to work, pointing out his brethren following the orders 
of the civil officers ; he replied that he should much like to 
serve me if I would engage him ; that he had been accus- 
tomed to the care of horses ; could speak French, Spanish, 
besides a little English ; would be faithful and honest, wish- 
ing for no other reward but meat and drink, and implying 
that a slight refection at the present moment would be par- 
ticularly acceptable. Taking time to deliberate whether or not 
I could give the lad employment, I consigned him to the care 
of my servant, who, having drawn my rations, was enabled to 
o£fer his sable friend a substantial meal/' 

The headquarters of General Jackson were now at a man- 
sion-house about two hundred yards behind the American 
lines. From an upper window of this house, above the trees 
in which it was embosomed, the General surveyed the scene 
below ; the long line of men at work upon the entrenchments ; 
Hinds' dragoons maneuvring and gallopping to and fro be-- 
tween the two armies ; the Carolina and Louisiana in the 
stream vomiting their iron thunder upon the foe. With 
the ud of an old telescope, lent him by an aged Frenchman, 
which appears to have been almost the only instrument of the 
kind procurable in the place, he scanned the British position 
vudoosly and often. He was surprised, puzzled, and, perhaps. 


a little alarmed at the enemy's prolonged inactivity. What 
could they be doing down there behind the plantation houses ? 
Why should they, unless they had some deep scientific scheme 
on foot, quite beyond the penetration of a backwoodsman, al- 
low him to go on strengthening his position, day after day, 
without the slightest attempt at molestation ? It was not in 
the nature of Andrew Jackson to wait long for an enemy to 
attack. Too prudent to trust his raw troops in an open fight 
with an army twice his number, it occurred to him, on the 
afternoon of the 26th, that there might be another and a 
safer way to dislodge them from their covert ; at least, to dis- 
turb them in the development of whatever scheme they might 
be so quietly concocting. He sent for Commodore Patterson. 
Upon the arrival of the commodore at headquarters a short 
conference took place between the naval and the military 
hero. Then the gallant commodore hurries off to New Or- 
leans. His object is to ascertain whether a few of the mer- 
chant vessels lying idle at the levee can not be instantly 
manned, and armed each with two thirty-two pounders from 
the navy yard ; and if they can, to set them floating down 
toward the British position ; where, dropping anchor, they 
shall join in the cannonade, and sweep the plain from side to 
side with huge, resistless balls. Ko plantation houses, no 
negro huts, no shallow ditches, no attainable distance will 
then avail the invading host. 

Commodore Patterson could not succeed in his errand in 
time. But he bore in mind the Greneral's hint, and, in due 
time, acted upon it in another way with most telling effect, 
as shall shortly be shown. 

There was generalship in Jackson's idea. If it could have 
been canied out that night the enemy's position would have 
been utterly imtenable. With the dawn of the 27th, instead 
of doing what they did, they must have either advanced upon 
the lines and taken New Orleans or beaten a swift retreat to 
their shipping. Captain Cooke, in his involved, half-comio 
manner, remarks : " General Jackson throughout the oper- 
ations displayed the art of the engineer, combining at the 


same time the talent of the wary politician, and the polish of 
the finished negotiator, and wielding the weapons of war with 
vigorous decision, and with his pen finally transmogrifying 
an after defeat to his own advantage. He had amused the 
British generals for the space of four days and nights with 
a blustering fire from the sloop, he had turned every moment 
to his own account, brought up cannon to the barricades, and 
caused planking to be laid down for heavy artillery behind 
the ditch. And although the profile of the crescent battery, 
and the long line of naked barricade, and its rough exterior 
fiK», was not chiseled by the mason, and might have been 
laughed at by a Vauban, yet the sight of its smoking face 
caused the British general to half 



It was all over with the glorious little vessel. At dawn 
of day, on the 27th, the American troops were startled by the 
report of a larger piece of ordnance than they had yet heard 
from the enemy's camp. The second shot from the great guns 
placed by the British on the levee during the night, white 
hot, struck the Carolina, pierced her side, and lodged in the 
main hold under a mass of cables, where it could neither be 
reached nor quenched. And this was but the prelude to a 
furious cannonade, which sent the bombs and hot balls hiss- 
ing and roaring about her, penetrating her cabin, knocking 
away her bulwarks, bringing down rigging and spars about 
the ears of the astonished crew. Captain Henly replied as 
best he could with his single long-twelve ; while both armies 
Uned and thronged the levee, watching the unequal combat 
with breathless interest. 

No : not breathless. As often as the schooner was hit 
VOL. n. — 9 


cheers from the British troops rent the morning air; and 
whenever a well-aimed shot from the Carolina drove the Brit- 
ish gunners for a moment under the shelter of the leveo, 
shouts from the Americans applauded the devoted crew. Gen- 
eral Jackson was at his high window spying the combat 
Perceiving from the first how it must end, he sent an em- 
phatic order to Lieutenant Thompson, of the Louisiana, to 
get that vessel out of range if it was in the power of man to 
do it. General Pakenham stood on the levee near his guns 
cheering on the artillerymen. 

Half-an-hour of t)iis work was enough for the Carolina. 
" Finding," says Captain Henly, in his report to Commodore 
Patterson, with the blunt pathos of a sailor mourning for the 
loss of his vessel, " that hot shot were passing through her 
cabin and filling-room, which contained a considerable quan- 
tity of powder, her bulwarks all knocked down by the 
enemy's shot, the vessel in a sinking condition, and the fire in- 
creasing, and expecting every moment that she would blow up, 
at a little after sunrise I reluctantly gave orders for the crew 
to abandon her, which was effected with the loss of one man 
killed and six woimded. A short time after I had succeeded 
in getting the crew on shore, I had the extreme mortification 
of seeing her blow up. It affords me great pleasure to ac- 
knowledge the able assistance I received from Lieutenants 
Norris and Crawley and sailing-master Haller, and to say 
that my officers and crew behaved on this occasion, as well as 
on the 23d, when under your own eye, in a most gallant man- 
ner. Almost every article of clothing belonging to the officers 
and crew, from the rapid progress of the fire, was involved 
in the destruction of the vessel." 

The explosion was terrific. It shook the earth for miles 
around ; it threw a shower of burning fragments over the 
Louisiana, a mile distant ; it sent a shock of terror to thou- 
sands of listening women in New Orleans ; it gave a moment- 
ary discouragement to the American troops. The English 
army, whom the schooner's fire had tormented for four days, 
raised a shout of exultation, as though the silencing of that 


single gun had removed the only obstacle to their victorious 
advance. Captain Hill tells us that '^ among the crowd of 
spectators collected to witness the attack on the schooner were 
the Indian chiefs, who appeared deeply interested in the pro- 
ceedings ; and no sooner was the destruction effected than the 
prophet, in a fit of inspiration, commenced a palaver with his 
CO mtrymen, foretelling the complete success of our pale faces 
on the following day ; this was soon made known to us by 
Cyolonel NichoUs, who endeavored to impress upon us that we 
might depend on the predictions of this gifted seer." 

But the Louisiana was still above water, and apparently 
as immovable as the Carolina had been. Upon her the Brit- 
ish guns were immediately turned. To avail himself of a 
light breeze, or intimation of a breeze, from the east, Lieute- 
nant Thompson has spread all his sails. But against that 
steady, strong, deep current it availed not even to slacken the 
ship's cable. Bed hot balls fell hissing into the water about 
her, and a shell burst upon her deck, wounding six of the 
crew. " Man the boats," thundered the commander. A hun- 
dred men were soon tugging at the oars, struggling, as for 
more than life, to tow the ship up the stream. She moved ; 
the cable slackened and was let go ; still she moved slowly, 
steadily, and, ere long, was safe out of the deadly tempest, 
at anchor under the western shore, opposite the American 

Then it was our turn to lift the exulting shout, and cheer 
upon cheer saluted the rescued ship. The English soldiers 
heard the cheers as they were " falling in," three miles below. 
Every trace of discouragement was gone from both armies. 
The British now formed upon the open plain, without let or 
hindrance. The Americans could coolly estimate the success 
of the cannonade at its proper value. They had lost just one 
available gun, and saved a ship which, at one broadside, could 
throw eight twelve-pound balls a mile and a half. That was 
ibe net result of a cannonade for which the British army had 
toiled and waited a day and two nights. 

If the Englidi bad directed their fire first upon the Louuh 


Una, they could have destroyed both vessels. How aston- 
ishing that any man, standing where General Pakenham 
stood that morning, could have failed to perceive a fact so 
obvious ? The Louisiana had only to go a mile up the river 
to be out of danger. Half a mile made her comparatively 
safe. The Carolina was fully two miles below the point of 
safety. The half hour expended upon the schooner would 
have blown up the ship, and then at their leisure, they could 
have played upon the smaller vessel. And even if Captain 
Henly had slipped his cable and dropped down the stream past 
the British camp, the vessel would have been as effectually 
removed as she was when her burning fragments floated by. 

The twenty-seventh was a busy day in the American lines. 
They were still far from complete, and every man now felt 
that their strength would soon be put to the test. In the 
course of the day a twelve-pound howitzer was placed in 
position, so as to command the high road. In the evening a 
twenty-four was established further to the left, and early 
next morning another twenty-four. The crew of the Caro- 
lina hurried round to the lines to assist in serving these 
guns ; and on the morrow the Barratarians were coming 
down from Fort St. Johns to lend a powerful hand. The 
two regiments of Louisiana militia were added to the force 
behind the lines. All day long the shovel and the spade are 
vigorously plied ; the embankment rises ; the canal deepens. 
The lines nearest the river are strongest and best protected, 
and, besides, are concealed from the view of an approaching 
foe by the buildings of the Chalmette plantation, a quarter of 
mile below them. These buildings, which have served hitherto 
as the quarters of Hinds' dragoons, will protect the enemy 
more than they protect us, thinks the General, and orders 
them to be fired when the enemy advances. It was a mis- 
take, and the order, luckily, was only executed in part. Far 
to the left, near the cypress swamp, the lines are weakest, 
though there Coffee's Tennesseans had worked as only Cof- 
fee's Tennesseans could work, to make them strong. But 
there is a limit to the powers of even such stalwart and in 


domi table heroes as these, and there may be trouble to-morrow 
at the extreme left. 

How it fared with the English troops that day, and dur- 
ing the night that followed, the graphic and modest Subaltern 
shall relate : — 

" Having thus removed all apparent obstacles to his future progress, the 
general made dispositions for a speedy advance. Dividing the army into two 
columns^ he appointed Genera! Oibbs to the command of one, and General 
Eeane to the command of the other. The left column, led on by the latter 
officer, consisted of the ninety-fifth, the eighty-fifth, the ninety-third, and 
one black corps ; the right, of the fourth, twenty-first, Ibrty-fourth, and 
the other black corps. The artillery, of which we had now ten pieces in 
the field, though at present attached to the last column, was designed to act 
as circumstances and the nature of the ground would permit ; while the 
dragoons, few of whom had as yet provided themselves with horses, were 
aj^inted to guard the hospitals, and to secure the wounded from any and* 
den surprise or molestation from the rear. 

" But the day was too far spent in making these arrangSthents, and in 
clearing the way for future operations, to permit any movement before the 
morrow. The whole of the 27th was therefore spent in bringing up stores^ 
anmaunition, and a few heavy g^ns from the ships, which, being placed in 
battery upon the banks of the river, secured us against the return of oxxt 
floating adversary. All this was done quietly enough, nor was there any 
oanse of alarm till after sunset ; but from that time till towards dawn, we 
were kept in a constant state of anxiety and agitation. Sending down 
small bodies of riflemen, the American General harrassed our pickets, killed 
and wounded a few of the sentinels, and prevented the main body from 
obtaining any sound or refreshing sleep. Scarcely had the troops lain down, 
when ihej were roused by a sharp firing at the outposts, which lasted only 
tfll they were in order, and then ceased ; but as soon as they had dispersed, 
and had once more addressed themselves to repose, the same cause of alarm 
returned, and they were again called to their ranks. Thus was the entire 
nigLt spent in watching, or at best in broken and disturbed slumbers^ 
than which nothing is more trying, both to the health and spirits of aL 

" With the pickets, again, it fared even worse. For the outposts of an 
aimy to sleep is at all times considered as a thing impossible ; but in mod« 
em and civilized warfare they are nevertheless looked upon as, in some 
iegree, sacred. Thus, while two European armies remain inactively facing 
each otl:er, the out-posts of neither are molested, unless a direct attadc 
upon the main body be intended ; nay, so &r is this tacit good understand- 

134 LIFE OF ANDREW JA0K8OH. [1814. 

ing carried, that I have myself seen French and Bnglish sentinels not mors 
than twenty yards apart. But the Americans entertained no sooh chivalrio 
notions. An enemy was to them an enemyi whether alone or in the 
midst of five thousand companions; and they therefore coonted the death 
of every individual as so much taken jfrom the strength of the whole. In 
point of fact, they no doubt reasoned correctly, but to us at least it appeared 
an ungenerous return to barbarity. Whenever they could approach unper- 
ceived within proper distance of our watch fires, six or eight riflemen would 
fire amongst the party that sat round them, while one or two, stealing aa 
close to each sentinel as a regard to their own safety would permit^ acted 
the part of assassins rather than that of soldiers, and attempted to murder 
them in cold blood. For the officers, likewise, when going their rounds, 
they constantly lay in wait, and thus, by a continued dropping fire, they 
not only wounded some of those against whom their aim was directed, 
but occasioned considerable anxiety and uneasiness throughout the whde 

" It was on this night, and under these circumstances, that I was in- 
debted to the vigilance of my faithful dog for my life. Amid all the bustle 
of landing, and throughout the tumult of the nocturnal battle, she never 
Btrayad fix>m me ; at least, if she did lose me for a time, she failed not to 
trace me out again as soon as order was restored ; for I found her by my 
side when the dawn of the 24th came in, and I never lost sight of her 
afterwards. It was my fortune, on the night of the 26th, to be put in 
charge of an outpost on the led front of the army ; on such occasions I eel- 
dom experienced the slightest inclination to sleep ; and on the present I 
made it a point to visit my sentinels at least once in every half hour. 
Gk>ing my rounds for this purpose, it was necessary that I should pass a 
little copse of low underwood, just outside of the line of our videttes ; and 
I did pass it again and again without meeting with any adventure. But 
about an hour after midnight, my dog, which, as usual, trotted a few paces 
before me, suddenly stopped short at the edge of the thicket^ and began to 
bark violently, and in great apparent anger. I knew the animcd weQ 
enough to be aware that some cause must exist for such conduct; and I, 
too, stopped short, till I should ascertain whether danger was near. It 
was well for mo that I had been thus warned ; for at the instant of my 
halting about half a dozen muskets were discharged from the copse, the 
musdes of which, had I taken five steps forward, must have touched my 
body. The balls whizzed harmlessly past my head ; and, on my returning 
the fire with the pistol which I carried in my hand, the ambuscade broke 
op, and the party composing it took to their heels. I was Quixote enough 
to dash sword in hand into the thicket after them, but no one waited for 
me, so I oontiuued my perambulations in peace. 

« HaT>Hg continued this detestable system of warfare till towards mon^ 


ing^ the enemy retired, and left ii8 at rest But as soon as day began tm 
break our pickets were called in, and the troops formed in order of attack. 
The right column, under Gkneral Gibbs, took post near the skirts of the 
morass, throwing out skirmishers half way across the plain, whilst the left 
column drew up upon the road covered by the rifle corps, which, iu ex* 
tended order, met the skirmishers from the other. With this last diyision 
went the artiUery, already well supplied with horses ; and, at the signal 
i(iyen, the whole moved forward" 



The morning of the 28th of December was one of those 
perfect mornings of the southern winter, to enjoy which it is 
almost worth while to live twenty degrees too near the tropic 
of Cancer. Balmy, yet bracing ; brilliant, but soft ; inviting 
to action, though rendering mere existence bliss. The golden 
mist that heralded the sun soon wreathed itself away and van- 
ished into space, except that part of it which hung in glitter- 
ing diamonds upon the herbage and the evergreens that encir- 
cled the stubbled-co vered plain. The monarch of the day shone 
out with that brightness that neither dazzles nor consumes, 
but is beautiful and cheering merely. Gone and forgotten 
were now the lowering clouds, the penetrating fogs, the dis- 
heartening rains, that for so many days and dreary fearful 
nights had hung over the dark Delta. The river was flow- 
ing gold. " The trees," we are told,* " were melodious with 
the noisy strains of the rice-bird, and the hold/alseUo of that 
pride of southern ornithology, the mocking-bird, who, here 
alone, continues the whole year round his unceasing notes of 
exultant mockery and vocal defiance." 

It was one of Homer's mornings, or Boccaccio's, or Tas- 
lo's, or Shakespeare's ; who all so loved the dawning day, md 

* Jaoksoc and New Orleana^ p. 224. 


wrote of it with its own diamond-drops and sunbeams, and 
let the morning air blow over the page, which it still exhales 

Fly away, noisy rice-bird, and defiant mocking-bird. 
Music more noisy and more defiant than yours salutes the 
rising sun ; the rolling drum and ringing bugle, namely, that 
call twelve thousand hostile men to arms. "J^his glorious 
morning General Pakenham is resolved to have, at least, 
one good look at the wary and active foe that for five days 
has given pause to the invading army, and has not yet been 
80 much as seen by them. With his whole force he will march 
boldly up to the lines, and, if fortune favors, and the prospect 
pleases, he will leap over them into New Orleans and the 
House of Lords. A grand reconnoissance is the order of the day. 

The American general has not used his telescope in vain ; 
he is perfectly aware that an early advance is intended. Five 
pieces of cannon he has in position. The crew of the Caro- 
lina, under Lieutenant Crawley and Lieutenant Norris, Cap- 
tain Humphrey and his artillerymen, are ready to serve them. 
Before the sun was an hour on his diurnal way, " Jackson's 
anxious glances toward the city had been changed into ex- 
pressions of satisfaction and confidence by the spectacle of 
several straggling bands of red-shirted, bewiskered, rough and 
desperate-looking men, all begrimmed with smoke and mud, 
hurrying down the road toward the lines. These proved to 
be the Barratarians under Dominique You and Bluche, who 
had run all the way from the Fort St. John, where they had 
been stationed since their release from prison. They immedi- 
ately took charge of one of the twenty -four pounders." * And, 
what is of far more importance, the Louisiana, saved yester- 
day by the resolution and skill of Lieutenant Thompson, is 
ready, at a moment's warning, to let out cable and swing 
round, so as to throw her balls obliquely across the plain. 

And all this is hidden from the foe, who will know noth- 
ing of what awaits them till they have passed the plantation 
houses of Chahnette and Bienvenu, only five hundred yardi 
from the lines 1 

* Jadcaon aad New OrleaDS, page 226L 


General Jackson was not kept long in suspense. The 
spectacle of the British advance was splendid in the extreme, 
" Forward they came," says the author of Jackson and New 
Orleans, " in solid columns, as compact and orderly as if on 
parade, under cover of a shower of rockets, and a continual fire 
from their artillery in front and their batteries on the levee. 
It was certainly a bold and imposing demonstration, for such, 
as we are told by British officers, it was intended to be. To 
new soldiers, like the Americans, fresh from civic and peace- 
ful pursuits, who had never witnessed any scenes of real war- 
fare, it was certainly a formidable display of military power 
and discipline. Those veterans moved as steadily and closely 
together as if marching in review instead of ^ in the cannon's 
mouth.' Their muskets catching the rays of the morning 
sun, nearly blinded the beholder with their brightness, whilst 
their gay and various uniforms, red, grey, green and tartan, 
afforded a pleasing relief to the winter-clad field and the som- 
ber objects around." 

Thus appeared the British host to the gazing multitude 
behind the American lines ; for the author of the passage 
quoted learned his story from the lips of men who saw the 
dazzling sight. The Subaltern tells us how the American 
lines looked to the advancing army, and what reception 
greeted it. 

" The enemy's corps of observation (Hinds' dragoons) fell back as we 
advanced, without offering in any way to impede our progress, and it was 
impossible to guess, ignorant as we were of the position of the enemy's 
main body, at what moment opposition might be expected. Nor, in truth, 
was it a matter of much anxiety. Our spirits, in spite of the troubles of 
the nighty were good, and our expectations of success were high ; conse- 
quently, many rude jests were bandied about, and many oareless words 
spoken ; for soldiers are, of all classes of men, the freest from care, and on 
iHMt account) perhaps, the most happy. By being continually exposed to 
il^ danger with them ceases to be frightful ; of death they have no more 
(error than the beasts that perish ; and even hardships, such as cold, wet^ 
hunger, and broken rest^ lose at least part of their disagreeableness by the 
frequency of their recurrence. 

^ Moving on in this merry mood, we advanced about four or five miieR 


without tlie smallest check or hindrance, when, at length, we found <nir> 
BelTes in view of the enemy^s army, posted in a very advantageous man- 
ner. Abont forty yards in their front was a canal, which extended ttom 
the morass to within a short distance of the high road. Along their fine 
were thrown up breastworks, not indeed completed, but even now formid- 
able. Upon the road, and at several other points, were erected pcwetftil 
batteries, whilst the ship, with a large flotilla of gun-boats, [no^ 8ir>« no 
gun-boatsj flanked the whole position from the river. 

*' When I say that we came in sight of the enemy, I do not mean thai 
he was gradually exposed to us in such a manner as to leave time for oool 
examination and reflection. On the right, indeed, he was seen for some 
time ; but on the lefl a few houses built at a turning in the road entirely 
entirely concealed him ; nor was it till they had gained that taming, and 
beheld the muzzles of his guns pointed towards them, that those who moved 
in this direction were aware of their proximity to danger. But that danger 
was indeed near they were quickly taught ; for scarcely had the head of 
the column passed the houses, when a deadly fire was opened from both 
the battery and the shipping. That the Americans are excellent mark^ 
men, as well with artillery as with rifles, we have had frequent cause to 
acknowledge ; but, perhaps, on no occasion did they assert their daim to 
the title of good artillerymen more effectually than on the present Scarce 
a ball passed over, or fell short of its mark, but all striking full into the midst 
of our ranks occasioned terrible havoc. The shrieks of the wounded, there- 
fore, the crash of firelocks, and the fall of such as were killed, caused at first 
some little confusion; and what added to the panic was, that from the 
houses beside which we stood bright flames suddenly burst out The 
Americans, expecting this attack, had filled them with combustibles for the 
purpose, and, directing against them one or two guns, loaded with red-hot 
shot, in an instant set them on fire. The scene was altogether very sub- 
lime. A tremendous cannonade mowed down our ranks and deafened us 
with its roar, whilst two large chateaux and their out-buildings almoet 
scorched us with the flames and blinded us with the smoke which they 

" The infantry, however, was not long suffered to remain thus ezpoeed, 
but| being ordered to quit the path, and to form line in the fields, the artil- 
lery was brought up and opposed to that of the enemy. But the oonteet 
was in every respect unequal, since their artillery far exceeded ours, both 
in numerical strength and weight of metal. The consequence was that in 
half an hour two of our field-pieces and one field-mortar were dismounted; 
many of the gunners were killed ; and the rest, afler an ineffectual attempt 
to silence the fire of the shipping, were obliged to retire. 

" In the meantime the infantry, having formed line, advanced under a 
heavy dUcharge of round and grape-shot, till they were checked by the 


appearance of the canal Of its depth they were of course ignorant, ana 
to attempt its passage without having ascertained whether it could be 
forded, might have been productive of &tal consequences. A halt was 
accordingly ordered, and the men were commanded to shelter themselves 
as well as they could from the enemy's fire. For this purpose they were 
nurried into a wet ditch, of sufficient depth to cover the knees, where, 
leaning forward, they concealed themselves behind some high rushes which 
grew upon its brink, and thus escaped many bullets which fell around them 
in all directions. 

" Thus fared it with the left of the army, whilst the right, though leas 
exposed to the cannonade, was not more successful in its object The 
same impediment which checked one column forced the other likewise to 
pause, and, after having driven in an advanced body of the enemy, and 
endeavored without effect to penetrate through the marsh, it also was com- 
manded to halt In a word, all thought of attacking was for this day aban* 
doned, and it now only remained to withdraw the troops from their present 
perilous situation with as little loss as possible. 

" The ^j^t thing to be done was to remove the dismounted guns. Upon 
this enterprise a party of seamen was employed, who, running forward to 
the spot where they lay, lifted them, in spite of the whole of the enemy's 
fire, and bore them ofif in triumph. As soon as this was effected regiment 
after regiment stole away ; not in a body, but one by one, under the same 
discharge which saluted their approach. But a retreat thus conducted ne- 
cessarily occupied much time. Noon had therefore long passed before the 
last corps was brought off, and when we again began to muster twilight 
was approaching." 

Our lively friend Hill adds a few curious and interesting 
particulars : " The unfortunate blacks forming the West India 
regiments suffered most dreadfully from the change of climate 
and alteration of fare ; they were positively not only useless, 
but absolutely in the way. Several of these poor devils were 
observed huddled together, and exposed to fire ; they were de- 
sired to get under cover, to which they replied, 

" * No, tank you, massa, rader stay here and get killed at 
once ; never see de day go back to Jamaica, so me die now, 
tank you. No stand dem d — n cold and fog — no house to 
lib in — ^not warm clothes, so poor nigger him die like 

'^ There was too much truth in these words : it was an 
absolute cruelty to bring them on such a service, and 


evinced little judgment on the part of the adviser of such a 

" The troops were ordered to retain the line they now oo- 
cupied, and no further demonstration of advance was made. 
Close to the left of oiu- line stood the house and plantation 
of Monsieur Bienvenu. It was an elegant mansion ; much 
of the furniture had heen removed, but enough remained to 
mark the taste of the proprietor. In the hall, which was 
floored with variegated marble, stood two magnificent globes 
and a splendid orrery. One room contained a vast collection 
of valuable books. On entering a bed-room, lately occupied 
by a female of the family, as was apparent by the arrangement 
of toilet, etc., I found that our advance had interrupted the 
fair one in her study of natural history, a volume of Buffon 
was lying open on her pillow ; and it was evident that her 
particular attention had been directed to the domestic econo- 
my of the baboon and monkey tribe, slips of paper marking 
the highly colored portraits of these charming subjects for a 
lady's contemplation. 

" In spite of our sanguine expectation of sleeping that 
night in New Orleans, evening found us occupying our negro 
hut at Villerc's, nor was I sorry that the shades of night con- 
cealed our mortification from the prisoners and slaves. As 
for our allies, the Indians, they had not increased in number; 
the countless tribes promised by Colonel Nicholls had not yet 
appeared, the five or six red skins I have already named still 
hung about headquarters. The prophet, to avoid censure at 
the fallacy of his predictions, contrived to get gloriously drunk, 
nor was the king of the Muscogies in a much more sober state: 
his majesty had consoled himself for the ill-fortune of the day 
by going from hut to hut imploring rum and asserting that 
he * hungered for drink.' " 

What a day for the heroes of the Peninsula and the stately 
ninety-third Highlanders ! — ^lying low in wet ditches, some 
of them for seven hours, under that relentless cannonade, and 
then slinking away behind fences, huts, and burning houses, 
or even crawling along on the bottom of ditches, happy <o get 


beyond the reach of those rebounding bolls, that ^' knocked 
down tha soldiers/' says Captain Cooke, " and tossed them 
into the air like old bags/' And what a day for General 
Jackson and his four thousand, who saw the magnifiomt 
advance of the morning, not without misgivings, and then 
beheld the most splendid and imposing army they had ever 
seen sink, as it were, into the earth and vanish from their 
sight I This reconnoissance cost General Pakenham a loss 
of fifty killed and wounded. The casualties on the American 
side were nine killed and eight wounded. 

The ship Louisiana was the immediate cause of this day's 
signal triumph. Commodore Patterson gives a simple but 
interesting account in his dispatch to the Secretary of the 
Navy of what transpired on board : 

''At twenty-five minutes past eight a. m. the enemy opened their fire 
upon the ship, with shells, hot shot, and rockets, which was instantly re- 
turned with great spirit and much apparent efifect, and continued without 
intermission till one p. m., when the enemy slackened their fire, and re- 
treated with a part of their artillery from each of their batteries, evidently 
with great loss. Two attempts were made to screen one heavy piece of 
ordnance mounted behind the levee, with which they threw hot shot at 
the ship, and which had been a long time abandoned before they succeeded 
in recovering it, and then it must have been with very great loss, as I dis- 
tinctly saw, with the aid of my glass, several shot strike in the midst of the 
men (seamen) who were employed dragging it away. At three p. m. the 
enemy were silenced ; at 4 p. m. ceased firing from the ship, the enemy 
having retired beyond the range of her guns. Many of their shot passed 
over the ship, and their shells burst over her decks, which were strewed 
with their fragments ; yet, after an incessant cannonading of upwards of 
seven hours, during which time eight hundred shot were fired from the ship, 
one man only was wounded slightly by the piece of a shell, and one shot 
pused between the bowsprit and heel of the jib-boom. 

" The enemy drew up his whole force, evidently with an intention of 
ftssaulting General Jackson^s lines, under cover of his heavy cannon ; but 
his cannonading being so warmly returned from the Hues and ship Louis- 
iana caused him, I presume, to abandon his project, as he retired without 
making the attempt You will have learned by my former letters that the 
erew of the Louisiana is composed of men of all nations (English excepted), 
liken from the streets of New Orleans not a fortnight before the battle, yet 
I cerer knew guns better served, or a mo*'e animated fire, than was sup* 

142 LIFB OF ANDBEW JA0K80H. [1814 

ported from her. Lieutenant 0. OL B. Thompson deaerres great credit fat 
the discipline to which in so short a time he had brought sooh men, two- 
thirds of whom do not understand English." 

At the extreme left of Jackson's lines, a mile away from 
the river, where the ditch could be leaped, and the embank- 
ment easily surmounted, there was a moment which, rightly 
improved, might have given a different issue to the day. 
Upon getting sight of this rude line of defense, Greneral G-ibbs, 
instead of ordering the '^simultaneous rush" which would 
have carried them, was obliged to remember that the affiur 
was only a reconnoissancCy and so halted his eager colunm. 
A detachment under Colonel Bennie advanced, however, drove 
in the American outposts, and drew up in a sheltered position 
one hundred yards from General Carroll's division. Carroll's 
men, clamoring for a share in the day's work, their general 
permitted Colonel Henderson to lead a column of two hun- 
dred Tennesseans along the borders of the swamp, with the 
design of getting to the rear of Bennie's detachment and 
cutting it off. The attempt failed. A body of British troops 
concealed in the woods opened fire upon the column, killed 
Colonel Henderson and five of his men, wounded a few more, 
and compelled the rest to retreat behind the lines in confrision. 
At this moment, when Bennie, elated by the result, was ad- 
vancing on Carroll's division, and about to close with it, an 
imperative order from General Gibbs obliged him to retire. 
It is beyond question that a vigorous attack upon the left at 
that time would have given General Jackson more serious 
trouble than he had yet experienced during the campaign. 

It was in the midst of the confusion and alarm caused by 
the retreat of the Tennesseans and the threatened advance 
of Colonel Bennie that a circumstance occurred which greatly 
added to the prevailing excitement, and had a lasting effect 
upon the fame and peace of General Jackson. 

It was not to be expected, in any circumstances, that such 
a body of men as the Legislature of Louisiana would stand 
very high in the r^ard of such a man as Andrew Jackson, 



and the less since he derived his impressions of their character 
from men who were opposed to them politically and other- 
wise. To save New Orleans seems to have been the ruling 
desire of a majority of that body, whereas Jackson's first and 
great concern was to d^eat and destroy the British expedi' 
tion, even though that should involve the total destruction of 
the city. 

" What did you design to do," Major Eaton once asked 
the General, " provided you had been forced to retreat ?" 

" I should have retreated to the city," replied Jackson, 
•* fired it, and fought the enemy amidst the surrounding 
flames. There were with me men of wealth, owners of con- 
siderable property, who, in such an event, would have been 
among the foremost to have applied the torch to their own 
buildings, and what they had left undone I should have com- 
pleted. Nothing for the comfortable maintenance of the 
enemy would have been left in the rear. I would have de- 
stroyed New Orleans, occupied a position above on the river, 
cut off all supplies, and in this way compelled them to depart 
from the country." 

This being the temper of the General, he had given a 
somewhat rough welcome to a committee of the Legislature 
who had visited him a day or two before, to ask what course 
he intended to take in case he were compelled to retreat. 

" If," replied the General, " I thought the hair of my 
head could divine what I should do, forthwith I would cut it 
off; go back with this answer : say to your honorable body, 
that if disaster does overtake me, and the fate of war drives 
me from my line to the city, they may expect to have a very 

warm session." 

Such an answer could not be satisfactory to the more 
conservative and timid members of the Legislature. Still it 
led to no action on their part, nor even remonstrance. Indeed 
there had been no session of the Legislature since the 23d, 
or, if any, only a meeting of a few members followed by im- 
mediate adjournment. In a conversation in a private house, 
where seven or eight members chanced to meet, the Speaker 


The cannonade continued, and the General thought no 
more of the Legislature until the retreat of the enemy gave 
him leisure for further reflection. He then wrote a hasty 
note to the Governor, directing him to observe closely the 
movements of the Legislature, and the moment any project of 
capitulation should be disclosed to'place a guard at the door 
of their chamber. " My object in this," Jackson afterwards 
explained to his fiiend Eaton, ^^ was, that then they would 
be able to proceed with their business without producing the 
sUghtest injury ; whatever schemes they might entertain 
would have remained with themselves, without the power of 
circulating them to the prejudice of any other interest than 
their own. I had intended to have had them well treated 
and kindly dealt by ; and, thus abstracted from every thing 
passing without doors, a better opportimity would have been 
afforded them to enact good and wholesome laws." 

Governor Claiborne, however, misunderstanding General 
Jackson's communication, and, perhaps, not unwilling to si* 
lence a body that had not shown itself very complaisant to 
his wishes, placed a guard at the door of the chamber before 
the L^slature met ; and thus, instead of shutting them in, 
shut them out. The feelings of an august Legislature can be 
imagined, when, on approaching the door of their chamber, 
they found their entrance opposed by armed men, who, on 
being interrogated by them, gave rude and uncompromising 
replies. This was the beginning of General Jackson's long 
embroilment with the Legislature of Louisiana. Originating 
in the casual conversation of a group of members, magnified 
in the excited imagination of Colonel Declouet, misrepre- 
sented, in the bewilderment of the moment, by Mr. Duncan, 
misunderstood by Governor Claiborne, the affair grew into 
importance, and had results, the last of which was not 
reached until General Jackson was on the brink of the gruva 

Leaving the Legislature bandying loud epithets with th€ 
uncivil guard, we return, for a moment, to the scene of con- 
flict. The exultation, the gay confidence of the American 
troops at the close of this day, was beyond description. The 


" Where is the General ?" 

Major Planch^, alarmed at his manner, asked him what 
was the matter. To which Duncan replied, that he had just 
been told the L^slature were about to capitulate. 

" It is impossible," cried Planch6, as he pointed out the 
General riding swiftly along the lines. 

Jackson was, in fact, just returning from ordering Gen- 
eral Coffee to strengthen the extreme left, where the disorder 
had occurred. As Duncan ran up, the General perceiving 
his agitation, and supposing he brought important news of 
the enemy's movements, reined in his horse, when the follow- 
ing ronversation, as far as can be gathered from the various 
depositions, occurred between them : 

" What is the matter. Colonel Duncan ?" cried the Gen- 

" I am the the bearer of a message from Governor Clai- 
borne," said Duncan, " to the effect that the Assembly are 
about to give up the country to the enemy." 

" Have you a letter from the Governor ?" inquired Jack- 

" No, General," replied Duncan. 

" Who gave you the intelligence ?" Jackson asked. 

" Colonel Declouet," was the reply. 

" Where is Colonel Declouet ?" asked the General "He 
ought to be arrested, and if the information is not tnie he 
ought to be shot. I don't believe it." 

*• Declouet is gone back to New Orleans," said Duncan. 
^ He requested me to give you the information." 

Upon hearing this, the General loosened the reins, and 
was about to gallop on. Duncan called out to him, " The 
Governor expects your orders, General." 

Whereupon the General said, as he rode away, "I don't 
believe the intelligence ; but tell the Governor to make strict 
inquiry into the subject, and if they persist, to blow them 

The soldiers standing near caught the last words, and the 
ihout ran along tho lino-*" Blow them up 1" 

VOL. IIw— 10 


Bay, have done much honor to the State in turning out so generally as ihey 

* The city is now under complete martial bw, no men have i.ermisaion 
to leave town, and all who come in are compelled to join the army imme- 
diately. Our friends Thockmorton, Breedlove, and Richardson are here, 
and I expect will join our troop. William Bullit has become attached to 
Q(*neral Coffee's staff, as also General Poindexter. Very little business ia 
done of any kind in the city — all for fight Lavorty was made a prisoner 
of and sent on board of the fleet, as ali^o Robert Montgomery. John Scott 
has as yet escaped, but is still under arms. Our company all in tolerable 
healtli. Something decisive will bo done in a short time, after whirh I hop«> 
to see you."* 



Aye, what next ? General Pakenham had seen the 
American lines. The inference he drew from the sight was 
one of the strangest. One would have supposed that, with 
the first light of the next morning, he would have drawn away 
all his troops from the river, and, keeping near the swamp, 
have attacked the lines where General Gibbs had discovered 
them to be weakest. That General Jackson would have done 
BO was shown by what he did do ; for he, too, had discovered 
the nearly fatal weakness of his left, and lost not a moment 
in strengthening it with men, earth, labor, and cannon. But 
the British general, at a council of war, attended by Cochrane, 
Malcolm, Hardy, Trowbridge, Codrington, Gibbs, and Keane, 
came 1o the conclusion that the way to carry the American 
position was to make regular approaches to it, as to a walled 
and fortified city. Sevastopol anticipated and rehearsed I 
And, what is remarkable, the engineer who directed the con- 
Btruction of the British batteries on the Delta of the Missis- 

* NfW York Evening Post, Fobruaiy 1, 1815. 

1814.J WHAT NEXT? 149 

sippi was no other than that Sir John Burgoyne whom the 
Russians, with their hasty earth works, foiled in the Crimea 
for so many months, forty years after. 

During the last three days of the year 1814 the British 
army remained inactive on the plain, two miles below the 
American lines, and in full view of tliem, while the sailors 
were employed in bringing from the fleet thirty pieces of 
cannon of large caliber, with which to execute the scheme 
that had been resolved upon. " The ground which we now 
occupied," says the Subaltern, "resembled in almost every 
particular that which we had quitted. We again extended 
across the plain, from the marsh to the river ; no wood or 
cover of any description concealing our line, or obstructing 
the view of either army ; while both in front and rear was an 
open space, laid out in fields and intersected by narrow 
ditches. Our out-posts, however, were pushed forward to 
some houses, within a few hundred yards of the enemy'fl 
works, sending out advance sentinels even further ; and the 
headquarters of the army were established near the spot where 
the action of the 23d had been fought. 

" In this state we remained during the 29th, 30th, and 
31st, without any efforts being made to fortify our position 
or to annoy that of the enemy. Some attempts were, I be- 
lieve, set on foot to penetrate into the wood on the right of 
our line, and to discover a path through the morass, by which 
the enemy's left might be turned. But all of these proved 
fiiiitless, and a few valuable lives having been sacrificed, the 
idea was finally laid aside. In the meanwhile the American 
Greneral directed the whole of his attention to the stren<:cthen- 
ing of his post. Day and night we could observe numerous 
parties at work upon his lines, whilst from the increased num- 
ber of tents, which almost every hour might be discerned, it 
was evident that strong reinforcements were continually pour- 
ing into his camp. Nor did he leave us totally unmolested 
By giving his guns a great degree of elevation, he contrived 
At last to reach our bivouac, and thus were we constantly un- 
der a cannonade which, though it did little execution, proved 


nevertheless extremely annoying. Besides this, he now b^an 
to eriKst batteries on the opposite bank of the river, from which 
a flanking fire could be thrown across the entire fix)nt of his 
position. In short, he adopted every precaution which pm- 
dence could suggest, and for the reception of which the nature 
of his ground was so admirably adapted." 

General Jackson was busy indeed during those three days, 
[f, as Eaton says, he slept on the night of the 28th, he 
awoke the next mommg, a giant refreshed. The pen can 
scarcely keep up with the rapidity of his operations. Besides 
planting cannon or the left of his position, and pushing his line 
far into the swamp, he added new batteries and new strength 
to every part of the entrenchment. A new line of defense 
was begun two miles nearer the city ; a resort in case the 
main lines we^e carried. Major Latour was sent across the 
river to constmct works capable of resisting the enemy, if he 
should attempt to transfer the scene of operations to the other 
side. One Kundred and fifty negroes toiled zealously for six 
days in executing Latour's plans, which, afterward, proved 
to be work well bestowed. Captain Henly, of the late Caro- 
lina, fort^'fied and manned a brick kiln directly opposite the 
city. Commodore Patterson, since he could not succeed with 
the merchant vessels, did a better thing — ^landed heavy guns 
from the Louisiana, and established them on the right bank 
of tr^ river, opposite the lines, so as to sweep the plain in 
front of them, if ever again the enemy should dare to ap- 
proach. Meanwhile he rolled many a ponderous ball into 
the heart of their position, doing no great damage, but add- 
ing serioijisly to their discomfort. The streets of New Orleans 
were scoured day and night for sailors to man the ever-rising 
batteries. Every man that smelt of tar was seized and com- 
pelled to serve. The General requested the ladies of New 
Orlean** to search their garrets, ceUars, closets and drawers, 
and to Htbw forth from its hiding place every pistol, old mus- 
ket, fliT't^ sword, gun-barrel and ramrod that could be found ; 
for^ by the daily coming in of volunteers from up the river, 
anrii beginning to be most exasperatingly scarce. Al- 

1814] WHAT NEXT? Ifii 

ready there were hundreds of men whose arms were mere 
huntmg-knives and fowling-pieces, or muskets without flints 
or locks. A considerable number of the new troops had noth- 
ing but the spade or the pickax with which they worked on 
the lines. Express after express was dispatched up the rivei 
in search of that second load of muskets which the indignant 
Greneral knew was on the way, and the captain of which he 
ordered to be brought down a prisoner. Every morning, at 
dawn, the terrible Louisiana dropped down to the position 
she occupied on the 28th, and after firing all day upon every 
group of red-coats that could be descried, returned at night- 
£Edl to a safe place above the lines. ^ 

When night closed in upon the scene the activity and 
the vigilance of the Americans were redoubled. In his anx- 
iety to cut off all traitorous communication with the enemy, 
Jackson lined the banks of the Mississippi with sentinels, 
and kept watch-boats flitting to and fro upon the river. To 
test their eflSciency, he one night sent adrift from the levee 
of the city two empty flat-boats. They had not floated far to- 
ward the lines before they were hailed by the watchful boat- 
men, who, receiving no answer, gave the alarm, and woke the 
tiiunder of the Louisiana. Before they reached the lines the 
decoy-boats were knocked to pieces, and the General was 
satisfied that nothing could float down the river without 
being perceived.f Yet, along the skirts of the wooded 
swamp, some villians contrived to sneak to the British camp, 
and sold misleading intelligence to General Pakenham. No 
Americans did this. It is a peculiarity of the American 
Bcoandrel to love his country after a fashion, and to celebrate 
the Fourth of July in the State's prison with a kind of en- 
thusiasm. Men there were in Jackson's camp who wrought 
stoutly and fought valiantly through this campaign, who 
were in prison for capital offenses the hour before they 
grasped the patriotic spade or shouldered the patriotic mu»- 

The open plain between the two tumies was the scene of 

^ Latour, page 187. f Baton, page 350. 

152 LIFE OF ANDBEW JA0K8ON. [1814 

extraordinary operations during these and subsequent nights. 
No one has described this strange feature of the campaign 
with 80 much truth and spirit as the author of "Jackson and 
New Orleans." The Generai, thinks this author, need not 
have felt the anxiety he did for the security of his left, 
since the English troops, in terror of the Tennessee riflemen, 
kept as far as possible from that part of the lines. 

" These wily frontiersmen," continues Mr. Walker, '* habituated to the 
Indian mode of warfare, never missed a chance of picking off a strajrgler or 
sentinel. Clad in their dusky, brown homespun, they would glide un- 
perceived through the woods, and taking a cool view of tlic enemy's 
lines, would cover the first Briton who came within range of their long, 
small-bored rifles. Nor did they waste their ammunition. Whenever 
they drew a bccid on any object it was certain to fall. The cool indiffer- 
ence with which they would perform the most daring acts of this nature 
was amazincr. 

** One of these bush-fighters, having obtained leave to go on a hunting- 
party one night, stole along towards the British camp, over ditches and 
through underwood, until he got near a British sentinel, whom he imme- 
diately killed, and seizing his arms and accoutrements, laid them at some 
distance from the place where the sentinel had stood, and then concealing 
himself waited quietly for more game. When it was time to relieve the 
sentinel, the corporal of the guard, finding him dead, posted another in hia 
place, which he had hardly left before another victim fell before the unerr- 
ing rifle of the Tcnnessean. Having conveyed his arms and acooutrementa 
to the place at which he left those of the first victim, the remorseless hunter 
took a new position, and a third sentinel, posted in the same place, sliared 
the fate of the two others. At last the corporal of the guard, amazed to 
see three sentinels killed in one night at the same post, determined to ex- 
pose no more men in so dangerous a spot. The Tcnnessean, seeing this, 
returned to camp with the spoils of the slain, and received the congratula- 
tions of his comrades on the success of his night's hunt.* Many instances 
of a similar character, illustrative of the daring, the skill, and love of adven- 
ture of these hardy riflemen, are related by the survivors of that epoch. 
Indeed the whole army, after the events of the 23d, 25th, and 28th, seemed 
to be animated by a spirit of personal daring and gallant enterprise. 

" The plain between the two hostile camps was alive day and night 
with small parties of foot and horse, wandering to and fro in pursuit of ad* 
Venture, on the trail of reconnoiterers, stragglers and outpost sentinela 

* ICiyor Latour is the original authority lor this story, p. 128. 

1814.] WHAT NEXT? ISd 

TKe natural restlessness and nomadic tendency of the Americans were 
here conspicuously displayed, Afler a while there grew up a regular sci- 
ence in the conduct of these modes of vexing, annoying, and weakening 
the enemy. Their system, it is true, is not to be found in Vauban's, Steu- 
ben's or Scott's military tactics, but it, nevertheless, proved to be quite ef- 
fective. It was as follows: a small number of each corps, being permitted 
to leave the lines, would start from their position and all converge to a 
c«jntral point in front of the lines. Here they would, when all collected, 
make quite a formidable body of mun, and, electing their own com- 
mander, would proceed to attack the nearest British outpost, or advance in 
extended lines, so as to create alarm in the enemy's camp, and subject 
them to the voxation of being beaten to arms, in tlie midst of which the 
scoutiog party would be unusually unlucky if it did not succeed in 
** bagging" one or two of the enemy's advanced sentinels. Prominent 
among the bands which kept the Uiitish in perpetual alarm was the com- 
mand of the indefatigable Major Hinds, whose troopers from Mississippi and 
Louisiana were ever hovering about the English outposts, charging to the 
very mouths of their cannon, and driving in their pickets. Unfortunately 
for the British, so at least they thought, they were unable to mount their 
dragoons for field or fighting service ; and Hinds, having none of his own 
arm to try his mettle on, was couipulled to satisfy Ids impatient valor in 
unequal and iuefTectual but very dangerous, and to the British very vexa- 
tious, charges on tlur-ir redoubts and outposts. Hinds was of great use to 
Jackson in executing reconnoissances, which he always did with brilliant 
daring and success. As soon as the British would throw up a redoubt, or 
commence planting a battery in any new position, Jackson had only to say, 
* Major Iliud.^, report to me the number and cahber of the guns they are 
estabhshing there.' Immediately tlie stalwart trooper would form his dra- 
goons, and advancing in an easy trot until he had arrived within a few hun- 
dred yards of the object of the reconnois.sance, would order a charge, and, 
leading himself, would dash at full speed at the enemy's position, as near 
as was necessary to ascertain their strength and situation, and tlien wheel- 
ing under their fire and a shower of rockets, would gallop back to head- 
quarters and report to Jackson all the information he possessed. 

" In such incessant scouting parties and volunteer operations as we have 
described a majority of Jackson's command were engaged during the greater 
part of tlie night. So daring were these attacks that on more than one oo- 
casion the six-pounders were advanced from the lines and drawn within 
cannon shot of the outposts, when they would bo discharged at the senti- 
nels or any hving object, generally with some effect, and always with great 
terror to the British camp, causing a general apprehension that the Ameri- 
cans were advancing to attack them in full force 

" Aiicr midnight the skirmishers would return to their camp and resigD 


themselves to sleep, using for their beds the brush collected from the swamp; 
and the Tennesseans, who were encamped on the extreme left, lymg on 
gunwales or logs, raised a few inches above the surface of the water or soft 
mire of tlie morass. About two hours after daybreak a general stir would 
be observable in the American camp — ^this was for the general muster. 
Drums were then beaten and several bands of music— among which that 
of the Orleans battalion (Planch^'s) was conspicuous — ^would animate the 
spirits of tbe men with martial strains, that could be heard in the desolate 
and gloomy camp of the British, where no melodious notes or other sounds 
of cheerfulness were aUowed to mock their misery ; where not even a bugle 
sounded, unless as a warning or a summons of the guard to the relief of 
some threatened outpost." 

By the evening of the Slst December the thirty pieces of 
cannon from the fleet (twenty long eighteens and ten twenty- 
fours) had reached the British camp. All that day the 
Americans had been amused with a cannonade from a bat- 
tery erected near the swamp, under cover of which parties of 
English troops attempted, but with small success, to recon- 
noiter the American position. As soon as it was quite dark 
operations of far greater importance commenced. " One 
half the army," says the Subaltern, " was ordered out, and 
marched to the front, passing the piquets, and halting about 
three hundred yards from the enemy's line. Here it was r^ 
solved to throw up a chain of works ; and here the greater 
part of this detachment, laying down their firelocks, applied 
themselves vigorously to their tasks, while the rest stood 
armed and prepared for their defense. The night was dark, 
and our people maintained a profound silence ; by which 
means not an idea of what was going on existed in the 
American camp. As we labored, too, with all diligence, six 
batteries were completed long before dawn, in which were 
mounted thirty pieces of heavy cannon ; when, falling back a 
little way, we united ourselves to the remainder of the infan- 
try, and lay down behind the rushes in readiness to act as 
soon as we should be wanted. 

"In the erection of these batteries a circumstance occurred 
worthy of notice on account of its singularity. I have al- 
ready stated that the whole of this district was covered with 

1815.] newtsab'bdat. 155 

the stubble uf sugar cane^ and I might have added that every 
storehouse and barn attached to the different mansions scat- 
tered over it was filled with barrels of sugar. In throwing 
up these works the sugar was used instead of earth. Boiling 
the hogsheads towards the front, they were placed upright in 
the parapets of the batteries, and it was computed that sugar 
to the value of many thousand pounds sterling was thus dis- 
posed of." 


NEW year's DAT. 

The second Sunday of this strange mutual siege had come 
round. The light of another New Year's day had dawned 
upon the world 1 

The English soldiers had not worked so silently during 
the night upon their new batteries but that an occasional 
sound of hammering, dulled by distance, had been heard in 
the American lines. The outposts, too, had sent in news of 
the advance of British troops, who were busy at something, 
though the outposts could not say what. The veterans of 
the American army, that is, those who had smelt hostile gun- 
powder before this campaign, gave it as their opinion that 
there wotild be warm work again at daybreak. 

Long before the dawn the dull hammering ceased. When 
the day broke, a fog so dense that a man could discern nothing 
at a distance of twenty yards covered all the plain. Not a 
sound was^eard in the direction of the enemy's camp, nor 
did the American sentinels nearest their position hear or see 
anything to excite alarm. At eight o'clock the fog was still 
impenetrable, and the silence unbroken. As late even as nine, 
the American troops, who were on slightly higher ground 
than the British, saw little prospect of the fog's breaking 
%wajj still less of any hostile movement on the part of the 


foe. The veterans begin to retract their opinion. We are 
to have another day of waiting, think the younger soldiers ; 
the gay Creoles not forgetting that the day was the first of a 
new year. 

Tlie General conceding something to the pleasure-loving 
part of his army — ^permitted a brief respite from the arduous 
toil of the week, and ordered a grand review of the whole 
army on the open ground between the lines and his own 
headquarters. To-day, too, for the first time in several days, 
the Louisiana remained at her safe anchorage above the lines, 
and a large number of her crew went ashore on the western 
bank, and took post in Commodore Patterson's new battery 
there. But this was not for holiday reasons. A deserter 
came in the night before, and infonned the Conmiodore that 
the enemy had established two enormous howitzei's in a bat- 
tery on the levee, where balls were kept red-hot, for the pur- 
pose of firing the obnoxious vessel the moment she should 
come witliin range again. So the Commodore kept his vessel 
safe, landed two more of her gi*eat guns, and ordered ashore 
men cnoiii^li to work them. 

Toward ten o'clock the fog rose from the American posi- 
tion, and disclosed to the impatient enemy the scene behind 
the lines. A gay and brilliant scene it was, framed and cur- 
tained in fleecy fog. " The fog dispersed," remarks Captain 
Hill, " with a rapidity perfectly surprising ; the change of 
scene at a theater could scarcely be more sudden, and the 
bright sun shone forth, diffusing warmth and gladness." 
" Being at this time," says the Subaltern, " only three hun- 
dred yards distant, we could perceive all that was going for- 
ward with gi*eat exactness. The different regiments were 
upon parade, and, being dressed in holiday suits', presented 
really a fine appearance. Mounted oflBcers were riding back- 
wards and forwards through the ranks, bands were playing, 
and colors floating in the air ; — in a word, all seemed jollity 
and gala." The General-in-chief had not yet appeared upon 
the giound. He had been up and doing before the dawn 

1816.] NEW year's day. 157 

and was now lying on a couch at headquarters, before riding 
out to review the troops. 

In a moment how changed the scene ! At a signal from 
the central battery of the enemy, the whole of their thirty 
pieces of cannon opened fire full upon the American lines, 
and the air was filled with the red glare and hideous scream 
of hundreds of congreve rockets ! As completely taken by 
surprise as the enemy had been on the night of the tvventy- 
thirdj the troops were thrown into instantaneous confusion. 
"The ranks were broken/' continues the Subaltern, "the 
different corps dispersing, fled in all directions, while the 
utmost terror and disorder appeared to prevail. Instead of 
nicely-dressed lines, nothing but confused crowds could now 
be observed ; nor was it without much difficulty that order 
was finally restored. OA, that we had charged at that in- 
stant r 

The enemy, having learned which house was the head- 
quarters of the General, directed a prodigious fire upon it^ 
and the first news of the cannonade came to Jackson in the 
sound of crashing porticoes and outbuildings. During the 
first ten minutes of the fire, one hundred balls struck the 
mansion, but, though some of the General's suite were covered 
with rubbish, and Colonel Butler was knocked down, they all 
escaped and made their way to the lines without a scratch. 

The Subaltern is mistaken in saying that the troops fled 
in all directions. There was but one direction in which to 
fly either to safety or to duty ; for, on that occasion, the post 
of duty and the post of safety were the same, namely, close 
behind the line of defense. For ten minutes, however, the 
American batteries, always before so prompt with their re- 
sponsive thunder, were silent, while the troops were running 
in the hottest haste to their several posts. 

Ten guns were in position in the American lines, besides 
those in the battery on the other side of the river. Upon 
Jackson's coming to the front, he found his artillerymen at 
their posts, waiting with lighted matches to open fire upon 
Uie foo, as soon as the dense masses of mingled smoke and 


mist that enveloped their batteries should roll away. ^' Jack* 
son's first glance/' as Mr. Walker informs us, '^when he 
reached the line, was in the du-ection of Humphrey's battery. 
There stood this right arm of the artiUery, dressed in his usual 
plain attire, smoking that eternal cigar, coolly leveling his 
guns and directing his men. 

" * Ah 1' exclaimed the General, ^ all is right ; Humphrey 
is at his post, and will return their compliments presently.' 

^^ Then, accompanied by his aids, he walked down to the 
left, stopping at each battery to inspect its condition, and 
waving his cap to the men as they gave him three cheers, and 
observing to the soldiers, 

'^ ^ Don't mind those rockets, they are mere toys to amuse 
chUdrcn.' "» 

Colonel Butler, whom the General had seen prostrated at 
headquarters, came running up to the lines covered with dust. 
" Why, Colonel Butler," roared the General, " is that you ? 
I thought you were killed." 

" No, General ; only knocked over." 

Captain Humphrey soon caught a glimpse of the British 
batteries ; structures of narrow front and slight elevation, 
lying low and dim upon the field ; no such broad target as 
tlie mile-long lines of the American position! Adjusting a 
twelve- pounder with the utmost exactness, he quietly gave 
the word, 

" Let her off." 

And the firing from the American lines began. The other 
batteries instantly joined in the strife. Ere long the British 

* " As to the rockets employed by the Austrian artillery, we can not oonoeal 
oar astonishment at seeing two whole regiments organized for the use of these 
playthings. The effect of the rockets was absolutely null on our infantry and 
cavalry, and tlie French were at lost as much amused by them as by ordinary 
fireworks. At Solfbrino, all the cavalry of the guard, amounting to six regi- 
monts, remained half the day exposed to a regular shower of those projectiles; 
At times the reports of their harmless explosions almost drowned the roar of Gen- 
eral Soleillo's artillery, though his forty-two guns kept up an unceasing fire. I 
have not heard of either man or horse being killed by these rockets." — FarU 
Kewapiper^ July^ 1859. Nan'cUive of BcUUe of SoJ/erino, 

1815.1 NBW tear's DAT. 159 

howitzers on the levee and the battery of Commodore Patter- 
son on the opposite bank exchanged a vigorous fire. For the 
space of an hour and a half a cannonade so loud and rapid 
shook the delta as had never before been heard in the western 
world. Vain are all words to convey to the unwarlike reader 
an idea of this tremendous scene. Imagine fifty pieces of can- 
non, of large caliber, each discharged from once to thrice a 
minute ; often a simultaneous discharge of half a dozen pieces ; 
an aveiBge of two discharges every second ; while plain and 
river were so densely covered with smoke that the gunners 
aimed their guns from recollection chiefly, and knew scarcely 
any thing of the effect of their fire. 

Well aimed, however, were the British guns, as the Ameri- 
can lines soon began to exhibit. Most of their balls buried 
themselves harmlessly in the soft, elastic earth of the thick 
embankment. Many flew over its summit and did bloody ex- 
ecution on those who were bringing up ammunition, as well 
as on some who were retiring from their posts. Several balls 
struck and nearly sunk a boat laden with stores that was 
moored to the levee two hundred yards behind the lines. The 
cotton bales of the batteries nearest the river were knocked 
about in all directions, and set on fire, adding fresh volumes 
to the already impenetrable smoke. One of Major Planchd's 
men was wounded in trying to extinguish this most annoying 
fire. A thirty- t^o pounder in Lieutenant Crawley's battery 
was hit and damaged. The carriage of a twenty-four was 
broken. One of the twelves was silenced. Two powder-car- 
riages, one containing a hundred pounds of the explosive ma- 
terial, blew up with a report so terrific as to silence for a mo- 
ment the enemy's fire, and draw from them a faint cheer 
And still the lines continued to vomit forth a fire that knew 
neither cessation nor pause, until the guns grew so hot that 
it was difficult and dangerous to load them. And after an 
hour and a half of such work as this no man in Jackson's 
army could say with certainty whether the English batteries 
had been seriously damaged. 


Nolle was behind the lines during this desperate cannonade, 
and favors his readers with his recollections of it 

"The largest British battery," says Mr. Nolte, "had directed its fire 
against the battery of tlie pirates Dominique and Beluche, who had divided 
our company into two parts, and were supplied with ammunition by it 
Once, as Dominique was examining the enemy through a glass, a cannon 
shot wounded his arm ; he caused it to be bound up, saying, * I will pay 
them for that I' and resumed liis glass. He then directed a twenty-four 
pounder, gave the order to fire, and the ball knocked an English^n car- 
riage to pieces, and killed six or seven men. Our company lost that day 
but one man, our least, u French hatter, called Laborde. For pi*edesti- 
narians I would mention that the young notary, Philippe Peddesclaux, was 
standing exactly in front of Laborde, and the latter would not have been 
hit had he not been bending forward at the moment to light liis cigar by 
my neighbor, St. Avit*3. When the latter turned he saw Laborde's scat- 
tered brains and prostrate body. The flash of a gun reaches the eye long 
before the report gets to the ear, and thus the ball can sometimes be avoided. 
I have watched both the flash and the report, and I have seen the best 
tried soldiei's, both officers and men, even the utterly fearless Jackson him- 
self, getting out of the way of the congreve rockets, whicU were sent in 
great quantities from the British camp. Others, again, either actuated by 
a dificR^nt principle, or less prudently observant of danger and less anxious 
to avoid it, like my friend St* Avit for instance, remained confident in their 
fate in the same position, and stood quietly as if all the roar of the cannon 
and the hissing of missiles about their ears was entirely without interest 
for them. 

*• On this day, which saw our whole line except the batteries exposed 
to the fire, my worthy friend, Major Carmick, who commanded the volun- 
teer battalion, and was near the pirates' battery, was struck by a congreve 
rocket on the forehead, knocked off his horse, and had both his arms injured, 
I asked leave to accompany him to the guard-house, and as we reached the 
low garden wall belli nd Jackson's headquarters, I saw, to my great amaze- 
ment, two of the Gkneral's volunteer adjutants, Duncan, the lawyer, and 
District Marshal Duplessis, lying flat on the ground to escape the British 
balls. Livingston was invisible — writing and reading of proclamations kept 
him out of sight The General during this cannonade was constantly riding 
fi-om one wing to the otlicr, accompanied by his usual military aids, Reid 
and Butler, and the two advocates, Grymes and Davezac. . . . The 
munitions were in charge of Governor Claiborne, who was so frightened 
that he could scarcely speak. On the 1st of January ammunition wa« 
^(ranting at batteries Nos. 1 and 2. Jackson sent in a fury for Claiborne 

1815.] NEW TEAB'B DAT 161 

who was with Hie second division, and said to him, 'By the Almighty 
God, if you do not send me balls and powder instantly, I shall chop off 
vour head, and have it rammed into one of those field-pieces.' 

I ft 

Of which the reader may believe as much as he thinks fit. 
Th^ General, I may add, did not mount his horse till the 
fortune of the day was decided. To have done so would have 
been simply suicidal. 

While the first cannonade was still at its height, word was 
brought to Jackson that a body of the enemy were approach- 
ing the left of his line along the edge of the swamp. Coffee 
was upon them while they were struggling with the diflBlciil- 
ties of the ground, and drove them back to the main body. 

It was nearly noon when it began to be perceived that the 
British fire was slackening. The American batteries were 
then ordered to cease firing for the guns to cool and the smoke 
to roll away. What a scene greeted the anxious gaze of the 
troops when, at length, the British position was disclosed ! 
Those formidable batteries, which had excited such consterna- 
tion an hour and a half before, were totally destroyed, and 
presented but formless masses of soil and broken guns ; while 
the sailors who had manned them were seen running from 
them to the rear, and the army that had been drawn up behind 
the batteries, ready to storm the lines as soon as a breach had 
been made in them, had again ignominiously "taken to the 

*^ Never,'' remarks the author of Jackson and New Or- 
leans, " was work more completely done — more perfectly fin- 
ished and rounded off*. Earth and heaven fairly shook with 
the prolonged shouts of the Americans over this spectacle. 
Still the remorseless artillerists would not cease their fire. 
The British infantry would now and then raise their heads 
and peep forth from the ditches in which they were so inglori- 
onsly ensconced. The level plain presented but a few knolls 
or elevations to shelter them, and the American artillerists 
were as skillful as riflemen in picking oflf those who exposed 
ever so small a portion of their bodies. Several extraordinarv 
VOL. n- — 11 


examples of this skill were communicated to the writer hj a 
British officer who was attached to Pakenham's army. Anum< 
ber of the officers of the 93d having taken refuge in a shallow 
hollow behind a slight elevation, it was proposed that the only 
married officer of the party should lie at the bottom, it being 
deem(Hi the safest place. Lieutenant Phaups was the officer 
indicated, and laughingly assumed the position assigned him. 
This mound had attracted the attention of the American gun- 
ners, and a great quantity of shot was thrown at it. Lieu- 
tenant Phaups could not resist the anxiety to see what was 
going on in front, and peeping forth, with not more than half 
of his head exposed, was struck by a twelve-pound shot, and 
instantly killed. His companions buried him on the spot on 
which he fell, in full imiform. Several officers and men were 
picked off in a similar manner." 

Those hogsheads of sugar were the fatal mistake of the 
English engineers. They afforded absolutely no protection 
against the terrible fire of the American batteries ; the balls 
going straight through them, and killing men in the very cen- 
ter of the works. Hence it was that in little more than an 
hour the batteries were heaps of ruins, and the guns dis- 
mantled, broken and immoveable. The howitzers, too, on 
the levee, after waging an active duel with Commodore Pat- 
terson on the other side of the river, were silenced and over- 
thrown by a few discharges from Captain Humphrey's twelve- 
pounders. Nothing remained for the discomfited army but 
to make the best of their way to their old position ; and so 
incessant was the American fire during the afternoon, that it 
was only when night spread her mantle over the plain that 
all the army succeeded in withdrawing. 

'* Once more," says the Subaltern, " we were obliged to retire, leaving 
our heavy guns to their fate ; but as no attempt was made by the Ameri- 
cans to secure them, working parties were again sent out after dark, and 
such as had not been destroyed were removed. 

*' Of the fatigue undergone during these operations by the whole anny, 
fix>m the OenenJ down to the meanest sentinel, it would be difficult to 
^arm an adequate conception. For two whole nights and days not a 

1815.] KBW TBAB'8 DAT. 16b 

had dosed an eye, except such as were cool enough to sleep amidst 
■howers of cannon-ball ; and during the day scarcely a moment had been 
^owed in which we were able so much as to break our fast We retired, 
therefore, not only baf&ed and disappointed, but in some degree disheart- 
ened and discontented. All our plans had as yet proved abortive ; even 
this, npon which so much reliance had been placed, was found to be of no 
avmil ; and it must be confessed that something like murmuring began to 
be heard through die camp. And, in truth, if ever an army might be per- 
mitted to murmur it was this. In landing they had borne great hardships, 
not only without repining, but with cheerfulness ; their hopes had been 
excited by false reports as to the practicability of the attempt in which they 
were embarked : and now they found themselves entangled amidst diffi- 
culties from which there appeared to be no escape, except by victory. In 
^bar attempts upon the enemy's line, however, they had been twice foiled ; 
in artillery they perceived themselves to be so greatly overmatched that 
tlieir own could hardly assist them ; their provisions, being derived wholly 
firom the fleet, were both scanty and coarse ; and their rest was continu- 
ally broken. For not only did the cannon and mortars from the main 
of the enemy's position play unremittingly upon them both by day and 
night, but they were likewise exposed to a deadly fire from the opposite 
bank of the river, where no less than eighteen pieces of artillery were now 
mounted, and swept the entire line of our encampments Besides all this, 
to undertake the duty of a picket was as dangerous as to go into action. 
Parties of American sharpshooters harassed and disturbed those appointed 
to that service, from the time they took possession of their poet until they 
were relieved ; whilst to light fires at night was impossible, because they 
served but as certain marks for the enemy's gunners. I repeat, therefbre, 
that a littie murmuring could not be wondered at Be it observed, how« 
ever, that these were not the murmurs of men anxious to esoape fix)m a 
disagreeable situation by any means. On the contrary, they resembled 
rather the growling of a chained dog, when he sees his adversary and con 
not reach him ; for in all their complaints no man ever hinted at a retreat, 
wbUst all were eager to bring matters to the issue of a battle, at any sacri- 
fice of lives.** 

Another British officer writes : — "Five guus were left be- 
hind (which afterwards fell into Jackson's hands), rendered 
meless, it is true, but it can not be said that the British 
army came off without the loss of some of its artillery. Dur- 
ing three days and three nights I had never closed an eye. 
My food, during all that space, consisted of a small quantity 
at salt beef^ a sea biscuit or two^ and a little rum ; and even 


that I could hardly find time or leisure to consume. * • • 
When pork and beans ran short, it was no unconmaon thing 
for both officers and men to appease the cravings of hunger 
by eating sugar taken out of the casks and moulded into 

The British loss on tht 1st of January was about thirty 
killed and forty wounded ; the Americans, eleven killed and 
twenty -three wounded. Most of the American slain were 
not engaged in the battle, but were struck down at a consid- 
erable distance behind the lines, wliile they were looking on 

as mere spectators. 

Among the wounded there was one whose memory the 

author of " Jackson and New Orleans" has nobly embalmed 

in his excellent work — Judah Touro, the far-famed and 

far-beloved philanthropist of New Orleans, who on this day 

served his country in a capacity much more dangerous than 

that of combatant. 

" Afler performing other severe labors as a common soldier in tberanka^ 
Mr. Touro, on tlie first of January, volunteered his servioes to aid in car- 
rying shot and shell from the magazine to Humphrey's battery. In this 
humble but perilous duty he was seen actively engaged, during the terri- 
ble cannonade with which the British opened the day, regardless of the 
cloud of iron missiles which flew around him, when many of the stoutest- 
hearted clung closely to the embankment or sought some shelter. Bnt in 
the discharge of duty this good man knew no fear and perceived no dan- 
ger. It was whilst thus eugagcd that he was struck on the thigh by a 
twelve-pound shot, which produced a ghastly and dangerous wound, tear- 
ing off a large mass of flesh. Mr. Touro long survived this event^ leading 
a life of unostentatious piety and charity, and setting an example of active 
philanthropy which justly merited the fervent gratitude and warm affeo- 
tion in which he was held by the community, of which he was justly re- 
garded as the patriarch — ^tlie * Israelite without guile.* 

" No charitable appeal was ever made to him in vain. His contribu- 
tions to philanthropic and pious enterprises exceed those of any other citi- 
len. The same patriotism which prompted him to expose his life on the 
plains of Chalmette dictated that handsome donation of ten thousand dol- 
lars for the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument, and has character- 
ized a thousand other deeds of like liberality, performed *by stealth,* which 
were no less commendable for their genero<uty than their entire freedom 
ftom sectarian feeling or selfish aim. 

1815.] KBW TEAB'B DAT. 16d 

" An inddeut niustrative of the beauty of friendship and gratitude, of 
the noble and gentle traits of humanity, may serve as an agreeable relief 
in this narrative of strife and bloodshed. 

" Judah Touro and Rezin D. Shepherd, two enterprising merchants, the 
one from Boston and the other from Virginia, had settled in New Orleans 
Bt the commencement of the present century. They were intimate, de- 
voted friends, who Kved under the same roofj and were scarcely ever rep- 
arated« When the State was invaded, both volunteered their services, and 
were enrolled among its defenders. Mr. Touro was attached to the regi- 
ment of Louisiana militia, and Mr. Shepherd to Captain Ogden's horse 

'* Commodore Patterson, who was an intimate friend of Mr. Shepherd, 
solicited Greneral Jackson to detach him, as his aid, to assist the Commo- 
dore in the erection of his battery on the right bank of the river, and in the 
defence of that position. It was whilst acting as Patterson's aid that Mr. 
Shepherd came across the river on the 1st of January, with orders to pro- 
cure two masons to execute some work on the Commodore's battery. The 
first person Mr. Shepherd saw, on reaching the lefl bank, was Reuben Kem- 
per, who informed him that his old friend Touro was dead. Forgetting his 
urgent and important mission, Mr. Shepherd eagerly inquired whither they 
had taken his friend. He was directed to a wall of an old building whidi 
had be«>n demolished by the British battery in the rear of Jackson's head- 
quarters, and on reaching it found Mr. Touro in an apparently dying con- 
dition. He was in charge of Dr. Kerr, who had dressed his wound, but 
who, shaking his head, declared that there was no hope for him. Mr. 
Shepherd, with the devotion of true friendship, determined to make every 
effort to save his old companion. He procured a cart, and, lifting the 
wounded man into it, drove to the dty. He administered brandy very 
freely to his fainting and prostrate friend, and thus in a great degree kept 
him aKve.* On reaching the city, Mr. Shepherd carried Touro into his 
house, and there obtaining the services, as nurses, of some of those noble 
ladies of the city, who devoted themselves with so much ardor to the care 
and attendance of the sick and wounded of Jackson's army, and, seeing 
that he was supported wiUi every comfort and need, he hastened to dis- 
charge the important duty which had been confided to him, and which he 
bad nearly pretermitted, in responding to the still more sacred calls of 
friend^p and affection. 

<* It was late in the day before Shepherd, having performed his mii»- 
Bion, returned to Patterson's battery. The cloud of anger was gather. 
mg on the brow of the Commodore when he met his delinquent or 

* The good old man used to say this was the only time he over drank te 

166 LIFB OF ANDBBW JA0K80K. [1815 

diktoiy aid, but it soon disperaed when the Utter promptly and frtnldy 

^ ' Commodore, you can hang or shoot me, and it wiO be aU right ; bat 
my best friend needed my assistance, and nothing on earth oonld have in- 
duced me to neglect him.' He then stated the drcumstanoes of Mr. Tooro'i 
misfortune, and the causes of his dilatory execution of the duty assigned to 
hinL Commodore Patterson was a man — he appreciated the feelings of 
his aid, and thought more of him after this incident than before. They 
continued warm friends throughout the campaign and ever afterwardji 

'* Shepherd and Touro, with a friendship thus tested and cemented, 
were ever afterwards inseparable in this world. Death alone could sever 
them, and then only in a material sense. Such fidelity deserved the rich 
reward which fortune showered on them. They became millionaires, and 
as the most valuable of their possessions retained the esteem and regard 
of the community of which they were the patriarchs." 

Mr. Touro died in 1854, leaving one-half of his immense 
estate for charitable purposes, and the other half to the friend 
to whom he was indebted for his life on the 1st of January^ 
1815. That friend, in the same noble spirit, has devoted the 
greater part of the legacy to improving the street in which 
both passed their lives, after a plan long meditated and de- 
sired by Mr. Touro. To perpetuate the memory of his bene- 
volent friend, Mr. Shepherd has given the name of Toubo to 
the renovated street. 



The cotton error was quickly repaired. Every bale of 
that delusive material was removed from the works, and its 
place supplied with the black and spongy soil of the Delta^ 
which the Sunday cannonade had shown to be a perfect de- 
fense ; the balls sinking into it out of sight without shaking 
the embankment. The lines were strengthened in every part^ 

1815.] FINAL PBXPABATI0K8. 167 

and new cannon mounted upon them. Work was continued 
upon the second line, a mile and half in the rear. Even 
a third line of defense was marked out and begun, still 
nearer the city. On the opposite bank of the river, the old 
works were repaired and strengthened, and new ones com 

What the enemy would attempt next was a mystery 
which General Jackson anxiously revolved in his mind, and 
strove in all ways to penetrate. Monday, Tuesday, Wednes- 
day, Thursday passed away, and still the hostile army made 
no movement which gave the American General a clue to 
their design, if design they had. Strong men and weak men, 
good men and men less good, are all alike liable to the error 
of judging others by themselves. During these days, there- 
fore, Jackson inclined to the opinion that his lines would not 
again be attacked, and so wrote to the Secretary of War. 
While apparently bending all his energies to the sole object 
of strengthening his position, his mind was racked with fear 
of being surprised in another quarter. How natural such an 
idea 1 If thirty pieces of cannon could not penetrate the 
lines, what could ? If, on the Ist of January, the American 
position was found impr^nable, could it be deemed less so 
after three thousand men had worked upon it for nearly a 
week? Two attempts having signally and ignominiously 
failed, would any general risk his army and his reputation 
upon a third ? 

Seasoning thus, and having already experienced two false 
alarms of a landing above the city, the General ordered his 
trusty friend and volunteer, the indomitable Beuben Kemper, 
hater of Spaniards, to take a file of picked men and steal 
round, by canal and bayou, to the mouth of the Bienvenu, 
where the enemy had landed, and see what they were doing, 
whether they were preparing to go elsewhere, or whether they 
seemed permanently established. With extreme difficulty and 
danger, after twenty-four hours of incessant exertion, Kemper 
reached a point which overlooked the enemy's position. He 
saw t&at they were strongly intrenched there ; had sentineli 

168 LIFS 07 AKDBSW JA0K80N. [181& 

posted in trees ; were burning the prairies so as to command 
a wider view ; were evidently in dread of being attacked ; 
and had no thought of shifting the base of their operations. 
Some of Kemper's men, though they were in the heart of the 
enemy's position, had the audacity, before taking to the swamp 
on their return, to fire upon a small party of troops guarding 
boats. The enemy gave chase, and succeeded in taking pris* 
oner one of the Americans. Kemper was the first to reach 
Jackson's headquarters, and the intelligence he brought had 
an important effect in quieting the General's apprehensions 
and enabling him to concentrate his forces and his faculties 
upon the lines. It was still no less a mystery, however, what 
the English soldiers were so busy about below the Viller6 
mansion house. 

On Wednesday morning, January the 4th, the long-looked- 
for Kentuckians, two thousand two hundred and fifty in num- 
ber, reached New Orleans. Seldom has a reinforcement been 
so anxiously expected ; never did the arrival of one create 
keener disappointment. They were so ragged that the men, 
as they marched shivering through the streets, were observed 
to hold together their garments with their hands to cover their 
nakedness ; and, what was far worse, because beyond remedy, 
not one man in ten was well armed, and only one man in three 
had any arms at all. It was a bitter moment for General 
Jackson when he heard this ; and it was a bitter thing for 
those brave and devoted men, who had fondly hoped to find 
in the abundance of New Orleans an end of their exposure 
and destitution, to learn that the General had not a musket, 
a blanket, a tent, a garment, a rag, to give them. A body 
of Louisiana militia, too, who had arrived a day or two be- 
fore from Baton Rouge, were in a condition only less deplora- 
ble. Here was a force of nearly three thousand men, every 
man of whom was pressingly wanted, paralyzed and useless 
from want of those arms that had been sent on their way 
down the river sixty days before. It would have fared ill, I 
fear, with the captain of that loitering boat, if he had chanced 
to arrive just then, for the General was wroth exceedingly. 


Dp the river go new expresses to bring him down in irons. 
They bring him, at last, the astonished man, but days and 
days too late. The old soldiers of this campaign mention 
that the General's observations upon the character of the 
hapless captain, his parentage, and upon various portions of 
his mortal and immortal frame, were much too forcible for 
repetition in these piping times of peace. 

The Legislature of Louisiana and the people of New 
Orleans behaved on this occasion with prompt and noble 
generosity. The Legislature had been admitted to their 
chambers after an exclusion of one day only. . Major Latour, 
a staunch defender of the Legislature, records what was done 
by them and by the people for the relief of the destitute sol- 
diers : 

" Mr. LouailUer, the elder, a member of the House of Representativefl^ 
obtained from the Legislature the sum of six thousand dollars, which was 
put at the disposition of a committee formed for their relief. Subscriptions 
were also opened at New Orleans for tlie same purpose, and another sum 
of six thousand dollars was soon subscribed ; and it is to be observed that 
the Orleans volunteers and militia, not satisfied with discharging their duty 
to their country by their presence in the camp, sent for a subscription list^ 
and filled it with tlieir signatures. The county of the German coast sub- 
scribed about three thousand six hundred, and that of Attakapas remitted 
to the committee five hundred dollars. The whole sum thus obtained, in- 
cluding what was voted by the Legislature, amounted to sixteen thousand 
one hundred dollars, and was laid out in purchasing blankets and woolens, 
which were distributed among the ladies of New Orleans, to be made into 
dothes. Within one week twelve hundred blanket cloaks, two hundred 
and seventy-five waistcoats, eleven hundred and twenty-seven pairs of 
pantaloons, eight hundred shirts, four hundred and ten pairs of shoes, and a 
great number of mattresses, were made up, or purchased ready made, and 
distributed among our brethren in arms^ who stood in the greatest need of 
them. Though the gratitude of their fellow-citizens, and the consciousness 
of their patriotic service, be to Mr. Louaillier, and to Messrs. Dubuys and 
Soulid, who cooperated with him in his honourable exertions, a sufficient 
reward, yet I must be allowed to pay those gentlemen the tribute of ap- 
plause so justly due to tliem. 

" In the course of the campaign several fathers, or men who were the 
lupport of families, among the volunteers and militia of the State, having 
been killed or w funded, those who depended on them for support wem 


left in the greatest distreas ; wherefore the Legislature, on tlie 6th of Feb- 
roary, enacted that the pay of wounded men should be continued till the 
end of next seasiony and that the families of those slain in the service of the 
country should receive pay for the deceased until the same period. With 
pleasure I take this opportunity to do justice to the patriotic and highly 
pnuseworthy conduct of the Legislature, not only on this occasion but dor* 
ing the whole session. The sole reproach that attaches to them is their 
having, early in the session, spent, in unimportant discussions relative to 
elections, much more time than was oonsbtent with a due regard to die 
exigencies of tlie ciitical circumstances in which we then were." 

As most of (he merchants were absent from the citj, their 
deserted warehouses were ransacked for the necessary goods, 
receipts being left for all that were taken. Among the arti- 
cles thus unceremoniously seized were those identical blankets 
which Nolte had so slily brought from Pensacola at the time 
of the attack on Fort Bowyer. Every man in the army who 
could repair a gun was sought out We see in the letters of 
the time that every day a cart conveyed to the city defective 
weapons, and returned in the afternoon with a load of them 
repaired. General Adair, at the last moment, will negotiate 
a loan of muskets from the guard of veterans and exempts in 
the city, and so will render available a large proportion of his 
men. General John Adair, in the absence of General Thomas, 
who is sick, commands the Kentucky troops. 

The enemy, meanwhile, had recovered their spirits and in- 
creased their numbers. Two regiments, the seventh and forty- 
third infantry, numbering together seventeen hundred, under 
General John Lambert, had arrived from England, infusing 
new life into the disheartened army, and raising its force to 
seven thousand three hundred men.* General Pakenham 
had formed a bold and soldierlike design, for the execution of 
which the whole army was preparing, and the camp was alive 
with expectation. The ^^ chained dog" would at length get at 
his enemy and growled no more. ^^ The new scheme," says 
the Subaltern, " was worthy, for its boldness, of the school in 
which Sir Edward had studied his profession. It was deter 

* James' Military Oorurrenoei, il., p. 373. 

1815.] FINAL PBBPABATI0N8. 171 

mined to divide the army ; to send part across the river, who 
should seize the enemy's guns, and turn tkem on themadvea ; 
whilst the remainder should at the same time make a general 
assault along the whole entrenchment. But before this plan 
could be put into execution it would be necessary to cut a 
canal across the entire neck of land from the Bayou de Catiline 
to the river, of sufficient width and depth to admit of boats 
being brought up from the lake. Upon this arduous under- 
taking were the troops immediately employed. Being divided 
into four companies, they labored by turns, day and night ; 
one party relieving another after a stated number of hours, in 
such order as that the work should never be entirely deserted. 
The fatigue undergone during the prosecution of this attempt 
no words can sufficiently describe ; yet it was pursued with- 
out repining, and at length, by unremitting exertions, they 
succeeded in eflfecting their purpose by the 6th of January." 

The lines, then, were to be stormed 1 As conceived, the 
plan was that of a general ; as carried out — but we must not 
anticipate. The vital clause of the scheme was that which 
contemplated the carrying of the works on the western bank 
first, and the turning of Commodore Patterson's great guns 
upon the back of Jackson's lines. Let that be done, and the 
lines are untenable, and will require little storming. K that 
is not done, or not done in time, the storming of the lines will 
be a piece of work such as British soldiers have seldom at- 
tempted. The naked bodies of the troops will have to en- 
counter that before which sugar hogsheads and earth-works 
crumbled to pieces in an hour 1 

It was not till Friday evening, the sixth of the new year, 
that General Jackson began to so much as suspect the enemy's 
design. On that day Sailing-Master Johnson, who was posted 
at the Chef-Menteur, seeing a small English brig on her way 
fix)m the fleet to the Bienvenu, laden, as he supposed, with 
supplies for the British army, darted out upon her with three 
boats and captured her and ten prisoners. From these pris- 
iners the American General learned one important fact, that 
the enemy were deepening and prolonging a canal across th€ 


plain. Then their plan began to dawn upon Jackson's mind 
Early the next morning Commodore Patterson walked behind 
the levee of the western bank to a point directly opposite the 
British position^ and spent several hours there in watching 
their movements. Upon his return the General no longer 
doubted that in a very few days or hours he would have to 
resist a simultaneous attack on both sides of the river. The 
bustle in the enemy's camp, and the forward state of their 
preparations, indicated that ere the sim of another Sunday 
had appeared above the horizon they might be upon him. 

On Saturday afternoon Jackson was much at his high 
window at headquarters, observing the enemy's movements. 
He had done what he could do to prepare for them, and little 
then remained but to await the result with what calmness he 
could. He had been showing the lines to his old friend Gen- 
eral Adair, of Kentucky, and asking his opinion of them. 
Perhaps the reader would like to accompany the two generals 
as they walked along the lines, stopping here and there to note 
the thickness of the embankment or the construction of a 
battery. General Adair had afterwards no great opinion of 
Jackson's generalship, but hf* must have been amazed as he 
surveyed the position, and learned that of all these batteries 
and this long line of intrenchment there had been no trace, 
or only a trace, fourteen days before, and that on five or six 
of those days it had rained, and during two more the work 
had been interrupted by fighting. 

Let us begin at the river's edge on the eastern bank 
There, on Friday, had been constructed in haste, and as an 
after thought, a redoubt or horn-work, which extended a few 
feet in advance of the lines, and was so constructed as to en- 
filade their front, in case the enemy should succeed in reach- 
ing the edge of the canal. It was an isolated structure. Be- 
tween it and the lines ran the Roderiguez canal, over which 
a single plank was laid for convenience of access. Jackson 
did not like the plan of this work when it was presented to 
him by the engineers, but yielded to what he supposed their 
better judgment. When to-day he saw this horn-work nearly 


complete, he shook his head, and, tuming to one of his aids, 
said — 

" That will give us trouble /" 

This redoubt was manned by a company of the 44th| 
commanded by Lieutenant Koss, and its three guns were 
served by a detachment of the same regiment, commanded by 
Lieutenant Marant. It should be added here, that the ditch 
designed to encircle this redoubt was never dug to any great 
depth, and was nearly dry, owing to the falling of the river. 

In the lines, behind this redoubt, were posted thirty of 
Beale's New Orleans riflemen ; the rest of the company being 
prisoners on board the British fleet, whither they were taken 
after the night battle of the 23d of December. 

On the high road, within the levee, and seventy feet from 
the river, was battery number one, containing two brass 
twelve-pounders and a six-inch howitzer, commanded by 
Captain Humphrey, of 'the eternal cigar/ Tliis battery 
commanded the road, and its fire just giazed the side of that 
redoubt at which Jackson had shaken his head. Humphrey's 
guns were manned by regulars of the artillery service, and his 
howitzer by a party of New Orleans dragoons belonging to 
the company of Major St. Geme. 

Walking along to a point ninety jards from battery num- 
ber one, we come to batterj- number two, on the highest 
ground in the lines, containing one twenty-four, served by 
part of the crew of the Carolina, and conunanded by their 
Lieutenant Norris. Between battery number one and battery 
number two, and beyond number two as fiu: as number three, 
was posted the 7th regiment of United Stiites infantry, num- 
bering four hundred and thirty men, commanded by Major 
Peire, of Pensacola celebrity. 

Fifty yards from battery number two was battery number 
three, the famous battery of the privateers Dominique and 
Bluche, each of whom had a twenty-four pounder under his 
charge, served by French sailors. 

Twenty ^ards further we reach battery number four, under 
Lieutenant Crawley, who has a huge thirty-two pounder, and 


a part of the Carolina's crew to work ib Between nombei 
three and number four were stationed Major Planch^'s bat* 
talion of ^ fathers of families/ numbering two hundred and 
eighty-nine men, and Major Lacoste's colored freemen, num- 
bering one hundred and eighty. 

Between battery number four and battery number five was 
an interval of one hundred and ninety yards, occupied by Major 
Dacquin's colored freemen, one hundred and fifty in number. 
Number five contained but two six-pounders, imder Colonel 
Perry and Lieutenant Kerr, both of the regular artillery. 

Thirty-six yards further was battery number six, contain- 
ing a brass twelve, served by a French company under Gene- 
ral Garrigue Flaujac, assisted by Lieutenant Bertel. The 
interval between number five and number six was occupied 
by the 44th United States infantry, two hundred and forty 
muskets, under Captain Baker. 

One hundred and ninety yards from battery number six 
was battery number seven, with its long brass eighteen, and a 
six-pounder, under Lieutenant Spots and Lieutenant Chau- 
veau. Beyond number seven was posted a body of fifteen 
marines, under Lieutenant Ijellevue, and they were the last 
of the regular force. 

Sixty yards beyond number seven was battery number 
eight, containing merely a small brass carronade, with a de- 
fective carriage, under the direction of a corporal of artillery, 
and served by a few of General Carroll's militiamen. At this 
last battery the forest began, and there the lines elbowed to 
the north, and soon struck the mire of the cypress swamp. 

From battery number eight, half a mfle into the swamp, 
as far as any kind of an earth- work could be kept erect, the 
lines were defended by the Tennesseans of General CoflFee and 
General Carroll, all of whom were compelled, for many days 
and nights, to lead the lives of amphibious creatures. 
" Though o^>nstantly living," says Latour, " and even sleep- 
ing in the mud, those worthy sons of Columbia never uttered 
a complaint, nor showed the least symptom of discontent or 
impatience. Those who have not seen the ground, can not 


form an idea of the deplorable condition of the troops en- 
camped on the left of the line. But it was necessary to 
guard that quarter against the attacks of the enemy ; it was 
necessary that troops should be stationed there to repulse him 
on the edge of the breastwork, if, imder cover of the bushes, 
be advanced to our intrenchments. Those brave men sup* 
ported all their hardships with resignation, and even with 
alacrity." These defenders of the swamp numbered about 
twenty-one hundred. At the extreme left General Coffee 
commanded — the man who always had the luck to get the 
hardest duty, and who always did it unflinchingly. 

The embankment, behind which all these men and can- 
non were posted, varied in height and thickness. At some 
places it was twenty feet thick at the summit, and eight feet 
high ; at others not more than four feet thick and five feet 
high. Where it was highest, a banquette or shelf had been 
formed for the men to stand upon when they fired. Where 
it was lowest, the marksmen stooped to load and bent to fire. 
If a mile of the river levee had been pierced for cannon, lifted 
from its place and laid across the plain, it would have closely 
resembled Jackson's lines. At the center, let us not forget to 
add, from a tall fiag-staff floated the stars and stripes, visible 
to both armies, and to all the country round on both sides of 
the river — ^waving inspiration over the army defending their 
native or their adopted soil, and keeping them ever in mind 
of the sacred and glorious nature of the duty they were there 
to do. 

At a safe distance behind the lines was a town of tents 
and shanties, where some of the troops found brief and sweet 
repose after the toils of the day and the roving combats of 
the early night ; each tent and shanty marked and decorated 
with any small apology for a flag or ensign that Creole fancy 
or American ingenuity could hastily devise. Behind these 
ggain, at a distance of four hundred yards from the intrench- 
ffidnts, stretched a close line of sentinels from the river to the 
swamp, to prevent any one from leaving the camp. Five 
hundred yards in front of the lines were the last of the Amer- 

176 LIFE or AKDBEW JAOKBON. [181& 

lean outposts, watching the movements of the enemy. It 
was a scene most animated and pictm'esque which General 
Jackson looked down upon from his upper window at the 
McCarty mansion ; a proud one, too, for him whose ener- 
getic and energizing genius had evoked it, as it were, from 
the Delta's yielding ooze. 

" Well," said Jackson to Adair, after they had gone the 
rounds, " what do you think of our situation ? Can we de- 
fend these works or not ?" 

" There is one way," replied the Kentuckian, " and but 
one way, in which we can hope to defend them. We must 
have a strong corps of reserve to meet the enemy's main at- 
tack, wherever it may be. No single part of the lines," con- 
tinued Adair, " is strong enough to resist the united force of 
the enemy. But, with a strong column held in our rear, 
ready to advance upon any threatened point, we can beat them 

This was an important suggestion. Two heads are better 
than one, Jackson might have said, and, perhaps, did say, for 
he was a man addicted to proverbs. He adopted General 
Adair's idea. " He agreed," says Adair, " that I should act 
with the Kentuckians as a reserve corps, and directed me to 
select my own ground for encampment, to govern my men as 
I thought most proper, and that I would receive no orders 
but from himself." 

And off to town gallops Adair, on the General's own white 
horse, to prevail on the veteran guard to lend him some of 
their muskets for three days only, so that he was able to em- 
ploy several hundreds of his troops in that important service. 

Such was the position of affairs on Jackson's side of the 
river. On the western bank the prospect was less promising. 
Commodore Patterson was there, and he had spent the week 
in arduous labor ; but all his exertions had been directed to- 
ward the annoyance of the enemy on the other side of the 
river, not to the defense of his own position. As late as Wed- 

* Letter of Qeneial Adair, in Kmkieky Bqforter, October, 1817. 


nesday morning nothing had been done to prepare for an 
attack on the western bank. " During the 2d and 3rd/' 
wrote Commodore Patterson to the Secretary of the Navy, 
" I landed from the ship and mounted, as the former ones, on 
the banks of the river, four more twelve-pounders, and erected 
a furnace for heating shot, to destroy a number of buildings 
which intervened between General Jackson's lines and the 
camp of the enemy, and occupied by him. On the evening of 
the 4f h I succeeded in firing a number of them and some rice 
stacks by my hot shot, which the enemy attempted to extin- 
guish, notwithstanding the heavy fire I kept up, but which 
at length compelled them to desist. On the 6th and 7th I 
erected another furnace, and mounted on the banks of the 
river two more twenty-four pounders, which had been brought 
up from the English Turn by the exertions of Colonel Cald- 
well, of the drafted militia of this State, and brought within 
and mounted on the intrenchments on this side the river one 
twelve-pounder. In addition to which. General Morgan, com- 
manding the militia on this side, planted two brass six-poimd 
field pieces in his lines, wliich were incomplete, having been 
commenced only on the 4th. These three pieces toere the only 
cannon on the lines. All the others, being mounted on the 
bank of the river, with a view to aid the right of General 
Jackson's lines on the opposite shore, and to flank the enemy 
should they attempt to inarch up the road leading along the 
levee, or erect batteries on the same, of course could render no 
aid in defense of General Morgan's lines. My battery was 
manned in part from the crew of the ship, and in part by 
militia detailed for that service by General Morgan, as I had 
not seamen enough to fully man them." 

On Saturday afternoon, upon Commodore Patterson's re- 
porting to General Jackson what he had observed at the en- 
emy's camp, it was determined to send over the river, to rein- 
force General Morgan, a body of Kentuckians. Colonel Davis 
and four hundred of those troops were detailed for that pur- 
pose. At seven o'clock in the evening, after a day of hard 
duty, during which they had only once broken their fast^ 
VOL. n. — 12 



Oolonel Davis and his men marclied from the lines toward 
New Orleans, where they were to receive their arms and cross 
the river by the ferry. At the city it was found that only 
two hundred muskets, and those old and defective, could be 
procured. Only two hundred men, therefore, crossed the river. 
It was two o'clock before they reached the western shore. 
Fatigued, himgry, and chilled to the bone with long waiting, 
they formed upon the levee, and set out for Gkneral Morgan's 
position. Over a road miry from the recent rains, walking 
sometimes knee deep in mud and water, the Kentuckians 
made their way, and reached Morgan's soon after four o'clock 
in the morning, as unfit for any duty involving danger and 
exertion as can be imagined. 

Even with this reinforcement. General Morgan's command 
amounted to no more than eight hundred and twelve men, all 
militia, all badly armed, posted behind works upon which four 
hundred men had labored for three days. Jackson should 
v^ have spared a few companies of regulars for this side of the 

^ river, which had suddeidy become so important ; although, for 

\ his own lines, he had but three thousand two hundred men, 

against an army which he supposed to consist of twelve thou- 
sand disciplined troops. With another day of preparation and 
clear insight into the enemy's design he would have done 
something effectual for the western bank. It was too late 
then. The days of preparation were numbered — were passed. 
Fare with him as it might to-morrow, he could do no more. 
The demeanor of the two armies on the eve of the 8th of 
January is worth noting. It does not appear that any con- 
siderable number of the American troops knew on Saturday 
that an attack on the lines was impending, and was likely to 
take place on the morrow. Jackson, Livingston, Patterson, 
Lutour, and others, closely observing the enemy's movements 
from the high window at headquarters^ on Saturday after-^ 
noon, discovered many of the British soldiers tying together 
bundles of sugar-cane. " Fascines for filling up our ditch," 
suggested some one. Others of the British troops seemed to 
be working upon poles and pieces of wood. ^^ Scaling ladders 


perhaps.'^ Far away, below the Villerd mansion, a great 
crowd of red-coats were apparently endeavoring to move some 
huge, imwieldly thing ; but whether it was a boat they were 
trying to launch, or a piece of cannon they were getting into 
position, no one could determine. Officers were galloping 
about from post to post, apparently leaving orders as they 

" Oh, there is no doubt of it," thought Jackson's infor- .*^ 

mal council ; " they mean business ; they will attack at day- ^^ J 


Nolte tells us that Commodore Patterson, on his way from 
headquarters to his post on the other side of the river, said to ^ 
him as he passed, " I expect you will see some fun between 
this and to-morrow." Nolte adds that only himself and a . 
few others knew what was expected. 

But when, soon after dark, the noise of preparation in the 
British camp grew louder and came nearer, there could not 
have been much doubt in the lines that another most unquiet 
Sunday was in reserve for them. There was m\}ch silent and 
rather grim preparation in Jackson's camp ; a cleaning of 
arms, a counting out of cartridges, and adjustment of flinta, 
and a careful loading of muskets and rifles. Beside the 
thirty-two pounder was heaped up a bushel or two of 
musket balls and fragments of iron, enough to fill the piece 
up to the muzzle, and which will fill it up to the muzzle if 
the enemy come to close quarters, and deal such wholesale 
death among them as no thirty-two pounder has ever dealt 
before. Yes, grimness certainly prevails to a considerable ex- 
tent. We are in earnest. Jackson walks slowly along the 
lines just before dark. He, too, is grim, but confident. He 
wears the look of a man whose mind is wholly made up, and 
who clearly knows what he will do in any and every case. 
He stops occasionally, to see that the stacked muskets are all 
loaded, anl says to Planch(^'s men, as he goes along their part 
of the bnes : 

" Don't fire till you can see the whites of theii eyes, and 
if you want to sleep^ sleep upon your anna " 





There was not much sleeping that night. One half tho 
men remained in the lines ; the other half went to the camp, 
as usual, and relieved their comrades about one. ^^ And jet, 
says Nolte, "few were prepared for to-morrow's tragedy. 
But who covld have been prepared for it ? Was there one 
man in either army who had formed any image of the mor- 
row's events which at all resembled the reality ? Not one ; 
not Jackson, though he came nearest, probably ; least of all, 
poor Pakenham. 

In the English camp there was merriment enough it 
appears. At least there was a great deal of that loud, hol- 
low gaiety which soldiers are wont to assume on the eve of 
battle. Captain Cooke's narrative gives us some interesting 
and some impressive glimpses. ^Captain Cooke came with tho 
two new regiments : — 

'* On the 7th of January," says he, '' two days after our landing, the 
first brigade, consisting of the seventh and the forty-third regiments (the 
two corps mustering undei arms upwards of seventeen hundred bayonets), 
were reviewed ^n line and laithin long cannon range, their backs tamed 
towards the enemy's lines. The music played, the vapor of this swamp 
bad cleared ofi^ the sun shone brilliantly, and the officers and soldiers of 
these regiments were in the highest spirits at the near probability of their 
being led on to the attack. When it was asked why llie general-in-chief, 
Packenham, did not appear at this review, as he was expected, we were 
told that he was up in a tree in the pine wood, examining the works of 
the Americans 

" In the aflemoon of this day the ei^ty-fifth regiment, which was 
about three hundred and fifty strong, passed our lines from the front by 
companies, with intervals between each, as I have seen the light divisions 
march in Spain. 1'hese companies, though weak, were in excellent order, 
and proceeded towards the headquarters, to be in readiness to emba<rk be« 
fore daybreak the following morning. 

" As the eighty-fiflh passed along, it struck me that they looked dis- 
I^eased at their being removed from the main body, and indeed one or two 
of the officers so expressed themselves, saying that it would be now our 
tarn to get into New Orleans, as they had done at Washington. This 
corps had not been fortunate in Spain, and they could not get rid of a mark 
that had been set upon them, although this regiment had been fresh offi- 
cered similar to other corps, and remodeled since that time, and when 
employed behaved quite as well as other regiments. However, do what 


they would, ' the peninsular fire-eaters,' as they were jocosely called, would 
give them little or no credit ; for in these days, if a man had not been in 
half a dozen battles, from the effects of which seventy or eighty thousand 
on either side were swept off, he was designated as * a young hand/ and 
bade to hold his peace, or to be gone with his * subaltern ideas.' "... 

" However, to the point. The eighty-fifth regiment will not be easily 
obliterated fix>m the archives of America, although certain * peninsulars* still 
give them little quarter. When this corps crossed my vista, I must con- 
fess that I eyed these soldiers of * Bladensburgh,' and of the previous 
* night combat' already told, with a considerable degree of curiosity. 

" Some hours after dark so much noise and confhsion took place round 
the headquarters near the canal, that the continued buzz of voices must 
nave been heard in the American hnes, added to which several of the huts 
were in flames. Myself and another officer, being attracted by so unusuld 
a noise, walked to the bank of the river to see whether we could distin- 
guish any lights in the forest on the opposite side of the Mississippi, but 
every thing on the part of the enemy was dark and silent, while on our side 
confusion, revelry, and mirth prevailed, and we both agreed, on the dyke 
of the river, that things wore an aspect of an ominous complexion, and, 
like days mentioned of old, when the rejoicing forestalled the victory. 

" And we noticed it as a most extraordinary circumstance, that there 
was no person or sentinel on the bank of the river employed in looking out| 
and at such remissness we were much astonished. The night was rather 
dark ; and we stood on the levSe de terre of the river as much alone and 
undisturbed, although only a short way from the wooden house, containing 
the headquarters and the hut of the bivouac, as if there had been no 
troops within a hundred miles of the spot" 

" On this eventful night we both agreed in opinion that there was a 
looseness and bawling in the sugar-cane bivouac and about the slave huts, 
which we had never seen or heard before within sight of an enemy and on 
the eve of an attack ; besides, these burnings presented a clear sign to the 
Americans that there was some commotion unusual in our lines, and put 
them on tlieir guard for a movement of some sort Further, with a fore- 
boding which proved too ominous in the sequel, we agreed, to use cant 
phraseology, that there was a screw loose somewhere. 

"And, moreover, without being accused of speaking of myself impru- 
dently, these, my opinions, may be strengthened by stating that in other 
countries I had been employed on the look-out post to report the move- 
ments of armies larger than the small number of troops occupying the con- 
tracted space I now speak of. Therefore, according to such official etiquette, 
tf it goes for any thing in America, I may now give my opinion, I trust, 
without being accused of unpardonable presumption, that, during the wholf 

182 LIFE OF AKDBEW JA0K80K. [1815 

of the pieTioos day there had been a downright row in the camp. And it 
was amusing to see the non-combatants galloping and capering about on 
■hort-tailed American hackneys, as though they were bound on some 
^xirtive excursion, or collecting names to fill up a handy-cap for some con- 
templated horse-rai» ; and this gayety was carried on, and might be ob- 
served by the Americans, casting an oblique glance from the tops of the 
trees just within the left of their lines. 

''I was always a loTcr of festive gambols; but the contrast be- 
tween the past and the coming day was so singularly remarkable, that 
it calls forth remarks for some of these Lotharios, or more properiy 
the leeches of the army, who, like vultures growing fat upon the car- 
nage of the field of battie, and now prancing about on their Amen- 
lean horses, were not to be seen the following day on ground plowed 
op, every now and then, by the rusty balls from the American bat- 
teries. And there were some strange stories told of certain gentlemen 
throwing themselves headlong into the boats with tlie wounded, declar 
ing they were ill, under the care of the doctor, and worn down by dys 

" Some of the large boats, with carronades in their bows, were lying in 
the canal (into which a sufficiency of water had not yet flowed), which 
were intended to carry the troops across the river. Standing on its bank, 
we contemplated the probable result of coming events, and looked with 
anxiety to descry wbether there was any lip^ht or fire kindled in the forest 
on the opposite shore, as the best way of judpng whetlier the Americana 
were aware of the intended passage of tlie British troops to tliat bank of 
the river during the nighty or as soon as Uic boats could be got out; but 
no such indication on the part of the Americans was visible; all in that di- 
rection was wrapped in somber darkness. My friend and myself, having 
ftaid some time at this spot^ were of opinion that the Americans were on 
the opposite bank of the river, or their scouts at the supposed spot of de- 
barkation, but had prudently refi^ned from kindling any fires, the more 

effectually to conced thdr object 

* «• • « « • • 

^I bad scarcely reached the bivouac from the bank of the river, and 
was about to lie down to take some repose, when I was ordered to join 
two hundred soldiers of my own corps at eleven o'clock at night, for the 
purpose of marching to the firont to mend and guard a battery, within 
feven hundred yards of the right of the American lines — in fact, to the 
▼ery spot close to the high road leading to New Orleans, where the Brit- 
ish had hesitated and twice recoiled from the effects of the American ai • 

*^ As soon as we had reached this dilapidated mud redoubt, within poinv 
blank T&nffQ of the American orescent battery, both in front as well as from 

1815.'J FINAL PBEFABATI0H8. l83 

the bmttcries on the right bank of the river, spades were put mto the bands 
of the soldiers (while others kept guard) to endeavor to make it tenable 
before daylight, but as the water sprang up at the depth of a foot or nine 
inches below the surface of the soil ground, the men were obliged to pare 
the surface for a great extent round, and to bring the shovels and spades 
dropping with mud to plaster on the queerest entrenchment I ever saw. 
In this fashion we labored the latter portion of the night And some pieces 
of cannon were dragged with exceeding toil by the soldiers and sailors to 
place in battery. But the time would not permit all the platforms to be 
laid down. And, indeed, its epaulements were not cannon-shot prooC 
The want of materials and the short time allowed made it impossible to 
make tliem so. 

^ Some time before daybreak I noticed the forms of men silently glid- 
ing past the right of the temporary battery, and on approaching I found 
them to consist of some of the rifle corps, who were going to the front to 
take up their ground, to watch tlie American lines, to form a chain of posta^ 
and to be in readiness to open their fire d la point dejour. These riflemen 
were gliding along with the same silent footsteps as they were wont to do 
on the eve of so many memorable occasions where their services had been 

'^ Probably no troops that ever stood under arms could boast of having 
taken up so many dangerous and venturous posts, and of having been so 
often in close contact with an enemy without being detected, or without 
making any unnecessary noise in their ranks, or causing a lonely shot to be 
discharged at them, owing to an enemy having been prematurely alarmed. 
The outposts, during the silent hour of night, give rise to a variety of soli* 
tary thoughts. How often have we seen the day close, and kept watch 
together during the hours of the tempest, on the snow-covered ground, as 
well as on those brilliant nights in Bpain, when the broad shadows of the 
moon lighted up the soft and tranquil scenery, to lull the imagination with 
the most alluring thoug^its and associations of the ' past, the present, and 
the future.' When people talk of the field of battle, and the heat of the 
fight, how little do they know how many tedious hours the troops of out- 
post duty have to undergo, waiting for the whispers or the tread of an 
armed foe, or in momentary expectation of a flash of fire, or a discharge of 
bullets, and how often these troops are exposed to straggling and single 
combats for whole days. This was the case with the rifles, for they had 
always been in front^ and always called for, and before New Orleans wer^ 
much cut up. 

^ These troops took up their ground according to orders, and were 
ready to attack as soon ns the signal was given, but were extended in a 
Bseless way and ranged along a front to be exposed singly to an ovei^ 
powering fire, instead of leading the front of the small column destined te 


ittaok the detached half-moon batterj on the right of the. enemy's lines oi 

<* I do not remember eyer looking for the first signs of daybreak with 
more intense anxiety than on this eventful morning ; every now and then 
I thought I heard the distant hum of voices, then again something like the 
doleful rustling of the wind before the coming storm among the leaves of 
the foliage. But no, it was only the effect of the momentary buzzing in 
my ears ; all was silent — the dew lay on the damp sod, and the soldiers 
were carefully putting aside their intrenching tools, and laying hold of their 
arms to be up and ready to answer the first war call at a moment's warn- 
ing. How can I convey a thought of the intense anxiety of the mind 
when a solemn and somber silence is broken in upon by the intonation of 
cannon, and when the work of death begins. Now the vail of night was 
lees obscured, and its murky mantle dissolved on all sides^ and the mist 
was sweeping off the face of the earth ; yet it was not day, and no object 
was very visible beyond the extent of a few yards. The mom was chilly 
—I augured not of victory, an evil foreboding crossed my mind, and I 
meditated in solitary reflection. All was tranquil as the grave, and no 
oamp fires glimmered fix>m either fiiends or foes. 

• ^* Soon after this the two light companies of the seventh and ninety- 
third regiments came up without knapsacks, the Highlanders with their 
blankets rolled and slung across their backs, and merely wearing the shell 
of their bonnets, the sable plumes of real ostrich feathers brought by them 
fcom the Cape of Qtood Hope having been left in England. One company 
oi the forty-third light infantry also followed, marching up rapidly. These 
three companies formed a compact Httle column of two hundred and forty 
soldiers near the battery on the high road to New Orleans. They were to 
Attack the crescent battery near the river, and, if possible, to silence its fire 
under the muzzles of twenty pieces of cannon ; at a point, too, where the 
bulk of the British force had hesitated when first they landed, and had re- 
ooOed from its fire on the 28th of the last December and on the 1st of Jan- 
uary. I asked Lieutenant Duncan Campbell where they were going, when 
he replied, ^ I be hanged if I know :' then said I, * you have got into what 
I call a good thing ; the far-famed American battery is in front at a short 
range, and on the left this spot is flanked at eight hundred yards by their 
batteries on the opposite bank of the river.' At this piece of information 
he laughed heartily, and I told him to take off his blue pelisse coat, to be 
ike the rest of the men. 

" * No,' he said, gayly, * I will never peel for any American. Come; 
Jack, embrace me.' He was a fine grown young officer of twenty years 
9f age, and had fought in many bloody encounters in Spain and 
France, but this was to be his last^ as well as that of many more brave 
men. ' 


The more prudent Subaltern omits such particulars, which 
reveal so impressively the spirit of the scene. But he tells us 
of a sore mishap which befell the party under Colonel Thorn- 
ton, who were detailed for the attack on the western bank. 
The water, owing to the fall of the river, was so low in the 
canal, that it was not until eight hours after the appointed 
time of embarking that enough boats were launched into the 
Mississippi to convey across one-third of the designated force. 
Instead of fourteen hundred men, only four hundred ana 
ninety-eight went over. Instead of embarking immediately 
after dark, it was nearly daybreak before they reached the 
opposite bank. Instead of landing directly opposite the 
British position, the swift deceptive current swept them down 
a mile and a half below it. But this little band, thus balked 
and delayed, was led by a soldier, Colonel W. Thornton, the 
most daring and efficient man in the British army, who, at 
Bladensburgh, and wherever else he had served, had shown 
what the British army will do when valor and good conduct 
are weightier claims to advancement than being a Duke of 
Wellington's brother-in-law. 

Captain Hill makes an important statement respecting 
the occurrences in the British camp on the seventh of Jan- 
uary. " Before sunset," he says, " I was directed to carry 
instructions to Lieutenant Tapp, of the royal engineers, for 
communicating with the Honorable Colonel MuUins of the 
44th, respecting the redoubt in which the fascines, etc., were 
placed, and to report the result of my interview. It so hap- 
pened that whilst I was in conversation with the engineer, 
Colonel Mullins approached us, and I instantly availed my- 
self of the opportunity, and read the directions from head- 
quarters to him, begging to know if he thoroughly understood 
their purport ; in reply, I was assured that nothing could be 
clearer. On my return, I reported to Sir Edward my good 
fortune in finding these two officers together ; his excellency 
expressed himself much pleased, and thanked me for having 
30 completely satisfied him of the impossibility that any mis- 
take could arise in the execution of orders so important" 

186 LIFE OF AHDBEW JA0IL801I. [18I$ 



At one o'clock on the morning of this memorable day, on 
a couch in a room of the M^Carty mansion-house, General 
Jackson lay asleep, in his worn uniform. Several of his aids 
slept upon the floor in the same apartment, all equipped for 
the field, except that their sword-belts were unbuckled, and 
their swords and pistols laid aside. A sentinel paced the ad- 
jacent passage. Sentinels moved noiselessly about the build- 
ing, which loomed up large, dim and silent in the foggy night, 
among the darkening trees. Most of those who slept at all 
that night were still asleep, and there was as yet little stir in 
either camp to disturb their slumbers. 

Dreaming of their Scottish hills and homes, their English 
fields and friends, may have been many brave Britons in their 
cold and wet bivouac. tardy science, Oersted, Morse, 
Cyrus Field, why were you not ready with your Oceanic 
Telegraph then, to tell those men of both armies when they 
woke that they were not enemies, but friends and brothers, 
and send them joyful into each other's arms, not in madness 
against each other's arms ? The ship that bore this blessed 
news was still in mid-ocean, contending with its wintry winds 
and waves. How much would have gone differently in oar 
history if those tidings had arrived a few weeks sooner ? But 
it was not to be. This fight, it was the decree of Providence, 
was to be fought out. 

Commodore Patterson was not among the sleepers that 
night. Soon after dark, accompanied by his faithful aid. 
Shepherd, the friend of Judah Touro, he again took his posi* 
tion on the western bank of the river, directly opposite to 
where Colonel Thornton was struggling to launch his boats 
into the stream, and there he watched and listened till nearly 
midnight. He could hear almost every thing that passed, 
and could see, by the light of the cami>-fires, a line of red 


coats drawn up along the levee. He heard the cries of the 
tugging sailors^ as they drew the boats along the shallow^ 
caving canal, and their shouts of satisfaction as each boat was 
launched with a loud splash into the Mississippi. From the 
great commotion, and the sound of so many voices, he began 
to surmise that the main body of the enemy were about to 
cross, and that the day was to be lost or won on his side of 
the river. There was terror in the thought, and wisdom too ; 
and if General Pakenham had been indeed a general the 
Commodore's surmise would have been correct. Patterson's 
first thought was to drop the ship Louisiana down upon them. 
But no ; the Louisiana had been stripped of half her guns 
and all her men, and had on board, above water, hundreds of 
pounds of powder : for she was then serving as powder-maga- 
zine to the western bank. To man the ship, moreover, would 
involve the withdrawal of all the men from the river bat- 
teries ; whicli, if the main attack were on Jackson's side of the 
river, would be of such vital importance to him. Oh I for 
the little Carolina again, with Captain Henly and a hundred 
men on board of her ! 

Revolving such thoughts in his anxious mind. Commodore 
Patterson hastened back to his post, again observing and la- 
menting the weakness of General Morgan's line of defense. All 
that he could do in the circumstances was to dispatch Mr. 
Shepherd across the river to inform General Jackson of what 
they had seen, and what they feared, and to beg an immedi- 
ate reinforcement.* 

Informing the captain of the guard that he had important 
intelligence to communicate. Shepherd was conducted to the 
room in which the General was sleeping. 

" Who's there ?" asked Jackson, raising his head, as the 
door opened. 

Mr. Shepherd gave his name and stated his errand, adding 
that General Morgan agreed with Commodore Patterson in 

* IHspatcli of Commodore Pattersoa to Secretaiy of the Navy, Janvaiy Ifl^ 

188 LItX OF ANDBSW JA0K80N. [1815. 

fche opinion that more troops would be required to defend the 
lines on the western bank. 

" Hurry back," replied the General, as he rose, " and tell 
General Morgan that he is mistaken. The main attack will 
be on this side, and I have no men to spare. He must main- 
tain his position at all hazards." 

Shepherd recrossed the river with the General's answer, 
which could not have been very reassuring to Morgan and his 
inexperienced men, not a dozen of whom had ever been in ac- 

Jackson looked at his watch. It was past one. 

" Gentlemen," said he to his dozing aids, " we have slept 
enough. Rise. The enemy will be upon us in a few minutes. 
I must go and see Coffee." 

The order was obeyed very promptly. Sword belts were 
buckled ; pistols resumed ; and in a few minutes the party 
were ready to begin the duties of the day.* There was little 
for the American troops to do but to repair to their posts. 
By four o'clock in the morning, along the whole line of works, 
every man was in his place and every thing was ready. A 
little later. General Adair marched down the reserve of a 
thousand Eentuckians to the rear of General Carroll's po- 
sition, and, halting them fifty yards from the works, went 
forward himself to join the line of men peering over the top 
of the embankment into the fog and darkness of the morning. 
The position of the reserve wtis most fortunately chosen. It 
was almost directly behind that part of the lines which a de- 
serter from Jackson's army had yesterday told General Pak- 
enham was their weakest point I And the deserter was half 
right. He had deserted on Friday, before there had been any 
thought of the reserve, and he forgot to mention that Coffee 
and Carroll's men, over two thousand in number, were the 
best and coolest shots in the world. What a terrible trap his 
half-true information led a British column into ! 

Not long after the hour when the American General had 
been roused from his couch. General Pakenham, who had 

* Jackson and New Orleans, page 318. 


slept an hour or two at the Yiller^ mansion, also rose, and 
rode immediately to the bank of the river, where Thornton 
had just embarked his diminished force. He learned all that 
the reader knows of the delay and difficulty that had there 
occurred, and lingered long upon the spot listening for some 
sound that should indicate the whereabouts of Thornton. 
But no sound was heard, as the swift Mississippi had carried 
the boats far down out of hearing. Surely Pakenham must 
have known that the vital part of his plan was, for that morn- 
ing, frustrated. Surely he will hold back his troops from 
the assault until Thornton announces himself The doomed 
man had no such thought. The story goes that he had been 
irritated by a taunt of Admiral Cochrane, who had said, that 
if the army could not take those mud-banks, defended by 
ragged militia, he would do it with two thousand sailors 
armed only with cutlasses and pistols. And, besides, Pak- 
enham believed that nothing could resist the calm and deter- 
mined onset of the troops he led. He had no thought of 
waiting for Thornton, unless, perhaps, till daylight. 

Before four o'clock the British troops were up, and in 
the several positions assigned them. Let us note, as accu- 
rately as possible, the distribution of the British forces. The 
official statements of the general aid us little here ; for, as 
an English officer observed, nothing was done on this awfii] 
day as it was intended to be done. The actual positions of 
the various corps at four o'clock in the morning, and the duty 
assigned to each, as I gather after the study of about thirty 
narratives of the battle, were as follows : 

First, and cliiefly. On the borders of the cypress swamp, 
half a mile below that part of the lines where Carroll com- 
manded and Adair was ready to support him, was a powerful 
column of nearly three thousand men, under the command of 
General Qibbs. This column was to storm the lines where 
they were supposed to be weakest, keeping close to the wood, 
and as far as possible from the enfilading fire of Commodore 
Patterson's batteries. This was the main column of attack. 
It consisted of tb'-ee entire regiments, the fourth, 'he twenty- 


first, and the forty-fourth, with three companies of the ninety* 
fifth rifles. The forty-fourth, an Irish regiment, which had 
seen much service in America, was ordered to head this col* 
umn and carry the fascines and ladders, which, having been 
deposited in a redoubt near the swamp over night, were to 
be taken up by the forty-fourth as they passed to the front. 

Secondly, and next in importance. A column of light 
troops, something less than a thousand in number, under the 
brave and eneigetic Colonel Bennie, stood upon the high road 
that ran along the river. This column, at the concerted 
signal, was to spring forward and assail the strong river end 
of Jackson's lines. That isolated redoubt, or horn-work, 
lay right in their path. We shall soon see what they did 
with it. 

Third. About midway between these two columns of 
attack stood that magnificent regiment of praying EUgh- 
landers, the ninety-third, mustering that morning about nine 
hundred and fifty men, superbly appointed, and nobly led by 
Colonel Dale. Here General Keane, who commanded all 
the troops on the left, commanded in person. His plan was, 
or seems to have been, to hold back his Highlanders until 
circumstances should invite or compel their advance, and then 
to go to the aid of whichever column should appear most to 
need support. 

Fourth. There was a corps of about two hundred men, 
consisting of some companies of the ninety-fifth rifles and 
some of the fusileers, who, as Captain Cooke has told us, had 
been employed at the battery all night, and were now wan* 
dering, lost, and leaderless in the fog. They were designed 
to support the Highlanders, but never found them. Such ad- 
ventures as they had, and such sights as they saw, Captain 
Cooke, in his rough, graphic way, shall describe to us in due 

Fifth. One of the black regiments, totally demoralized by 
lold and hardship, was posted in the wood on the very skirts 
of the swamp, for the purpose of "skirmishing," says the 
British official paper ; to amuse General Coffee, let us say 


The other black corps was ordered to carry the ladders 
and fascines for General Keane's division, and fine work they 
made of it. 

Sixth. On the open plain, eight hundred and fifty yards 
from Dominguez' post in the American lines, was the Eng- 
lish battery, mounting six eighteen-pounders, and containing 
an abundant supply of congreve rockets. 

Seventh. The reserve corps consisted of the greater part 
of the newly-arrived regiments, the seventh and the forty- 
third, under the officer who accompanied them. General Lam« 
bert. This column was posted behind all, a mile, perhaps, 
from the lines, and stood ready to advance when the word 

Such was the distribution of the British army on this 
chill and misty morning. What was the humor of the 
troops ? As they stood there, performing that most painful 
of all military duties, waiting, there was much of the forced 
merriment with which young soldiers conceal from themselves 
the real nature of their feelings. But the older soldiers 
augured ill of the coming attack. Colonel Mullens, of the 
forty-fourth, openly expressed his dissatisfaction. 

" My regiment," said he, " has been ordered to execution. 
Their dead bodies are to be used as a bridge for the rest of 
the army to march over." 

And, what was worse, in the dense darkness of the morn- 
ing he had gone by the redoubt where were deposited the 
fiiscines and ladders, and marched his men to the head of the 
column without one of them. Whether this neglect was 
owing to accident or design concerns us not. For that and 
other military sins Mullens was afterward cashiered. 

Colonel Dale, too, of the 93d Highlanders, a man of far 
different quality from Colonel Mullens, was grave and de- 

" What do you think of it ?** asked the physician of the 
regiment, when word was brought of Thornton's deten- 

Colonel Dale made no reply in words. Giving the doctoir 

192 LIFE OF AKDBBW JA0K8ON. [1815 

his watch and a letter, he simply said, ^^ Give these to my 
wife ; I shall die at the head of my regiment/' 

Soon after four, General Pakenham rode away from the 
bank of the river, saying to one of his aids, " I will wait my 
own plans no longer." 

He rode to the quarters of General Gibbs, who met him 
with another piece of ominous intelligence. " The forty- 
fourth," Gibbs said, '^ had not taken the fascines and ladders 
to the head of the column ; but he had sent an officer to 
cause the error to be rectified, and he was then expecting 
every moment a report from that regiment." General Pak- 
enham instantly dispatched Major Sir John Tylden to ascer- 
tain whether the regiment could be got into position in time. 
Tylden found* the forty-fourth just moving off from the re- 
doubt, ^^ in a most irregular and unsoldierlike manner, with 
the fascines and ladders. 1 then returned," adds Tylden, in 
his evidence, " after some time, to Sir Edward Pakenham, 
and reported the circumstance to him ; stating, that by the 
time which had elapsed since I left them they must have ar- 
rived at their situation in column." 

This was not half an hour before dawn. Without wait- 
, ing to obtain absolute certainty upon a point so important as 
the condition of the head of his main column of attack, the 
impetuous Packenham commanded, to use the language of 
one of his own officers, " that the fataly ever-fcUcU rocket 
should be discharged as a signal to begin the assault on the 
left." A few minutes later a second rocket whizzed aloft — 
the signal of attack on the right. 

If there was confusion in the column of General Gibbs, 
there was uncertainty in that of General Keane — at least, in 
that lost fraction of it where Captain Cooke was, and young 
Duncan Campbell, who would not " peel for any American." 

" The mist," says Cooke, " was slowly clearing off, and 
objects could only be discerned at two or three hundred yards 
distant, as the morning was rather hazy ; we had only quit- 

• Court-martial of laeatenant-Oolonel MollenB. Eyidenoe of Sir John tf\ 
tei, P.SS. 


ted the battery two minutes when a congreve rocket waa 
thrown up, but whether from the enemy or not we could not 
tell ; for some seconds it whizzed backwards and forwards in 
such a zig-zag way that we all looked up to see whether it 
was coming down upon our heads. The troops simultane- 
ously halted, but all smiled at some sailors dragging a two- 
«i^heeled car a hundred yards to our left, which had brought 
up ammunition to the battery, who, by common consent as 
it were, let go the shaft, and left it the instant the rocket 
was let ofif. (This rocket, although we did not know it^ 
proved to be the signal to begin the attack.) All eyes were 
cast upwards, like those of so many philosophers, to descry, 
if possible, what would be the upshot of this noisy harbinger, 
breaking in upon the solemn silence that reigned around. 
During all my military services I never remember seeing a 
small body of troops thrown at once into such a strange con« 
figuration, having formed themselves into a circle, and having 
halted, both oflScers and men, without any previous word of 
command, each man looking earnestly as if by the instinct of 
his own imagination to see in what particular quarter the 
anticipated firing would begin. Canopied over as these sol- 
diers were with a concave mist, beyond the distance of two 
hundred yards it was impossible to see. 

" The Mississippi was not visible, its waters likewise being 
covered over with the fog ; nor was there a single soldier, save 
our own little phalanx, to be seen, or the tramp of a horse or 
a single footstep to be heard, by way of announcing that the 
battle scene was about to begin, before the vapory curtain 
was lifted or cleared away for the opposing forces to get a 
glimpse one of the other. So that we were completely lost, 
not knowing which way to bend our footsteps, and the only 
words which now escaped the officers were, * steady, men/ 
' steady, men,' these precautionary warnings being quite un- 
necessary, as every soldier was, as it were, transfixed like fox- 
hunters, waiting with breathless expectation, and casting 
significant looks one at the other before Beynard breaks 

VOL. n. — 13 


'^ All eyes seemed anxious to dive through the misty and 
all ears were attentive to the coming moment, as it was im- 
possible to tell whether the blazing would begin from the 
troops who were supposed to have already crossed the river, 
or from the great battery of the Americans on the right bank 
of the Mississippi, or from their main lines. From all thi^se 
points we were equidistant and within point-blank range, 
and were left, besides, totally without orders and without 
knowing how to act, or where exactly to find out our own 
corps, just as if we had not formed part and parcel of the 

^^The rocket had faUen probably into the Mississippi. 
All was silent ; nor did a single officer or soldier attempt to 
shift his foothold, so anxiously was the mind taken up for the 
first intonation of the cannon to guide our footsteps, or, as it 
were, to pronounce with loud peals where was the point of 
our destination." 

The suspense was soon over. Daylight struggled through 
the mist. About six o'clock both columns were advancing at 
the steady, solid, British pace to the attack ; the forty-fourth 
nowhere, straggling in the rear with the fascines and ladders. 
The column soon came up with the American outposts, who 
at first retreated slowly before it, but soon quickened their 
pace, and ran in, bearing their great news, and putting every 
man in the works intensely on the alert ; each commander 
anxious for the honor of first getting a glimpse of the foe, and 
opening fire upon him. 

Lieutenant Spotts, of battery number six, was the first man 
m the American lines who descried through the fog the dim red 
line of General Gibbs' advancing column, far away down the 
plain, close to the forest. The thunder of his great gun broke 
the dread stillness. Then there was silence again ; for the 
shifting fog, or the altered position of the enemy concealed 
him from view once more. The fog lifted again, and soon 
revealed bolh divisions, which, with their detached companies, 
seemed to cover two thirds of the plain; and gave the Ameri- 
cans a repetition of the splendid military spectacle which they 


had witnessed on the 28th of December. Three cheers 
from Carroll's men. Three cheers from the Kentuckians be- 
hind them. Cheers continued from the advancing column, 
not heard yet in the American lines. 

Steadily and fast the column of General Gibbs marched 
toward batteries numbered six, seven, and eight, which played 
upon it, at first with but occasional effect, often missing, some- 
times throwing a ball right into its midst, and causing it to 
reel and pause for a moment. Promptly were the gaps filled 
up ; bravely the column came on. As they neared the lines 
the well aimed shot made more dreadful havoc, "cutting 
great lanes in the column from front to rear," and tossing 
men and parts of men aloft, or hurling them far on one side. 
At length, still steady and unbroken, they came within range 
of the small arms, the rifles of Carroll's Tennesseans, the mus- 
kets of Adair's Kentuckians, four lines of sharpshooters, one 
behind the other. General Carroll, coolly waiting for the right 
moment, held his fire till the enemy were within two hundred 
yards, and then gave the word — 

" Fire !" 

At first with a certain deliberation, afterwards, in hot- 
test haste, always with deadly effect, the riflemen plied theil 
terrible weapon. The summit of the embankment was a 
line of spurting fire, except where the great guns showed 
their liquid, belching flash. The noise was peculiar, and al- 
together indescribable; a rolling, bursting, echoing noise, 
never to be forgotten by a man that heard it. Along the 
whole line it blazed and rolled ; the British batteries shower- 
ing rockets over the scene ; Patterson's batteries on the other 
side of the river joining in the hellish concert. Imagine it 
Ask no one to describe it. Our words were mostly made he» 
fore such a scene had become possible. 

The column of General Gibbs, mowed by the fire of the 
riflemen, still advanced, Gibbs at its head. As they caught 
sight of the ditch, some of the officers cried out, 

Where are the 44th ? If we get to the ditob, we haTe 
no means of crossing and scaling the lines t 

196 LIFB OF ANOBEW JACK80K [18.1& 

" Here come the 44th 1 Here come the 44th 1" shouted 
the General ; adding, in an undertone, for his own private 
solace, that if he lived till to-morrow he would hang Mullens 
on the highest tree in the cypress wood. 

Reassured, these heroic men again pressed on, in the face 
of that murderous, slaughtering fire. But this could not last. 
With half its number fallen, and all its commanding officers 
disabled except the general, its pathway strewed with dead 
and wounded, and the men falling ever faster and faster, the 
oluiiin wavered and i-eeled (so the American riflemen thought) 
like a red ship on a tempestuous sea. At about a hundred 
yards from the lines the front ranks halted, and so threw the 
column into disorder, Gibbs shouting in the madness of vexa- 
tion for them to re-form and advance. There was no re-form- 
ing under such a fire. Once checked, the column could not 
but break and retreat in confusion. 

Captain Hill says of this first repulse : " Hastily gallop- 
ing to the scene of confusion, we found the men falling back 
in great numbers. Every possible means were used to rally 
them ; the majority of the retreating party were wounded, 
and one and all bitterly complained that not a single ladder 
or fascine had been brought up to enable them to cross the 
ditch. A singular illusion, for which I have never been able 
to account, occurred on our nearer approach to the American 
lines : the roar of musketry and cannon seemed to proceed 
from the thick cypress-wood on our right, whilst the bright 
flashes of fire in oiur front were not apparently accompanied 
by sound. This strange effect was probably produced by the 
state of the atmosphere and the character of the ground ; but 
I leave the solution of the mystery to time and the curious." 

Just as the troops b^an to falter. General Pakenham rode 
np from his post in the rear toward the head of the column. 

Meeting parties of the 44th running about distracted, 
some carrying fascines, others firing, others in headlong flight, 
their leader nowhere to be seen, Pakenham strove to -estore 
them to order, and to urge them on the way they weie to go. 

" For shame," he cried bitterly, " recollect that you ar« 


British soldiers. This is the road you ought to take 1' point- 
ing to the flashing and roaring hell in front. 

Biding on, he was soon met hy General Gibbs, who said, 

" I am sorry to have to report to you that the troops will 
not obey me. They will not follow me."* 

Taking off his hat, General Pakenham spurred his horse 
to the very front of the wavering column, amid a torrent of 
rifle balls, cheering on the troops by voice, by gesture, by ex- 
ample. At that moment, a ball shattered his right arm, and 
it fell powerless to his sida The next, his horse fell dead 
upon the field. His aid. Captain M'Dougal, dismounted from 
his black Creole pony, and Pakenham, apparently uncon'- 
scious of his dangling arm, mounted again, and followed the 
retreating column, still calling upon them to halt and re-foruk 
A few gallant spirits ran in toward the lines, threw them- 
selves into the ditch, plunged across it, and fell scrambling 
up the sides of the soft and slippery breastwork. 

Once out of the reach of those terrible rifles, the column 
halted and regained its self-possession. Laying aside their 
heavy knapsacks, the men prepared for a second and more 
resolute advance. They were encouraged, too, bj' seeing the 
superb Highlanders marching up in solid phalanx to their 
support with a front of a hundred men, their bayonets glit- 
tering in the sun, which had then begun to pierce the morning 
mist. Now for an irresistible onset ! At a quicker step, with 
General Gibbs on its right. General Pakenham on the left, 
the Highlanders, in clear and imposing view, the column 
again advanced into the Are. Oh ! the slaughter that then 
ensued I There was one moment, when that thirty-two 
pounder, loaded to the muzzle with musket balls, poured it» 
charge directly, at point-blank range, right into the head of 
the column, literally levelling it with the plain ; laying low^ 
as was afterwards computed, two hundred men. The Amm* 
can line, as one of the British officers remarked, looked like a 
row of fiery furnaces ! 

The heroic Pakenham had not far to go to meet his dooai 

* Ooort-martial of LieiitQBaiit-Gok»el KaUni% p. 10. 


He wig three himdrsd jwds from the lines when the real 
tare of his enterprise seeoKd to flssh iqK>n him ; aad he 
tamed to Sir Jchn TrUen and sud, 

^ Order np the rescrre." 

Then^sedng the Highbindeis adfsncing to the support of 
(ieneral Gribbs, he^ still waring his hat, bat waring it now 
with his left hand, cried oat, 

'' Horrah i brare Highlandrre r 

At that moment a mass of grape-shot, with a terrible 
crash, strock the groap of which he was the central fignre. 
One of the shots tore open the Greneral's thigh, killed his 
horse, and broo^t horse and rider to the ground. Captain 
McDougal cau^t the general in his arms, remored him from 
the fallen hone, and was supporting him upon the field when 
a second shot struck the wounded man in the groin, depriving 
him instantlj of consciousness. He was borne to the rear, 
and placed in the shade of an old liTc-oak, which still stands ; 
and there, after gasping a few minutes, yielded up his life 
without a word, happily ignorant of the nd issue of all his 
plans and toils. 

A more painful &te was that of Qeneral Gibbsw A few 
moments after Pakenham fell Gibbs received his death 
wound, and was carried off the field writhing in agony, and 
uttering fierce imprecations. He lingered all that day and 
die succeeding night, dying in torment on the morrow. 
Nearly at the same moment General Keane was painfully 
wounded in the neck and thigh, and was also borne to the 
rear. Oolonel Dale, of the Highlanders, fulfilled his proph- 
ecy, and fell at the head of his regiment The Highlanders, 
under Major Creagh, wavered not, but advanced steadily, and 
too slowly, into the very tempest of General Carroirs fire, 
until they were within one hundred yards of the lines. 
There, for cause unknown, they halted and stood, a huge and 
glittering target, until five hundred and forty-four of their 
number hod fallen, then broke and fled in horror and amaze- 
ment to the rear. The column of General Gibbs did not ad- 
vance after the fall of their leader. Leaving heaps of slain 


behind them, they, too, forsook the bloody field, rashod in 
atter confusion oat of the fire, and took refuge at the bottom 
of wet ditches and behind trees and bushes on the borders of 
the swamp. 

But not all of them I Majoi Wilkinson, the " Wilky" 
of a previous page, followed by Lieutenant Lavack and 
twenty men, pressed on to the ditch, floundered across it, 
climbed the breastwork, and raised his head and shoulders 
above its summit, upon which he fell riddled with balls. 
The Tennesseans and Kentuckians defending that part of 
the lines, struck with admiration at such heroic conduct, 
lifted his still breathing body and conveyed it tenderly be- 
hind the works. 

" Bear up, my dear fellow," said Major Smiley, of the 
Kentucky reserve, " you are too brave a man to die." 

" I thank you from my heart," whispered the djring man. 
"It is all over with me. You can render me a favor; 
it is to communicate to my commander that I fell on youi 
parapet, and died like a soldier and a true Englishman."* 

Lavack reached the summit of the parapet unharmed, 
though with two shot holes in his cap. He had heard Wil- 
kinson, as they were crossing the ditch, cry out, 

" Now, why don't the troops come on ? The day is our 


With these last words in his ears, and not looking behind 
him, he had no sooner gained the breastwork than he de- 
manded the swords of two American officers, the first he 
caught sight of in the lines. 

"Oh, no," replied one of them, "you are alone, and, 
therefore, ought to consider yourself our prisoner." 

Then Lavack looked around and saw, what is best d^ 
scribed in his own language : 

" Now," he would say, as he told the story afterwards to 
his comrades, 'conceive my indignation, on looking round| 
to find that the two leading regiments had vanished as if 
tiie earth had opened and swallowed them wp."t 

^ Jackson and New Orloana, p. 332. f Captain Cooke's Nanative^ p. 256w 

900 Lirs or andbbit jaoksok. [1815 

The earth had swallowed them up, or was waiting to do 
BOy and the brave Lavack was a prisoner. Lieutenant Lavack 
fnrther declared, that when he first looked down behind the 
American lines he saw the riflemen " flying in a disorderly 
mob ;" which all other witnesses deny. Doubtless there was 
some confusion there, as every man was fighting his own bat- 
tle, and there was much struggling to get to the rampart to 
fire, and from the rampart to load. Moreover, if the lines 
had been surmounted by the foe, a backward movement on 
the part of the defenders would have been in order and neces- 

Thus, then, it fared with the attack on the weakest 
part of the American position. Let us see what success r^ 
warded the enemy's efibrts against the strongest. 

Colonel Bennie, when he saw the signal rocket ascend^ 
pressed on to the attack with such rapidity that the Ameri- 
can outposts along the river had to run for it — Bennie's van- 
guard close upon their heels. Indeed, so mingled seemed 
pursuers and piursued, that Captain Humphrey had to with- 
hold his fire for a few minutes for fear of sweeping down 
firiend and foe. As the last of the Americans leaped down 
into the isolated redoubt, Biitish soldiers began to mount its 
flides. A brief hand-to-hand conflict ensued within the re* 
doubt between the party defending it and the British ad- 
vance. In a surprisingly short time, the Americans, over- 
powered by numbers, and astounded at the suddenness of the 
attack, fled across the plank, and climbed over into safety 
behind the lines. Then was poured into the redoubt a deadly 
and incessant fire, which cleared it of the foe in less time than 
it had taken them to capture it ; while Humphrey, with his 
great guns, mowed down the still advancing column ; and 
Patterson, from the other side of the river, added the fire of 
bis powerful batteries. 

Brief was the unequal contest. Colonel Bennie, Captain 
Henry, Major King, three only of this column, reached the 
summit of the rampart near the river's edge. 

" Hurrah, boys !" cried Bennie, already wounded, as the 


three officers gained the breastwork^ ^' Hurrah, boys I the day 

IS ours/' 

At that moment Beale's New Orleans sharpshooters, with- 
drawing a few paces for better aim, fired a volley, and the 
three noble soldiera fell headlong into the ditch. 

Tliat was the end of it. Flight, tumultuous flight — some 
running on the top of the levee, some under it, others down 
the road ; while Patterson's guns played upon them still with 
terrible effect. The three slain oflScers were brought out of 
the canal behind the lines ; when, we are told, a warm dis- 
cussion arose among the Rifles for the honor of having 
" brought down the Colonel." Mr. Withers, a merchant of 
New Orleans, and the crack shot of the company, settled the 
controversy by remarking, 

"If he isn't hit above the eyebrows, it wasn't my shot." 

Upon examining the lifeless form of Kennie, it was found 
that the fatal wound was, indeed, in the forehead. To With- 
ers, therefore, was assigned the duty of sending the watch 
and other valuables found upon the person of the fallen hero 
to his widow, who was in the fleet off Lake Borgne. ** 

A pleasanter story, connected with the advance of Colonel 
Rennie's column, is related by the same author. "As the de- 
tachments along the road advanced, their bugler, a boy of 
fourteen or fifteen, climbing a small tree within two hundred 
yards of the American lines, straddled a limb, and continued 
to blow the charge with all his power. There he remained 
during the whole action, whilst the cannon balls and bullets 
plowed the gi'oimd around him, killed scores of men, and tore 
even the branches of the tree in which he sat. Above the 
thunder of the artillery, the rattling of fire, the musketry 
and all the din and uproar of the strife, the shrill blast of the 
little bugler could be heard, and even when his companions 
had fallen back and retreated from the field, he continued 
true to his duty, and blew the charge with undiminished 
vigor. At last, when the British had entirely abandoned the 
ground, an American soldier, passing from the b'nes, captured 

* Jacksoa and New Orleana, page 33) 

202 LIF£ OF AKDBSW JA0K80H. [181& 

the little bugler and brought him into camp, where he waa 
greatly astonished when some of the enthusiastic Creoles, who 
had observed his gallantry, actually embraced him, and offi- 
cers and men vied with each other in acts of kindness to so 
gaUant a little soldier/' 

The reserve, under General Lambert, was never ordered 
up Major Tylden obeyed the last order of his general, and 
General Lambert had directed the bugler to sound the ad- 
vance. A chance shot struck the bugler's uplifted arm, and 
the instrument fell to the ground. The charge was never 
Bounded. General Lambert brought forward his division far 
enough to cover the retreat of the broken columns, and to de- 
ter General Jackson from attempting a sortie. The chief 
command had fallen upon Lambert, and he was overwhelmed 
by the unexpected and fearful issue of the battle. 

It remains to allow Captain Cooke to complete his narra- 
tive of the adventures of his party of two hundi-ed. The 
firing began at length. 

" The first objects we saw, inclosed as we were in this little worid of 
mist) were the cannon-balls tearing up the ground and crossing one another, 
and bounding along like so many cricket-balls through the air, coming on 
our left flank from the American batteries on the right bank of the river, 
and also from their lines in our front. 

"At this momentous crisis a droll occurrence took place ; a company of 
blacks emerged out of the mist, carrying ladders, which were intended for 
the three light companies of the left attack, but these Ethiopians were so 
confounded at the multiplicity of noises, that without further ado they 
dropped the ladders and fell fiat on their faces, and without doubt, had 
their claws been of sufficient length, they would have scratched holes and 
buried themselves from such an unpleasant admixture of sounds and con- 
catenation of iron projectiles, which seemed at war one with the othei, 
coming from two opposite directions at one and the same time. 

" To see the ladders put on the shoulders of these poor creatures, who 
were nipped by the cold, excited our greatest astonishment^ knowing that 
it requires the very dlite of an army for such an undertaking ; for soldiers 
that will place ladders under a heavy fire are capable of any thing, as it re- 
quires the most desperate efforts to lug them along over broken ground, 
dilches, and other obstacles, the men all the while falling from the effects 
of the enemy's balls ] sometimes one end of the ladder comes to the groimd 


without supporters, and then the other. For if the difficult operation taket 
place in the day- time, the enemy point all their engines of destruction at 
those carrying the ladders ; the troops are excited ; those that are left rush 
forward to grapple with difficulties not to be surmounted without assist- 
ance, at a time when the supporters of the ladders have let them drop, irri* 
tated and suffering from the pain of their wounds, others having fallen to 
rise no more. And probably out of ten or twenty ladders only two or three 
out of the whole can be raised against the enemy's parapets. On the other 
band, if such an operation takes place at night, the least obstacle stops the 
progress of those carrying them, the soldiers fall, the ladders lay upon the 
ground, and are lost during the dreadful confusion. These evils in war are 
out of the pale of all theory. The operation must be seen to be well un- 
derstood, and I know of no rule except by selecting men of the most tried 
courage, and gifted with tlie most persevering and undaunted resolution, 
and if they fall, the operation must be left to the energy of the storming 
party. But, taken as a whole, it is one of the most difficult of all enter- 
prises, and of this the practical engineer officer is aware as well as my- 
self, having seen in Spain and elsewhere the difficulty of raising ladders 
against walls, when well opposed, and also the great numbers dropped and 
left lying about even by the most veteran troops. 

" If these blacks were only intended to carry the ladders to the three 
light companies on the left, they were too late. The great bulk of them 
were cut to pieces before the ladders were within reach of them, even if 
the best troops in the world had been carrying them they would not have 
been up in time. This was very odd, and more than odd ; it looked as if 
folly stalked abroad in the English camp. One or two officers went to the 
front in search of some responsible person to obtain orders ad interim; 
finding myself the senior officer, I at once making a double, as it were, or 
as Napoleon recommended, marched to the spot where the heaviest firing 
was going on ; at a run we neared the American hnes. The mist was 
now rapidly clearing away, but owing to the dense smoke we could not 
at first well distinguish the attacking column of the British troops to our 

" We now also caught a view of the seventh and the forty-third regi- 
ments in echelon on our right, near the wood, the royal fusileers being 
within about three hundred yards of the enemy's lines, and the forty-third 
deploying into line two hundred yards in echelon behind the fusileers. 
These two regiments were every now and then almost enveloped by the 
clouds of smoke that hung over their heads and floated on their flanks, foe 
the echo from the cannonade and musketry was so tremendous in the for* 
ests that the vibration seemed as if the earth was cracking and tumbling 
to pieces, or as if the heavens were rent asunder by the most terrific peals of 
tbnnder that ever rumbled; it was the most awful and the grandest mixturt 


of BouDds to be oonceiyed ; the woods seemed to crack to an interminable 
distance, each cannon report was answered one hundredfold, and produced 
an intermingled roar surpassing strange. And this phenomenon can neither 
be fimcied nor described, save bj those who can bear evidence of the &ot 
And the flashes of fire looked as if coming out of the bowels of the earth. 
■0 little above its surface were the batteries of the Americans. 

'^ We had run the gauntlet from the left to the center in front of the 
American lines, under a cross fire, in hopes of joining in the assault^ and 
had a fine view of the sparkling of the musketry and the liquid flashes 
fix>m the cannon. And melancholj to relate, all at once many soldiers were 
met wildly rushing out of the dense clouds of smoke lighted up by a spark- 
ling sheet of fire which hovered over the ensanguined field. Regiments 
were shattered, broke, and dispersed — ^all order was at an end. And the 
dismal spectacle was seen of the darjc shadows of men, like skirmishers, 
breaking out of the clouds of smoke which slowly and majestically rolled 
along the even surface of the field. And so astonished was I at such a 
panic that I said to a retiring soldier, *• have we or the Americans attacked?* 
for I had never seen troops in such a hurry without being followed. ' No^' 
replied the man, with the countenance of despair and out of breath, as he run 
along, *■ we attacked, sir.' For still the reverberation was so intense towards 
the great wood that any one would have thought the great fighting wa^ 
going on there instead of immediately in front. 

"^ Lieutenant Duncan Campbell, of our regiment, was seen to our left 
running about in circles, first staggering one way, then another, and at 
length fell on the sod helplessly upon his face, and in this state several times 
recovered his legs, and again tumbled, and when he was picked up he was 
foond to be blind from the effects of a grape-shot that had torn open his 
forehead, giving him a slight wound in the leg, and had also ripped the 
scabbard from his side and knocked the cap from his head. While being 
borne insensible to the rear, he still clenched the hilt of his sword with a 
convulsive grasp, the blade thereof being broken off close at the hilt with 
grape-shot^ and in a state of delirium and suffering ho lived for a few 

" The first officer we met was Lieutenant Colonel Stovin, of the stafij 
who was unhorsed, without his hat^ and bleeding down the left side of his 
fkce. He at first thought that the two hundred men were the whole regi- 
ment^ and he said, ' forty-third, for God's sake, save tlie day 1* Lieutenant 
Colonel Smith, of the rifles and one of Packenham*s staff, then rode up at 
full gallop from the right (he had a few months before brought to England 
the dispatches of the capture of Washington), and said to me, ' Did you ever 
see such a scene ? There is nothing left but the seventh and forty-third I 
lust draw up here for a few minutes to show front, that the repulsed troops 
may re-form.' For the chances now were, as the greater portion of the ao- 


tnallj attacking corps were stricken down, and the remainder dispersed, thai 
che Americans would become the assailants. The ill-fated rocket was dis* 
charged before the British troops moved on, the consequence was that every 
American gun was warned by such a silly signal to be laid on the parapets 
ready to be discharged with the fullest effects. 

^ The misty field of battle was now inundated with wounded officen 
and soldierSi who were going to the rear from the rigJUj lefi^ and cenieTj in 
fact little more than one thousand soldiers were left unscathed out of the 
three thousand that attacked the American lines, and they fell like the 
very blades of grass beneath the scythe of the mower. Packenham was 
killed, Gibbs was mortally wounded, and his brigade dispereed like tiio 
dust before the whirlwind, and Keane was wounded. The command of 
his Majesty's forces at this critical juncture now fell to Major Qeneral 
Lambert, the only general left, and who was in reserve with his fino 

" With the exception of two hundred soldiers under my orders, in the 
center there was hardly a man formed all the way to the bank of the Mia- 
siasippi, or any reserve ready to resist, for nearly the space of half a mile 
of ground, which was immediately in front of the whole of the right and 
the center of the American barricade, or to hinder them from dashing up 
the high road to the canal and tlie place where Colonel Thornton had em- 
barked with his force, for the passage of the river. 

" Had the Americans only advanced, the probability would have been 
by this movement that they would have got one mile behind the seventh 
and the forty- third regiments, and the fugitives that had retired into the 
swampy wood ; and had they succeeded in beating back the soldiers under 
my orders, and some sixty or seventy soldiers under the orders of Lieuten- 
ant Hutchinson of the royal fusileers, who clung round the left battery after 
retreating from the crescent battery, when he found nearly all his men 
killed or wounded, and that the principal attack had utterly failed, and 
himself left without any support. 

" The rifle corps individually took post to resist any forward movement 
of the enemy, but the ground already named being under a cross fire of at 
least twenty pieces of artillery, the advantage was all on the side of the 
Americans, who in a crowd might have completely run down a few 8cat> 
tered troops exposed to such an overpowering force of artillery. 

" The black troops behaved in the most shameful manner to a man, and, 
although hardly exposed to fire, were in utter and abominable consterna- 
tion, and lying down in all directions, and amongs^ them the white feather 
nodded triumphant. One broad beaver with the ample folds of tlie coarse 
blanket thrown across the shoulders of the American was as terrible in 
their eyes as a panther noight be whilst springing amongst a timid multt- 
)ade. These klack corps, it was said, had behaved well at some West 

206 LIFB OF AKDBBW JA0K8OK. [181& 

India Islandfl^ where the thermometer was more congenial to theix 

'' As soon as the action was over, and some troops wero formed in our 
rear, we then, under a smart fire of grape and round-shot, moved to the 
right and joined our own corps, who had been ordered to lay down at the 
edge of a ditch ; and some of the old soldiers, with rage depicted on thior 
countenances, were demanding why they were not led on to the assault 

'' The fire of the Americans from behind their barricade had been in- 
deed most murderous, and had caused so sudden a repulse that it was dif- 
ficult to persuade ourselves that such an event had happened — ^the whole 
afikir being more like a dream, or some scene of enchantment, than 

Like a dream, indeed. How long a time, does the* reader 
think, elapsed between the fire of the first American gun and 
the total rout of the attacking columns? Twenty-five \( 
MINUTES 1 Not that the American fire ceased, or even slack- ' 
ened, at the expiration of that period. The riflemen on the 
left, and the troops on the right, continued to discharge their 
weapons into the smoke that hung over the plain for two 
hours. But in the space of twenty-five minutes the discom- 
fiture of the enemy in the open field was complete. The bat- 
tery alone still made resistance. It required two hours of a 
tremendous cannonade to silence its great guns, and drive 
its defenders to the rear. 

The scene behind the American works during the fire can 
be easily imagined. One half of the army never fired a shot 
The battle was fought at the two extremities of the lines. 
The battalions of Planchd, Dacquin and Lacoste, the whole 
of the forty-fourth regiment, and one half of Coffee's Tennes- 
seans, had nothing to do but to stand still at their posts, and 
chafe with vain impatience for a chance to join in the fight. 
The batteries alone at the center of the works contributed 
any thing to the fortunes of the day. Yet, no; that is not 
quite correct. "The moment the British came into view, 
and their signal rocket pierced the sky with its fiery train, the 
band of the Battalion D'Orleans struck up ' Yankee Doodle ;' 
and thenceforth, throughout the action, it did not cease to 


discourse all the national and military airs in whicli it hod 
Deen instructed." * 

When the action began, Jackson walked along the left of 
the lines, speaking a few words of good cheer to the men as 
he passed the several corps. 

"Stand to your guns. Don't waste your ammunition. 
See that every shot tells." " Give it to them, boys. Let us 
finish the business to-day." 

Such words as these escaped him now and then ; the men 
not engaged cheering him as he went by. As the battle be- 
came general, he took a position on ground slightly elevated, 
near the center, which commanded a view of the scene. 
There, with mien composed and mind intensely excited, ho 
watched the progress of the strife. When it became evident 
that the enemy's columns were finally broken, Major Hinds, 
whose dragoons were drawn up in the rear, entreated the Gen 
eral for permission to dash out upon them in pursuit. li 
was a tempting offer to such a man as Jackson. In the in- 
toxication of such a moment, most born fighters could no' 
but have said. Have at them, then I But prudence prevailed, 
and the request was refused. 

" My reason for refusing," he would afterwards say, in 
conversation, " was that it might become necessary to sustain 
him, and thus a contest in the open field be brought on : the 
lives of my men were of value to their country, and much too 
dear to their families to be hazarded where necessity did not 
require it ; but, above all, from the numerous dead and 
wounded stretched out on the field before me, I felt a confi- 
dence that the safety of the city was most probably attained, 
and hence that nothing calculated to reverse the good fort.unft 
we had met should be attempted."f 

At eight o'clock, there being no signs of a renewed attack, 
and no enemy in sight, an order was sent along the lines to 
cease firing with the small arms. The General, surrounded 
by his staff, then walked from end to end of the work^ 

* Jackson and New OrleaoB, pi 838. f Baton, p. 87L 





stopping at each battery and post, and addressing a few words 

of congratulation and praise to their defenders. It was a 

X ^ ' proud, glad moment for these men, when, panting from their 

v^ vJ , two hours' labor, blackened with smoke and sweat, they list- 

f^ J , J ened to the General's burning words, and saw the light of 

\ \' victory in his countenance. With particular warmth he 

thanked and commended Beale's little band of riflemen, the 

companies of the seventh, and Humphrey's artillerymen, who 

had so gallantly beaten back the column of Colonel Bennie. 

N Heartily, too, he extolled the wonderful firing of the divisions 

V of General Carroll and General Adair ; not forgetting Coffee, 

who had dashed out upon the black skirmishers in the swamp, 
and driven them out of sight in ten minutes. 

This joyful ceremony over, the artillery, which had con- 
tinued to play upon the British batteries, ceased their fire 
for the guns to cool and the dense smoke to roll off. The 
whole army crowded to the parapet, and looked over into the 
field. What a scene was gradually disclosed to them ! That 
gorgeous and imposing military array, the two columns of 
attack, the Highland phalanx, the distant reserve, all had 
vanished like an apparition. Far away down the plain, the 
glass revealed a faint red lino still receding. Nearer to the 
lines, " we could see," says Nolte, " the British troops con- 
cealing themselves behind the shrubbery, or throwing them- 
selves into the ditches and gullies. In some of the latter 
indeed they lay so thickly that they were only distinguishable 
in the distance by the white shoulder belts, which formed a 
line along the top of their hiding place." 

Still nearer, the plain was covered and heaped with dead 
and wounded, as well as with those who had fallen paralyzed 
by fear alone. " I never had," Jackson would say, " so grand 
and awful an idea of the resurrection as on that day. After 
the smoke of the battle had cleared off somewhat, I saw in 
die distance more than five hundred Britons emerging from 
the heaps of their dead comrades, all over the plain, rising 
ap, and still more distinctly visible as the field became 
clearer, coming forward and surrendering as prisoners of wai 


0^ ' ' 



to our soldiers. They had fallen at our first fire upon them, 
without having received so much as a scratch, and lay pros- 
trate, as if dead, until the close of the action." 

The American army, to their credit be it repeated, were 
appalled and silenced at the scene before them. The writh- 
ings of the wounded, their shrieks and groans, their convul* 
sive and sudden tossing of limbs, were horrible to see and 
hear. Seven hundred killed, fourteen hundred wounded, five 
hundred prisoners, were the dread result of that twenty-five 
minutes' work. Jackson's loss, as all the world knows, was 
eight killed and thirteen wounded. Two men were killed at 
the left of the lines, two in the isolated redoubt, four in the 
swamp pursuing the skirmishers. 

'^ The field," says Mr. Walker, " was so thickly strewn 
with the dead, that from the American ditch you could have 
walked a quarter of a mile to the front on the bodies of the 
killed and disabled. The space in front of Carroll's position, 
for an extent of two hundred yards, was literally covered with 
the slain. The course of the column could be distinctly traced 
in the broad red line of the victims of the terrible batteries 
and unerring guns of the Americans. They fell in their 
tracks : in some places, whole platoons lay together, as if 
killed by the same discharge. Dressed in their gay uniforms, 
cleanly shaved and attired for the promised victory and tri- 
umphal entry into the city, these stalwart men lay on the 
gory field, frightful examples of the horrors of war. Strangely, 
indeed, did they contrast with those ragged, unshorn, be- 
grimed and untidy, strange-looking, long-haired men, who, 
crowding the American parapet, surveyed and commented 
upon the terrible destruction they had caused. There wa« 
not a private among the slain whose aspect did not present 
more of the pomp and circumstance of war than any of the 
commanders of the victors. In the ditch there were no less 
than forty dead, and at least a hundred who were wounded, 
or who had thrown themselves into it for shelter. On the 
edge of the woods there were many who, being slightly 
wounded, or unable to reach the rear, had concealed them- 

VOL. II. — 14 

212 LIFB OF ANDREW JA0K80K. [1815. 

ingy between the intervals of firing the cannon, to witness the 
risks continually run by the officers to take a peep at this 
good shot. Owing to this circumstance^ the vicinity of the 
tree became rather a hot berth ; but the American gunners 
&iled to hit it a second time, although some baUs passed very 
near on each side, and for about an hour it was a source of 
excessive jocularity to us." 

General Jackson had no sooner finished his round of con- 
gratulations, and beheld the completeness of his victory on 
the eastern bank, than he began to cast anxious glances across 
the river, wondering^ at the silence of Morgan's lines and 
Patterson's guns. They flashed and spoke, at length. Jack- 
son and Adair, mounting the breastwork, saw Thornton's 
column advancing to the attack, and saw Morgan's men 
open fire upon them vigorously. All is well, thought Jackson. 

" Take off your hats and give them three cheers I" shouted 
the General, though Morgan's division was a mile and a half 

The order was obeyed, and the whole army watched the 
action with intense interest, not doubting that the gallant 
Kentuckians and Louisianians, on that side of the river, 
would soon drive back the British column, as they them- 
selves had just driven back those of Gibbs and Rennie. 
These men had become used to seeing British columns recoil 
and vanish before their fire. Not a thought of disaster on 
the western bank crossed their elated minds. 

^ Letter of General Jackson to General Adair, July, 1817. — Eentudt^ R& 




Yet Thornton carried the day on the western bank 
Even while the men were in the act of cheering, General 
Jackson saw, with mortification and disgust, never forgotten 
by him while he drew breath, the division under General 
Morgan abandon their position and run in headlong flight 
toward the city. Clouds of smoke soon obsciu'cd the scene. 
But the flashes of the musketry advanced up the river, 
disclosing to General Adair and his men the humiliating 
fact that their comrades had not rallied, but were still in 
swift retreat before the foe. In a moment the elation of 
General Jackson's troops was changed to anger and appre- 

Fearing the worst consequences, and fearing them with 
reason, the General leaped down from the breastwork, and 
made instant preparations for sending over a powerful rein- 
forcement. At all hazards the western bank must be regained. 
All is lost if it be not. Let but the enemy have free course 
up the western bank, with a mortar and a twelve pounder, 
and New Orleans will be at their mercy in two hours ! Nay, 
let Commodore Patterson but leave one of his guns unspiked, 
and Jackson's lines, raked by it from river to swamp, are un- 
tenable 1 All this, which was immediately apparent to the 
mind of General Jackson, was understood also by all of his 
army who had reflected upon their position. 

The story of the mishap is soon told. At half past four 
in the morning Colonel Thornton stepped ashore on the west- 
ern bank, at a point about four miles below Gtneral Morgan's 
lines. By the time all his men were ashore and formed the 
day had dawned, and the flashing of guns on the eastern bank 
announced that General Packenham had begun his attack. 
At double-quick step Thornton b^n his march along the 


levee, supported by three small gun-boats in the river, that 
kept abreast of his column. He came up first with a strong 
outpost, consisting of a hundred and twenty Louisianians, 
under Major Amaud, who had thrown up a small breastwork 
in the night, and then fallen asleep, leaving one sentinel on 
guard. A shower of grape-shot from one of the gun-boats 
roused Amaud's company from their ill-timed slumber. 
These men, taken by surprise, made no resistance, but awoke 
only to fly toward the main body. And this was right. 
There was nothing else for them to do. To place them in 
such a position was absurd enough ; but being there, their 
only course was to retreat on the approach of the enemy in 
such order ^ they could. 

Thornton next descried Colonel Davis' two hundred Ken- 
tuckians ; the Kentuckians who were to be immortalized by 
an act of hasty injustice. These men, worn out, as we have 
seen, by hunger and fatigue, reached Morgan's lines about the 
hour of Colonel Thornton's landing. Immediately, without 
rest or refreshment, they were ordered to march down the 
river until they met the enemy ; then engage him ; defeat 
him if they could ; retreat to the lines if they could not. 
This order, ill-considered as it was, wcls obeyed by them to 
the letter.^ Meeting the men of Major Arnaud's command 
running breathlessly to the rear, they still kept on, until, see- 
ing Thornton's column advancing, they halted, and formed in 
the open field to receive it. Upon being attacked, they made 
a better resistance than could have been reasonably expected. 
The best armed among them fired seven rounds upon the 
enemy ; the worst armed, three rounds. Efiectual resistance 
being manifestly impossible, they obeyed the orders they had 
received, and fell back (in disorder, of course) to the line«, 
having killed and wounded several of the enemy, and for a 
few minutes checked his advance. On reaching the lines, 
fliey were ordered to take post on the right, where the lines 
consisted merely of a ditch and of the earth that had been 

* IfOtter of General Adair to Oeneral Jackson, 1817, in Kentucky Eeporter 


thrown out of it, a work which left them exposed to the en- 
emy's fire from the waist upward. 

Colonel Thornton having now arrived within seven hun- 
dred yards of General Morgan's position, halted his force for 
the purpose of reconnoitering and making his last prepara* 
tions for the assault. He saw at once the weakness of that 
part of the lines which the Kentuckians defended. And not 
only that. Beyond the Kentuckians there was a portion of 
the swampy wood, practicable for troops, wholly undefended I 
The result of his reconnoitering, therefore, was a determina- 
tion, as Thornton himself says in his dispatch, now before 
me, "^0 turn the right of the enemy's position'* Observe his 
words : "I accordingly detached two divisions of the eighty- 
fifth, under Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Gubbins, to effect that 
object," (of turning the right ;) " while Captain Money, of the 
royal navy, with one hundred sailors, threatened the enemy's 
left, supported by the division of the eighty-fifth, under Cap- 
tain Schaw." The brunt of the battle was, therefore, to be 
borne by our defenceless Kentuckians, while the strong part 
of the lines was to be merely " threatened" with a squad of 
sailors and a party of the eighty-fifth. 

The result was precisely what Thornton expected, and 
what was literally inevitable. The bugle sounded the charge. 
Under a showor of screaming rockets, the British troops and 
sailors advanced to the attack. A well-directed fire of grape- 
shot from Morgan's guns made great havoc among the sailors 
on the right, and compelled them first to pause, and then re- 
coil, Captain Money, their commander, falling wounded. But 
Colonel Gubbins, with the main strength of Thornton's force, 
marched toward the extreme left, firing upon the Kentuck- 
ians, and turning their position, according to Thornton's plan. 
At the same moment, Thornton, in person, rallying the sail- 
ors, led them up to the batter)\ The Kentuckians, seeing 
themselves about to be hemmed m between two bodies of the 
enemy, and exposed to a fire both in front and rear, fired three 
rounds, and then took to flight. Three minutes more and 
they would have been prisoners. Armed as they were, and 



po8t«*d as they were, the defense of their position against three 
hundred perfectly armed and perfectly disciplined troops was 
a moral impossibility, and almost a physical one. They fled, 
as raw militia generaUy fly, in wild panic and utter confusion, 
and never stopped running until they had reached an old 
mill-race two miles up the river, where they halted and made 
a show of fonning. 

The flight of the Kentuckians was decisive upon the issue 
of the action. The Louisianians held their ground until they 
saw that the enemy, having gained the abandoned lines, 
were about to attack them in the rear. Then, having fired 
eight rounds, and killing or wounding a hundred of the en- 
emy, they had no chance but to join in the retreat. In bet- 
ter order than the Kentuckians, they fell back to a point near 
which the Louisiana was anchored, half a mile behind the 
lines, where they halted and assisted the sailors to tow the 
ship higher up the stream. 

Commodore Patterson, in his battery on the levee, three 
hundred yards in the rear of Morgan's position, witnessed the 
flight of the Kentuckians and the retreat of the Louisianiam 
with fury. As he had retained but thirty sailors in his bat- 
tery, just enough to work the few guns that could be pointed 
down the road, the retreat of Morgan's division involved the 
immediate abandonment of his own batteries — the batteries 
of which he had grown so fond and so proud, and which had 
done so much for the success of the campaign. In the rage 
of the moment, he cried out to a midshipman standing near 
a loaded gun with a lighted match — 

" Fire your piece into the d d cowards 1" 

The youth was about to obey the order when the Com- 
modore recovered his self-possession and arrested the uplifted 
arm.* With admirable calmness, he caused every cannon to 
be spiked, threw all his ammunition into the river, and then 
walked to the rear with his friend Shepherd, now cursing the 
Kentuckians, now cursing the British — the worst-tempered 
Commodore then extant. 

* Jackson and New Orleans^ p. 364 


Colonel Thornton, severely wounded in the assault, had 
strength enough to reach Morgan's redoubt ; but there, over- 
come by the anguish of his wound, he was compelled to give 
up the command of tlie troops to Colonel Gubbins. Ignorant 
as yet of General Pakenham's fall, he sent over to him a 
modest dispatch announcing his victory; and, soon after, was 
obliged to re-cross the river and go into the hospital. 

And thus, by ten o'clock, the British were masters of the 
western bank, although, owing to the want of available artil- 
lery, their triumph, for the moment, was a fruitless one. On 
one of the guns captured in General Morgan's lines the vic- 
tors read this inscription : " Taken at the surrender of York- 
town, 1781." In a tent behind the lines they found the 
ensign of one of the Louisiana regiments, which still hangs in 
Whitehall, London, bearing these words : " Taken at the 
Battle of New Orlexms, Jan. 8th, 1815." 

General Lambert, stunned by the events of the morning, 
was morally incaimble of improving this important success. 
And it was well for him and for his army that he was so. 
Soldiers there have been who would have seen in Thornton's 
triumph the means of turning the tide of disaster and snatch- 
ing victory from the jaws of defeat. But General Lambert 
found himself suddenly invested with the command of an 
army wliich, besides having lost a third of its effective force, 
was almost destitute of field officers. The mortality among 
the higher grade of officers had been frightful. Three major- 
generals, eight colonels and lieutenant-colonels, six majors, 
eighteen captains, fifty-four subalterns, were among the killed 
and wounded. In such circumstances, Lambert, instead of 
hurrying over artillery and reinforcements, and marching on 
New Orleans, did a less spirited, but a wiser thing : he sent 
over an officer to survey General Morgan's lines, and ascertain 
how many men would be required to hold them. In other 
words, he sent over an officer to bring him back a plausible 
excuse for abandoning Colonel Thornton's conquest. And 
during the absence of tlie officer on this errand the British 
general resolved upon a measure still more pacific. 

218 LIFB OF ANDBBW JA0K80». [1815. 

General Jackson, meanwhile, was intent upon dispatching 
his reinforcements. It never, for one moment, occun-ed to his 
warlike mind that the British general would relinquish so 
vital an advantage without a desperate struggle, and, accord- 
ingly, he prepared for a desperate struggle. Organizing 
piomptly a strong body of troops, he placed it under the com- 
mand of General Humbert, a refugee officer of distinction, 
who had led the French revolutionary expedition into Ireland 
in 1798, and was then serving in the lines as a volunteer. 
Humbert, besides being the only general officer that Jackson 
could spare from his own position, was a soldier of high re- 
pute and known courage, a martinet in discipline, and a man 
versed in the arts of European warfare. About eleven o'clock 
(as I conjecture) the reinforcement left the camp, with oiders 
to hasten across the river by the ferry at New Orleans, and 
march down towards the enemy, and, after eflfecting a junc- 
tion with General Morgan's troops, to attack him and drive 
him from the lines. Before noon, Humbert was well on his 

Soon after midday, some American troops who were walk- 
ing about the blood-stained field in front of Jackson's position 
perceived a British party of novel aspect approaching. It con- 
sisted of an officer in full uniform, a trumpeter, and a soldier 
bearing a white flag. Halting at the distance of three hun- 
dred yards from the breastwork, the trumpeter blew a blast 
upon his bugle, which brought the whole army to the edge 
of the parapet, gazing with eager curiosity upon this unex- 
pected but not unwelcome spectacle. Colonel Butler and 
two other officers were immediately dispatched by General 
Jackson to receive the message thus announced. After an 
exchange of courteous salutations, the British officer handed 
Colonel Butler a letter directed to the American Commander- 
in-Chief, which proved to be a proposal for an armistice of 
twenty-four hours, that the dead might be buried and the 
wounded removed from the field. The letter was signed 
"Lambert," a device, as was conjectured, to conceal from 
Jackson the death of the British general-in-command. 


The sprinkling of canny Scottish blood that flowed in 

Jackson's veins asserted itself on this occasion. Time was now 

lan all-important object with him, since Humbert and his 

command could not yet have crossed the river, and Jackson's 

whole soul was bent to the regaining of the western bank. 

" Lambert ?" thought the General. " Who is Lambert ? 
An untitled Lambert is not the individual for the command- 
er-in-chief of this army to negotiate with." 

Colonel Butler was ordered to return to the flag of truce, 
and to say, that Major-General Jackson would be happy to 
receive any communication from the commander-in-chief of 
the British army ; but as to the letter signed " Lambert," 
Major-General Jackson, not knowing the rank and powers of 
that gentleman, must beg to decline corresponding with him. 

The flag departed ; but returned in half an hour, with the 
same proposal, signed, "John Lambert, commander-in-chief 
of the British forces." Jackson's answer was prompt and 
ingenious. Humbert, by this time, he thought, if he had not 
crossed the river, must be near crossing, and might, in a dip- 
lomatic sense, be considered crossed. Jackson, therefore, con- 
sented to an armistice on the eastern bank ; expressly stipu- 
lating that hostilities were not to be suspended on the west- 
em side of the river, and that neither party should send over 
reinforcements until the expiration of the armistice ! A cun- 
ning trick, but not an unfair one, considering the circum- 
stances ; and the less unfair as some reinforcements on the 
English side had already gone over the river. 

When this reply reached General Lambert he had not yet 
received the report from the western bank, and was still, in 
some degi'ce, undecided as to the course he should pursue 
there. With the next return of the flag, therefore, came a 
request from Lambert for time to consider General Jackson's 
reply. To-morrow morning, at ten o'clock, he would send a 
definite answer. The cannonade from the lines continued 
through the afternoon, and the troops stood at their posts, 
"jot certain that they would not again be attacked. 

Early in the afternoon the officer returned from his in-" 


spection of the works on the western bank, and gave it as his 
opinion that they could not be held with less than two thou- 
sand men. General Lambert at once sent an order to Colonel 
Gubbins to abandon the works, and to recross the river with 
his whole command ! ! The order was not obeyed without 
difficulty ; for, by this time, the Louisianians, urged by a 
desire to retrieve the fortunes of the day and their own honor, 
began to approach the lost redoubts in considerable bodies. 
Our friend, the Subaltern, who served this day on the western 
bank, was the officer designated to cover, with a strong picket, 
the rear of the retiring column, and keep off those threatening 
parties, " As soon," he says, " as the column had got suf- 
ficiently on their way, the picket likewise prepared to follow. 
But, in doing so, it was evident that some risk must be run. 
The enemy, having rallied, began again to show a front ; 
that is to say, parties of sixty or a hundred men approached 
to reconnoiter. These, however, must be deceived, otherwise 
a pursuit might be commenced, and the reembarkation of the 
whole corps hindered or prevented. It so happened that the 
picket in question was this day under my command ; as soon, 
therefore, as I received information that the main body had 
commenced its retreat, I formed my men, and made a show 
of advancing. The Americans, perceiving this, fled ; when 
wheeling about, we set fire to the chateau, and, under cover 
of the smoke, destroyed the bridge and retreated. Making 
all haste toward the rear, we overtook our comrades just as 
they had begun to embark ; when the little corps, being once 
more united, entered their boats, and reached the opposite 
bank without molestation." 

The Subaltern performed his duty so well as to conceal 
from the Americans the departure of the English troops until 
the following morning. With what alacrity Commodore 
Patterson and General Morgan then rushed to their redoubts 
and batteries ; with what assiduity the sailors bored out the 
spikes of the guns, toiling at the work all the next night ; 
with what zeal the troops labored to strengthen the lines , 


with what exultant joy Jackson heard the tidings, may he 
left to the reader to imagine. 

The dead in front of Jackson's lines, scattered and heaped 
upon the field, lay all night, gory and stiff, a spectacle of 
horror to the American outposts stationed in their midst. 
Many of the wounded succeeded in crawling or tottering back 
to their camp. Many more were brought in behind the lines 
and convoyed to New Orleans, where they received every hu- 
mane attention. But, probably, some hundreds of poor fel- 
lows, hidden in the wood or lying motionless in ditches, 
lingered in unrelieved agony all that day and night, until 
late in the following morning — an eternity of anguish. As 
soon as night spread her mantle over the scene, many unin- 
jured soldiers, who had lain all day in the ditches and 
shrubbery, rejoined their comrades in the rear. 

The Subaltern describes the feelings of the discomfited 
troops, when he and the rest of Thornton's command reached 
the camp : — " The change of expression," he says, " visible 
in every countenance, no language can portray. Only twenty 
hours ago and all was life and animation; wherever you went 
you were enlivened by. the sound of merriment and raillery ; 
whilst the expected attack was mentioned in terms indicative 
not only of sanguine hope, but of the most perfect confidence 
as to its result. Now gloom and discontent everywhere pre- 
vailed. Disappointment, grief, indignation and rage suc- 
ceeded each other in all bosoms ; nay, so completely were the 
troo])S overwhelmed by a sense of disgrace, that for awhile 
they retained their sorrow without so much as hinting at its 
cause. Nor was this dejection occasioned wholly by the con- 
sciousness of laurels tarnished. The loss of comrades was to 
the full as afflicting as the loss of honor ; for out of more 
than five thousand men, brought on this side into the field, 
no fewer than fifteen hundred had fallen. Among these were 
two Generals (for Gibbs survived his wound but a few hours) 
and many officers of courage and ability ; besides which, 
hardly an individual survived who had not to mourn the loss 
j{ some particular and well-known companion. 


" Yet it is most certain that, amidst all this variety of 
conflicting passions, no feeling bordering upon despair, oi 
even terror, found room. Even among the private soldiers 
no fear was experienced, for if you attempted to converse 
with them on the subject of the late defeat, they would end 
with a bitter ciu-se upon those to whose misconduct they 
attributed their losses, and refer you to the future, when 
they hoped for an opportunity of revenge. To the Ameri- 
cans they would allow no credit, laying the entire blame of 
the failure upon certain individuals among themselves ; and 
so great was the indignation expressed against one corps (the 
forty-fourth regiment), that the soldiers of other regiments 
would hardly exchange words with those who chanced to 
wear that uniform. Though deeply aflfliicted, therefore, we 
were by no means disheartened, and even yet anticipated, 
with an eagerness far exceeding what we felt before, a re- 
newal of the combat." 

Mullens and the forty-fourth were not the only scapegoats. 
The deserter, whose informatioh had led General Gibbs' col- 
umn into the fiery jaws of destruction, was now supposed to 
be a spy, sent by Jackson for the purpose of misleading Gen- 
eral Pakenham. A party of soldiers seized the traitor, and, 
in spite of his vehement protestations, hanged him upon a 
tree — a fate which the dastard well deserved, though not from 



From daylight fear blanched the cheeks of the mothers 
and maidens of the city, left almost alone on the day of the 
great battle. When the cannonade began most of the male 
population who, from age, infirmity, or the scarcity of arms, 
were exempt from military duty, hastened toward the camp. 
'*''" en a safe distance in the rear of the lines they witnessed 


the flash and smoke of the combat ; the boys climbing trees 
to get a wider view ; men and boys all ready, if the lines were 
carried, to hurry back to New Orleans to give warning of the 
enemy's approach, and assist to a place of safety such of the 
ladies as meant to fly. The corps of veterans were posted in 
detachments in front of the banks and public buildings with 
such arms as were left to them. 

And thus it was that in the houses of New Orleans, on 
this decisive day, the women and little children were alone, 
awaiting the issue of the strife, the ceaseless thunder of which 
for many hours shook their windows and their souls. At 
such a time Rumor and Imagination play into each others 
nands. If at one moment there tlew from house to house a 
report that the enemy were gaining the day, the next moment 
th^ cannonade seemed to be coming nearer. The ladies who 
intended to leave the city, in case it were taken, sat dressed and 
ready all the morning, with their valuables about their per- 
sons, and their children prepared for a journey. But these 
were few. The extreme scarcity of money, the absence of 
their natural protectors, and the withdrawal of the horses for 
the public service, compelled most of the women to forego all 
thought of escape. They must stay and face the danger, 
though it should come in the form of a mob of infuriated sol- 
diers, burning to avenge the obstinate defense of the place. 
The hurried crossing of General Humbert's command by the 
city ferry, after midday, could not have tended to allay the 
alarm. It must have been afternoon before the best informed 
of the ladies breathed quite freely, and felt that for that day, 
at least, they were safe, and might take off their own and 
their childrens' cloaks, and unbar their windows and doors. 

There was also to these trembling women a special cause 
of panic, which demands a few words of explanation here. 

In that age of war and siege, it was common for soldiers 
investing a town to give, in convivial moments, the toast, 
" Beauty and Booty." It was also common for the same sol- 
diers, when they had taken a town, to comport themselves in 
the spirit of that infamous sentiment ; rioting for days and 


nights in the streets and houses, deaf to the cry of pleading in- 
nocence, and wallowing in every species of debauchery. And 
the nobler the defense of the town had been the more devilish 
and protracted were such scenes likely to be. For particulars, 
see that candid and eloquent work, Napier's History of the 
Peninsula War, in which both the heroic and the diabolical 
deeds of the very men that besieged New Orleans are set 
forth with truth and vividness. From the same work we 
learn that General Pakenham was conspicuous among the 
officers that served in the Peninsula war for the resolution 
with which he strove, wherever he commanded, to prevent 
the misconduct of the men after the capture of fortified 
places. At such times, however, the spell of discipline loses 
its potency. If the mass of the soldiery are ignorant and 
debased, excesses will be committed in the confusion and in- 
toxication of a triumph which has been hardly won and long 
deferred. Officers lost their lives in the Peninsula war in 
rescuing women from the clutches of men maddened with 
fury, wine, and lust ; and still the riot went on, till the sol- 
diers were satiated and exhausted. If we may believe the 
newspaper accounts of what has lately transpired in India, it 
is to be inferred that, much as the British army has improved 
since 1815 in the moral quality of its rank and file, some of 
its regiments are still mainly composed of drilled and uni- 
formed barbarians. 

The ladies of New Orleans had heard of this toast of 
Beauty and Booty. It appears, according to a confused story 
of Nolte's, which probably had some foundation in truth, that 
a Creole planter, the owner of one of the estates occupied by 
the enemy, visited the British camp a few days before the last 
battle, pretending to be, or thought to be, inimical to the 
American cause. Invited to dine with a party of officers, he 
heard one of them offer the toast, " Beauty and Booty," and 
also gathered some intimations of General Pakenham's plans. 
During the succeeding night he made his escape, reported to 
General Jackson what he had heard, and mentioned, doubt- 
less, to his friends the ominous toast, which was soon whi5> 


pered about among the ladies of the city. Hence, or in some 
similar way, arose the thousand times reiterated lie, that the 
watchword given out by General Pakenham for the eighth of 
January was the language of this camp-fire toast. There was 
no watchword on that day,*^ nor need of any. In 1833, five 
British oflBcers who served before New Orleans, Generals 
Keanc, Lambert, Thornton, and Blakeney, and Colonel Dick- 
son, published a formal denial in the London Times of this 
odious charge, then, for the first time, brought to their notice 
by the work of an English traveler.f Nevertheless, in its es- 
sential raexming, the charge was just ; that is to say, if the 
British had taken New Orleans, the women of the place 
would not have been safe from the insults and violence of 
the soldiers. 

That the ladies had cause for alarm in this particular, I 
am enabled to adduce the confirmatory opinion of an English 
officer, who was in the army of New Orleans. The story 
about to be told was kindly related to me by one who was an 
inmate, during the whole campaign, of the house in which 
the events transpired, the hospitable house of Edward Living- 
ston, General Jackson's friend and most confidential aid. 

♦ James* Military Occurrences, ii. 390. 

f After stating tbo cliargcs, these officers said : 

"We, the undersigned, serving in that armj, and actually present^ and 
through whom all orders to the troops were promulgated, do, in justice to the 
memory of that distinguished officer who commanded and led the attack, the 
whole tenor of whose life was marked by manliness of purpose and integrity of 
▼lew, most unequivocally deny that any such promise (of plunder) was ever held 
oat to the army, or that the watchword asserted to have been given out was eyer 
issued. And, further, that such motives could never have actuated the man wh(v 
in the discharge of his duty to his king and coontryi so eminently upheld th» 
character of a true British soldier. 

"John Lambbbt, lAeuienaid Ckfiuni, 
John Keane, General, 
W. Thornton, Mc^or General^ 
Edward Blakenst, Major Oeiuiral, 
Alex. Diokson, ChloneL" 
— Jamea StuarVa Three Tears in North Amtti^ 

TOL. n. — 16 


From what occurred in that house, on this day and on pre- 
ceding days, the reader may judge what was felt and feared, 
what was done and suffered in many houses. 

The day after the night battle of December 23, General 
Jackson sent Edward Livingston to New Orleans to see, first, 
that the woimded of both armies were well cared for in the 
hospitals ; and. secondly, that effectual measures were taken 
for preventing the wounded prisoners from holding communi- 
cation with the British camp. The latter was a most vital 
point, since nothing prevented the enemy's immediate advance 
but his ignorance of General Jackson's real strength, or rather. 
General Jackson's deplorable weakness. While employed at 
one of the hospitals, Livingston saw an English officer brought 
in from the field on a plank, badly wounded and insensible. 
There was something in the appearance of this officer that 
strongly excited the compassion of the aid-de-camp, who was 
the most amiable of human beings. The thigh of the wounded 
man had been horribly torn by a cannon ball ; the loss of blood 
left his handsome young countenance as pallid as death itself; 
it was evident that nothing but immediate dressing of the 
wound and the most assiduous attention could save his life. 
In the hurry and confusion of the hour such treatment could 
not be afforded in the hospital, and Mr. Livingston ordered 
the bearers of the wounded officer to carry him to his own 
house. An hour later, the officer awoke from the swoon to 
find himself, not on the cold wet field where he had lain all 
night, but in a warm, luxurious bed, in a spacious and ele- 
gant apartment, with lovely women around him looking with 
tenderest pity into his opening eyes. His first languid, deli- 
cious thought was, that he had died last night, and was then 
in heaven among the angels. So, at least, he would after- 
wards say, when pouring out his heartfelt thanks to his gen- 
erous and beautiful benefactress. 

But in removing this officer to his own house the good 
aid-de-camp had very seriously transcended his authority, an 
act which General Jackson was not the man to overlook, even 
in his best friend. There was a little family consultation 


hdd upon the matter, the result of which was that Mrs. Liv- 
ingston undertook the task of procuring the General's consent : 
" For, you know, the General can refuse nothing to a lady or 
a chUd." 

In her lively, French way, Mrs. Livginston wrote a note 
to the General, stating what her husband had done, and 
asking, as a reward for his faithful services, the privilege of 
retaining and restoring the wounded officer "I will be," 
said she in substance, "both the nurse and guard of Captain 

. Not the smallest scrap of paper shall leave or reach 

the house without my reading it, nor shall any one have a 
moment's access to his presence except ourselves. And the 
captain, who is evidently a gentleman, has given me his sa- 
cred word of honor that he will not attempt any communica- 
tion with his comrades in camp. And, besides, dear Gen- 
eral, how can he, poor fellow .^ as he is so weak that he 
can not lift his arm, nor speak above a whisper. In short, 
General, we have set our hearts upon keeping the captain. 
You will not refuse this confidence to the wife of Edward 

In words like these, but better than these, Mrs. Living- 
ston addressed the General, who freely granted her request. 
And later in the siege, when the hospitals became over- 
crowded, and wounded prisoners were necessarily placed in 
private houses, and all such houses had a guard before them 
night and day, the house of Mrs. Livingston was not guarded 
— the General permitting her to be both guard and nurse, as 
she had petitioned. The privilege of having a wounded pris- 
oner in their houses was eagerly sought by the ladies ; and 
not merely for humane reasons. It was supposed that the 
presence of an English soldier would be a protection against 
utrage if the city were sacked. During some of the nights 
of terror, when the city was thought to be in unusual peril, 
as many as thirty of Mrs. Livingston's female friends would 
come to her house, hoping to find safety under the roof 
which had given its hospitable shelter to a woundod officei 
)f rank. 


Tte eighth of January dawned. The early roar of the 
artillery, and its unprecedented violence, announced to every 
one in New Orleans that the day decisive of the city's fate 
had come. The cathedral doors were opened at the usual 
hour, and a few devout Creoles and quadroons went to 
their devotions, as usual on Sunday morning, but whimpered 
their prayers with an earnestness unusual. High mass was 
performed, with dread accompaniment of distant cannon, to 
a congregation of shuddering women ; the Ursuline nuns 
doing acts of prayer in the hospitals by the bedside of 
wounded men. 

Those of the nuns who remained in their convent were 
greeted in the morning with an encouraging omen. Many 
years after, Mr. Livingston, then a senator in Congress, said 
in a speech delivered on an eighth of January : — " In the 
city of New Orleans is a convent, in which a number of re- 
spectable ladies have dedicated their lives to the practice of 
piety, to the education of poor children of their own sex, and 
to works of charity. This pious sisterhood were awakened 
from their rest, or disturbed in their holy vigils, before the 
dawn of the 8th of January, by the roar of cannon and 
volleys of musketry. The calendar which pointed out the 
prayers of the day was hastily opened, and indicated the aus- 
picious name of St. Victoria ! They hailed the omen, and 
prostrate on the pavement which ' holy knees had worn, im- 
plored the God of battles to nerve the arm of their protectors, 
and turn the tide of combat against the invaders of their 
country. Their prayers were heard. And while they daily 
offer up their thanks to that Power to whose aid they as- 
cribed their deliverance, they have not been unmindful of him 
who was chosen as the instrument to effect it." 

As the morning hours wore away, and rumors of defeat 
became frequent, Mrs. Livingston went alone to the cham- 
ber of her sick officer, who was now fast recovering his 

" Captain ," said she, " I have come to ask you a 

serious question, and beg you to give me a candid an* 


Bwer. If the city is taken to-day, we have the means oi 
leaving, and we are ready to leave. Shall we oe safe if wo 
remain ? 

" Madame," was his reply, ".if the sacrifice of my own life 
could protect you and your family, I would gladly promise 
you protection. But I can not answer for the violence of 
the soldiery. If you have the means of going, I advise 
you, GO." 

The lady acted upon this advice so far as to have every 
thing in perfect readiness for flight. The horse was harnessed 
to the chaise. A hundred doubloons, which Mr. Livingston 
had bought just before going to the field on the 23d of De- 
cember, were taken from their hiding place. The General's 
fair little friend was equipped. Provisions were prepared. 
At the first authentic signal of disaster the family would have 
b^un a long journey up the river to Baton Rouge ; to Nat- 
chez, if necessary. But such a signal never came ; the alann 
subsided, and was changed, at length, into delirious joy. 

The author of Jackson and New Orleans describes in his 
lively and picturesque manner the change that came over the 
city as the news of the victory became certain. " The anxious 
spectators and listeners in the rear, quickly comprehending 
the glorious result, caught up the sounds of exultation and 
echoed them along the banks of the river, until the glad tid- 
ings reached the city, sent a thrill of joy throughout its limits, 
ind brought the whole population into the streets to give full 
vent to their extravagant joy. The streets resounded with 
hurras. The only military force in the city, the veterans, uft- 
der their indefatigable commander, the noble old patriot sol- 
dier, Captain De Buys, hastily assembled, and with a drum 
and fife paraded the streets amid the salutes and hurras of 
the people, the waving of the snowy handkercliiefs of the la- 
dies, and the boundless exultation and noisy joy of the juve- 
niles. Every minute brought forth some new proof of the 
great and glorious victory. First, there came a messenger, 
whose horse had been severely taxed, who inquired for the 
•^sidences of the physicians of the city, and dashed madly 

230 LlfE OF ANDBEW JACKSON. [1815 

through the streets in pursuit of surgeons and apothecaries. 
All of the profession, whether in practice or not, were required 
to proceed to the line^, as their services were needed immedi- 
ately. " For whom ?" was the question which agitated the 
bosom of many an anxious parent and devoted wife, and for 
a moment clouded and checked the general hilarity. Soon it 
was known, however, that this demand for surgeons was on 
account of the enemy. All who possessed any knowledge of 
the curative art, who could amputate or set a limb, or take 
up an artery, hurried to the camp. Next there came up a 
message from the camp to dispatch all the carts and other 
vehicles to the lines. This order, too, was fully discussed and 
commented on by the crowd, which gathered in the streets 
and in all public resorts. But, like all Jackson's orders, it 
was also quickly executed. 

" It was late in the day before the purpose of this order 
was clearly perceived, as a long and melancholy procession of 
these carts, followed by a crowd of men, was seen slowly and 
silently wending their way along the levee from the field of 
battle." (Forty cart-loads and ten boat-loads, says one letter.) 
" They contained the British wounded ; and those who followed 
in the rear were the prisoners in charge of a detachment of 
Carroll's men. Emulating the magnanimity of the army, the 
citizens pressed forward to tender their aid to their wounded 
enemies. The hospitals being all crowded with their own sick 
and wounded, these unfortunate victims of English ambition 
were taken in charge by the citizens, and by private contribu- 
tions were supplied with mattresses and pillows, with a large 
quantity of lint and old linen for dressing their wounds, all 
of which articles were then exceedingly scarce in the city. 
Those far-famed nurses, the quadroon women of New Orleans, 
whose services are so conspicuously useful when New Orl(;ans 
is visited by pestilence, freely gave their kind attentions to 
the wounded British, and watched at their bedsides night and 
day. Several of the oflScers, who were grievously wounded, 
were takeu to private residences of dtizens, and there provided 


with every comfort. Such acts as these ennoble humanity, 
and obscure even the horrors and excesses of war.** 

"From the city the news of Jackson's triumph flew 
rapidly through the neighboring country. It soon reached 
a gloomy detachment which, under Jackson's orders, had been 
condemned to a mortifying and disgusting inactivity at the 
little Fort of St John. Here on the shores of the placid 
Pontchartrain the roar of Jackson's batteries, on the morning 
of the 8th, could be distinctly heard. It was known that 
this was the great attack — the last eflbrt of the British. 
Their absence from the scene of such a great crisis was hu- 
miliating beyond all expression to the gallant men of this 
detachment. One of them, an officer, the late venerable 
Nicholas Sinnott, a stalwart and determined veteran, who had 
wielded a pike at Vinegar Hill, bore this disappointment with 
ill grace and little philosophy. In the excitement of the mo- 
ment, he could with difficulty be restrained from heading a 
detachment to proceed to the lines, and expressed his disgust 
in words which were not forgotten to the day of his death 
by his intimate friends and associates. " Oh ! there are the 
bloody villians, murthering my countrymen, and myself stuck 
down in this infernal mudhole." 

To which I may add, that the wounded guest whom Mrs. 
Livingston guarded and nursed recovered his health, and, in 
a few weeks, when the prisoners were exchanged, rejoined his 
regiment, who learned from his grateful lips, at least, that 
the Americans were not barbarians. Thirty years after, he 

• "Immediately," says Major Latour, "one hundred and forty mattresses, a 
great number of pillows, with a large quantity of lint and old linen for dressing 
their wounds, were procured by contributions firom all quarters, at a moment 
when such articles were extremely scarce in New Orleans, where not a truss of 
straw could be purchased. Until the hospital directors could establish an ho^ 
pital for those wounded men, whose number amounted to nearly four hundred, 
all kinds of refreshments and every attendance that their situation required were 
liberally provided for them by a number of citizens. Several women of colof 
oflTered their services, and were employed in tending them, without any oompei^ 
IBtion but the pleasure of relieving suffering humanly.*' 

232 LirS OF AND6SW JAOK80K. [181& 

viaited his benefactress in the city of New York, to testify 
again his gratitude to her, and to renew an acquaintance bcH 
gun amid the terrors of the si^e. 



The ninth of January was the day on which General Jack- 
son really felt himself the victor — ^felt that he had done what 
he came to New Orleans to do. The evening before a deserter 
brought in the news of Greneral Pakenham's death. In the 
morning, while the whole army was in the lines again ready 
to repel another attack, if another attack were intended, word 
came that the enemy had abandoned the western bank, and 
that General Morgan's troops were at their post once more, 
repairing damages and adding strength to the line of defense. 
The day dawned, the mist rolled off, and there were no signs 
of a renewal of the strife. " They may try it again," said the 
General, in effect, to confidential officers ; " but my private 
opinion is they will not ; and if they do, we shall be able to 
give a good account of ourselves." On this day, and succeed- 
ing days and nights, his vigilance was not relaxed, but every 
thing went on in the lines as it had before the battle. 

Before the day was far advanced the flag of truce returned 
again, bringing General Lambert's assent to the terms of the 
proposed armistice. A melancholy scene ensued. A line was 
marked off three hundred yards below the American position, 
near to which detachments of both armies were drawn up. The 
bodies of the heroic men who had fallen on or within the ram- 
|)art were first conveyed to the line and delivered to their 
comrades. The dead that lay upon the field were next car- 
ried in, the ladders that were made for the scaling of the lines 
being used as biers. " I was present," says Nolte, " for a while. 


wheu they were trying to recognize the bodies, and when they 
found that of Major Whittaker the soldiers burst into tears, 
saying, ' Ah, poor Major Whittaker ! he is gone, the worthy 
fellow/" Some of the American troops, it appears, could 
not conceal their exultation, even then. "An American 
officer," says the Subaltern, " stood by smoking a cigar, and 
a])parently counting the slain, with a look of savage exultation, 
and repeating over and over again to each individual that 
approached him that their loss amounted to eight men killed 
and fourteen wounded. I confess that when I beheld the 
scene I hung down my head, half in sorrow and half in anger 
With my officious informant I had every inclination to pick 
a quarrel; but he was on duty, and an armistice existed, both 
of which forbade the measure. I could not, however, stand 
by and repress my choler ; and since to give it vent would 
have subjected me to a more serious inconvenience than a mere 
duel, I turned my horse's head and galloped back to the camp/' 
It is safe to say that that American officer, whoever he was, 
would not have been the last to run if the English had car- 
ried the lines. 

The collection of the dead and the digging of the graves 
consumed the day. In the evening, by the light of torches, 
in the presence of the whole British army, with brief impres- 
sive ceremonial, the dead were laid in their wet and shallow 
graves. So numerous were they, and buried so imperfectly, 
that the place was not approachable during the succeeding 
summer. I read in a New Orleans paper of that summer 
that the odor of the dissolving bodies was perceived in the 
city itself at times, and excited fears of pestilence. For a long 
time some of the bodies were even visible above the surface 
of the plain. To this hour " the spot thus consecrated has 
never been in\ aded by the plow or the spade, but is regarded 
with awe and respect by the superstitious Africans, and is 
now occupied by a grove of stunted cypress, strikingly com- 
memorative of the disasters of this ill-fated expedition/'*^ 

* Jackson and New Orleans, page 361. 


How horrible the scenes in the British hospitals the day 
after the battle ! Says Captain Hill : " The scene presented 
at La Ronde's was one I shall never forget ; almost every 
room was crowded with the wounded and dying. The bodies 
of two gallant generals lay close to each other, and another 
was severely hurt ; mortifying defeat had again attended the 
British arms, and the loss in men and officers was frightfully 
disastrous. I was the unwilling spectator of numerous am- 
putations ; and on all sides nothing was heard but the piteous 
cries of my poor countrymen, undergoing various operations. 
The ninety-third regiment had suffered severely ; and I can- 
not describe the strange and ghastly feelings created by seeing 
a basket nearly fvll of legs severed from these fine fellows, 

most of which were still covered with their hose." 

« o o o o ^ 

" I have already mentioned that, on the disastrous 8th, 
Gteneral Keane received a wound from a rifle ball. A curious 
circumstance occurred while he was under the hands of the 
surgeon : the lower limbs of the gallant officer were encased 
in pantaloons of double-milled elastic web ; the ball had pen- 
etrated to a considerable depth in the thigh ; and the doctor, 
even before probing, deemed it advisable to pull away from 
the mouth of the orifice as much of the pantaloons as possible, 
which operation, from its adhering so pertinaciously to the 
flesh, inflicted considerable pain on the general ; great, how- 
ever, was their surprise and delight when, after some agreeable 
tugs at the aforesaid double-milled, the bullet fell out, and 
although the elastic web was rendered nearly as fine as a cob- 
web, it had resisted the progress of the ball, and had effected 
its removal more skillfully than the finest pair of forceps." 

Was G<3neral Jackson satisfied with his victory ? Was 
he inclined to repose upon his laurels ? By no means. He 
had no sooner learned the full extent of the enemy's loss, and 
comprehended the full effect of that loss upon the mind of the 
British general, than he began to revolve in his mind the 
feasibilitj* of attacking thera in their position, or, by cutting 
them off from their ships, to force them to surrender. Indeed, 


hd had resolved upon such a measure, and, in furtherance of 
it, ordered the veteran guard to give up all their remaining 
muskets.*^ With these, and the muskets found upon the field 
of battle, he could arm his men well enough, he thought, to 
admit of the detachment of a large force without imprudently 
weakening his own position. In his own mind the project 
was swiftly completed, and there is now little doubt that he 
could have done what he proposed. Before taking a decisive 
step, however, he called an informal council of officers, and 
asked their opinion of the scheme. 

They opposed it with one accord. 

" What do you want more ?" said Edward Livingston, 

"Your object is gained. The city is saved. The British 

have retired. For the pleasure of a blow or two, will you risk 

against those fearless troops your handful of men, composed 

of the best and worthiest citizens, and rob so many families 

of their heads !"t 

General Adair's advice was to the same effect. " I was 

asked by General Jackson,'' wrote Adair, in 1817, "what I 
thought of an attack on the enemy's lines. I objected to its 
being made at that time, as we were daily and hourly expect- 
ing a large supply of arms from government, and stated as 
my principal reason that it would be risking too much on the 
event — that if we were beaten back it would be with consid- 
erable loss of both officers and men, and might encourage the 
enemy (who were still double our number) to renew the attack 
on us ; that our men (meaning the army generally, for I did 
not discriminate) were militia without discipline, and if once 
beaten they could not be relied on again. Therefore I deemed 
the risk on our part too great, because, if beaten, the country 
would probably be lost. I made other observations, all of 
which, so far as I understood, met th^ approbation of all pre- 
sent, and concluded by telling the General, if he had deter- 
mined on the attack, not to think from my observations that 

* Letter of General Jackson to Grcneral Adair, July, 1817. In Kentucky Bi 

t Nolte, p. 224. 

236 LIFE or ANDBEW JA0K80N. [1815. 

I would not engage in it cheerfully ; that if he would give 
the order and point out the ground over which I was to march| 
I would engage to lead the Eentuckians as far as I could go 
myself, and I believed the other corps would follow their 
officers as far as they could survive to lead them."*^ 

The General did not persist. The old way of annoying 
the enemy by cannonade in the daytime, and by " hunting 
parties'* during the night, he concluded, was the wiser plan, 
and it was adopted accordingly.^ How eflfective it was, the 
English narratives attest. " Of the extreme unpleasantness 
of our situation," says the Subaltern, " it is hardly possible 
to convey any adequate conception. We never closed our 
eyes in peace, for we were sure to be awakened before many 
minutes elapsed by the splash of a round shot or shell in the 
mud beside us. Tents we had none, but lay, some in the 
open air, and some in huts made of boards, or any materials 
that could be procured. From the first moment of our land- 
ing, not a man had undressed excepting to bathe, and many 
had worn the same shirt for weeks together. Besides all this, 
heavy rains now set in, accompanied with violent storms of 
thunder and lightning, which, lasting during the entire day, 
usually ceased towards dark, and gave place to keen frosts. 
Thus were we alternately wet and frozen ; wet all day, and 
frozen all night. With the outposts, again, there was con- 
stant skirmishing. With what view the Americans wished 
to drive them in, I can not tell ; but every day were they 
attacked and compelled to maintain their ground by dint of 
hard fighting. In one word, none but those who happened 
to belong to this army can form a notion of the hardships 
which it endured, and the fatigue which it underwent. 

" Nor were these the only evils which tended to lessen oui 
numbers. To our soldiers every inducement was held out by 
the enemy to desert. Printed papers, offering lands and 
money as the price of desertion, were thrown into the pickets, 
whilst individuals made a practice of a2)proaching our posts, 
and endeavoring to persuade the very sentinels to quit theii 

* Kentucky Reporter^ October. 1817. 


stations. Nor could it be expected that bribes so tempting 
would always be refused. Many desertions began daily to 
take place, and became before long so frequent that the evil 
rose to be of a serious nature." 

Captain Cooke adds some curious and striking incidents : 
" Although the distance was one mile and a quarter, still 
they contrived to elevate their cannon, so that the balls some- 
times flew over us or lobbed into our frail huts, and the 
heavy shells from a large mortar dropped amongst us in a 
similar manner, but the ground was so soft, being composed 
of alluvial soil, that whenever the shells reached it without 
exploding they seldom did any injury, merely making large 
holes of five or six feet deep, then bursting with a dead sound 
and scattering the loose mold. At this spot the water did not 
spring up so near the surface as in the vicinity of the Amer- 
ican lines, which could not be approached by zig-zags, as at 
ordinary sieges, owing to the water springing up at the depth 
of a foot. From the time we landed I did not see a stone oi 
pebble of any sort, and as if the birds were aware of this, they 
i»vould hop within a few yards of us without taking flight. 
These flocks consisted of birds very like robins, their breasts 
being of a reddish tint, but they were much larger than a 
blackbird. The Americans, hearing our martial music, seemed 
resolved to give a response, and every morning before day- 
light played several times with a band of music that was sta- 
tioned about the center of their lines, and one particular 
waltz was seldom omitted. 

" Three days after the attack a grave was dug for Lieuten- 
ant Duncan Campbell of our regiment, who expired in great 
Etgony from a wound in the head, and being sewed up in a 
blanket he was consigned to a clayey resting-place. An 
oflScei stood at the head of the wet grave reading the funeral 
service, with a prayer-book in his hand ; the rest of the 
officers were standing round the grave with caps ofl*, when a 
shell from the enemy came whistling through the air, and 
was descending apparently upon our heads^ but fortunately it 
exploded one hundred yards in the air with a dreadful crashi 


showering down a thousand iron fragments, which we heard 
dropping in every direction without injuring one of us. The 
noise having subsided, the prayer was then concluded, the 
grave covered over, and we retired from the solitary cere- 
mony. The night after this burial a shell exploded over a 
hut in which two officers of our regiment were sleeping, which 
cut off both the feet of Lieutenant D'Arcy — the one just 
below the knee, and the other at the ankle-joint, and he 
crawled out of the hut in this horrible situation. One of his 
feet was driven so far into the soft mold that it was obliged 
to be dug out the following day. 

"A round shot knocked the cooking kettle off a fire which 
was encircled by officers' servants, without doing further 
damage than spilling the soup, which in these hard times 
was a very serious inconvenience ; for owing to adverse winds 
and the necessity of carrying the wounded down to the ship- 
ping by Lake Borgne, a distance of sixty miles, and bringing 
up in return provisions, the sailors were quite exhausted. 
They had been exposed for more than a month in the depth 
of winter to all kinds of weather, sweating on the oars by 
day, or perishing with cold in the open boats by night. The 
consequence was that the consumption was beyond the pro- 
duce ; on some days we did not taste food, and when we did 
it was served out in such small quantities as only to tantalize 
our voracious appetites, so that between short commons and 
a perpetual cannonade we passed ten days after the repulse in 
as uncomfortable a manner as could fall to the lot of most 
militaires to endure. 

" One morning before daylight we were disturbed (having 
been kept awake half the night by the usual salutations of 
shot and shell) by the water pouring into our huts, and as 
soon as objects could be discerned what a dreary prospect 
presented itself to view ! The Mississippi had overflown its 
oanks, and nothing but a sheet of water was to be seen, ex- 
cept a few straggling huts and one house, the lines of the 
Americans, and the forest trees. It was nearly dark before 
the waters subsided. The whole day the troops were envel* 


oped in muddy blankets, shivering with cold, as hungry as 
hunters, and looked like polar bears standing on their hind 
1^. The enemy, who were as badly off as ourselves, ceased 
firing, being, as we afterwards understood, up to their knees 
in mire. One day, being in advance on picket, in a fort ccn- 
structed by the parings of the black-loam for some twenty or 
thirty yards around, and within a few hundred yards of the 
enemy, I distinctly saw with my telescope a motley group of 
Americans traversing and elevating a gun, for the purpose of 
throwing lob-shot over our heads into the principal bivouac. 
One of these civil artillery-men was capped with a red 
woolen cap, a second wore the hat of a miller, and so on. 

" A grove of the loftiest orange-trees I ever saw grew near 
the scattered houses, and were covered with oranges nearly 
ripe ; this may appear surprising at this season of the year, 
but such was the case ; and in lack of other food we cast 
them into iron pots half filled with sugar, mixed with a little 
water, by which process we converted them into candied 
orange-peel, which in some degree satisfied the cravings of 
hunger, but brought on complaints, added to the cold and 
wet, which sent many officers sick on board ship. The sugar 
in the hogsheads was crystallized with the alternate rains, 
frost, and the occasional gleams of sunshine, and ate very like 
candied sugar." 

Men so situated need not be attacked. Generals January 
and February, as the late Emperor Nicholas remarked, wDl 
suffice for them. 

And while the army fared so ill on land, part of the fleet 
was meeting a disappointing repulse at Fort St. Philip, near 
the mouth of the Mississippi. Major Overton, the command- 
ant of Fort St. Philip, received information, as early as the 
Ist of January, that a portion of the enemy's fleet were pre- 
paring to ascend the river for the purpose of cooperating with 
the army, and that his fort was first to be bombarded out of 
the way. 

On the grounds of this information,'* says the major in his dispatch tc 
Gbnend Jackson, ^'I turned my attention to the secunty of my command 


I erected small magazines in different parts of the garrison, that if one blew 
up I could resort to another; built covers for my men to secure them from 
the explosion of the shells, and removed the combustible matter without 
the works. Early in the day of the 8th I was advised of their approach, 
and on the 9th, at a quarter past 10, a. m., hove in sight t^o bomb-vessels, 
one sloop, one brig, and one schooner ; they anchored two and a quarter 
miles below. ... At half-past three o'clock, p. ic., the enemy's bomb- 
Teasels opened their fire from four sea-mortars, two of thirteen inches, two 
of ten, and to my great mortification I found they were without the eflTeo- 
tive range of my shot, as many subsequent experiments proved ; they con- 
tinued their fire with little intermission during the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 
14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th. I occasionally opened my batteries on them 
with great vivacity, particularly when they showed a disposition to change 
their position. On the 17th, in the evening, our heavy mortar was said to 
be in readiness. I ordered that excellent officer. Captain Wolstonecraft, of 
the artillerists, who previously had charge of it, to open a fire, which was 
done with great effect, as the enemy from that moment became disordered, 
and at daylight on the 18th commenced their retreat, after having thrown 
upwards of a thousand heavy shells, besides small shells from howitzers, 
round shot and grape, which he discharged Grom boats, under cover of the 

Failure, failure everywhere to this imposing expedition. 

On the day after the great battle General Jackson pre- 
pared his dispatch to the Secretary of War, which communi- 
cated to the people of the United States the leading particu- 
lars of the event. The passage in it relating to the flight of 
the Kentuckians caused general surprise, and general regret, 
too ; for Kentucky has been, from of old, a kind of pet State 
(old Kentuck) to the rest of the Union. The words of the 
General expressed, doubtless, the prevalent feeling of the 
army at the moment. " The entire destruction of the enemy's 
army," said the General, after briefly narrating the main bat- 
tle, " was now inevitable, had it not been for an unfortunate 
occurrence which at this moment took place on the other side 
of the river. Simultaneously with his advance upon my lines, 
he had thrown over in his boats a considerable force to the other 
side of the river. These, having landed, were hardy enough 
to advance against the works of General Morgan I and what 
is strange and difficult to account for, at the very moment 


when their entire discomfiture was looked for with a confidence 
approaching to certainty, the Kentucky reinforcements in- 
gloriously fled, drawing after them, by their example, the re- 
mainder of the forces, and thus yielding to the enemy that 
most fortunate position. The batteries which had rendered 
me for many days the most important service, though bravely 
defended, were of course now abandoned, not, however, antU 
the guns had been spiked." 

These words, penned in haste, and before the circum- 
stances were known, were deeply grievous to the whole of 
General Adair's command, and to the patriotic State from 
which they came. Henry Clay rea^ them in Europe with 
astonishment and sorrow. A court-martial afterwards pro- 
nounced the conduct of the Kentucky detachment " not re- 
prehensible," an opinion in which General Jackson never 
could be brought heartily to coincide. It was difficult in the 
extreme for him to believe that running away before an enemy 
was " not reprehensible," whatever the circumstances might 
be. It was. If possible, more difficult for General Jackson to 
remove from his mind an opinion which he had strongly held, 
and to which he was publicly committed. Hence it was that 
the language of his dispatch became, in after times, the occa- 
sion of a most angry correspondence and lasting feud between 
General Jackson and General Adair, as will, in due time, 
be related. 



As it will probably become apparent to the reader, before 
he has done with this work, that the popularity of Andrew 
Jackson is the principal fact in the political history of the 
United States during the last thirty-five years, it is impor- 

VOL. II. — 16 


tant to show how that popularity came to be so overshadow- 
ing and irresistible ; came to be such that, to use language 
current in' his day, it " could stand anything." Such a de- 
fense as Jackson made of the southwest and of New Orleans 
would, in any country, at any time, have rendered famous 
enougli the name of the defender. But there were several 
circumstances concurring at the time which caused the tidings 
of the victory to come upon the country with an effect thrill- 
ing and ineffaceable. 

If an old man of perfect memory were asked to name the 
time when the prospects of this Republic were shrouded in 
the deepest gloom, and the largest number of the people de- 
spaired of its future, his answer, I think, would be : the first 
thirty-seven days of the year 1815. It was the dead of winter. 
Whatever evils the war had brought on the country were 
then most acutely and most generally felt. The capital of 
the nation was in ruins. Congress was as factious, ill-tem- 
pered and unmanageable as parliamentary bodies invariably 
are when there is most need of united and efficient action. 
The twenty-six staid and respectable old gentlemen, styled the 
Hartford Convention, had recently met, and the administra- 
tion papers were denouncing them as traitors, and filling the 
country with the wildest misrepresentations of their character 
and designs. And, it must be owned, that the tone of the 
JTew England press was such as almost to justify such misre- 
presentations. " Is there," said the Boston Gazette, " a Fed- 
eralist, a patriot in America, who conceives it his duty to 
shed his blood for Bonaparte, for Madison and Jefferson, and 
that host of ruffians in Congress who have set their faces 
against us for years,, and spirited up the brutal part of the 
populace to destroy us ? Not one. Shall we, then, any longer 
be held in slavery and driven to desperate poverty by such a 
graceless faction ?" " No more taxes from New England," 
said many editors, "till the administration makes peace/' 
as though the badgered and distracted administration had 
not been directing its best energies to that very object fof 
nearly a year past. 

1815.] THE NEWS AT THE NORTH. 243 

The greab British expedition, moreover, so long muster- 
ing in the West Indies, so long delayed, cast a vague but 
prodigious shadow before it. The inactivity of the enemy in 
the north was itself a cause of alarm. Gallatin's warning 
letter of June, 1814, had put New York, Philadelphia and 
Baltimore on their guard ; but as the autumn passed with- 
out the reappearance of a hostile force in the northern waters, 
the conviction gained ground that something overwhelming 
was in contemplation against the defenseless south and 
southwest. Portentous paragraphs from the newspapers of 
the West Indies and Canada confirmed this opinion. In 
October General Wilkinson felt so sure that New Orleani 
would fall into the hands of the enemy, that he wrote suc- 
cessively to three of his friends there, and, finally, to Secre- 
tary Monroe, urging the instant removal of certain plans and 
charts which he had left in the town, and which would be of 
fatal value, he thought, to the British general. 

At that day, the reader must keep in mind. New Orleans 
was as many days' journey from Washington as New York 
now is from San Francisco. Fancy the whole country in 
breathless expectation, to-day, of an attack upon San Fran- 
cisco by a vast armament that had been for months gathering 
at the Sandwich Islands — San Francisco left, necessarily, to 
its own resources, with some vaguely-known Indian fighter 
from the mines in command of its militia. With what feel- 
ings should we read, in such a posture of affairs, the heading 
in the newspapers, " Fifteen days later from California 1" 

It so chanced that the eighth of January was the day on 
which it was first whispered about Washington that the 
President had received news of the arrival of the British fleet 
at the mouth of the Mississippi. The National Intelligencer 
of the day before contained "a rumor" that a fleet with four- 
teen thousand troops on board had been seen off the coast of 
Florida. The next issue of that paper, January 9th, an- 
nounced as a certainty that this fleet had reached the coast 
of Louisiana. From that time the eyes of the country, as 
the papers of the day expressed it, were fixed upon New Or-» 


leati8--not hopefully. It is not an oyer-statement of the case 
to say that there was not one well-informed man in the 
northern States who believed that New Orleans could be suc- 
cessfully defended. The admmistration papers tried to put 
the best face upon the matter ; but all the consolation that 
even the Intelligencer could afford its readers was contained in 
this mild remark : " Appearances justify the expectation of 
the British expedition not being ineffectually resisted." The 
Federal Bepublican, of Georgetown, D. C, commented upon 
the news thus : " This great city [New Orleans] has shared 
the fate of Washington, or General Jackson has immortalized 
himself" The western members of Congress, some of whom 
knew General Jackson personally, said, with great confidence, 
that whatever the result of the campaign might be, Jackson 
would do all that man could do to defend the city. Tennes- 
see men went further than this, and offered to bet upon his 

After a week of gossip and foreboding, came news of the 
gun-boat battle, and its disastrous result ; also rumors of a 
great armament hovering on the Atlantic coast. " We are a 
lost country," said the federal papers in doleful concert. " A 
wicked administration has ruined us. New Orleans having 
fellen an easy prey, the British general will leave a few ac- 
climated black regiments to garrison that city, and bring the 
Wellington heroes round to the Chesapeake. Baltimore will 
not be able to resist. Washington will again be overrun. 
Philadelphia and New York will next be attacked, and who 
shall say with what result ? See to what a pass Jefferson 
and French democracy have brought a deluded country !" 
The democratic papers still strove, though with evident faint 
heart, to talk hopefully ; a fact which the federal editors ad- 
duced as the very extreme of party perversity. " They have 
ruined the country, and yet even in this last dire extremity 
they will not own it." 

January 2l8t, the Intelligencer published accounts of the 
landing of General Eeane and of the night battle of Decem- 
bra* 23d. But, unluckily, the news was like a ^' continued 

1815.] THE NEWS AT THE NORTH. 246 

gtory ** in the newspapers, which leaves oflf at the precise mo- 
ment when the reader gasps with desire to have the tale pro- 
ceed. The mail closed at New Orleans at daylight on the 
morning of the 24th. No dispatch was received from the 
General, therefore, but merely some hasty letters from peo- 
ple in New Orleans ; particularly one already given in these 
pages, which left the army in the field expecting to renew the 
combat at dawn of day. Still it was encouraging to know 
that the city had not fallen, and that Jackson had so deci- 
sively announced his presence to a confident foe. 

Then followed ten weary days and nights of suspense, with- 
out one word from the seat of war. Bad news, too, and worse 
rumors from other quarters : news of the capture of the frigate 
President, a few days out of New York ; news of the appear- 
ance of a great fleet off Savannah, the town expecting assault 
from three thousand troops, martial law proclaimed, and 
universal alarm ; news of the dangerous illness of Secretary 
Monroe, worn out by the anxious toil of his position ; dread- 
ful rumors respecting New England and the Hartford Conven- 
tion ; rumors that the President had received the very worst 
news from New Orleans, but concealed it for purposes of hia 
own; rumors that the British had made "fearful havoc" 
among Jackson's troops ; rumors that Charleston was threat- 
ened ; rumors of British men-of-war off Montauk point, and 
the capture of fishermen in Long Island Sound. To the 
gossips of that day the country must have seemed hemmed in 
on every side by unknown fleets at the north, by indubitable 
Wellington heroes at the south. " Not a fishing smack," 
said a federal paper, "can venture out of harbor in the 
east without being immediately picked up by one of the 
enemy's cruisers." "See what Jefferson, and French demo- 
cracy," etc., etc. 

To add to the gloom that prevailed in Washington and 
elsewhere, a snow storm of remarkable violence and extent set 
in on the 23d of January, and continued for three days. The 
roads were blocked up in every direction, far and near. On 
the last day of the month, three southern mails were overdue 


at Washington, and every soul in the place was worn out 
with mere hunger for news. A mail struggled in at last 
through the snow, and brought — simply dispatches from Gen- 
eral Jackson, detailing the gun-boat battle and the night 
attack of the 23d. The dispatches were comforting, however, 
as they made certain what was before uncertain, and were 
instinct with Jackson's own resolution and confidence. A few 
hours later another mail arrived, with news of the grand re* 
connoissance of December 28th, and of the battle of the bat« 
teries on the Ist of January ; but also of General Paken- 
ham's arrival with exaggerated reinforcements. New Orleans 
is not taken yety said the western members and the Republican 
editors. It is merely a question of time, replied the Federal- 
ists ; the next mail will finish New Orleans and you I 

During the next few days, the most intense and painful 
solicitude prevailed in all circles ; a solicitude in which pat- 
riotic, partizan and humane feelings were strangely blended 
Few people in Washington could more than hope for Jack 
son's final triumph, and that faintly. Mr. C. J. Ingersoll, 
Republican member of Congress, tells us that the evening be- 
fore the arrival of the next mail he was closeted with a naval 
officer, when the standing topic of the siege of New Orleans 
was amply discussed between thcra. Maps were examined, 
the metins of defense enumerated, comparisons of tlie con- 
tending armies made. The officer demonstrated to his own 
satisfaction, and probably convinced Mr. Ingersoll, that the 
defense of the city was impossible 1 

The next day Mr. Ingersoll, in his character of adminis- 
tration member, was listening, in silent ecstasy, to the read- 
ing of G( iK^nil Jackson's dispatch, recounting the victory of 
the 8tli of January, which Mr. Madison had sent down to the 
House in order that his political friends might enjoy the first 
readin*^ of it ! How many things have been demonstrated to 
be impossible just before they were done ! 

Washington was wild with delight. The mayor, while 
yet the news was only known to ollieial persons, issued his 
proclamatiojj ivcomiaending the illumination of the city 

1815.J fHB NEWS AT THE NORTH. 247 

That evening the town was blazing with Kght, and the whole 

population was abroad, now thronging about the White 

House, cheering the President, then surging around the 

houses of the Secretaries, and the residences of the leading 

supporters of the war, rending the air with shouts. Modem 

readers vividly remember the news of Buena Vista, and can 

imagine the scenes which the saloons and streets of Washing-^V^w* / 

ton presented on the 4th of February, 1815. The next issue of ^"^*"^-v-h_ 

the National Intelligencer can not be glanced over to this day 

without exciting in the mind something of the feeling which 

is wont to express itself by three times three and one cheer 

more. The great news was headed in the moderate IntdV 

gencer's largest type : 


Then came a brief summary of the events of the eighth , 
how the enemy in prodigious force had attacked our intrench- 
ments, and been repulsed by General Jackson and his brave 
associates with unexampled slaughter 1 Then followed two 
dispatches from the General, with letters from other officers. 
The entire firat page was filled with victory; editorial com- 
ments succeeding, joyful but moderate. On the wings of the 
Intelligencer the news flew over the country, kindling every- 
where the maddest enthusiasm. "A general illumination," 
says Mr. John Binns, in his autobiography, " was ordered in- 
Philadelphia. Few indeed there were, yet there were a few, 
who on that night closed their window-shutters, and mourned 
over the defeat of the enemies of their country. I had early 
intelligence of this joyous news, and gladly, by an extra, spread 
it abroad. I put the scene painters to work, and had a trans- 
parency ]»ainted which covered nearly the whole front of my 
house. There had been a heavy fall of snow, and there was 
that evening from nine to twelve inches depth of snow on 
the ground. That, however, did not prevent men, women, and 
children from parading the streets, and delighting their eyes 
by looking at the illuminations and illuminated transparencies, 
which made the principal streets of our city as light as day 


J- \ 



My transparency represented General Jackson on horseback 
at the head of his staff, in pursuit of the enemy, with the 
motto, " This day shall ne'er go by, from this day to the end- 
ing of the world, but He, in it, shall be remembered." 

The opposition journals far surpassed even those of the ad- 

/ ministration in heaping laudations upon the name of Jackson, 

^j ^*^ since they were anxious to keep their readers in mind that in the 

^ J* honors of this great triumph the administration had no sharo. 

Jackson, and Jackson alone, aided by his gallant troops, had 
won the battle. To Jackson and the army be all the glory ! 
fcJ Who is this Jackson ? Where was he born ? What State 

claims him ? Where has he beun all his life ? What is his 
business and standing ? To such questions as these, uttered 
by tens of thousands of northern people, who knew little of 
Jackson but his name, editors and correspondents gave such 
answers as they could gather or invent. Wonderful things 
were told of him. " He is a lawyer of Tennessee, the most 
elegant scholar in the western country." " He was born in 
Ireland." " He was bom in South Carolina." " No ; he was 
born in England, where his parents and a brother or two are 
still living, near Wolverhampton, where I saw them a few 
years ago." But all agreed that he had defended New Orleans 
\jx a masterly manner, gained the most splendid victory of 
the war, and wrote a perfect model of a clear, eloquent, and 
• modest despatch. 

Jackson was always fortunate in his secretaries. Or, to 
speak more correctly, he was an admirable judge of the man 
he wanted ! The dispatches which he sent from New Or- 
leans were mostly penned by Edward Livingston ; but per- 
haps they were more truly his own than if he had written them 
himself " My business is to fight, not write," he would say 
at New Orleans. Edward Livingston, in a formal dispatch, 
could express the General's meaning better than the General 
himself could, and did so, to the lasting admiration of the 
whole country. It is creditable to Mr. Livingston's good 
sense that he never, in his lifetime, would admit that he had 
mitten these and other similar papers ; nor would a11(rw th« 


1815.] TdB NEWS AT THE XOBTH. 249 

Tact to be mentioned out of the small circle of his own home. 
Some of the original draughts of the New Orleans papers, and 
other Jacksonian utterances of greater importance, still exist 
in Mr. Livingston's hand-writing. 

The Tennessee members of Congress came in for a large 
share of the honors of the victory. General Jackson's old 
enemy, Governor John Sevier, was a member of the House at 
the time. February 8th, he wrote thus to one of his sons at 
home: — "The Orleans mail has arrived with the news of 
Jackson's success in repulsing the enemy, which has occa- 
sioned much rejoicing in this place ; and we have received as 
many congratulations as though we had been in the action. 
In consequence of the news the city was very brilliantly 
illuminated last night, and a constant firing nearly all the 
night afterwards. Our army from Tennessee is more talked 
of here than half the world besides. I expect the Welling- 
tonians begin to think somewhat differently of the Ameri- 
cans, and find they are to meet some trouble before they 
conquer them."* 

Better news was, meanwhile, on its way to Washington. 
The intelligence of the great victory was nine days old, and 
was still a topic in all circles and papers, when a courier 
dashed through the city of Washington, dropping, as he 
went, the first hint of Peace I The editor of the National 
Intelligencer has beautifully told, in later years, the story of 
the arrival in Washington of this great news : — 

" Never, from the beginning of this government to the 
present,'has a more gloomy day dawned upon it than the 
13th of February, in the year 1815. 

" Some time about noon of that memorable day mysteri- 
ously arose a rumor, faint as the earliest whisper of the west- 
em breeze on a summer's morn, but freshening and gathering 
strength as it spread, until, later in the day, it burst forth in 
% general acclaim of Peace I Peace 1 Peace I Startled by 
a sound so unexpected and so joyful, men flocked into the 
•treets, eagerly inquiring of whence and how came the new8| 

• KSa of Colonel A. W. Putoaoa, Preflident of Tennesiee HislorirsU Sooielj. 


and, receiving no answer, looking np into the heavens with 
straining eyes, as though expecting a visible sign of it from 
the seat of that Omnipotence by whose interposition alone 
they could, but a short moment before, have even hoped for 
so great a blessing. 

" When, at length, the rumor assumed a more definite 
shape, the story ran that a private express had passed through 
the city at some time during the day, bearing to merchants in 
the south the glad tidings that a treaty of peace had reached 
the shores of the United States. It was still but a rumor, 
however, and wanted that consistency which was necessary to 
justify full confidence in it. 

" Unable to procure any information which should even 
confirm the report that news of any kind had actually passed 
through the city (so vague was the rumor), one of the editors of 
this paper waited upon the President to obtain from him, who 
must certainly be informed, such information as he might 
possess on the subject. Mr. Madison, however, knew little 
more of the matter than the public ; he had been, of course, 
among the first apprized of the rumor, and was inclined to 
believe it true, but deemed it prudent to suspend opinion 
upon the subject until it should be authentically confirmed ; 
and in the National Intelligencer of the following morning 
that advice was accordingly given to the public. Having 
thus had occasion to allude to this interview with Mr. Madi- 
son, it may not be foreign to the subject of this article to 
state that we found that great man sitting alone, in the dusk 
of the evening, ruminating, probably, upon the prodigious 
changes which the news, if true (as he believed it to be), 
would make in the face of public affairs. Affable, as he al- 
ways was, he conversed freely upon the probabilities of the 
news which had reached us, and showed a natural interest in 
its being confirmed. But it could not escape remark, at the 
same time, that any one not familiar with that calm forti- 
tude which, in the most trying scenes had ever sustained him, 
and that equality of temper which on no occasion ever de- 
lerted him, might have deemed, from the unruffled composur* 


of his countenance, his manner, and his discourse, that he 
was the person in the city who had the least concern in the 
reported event, though, certainly, could personal considera- 
tions have been suffered to influence him at such a moment, 
no man living could have a greater.* 

" Steam conveyances and electric telegraphs had not then 
been invented to realize the lover's prayer to the gods " to an- 
nihilate both time and space," and all classes in Washington 
had, with the President, no choice but to await the compara- 
tively slow process of travel by horses and carriages from New 
York to Washington for confirmation or contradiction of the 
report. The interval of suspense, it may well be imagined, 
was sufficiently tedious, though it was brought to an end as 
early as could have been reasonably expected. Late in the 
afternoon of Thursday, the 14th of February, came thunder- 
ing down Pennsylvania avenue a coach and four foaming 
steeds, in which was Mr. Henry Carroll (one of the secretaries 
at Ghent), the bearer, as was at once ascertained, of the treaty 
of peace between the American and British commissioners. 
Cheers and congratulations followed the carriage as it sped 
its way to the office of the Secretary of State, and directly 
thence, with the acting Secretary of State, to the residence 
of the President. . . . 

" The other members of the Cabinet having joined the 

* Mr. Madison had reasons for believing the report, which he did not com* 
mnnicato to the editor of the InteUigencei', Mr. J. C. Ingersoll, in his pamphlet 
on "General Jacksou's Fine," says — " The newB of peace was taken to Wash- 
ton clandestinely by a merchant, brother of an eastern member of Congress, 
who imparted it in strict confidence to Jonathan Meigs, the Postmaster General, 
having first exacted a promise from him not to divulge certain highly important 
information, which, on that condition alone, would be made known to him. The 
Bchcmo was to precede the mail, by delaying it one day, in order to speculate in 
cotton, tc^aceo, sugar, and other southern produce, then at low prices, to bo im- 
mediately and greatly enhanced by peace. Perplexed between a promise to a 
member of Congress and a sense of public duty, the Postmaster General thought 
proper confidentially to advise with Jomes Monroe, the Secretary of State and 
War, as to what was right to be done in such dilemma. Mr. Monroe had no 
hesitation in determining that such a promise of socrecy was not binding; fixtb* 
irith. on liis own responsibility, he carried the news to the President." 


Secretary of State at the President's residence, the treaty 
was of course taken into immediate consideration by the Pres* 
ident and the Cabinet. 

'^Soon after night-fall members of Congress and others, 
deeply interested in the event, presented themselves at the 
President's house, the doors of which stood open. When the 
writer of this entered the drawing-room, at about eight o'clock, 
it was crowded to its full capacity, Mrs. Madison (the Presi- 
dent being with the Cabinet) doing the honors of the occa- 
sion. And what a happy scene it was ! Among the large 
proportion present of the members of both Houses of Congress 
were gentlemen of most opposite politics, but lately arrayed 
against one another in continual conflict and fierce debate, 
now with elated spirits thanking God, and with softened 
hearts cordially felicitating one another upon the joyful intel- 
ligence which (should the terms of the treaty prove accept- 
able) reestablished peace, and opened a certain prospect of a 
great prosperity to their country. But the most conspicuous 
object in the room, the observed of all observers, was Mrs. 
Madison herself, then in the meridian of life and queenly 
beauty. She was in her person, for the moment, the repre- 
sentative of the feelings of him who was, at this moment, in 
grave consultation with his official advisers. No one could 
doubt who beheld the radiance of joy which lighted up her 
countenance and diffused its beams around, that all uncer- 
tainty was at an end, and that the government of the country 
had in very truth (to use an expression of Mr. Adams on a 
very different occasion) * passed from gloom to gloiy.' With 
a grace, all her own, to her visitors she reciprocated heartfelt 
congratulations upon the glorious and happy change in the 
aspect of public affairs; dispensing with liberal hand, to 
every individual in the large assembly, the proverbial hos- 
pitalities of that house. . . . 

" The Cabinet being still in session, the writer of this ar- 
ticle was presently invited into the apartment in wliich it 
was sitting. . . . Subdued joy sat upon the faces of every 
one of them. The President, after kindly stating the result 

1815.] TAB HEWS AT TUE NORTH. 253 

af their deliberations, addressed himself to the Secretary of 
the Treasury, in a sportive tone, saying to him, 

" ' Come, Mr. Dallas, you, witii your knowledge of the 
contents of the treaty, derived from the careful perusal of it, 
and who write with so much ease, take the pen, and indite 
for this gentleman a paragraph for the paper of to-morrow, 
to announce the reception and probable acceptance of the 

" Mr. Dallas cheerfully complied, and whilst we sat by in 
converse produced a brief, quiet paragraph, giving an out- 
line of the treaty, and pronouncing it * honorable' to all par- 
ties, which, being approved by all present, appeared in the 
Intelligencer the next morning."* 

No victory ever so electrified the nation as the news of 
this peace. The ship that bore the glad intelligence reached 
New York on Saturday evening, February 11th, an hour 
after dark. There chanced to be in the city that day a young 
gentleman from Connecticut, of observant mind, of wonderful 
memory, and graphic power of narration ; his name, S. O. 
Goodrich, the Peter Parley of a later day. Mr. Goodrich re- 
cords, in his own vivid and pleasant manner, his recollections 
of the scenes that ensued ; appending, however, certain com- 
ments, which the reader will know how to estimate : 

" It was about eight o'clock on Saturday evening that the 
tidings circulated through the city. In half an hour after the 
news reached the wharf, Broadway was one living sea of 
shouting, rejoicing people. ' Peace ! peace ! peace !' was the 
deep, harmonious, universal anthem. The whole "spectacle 
was enlivened by a sudden inspiration. Somebody came with 
a torch ; the bright idea passed into a thousand brains. In a 
i*ew minutes thousands and tens of thousands of people were 
marching about with candles, lamps, torches — making the 
jubilant street appear like a gay and gorgeous procession. 
The whole night Broadway sang its song of peace. We wen 
ill democrats, all federalists t Old enemies rushed into eacb 

« Naiiondi Intemgtncer, August 24, 1849. 


other's arms ; every house was in a revel ; every heart seemed 
melted by a joy which banished all evil thought and feeling. 
Nobody asked that happy night what were the terms of the 
treaty : we had got peace, that was enough ! I moved about 
for hours in the ebbing and flowing tide of people, not being 
aware that I had opened my lips. The next morning I found 
that I was hoarse from having joined in the exulting cry of 

* peace, peace V 

" The next day, Sunday, all the churches sent up hymns 
of thanksgiving for the joyous tidings. I set out in the stage- 
coach on Monday morning for Connecticut. All along the 
road the people saluted us with swinging of hats and crie^ 
of rejoicing. At one place, in rather a lonesome part of 
the road, a schoolmaster came out with the whole school at 
his heels to ask us if the news was true. We told him it was; 
whereupon he tied his bandanna pocket handkerchief to a 
broom, swung it aloft, and the whole school hosannaed — 

* Peace ! peace V At all our stopping-places the people 
were gathered to rejoice in the good tidings. At one little 
tavern I looked into a room by chance, the door being open, 
and there I saw the good wife, with a chubby boy in her lap 
— ^both in a perfect gale of merriment — the child crying out, 

* Peath 1 peath 1' Oh, ye makers of war, reflect upon this 
heartfelt verdict of the people in behalf of peace I 

" We arrived at New Haven in the Evening, and found it 
illuminated ; the next day I reached Hartford, and there was 
a grand illumination there. The news spread over the coim- 
try, carrying with it a wave of shouts and rejoicings. Boston 
bw^ame clamorous with pealing bells; the schools had a jubi- 
lee; the blockaded shipping, rotting at the dilapidated wharves, 
got out their dusty buntings, and these — ^ragged and forlorn— 
now flapped merrily in the breeze. At night the city flamed 
far and wide — ^from Beacon street down the bay, telling the 
glorious tale even unto Cape Cod. So spread the news over 
the country, everywhere carrying joy to every heai-t — with, 
perhaps, a single exception. At Washington the authors of 
the war peeped into the dispatches, and found that the treaty 


had no stipulations against orders in council, paper blockades, 
or impressments ! All that could be maintained was, that 
we had made war, charging the enemy with very gross enor- 
miti ""8, and we had made peace, saying not one word about 
them ! Madison and his party had, in fact, swallowed the 
declaration of war whole, and it naturally caused some un- 
easy qualms in the regions of digestion, * Let us, however/ 
said they, 'put a good face upon it; we can hide our shame for 
the moment in the smoke of Jackson's victory; as to the rest, 
why we can brag the country into a belief that it has been a 
glorious war I' Madison set the example in a boasting mes- 
sage, and his party organs took up the tune, and have played 
it bravely till the present day."** 

The joy of the country at the return of peace was far from 
being an affair of sentiment merely. The effect upon the busi- 
ness of the country was immediate and remarkable. A short 
" money article" in the New York Evening Post of the Mon- 
day following this joyful Saturday contains some curious par- 
ticulars. Sugar, which " left off" on Saturday at twenty-six 
dollars per hundred weight, sold on Monday morning at 
twelve dollars and a half. Tea fell from two dollars and a 
quarter per pound to one dollar. Specie was sold on Satur- 
day at twenty-two per cent, premium ; on Monday at two 
per cent. 1 Tin fell from eighty dollars per box to twenty- 
five. Government six per cent.'s rose from seventy-six to 
eighty-six ; treasury notes from ninety-two to ninety-eight. 
Bttuk stock rose ten per cent. The shipping interest awoke 
from a lethargy which had been complete. The wharves 
resounded once more with the noise of labor, and the news- 
papers rejoiced in columns of advertisements announcing the 
speedy departure of vessels to foreign ports. " It is really 
wonderful," said the Post, " to see the change produced in a 
few hours in the city of New York. In no place has the war 
been more felt nor proved more disastrous — putting us back 
in our growth at least ten years ; and no place in the United 

* Bcoollectioiia of a Lifotima Bj & G. Ooodriolu i 503. 


States will more experience the reviving blessings of a peace 
Let us be grateful to that merciful Providence who has kindly 
interposed for our relief and delivered us from all our fears." 

The letters of the day are full of the new hopes inspired 
by the peace. As an expression of the higher feeling of the 
nation^ take these words from a letter of Republican Judge 
Story, then young upon the bench of the Supreme Court of 
the United States : " Peace has come in a most welcome time 
to delight and astonish us. Never did a country occupy more 
lofty ground : we have stood the contest single-handed against 
the conqueror of Europe, and we are at peace, with all our 
blushing victories thick crowding upon us. If I do not much 
mistake, we shall attain to a very high character abroad, as 
well as crush domestic faction. Never was there a more 
glorious opportunity for the Republican party to place them- 
selves permanently in power. They have now a golden op- 
portunity ; I pray God it may not be thrown away. Let us 
extend the national authority over the whole extent of power 
given by the Constitution. Let us have great military and 
naval schools ; an adequate regular army ; the broad founda- 
tions laid of a permanent navy ; a national bank ; . a national 
system of bankruptcy ; a great navigation act ; a general sur- 
vey of our ports, and appointments of port-wardens and 
pilots ; judicial courts which shall embrace the whole consti- 
tutional powers ; national notaries ; public and national jus- 
tices of the peace ; for the commercial and national concerns 
of the United States. By such enlarged and liberal institu- 
tions .the government of the United States will be endeared 
to the people, and the factions of the great States be rendered 
harmless. Let us prevent the possibility of a division by 
creating great national interests, which shall bind us in an 
indissoluble union."* 

Curious language, the reader will say, to come from one 
who thought himself a Jeffersonian, and who was appointed 
to office as such by James Madison. '^National bank, 

• life and Letters of Judge Stoiy, L 264. 


quotha. It wa8 established ere long — the very bank that a 
certain seventh President of the United States had a severe 
tussle with in later years ; the good Judge Story looking on 
with patriotic horror. 

From these glimpses of the time, the reader will compre- 
hend the effect upon the nation of Jackson's victory. It 
occurred at a happy time. It finished the war in glory. It 
restored and injlamed the national self-love. And whoever 
does that in an eminent degree remains for ever dear to a 
nation — becomes its Wellington, its Jackson 1 All is summed 
up in a single remark made by Henry Clay when the news 
of the victory reached Paris. ^^ NoWj* said he, " I can go to 
England without mortification 1"** 

Of the formal honors paid to the victorious General and 
his army little need be said. Not only every State in the 
Union nearly, but almost every corporate body of whatever 
description, sent resolutions of thanks and praise to him. 
With one voice, the* country said, in various words, " Well 
DONE 1" The resolutions of the New York Legislature, on 
this occasion, were written by a Mr. Martin Van Buren, a 
young lawyer of much promise, a zealous champion of the 
war and of the Republican party. Mr. Van Buren was not 
sparing of panegyric. " The ever-memorable conflict of the 
8th of January," he styled " an event surpassing the most 
heroic and wonderful achievements which adorn the annals 
of mankind/' The resolutions unanimously adopted by Con- 
gress, besides bestowing special commendation upon Governor 
Claiborne, Major Overton, Commodore Patterson, Major Car- 
mick, the people of Louisiana and the people of New OrleanB, 
recognized the merit of the General-in-Chief and of his army 
in these terms : 

" Resolved^ By the Senate and House of Representatives 
of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That 
the thanks of Congress be, and they are hereby, given to Major 
Oknebal Jackson, and through him, to the officers and bo1« 

• Life of GUy, by Epcs Saigen^ p. 69l 
VOL. n- — 17 


diers of the regular army, of the volunteers, and of the militia 
under his command, the greater proportion of which troops 
consisted of militia and volunteers, suddenlv collected to- 
gether, for their uniform gallantry and good conduct con- 
spicuously displayed against the enemy, from the time of 
his landing before New Orleans until his final expulsion 
therefrom, and particularly for their valor, skill and good 
conduct on the 8th of January last, in repulsing, with great 
slaughter, a numerous British army of chosen veteran troops, 
when attempting by a bold and daring attack to carry by 
storm the works hastily thrown up for the protection of 
New Orleans, and thereby obtaining a most signal victory 
over the enemy with a disparity of loss, on his part, unex- 
ampled in military annals. 

" Besolvedj That the President of the United States be 
requested to cause to be struck a gold medal, with devices 
emblematical of this splendid achievement, and presented to 
Major General Jackson as a testimony of the high sense en- 
tertained by Congress of his judicious and distinguished con- 
duct on that memorable occasion. 

"J?esotoed, That the President of the United States 
be requested to cause the foregoing resolutions to be com- 
municated to Major General Jackson, in such terms as 
he may deem best calculated to give effect to the objects 

In his den in Nassau street, "^severed from the human 
race" by the lamentable death of his Theodosia and her boy, 
Aaron Burr heard, not with indifference, of Andrew Jackson's 
glory — the quick fulfillment of his own prophecy. He had 
his own reflections upon the General's new position before 
the country and its possible consequences, as the reader shall 
learn in due time. The reflections of that silent old head had 
often been of the kind that issue in important events, and 
series of eveiits. Perhaps his present thoughts will prove 
fruitful. He was battling then with his army of creditors, 
trying all shifts to keep out of jail, and practicing law foi 
olliers as well as himself ; old friends eyeing him askance, aa 


he passed by with downcast head along the railing of the old 
brick church, and elsewhere in the region of law and news- 
papers. He knew, if no one else knew or knows, what men 
had kept him out of the presidency, and helped to make him 
what he was — a thing abhorred. He bore his old enemies in 
mind occasionally, and the thought arose that, perhaps, by 
setting Jackson at them, he might bring down from their 
pride of place those high and mighty Virginians 1 

But we must return to the seat of war. A courier was 
promptly dispatched from Washington to New Orleans, to 
convey to General Jackson the news of peace. Furnished by 
the Postmaster General with a special order to his deputies 
on the route to facilitate the progress of the messenger by all 
the means in their power, he traveled with every advantage, 
and made great speed. He left Washington on the 15th of 
February, thirty-eight days after the battle. He has a fair 
month's journey before him, which he will perform in nine- 
teen days. 



How ple-asant it would be to dismiss now the conqueror 
home to his Hermitage, to enjoy the congratulations of his 
neighbors and the plaudits of a nation whose pride he had so 
keenly gratified t But this may not be. His work was not 
done. The next three months of his life at New Orleans were 
crowded with events, many of which were delightful, many of 
which were painful in the extreme. 

The trials of the American army, so far as its patience 
was concerned, began, not ended, with the victory of the 8th 
of January. The rains descended and the floods came upon 
the soft delta of the Mississippi, converting both camps into 


quagmires. Relieved of care, reKeved from toil, yet compelled 
to keep the field by night and day, the greater part of the 
American army had nothing to do but endure the inevitable 
miseries of the situation. Disease began its fell work among 
them ; malignant influenza, fevers, and, worst of all, dysen- 
tery. Major Latour computes that during the few weeks that 
elapsed between the 8th of January and the end of the cam- 
paign five hundred of Jackson's army died from these com- 
plaints ; a far greater number than had fallen in action. 
While the enemy remained there was no repining. The sick 
men, yellow and gaunt, staggered into the hospitals when 
they could no longer stand to their posts, and lay down to die 
without a murmur. 

Some glorious days, however, were vouchsafed to the suf- 
fering troops, during which every thing was forgotten that 
was not joyful. That was one bright day, the 18th of Jan- 
uary, when a cartel for the exchange of prisoners was carried 
into effect. The uniformed companies of New Orleans, with 
colors flying and music playing, marched down to the line of 
British outposts, and drew up in showy array to receive their 
friends and comrades who had been taken by the enemy in 
the night battle, nearly a month before. The prisoners, about 
sixty in number, were escorted by a party of the 95th rifles. 
The roll was called and found to be correct. " Forward, 
Americans !" cried the commander of the uniformed com- 
panies. The prisoners marched along the line, saluted as 
they passed by the troops, and then proceeded to the Ameri- 
can camp, where cheers and congratulations greeted them, 
and hundreds of their old friends rushed forward to grasp 
them by the hand. These prisoners, many of whom were 
leading citizens of New Orleans, bore grateful testimony to 
the courtesy and kindness of the British officers in whose 
charge they had been. 

The day following, too, was one of unexpected and joyous 
triumph, the occasion of which must be more circumstantially 

For ten days after the battle the English army remained 


in their encampment, deluged with rain and flood, and played 
upon at intervals by the American batteries on both sides of 
the river. They seemed to be totally inactive. They were 
not 80. General Lambert, from the day of the gi'eat defeat, 
was resolved to retire to the shipping. But that had now 
become an affair of extreme difficulty, as the Subaltern ex- 

" In spite of our losses," he says, " there were not through- 
out the armament a sufficient number of boats to transport 
above one half of the army at a time. If, however, we should 
separate, the chances were that both parties would be de- 
stroyed ; for those embarked might be intercepted, and those 
left behind would be obliged to cope with the entire Ameri- 
can force. Besides, even granting that the Americans might 
be repulsed, it would be impossible to take to our boats in 
their presence, and thus at least one division, if not both, 
must be sacrificed. 

" To obviate this difficulty, prudence required that the 
road which we had formed on landing should be continued to 
the very margin of the lake ; whilst appearances seemed to 
indicate the total impracticability of the scheme. From firm 
ground to the water's edge was here a distance of many miles, 
through the very center of a morass where human foot had 
never before trodden. Yet it was desirable at least to make 
the attempt ; for if it failed we should only be reduced to 
our former alternative of gaining a battle, or surrendering at 

"Having determined to adopt this course. General Lam- 
bert immediately dispatched strong working parties, under 
the guidance of engineer officers, to lengthen the road, keep- 
ing as near as possible to the margin of the creek. But the 
task assigned to them was burdened with innumerable diffi- 
culties. For the extent of several leagues no firm footing 
could be discovered on which to rest the foundation of a 
path ; nor any trees to assist in forming hurdles. All that 
could be done, therefore, was to bind together large quanti- 
ties of reeds, and lay them across the quagmire ; by which 


meaDS at least the semblance of a road was produced, however 
wanting in firmness and solidity. But where broad ditches 
came in the way, many of which intersected the morass, the 
workmen were necessarily obliged to apply more durable ma- 
tmals. For these bridges, composed in part of large branches, 
brought with immense labor from the woods, were constructed ; 
but they were, on the whole, little superior in point of strength 
to the rest of the path, for though the edges were supported 
by timber, the middle was filled up only with reeds." 

It required nine days of incessant and most arduous labor 
to complete the road. The wounded were then sent on board, 
except eighty who could not be removed. The abandoned 
guns were spiked and broken. In the evening of the 18th 
the main body of the army commenced its retreat. 

" Trimming the fires," continues the Subaltern, " and arranging all 
things in the same order as if no change were to take place, regiment after 
regiment stole away, as soon as darkness concealed their motions ; leaving 
the pickets to follow as a rear guard, but with strict injunctions not to re- 
^re till daylight began to appear. As may be supposed, the most profound 
nlence was maintained ; not a man opening his mouth, except to issue 
necessary orders, and even then speaking in a whisper. Not a cough or 
any other noise was to be heard from the head to the rear of the oolumn ; 
and even the steps of the soldiers were planted with care, to prevent the 
slightest stamping or echo. Nor was this extreme caution in any respect 
unnecessary. In spite of every endeavor to the contrary, a rumor of our 
intended movement had reached the Americans ; for we found them of 
late watchful and prying, whereas they had been formerly content to look 
only to themselves. 

" For some time, that is to say, while our route lay along the high road 
and beside the brink of the river, the march was agreeable enough ; but as 
soon as we began to enter upon the path through the marsh all comfort 
was at an end. Being constructed of materials so slight, and resting upon 
a foundation so infirm, the treading of the first corps unavoidably beat it to 
pieces; those which followed were therefore compelled to flounder on in 
the best way they could ; and by the time the rear of the column gained 
the morass all trace of a way had entirely disappeared. But not only were 
the reeds torn asunder and sunk by the pressure of those who had gone 
before, but the bog itself, which at first might have furnished a few spots 
of firm footing, was trodden into the consistency of mud. The consequence 
was that every step sank us to the knees, and frequently higher. Near th» 


ditches, indeed, many spots occurred which we had the utmost difficulty iq 
crossing at all ; and as the night was dark, there being no moon, nor any 
light except what the stars supplied, it was difficult to select our steps, or 
even to follow those who called to us that they were safe on the opposite 
side. At one of these places I myself beheld an unfortunate wretch grad- 
ually sink until he totally disappeared. I saw him flounder in, heaid hia 
cry for help, and ran forward with the intention of saving him ; but before 
I had taken a second step, I myself sank at once as high as the breast 
How I contrived to keep myself from smothering is more than I can tell, 
for I felt no solid bottom under me, and continued slowly to go deeper and 
deeper, till the mud reached my arms. Instead of endeavoring to help the 
poor soldier, of whom nothing could now be seen except the head and 
hands, I was forced to beg assistance for myself; when a leathern canteen 
strap being thrown to me, I laid hold of it, and was dragged out, just as 
my fellow-sufferer became invisible. 

" Over roads such as these did we continue our journey during the 
whole of the night ; and in the morning reached a place called Fisherman's 
Huts, upon the margin of the lake. The name is derived from a clump of 
mud-built cottages, situated in as complete a desert as the eye of man was 
ever pained by beholding. They stand close to the water, upon a part of 
the morass rather more firm than the rest. Not a tree or bush of any de- 
scription grows near them. As far as the eye could reach a perfect ocean 
of weeds ever3rwhere presented itself, except on that side where a view of 
the lake changed without fertilizing the prospect Were any set of human 
beings condemned to spend their lives here, I should consider their fate as 
a little superior to that of the solitary captive ; but during many months of 
the year these huts are wholly unoccupied, being erected, as their name de- 
notes, merely to shelter a few fishermen, while the fishing season lasts. 

*• Here at length we were ordered to halt; and perhaps I never rejoiced 
more sincerely at any order than at this. Wearied with my exertions, and 
oppressed with want of sleep, I threw myself upon the ground without so 
much as pulling off my muddy garments ; and in an instant all my cares 
and troubles were forgotten. Nor did I wake from that deep slumber for 
many hours, when I rose cold and stiff, and creeping beside a miserable 
fire of reeds, addressed myself to the last morsel of salt pork which my 
wallet contained. 

" The whole army had now come up, the pickets having escaped w*th- 
out notice, or at least without annoyance. Forming along the brink of the 
lake, a line of outposts was planted, and the soldiers were commanded to 
make themselves as comfortable as they could. But, in truth, the word 
comfort is one which cannot in any sense be applied to people in such a 
situation. Without tents or huts of any description (for the few from which 
the place is named were occupied by the general and other heads of de- 

264 LIFE OF ANDBEW JA0K8ON. [1815. 

partments), our bed was the morass^ and our sole covering the clothes 
which had not quitted our backs for upwards of a month- Our fires, upon 
the size and goodness of which much of the soldier's happiness depends, 
were composed solely of reeds ; a species of fuel which, like straw, soon 
blazes up, and soon expires again, almost without communicating any de- 
gree of warmth. But^ above all, our provisions were expended, and from 
what quarter to obtain an immediate supply it defied the most inventive 
genius to discover. Our sole dependence was upon the boats. Of these 
a flotilla lay ready to receive us, in which were embarked the black corps, 
with the forty-fourth, but they had brought with them only food for their 
own use. It was, therefore, necessary that they should reach the fleet and 
return again, before they could furnish us with what we so much wanted. 
But the distance to the nearest of the shipping could not be less than eighty 
miles, and if the weather should become boisterous, or the winds obsti- 
nately adverse, we might starve before any supply could arrive. 

" These numerous grievances were, however, without remedy, and we 
bore them with patience ; though for Jwo whole days the only provisions 
issued to the troops were some crumbs of biscuit and a small allowance of 
rum. For my own part, I did not fare so badly as many others. Having 
been always fond of shooting, I took a firelock and went in pursuit of wild 
ducks, which abounded throughout the bog. Wandering along in this 
quest I reached a lake, by the margin of which I concealed myself, and 
waited for my prey ; nor was it long before I had an opportunity of firing. 
Several large flocks flew over me, and I was fortunate enough to kill three 
birds. But, alas ! those birds upon which I had already feasted in imagi* 
nation dropped into the water ; ray dog, more tired than her master, would 
not fetch them out, and they lay about twenty yards off, tantalizing me 
with the sight of a treasure which I could not reach. Moving off to 
another point, I again took my station, where I hoped for better fortune ; 
but the same evil chance once more occurred, and the ducks fell into the 
lake. This was too much for a hungry man to endure ; the day was 
piercingly cold, and the edge of the pool was covered with ice ; but my 
appetite was urgent, and I resolved at all hazards to indulge it. Pulling 
off my clothes, therefore, I broke the ice and plunged in; and, though 
shivering like an aspen leaf, I returned safely to the camp with a couple 
of birds. Next day I adopted a similar course with like success ; but at 
the expense of what was to me a serious misery. My stockings of warm 
wool were the only part of my dress which I did not strip off, and to-day 
It unfortunately happened that one was lost Having secured my ducks, 
I attempted to land where the bottom was muddy, but my leg stuck fast, 
and in pulling it out, off came the stocking ; to recover it was beyond my 
power, for the mud closed over it directly, and the consequence was, that 
kill I regained the transport only one of my feet could be warm at a tima 


To those who can boast of many pairs of fine cotton and woolen hose this 
misfortune of mine may appear light, but to me, who had only two stock* 
ings on shore, the loss of one was very grievous ; and I therefore request 
that I may not be sneered at when I record it as one of the disastrous 
consequences of this ill-fated expedition. 

*^ As soon as the boats returned, regiment after regiment embarked and 
set sail for the fleet; but the distance being considerable and the wind foul, 
many days elapsed before the whole could be got oEL Excepting in one 
trifling instance, however, no accident ^occurred, and by the end of the 
month we were all once more on board our former ships. But our return 
was far from triumphant. We," who only seven weeks ago had set out in 
the surest confidence of glory, and, I may add, of emolument, were brought 
back dispirited and dejected. Our ranks were wofully thinned, our chie& 
slain, our clothing tattered and filthy, and even our discipline in some de- 
gree injured. A gloomy silence reigned throughout the armament, except 
when it was broken by the voice of lamentation over fallen friends j and 
the interior of each ship presented a scene well calculated to prove the 
short-sightedness of human hope and human prudence. 

" The accident to which I allude was the capture of a single boat by 
the enemy. About thirty men of the 14th dragoons having crowded into 
an unarmed barge, were proceeding slowly down the lake, when a boat^ 
mounting a caironade in its bow, suddenly darted from a creek and made 
towards them. To escape was impossible, for their barge was loo heavily 
laden to move at a rate of even moderate rapidity; and to fight was 
equally out of the question, because of the superiority which their cannon 
gave to the Americans. The whole party was accordingly compelled to 
surrender to six men and an officer, and, having thrown their arms into 
the lake, their boat was taken in tow, and they were carried away pris- 

" This, however, was the only misfortune which occurred. Warned by 
the fate of their comrades, the rest kept together in little squadrons, each 
attended by one or more armed launches ; and, thus rowing steadily on, 
they gained the shipping, without so much as another attempt at surprisal 
being made. 

" On reaching the fleet we found that a considerable reinforcement of 
troops had arrived from England. It consisted of the 4:0th foot, a fine regi- 
ment, containing nearly a thousand men, which, ignorant of the fatal issue 
of our attack, had crossed the lakes, only to be sent back to the ships, 
without so much as stepping on shore. The circumstance, however, pro- 
duced little satisfaction. We felt that the coming of thrice the number 
jould not recover what was lost, or recall past events ; and therefore no 
rejoicing was heard, nor the slightest regard paid to the occurrence. Nay, 
10 great was the despondency which had taken possession of men's mindj\ 


that not even a romor respecting the next point of attack obtained circii- 
lation*^ whilst a sullen carelessness, a sort of indifference as to what might 
lappen, seemed to have succeeded all our wonted curiosity and confidence 
of success in every undertaking." 

With this ignominious wallow in the mire, (" the whole 
army," as another narrator remarks, " covered with mud from 
the top of the head to the sde of the foot,") the Wellington 
heroes ended their month's exertions in the delta of the Mis- 
sissippi. They were in mortal terror of the crocodiles, it ap- 
pears, whose domain they had intruded upon. " Just before 
dark," on the night after the retreat, says Captain Cooke, " I 
saw an alligator emerge from the water and penetrate the 
wilderness of reeds which encircled us on this muddy quag- 
mire as far as the eye could reach. The very idea of the 
monster prowling about in the stagnant swamp took posses- 
sion of my mind in a most forcible manner — to look out for 
the enemy was a secondary consideration. The word was, 
look out for alligators 1 Nearly the whole night I stood a 
few paces from the entrance of the hut, not daring to enter, 
under the apprehension that an alligator might push a broad 
snout through the reeds and gobble me up. The soldiers 
slept in a lump. At length, being quite worn out from want 
of sleep, I summoned up courage to enter the hut, but often 
started wildly out of my feverish slumbers, involuntarily lay- 
ing hold of my naked sword, and conjuring up every rustling 
noise amongst the reeds to be one of those disgusting brutes, 
with a mouth large enough to swallow an elephant's leg." 

The retreat was so well managed (General Lambert was 
knighted for it soon after) that the sun was high in the 
heavens on the following morning before the American army 
had any suspicion of the departure of the enemy. And when 
it began to be suspected some further time elapsed before the 
fact was ascertained. Their camp presented the same appear- 
ance as it had for many days previous. Sentinels seemed to 
be posted as before, and flags were flying. The American 
General and his aids, from the high^ window at headquarters, 


Burveyed the position through the glass, and were inclined to 
think that the enemy were only lying low, with a view to 
draw the troops out of the lines into the open plain. The 
veteran General Humbert surpassed the acuteness of the back- 
woodsmen on this occasion. Being called upon for his opin- 
ion, he took the glass and spied the deserted camp. 

" They are gone," said he, with the air of a man who Ib 
certain of his fact. 

"How do you know ?" inquired the General. 

The old soldier replied by directing attention to a crow 
that was flying close to what had been supposed to be one of 
the enemy's sentinels. The proximity of the crow showed 
that the sentinel was a " dummy," and so ill-made, too, that 
it was not even a good scare-crow.* The game was now ap- 
parent ; yet the General ordered out a party to reconnoiter. 
While it was forming, a British medical officer approached 
the lines bearing a letter from General Lambert, which an- 
nounced his departure and recommended to the humanity of 
the American commander the eighty wounded men who were 
necessarily left behind. There could now be little doubt of 
the retreat ; but Jackson was still wary, and restrained the 
exultant impetuosity of the men, who were disposed at once 
to visit the abandoned camp. Sending Major Hinds' dragoons 
to harrass the retreat of the army, if it had not already gone 
beyond reach, and dispatching his surgeon-general to the 
wounded soldiers left to his care, the General himself, with 
his stafi", rode to the enemy's camp. He saw that, indeed, 
they had departed, and that his own triumph was complete 
and irreversible. Fourteen pieces of cannon were found de- 
serted and spoiled, and much other property, public and pri- 
vate. For one item, three thousand cannon balls were picked 
up in the field, and piled behind the American ramparts by 
the Kentuckian troops. 

The General visited the hospital and assmed the wounded 
officers and soldiers of his protection and care, a promise which 
was promptly and amply fulfilled. " The circumstances of 

* Jackson and New OrleaDS, page 382. 

268 Liri Of ANDSEW JAOKSON. [181& 

these wounded men," says Mr. Walker, " being made known 
in the city, a number of ladies rode down in their carriagee 
with such articles as were deemed essential to the comfort of 
the unfortunates. One of these ladies was a belle of the city, 
famed for her charms of person and mind. Seeing her noble 
philanthropy and devotion to his countrymen, one of the 
British surgeons conceived a warm regard and admiration, 
which subsequent acquaintance ripened into love. This sur- 
geon settled in New Orleans after the war, espoused the Creole 
lady whose acquaintance he had made under such interesting 
circumstances, and became an esteemed citizen and the father 
of a large family. Dr. J. C. Kerr was the hero of this roman- 
tic story. He lived until within these few years. A son of 
his was that Victor Kerr who was executed at Havana with 
General Lopez and Colonel Crittenden in 1851, his last words, 
'^ I die like a Louisianian and a freeman I"' 

The English carried away with them a number of slaves 
in spite of themselves. Captain Hill explains how this oc- 
curred in, at least, one instance : " On the 14th of January," 
he says, " a general order appeared, intimating that no slave 
should be taken away, or liberated by the British force, land 
requesting that no officer would take a black inhabitant into 
his service. As soon as my man, Turner, had communicated 
this to my man Friday, he was thrown into a state bordering 
on madness : he vowed, by all the saints in the calendar — for 
George was a rigid Eoman Catholic, and held in utter abhor- 
rence the wooden idols of Africa — that, if he could not get 
away from the power of his old master and follow his new 
one, he would * incontinently drown himself.' It was in vain 
that Turner explained to him that I should be subject to 
much blame in not obeying orders, and stay behind he must. 

" Neber, Massa Turner, neber ! If dat debil of Scotch 
Yankee, dat I run away from, in New Orleans, catch me, he 
kill me for true, but not all in one day ; he skin me alive wid 

dog whip, and den show him teeth, and put pickle tc 

my back, say do me good. No, Massa Turner, you tell de 
captain when he go, give me wink of him eye, den I know 


what do ; I go before, nobody angry den, cause he no take 
me ; me savez ver well how go George, swim like fish. Me 
, if me stop !' 

" The boy had proved so useful, and appeared sp much 
attached to me, that I felt quite desirous to save him from 
the vengeance of his late employer, and, unwilling to be guilty 
of a breach of discipline, thought the best plan I could adopt 
was to give George his own way in the matter/' 

It will interest every reader to learn what were the pri- 
vate thoughts and feelings of General Jackson in view of the 
departure of the English army. January 27th, with his own 
hand, he wrote a hasty letter to Governor Blount of Tennes- 
see, of which the following is a copy : — 


'^Headquartebs, New Orleaks, 1 
January 27tb, 1815. ( 

''Sir : I inclose you a paper that contains my address and general orders 
to the brave army I had the honor to command on the 8th instant In 
addition, I have to state that the prisoners taken on the retreat of the 
enemy state their whole loss, including killed, wounded, and missing, is 
estimated at six thousand five hundred, and that Keane is dead of his 
wounds. When the numbers are known that were in action on our side, 
and those badly armed, it will not be accredited, and particularly when the 
loss of the enemy is compared with my loss, which in killed, since the land- 
ing of the enemy, does not exceed fifty-six. The unerring hand of Pro- 
vidence shielded my men from the showers of balls, bombs, and rockets; 
when, on the other hand, it appeared that every ball and bomb from our 
lines was charged with the mission of death. The spirit of the British in 
this quarter is broken ; they have failed in every attempt They bom- 
barded Fort St. Philip for nine days, throwing upwards of one thousand 
large bombs, exclusive of small ones, with no other effect than killing two 
and wounding seven; five of the latter so slightly that they are reported 
for duty. 

"Mi*. Shields, purser of the navy, brave and full of enterprise, got a few 
rolunteers. and with four small boats pursued them as they were embark* 
ing, took a transport and burned her, several small boats, and one hundred 
and odd prisoners. For the want of force he was compelled to parole a 
Qumber ; bringing with him in all seventy prisoners, io jludlng two offioeit 

270 LIFE or ANDSEW JA0K80K. [1815. 

They have lost all their valuable officers and the flower of their army 
This argument will have greater weight at Ghent than any other, and I 
view it as the harbinger of peace. When you see the bravery cf youi 
countrymen you must feel proud that you govern such a people 1 They 
are worthy to be free. Gkneral Ci0ffee*s brigade for the whole time liter- 
ally lay *n a swamp, knee deep in mud and water, and the whole of General 
Carroll's line but little better. Still they maintained their position without 
a murmur. Three thousand stand of arms more than I had on the 8th 
would, in my opinion, have placed the whole British army in my hands. 
But the Lord's will be done. Yours, etc., 

*' Andrew Jackson. 

"P. S. — ^I have had but few minutes of ease, and for some days bad 
health, but am better. 

"P. S. — The picket guard state that they lost sight of the last sail of the 
British at half liter eleven o'clock, a. m. ; and Louisiana may again say her 
Svil is not trodden by the sacrilegious footsteps of a hostile Briton. They 
were steering for Ship Island. Where destined from thence uncertain." 

The joy of the army at the retreat of the enemy was ex- 
treme, since it was not only the assurance of their victory, but 
also gave them the near prospect of quarters more healthful 
and comfortable. The next few days were reward enough, 
they thought, for all that they had done and suffered. 

The first public act of the General, after he returned from 
his visit to the British camp, was to address the following 
letter to the Abb^ Dubourg, the chief of the Catholic clergy 
in Louisiana : — 

" Eeverend Sib : The signal interposition of Heaven, in giving success 
to our arms against the enemy, who so lately landed on our shores — an 
enemy as powerfol as inveterate in his hatred — while it must excite in 
every bosom attached to the happy government under which we live emo* 
tions of the liveliest gratitude, requires at the same time some external 
manifestation of those fbelings. 

" Permit me, therefore, to entreat that you will cause the service of 
public thanksgiving to be performed in the cathedral, in token of the great 
assbtance we have received from the Bidero/aU events^ and of our himible 
sense of it" 

He next began to make preparations for leading the main 
body of his army out of their quagmire camp to New Orleans. 


A strong guard was organized for the occupation of the 
enemy's abandoned camp. A considerable force, too, was 
designated to guard the lines, a return of the enemy being 
still possible. The rest of the army were to march back in 
triumph to New Orleans on the 2l8t, two days after the de- 
parture of the foe. 

The twentieth of January must have been a busy day 
with the General's secretaries at headquarters. There was 
much writing done that day. It was one of Jackson's con- 
spicuous merits as a military commander, as we have shown 
before, that he made the pen nobly cooperate with the sword. 
He seems to have arrived instinctively at Napoleon's immor- 
tal maxim, that in war (as in every province of himaan exer- 
tion) moral force is to physical as three to one. To-dav, 
therefore, he spends many hours in drawing up a general 
order — a permanent roll of honor, which was a source of last- 
ing happiness to many brave men and to their friends. In 
this document, every corps which had served during the siege, 
every commanding officer, every subaltern who had distin- 
guished himself, the physicians, the General's aids and secre- 
taries, several privates and unattached volunteers, were men- 
tioned by name, and honored with a few words of generally 
well-discriminated compliment. The officers who had fallen 
in action received also a kindly tribute. This paper contains 
seventy names. Hundreds of the descendants of the men 
thus distinguished still cherish it with gratitude and pride. 
" To the whole army," the order concluded, " the General 
presents the assurance of his official approbation, and of his 
individual regard. This splendid campaign will be considered 
as entitling every man who has served in it to the salutation 
of his brother in arms." 

But this was not enough to satisfy the commander-in- 
chief. The general order, though it recognized the merits 
of the rank and file, was chiefly interesting to the seventy 
men whose names it mentioned. Something was required in 
which every man in the army could equally share. Accord- 
ingly, the General caused to be prepared an address^ recount* 



ing in glowing words the leading events of the campaign, and 
taunting the enemy with the miserable frustration of their 
designs. On the morning of the twenty-arst, when the army 
was drawn up for the last time behind the lines, this burning 
address was read at the head of each corps, kindling an en- 
thusiasm that prepared all ranks for the scenes that were to 

When the address concluded, the army broke into march- 
ing order, and began its triumphal return to New Orleans, 
which the General had not once visited during the campaign. 
It was a great and memorable day both to citizens and sol- 

" The arrival of the army," says Major Latour, who saw 
the spectacle, " was a triumph. The non-combatant part of 
the population of New Orleans, that is, the aged, the infirm, 
the matrons, daughters and children, all went out to meet 
their deliverers, to receive with felicitations the saviours of 
their country. Every countenance was expressive of grati- 
tude — joy sparkled in every feature on beholding fathers, 
brothers, husbands, sons, who had so recently saved the lives, 
fortunes and honor of their families, by repelling an enemy 
come to conquer and subjugate the country. Nor were the 
sensations of the brave soldiers less' lively on seeing them- 
selves about to be compensated for all their sufferings by the 
enjoyment of domestic felicity. They once more embraced 
the objects of their tenderest affections, were hailed by them 
as their saviours and deliverers, and felt conscious that they 
had deserved the honorable title. How light, how trifling, 
how inconsiderable did their past toils and dangers appear to 
them at this glorious moment ! All was forgotten, all pain- 
ful recollections gave way to the most exquisite sensations of 
inexpressible joy." 

The Abbd Dubourg responded to the General's letter by 
appointing the 23d of the month for the performance of the 
Te Deum in the cathedral, and the citizens prepared for the 
occasion a splendid pageant, which displayed the talent of the 
French in devising emblematic shows. 


'^ A temporary arch/' continues Major Latour, " was 
erected in the middle of the grand square, opposite the prin- 
cipal entrance of the cathedral. The different uniformed com- 
panies of Planche's battalion lined both sides of the way, from 
the entrance of the square towards the river to the church. The 
balconies of the windows of the city hall, the parsonage house, 
and all the adjacent buildings, were filled with spectators. 
The whole square, and the streets leading to it, were thronged 
with people. The triumphal arch was supported by six col- 
umns. Amongst those on the right was a young lady repre- 
senting Justice, and on the left another representing Liberty. 
Under the arch were two young children, each on a pedestal, 
holding a crown of laurel. From the arch in the middle of 
the square to the church, at proper intervals, were ranged 
young ladies, representing the different States and territories 
composing the American Union, all dressed in white, covered 
with transparent veils, and wearing a silver star on their 
foreheads. Each of these young ladies held in her right hand 
a flag, inscribed with the name of the State she represented, 
and in her left a basket trimmed with blue ribands and full 
of flowers. Behind each was a shield suspended on a lance 
stuck in the ground, inscribed with the name of a State or 
territory. The intervals had been so calculated that the 
shields, linked together with verdant festoons, occupied the 
distance from the triumphal arch to the church. 

" General Jackson, accompanied by the officers of his staff, 
arrived at the entrance of the square, where he was requested 
to proceed to the church by the walk prepared for him. As 
he passed under the arch he received the crowns of laurel 
from the two children, and was congratulated in an address 
spoken by Miss Kerr, who represented the State of Louisiana. 
The General then proceeded to the church, amidst the salu- 
tations of the young ladies representing the different States, 
who strewed his passage with flowers. At the entrance of the 
church he was received by the Abb^ Dubourg, who addressed 
him in a speech suitable to the occasion, and conducted him 
to a seat prepared for him near the altar. Te Deum was 

VOL. II. — 18 


chanted with impressive solemnity, and soon after a guard 
of honor attended the General to his quarters, and in the 
evening the town, with its suburbs, was splendidly illumin- 

The General's reply to the Abb^ Dulbourg's fine address 
was worthy of the occasion and of himself. " General Jack- 
son knew well how to do a 'pretty thing,'" remarked to me 
a lady who heard him respond on this occasion, and beheld 
with admiration the courtly grace and dignity of his manner ; 

" Reverend Sir," began the (General, with an imperial bow, " I receive 
with gratitude and pleasure the symbolical crown which piety has prepared ; 
I receive it in the name of the brave men who have so effectually seconded 
my exertions for the preservaion of their country — they well deserve the 
laurels which their country will bestow. 

" For myself, to have been instrumental in the deliverance of such a 
country is the greatest blessing that heaven could confer. That it has been 
effected with so little loss — that so few tears should cloud the smiles of our 
tnumph, and not a cypress leaf be interwoven in the wreath which you 
present^ is a source of the most exquisite enjoyment. 

" I thank you, reverend sir, most sincerely for the prayers which you 
offer up for my happiness. May those your patriotism dictates for our be- 
loved country be first heard. And may mine for your individual pros- 
perity, as well as that of the congregation committed to your care, be 
favorably received — the prosperity, the wealth, the happiness of this city 
wiU then be commensurate with the courage and other qualities of its in- 

The day and night were given up to pleasure both by the 
soldiers and the people. The next day discipline resumed its 
sway. The Tennessee troops were encamped on their old 
ground above the city. New troops kept coming by squads 
and companies, and the boat-load of armff arrived for them. 
The General addressed himself to the task of rendering the 
country secure against a second surprise, in case the enemy 
should attempt a landing elsewhere. New works were or- 
dered in exposed localities. New Orleans was saved, but the 
southwest was still the country menaced, and it was not to 
be supposed that the British fleet and army, reinforced by a 
thousand new troops, would retire from the coast without an 


attempt to retrieve the campaign. Not a thought, not the 
faintest presentiment of immediate peace occurred to any one. 
The question was, not whether the enemy would make a new 
attempt, but whether New Orleans or Mobile would be its 
object. A day or two after the public entry into the city, 
General Jackson dispatched his friend and comrade, Colonel 
Arthur P. Hayne, to Washington, bearing orders most hon- 
orable to both. 


« Headquartebs^ New Orleans, i 
25th January, 1815. ) 

" Sir : — It is my desire, when you arrive at Washington, tliat you would 
impress on the mind of the Secretary of War the necessity of expediting 
regular troops to the defense of this district General Coffee's brigade will 
be entitled to honorable discharge on the 20th of March — General Carroll's 
division about the 15th of May — and General Thomas' detachment from 
Kentucky about the same time. The present regular force does not exceed 
six hundred effectives. 

" Prevented by motives of delicacy and other causes, I have not made 
those discriminations, nor urged those pretensions which the respective 
merits of oflBcers required. I must therefore request you to mention the 
names of Major Peire and Captains Butler and* Baker of the forty-fourth 
regiment, and of acting Lieutenant CaU, as worthy of promotion. Cap- 
tains Montgomery, Vail and Allen, of the seventh regiment, acted well 
during the whole campaign. They are certainly good captains, and merit 
promotion. Too much praise can not be bestowed on Captain Humphrey 
and Lieutenant Spotts of the artillery — Humphrey ought to be at the head 
of a regiment, and the latter of a company. I can not omit to mention the 
names of the Adjutant General, Colonel Robert Butler, and his Assistant 
Adjutant General, Major Chotard, also the Assistant Inspector General, 
Major Davij«, and my two aids. Captains Reid and Butler. From the re- 
port of Major Overton, Captains Woolstonecraft, Murray and White ought 
to be noticed, and the major is worthy to command a regiment. The brave 
defenders of Fort Bowyer have been too long neglected. Their gallantry 
at one moment saved that section of the country. 

" From General Coffee's brigade I am satisfied most valuable officers 
might be selected. The general would be a most valuable brigadier. Colo- 
nels Dyer, Elliot and Gibson are men of the utmost bravery. Captain 
Parish would do honor to the head of a company in any army. Captain 
Martin would, I have no doubt^ command a company we)\ The govern^ 


ment and the world are sensible of the high opinion I entertain of (General 
GarrolL General Adair is certainly a valuable officer, and ought to be no- 
ticed. As a brigadier, his superior is perhaps nowhere u> be found. In 
General Coffee's brigade, there are Captain Donalson, of the rangers, and 
Captain Hutchins, of the mounted gunmen, whose names 1 have omitted 
asking you to mention, because they are my near connections. 

" Any officers whose merit you may have noticed, and no doubt there 
are many such, you will be good enough to do justice to, and, for Gk>d'8 
sake, entreat the Secretary of War not to yield too much, in time to come, 
to recommendations of menibera of Congress, He must be sensible of the 
motives from which, for the most part, such recommendations proceed, and 
events have too often and too sadly proved how little merit they imply. 

" To all matters connected with the welfare and defense of this district 
you will have the goodness to direct the attention of the Secretary of War, 
and be assured, sir, when you are thus about to leave me at the close of a 
campaign which has been so full of interest^ and to the successful prosecu- 
tion of which your skill and courage have so much contributed, I should do 
no less injustice to my own feelings than to your merits did I not return 
you my warmest acknowledgments. Be assured, sir, wherever yon go, you 
carry with you my high sense of your services, my thanks for them, and 
my prayers for your prosperity. I am your friend, 

"Andrew Jackson, 

**Mi^or General CommBndlng. 

*'PoR Colonel Artiiur P. Hatni. 

** Inspector Genenl, Sonthern Dlyision, etc, etc.. New Orleans.*^ 

General Jackson, we see, was still a busy and an anxious 
man. He stood, moreover, on the verge of a sea of troubles, 
unexpected and exasperating. 

Before entering with him into that tempestuous flood, the 
course of our narrative diverges, for a moment, to another 
scene, a scene without a parallel in the history of the United 
States, which will require the reader's best attention, and ex- 
cite in him various thoughts. 

« Sketch of the Life and Military SerTices of Arthur P. Hayne. New 
Tork: 1852. 




On the twenty-first of February, 1815, when the northern 
States were in the first ecstacies of peace, the " scene" just 
alluded to occuired. The place was Mobile, then threatened 
by the British fleet, which had taken Fort Bowyer nine days 
before, and thus had Mobile at its mercy. The news of 
peace, which reached the British general by a ship direct from 
England, arrested his career of conquest, but was still un- 
known to the Americans on shore. A rumor of peace may 
have reached General Winchester, who commanded at Mo- 
bile ; but the arrival of the most certain intelligence of it 
could not then have averted the catastrophe now to be re- 
lated. The fiat of doom had gone forth. On the twenty- 
second of January, the day before General Jackson went to 
the cathedral and was crowned with laurel, and spoke his 
answer to the Abb^ Dubourg, he signed the order which this 
day was to be carried into effect. 

Six coffins were placed in a row, several feet apart, in an 
open place near the village of Mobile. A large body of 
troops, perhaps fifteen hundred in number, were drawn up so 
that a view of the spectacle was afforded to all. Other on- 
lookers, a great concourse, were assembled, who stood in 
groups wherever the coffins could be seen. After an intei-val 
of waiting, a large country wagon drove up, containing six 
prisoners bound, escorted by a military guard. The wagon 
was driven into the center of the troops by the side of the 9 
coffins, where it stopped, and the men alighted, and each 
was placed next to one of the coffins. One or two of the 
men were visibly agitated ; the rest were firm and composed. 
Colonel Russell, who commanded on this occasion, addressed 
them in an under tone : 

" You are about to die by the sentence of a court-martiaL 
Die like men — like soldiers. You have been brave in the 


field. You have fought well Do no discredit to your coun- 
try, or dishonor to the army or yourselves by any unmanly 
fears. Meet your fate with courage." 

One of the prisoners, John Harris by name, a poor illiter- 
ate Baptist preacher, the father of nine children, several of 
whom were very young, a weak, heavy-laden man, who had 
enlisted for the purpose of accompanying his son to the wars, 
was still unable to control his emotions. He continued to 
apologize for what he had done, and wept bitterly as ho 

Another of the prisoners, Henry Lewis, replied to Colonel 
Russell's exhortation in these words : 

" Colonel, I have served my country well. I love it 
dearly, and would if I could, serve it longer and better. I 
have fought bravely — ^you know I have ; and here I have a 
right to say so myself. I would not wish to die in this way" 
^-here his voice faltered, and he hastily brushed a tear from 
his eyes, — " I did not expect it. But I am now as firm as I 
have been on the day of battle, and you shall see that I wiU 
die as becomes a soldier. You know I am a brave man.'' 

" Yes, Lewis," said the Colonel, " you have always be- 
haved like a brave man." 

Other words were spoken by the doomed men, whom 
Colonel Bussell continued to exhort and console. He soon 
retired to his place, and left the prisoners standing by their 
coffins, awaiting the final preparations. 

These fragments of conversation give us some insight into 
the character of the men about to die. We have other 
sources of information. One of the condemned, David Hunt, 
on the morning of this day, wrote the following letter to his 
parents : — 

" Dear Father and Mother : Before this reaches you I shall be laid 
m the silent grave. This day, between the hours of two and foui 
o'clock, I expect to die an innocent death. The doleful sentence of death 
is pronounced against me and five other militia men. I thank Gkxl that I 
nave an interest in the blood of Jesus Christ Dear brothers, these are the 
dying words of your aflectionate brother, I want you to prepare to meet 


me in glory. I <>xpect to see you no more on this earth. Dear brothers 
and sisters, I request you all not to live in sin, but forsake your iniquitieaii 
for the day of death is a melancholy one to those who have no Gk)d. It 
is my prayer to God, for Christ's sake, for you all to be saved. Dear 
father, I want you to pay Joseph Bowton one dollar for me. I wish you 
to go to Squire Edwards, and get a power of attorney to draw my pay foi 
my services ; likewise collect the note you have of mine. I write no more. 
Time is growing short I leave you all in the hands of that ever blessed 
JesuSj who is able ;o save to the uttermost all who put their trust in him. 
Dear father and mother, brothers and sisters, I bid you all farewell, untfl 
we meet in the happy regions above." 

The last letter of poor Harris is also extant, duly certified. 
It contains aboat fifty mistakes in spelling and punctuation, 
which are here corrected : — 

" Dear Wife : [ take the opportunity of writing to you for the last time, 
as I expect, and am well at present ; thanks be to God for his mercies ; 
and I hope these lines may find you and all the rest in health. I did not 
expect to have had this awful news to write to you. But my sentence is 
come, and to-morrow I have to encounter death. To-morrow by twelve 
o'clock, which is an awful thing to think oC And I know your tenderness 
to me as a wife to a husband has been so gre^it that it must be a grief to 
you, and as such I wish you to meet it with as much fortitude as possible. 
I hope we shall meet again in the worlds above. I wish you to do all you 
can to keep my children together, if possible. James* has promised me that 
he will stay with you, and I hope that my other two sons, Charles and 
John, will do all they can to keep their little sisters and brothers from suf- 
fering. I wish you, as soon as James returns, to move into the settle, 
ments, and do tlie best you can for yourselves. It grieves me hard to part 
with you all. But I must resign to God ; and we have to part some time. 
And as such I hope you will bring my little son up in the fear of Gt>d, and 
my little daughters also, which, from your conduct, I have no reason to 
doubt. But, my little sons, you are young, and growing up into life. Be 
careful of what kind of company you keep, and never bring yourselves to 
any disgrace. Learn in time of youth to love both grace and truth. My 
mind is pestered, and I cannot write as I would wish. Remember me tc* 
all inquiring friends. So, my dear wife and children, I bid you adieu. 
Tliis from your loving husband and father until death." 

* A son of Harris, serving in the same regiment as his father, and with lus 
(ather when this was written. 

280 LIFE or ANDBEW JA0K80N. [1815 

The execution proceeded. The prisoners were blindfolded, 
and each man knelt upon his coffin. Thirty-six soldiers were 
detailed, and drawn up before them ; six to fire at each. The 
signal was given, and the bloody deed was done. All the 
prisoners fell dead instantly except Lewis, who, though pierced 
with four balls, raised his head, and, finally, crawled upon his 
coffin. The officer in comma'^d approached him. 

" Colonel," said Lewis, " X am not killed, but I am sadly 
cut and mangled. Colonel, did I not behave well ?" 

" Yes, Lewis ; like a man," replied Colonel Kussell, with 
faltering voice. 

, " Well, sir," said Lewis, "have I atoned for my offense ? 
Shall I not live ?" 

The colonel, with cruel kindness, granted the poor fellow's 
prayer so far as to order a surgeon to do all he could to save 
his life. But the case was past surgery. He lingered four 
days in extreme agony, and then died.* 

Such was the execution of the six militia men, with which, 
as elderly readers remember, the country rang for several 
years of General Jackson's life. Such was the result of the 
mutiny at Fort Jackson on the 19th and 20th of September, 
1814, to which allusion has before been made in these pages. 

To justify such an unexampled slaughter of American 
citizens the strongest possible proof, both of guilt and of ne- 
cessity, must be adduced. In search of which we resort, first, 
to the Proceedings of the Court-Martial which tried and con- 
demned those men ; proceedings published in full, by order 
of Congress, in the year 1828, forming, with the accompanying 
documents, a volume of considerable magnitude. As usual 
in such cases of voluminous publication by Congress the 
essence of the matter can be given in a very few words. 

The mutiny occurred on the 19 th and 20th of September, 
1814. During the two months following. General Jackson 
Ivas absorbed in the defense of Mobile and the invasion of 

* Narratiye of an Eje- Witness, in Newspapers, supported by affidavits of 
the relatives of the men executed. Bepublished in Pamphlet at Washington in 


Florida. November the 22d he left Mobile for New Orleans, 
leaving Ihe aflfair of the court-martial in the hands of subor- 
dinate officers. The order for the convening of the court- 
martial, dated November 21st, the day before the General's 
departure, was in the terms following : 

" A general courtr-martial, to consist of five members and two sup«r- 
numeraries, will convene at Mobile, at such time as Lieutenant Colonel 
Arbuckle shall direct, for the trial of such prisoners as may be brought be- 
fore it Colonel P. Perkins (of the Tennessee militia) is hereby appointed 
President of the Court, and Lieutenant W. L. Robeson (of the 3d regiment 
of Tennessee infantry) will act as Judge Advocate. Colonel Pipkin, of the 
1st regiment of West Tennessee militia (the mutinous regiment) will detail 
the members from the Tennessee State troops at or near Fort Montgom- 
ery ; order on all the witnesses necessary for the trial of the prisoners of his 
regiment at this place : also, furnish specific charges against them ; and, 
lastly, will notify Lieutenant Colonel Arbuckle of the probable time they 
will reach this point, to enable him to regulate the hour of sitting." 

The court-martial convened on the 5th of December, and 
consisted of the following officers : Colonel Perkins, presi- 
dent ; tnembers. Major William C. Smart, Captain James 
Blackmore, Captain William M^Cay, and Lieutenant James 
Boyd ; supernumeraries, Lieutenant Daniel Mitchel, and En- 
sign Thomas H. Mitchell. All of these were officers of the 
Tennessee militia, comrades, in the pioneer sense of the word, 
of the men whom they were to try. 

The first prisoner presented for trial was John Strother, 
captain of one of the mutineer companies of the first regi- 
ment. He was accused, first, of " Exciting to Mutiny," by 
saying, in the hearing of his men, that " there was no law to 
compel them to serve longer than three months, and that un- 
less he was shown a better law than he had seen, he should 
march his company home at the end of that time." He was 
alsc accused of " Conniving at Mutiny," in not reporting to 
his commanding officer the use of similar words on the part 
pf the troops, and in saying that " if he was the lieutenant 
he would march his company home on the 20th of Sept«mlH>./' 

Twenty- three witnesses testified in the case of Captain 


Strother, of whom one only stated, unequivocally, that he had 
heard Captain Strother use the language attributed to him. 
This single witness was David Morrow, a sergieant of Strother's 
company, himself accused, and one of the six who were shot 1 
He certainly had the strongest conceivable interest in estab- 
lishing the charge that his own captain had countenanced the 
mutiny. Fifteen witnesses swore that they had heard Captain 
Strother employ language of a directly contrary purport to 
that given in the accusation ; that he had, many times, and 
in various ways, urged the men to stay six months in service, 
and not to think of going home before. A letter from Cap- 
tain Strother to his brother-in-law was produced, m which 
he said, " Try and stop that simple notion the men have of 
breaking off on the 20th of this month to go home." Three 
officers testified that Captain Strother had asked their opin- 
ion upon the vexed question, whether three months or six 
was the legal term of service. Mftjor Hicks testified that 
Strother had borrowed of him the laws relating to the terms 
of service, and had satisfied himself of the right of the gov- 
ernment to retain his men in service six months. Colonel 
Pipkin said, that at the time of the final outbreak he heard 
the prisoner say to the mutineers : " Have you no breeding ? 
You act like a parcel of savages. Let me hear no more of it." 
Colonel Pipkin also stated that Strother had reported to him 
the mutinous spirit that prevailed among the troops, though 
not till five days before the mutiny. 

This was the substance of the evidence against Captain 
Strother. It proved that he had been in doubt as to the le- 
gality of the term of six months ; that that doubt had been 
removed by an examination of the law ; that he had habitu- 
ally discountenanced the " simple notion" of breaking off at 
the end of three months ; but that he had done this in the 
femiliar, unauthoritative manner which generally chai'acter- 
ized the intercourse between officers and men in a western 
army at that day. Upon being asked what he had to say in 
his own defense, he replied, that he was conscious of his 
innocence, and willingly submitted his case to the decision 


of the court, for them to do equal justice to himself and his 
country. The court pronounced him guilty of "Exciting to 
Mutiny," and sentenced him to be " disn^issed the service aa 
unworthy of holding a commission in the army of the United 
States/' The sentence may have been just, but it is not jus- 
tified by the recorded testimony. 

Lieutenant James McCauley, the next prisoner tried, was 
arraigned on three charges : First, Exciting to Mutiny, by 
saying, in the hearing of troops, that " the opinion of the 
United States Attorney for the State of Virginia was noth« 
ing but newspaper law ;" secoL J, Conniving at Mutiny, by 
giving directions to some of the mutineers to put into his 
knapsack his share of the provisions forcibly taken by them 
from the issuing house for the march homeward, and by say- 
ing that he would be with them in a few days, as he should 
be detained in camp a short time longer by business ; third, 
Disobedience to Orders, in not exerting himself to prevent oi 
suppress the mutiny. 

David Morrow was again the principal witness against the 
accused, and his evidence was corroborated in part by John 
Harris, whose last letter the reader has just perused. Eight 
witnesses swore that they had heard McCauley advise the 
men to stay the full six months claimed by the colonel of the 
regiment. The testimony, upon the whole, showed that the 
prisoner had sympathized with the mutineers ; that he had 
not concealed this sympathy ; that he had opposed the de- 
parture of the troops languidly ; and that he took no active 
measures of any kind to prevent it. The court pronounced 
him guilty of all the charges, and sentenced him to be dis- 
missed the service, to have his sword broken over his back, 
and to be forever disqualified from holding a commission in 
Ihe army of the United States. 

The next person arraigned was James Webb, a private in 
Captain Strother's company, charged with desertion, mutiny, 
and robbery. It was proved that Webb, late on the nine- 
teenth of September, the day be/ore the expiration of the 
three months^ had refused to go on duty as a sentinel, though 


Bpecially ordered to do so by a commissioned officer ; that^ on 
the day following he left camp with the rest of the di sorters ; 
that he had been subsequently elected captain by them, and 
served in that capacity ; and that, a month after, he had re- 
turned voluntarily to his post. The prisoner stated, in his 
defense, that he had served faithfully three months, and con- 
ceived, from the best information he could get, that his term 
of service had expired ; that he was told, by both non-com- 
missioned officers and privates, that it was nothing but right 
to go home, and, as soon as he discovered his error, he had 
returned to his duty. The court found him guilty of deser- 
tion and mutiny, and sentenced him to " receive the punish- 
ment of death by shooting " 

Sergeant David Morrow was then tried. It was charged 
against Morrow, and proved, that he had taken a leading part 
in the mutiny and desertion. He had gone about the camp 
with a paper, collecting the names of those who intended to 
leave on the twentieth, and was prominent among those who 
forcibly took provisions from the public stores. On the nine- 
teenth, he had said, in the hearing of men on duty, that any 
man who intended to go the next day was a fool to work, 
instead of cooking provisions for the march ; in consequence 
of which remark a large number of men abandoned their 
duty, and proceeded to cook. On the twentieth, he went off 
with the rest, "yelling and firing his gun.'' It was also 
shown that the prisoner, on the eighth of November, had re- 
turned to his duty, bringing with him a pardon from a gen- 
eral officer, to the following effect : " Whereas, David Mor- 
row, who deserted on the twentieth of September last, has 
come forward and sunendered himself to this camp (Camp 
Stewart), has acknowledged the error of his conduct, professed 
his penitence for the same, and begged permission to join his 
comi)any and serve out his time of service or duty as a faith- 
ful soldier, he is hereby pardoned^ on reporting himself to his 
company of Colonel P. Pipkin's regiment without delay, sub- 
ject to the will of the commanding general." The prisoner 
itated in his defense that he left Fort Jackson in consequence 



of the advice which he received from his captain, corroboratea 
by the opinion of General Johnson, Colonel Chatham, Cap- 
tain Earp, and many others, who said there was no existing 
law, within their knowledge, compelling men to stay in ser- 
vice longer than three months. He had also been assured by 
Sergeant Cheek that he had once left camp in similar circum- 
stances, and had received no punishment for it. For the rest, 
he threw himself upon the mercy of the court. The court 
had no mercy for him, but, finding him guilty of desertion 
and mutiny, sentenced him to suffer " death by shooting." 
• John Harris was the next prisoner tried. As the case ol 
this unfortunate man, from the fact of his being a preacher 
and the father of nine children, and from other circumstances 
yet to appear, made more noise in the world than any other, 
I think it proper to give here the whole of the evidence ad- 
duced upon his trial, in the language of the official record. 
He was charged with Mutiny, and with Conniving at Mu- 

Lieutenant Noah Bennett testified : " That he saw the 
prisoner, on the 19th of September, 1814, with a paper con- 
taining a good many names, and the prisoner informed him 
that he only set down such men's names as directed him to 
do so ; that those who were present said it was a list of men's 
names to draw provisions to go home on the 20th ; that the 
prisoner was one of the mutinous party who marched off* on 
the morning of the 20th ; that he belonged to the same com- 
pany, and believes the prisoner never reported any of the 
mutinous party, as required by the Rules and Articles of 
War ; that the prisoner was under his inmiediate command 
on the 19th of September, and that he behaved himself as 
usual, well, until the evening, when he saw him with the pa- 
per described heretofore." 

John H. Hogan, private, had seen the prisoner with the 
pa per of names, and saw him march off" on the 20th. 

John Husbands, private, testified : " That he saw the 
prisoner, some time previous to the 20th of September, with a 
paper, setting down such men's names as intended going homej 


tliat the prisoner did not appear to be using any persuasion, 
and stated it was riglit some should remain at the fort, and 
that he would soon }iave a larger party than Captain Kil- 
patrick ; that he believes the prisoner did march off with the 
mutinous party on the morning of the 20th/' 

John Johnson, private, heard " the prisoner say, that the 
was no law to compel the men to stay longer than tli 
months ; that he was a man of spirit, and would not r 
longer; that a considerable number of the men would go : 
and one who would refuse he could see bayoneted abo 
inches ; that they would go to the big or great mn 
shiver their muskets over his head, but not strike so i 
to kill him." 

Edward Stephens, private, saw the prisoner witi 
per of names, and saw him march off on the 20th. 

James Alexander, sergeant major, '^ saw the ] 
the 19 th, when the provisions were issued ; bcl* 
ceived his proportionable part, and, on the mo 
20th, marched off with the mutinous party; tha 
told him that he did not suppose Uie list h 
names was improper, as it was to be handeil 
that the prisoner gave up his gun to Captain 
thinks he demanded and got a receipt whit-li 
his gun, or the captain wrote one for that : 

Ensign Daniel Kelly, belonging to th< 
the prisoner, stated that Harris gencr:i' 
well, and was obedient to orders. 

James Smith, private, testified : " ' 
yised him not to go home with the 2^"^ 

James Nelson, private, stated '^ th-- 
Washington, of Tennessee, say to ( : 

martial that he did not know whetl - 

out for a tour of three oi six months ,,^- 

to the Governor, but had received ^. - "^ 

the subject." , 

This was the whole of the evidoj . 
trial of John HaiTis. He stated^ ji 



lot, of 

•ills, r aotfi, 




■ le 


. dis- 


■ om the 

•niDg the 

lor men to 

licnt in that 

iicnt Those 

Uil, and will be 

•mo next) thence 

(jur order, in such 

ling from his labora 

letter from Governor 

immediately issued the 

, to the militia of his 

vision: The Creek war, through 

- of those engaged in the campaign 

:uis been brought to a happy termi- 

>* territory conquered should be gar- 

li appropriated by the government of 

mC this policy, and to relieve the troops 

Strother, and Armstrong, on the Coosa 

• } posit, I am commanded by his excellency 

11 V division one thousand men in the service 


of the President of the United States. 


5noe/' were recommended to the mercy of the commanding 

The trials appear to have occupied the court twelve daya. 
Supposing it to have adjourned on the 18th of December, 
which is inferred only from the number of recorded adjourn- 
ments, the proceedings may have been dispatched to General 
Jackson at New Orleans by the 20th. They must have reached 
him, in any case, soon after the 1st of January. On the 22d 
of that month, as before stated, he signed his approval of the 
proceedings, and ordered the capital sentences to be executed. 
That the proceedings were examined with care is shown by 
the fUct that the GfeneraVs approval was preceded by a long* 
and complete recapitulation of the trials, in which every pris- 
oner's name was mentioned, his offense stated, and the sen- 
tende specified. To this document, which would fill seven or 
eight pages of this work, the following words were appended : 
" The Major Gfeneral approves the proceedings and sentences 
of the court, and orders them to be carried into effect. With 
respect to those sentenced to the punishment of death, their 
sentence will be carried into execution four days after thei pro- 
mulgation of this order at Mobile." The ten young men who 
were recommended to mercy were pardoned and ordered to 
return to their duty. 

So much foi the trial It throws no light upon the real 
points at issue between the prisoners and the commanding 
General. Whether those men were bound to serve six months 
was a question neither discussed nor referred to by the mem- 
bers of the court. The published trial contains but a single 
allusion to the subject, and that allusion was made by a wit- 
ness, who said he had heard General Washington, of Tennes- 
see, say that he did not know whether the men were to serve 
three months or six. We rise from a penisal of this trial 
more perplexed and more amazed than when we sat down to 
it We must go back of the trial, therefore, for light upon 
the real questions involved. 

And first : Were these men caUed out for six months oi 
for three ? Unquestionably for six ! Here is the original 


order directing the call, addressed by Governor Blount, of 
Tennessee, to General Jackson, dated, Nashville, May 20th, 

" Sra : In compliance with the requisition of Major General Thomas 
Pinckney, that the posts of Fort Williams, Fort Strother, Fort Armstrongs 
Fort Ross, and Forts Old and New Deposit^ should be kept up, tlie doing 
of which he has confided to you until the objects of government in relation 
to the war against the hostile Creek Indians shall have been fully effected ; 
and from the probable expiration of the time of service of the troops now 
occupying those important posts, commanded by Colonel Bunch, prior to 
a final accomplishment of the views of government in relation to the 
Creek war, you will, without delay, order out one thousand militia infantry 
of the second division, for the term of SIX MONTHS, unless sooner diah 
charged by order of the President of the United States, or you may accept 
a tender of service of the above number of volunteer infantry from the 
second division for the aforesaid term, for the purpose of garrisoning the 
said posts, at your option; which latitude, in relation to calls for men to 
act against the Creeks, in furtherance of the views of government in that 
behalf, is given to me by instructions from the War Department Those 
troops will be commanded by an officer of the rank of colonel, and will be 
required to rendezvous at Fayetteville, on the 20th of June next, thence 
they will proceed to the above mentioned posts, under your order, in such 
number to each as you shall assign," etc., eta 

General Jackson was then at home resting from his labors 
in crushing the Creeks. He received this letter from Governor 
Blount on the day it was written, and immediately issued the 
following order, or rather invitation, to the militia of his 
division : 

" Brave Tennesseans of the second division : The Creek war, through 
the divine aid of Providence and the valor of those engaged in the campaign 
in wliich you bore a conspicuous share, has been brought to a happy termi- 
nation. Good policy requires that the territory conquered should be gar- 
risoned and possession retained until appropriated by the government of 
the United States. In pursuance of this policy, and to relieve the troops 
now stationed at forts Williams, Strother, and Armstrong, on the Coosa 
river, as well as Old and New Deposit, I am commanded by his excellency 
GK>vemor Blount to call from my division one thousand men in the service 
of the United States, FOR THE PERIOD OF SIX MONTHS, unlesf 
■ooner discharged by order of the President of the United States. 
VOL. II. — 19 

?90 LIFE or ANDREW JACKSON [1815. 

*^ The brigadier generals, or officers commanding the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th 
ard 9th brigades of the second division will forthwith furnish from their 
brigades, respectively, by draft or voluniary enUdmenij two hundred men, 
with two captains, two first, two second, and two third lieutenants, and 
two ensigns, well armed and equipped for active service, to be rendezvoused 
at Fayetteville, Lincoln county, in the State of Tennessee, on the 20th of 
Jane next; and then be organized into a regiment, at which place the field 
officers and muster-master will be ordered to meet them. 

^ Officers commanding the brigades composing the second division of 
Tennessee militia are charged with the prompt and due execution of this 

The Becond question is, Did the men know that they were 
called out for six months ? General Jackson's order answers 
the question. That order was a public one, addressed to the 
whole body of Jackson's command, except those who were 
already in the service of the United States. The men who 
responded did so voluntarily, and in consequence of the pub- 
lished call, which expressly mentioned the period of six months 
as the term of the solicited service. 

But the main question is. Was GK)vernor Blount author^ 
ized by law to call men into service for six months ? Was 
there any fair ground for the " simple notion" that arose in 
the impatient minds of the men at Fort Jackson as to the 
legality of the longer term ? This question, with all the light 
that time, investigation, and discussion have since thrown 
upon it, is one upon which there are still two opinions. 
Without entering into technicalities, I will present the facts 
which bear upon the question. 

Three months was the term established by old custom and» 
old law. The militia act of 1795 provided that " no officer, 
non-commissioned officer, or private of the militia shall be 
compelled to serve more than three months after his arrival 
at the place of rendezvous, in any one year." This was the 
law and the practice from 1795 until the war of 1812. Under 
that act, the Indian wars of the early day were conducted. 
For the suppression of an Indian outbreak a tour of three 
months was usually more than sufficient ; and if not, new 
men, as was fair and natiuul, took the places of those whc 


had done their part. For three months a farmer may be 
absent from his farm without losing the entire product of a 
year, not so if he is six months away. Law, custom, conven- 
ience, necessity, all combined to root it in the western mind 
that three months was the term for the service of militia in 
the field. 

April the 10th, 1812, in anticipation of the war. Congress 
passed an act '^ to authorize a detachment from the militia of 
the United States" of one hundred thousand men, to serve for 
SIX months. A " detachment from^' observe. The old law 
was not repealed. The new term of six months applied only 
to the detachment of one hundred thousand, of which each 
State was to contribute its proportion. 

Here was a fertile ground for disputes. As the war went 
on, and draft after draft of militia was made, the question 
continually arose in the ranks, when the service grew irksome: 
were we called out under the old and general law of 1795, or 
under the new and limited law of 1812 ? Perplexed by this 
question, Governor Blount, in January, 1814, when Jackson's 
men came trooping home from the Creek war and asked an 
honorable discharge, wrote to the Secretary of War for a deci- 
sion, which he felt himself unable to give. He tells the Secre- 
tary that he has been obliged to call out a new force of 2,500 
men to replace the troops that had left General Jackson in 
the wilderness. " The troops," he says, " heretofore ordered 
out from this State on the Creek expedition, having performed 
a three months' tour, and thereby having, in their opinion, 
done their duty (and there being here no instructions to the 
contrary), having mostly returned to their homes, is a reason 
why my order (for the calling out of new troops) was given." 
. , . . " The tour of duty mentioned is most congenial to 
the feelings and expectations of militia ; hence, the better to 
promote the good of the service, that term was mentioned" 

in the order calling for the new force " The idea 

of a longer term to militia, who, I believe, are all alive to a 
0ense of duty, and anxious for a vigorous and effectual pro- 
secution of the campaign to a final accomplishment of the 


objects of government, is disgusting, and, if required of them 
to perform a longer tour, their disappointment might lead to 
greater evils, which it is very desirable to avoid. I entertain 
a hope that those troops which have been in service, and the 
few that now remain in service, will be, by order of the Pr«ri- 
dent, honorably discharged and compensated for their serv- 

The reply of the Secretary of War was explicit and satis- 
factory : " The President is pleased to authorize your excel- 
lency to discharge from the service of the United States the 
militia alluded to." And again : " The militia may be con- 
sidered as having been called out under the law of 1795, 
which limits the service to three months. The President is 
the more disposed to make this decision, as the State law pro- 
vides that a period of three months shall be deemed a tour of 
duty, and as the spirit and patriotism of Tennessee leaves no 
doubt that a succession of corps, competent to the objects of 
government, will be regularly furnished." 

But this conflict of laws demanded a remedy, which was 
applied by a new act of Congress, in April, 1814 ; an act sup- 
plementary to the act of 1795. The new act provided that 
" the militia, when called into the service of the United States, 
by virtue of the before-recited act (of 1795), MAY, if in the 
opinion of the President of the United States the public in- 
terest require it, be compelled to serve for a term not exceed- 
ing six months." The old law was not repealed. The new 
act lengthened the term of service only in a definite and 
specified case. Three months was still the established tenn, 
which could be doubled only by a special act of presidential 

Under the act of April, 1814, the six militia men were 
executed. The question of the legality of their execution, 
then, resolves into this : Had the President authorized Gov- 
ernor Blount to apply to the corps of which those unfortu- 
nate men were members the enlargement of the act of 1795 ? 
Had the President expressed the " opinion," in legal form, 
that the public interest required them to serve six months ? 


If he had, the execution was lawful If he had not, the exe- 
cution was a hideous mistake. 

I assert, unhesitatingly, that in all the mass of documents 
and dispatches relating to this matter, there is not one, nor a 
sentence of one, which so much as justifies an inference that 
Governor Blount received in any form the requisite author- 

When this affair was before Congress in 1828, the com- 
mittee to whom it was referred, a partizan committee, founded 
their justification of the execution chiefly upon the following 
passage of a letter from the Secretary of War to Governor 
Blount, dated January 11th, 1814, three months before the 
passage of the new law : " You are authorized to supply, by 
militia drafts, or by volunteers, any deficiency which may arise 
in the militia division under the command of General Jackson, 
and without referring on this head to this department. It 
may be well that your excellency should consult General 
Pinckney on such occasions, as he can best judge of the 
whole number necessary to the attainment of the public 

" On this head," says the Secretary. What head ? The 
next sentence informs us. It was the " number" of troops 
necessary, not the length of the term of service. That had 
just been settled to be three months. The new law was passed 
in April, and after its passage there was no communication 
founded upon it from the President to the Governor. The 
Governor took the longer term for granted, so did the mem- 
bers of the court-martial, so did not the unhappy men who 
left Fort Jackson on the 20th of September. 

In view of these facts, the conclusion seems irresistible, 
that the men were correct in their " simple notion," and that 
their departure from camp was not desertion, but a lawful 
going home after they had done their part as citizen soldiers. 
If this is an erroneous conclusion, the means exist in every 
collection of public documents for the year 1828 of refuting 
it. I should hail its refutation with pleasure, because I am 
sure that General Jackson acted in this affair from an honest 


and perfect convictioD of the lawfulness and necessity of what 
he did. 

The truth is, the vital point at issue never crossed his 
mind. He did not go far enough back to reach it. The Gov- 
ernor's order and his own, in obedience to which the men has- 
tened to the rendezvous on the 20th of June, both mentioned 
six months as the term of service. The Governor's right to 
require that period he never even thought of questioning. 
How could he question it, when the Governor's original order 
contained an assurance that the government had, by express 
mstructions from the Department of War, given him " lati^ 
iude" with regard to the calling out of men for service against 
the Creeks ? Jackson's inference, that the latitude related to 
the length of the term, as well as to the number of men, was 
the more inevitable, as he had been aU along contending for 
the longer term, and it was partly in consequence of his own 
disputes with his army that the longer term was included 
in the new act. General Jackson, probably, never performed 
a public act which he more clearly felt to be right, lawful, and 
necessary, than his sanctioning the proceedings of that won- 
derful court-martiaL 

But some of the mutinous acts were performed on the 19th 
of September, when the term of three months had not expired* 
One of the men had refused to stand sentinel on the afternoon 
of that day. Sergeant Morrow told the men they were fools 
to be at work, and so induced several to leave their duty. There 
was also a forcible taking of flour from the public stores, and 
a riotous killing of cattle in the public pens. If, however, it 
was lawful for the men to go home, they had a legal right to 
provisions sufficient for the march through a wilderness which 
furnished none. The mode by which they supplied themselves 
was, it is true, irregular and riotous. But whether such acts^ 
committed in such circumstances, under the influence of such 
feelings, justified the slaying of six virtuous and well-inten- 
tioned American citizens, is a question which the reader may 
decide. Granting the execution lawful, was it necessary to 
sa^^rifice six men ? In the strictest disciplined armies of Eu- 


rope, it is usual, when a number of soldiers are capitally con- 
victed, to select one or two of the most guilty to expiate the 
offense by death, reserving the rest for punishment less severe. 
For example's sake, the execution of one or two is more effeo 
tual than the wholesale slaughtering of many. Two of these 
militia men were certainly guilty of mutiny on the 19th of Sep- 
tember, Sergeant Morrow and James Webb. Could not their 
blood have atoned, if blood must have been shed ? 

The best justification of the conduct of General Jackson 
in this horrible business is to be found in the circumstances 
of the man at the time. He knew enough of the character of 
militia to know that the victorious host under his command, 
as soon as the rejoicings at the victory were over, would so 
bum with impatience to go home and recount their exploits to 
admiring friends that it would task his powers to the utter- 
most to keep together a competent army. At Mobile, two 
months before, he had formed the determination to cany out 
the sentences of the court-martial, whatever they might be. 
He had had enough of mutiny. It was no time, he thought, 
when, at length, the proceedings of the court reached him, to 
show mercy. A great hostile armament still threatened the 
coasts which he was commissioned to defend. Another month 
and he might again be grappling with the foe. If the war had 
lasted another year, and he had been compelled to march his 
main body round to Mobile and engage in a long and arduous 
strife with a powerful British army, the contest continuing 
through the heat and pestilence of summer, then the stem 
and terrible example of the execution might have been that 
which alone could nerve his arm to strike an effectual blow. 
To do justice to General Jackson we must survey his situa- 
tion as it appeared to his own eyes at the moment. Those 
who do that may still deplore and condemn the error, but 
they will call it by no harsher name. 

A successful general must have that in him which will 
enable him to do terrible things. That General Jackson 
could deliberately consign six men to death is a fact which, 
in itself, is not dishonorable to him, but the contrary. G^n- 


eral Washington was of kind and gentle blood, but he could 
hang a spy whom he esteemed, and could address to his own 
troops such words as these : — " It is a noble cause we are en- 
gaged in — the cause of virtue and mankind ; every temporal 
advantage and comfort to us and our posterity depends upon 
the vigor of our exertions ; in short, freedom or slavery must 
be the result of our conduct ; there can therefore be no greater 
inducement for men to behave well. But it may not be amiss 
for the troops to know that if any man in action shall pre- 
sume to skulk, hide himself, or retreat from the enemy with- 
out the orders of his commanding officers, he wUl be instantly 
shot dovm^ as an example of cowardice." 

It is a proof of the general intoxication of the people in 
1815 that the execution of the six militiamen made no im- 
pression whatever upon the public mind, if it was even heard 
of I find no allusion to the affair in the New York or Wash- 
ington papers of that year. At a later day, however, their 
blood cried aloud from the ground against General Jackson, 
but cried in vain. What General Jackson felt and thought 
of the matter when years of peace had given him opportunity 
for inquiry and reflection is well known. In the year 1827, 
when he was irritated by the outcry made upon the subject 
by the party presses, he wrote two letters, justifying his con- 
duct to the uttermost, and giving evidence that he had as 
bad a memory as ever man was troubled with. The follow- 
ing is his version of the case of poor Harris : 

" Truth is mighty, and shall prevaU, Intrigue and management, inca- 
pable of blindfolding the virtuous yeomanry of my country, will fail of 
their ends ; nor can they impose any other task on me than that of defend- 
ing myself against their imputations, whenever the authors choose to un« 
icask themselves — a task which I am always ready to perform. 

" The cause that you allude to might as well be ascribed to the Presi^ 
dent of the United States, as commander-in-chief of the land and nava^ 
CLrcos, as to me ; but as you ask for a statement of facts, I send them in 
concise form. 

" In the year 1814, Colonel Pipkin, at the head of his drafted militia^ 
was charged with the defence of Fort Jackson, in the heart of the Creek 
natioDy and within my military district Whilst thlis in command, part >f 


his regimcut mutini(Mi At tie head of this mutiny was a Mr. HarriSy a 
preacher, and, as my memory now serves me, of the Baptist profession. 
He broke open the commissary store, knocked out the heads of the floui 
barrels, taking what he wanted, and destroying what he pleased — pro- 
ceeded then to the bake-house, and set it on fire, and marched ofif in open 
defiance of tlie Colonel, leaving the garrison without provisions, and so 
weakened by desertion that it might have fallen a sacrifice to the Indiana 
I was tlien at Mobile. Informed of this mutiny and outrage by express, 1 
ordered the mutineers and deserters to be pursued, apprehended, and 
brought back for trial. The ringleaders, Harris at their head, after some 
time, were apprehended and brought to Mobile in irons, after I had left 
tliere for New Orleans, and had charged General Winchester with the 
command of that section of the country. They were tried by court-mar- 
tial, and condemned to die — five were shot, and the balance pardoned* 
The others who had deserted, before they reached home, returned before 
Harris and his party were arrested, joined me and were forgiven — were 
with me when I marched to Pensacola in 1814 j followed me thence to 
New Orleans, when they regained their former good character by their 
valorous and soldierly conduct^ and were honorably discharged. These 
proceedings arc on file in the department of war, where those who wish 
for truth can be informed by applying to the record. 

'* It is for the public to judge whether this professed ambassador of 
Christ did not well deserve death for the crimes of robbery and arson, and 
this outrageous mutiny, which jeopardized not only the remainder of the 
garrison, from its exposed situation, but the safety of our country — and 
whether this wolf in sheep's clothing was not a fit subject of example. 
Harris, when condemned to die, acknowledged the justice of his condem- 
nation, and stated that he had no hope of pardon here, but that he had of 
forgiveness hereafter — which I trust he obtained, through the mediation 
of our blessed Saviour, and a sincere repentance of his crimes that brought 
on him his condemnation. 

"Let it be recollected that this mutiny occurred at a period when 
every nerve of our country was strained to protect it from the invasion of 
an overwhelming British force, whose agents were then engaged in stir- 
ling up the Creeks to the indiscriminate murder of our defenseless border 
citizens. These are the facts of the case^ for your information." 

Another letter of Jackson's, on the same subject, con- 
tained the following, by way of postscript : " It will be re- 
collected in the Kevolutionary war, at a time of great trial, 
General Washington ordered deserters to be shot without 
trial. Captain Beed^ under this order^ having arrested threes 


had one shot without trial, and his head brought to the gen- 
eral, but he (General Washington) reprimanded Keed for not 
shooting the whole thiea. Greneral Green, near Budgly's 
Mill, so says Gordon's history, had eight men hung on one 
pole for desertion. Johnson's Life of Green says five, without 
court-martial. I only approved of the proceedings of a court 
composed of men who were the friends and neighbors of those 
to be tried by them." 

To Jackson's tissue of misstatements with regard to 
Harris, a son of that unfortunate man wrote an indignant 
reply, giving a version of the affair which accorded with the 
evidence produced before the court-martial. He denied the 
burning of the bakehouse, which, he says, was thrown into 
the river four or five weeks before the men left Fort Jackson. 
The following is the material part of the younger Harris' nar- 
rative : 

" Late in the year 1813 my brother James enrolled himself; he was then 
sixteen years old, and shortly afler our house was bumt^ and we moved on 
the Indian land, about eight miles fix>m where we lived, to a saltpetre cave, 
where my father had a furnace to make petre. Not long afterwards James 
was drafted into his old company. Father, thinking him too young to go 
without protection, took the place of Samuel Sherrel, and went with him. 

" Afler they had served three months, my father, believing their time 
was out, and getting no satisfaction from his officers, came home, ' not in 
open defiance of the Cohnd^^ hut after giving up his gun^ and lifting his receipt 

" Soon afler he got home, he learnt that General Jackson had ordered 
them back by express He stayed at home three or four days, and started 
hack of his own accord. Many of his neighbors tried to prevail on liim to 
keep out of the way, and every means was offered him to have done so, 
till the heat of passion had subsided ; but he refused, and frequently said 
that he was conscious that for what they had done they could not be hurt^ 
and that he feared nothing even before the most prejudiced com*t-martia!, 
except one thing — that was a paper on which he had taken down the 
names of those that were going home, though he had no fears from that if 
they would give him justice. 

" Colonel Pipkin had told some of the men if they would go home 
whether or not, and would give him their names, he would make provisioc 
for them to draw rations. If I had any confidence in the Colonel's oath, 1 
would ask him if he ever made any such statement or not* This is the 
paper above alluded ta 


** When my father started to trial, I went with him ten or twelve mileik 
Wo passed the house of one Salmon, who said he had oome back for the 
men. My father stopped and told him he was going back, and Salmon 
told my father if he would wait a day or two at Winchester, which waa 
about fourteen miles from there, they would go together. My father waited 
a day. Some of his friends persuaded him to enlist, but he refused to do 
it, because he thought himself in no danger. They then went on to Fort 
Jackson when they gave up to Ck)lonel Hart. I have lately been told that 
Salmon gave him up as a prisoner, which I do not believe ; but I will be 
able to state ezpUcitly before long. Ck>lonel Hart was on parade and about 
to march for Mobile when they arrived. They went with Hart^ who, to 
add to the fatigue of my father, I am told, had him handcuffed. In two or 
three days, as I understand, they were taken off. Aller they got to Mobile 
and had their trial, and they knew the decree of the court-martial, my 
&ther was advised to write to General Jackson himself, as he was ac- 
quainted with the General, and to state the circumstances under which he 
was tried and the situation he left home, and pray him for a pardon or at 
least a new hearing. After he wrote lus first letter to General Jackson, 
his friends wrote another, petitioning for a reprieve. 

" General Jackson, in the most unrelenting manner, charges my father 
' of robbery and arson.* I have previously disproved this savage charge. 
He audaciously asks, ^ whether this wolf in sheep's clothing was not a fit 
snbject of example.* I did hope that a liberal and generous feeling, on the 
part of general Jackson, would show the character of my deceased father, 
at least as far as those assaults which slander and falsehood delight to in- 
flict In that I have been egregiously disappointed. My father was an 
honest man, and a kind and protecting father, which can be proved by 
many of Jackson's friends. And I boldly say, if Tie had justice, he would 
be ^afit subject of example,^ " 

"Jackson has the effrontery to state in the, face of the world, that 
' Harris, when condemned to die, acknowledged the justice of his condem- 
nation, and stated he had no hope here, but he» had of forgiveness here- 
after.* And in his letter to Mr. Owens, of Kentucky, that * this man (Harris) 
never wrote but one letter to me that I ever saw or heard of before this 
publication, and in that he acknowledges himself guilty of the enormous 
crime« charged against him, and stated his willingness to meet the just 
lentence a' the court* It is inhuman to suppose this to be true ; and if so^ 
why does he suppress the letter ? My brother James was with him all the 
time, and of course knew the secrets of his breast^ and he heard of no sucb 
Miknowlcdgments, nor saw any such letter. 

"Read the words of my father, in a fiirewell letter to nty mother: 
Dear wife, I take this opportunity of writing to you for the last time. 
I M not eacptd to Mavt Ihu aw/id news to uniie 10 


you; bat my sentence is oome; to-morrow by twelve o'clock, which is an 
awful thing to think oV 

<< After I saw the statements of Jackson, I wrote to him, requesting 
him to give me his reasons for making them, and to send me the contents 
of the letters addressed to him by my father. As yet I have received no 
answer or satisfaction. This seems to be a 'task' that he is not 'always 
ready to perform.* 

^ I am a citizen of Lawrence county, Alabama. If any one wishes to 
sorotinize what I have said, he can call and he shall have satisfaction." 

Fathers and kindred of others of the Six came forward 
with similar statements, many of them very artless and affect- 
ing. The truth was gradually elicited in all its horrible com- 
pleteness ; but as that truth was known to have been sought 
out and used for a party purpose only, it failed to produce 
much effect upon the public mind. In the popular lives of 
Jackson, whether written before or since his death, there is 
usually no allusion to the execution of these men. Eaton 
mentions it not, and Eaton has been the one source of pop- 
ular information respecting Jackson since the year 1818. 

Every fact that could aid the reader in forming a correct 
judgment of this affair has now been given, and given with 
the single object of enabling him to form such a judgment. 



" I BELIEVE," wrote General Jackson to the Secretary of 
War, on the day after the flight of the English army, "you 
will not think me too sanguine in the belief that Louisiana is 
now clear of its enemy. I hope, however, I need not assure 
you that wherever I command such a belief shall never occa- 
sion any relaxation in the measures for resistance. I am but 
too sensible that the moment when the enemy is opposing ut? 
is not the most proper to provide for them." 


Harmless words, one would think. A wise resolution, 
every one will admit. Yet it was the carrying out of this 
resolution that plunged General Jackson into the ^^ sea of 
troubles," to which allusion has before been made. For the 
first three weeks, however, after the triumphal return of the 
firmy to New Orleans, little occurred to disturb the publio 
harmony. Martial law was rigorously maintained, and all 
the troops were kept in service. The duty at the lines and 
below the lines was hard and disagreeable, but, whatever mur- 
murs were uttered by the troops, the duty was punctually per- 
formed. The mortality at the hospitals continued to be very 
great. The business of the city was interrupted, in some degree, 
by the prevalence of martial law, and still more by the reten- 
tion in service of business men. But so long as there was no 
whisper of peace in the city, the restraint was felt to be neces 
sary, and was submitted to without audible complaining. 
During this interval some pleasant things occurred, which ex- 
hibit the General in a favorable light. 

January the 27th, General Jackson addressed a feeling 
letter to Nicholas Girod, the mayor of the city, compliment- 
ing him highly upon the zeal and devotion to the public good 
which had been displayed by him and by the citizens during 
the siege. " I anticipate," said the General, " with great 
satisfaction the period when the final departure of the enemy 
will enable you to resume the ordinary functions of your office 
and restore the citizens to their usual occupations — they have 
merited the blessings of peace by bravely facing the dangers 
of war. I should be ungrateful or insensible if I did not ac- 
knowledge the marks of confidence and affectionate attach- 
ment with which I have personally been honored by your citi- 
zens ; a confidence that has enabled me vnth greater success 
to direct the measures for their defense, an attachment which 
I sincerely reciprocate, and which I shall carry with me to 
th.^ grave." 

February the 4th, Edward Livingston, Mr. Shepherd, 
and Captain Maunsel White were sent to the British ileet to 
arrange for a further exchange of prisoners, and for the re* 


girl dried her tears, and had no more fears for her f;: 

The three Americans, it chanced, reached the flui ' 
the English general was about to invest Fort Bowy<r 
were consequently detained until the success of 1- 
tion was secured. They were treated with all r 
the British officers, and passed their time v<.: 
Assailed by an overwhelming force, both hy 
Major Lawrence had no choice but to ca]ii- 
capitulation was shorn of every circumsta 
"Major Lawrence marched the garrison ov 
with all the honors of war. The capituLit ■ 
as to enable some of the naval command 
which might add to the importance o\' 
great dinner was given on the occasion 
at which Admiral Codrington took t i 
the Americans were seated on his i > 
repast, and as the dessert and \v 
table, the curtains of the cabin v. 
view of Fort Bowyer presentfM- 
moment when the American fl: 
of Great Britain ascending, t 
in its place. 

"* Well, Colonel Livi: 
miral Codrington, *that 
to the British flag. 

" ' Your good hi ■ 
glasses with the exul 
that small consolati 

"Small it pr(>\ 
British were sudil 
the 13th, just tw- 
On that day Mr. I 
the Tonnant coir 
of themostamia^ 

with an officer, \" .IT 

the admiral a pa« "— - — 


il having seen a publication n-Ijich issued 
!.;it 'a flag had just arri^-cif," etc, etc, 
Timove any improper impression whicli 


iiiiiiol, has been made to him bj tliocom- 
. j1 (iin%3 of Great Britain for a I'U^<pensioc 
it lo the Lord Mayor,' whidi AirnijOies the 
s b':<:ii comniuntcBled, will not allow the 
iHi^iilities 13 meant or expc?ctcd. until the 
oiiuiiissioQcrs shall have received tlie i«Ii- 
I (if ibe President of the Urnte<i Stntcs. 
Q^MiQ caUa upon his fellow -eitizons and 
iiiioertain whether (he artielc^i which have 
■csliiblishment of peaec will be approved 
MioD IB neeessur; to give efliciency Ici thi'tn. Until 
n and properly announced, he would lie wanting to 
a which Imve been confided to his prolei'Iiun, if be 
tion in tlie army under his command. How disgrace- 
■nii^ would it be, if, by surrendering ourr^elvfe crcJu- 
(o newspaper publications — often proceeding from 
fV«queQtly from dishonest designs — we permitted an 
!■ have so lately and bo gloriously beaten, to regain the 
If hn,i lost, and triumph over us in turn. 
ij.Tul Order issued on tlio 19th expresses the feelings, the 
> liopes which llie commanding General still entertains. 
I vvord, it is expected that no publication of tlic nature of that 
1 to and censured will appear in any paper of the city, unles 
-itull have previously ascc-rteined its correctness, and gained per 
n from the proper source." 

'fiis wafl regarded by the rebellious apirita as a new pro- 

tion. Tbe "muzzled" editor, in the same number ct'hia 

M^r, relieved his mind by the following coiunientB ujion th( 

■nerarH order : " On Tuesday we published a snmll liand- 

'11, contaiuing such information as we had conceived correct, 

Tspecting the signing of prelimioaries of peace between the 

American and British commissioners at Ghent. We have 

ntice been informed from Headquarters that the information 

therein contained is incorrect, and we have been o>-dered to 

paUish the follf^wing, to do away the evil that might arise 

mm our imprudence. Every man may read tor bimp^lf, and 

906 LIVE OF ANDBXW JA0K80K. [181& 

Adair, General Carroll, General Coffee, and Colonel Hinds, 
all received, through Governor Claiborne, a handsome expres- 
sion of l^slative gratitude, and all transmitted a suitable 
acknowledgment. In this correspondence there is but one 
allusion to General Jackson, which occurs in the reply of 
G-eneral Coffee to Governor Claiborne. Coffee's letter was 
eminently civil, but he contrived to impart to an ignoring 
Legislature his opinion of the merits of the General in com- 
mand. " While we indulge," said General Coffee, " the pleas- 
ing emotions that are thus produced, we should be guilty of 
great injustice, as well to merit as to our own feelings, if we 
withheld from the commander-in-chief, to whose wisdom and 
exertions we are so much indebted for our successes, the ex- 
pression of our highest admiration and applause. To his 
firmness, his skill, his gallantry — ^to that confidence and 
unanimity among all ranks produced by those qualities, we 
must chiefly ascribe the splendid victories in which we esteem 
it a happiness and an honor to have borne a part." 

This action of the L^islature did not tend to conciliate 
either of the opposing forces. It passed, however, without 
comment from the G^neraL But an event, extremely tri- 
fling in itself, soon precipitated the inevitable collision. 

Two days after the return of Livingston, a paragraph ap- 
peared in the Louisiana Oazette, to the effect, that '^ a flag 
had just arrived from Admiral Cochrane to General Jackson, 
officially announcing the conclusion of peace at Ghent be- 
tween the United States and Great Britain, and virtually 
requesting a suspension of arms." 

For this statement there was not the least foundation in 
truth, and its effect at such a crisis was to inflame the pre- 
vailing excitement. Upon reading the paragraph Jackson 
caused to be prepared an official contradiction, which he sent 
by an aid-de-camp to the offending editor, with a written 
order requiring its insertion in the next issue of the paper. 
This contradiction, a very famous document in its day, long 
stigmatized as an audacious attempt to ^^ muzzle" the press, 
was in the words following :— 


" Sir : The commanding (General having seen a publication which issued 
from your press to day, stating that * a flag had just arrived," etc., eta, 
requires that you will hasten to remove any improper impression which 
80 unauthorized and incorrect a statement may have made. 

"No request, either direct or virtual, has been made to him by the com- 
mander of either the land or naval forces of Great Britain for a suspensioc 
of arms. The letter of * Bathurst to the Lord Mayor,' which furnishes the 
only ofScial information that has been communicated, will not allow the 
8upp )sition that a suspension of hostilities is meant or expected, until the 
treaty signed by the respective commissioners shall have received the rati- 
fication of the Prince Regent and of the President of the United States. 

** The Commanding General again calls upon his fellow-citizens and 
soldiers to recollect that it is yet uncertain whether the articles which have 
been signed at Ghent for the reestablishment of peace will be approved 
by those whose approbation is necessary to give efficiency to them. Until 
that approbation is given and properly announced, he would be wanting to 
the important interests which have been confided to his protection, if he 
permitted any relaxation in the army under his command. How disgrace- 
ful, as well as disastrous, would it be, if, by surrendering ourselvSs credu- 
lously and weakly to newspaper publications — often proceeding from 
ignorance, but more frequently from dishonest designs — we permitted an 
enemy, whom we have so lately and so gloriously beaten, to regain the 
advantages he has lost, and triumph over us in turn. 

" The General Order issued on the 19th expresses the feelings, the 
views, and the hopes which the commanding General still entertains. 

" Henceforward, it is expected that no publication of the nature of that 
herein alluded to and censured will appear in any paper of the city, unlesE 
the editor shall have previously ascertained its correctness, and gained per 
mission for its insertion from the proper source." 

This was regarded by the rebellious spirits as a new pro- 
vocation. The " muzzled" editor, in the same number of his 
paper, relieved his mind by the following comments upon the 
General's order : " On Tuesday we published a small hand- 
bill, containing such information as we had conceived correct, 
respecting the signing of preliminaries of peace between the 
American and British commissioners at Ghent. We have 
since been informed from Headquarters that the information 
therein contained is incorrect, and we have been ordered to 
publish the follfjwing, to do away the evil that might arise 
trom our imprudence. Every man may read for him^^lf, and 

306 LIFX OF AHDBXW JA0X80H. |181& 

think fur himself, (thank God t our thoughts are as yet on- 
shackled !) but as we have been officially informed that New 
Orleans is a camp, our readers must not expect us to take the 
liberty of expressing our opinion as we might in a free city. 
We can not submit to have a censor of the press in our office, 
and as we are ordered not to publish any remarks without 
authority, we shall submit to be silent until we can speak 
with safety— except making our paper a sheet of shreds and 
patches — a mere advertiser for our mercantile friends/' 

Pretty loud growling this to come from a muzzled editor. 
In this posture of a£&ii*8, some of the French troops hit upon 
an expedient to escape the domination of the General. They 
claimed the protection of the French consul, M. Toussard: the 
consul, nothing loath, hoisted the French flag over the consul- 
ate, and dispensed certificates of French citizenship to all ap- 
plicants. Naturalized Frenchmen availed themselves of the 
same artifice, and, for a few days, Toussard had his hands full 
of pleasant and profitable occupation. Jackson met tins new 
difficulty by ordering the consul and all Frenchmen, who were 
not citizens of the United States, to leave New Orleans within 
three days, and not to return to within one hundred and 
twenty miles of the city, until the news of the ratification 
of the treaty of peace was officially published I The register 
of votes of the last election was resorted to for the purpose of 
ascertaining who were citizens, and who were not. Every 
man who had voted was claimed by the General as his " fel- 
low-citizen and soldier," and compelled to do duty as. such. 

This bold stroke of authority aroused much indignation 
among the anti-martial law party, which, on the 3d of March, 
found voice in the public press. The article rcfen-ed to was 
the direct cause of the celebrated "arrests." It is alluded to 
in ev(!ry work relating to these events, but is published in 
none of them. As it will conduce to the perfect understand- 
ing of the affair to have the article printed here at length, 
space Bliall be spared for a translation. It was published in 
the French language, and was signed, " A Citizen of Louis- 
iana of French Origin." 


'* Mr. Editor : — To remain Bilent on the last general orders, directing all 
the Frenc hmen who now reside in New Orleans to leave it within three 
days, and to keep at a distance cf one hundred and twenty miles, would 
be an act of cowardice which ought not to be expected from a citizen of a 
free country ; and when every one laments such an abuse of authority, the 
press ought to denounce it to the people. 

" In order to encourage a communication between both countries, the 
7th and 8th articles of the treaty of cession secure to the French who come 
to Jiouisiana certain commercial advantages, which they are to enjoy dup- 
ing a term of twelve years, which are not yet expired. At the expiration 
of that term they shall be treated in the same manner as the most favored 
nation. A peace, which nothing is likely to disturb, uniting both nations^ 
the French have, until this moment, been treated in the United States with 
that regard which a great people deserves and requires, even in its reverses^ 
and with that good will which so eminently distinguishes the American 
government in its relations with foreign nations. In such circumstance^ 
what can be the motives which have induced the commander-in-chief of 
the seventh military district to issue general ordei-s of so vexatious a nature? 
When the foreigners of every nation, when the Spaniards, and even the 
English, are suffered to remain unmolested among us, shall the French 
alone be condemned to ostracism, because they rendered such great ser- 
vices? Had they remained passive spectators of the late events— could 
their sentiments towards us be doubted, — then we might merely be sur- 
prised at the course now pursued with regard to them. But how are we 
to restrain our indignation, when we remember that these very French- 
men who are now to be exiled have so powerfully contributed to the 
preservation of Louisiana — without speaking of the corps who so emi- 
nently distinguished themselves, in which we see a number of Frenchmen 
either as officers or privates? How can we forget that they were French 
artillerists who directed and served some of those cannon which so greatly 
annoyed the British forces ? Can any one flatter himself that such impor- 
tant services are so soon forgotten ? No ; they are engraved in everlast- 
ing characters on the hearts of ail the inhabitants of Louisiana, and they 
will play a brilliant part in the history of our country. And when those 
brave men ask no other reward but to be permitted peaceably to enjoy 
among us the rights secured to them by treaties and the laws of Amcricar— 
far from sharing in the sentiments which have dictated the general order, 
we avail ourselves of tliis opportunity to give them a public testimony of 
our gratitude. 

" Far from us the idea that there can be a single Frenchman so pusil- 
lanimous as to forsake his country, merely to please tlie military com- 
mander of this district, and in order to avoid the proscription to wliich he 
has chosen to condemn them 1 We may, therefore, expect to see 'iiem 

310 LIFl OF ANDBBW JA0K8ON. [1815 

repair to the consul of their nation, there to renew the act which binds 
them to their country. But^ supposing that^ yielding to a sentiment of 
fear, they consent to cease to be French citizens, would they, by such az 
abjuration, become American citizens? No, certainly they would nou 
The man who might be powerful enough to denationalize them would not 
be powerful enough to give them a country. It is better, therefore, for a 
man to remain a faithful Frenchman than to suffer himself to be scared 
evec by martial law ; a law useless when the presence of the foe and honor 
call us to arms, but which becomes degrading when their shameful flight 
permits us to enjoy a glorious rest^ which terror ought not to disturb. 

" Is it possible that the Ck>nstitution and the laws of our country iiave 
left it in the power of the several commanders of military districts to dis- 
Bolye all at once the ties which unite America to the nations of Europe ? 
Is it possible that peace or war depend upon their caprice and the friend- 
ship or enmity they might entertain for any nation ? We do not hesitate 
to declare that nothing of the kind exists. The President alone has, by 
law, the right to adopt against alien enemies such measures as the state of 
war may render necessary; and, for that purpose, he must issue a procla* 
mation. But this is a power which he cannot delegate. It is by virtu«^ 
of that law, and of a proclamation, that the subjects of Great Britain wer<^ 
removed from our ports and sea-shore& But we do not know any la^ 
authorizing General Jackson to apply to alien JriendM a measure which the 
President of the United States himself has only the right to adopt against 
dUen enemies, 

" Our laws protect strangers who come to settle or reside among us. 
To the sovereign alone belongs the right of depriving them of that protec- 
tion; and all those who know how to appreciate the title of an American 
citizen, and who are acquainted with their prerogatives, will easily under- 
stand that by the sovereign I do by no means intend to designate a major 
general, or any other military commander; to whom I willingly grant the 
power of issuing general orders like the one in question, but to whom I 
deny that of having them executed. 

" If the l&st general order has no object but to inspire in us a salutary 
fear, it is only destined to be read. If it is not to be followed by any act 
of violence, if it is only to be executed by those who may choose to leave 
the city in order to enjoy the pure air of the country, we shall forget that 
extraordinary order. But should any thiii^ else happen, we are of opinion 
that the tribunals will, sooner or later, do justice to the victims of that ille* 
gal order. 

** Every alien fKend who shall continue to respect the laws which rule our 
country will continue to be entitled to their protection. Could that general 
order be applied to us, we should calmly wait until we were forced by vio- 
lence to obey it, well convinced of tlie iirnmess of the magistrates who an 


the organs of the law in this pari of the Union, and the guardians of public 

" Let us conclude by saying that it is hign time the laws should resume 
their empire ; that the citizens of this State should return to the full enjoy- 
ment of their rights ; that, in acknowledging that we are indebted to Gen- 
eral Jackson for the preservation of our city and the defeat of the British, 
we do not feel much inclined, through gratitude, to sacrifice any of our 
privileges, and, less than any other, that of expressing our opinion of the 
acts of his administration ; that it is time the citizens accused of any crimo 
should be rendered to their natural judges, and cease to be brought before 
special or military tribunals, a kind of institution held in abhorrence, even 
in absolute governments; that, after having done enough for glory, the 
moment of moderation has arrived ; and, finally, that the acts of authority 
which the invasion of our country and our safety may have rendered neces- 
sary are, since the evacuation of it by the enemy, no longer compatible 
with our dignity and our oath of making the Constitution respected." 

Here was open defiance. Jackson accepted the issue with 
a promptness all his own. He sent an order to the editor of 
the Louisiana Courier^ in which the article appeared, com- 
manding his immediate presence at headquarters. The name 
of the author of the communication was demanded and ^ven. 
It was Mr. Louaillier, a member of the Legislature, a gentle- 
man who had distinguished himself by his zeal in the public 
cause, and who had been particularly prominent in promoting 
subscriptions for the relief of the ill-clad soldiers. Upon his 
surrendering the name the editor was dismissed. 

At noon on Sunday, the 5th of March, two days after the 
publication of the article, Mr. Louaillier was walking along 
the levee, opposite one of the most frequented cofiee-housee 
in the city, when a Captain Amelung, commanding a file of 
soldiers, tapped him on the shoulder and informed him that 
he was a prisoner. Louaillier, astonished and indignant, called 
the bystanders to witness that he was conveyed away against 
his will by armed men. A lawyer, P. L. Morel by name, who 
witnessed the arrest from the stepg of the coflFee-house, ran to 
the spot, and was forthwith engaged by Louaillier to act as 
his legal adviser in this extremity. Louaillier was placed in 
confinement. Morel hastened to the residence of Judge D ^m* 

S12 LIfl OF AHDBSW JA0K80N. [1815 

inick A. Hall, Judge of the District Court of the United 
States, to whom he presented, in his client's name, the fol- 
lowing petition : 

" I.:uis Looalllier, an inhabitant of this district, member of the House of 
Kepresentatives of the State of Louisiana, humbly sboweth — 

" That he has been this day iUegally arrested by F. Amelung, an officer 
in the forty-fourth regiment, who informed your petitioner that he did arrest 
your said petitioner agreeable to orders given to him (the said F. Anielung) 
by his excellency Major General Jackson ; and that your said petitioner is 
DOW illegally detained pursuant to said orders. 

'* Wherefore your petitioner prays that a writ of habeas corpus be issued 
to bring him before your honor, that he may be dealt with according to the 
Constitution and the laws of the United States. 

"P. L. Morel, Attorney for the petitioner." 

Upon the back of this petition (to the facts of which Morel 
made affidavit), Judge Hall wrote these words : 

" Let the prayer of the petition be granted, and the petitioner be brought 

befoA me at eleven o'clock to-morrow. 

" DoM. A. Halu 
"March 6th." 

Upon receiving this from the hands of the judge, Morel 
wrote a note to General Jackson to the following effect : 


" Sir : I have the honor to inform your excellency that, as counsel, I 
have made application to his honor Dom. A. Hall, Judge of the District 
Court of the United States, for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of Mr. 
Louaillier, who conceived that he was illegally arrested by order of your 
excellency ; and that the said writ has been awarded, and is returnable 
lo-morrow, 6th instant, at eleven o'clock, a. ic. 

'' I have the honor to be your excellency's most humble and obedient 


" P. L. Morel, Ck)unsellor at Law." 

General Jackson retorted by writing a brief epistle to Colo* 
nel Arbuckle^ of which the following is a copy : 


"Niw Obleans, March Sib, 1815, ) 
" Seven o'clock, p. m . ( 

'^ HkadquarterS) Seventh Miutart District: 

*' Having received proof that Dotninick A. Hall has been aiding and 
abetting and exciting mutiny within my camp, you will forthwith order ft 
detachment to arrest and confine him, and report to me as soon as arrested. 
You will be vigilant ; the agents of our enemy are more numerous than was 
expected. You will be guarded against escapes. 

'' A. Jackson, Major Gkneral Commanding. 

^* Dr. William E. Butler is ordered to accompany the detachment aad 
point out the man. 

" A. Jackson, Major Gkneral Commanding.'* 

This order was punctually obeyed, and, early in the even- 
ing, Judge Hall and Mr. Louallier were prisoners in the same 
apartment in the barracks. 

So far from obeying the writ of habeas corpus. General 
Jackson seized the writ from the officer who served it, and 
retained it in his own possession, giving to the officer a certi- 
fied copy of the same. Louallier was at once placed upon his 
trial before a court-martial upon the following charges, all 
based upon the article in the Louisiana Courier : Exciting to 
mutiny; general misconduct ; being a spy; illegal and improper 
conduct; disobedience to orders ; writing a willful and corrupt 
libel against the General ; unsoldierly conduct ; violation of a 
general order. 

Nor were these the only arrests. A Mr. Hollander, part- 
ner in business of our friend Nolte, expressed himself some- 
what freely in conversation respecting Jackson's proceedings, 
and suddenly found himself a prisoner in consequence. " My 
partner, Mr. Hollander," says Nolte, " was at the door of the 
Bank Coffee-House, conversing about Louaillier's letter, and 
praising it and its writer's courage. ' Why,' said he, ^ did 
General Jackson allow Colonel Toussard to print his requisi- 
tion in the journals, when he had no intention to free the 
Frenchmen from military service ?' * Ah,' replied a bystander, 
his only idea was to find out all who were dispost^ to side 

814 LIFE OF ANDREW JA0K8OK. [1815 

with the consul, in order that he might punish them.' * It 
was a dirty trick/ said Hollander. This answer was carried 
to the general, who immediately ordered the arrest and trial 
of Hollander, because ^ he excited insubordination and mutinj 
in the camp, and talked disrespectfully of his superior officer.' 
Just as Hollander and I were dining together on the next 
day, my house was surrounded by a hundred men, and Major 
Davezac — so often mentioned — with squinting eye and golden 
epaulettes, stalked in to arrest and carry off Hollander. I 
went at once to Adjutant Livingston to procure the liberation 
of my friend, and he persuaded the general to accept my bail 
for two thousand dollars for the future appearance of Hol- 
lander before the court-martial." 

On Monday, March 6th, the day after the arrest of Louail- 
lier and Judge Hall, the courier arrived at New Orleans who 
had been dispatched from Washington, nineteen days before, 
to bear to Greneral Jackson the news of peace. He had trav- 
eled fast, by night and day, and most eagerly had his coming 
been looked for. His packet was opened at headquarters and 
found to contain no dispatches announcing the conclusion of 
peace ; but an old letter, of no importance then, which had 
been written by the Secretary of War to General Jackson 
some months before. It appeared that, in the hiury of his 
departure from Washington, the courier had taken the wrong 
packet. The blank astonishment of the General, of his aids, 
of the courier, can be imagined. The only proof the unlucky 
messenger could furnish of the genuineness of his mission and 
the truth of his intelligence was an order from the Postmas- 
ter General, requiring his deputies on the route to aflFord the 
courier bearing the news of peace all the facilities in their 
power for the rapid performance of his journey. In ordinary 
circumstances this would have sufficed. But the events of 
yesterday had rendered the circumstances extraordinary. The 
General resolved still to hold the reins of military power firmly 
in his hands. New Orleans was still a camp, and Judge Hall 
a soldier. 
Jackson wrote^ however^ to General Lambert on the same 


day, stating precisely what had occurred, and inclosing a copy 
jf the Postmaster General's order : " that you may determine/' 
«iid the General, "whether these occurrences will not justify 
fou in agreeing, hy a cessatiou of all hostilities, to anticipate 
the happy return of peace between our two nations, which 
the first direct intelligence must bring to us in an official 

The week had nearly passed away. Judge^Hall remained 
in confinement at the barracks. General Jackson resolved on 
Saturday, the 11th of March, to send the judge out of the 
city, and set him at liberty. Accordingly, on Sunday morn- 
ing. Captain Peter V. Ogden, commanding a troop of dra- 
goons, received from headquarters the following order : 

*' Headquarters Seventh Military District, 
New Orleans, March 11, 1815. 


"Sir: You will detail from your troop a discreet non-commissnoned 
officer and four men, and direct them to call on the officer commanding 
the Third United States infantry for Dominick A. Hall, who is confined in 
the guard-house for exciting mutiny and desertion within the encampment 
of the city. 

"Upon receipt of the prisoner, the non-commissioned officer will con* 
duct him up the coast beyond the lines of General Carroll's encampment^ 
deliver him the inclosed order, aUd set him at liberty. 

"Thokas Butler 

"Captain Peter V. Ooden, 

** Commanding troop of cavalry, New Orleana*** 

Inclosed with this laconic epistle was an order from the 
General to Judge Hall : "I have thought proper/' said the 
General, " to send you beyond the limits of my encampment, 
to prevent a repetition of the improper conduct with which 
you have been charged. You will remain without the lines 
of my sentinels until the ratification of peace is regularly 
announced, or imtil the British shall have left the southern 

Captain Ogden promptly obeyed the order. A guard of 
four privates, commanded by a non-commissioned officer, 


escorted the learned Judge of the United States District 
Court to a point about five miles above the city, where 
General Jackson's order was delivered to him, and he was 
set free. 

Brief was the exile of the banished judge. The very next 
day, Monday, March 13th, arrived from Washington a courier 
with a dispatch from the government, announcing the ratifi- 
cation of the treaty of peace, and enclosing a copy of the treaty 
and of the ratification. Before that day closed the joyful news 
was forwarded to the British general, hostilities were publicly 
declared to be at an end, martial law was abrogated, and com- 
merce released. "And in order," concluded the General's 
proclamation, ^' that the general joy attending this event may 
extend to all manner of persons, the commanding General 
proclaims and orders a pardon for all military offenses hereto- 
fore committed in this district, and orders that all persons 
in confinement, under such charges, be immediately dis^ 

LoualUer was a prisoner no longer. Judge Hall returned 
to his home. 

On the day following, the patient militia and volunteers 
of Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana were dis- 
missed, with a glorious burst of grateful praise : " Go, then, 
my brave companions, to your homes, to those tender connec- 
tions and those blissful scenes which render life so dear — full 
of honor, and crowned with laurels which will never fade. 
With what happiness will you not, when participating in the 
bosoms of your families theenjoyment of peaceful life, look back 
to the toils you have borne — to the dangers you have encoun- 
tered ? How will all your past exposures be converted into 
sources of inexpressible delight ? Who, that never experi- 
enced your sufferings, will be able to appreciate your joys ? 
The man who slumbered ingloriously at home, during your 
painful marches, your nights of watchfulness, and your days 
of toil, will envy you the happiness which these recollections 
will afford — still more will he envy you the gratitude of that 
country which you have so eminently contributed to save. 

1816.] THX ARBS8T8 AT KE^T OBLEANB. 817 

" Continne, fellow-soldiers, on your passage to your sev- 
eral destinations, to preserve that subordination, that digni- 
fied and manly deportment which have so ennobled your 
character. o o « o o a 

^^ What a happiness it is to the commanding General 
that, while danger was before us, he was, on no occasion, 
compelled to use towards his companions in arms either 
severity or rebuke. If, after the enemy had retired, improper 
passions began to show their empire in a few unworthy 
bosoms, and rendered a resort to energetic measures uecessary 
for their suppression, the commanding General has not con- 
founded the innocent with the guilty — the seduced with the 
seducers. Towards you, fellow-soldiers, the most cheering 
recollections exist, blended, alas I with regret, that disease 
and war should have ravished from us so many worthy com- 
panions. But the memory of the cause in which they per- 
ished, and of the virtues which animated them while living, 
must occupy the place where sorrow would claim to dwell. 

" Farewell, fellow-soldiers. The expression of your Gen- 
eral's thanks is feeble, but the gratitude of a country of free- 
men is yours — ^yours the applause of an admiring world." 

I shall not dwell long upon the subsequent proceedinga 
of Judge Hall. March 22d, in the United States District 
Court, on motion of Attorney John Dick, it was ruled and 
ordered by the court that " the said Major General Andrew 
Jackson show cause, on Friday next, the 24th March instant, 
at ten o'clock, a. m., why an attachment should not be 
awarded against him for contempt of this court, in having 
disrespectfully wrested from the clerk aforesaid an original 
order of the honorable the judge of this court, for the issuing 
of a writ of habeas corpus in the case of a certain Louis Lou- 
ailier, then imprisoned by the said Major General Andrew 
Jackson, and for detaining the same ; also for disregarding 
the said writ of habeas corpus, when issued and served ; in 
having imprisoned the honorable the judge of this court ; 
suxi for other contempts, as stated by the witnesses." 

Edward Livingston prepared an elaborate paper in tha 


General's defense, which, on the convening of the court, he 
offered to read. The court declined to hear general argu- 
ment in the case. " If," said the judge, " the party object to 
the jurisdiction, the court is ready to hear. If the party's 
affidavit contain a denial of the facts sworn to, or if he wish 
to show that the facts charged do not in law amount to a con« 
tempt, the court is ready to hear. If the answer contain 
anything as an apology to the court, it is ready to hear. If 
the party be desirous to show that, by the Constitution or 
laws of, the United States, or in virtue of his military com- 
mission, he had a light to act as charged in the affidavit, the 
court is ready to hear.*' , 

After some debate the General's representative was allowed 
to begin the reading of the paper, which was an argument 
designed to show the necessity that had existed for the procla- 
mation of martial law. The judge interrupted the reading, 
declared the ^' rule against the party to be absolute," and 
ordered "the attachment to be sued out ;" the process to be 
returnable on the 31st of March. 

On that day General Jackson appeared in court, attended 
by a prodigious concourse of excited people. He wore the 
dress of a private citizen. " Undiscovered amidst the cfowd," 
Major Eaton relates, ^^ he had nearly reached the bar, when, 
being perceived, the room instantly rang with the shouts of a 
thousand voices. Baising himself on a bench, and moving 
his hand to procure silence, a pause ensued. He then ad- 
dressed himself to the crowd ; told them of the duty due to 
the public authorities ; for that any impropriety of theirs 
would be imputed to him, and urged, if they had any regard 
for him, that they would, on the present occasion, forbear 
those fillings and expressions of opinion. Silence being re- 
stored, the judge rose from his seat, and remarking that it* 
was impossible, nor safe, to transact business at such a mo- 
ment, and under such threatening circumstances, directed 
the marshal to adjourn the court. The general immediately 
interfered, and requested that it might not be done. * There 
is no danger here ; there shall be none — the same arm that 


protected from outrage this city, against the invaders of the 
country, will shield and protect this court, or perish in the 

" Tranquillity was restored, and the court proceeded to 
business. The district attorney had prepared, and now pre- 
sented, a file of nineteen questions, to be answered by the 
prisoner. * Did you not arrest Louaillier ?' * Did you not 
arrest the judge of this court ?' * Did you not seize the writ 
of habeas corpus ?' ' Did you not say a variety of disrespect- 
ful things of the judge ?' These nineteen interrogatories the 
General utterly refused to answer, to listen to, or to receive. 
He told the court that in the paper previously presented by 
his counsel he had explained fully the reasons that had in- 
fluenced his conduct. That paper had been rejected without 
a hearing. He could add nothing to that paper. * Under 
these circumstances,' said he, ^ I appear before you to receive 
the sentence of the court, having nothing further in my de- 
fense to offer.' " 

Whereupon Judge Hall pronounced the judgment of the 
court. It is recorded in the words following : " On this day 
appeared in person Major General Andrew Jackson, and, be- 
ing duly informed by the court that an attachment had is- 
sued against him for the purpose of bringing him into court, 
and the district attorney having filed interrogatories, the court 
informed General Jackson that they would be tendered to him 
for the purpose of answering thereto. The said General Jack- 
son refused to receive them, or to make any answer to the 
said interrogatories. Whereupon the court proceeded to pro- 
nounce judgment, which was, that Major General Andrew 
Jackson do pay a fine of one thousand dollars to the United 

The General was borne from the court-room in triumph. 
Or, as Major Eaton has it, " he was seized and forcibly hur- 
ried from the hall to the streets, amidst the reiterated cries 
of huzza for Jackson from the immense concourse that sur- 
rounded him. They presently met a carriage in which a lady 
was riding, when, politely taking her from it, the General waf 

320 LIFE OF ANDBEW JA0K80K. [1815. 

made, spite of entreaty, to occupy her place ; the horses being 
removed, the carriage was drawn on and halted at the coffee- 
house, into which he was carried, and thither the crowd fol- 
lowed, huzzaing for Jackson and menacing violently the judge 
Having prevailed on them to hear*him, he addressed them 
with great feeling and earnestness ; implored them to run in- 
to no excesses ; that if they had the least gratitude for his 
services, or regard for him personally, they could evince it in 
no way so satisfactorily as by aasenting, as he most freely did, 
to the decision which had just been pronounced against him." 

Upon reaching his quarters he sent back an aid-de-camp 
to the court-room with a check on one of the city banks for a 
thousand dollars ; and thus the offended majesty of the law 
was supposed to be avenged. 

It is not to be inferred from the conduct of the people in 
the court-room that the course of General Jackson, in main- 
taining martial law so long after the conclusion of peace was 
morally certain, was generally approved by the people of New 
Orleans. It was not. It was approved by many, forgiven 
by most, resented by a few. An effort was made to raise the 
amount of the General's fine by a public subscription, to which 
no one was allowed to contribute more than one dollar. But 
Nolte tt Us us (how truly I know not) that, after raising with 
difficulty one hundred and sixty dollars, the scheme was 
quietly given up. He adds that the court-room on the day 
of the General's appearance was occupied chiefly by the Bar* 
ratarians and the special partizans of the General. 

The administration mildly, but decidedly, rebuked the 
proceedings of General Jackson. April 12th, the acting Sec- 
retary of War, Mr. A. J. Dallas, wrote thus to the General : 
. . . . " I assure you, sir, that it is a very painful task 
to disturb for a moment the enjoyment of the honorable grati- 
fication which you must derive, as well from the consciousness 
of the great services that you have rendered your country as 
from the expressions of approbation and applause which the 
nation have bestowed on those services. But representations 
have been recently made to the President respecting certain 


acts of military opposition to the civil magistrate that re- 
quire immediate attention, not only in vindication of the just 
authority of the laws, but to rescue your own conduct from 
all unmerited reproach." .... 

" From these representations it would appear that the 
judicial power of the United States has been resisted, the 
liberty of the press has been suspended, and the consul and 
subjects of a friendly government have been exposed to great 
inconvenience by the exercise of military force and command, 
xhe President views the subject in its present aspect with 
surprise and solicitude ; but in the absence of all information 
from yourself relative to your conduct, and the motives of 
your conduct, he abstains from any decision, or even expres- 
sion of an opinion upon the case, in hopes that such explan- 
ations may be afforded as will reconcile his sense of public 
duty with a continuance of confidence which he reposes in 
your judgment, discretion and patriotism. He instructs me, 
therefore, to request that you will, with all possible dispatch, 
transmit to this department a full report of the transactions 
which have been stated. And in the meantime it is pre- 
sumed that all extraordinary exertion of military authority 
has ceased, in consequence of the cessation of all danger, open 
or covert, upon the restoration of peace. 

" The President instructs me to take this opportunity of 
requesting that a conciliatory deportment may be observed 
towards ihe State authorities and citizens of New Orleans. 
He is persuaded that Louisiana justly estimates the value of 
the talents and valor which have been displayed for her de- 
fense and safety, and that there will be no disposition in any 
part of the nation to review with severity the efforts of a 
commander acting in a crisis of unparalleled difficulty, under 
the impulse of the purest patriotism." 

General Jackson replied to this communication by for- 
warding to the Secretary the rejected paper, in which he had 
caused to be stated his reasons for proclaiming and maintain- 
ing martial law. The matter was then allowed to drop, and 
was heard of no more for many yeara 
VOL. n. — 21 

S22 LIFB OF ANDREW JA0K80N. [181& 



The General's troubles were at an end. He remained nt 
New Orleans twenty-four days after the arrival of the treaty 
of peace, settling the accounts of contractors and merchants, 
and enjoying the festivities set on foot by the grateful citizen^ 

Signor Nolte tells us that he found the General a hard man 
to deal with. " My claim," says Nolte, " was a double one, 
first, for seven hundred and fifty woolen coverings, taken out 
of my warerooms ; second, for two hundred and fifty bales 
of cotton, taken from the brigantine Pallas. For the first I 
received the price that was current on the day that the land- 
ing of the English was announced — eleven dollars per pair. 
All settlements required the General's ratification and signa- 
ture. On this occasion he gave both, but with the remark 
that as my goods had been taken to cover the Tennessee 
troops, I should be paid in Tennessee bank notes, upon which 
there was a discount of nearly ten per cent. I was silent." 
But with regard to the price of the cotton Nolte and the 
General could not agree at all ; Nolte demanding the price 
the cotton was worth then — the General ofiering only the 
price at which the cotton was held when it was used in forti- 
fying the lines. " I made a written protest," says Nolte, 
" but the General would not notice it. Then I determined 
to call on him in the hopes of awakening a sense of justice in 
him. He heard me, but that was all. ^ Are you not lucky,' 
he asked, ' to have saved the rest of your cotton by my de- 
fense ?' ^ Certainly, General,' I said, ' as lucky as anybody 
else in the city whose cotton has been thus saved. But the 
difference between me and the rest is, that all the others have 
nothing to pay, and that I have to bear all the loss.' *Loss 1' 
said the General, getting excited, * why, you have saved all!* 
I saw that argument was useless with so stiff-necked a man, 
and remarked to him that I only wanted compensation for 

1815.] HOME IK TBIUMPH. 323 

my cotton, and that the best compensation would be to give 
me precisely the quantity that had been taken from me, and 
of the same quality ; that he might name one merchant and 
I another, who should buy and deliver to me the cotton, and 
chat he should pay the bill. * No, no, sir,' he answered, * I 
like straightforward business, and this is too complicated. 
You must take six cents for your cotton. I have nothing 
more to say/ As I again endeavored to exphiin, he said, 
* Come, sii*, come — take a glass of whisky and water ; you 
must be d — d dry after all your arguing.' " 

A few days after the announcement of peace, a party of 
Tennesseans arrived in New Orleans, and among them, to 
the General's great joy, Mrs. Jackson and little Andrew, their 
adopted son, then a boy of seven. Mrs. Jackson, a thorough 
planter's wife, homely in costume and speech, then grown 
corpulent, and of complexion extremely dark, was a strange 
figure among the elegant Creole ladies of New Orleans. 
Never before had she visited a city larger than the Nashville 
of that day. She frankly confessed to Mrs. Livingston that 
she knew nothing about fine company and fine clothes, and 
had no resource but to throw herself upon the guidance of 
her friends. Mrs. Livingston undertook the task of select- 
ing for her suitable dresses for the various public occasions 
on which she was expected to appear. The anti-Jackson 
party published a caricature at the time, in which the short 
and stout Mrs. Jackson was represented standing upon a 
table, while Mrs. Livingston was employed in lacing her 
stays, struggling to make a waist where a waist had been, 
but was not. It was remarkable that General Jackson, 
though himself an adept in drawing-room arts, and at home 
in elegant society, was blind to the homely bearing and coun- 
try manners of his wife. He put great honor upon her at 
New Orleans ; in all companies, on all occasions, giving 
proof to the world that this bonny brown wife of his was to 
him the dearest and the most revered of human beings. The 
ladies of the city soon gathered roimd her, and made much 
of her. Among other marks of regard, they presented her 




with that valuable but rather showy set of topaz jewelry, 
which appears on her person in the portrait that hangs still 
in the parlor of the Hermitage. To the General, also, the 
ladies presented a valuable diamond pin. " The world heaps 
many honors on me," said he to the ladies, ^^ but none is 
greater than this." 

Nolte gives us a comical account of the grand ball at the 
Exchange, where the General and Mrs. Jackson gave the com- 
pany a taste of a frontier breakdown. Nolte was one of the 
committee of arrangements. " The upper part of the Ex- 
change was arranged for dancing, and the under part for 
supper, with flowers, colored lamps, and transparencies with 
inscriptions. Before supper, Jackson desired to look at the 
arrangements unaccompanied, and I was appointefl to con- 
Y duct him. One of the transparencies between the arcades 

\^ bore the inscription, ^Jackson and victory: they are but one.' 

The General looked at it, and turned about to me in a hail- 
fellow sort of way, saying, ^ Why did you not write, " Hickory 
and victory: they are but one." ' After supper we were treated 
to a most delicious joa« de deux by the conqueror and his spouse. 
To see these two figures, the General, a long, haggard man, 
with limbs like a skeleton, and Madame la Generale, a short, 
fat dumpling, bobbing opposite each other like half-drunken 
Indians, to the wild melody of ^Possum up de Gum Tree,' and 
endeavoring to make a spring into the air, was very remark- 
able, and far more edifying a spectacle than any European 
ballet could possibly have furnished." 

Little Andrew was a pet at headquarters. The General 
could deny him nothing, and spent every leisure moment in 
playing with him, often holding him in his arms while he 
transacted business. One evening, a lady informs me, some 
companies of soldiers halted beneath the windows of head- 
quarters, and the attending crowd began to cheer the General 
and call for his appearance — a common occurrence in those 
days. The little boy, who was asleep in an adjoining room, was 
awakened by the noise, and began to cry. The General had 
risen from his chair, and was going to the window to present 

1815.] HOME IN TRIUMPH. 323 

himself to the clamoring crowd, when he heard the cry of the 
child. He paused in the middle of the room, and seemed in 
doubt for a moment which call he should first obey, the boy's 
or the citizens'. The doubt was soon resolved, however. He 
ran to the bedside of his son, caught him in his arms, hushed 
his cries, and carried him (in his night gown) to the window, 
where he bowed to the people, and, at the same time, amused 
the child with the scene in the street. 

During these happy days some of the English officers came 
up to the city and viewed, with intense interest, the scene of 
the late contest. A letter written by the American officer 
who conveyed to General Lambert the news of the ratification 
of the treaty of peace mentions this circumstance. "We 
went down the river," he says, "in a sixteen-oared barge, 
and had several respectable young gentlemen of the city with 
us, and a band of music furnished by them. We arrived at 
Dauphin Island in three days, and anchored abreast of the 
British camp about four o'clock in the afternoon, and fired 
a salute, while the band played our favorite tunes of Hail 
Columbia and Yankee Doodle, The shore was lined with 
hundreds of Englishmen, cheering over and over, as they 
knew by the flag at our masthead that we brought them the 
welcome news of peace. We remained on the island three 
days, and were treated with every mark of attention and re- 
spect b) all of them, and then proceeded on to Mobile to 
inform out army there of the news of peace. On our return 
wi; stopped again at Dauphin Island and took several English 
officers on board and brought them up to town. All these 
officers have the greatest desire to see this city and our lines 
on the battle ground, where we beat them so handsomely. 
We run them very hard about it, which they took in good 
humor, and they candidly acknowledged * that they had 
fought many hard battles in France, Spain, etc., but never 
met with such play as they received from us Yankees I' 
After their retreat from New Orleans, they landed on Dau- 
phin Island, which then was a desolate place, but now it 
looks like a complete town. They have about eight thou- 


sand men tnere, who are almost in a state of starvation. We 
are now supplying them with provisions of every kind/'** 

To which another singular fact may be added. Greneral 
Lambert's division returned to Europe in time to take part in 
the battle of Waterloo, fought on the 18th of June, 1815, and 
afterwards marched to Paris with the victorious army. At 
Paris some of the officers who had been prisoners at New 
Orleans met the very Americans at whose houses they had 
been quartered, and exchanged suppers in renewal of the 
friendship then formed. Our invaluable friend Nolte was 
there. " Suddenly one day," he tells us, " I found myself 
surrounded by several English officers, who greeted me with a 
cheery ' How do you do, Mr. Nolte ?' My newly-found ac- 
quaintances were Major Mitchell, Lieutenant Dobree, and 
others, who had fallen into our hands as prisoners at New 
Orleans, and who felt very grateful for the friendly treatment 
they had experienced there in my house during the brief 
period that elapsed after their capture until the ratification 
of peace at Ghent." 

General Winfield Scott was in Paris then, and in the 
course of his stay presided at a banquet of ninety Americans, 
and gave, as the toast of the occasion, ^^ General Jackson and 
his glorious defense of New Orleans." 

Amid the excitement caused in Europe by the return of 
Napoleon from Elba, the battle of Waterloo, and the subse- 
quent exile of the emperor, little was heard, and less was 
thought, of the events that had transpired in the delta of the 
Mississippi. A vague, brief, and incorrect buUetinf was pub- 

• NaUonai Intelligencer, May 15, 1815. 

f The following is a copy of this document^ which, Mr. Cobbett sajs^ " was 
dressed up to gull the people of England with:" 

" Bulletin.— War Department, March 8, 1815. 

** Captam Wylly arrived this mornmg with dispatches from Major Ocnenil 
Uunbert, detailing the operations against the enemy in the neighborhood of New 
OrleaxiB. It apears that the army, under the conomand of Major General Eeane^ 
vas landed at the head of the Bayonne, in the vicinity of New Orleans^ on tht 

1815.] HOME IN TEIUMPH. 327 

lisned in the English official Gazette, and then Hie expedition 
against New Orleans was allowed to be forgotten. 

Before leaving New Orleans. General Jackson pi-esented 
his friend Livingston with a miniature of himself, accompany- 
ing the gift with a note expressive of his appreciation of his 
aid-de-camp's services to himself and to the cause. This 
miniature, still in perfect preservation, is the earliest portrait 
of the General now in existence. It is so unlike the portraits 
familiar to the public, that not a man in the United States 

moming of the 23d of December, without opposition ; it was, however, attacked 
by the enemy in the course of the night succeeding the landing, when, after aa 
obstinate contest, the enemy were repulsed at all points with coasiderable losa. 
On the morning of the 25th, Sir Edward Packenham arrived, and assumed the 
command of the army. On the 27th, at daylight, the troops moved forward, 
driving the enemy's pickets to within six miles of the town, when the main body 
of the enemy was discovered posted behind a breastwork, extending about one 
thousand yards, with the right resting on the Mississippi and the left on a thidc 
wood. The interval between the 27th December and the 8th January was em- 
ployed in preparations for an attack upon the enemy's position. The attack; 
which was intended to have been made on the night of the 7th, did not^ owing 
to the difficulties experienced hi the passage of the Mississippi by a corps under 
Lieutenant Colonel Thornton, which was destined to act on the right bank of the 
river, take place till early on the moming of the 8th. The division to whom the 
Btormiog of the enemy's work was intrusted moved to the attack at that time, 
but being too soon discovered by the enemy were received with a galling and 
severe fire fixjm all parts of their line. Major General Sir Edward Packenham, 
who had placed himself at the head of the troops, was unfortunately killed at 
the head of the glacis, and Major Generals Gibbs and Eeane were nearly at the 
same moment wounded. The effect of this upon the troops caused a hesitatioa 
in their advance, and though order was restored by the advance of *he reserve 
•jnder Major General Lambert, to whom the oonmiand of the army htd devolved, 
and Colonel Thornton had succeeded in the. operation assigned to him on the 
right bank of the river, yet the major general, upon the consideration of the 
difficulties which yet remained to be surmounted, did not think himself justified 
in ordering a renewal of the attack. The troops, therefore, retired to the i^osition 
which they had occupied previous to the attack. In that position they remained 
until the evening of the 1 8th, when the whole of the wounded, with the excep- 
tioa of eighty (whom it was considered dangerous to remove), the field artilbry, 
»nd all the stores of every description having been embarked, the army rehired 
to the head of the Bayonne, where the landing had been originally effected and 
reSmbarked without molestation." 


would recognize in it the features of General Jackson. Abun- 
dant, reddish-sandy hair falls low over the high, narrow fore- 
head, and almost hides it from view. The head is long, which 
Mr. Carlyle thinks one of the surest signs of talent. Eyes of 
a remarkably bright blue. Complexion fair, fresh and ruddy. 
A mild, firm, plain, good country face. He wears the full 
uniform of a major general of that day — ^blue coat with stiflF 
upright collar to the ears, epaulets, yellow vest with upright 
collar and gilt buttons, ruffled shirt. The miniature reminds 
you of a good country deacon out for a day's soldiering. Th^ 
still, set countenance wears what I will venture to call a Free- 
byterian expression. 

The General did not forget the little daughter of his 
friend Livingston, but sent her a little broach in a little note, 
both of which, I have heard, she still preserves. She won- 
dered much, it is said, that the General should think of her 
amid the hurry and bustle of his departure. 

On the 6th of April General Jackson and his family left 
New Orleans on their return to Tennessee, and ascended the 
river as far as Natchez. There the General was detained by 
the proceedings of Blennerhassett, famous from his brief con- 
nection with Aaron Burr. 

Mr. Blennerhassett had found in a portmanteau of Burr's 
that had fallen into his possession a memorandum of the ac- 
coimt between Colonel Burr and the firm of Jackson & Cofiee. 
From the memorandum it appeared that Jackson & Cofiee 
had not expended all the money deposited by Burr in their 
hands, but that a balance of more than seventeen hundred 
dollars had remained in their possession. This was true; but 
the memorandimi did not record what was equally true, that 
this balance had been returned to Burr on the final settlement ot 
the account, at Clover Bottom, in December, 1806. Blenner- 
hassett, who conceived that Burr was deeply in his debt, sued 
General Jackson for this balance. Genera] Cofiee made an 
nffidavit to the effect that the money had been returned to 
Burr in the vtay notes in which it had been received from him. 

1815.] HOME IN TRIUMPH. 329 

General Jackson, on appearing before the court, gave the same 
testimony, and the case was dismissed.* 

With the exception of this unwelcome reminder of the 
past, the journey homeward was one ovation. On approach- 
ing Nashville the General was again met by a procession of 
troops, students, and citizeas, who deputed one of their num* 
her to welcome him in an address. At Nashville a vast con- 
course was assembled, among whom wore many of the troops 
who had served under him at New Orleans. The greatest 
enthusiasm prevailed. Within the court-house Mr. Felix 
Grundy received the General with an eloquent speech, recount- 
ing in glowing periods the leading events of the last cam- 
paigns. The students of Cumberland College also addressed 
the General. The replies of General Jackson to these various 
addresses were short, simple, and sufficient. To Mr. Felix 
Grundy he said : — 

" Sir : I am at a loss to express my feelings. The approbation of my 
fellow-citizens is to me the richest reward. Through you, sir, I beg leave 
to assure them that I am this day amply compensated for every toil and 

'* In a war forced upon us by the multiplied wrongs of a nation who 
envied our increasing prosperity, important and difficult duties were assigned 
me. I have laboi-ed to discharge them faithfully, having a single eye to 
the honor of my country. 

" The bare consciousness of having performed my duty would have been 
a source of great happiness ; but the assurance that what I have done meets 
your approbation enhances that happiness greatly. 

* The following is the record, obligingly copied by Colonel B. L. G. Waile8| 
PresideDt of the Mississippi Historical Society : — ^ 

Wasiiinoton, M186I86IPPI Tbrritort, ) 

SvPKRios Court of Adams Gountt, Friday, April 2lBt, 1815. i 

Present — ^Hon. Walter Leake and George Poindexter, Judges, 

HxBMLS Blennerhassett ) Andrew Jackson, garnishee in this case, being 

vs. > sworn, saith that be is not indebted to the de« 

Aaron Burr. } fendant anything, nor has be any effects of the 

defendant in his hands, nor does he know of any person indebted, or having aoy 

•fTects of the defendant in their hands. 

Judgment nm against Andrew Jackson, garnishee in this case, set aside. 


** I beg you to believe, my fiiends and neighbors, that wliile I rejoice 
vnth you in the return of peace, and unite my prayers with yours for its long 
continuance, it will ever be my highest pride to render you my best ser- 
vices, when nations, mistaking our peaceful disposition for pusillanimity, 
shall insult and outrage those feelings and rights which belong to us as an 
independent nation." 

To the students of the coU^ he thus replied : 

" Young Gektlemen : With lively feeliugs of pride and joy I receive 
your address. To find that even the youth of my country, although en- 
gaged in literary pursuits and exempt from military duty, are willing, when 
the voice of patriotism calis^ to abandon for a time the seat of the muses foi 
the privations of a camp, excites in my heart the warmest interest The 
country which has the good fortune to be defended by soldiers animated 
by such feelings as those young gentlemen who were once members of the 
same literary institution you now are, and whom I had the honor to com- 
mand, will never be in danger from internal or external foes. Their good 
conduct, on many trying occasions, will never be forgotten by their General 

'' It is a source of particular satisfaction to me that you duly appreciate 
the merits of those worthy and highly distinguished generals — Carroll and 
Co£fee. Their example is worthy imitation; and from the noble senti- 
ments which you on this occasion express, I entertain no doubt that if cir- 
cumstances require you will emulate their deeds of valor. It is to such 
officers and their brave associates in arms that Tennessee, in military 
achievements, can vie with the most renowned of her sister States, 

" That your academic labors may be crowned with the fullest success, 
by fulfilling the high expectations of your relatives and friends, is the 
ardent and sincere wish of my heart 

** Receive, my young friends, my prayers for your future health and 

To a large number of his neighbors and friends, who met 
him on his return to tne Hermitage, he said : 

" The warm testimonials of your friendship and regard I receive, gen- 
tlemen, with the liveliest sensibility. The assurance of the approbation of 
my countrymen, and particularly of my acquaintances and neighbors, is 
the most grateful ofifering that can be made me. It is a rich compensation 
for many sacrifices and many labors. I rejoice with you, gentlemen, on 
the able manner in which the sons of America, during a most eventful and 
perilous conflict have approved themselves worthy of the precious inheri- 
taoce bequeathed to them by their fathers. They have given a new proof 

1815.] HOME IK TBIUMPH. 331 

how impossible it is to conquer freemen fighting in defense of all that ia 
dear to them. Henceforward we shall be respected by nations who, mis- 
taking our character, had treated us with the utmost contumely and out- 
rage. Years wDl continue to develop our inherent qualities, until, from 
being the youngest and the weakest^ we shall become the most powerful 
nation in the universe. 

'^ Such is the high destiny which I persuade myself Heaven has re* 
Benred for the sons of freedom. 

^ I rejoice also with you, gentlemen, at the return of peace under div 
oumstances so fortunate for our fame and our interest In this happy state 
of things the inexhaustible resources of our country will be unfolded, and 
the greatness for which she is designed be hastened to maturity. Amongst 
the private blessings thence to be expected I anticipate, with the highest 
satisfaction, the cultivation of that friendly intercourse with my neighbora 
and friends which has heretofore constituted so great a portion of my hi^ 

The crowning event of these triumphal festivities was 
a grand banquet given at Nashville on the twenty-second of 
May, attended by the most distinguished of the soldiers and 
citizens of Tennessee ; the Governor of the State presiding. 
At a pause in the feast, Governor Blount presented to Gen- 
eral Jackson the sword voted him the year before by the 
Legislature of Mississippi, for his services in the Creek war. 
The note written by Governor Blount to the Governor of 
Mississippi, announcing the presentation of the sword, has 
found its way, by some curious chance, into the portfolio of 
one of our autograph collectors. " Yesterday," wrote Gov- 
ernor Blount, " at a dinner given by the citizens of this place 
and vicinity to Major-General Andrew Jackson, I had the 
honor and pleasure to deliver in your^ name to that distin- 
guished patriot, citizen, and hero, the truly elegant sword 
voted to be presented to him through your excellency. It 
was presented in the dining-room in the presence of hundreds 
of his fellow-citizens, and was received by the General in a 
manner highly honorable to him, and gratifying to those who 

were present."* 

And so we dismiss the hero home to his beloved Hermit* 

* Autograph Collection of Gordon Ik Ford, Esq., of New T(»rk. 





age, there to recruit hie impaired energies by a brief period of 
repose. He had been absent from the Hermitage for the 
space of twenty-one months, with the exception of three 
weeks between the end of the Creek war and the beginning 
of the campaign of New Orleans. He needed rest almost as 
much as he deserved it. He had served his country well. 
In the way of fighting, nothing better has been done in 
modem times than the defense of the Gulf coast by Andrew 
Jackson and the men he commanded. His conduct of the two 
campaigns was admirable and noble. It will bear the closest 
examination, and the better it is understood the more it will 
be applauded. The success of General Jackson's military 
career was due to three separate exertions of his ^vill : 
First, his resolve not to give up the Creek war, when Gov- 
ernor Bloimt advised it, when Coflfee was sick, when the 
troops were flying homeward, when the General was almost 
alone in the wilderness. Second, his determination to clear 
the English out of Pensacola. Third, and greatest of all, his 
resolution to attack the British wherever and whenever they 
landed, no matter what the disparity of forces. It was that 
resolve that saved New Orleans. And it is to be observed of 
these measures that they were all irregular, contrary to pre- 
cedent, "imprudent," — measures council of war 
would have advised, and no secretary of war ordered ; meas- 
ures which, failing, all the world would have hooted at, — 
which, succeeding, the world can never praise enough. 



General Jackson spent the summer months at the Her- 
mitage, nursing his shattered constitution. Now that he was 
at home, he seemed to suffer more from his disease than he 
had during the fatigues and excitement of the late campaign. 


He bad always been an impetuous eater, fond of a liberal table, 
and accustomed to partake freely and largely of whatevei good 
tbings were before bim. He was one of tbose long, tbin men, 
wbo ply a vigorous knife and fork all tbeir days and never 
grow fat. He was liable to forget bis complaint in tbe ex- 
bilaration of tbe table, and by eating as be bad been wont 
formerly to eat bring on a relapse. Tbe autumn, bowever, 
found bim somewbat improved, and more babituated to con- 
trol bis eager appetite. 

Tbis was tbe summer, as we bave just mentioned, of tbe 
Waterloo campaign. General Jackson watcbed its progress 
and followed tbe varying fortunes of tbe Emperor witb tbe '^ 
most intense interest. His sympatbies were wbolly and 
warmly witb Napoleon, as tbey bad always been. In 1814, 
'wben tbe news came tbat Marmont bad surrendered Paris 
and tbat Napoleon was an exile, Jackson was greatly excited. 
" It was not Marmont," be would say, " tbat betrayed tbe 
Emperor ; it was Paris. He sbould bave done witb Paris 
wbat tbe Kussians did witb Moscow — ^bumt it, sir, burnt it 
to tbe ground, and tbrown bimself on tbe country for sup- 
port. So / would bave done, and my country would bave 
sustained me in it." It was all over now witb tbe great Cor- 
sican, and General Jackson was one of tbose wbo lamented 
bis fall. 

Four montbs' rest at tbe Hermitage. In tbe cool days of 
October we find tbe General on borseback once more, riding 
slowly tbrougb Tennessee, across Virginia, toward tbe city of 
Wasbington — tbe wbole journey a triumpbal progress. At 
Lyncbburgb, in Virginia, tbe people turned out en masse to 
greet tbe conqueror. A number of gentlemen rode out of 
town to meet bim, one of wbom saluted tbe General witb an 
address, to wbicb be brieiiy replied. Escorted into tbe town 
on tbe 7tb of November, be was received by a prodigious 
assemblage of citizens and all tbe militia companies of tbe 
vicinity, wbo welcomed bim witb an entbusiasm tbat can be 
imagined. In tbe afternoon a grand banquet, attended by 
three bundred persons, was served in bonor of tbe General 

A ^ / '-• 


S34 LIFE OF ANDBEW JA0K80K. [1815. 

Among the distinguished guests was Thomas Jefferson, then 
seventy-two years of age, the most revered of American citi- 
zens then living. His residence was only a long day's ride 
from Lynchburgh, and he had come to join in the festivities 
of this occasion. The toast offered by the ex-president at the 
banquet at Lynchburgh has been variously reported, but in 
the newspapers of the day it is uniformly given in these words, 
'^ Honor and gratitude to those who have filled the measure 
of their country's honor." General Jackson volunteered a 
toast, which was at once gracefal and significant, ''James 
Monroe, late Secretary of War \" graceful, because Mr. Mon- 
roe was a Virginian, a friend of Mr. Jefferson, and had nobly 
cooperated with himself in the defense of New Orleans ; sig- 
nificant, because Mr. Monroe was a very prominent candidate 
for the Presidency, and the election was drawing near. 

To horse again the next morning. Nine days' riding 
brought the General to Washington, which he reached in 
the evening of November 17th. He called the next morning 
upon the President and the members of the Cabinet, by 
whom he was welcomed to the capital with every mark of 
cordiality and respect. His stay at Washington, I need not 
say, was an almost ceaseless round of festivity. A great 
public dinner was given him, which was attended by all that 
Washington could boast of the eminent and the eloquent. 
He was lionized severely at private entertainments, where 
the stateliness of his bearing and the suavity of his manners 
pleased the gentlemen and won the ladies. And this was to 
be one of the conditions of his lot thenceforward to the end 
of his life. He was the darling of the nation. Nothing had 
yet occurred to dim the luster of his fame. His giant popu- 
larity was in the flush of its youth. He could go nowhere 
without incurring an ovation, and every movement of his 
was affectionately chronicled in the newspapers. It was 
said, in after times, that the popularity of General Jackson 
could " stand any thing." The question that we shall have 
to do with is this, '' Could G^nera^ Jackson stand his popu* 
Parity ?" 


Wliile n^ was enjoying the festivities of Washington, 
came rumors from the far southwest that must have had a 
peculiar interest for the conqueror of the Creeks. It was said 
that the commissioners appointed to fix the boundaries of 
that tribe, in accordance with the treaty of Fort Jackson, had 
met with formidable opposition ; that the chiefs would not 
give up their land ; that Fort Jackson had been burnt and 
its sick garrison massacred ; and that all the southwestern 
tribes were restless and preparing to ris^. A few days later 
these rumors were found to be nearly destitute of foundation, 
but not quite. The Creek chiefs deplored the loss of their be- 
loved hunting grounds ; but, except the unsubdued Seminoles 
of Florida, all acquiesced in the conditions of the treaty, hard 
though they seemed. The portion of the tribe that had taken 
refuge in Florida protested against the cession of their coun- 
try — ^protested to the Spanish governor — ^protested to English 
Woodbine, Nichols, and Arbuthnot, and, through them, to the 
Prince Eegent of England — sent chiefs and prophets to En- 
gland to protest — will continually protest for the next three 
years. It is to be hoped, for their own sakes, that they will 
content themselves with protesting. ' 

For General Jackson is to remain in the army 1 Upon the 
conclusion of peace with Great Britain, the army was reduced 
to ten thousand men, commanded by two major generals, one 
of whom was to reside at the north and command the troops 
stationed there, and the other to bear military sway at the 
south. The generals selected for these commands were Gen- 
eral Jacob Brown for the northern division, and General An- 
drew Jackson for the southern ; both of whom had entered 
the service, at the beginning of the late war, as generals of 
militia. General Jackson's visit to Washington on this oc- 
casion was in obedience to an order, couched in the language 
of an invitation, received from the Secretary of War soon after 
his return from New Orleans ; the object of his visit being 
to arrange the posts and stations of the army. The feeling 
was general at the time that the disasters of the war of 1812 
were chiefly due to the defenseless and unprepared condition 



of the country, and that it was the first duty of the govern- 
ment, on the return of peace, to see to it that the assailable 
points were fortified. "Let us never be caught napping 
again ;" " in time of peace prepare for war," were popular 
sayings thenT^-Qn^ese, and all other subjects connected with 
tiie defense of the country, the advice of General Jackson was 
disked and given. His own duty, it was evident, was, first of 
all, to pacify, and if possible satisfy, the restless and sorrow- 
fill Indians in the southwest. The vanquished tribe, it was 
agreed, should be dealt with forbearingly and liberally. The 
General undertook to go in person into the Indian country, 
and endeavor to remove from their minds all discontent. 

He returned home by easy stages early in 1816, but not 
to remain. In the spring he was at New Orleans, superin- 
tending the posting of the troops, and renewing old friend- 
\V ships. With one accord the citizens thronged about their de- 

fender, and overwhelmed him with acclamations. He held a 
grand review of the regular troops and of the city militia on 
the scene of the triumphs of 1815, a spectacle witnessed by a 
'J vast concourse of people. From New Orleans he journeyed 
\ homeward through the country of the Creeks, Oherokees, 

Chickasaws and Choctaws, holding ceremonious " talks" with 
each of those tribes, and settling their afiairs on a lasting 
basis. From the Chickasaws he negociated a formal and 
final relinquishment of ton millions of acres which they claimed 
north of the Tennessee — lands that were in keen request by 
the people of western Tennessee, and beginning to be essential 
to the progress of the settlements. He thought little of the 
Chickasaw claim to this land, but, for the sake of peace and^ 
good will, and in consideration of the fidelity of the tribe to 
the United States, agreed to give them ten thousand dollars 
a year for ten years. To the Cherokees, who still insisted on 
their right to part of the territory wrested from the Creeks, 
he consented, for similar reasons, to give the same sum annu- 
ally for eight years. He left the Indian country with the 
impression that he had done more than justice to the tribes, 
And liad restored them to good humor. 


To remove from the Cherokees all pretext for a non-com- 
pliance with the new treaty, he published the following order, 
which caused a famous " stampede" of squatters and " Indian 
countrymen :" " All white men settling on Cherokee lands 
and who have not a written permit from the agent of the na- 
tion, are hereby ordered to drive off their stock within twenty, 
and remove themselves and families within thirty days, after 
the date of this. All individuals not attending to this noti- 
fication, and those who may be found hereafter trespassing 
on the Cherokee territory, will be prosecuted to the extent of 
the law, and their stock forfeited to the public." 

It was not until the middle of October that the General 
had completed this important business, and reached once more 
the vicinity of his home. It was considered in Tennessee that 
he had rendered a most signal service to the State in opening 
the coveted lands to the advancii% tide of emigration, and in 
quieting the minds of those still powerful tribes. " This great 
and glorious termination," said a Nashville paper of the time, 
" of a business that hung over this section of the Union like a 
portentous cloud, deserves to be commemorated; and we hope 
that suitable arrangements will be made by the citizens of 
Tennessee to receive the General on his return with that eclat 
he so richly merits, and that no time will be lost in returning 
thanks to the officers of the general government for their 
prompt attention to the expressed wishes of the citizens of 

And so arose the saying in Tennessee in these years, that 
as often as General Jackson left his home he never returned 
to it without having, during his absence, performed some 
great service for the Union or for Tennessee. 

It is not possible to overstate his popularity in his own 
State. He was its pride, boast, and glory. Tennesseans felt 
a personal interest in his honor and success. His old enemies 
either sought reconciliation with him or kept their enmity to 
themselves. His rank in the army, too, gave him unequaled 
social eminence, and, to add to the other felicities of his lot, 
his fortune now rapidly increased, as the entire income of his 
VOL. II. — 22 



1 X. 



estate could be added to his capital ; the pay of a major gen- 
eral being sufficient for the support of his family. He was 
forty-nine years old in 1816. He had riches, rank, power, 
renown, and all in full measure. Our old friend "Andy" 
of a previous page has prospered in the world. * What will 
he do in his altered circumstances ?' 

About this time it was that a change came over the spirit 
of the wild and warlike West. The few pioneer preachers of 
an earlier day had contended, with the best light given them, 
with a zeal and devotion perhaps unparalleled in the history 
of Christianity, against the thousand barbarizing and soul- 
darkening influences of frontier life. With rude but earnest 
speech they had gone from settlement to settlement, from 
camp-meeting to camp-meeting, proclaiming that man is a 
soul, and that his weal or lus woe in this world and all worlds 
is spiritual. It is not necessary to sympathize with their 
peculiar mode of stating these immortal truths, in order to 
see and admit that they proclaimed them in the only language 
that had then and there a chance of being understood and re- 
ceived. They assisted to save civilization. They succeeded 
in leaving a general and indelible impression everywhere, that 
the coveted things of this world are semblances and shows ; 
the invisible things of the spirit the only realities. In these 
years, after the war, the preachers became more numerous, the 
settlements larger, more populous, and closer together, and 
there was a great turning away from the exclusive pursuit of 
unsubstantial and evanescent good to that which is real and 

Among those who did so was Mrs. Jackson. "Parson 
Blackburn," as she styled him in her letters, the Kev. Gideon 
Blackburn, to whom the General had written in the black days 
of the Creek war, imploring the aid of his eloquence in rais- 
ing a new army, was the preacher whom she ever fondly owned 
as her " spiritual father." The General, as she mentions in 
her correspondence, sympathized with her in her new resolves, 
and strengthened them by all the means in his power ; him- 
self^ to her sorrow^ holding aloof For her gratilication h^ 

1816.] RETAINS HIS 00MMIS8I0N. 3«39 

built soon afterwards a little brick church on the Hermitage 
farm, which was incorporated into the presbytery, and sup- 
plied by it with a minister. This edifice, I suppose, is the 
smallest church in the United States, and the one of simplest 
construction. It looks like a New England schooHiouse; no 
steeple, no portico, no entry or inside door. The interior, 
which contains forty pews, is unpainted, and the floor is of 
brick. It is not now used for any purpose, and looks forgot- 
ten and desolate in the grove where it stands, a quarter of a 
mile from the mansion. This little church, so simple and 
rude, was all to Mrs. Jackson that a cathedral of sublimest 
proportions could have been. It was the home of her souL 
When away from Tennessee with the General, as she often 
was, it was for this little house of brick and unpainted wood 
that she longed. When at home the General was punctual 
in his attendance at the church, and the time bame, but not for 
many years yet, when he stood, leaning on his walking-stick, 
before its low, brown pulpit, trembling and penitent. 

The famous Peter Cartwright was preaching in Tennessee 
about this period. He tells us, in his wondrous autobiogra- 
phy, of his preaching in the presence of General Jackson, 
and of his subsequent interviews with the General. His 
stories are of curious interest. 

" At the Nashville Conference," he says, " an incident occurred sub- 
stantially, as well as my memory serves me, as follows : The preacher in 
charge had risen from very humble beginnings, but was now a popular, 
fashionable preacher. We talk about ' Young America' these times ; but 
Young America was as distinctly to be seen in those days, among our 
young, flippant, |}o/>ti^n^^-seeking preachers, as now. 

** Brother Axley and myself, though not very old, were called .-^Id-fash- 
ioned feXbwa; and this popular young aspirant was afraid to appoint 
Brother Axley or myself to preach at any popular hour, for fear we would 
break on slavery, dress, or dram-drinking. But at length the old staid 
members and the young preachers began to complain that Axley and Cart- 
wright were slighted, and an under-current of murmuring became pretty 
general The city preacher Ijid been selected to appoint the time and 
place where we were to preacL Brother Axley and myself had our owp 
amusement. At lengtli, on Saturday of the Conference, this preM:her ua 


Qounced that Brotlier Axley would preach in the Methodist church od 
Bunday morning at sunrise, thinking there would be but few out) and that 
he could dc but little harm at that early hour. 

" When we adjourned on Saturday afternoon I rallied the boys to 9{Mread 
tho appointment ; to rise early and get all out they could. The appoint- 
ment circulated like wildfire, and, sure enough, at sunrise the church was 
well filled. Brother Azley rose, sung, prayed, took his text : ' Be not 
conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your 
minds ;' and if the Lord ever helped mortal man to preach, he surely helped 
Brother Axley. First he poured the thunders of Sinai against the Egyp- 
tians, or slave oppressors ; next, he showed that no moderate dram-drinker 
could enter heaven ; and then the grape-shot of truth rolled from his mooth 
against rings, ruffles, and all kinds of ornamental dress. Dr. Bascom was 
sitting right before him. He had a gold watch-chain and key, and two 
very large gold seals. The Rev. H. B. was so excited that unconsciously 
he took up one of the seals, and he began to play with the other seal with 
his right hand. Axley saw it, stopped suddenly, and very sternly said to 
him, ^ Put up that chain, and quit playing with those seals, and hear the 
word of the Lord/ The claret rushed to the surface of his profile. 

" The sermon went o£f admirably, and really it seemed as though a tor- 
nado had swept the ruffles and veils ; and the old members of the Church 
shouted for joy. Having achieved another signal victory over error and 
pride, the ministers and ruling elders of other sister churches had opened 
their pulpits, and invited us to preach to their people during Conference, 
Among the rest. Dr. Blackboum had opened his church. Dr. Blackboum 
was a strong, popular Presbyterian minister. 

"In the course of the Sabbath the city preacher informed me that I 
was to preach on Monday evening in Dr. Blackboum's church, and charged 
me to be sure and behave myself. I made him my best bow, and thanked 
him that he had given me any appointment at all ; and I assured him 1 
would certainly behave myself the best I could. 'And now,' said I, 
* Brother Mac, it really seems providential that you have appointed me to 
preach in the doctor's church, for I expect they never heard Methodist 
doctrine fairly stated and the dogmas of Calvinism exposed ; and now, sir, 
they shall hear the truth for once.' Said the preacher, * You must not 
preach controversy.' I replied, * If I live lo preach there at all, T\\ give 
Calvinism one riddling.' * Well,' said the preacher, * I recall the appoint- 
QiCnt^ and will send another preacher there ; and you must preach in the 
lietliodist church Monday evening, and do try and behave yourself' 
Very well,' said I^ * I'll do my best* 

" The preachers conduct toward me ivas spread abroad, and excited 
considerable curiosity. Monday evening tame ; the church was filled to 
overflowing; every seat was crowded, and many had to stand. After 


singiDg and prayer, Brother Mac took his seat in the pulpit I then read 
my text : * What shall it profit a nan if he gain the whole world and lose 
his own soul ?' After reading my text I paused. At that moment I saw 
General Jackson walking up the aisle ; he came to the middle post, and 
very gracefully leaned against it, and stood, as there were no vacant scats. 
Just then I felt some one pull my coat in the stand, and turning my head, 
my &8tidious preacher, whispering a little loud, said, * General Jackson has 
come in — General Jackson has come in.' I felt a flash of indignation ran 
all over me like an electric shock, and facing about to my congregation, 
and purposely speaking out audibly, I said, * Who is General Jackson ? 
If he don't get his soul converted, GK)d will damn him as quick as he would 
a Guinea negro 1' 

" The preacher tucked his head down and squatted low, and would, no 
doubt, have been thankful for leave of absence. The congregation, Gen- 
eral Jackson and all, smiled, or laughed right out, all at the preacher's ex- 
pense. When the congregation was dismissed, my city-stationed preacher 
stepped up to me, and very sternly said to me, ' You are the strangest 
man I ever saw, and General Jackson will chastise you for your insolence 
before you leave the city.* ' Very clear of it,' said I, * for -Gkneral Jacfe- 
Bon. I have no doubt, will applaud my course ; and if he should undertake 
to chastise me, as Paddy said, ^* There is two as can play at that game." ' 

'^ General Jackson was staying at one of the NashvDIe hotels. Next 
morning, very early, my city preacher went down to the hotel to make an 
apology to General Jackson for my conduct in the pulpit the night befora 
Shortly after he had left, I passed by the hotel, and I met the General on 
the pavement ; and before I approached him by sereral steps he smiled, 
and reached out his hand and said : 

** * Mr. Cartwright, you are a man after my own heart I am Tery much 
surprised at Mr. Mac, to think he would suppose that I would be offended 
at you. No, sir ; I told him that I highly approved of your independence ; 
that a minister of Jesus Christ ought to love everybody and fear no mortal 
man. I told Mr. Mac that if I had a few thousand such independent, fear- 
less officers as you were, and a well drilled army, I could take old Eng- 
land V 

" General Jackson was certainly a very extraordinary man. He waa> 
no doubt, in his prime of life a very wicked man, but he always showed a 
great respect for the Christian religion, and the feelings of religious people 
especially ministers of the gospel I will here relate a little incident that 
shows his respect for religion. 

• I had preached one Sabbath near the Hermitage, and, in company 
with several gentlemen and ladies, went, by special invitation, to dine with 
the General Among this tx)mpany there was a young sprig of a lawyer 
froDT Nashville, of very ordinary intellect, and he was trying hard to makt 


an infidel of himself. As I was the only preacher preeait^ this young law- 
yer kept pushing his conversation on me, in order to get into an argument 
I tried to evade an argument, in the first place considering it a breach of 
good manners to interrupt the social conversation of the company. In the 
second place I plainly saw that his head was much softer than his hearty 
and that there were no laurels to be won by vanquishing or demolishing 
such a combatant, and I persisted in evading an argument This seemed 
to inspire the young man with more confidence in himself; for my eva- 
siveness he construed into fear. I saw Gkneral Jackson's eye strike fire, 
as he sat by and heard the thrusts he made at the Christian religion. At 
length the young lawyer asked me this quest^>n : 

" * Mr. Cartwright, do you really believe there is any such place as hell, 
as a place of torment ?' 

" I answered promptly, * Yes, I da' 

" To which he responded, ' Well, I thank Qod I have too much good 
sense to believe any such thing V 

*' I was pondering in my own mind whether I would answer him or 
not, when Gkneral Jackson, for the first time, broke into the conversation, 
and directing his words to the young man, said with great earnestness : 

" ' Well sir, I thank God that there is such a place of torment as belli* 

" This sudden answer, made with great earnestness, seemed to astonish 
the youngster, and he exclaimed : 

<i * Why, Gkneral Jackson, what do you want with such a place of tor- 
ment as hell V 

** To which the General replied, as quick as lightning, 

^ * To put such d— d rascals as you are in, that oppose and vilify the 
Christian religion.' 

'' I tell you this was a poser. The young laveyer was struck dumb, and 
presently was found missing." 

Mr. Cartwright adds that, at a later Conference, in 1819, 
he secured the aid of General Jackson in compelling certain 
Methodist preachers to emancipate the slaves inherited by 
them, in accordance with the rules of the Methodist discipline. 
The preachers attempted to shelter themselves behind the 
laws of the State. " I," says Mr. Cartwright, " had to show 
that they could at any time emancipate their slaves by be- 
coming surety that their negroes, when emancipated, did not 
become a county charge. They employed a distinguished 
lawyer, F. Grundy, and I went to General Jackson for coun- 
sel. The case wap fiiirly stated and explained in open Con- 


ference, and these preachers were required to go to court and 
record a bill of emancipation." 

That was before the days of the "Methodist Church 
South." Mr. Cartwright found, in later years, that slavery 
was too powerful for the discipline after all, and so moved to 



A PRESIDENT was to be chosen to succeed Mr. Madison, 
whose second term would expire on the 4th of March, 1817. 
The federal party, as a president-electing power, was no more ; 
but, dying, had bequeathed its policy to the republicans, who 
had the weakness to accept the legacy. (For proof of which 
the reader need look no further than the messages of Messra 
Madison, Monroe, and John Quincy Adams, tnd compare 
them with the writings of Alexander Hamilton.) The re- 
publican party having gained an absolute ^j^ndency, a nomi- 
nation by it was equivalent to an election. 

" King Caucus" was then in the plentitude of his power. 
From the days of John Adams, candidates for the presidency 
had been nominated by caucusses of members of Congress ; 
the republican members nominating a republican candidate, 
and the federal members a federal candidate — both bodies in 
caucus assembled at the city of Washington. It was a con- 
venient and not objectionable plan, so long as both the politi- 
cal parties were powerful enough to hope for success. But 
now that nomination insured election, it began to be felt that 
the virtual election of a president by a hundred members of 
Congress, sitting in secret conclave at the seat of government, 
was something not precisely in accordance with the spirit and 
intent of the Constitution. " Must a caucus at Washington 
lecide for the nation ? Is the nation incompetent to decide 
for itself?" were questions proposed by a few newspaper! 


even as early as 1816. These murmurs, however, were few 
and comparatively inaudible at that day, and the power of 
King Caucus was not yet seriously disputed. 

For the consideration of the republican caucus of 1816 
two names only were prominent ; James Monroe, of Yirgina, 
and William Harris Crawford, of Georgia. Monroe, however, 
was the predestined man. He had declined to compete with 
Mr. Madison in 1808 ; he had filled the office of Secretary of 
8tate daring Mr. Madison's administration ; and after the 
sack of Washington he had assumed the duties of the Secre- 
tary of War, and thus shared in the glory of the closing tri- 
umphs of the late contest. He was imquestionably the choice 
of the party ; though, among the leaders of the party, there 
were many who thought meanly of his abilities.* He was 
certainly not a man of shining talents, nor had he even an 
imposing or impressive address. He was small of stature, and 
insignificant in appearance. He was prudent, plodding, gen- 
erous, patriotic ; the least splendid, the most fortunate of 
statesmen. * 

Crawford, Mr. Monroe's apparent competitor (but, in re- 
ality, the candidate for the succession), was a far more able 
and shining person. By birth a Virginian, he grew to man- 
hood in Georgia, where he ran the usual course of American 
statesmen. At first emerging, with difficulty, from the Old 
Field School into the Latin Academy, then getting to be as- 
sistant teacher, and, in that capacity, earning the means to 
study law. A briefless barrister next, but not briefless long. 
A successful lawyer, occasionally mounting the stump at 
election time, and showing ability thereon. Soon a member 
of the State Legislature, keenly contesting the supremacy of 

* " His beet fKends allow him (Monroe) to be but of moderate capacitj and 
■low of comprehension. This, it is notorious, giyes to those around him an undue 
iiifluenoe oyer his intellectual determinations, and leads him, in a throng of busi* 
•688, to commit the most important affairs at State to incompetent hands. Ui^ 
banitj is not denied him ; but that, bj rendering him more accessible, lays him 
■till more open to the artifices of imposture. A man of this cast will always keep 
talent at a distance, and surround himself by compliant mediocrity and hypo* 
oritioal clullness."~2^ Star andI9inih OaroUna Skxte OoMetie, May Si, 1816. 

1816.] PBBBIDKKT XAItIKO* IN 1816. 345 

that body with older and less gifted rivals. Triumphing at 
last, he becomes the foremost man of his State, and then goes 
to represent her in Congress. His career thenceforth is in his 
own hands. Senator — ^national orator— champion of meas- 
ures which, succeeding, elevate their advocates — embassador 
—cabinet minister — and, finally, candidate for the Presi- 
dency. That was the old course from the log cabin to the 
White House. In 1816 William Harris Crawford, then but 
forty-four years of age, had gone within one stage of the end 
of this honorable journey, and seemed to be going inevitably 
toward the pleasantly situated mansion on the banks of the 
Potomac prepared for such as arrive. 

He was a man of almost gigantic proportions, and, though 
not graceful, the general effect of his presence was imposing 
in the extreme. Napoleon remarked it when Mr. Crawford 
was embassador at the imperial court, and complimented the 
Americans present upon the grand air of their representative. 
Mr. Crawford was a champion of that United States Bank 
which was chartered in 1816 for twenty years, and was, per- 
haps, more influential than any other Bepublican in bringing 
over the party to the support of that institution. When the 
bank was chartered, it was conceded to be a Crawford tri- 
umph, and he stood at the highest point of his career. His 
position, in fact, was then so commanding and advantageous 
that his not reaching the Presidency proves either that he dis- 
dained intrigue or was an unskillful intriguer. 

He was assuredly not formed for a " politician." Consider 
this picture of the great, lumbering, honest Crawford, as usher 
of Dr. Waddell's academy ; " It was determined by himself 
and some few of the elder school boys to enliven their annual 
public examination by representing a play. They selected 
Addison's Cato ; and in forming the cast of characters that 
of the Roman senator was, of course, assigned to the worthy 
usher. Crawford was a man of extraordinary height and large 
limbs, and was always ungraceful and awkward, besides being 
constitutionally unfitted, in every way, to act any charactei 
but his own. He^ however^ cheerfully consented to plaj' Cala 

346 LIFE or* ANDREW JAOKSON. [1816. 

It wiis matter of great sport, even during rehearsal, as his 
young companions beheld the huge, ungainly usher, with giant 
strides and stentorian voice, go through with the representa- 
tion of the stern, precise old Boman. But on the night of 
the grand exhibition an incident, eminently characteristic of 
the counterfeit Cato, occurred, which effectually broke up the 
denouement of the tragedy. Crawford had conducted the 
senate scene with tolerable success, though rather boisterously 
for so solemn an occasion, and had even managed to struggle 
through with the apostrophe to the soul ; but when the dying 
scene behind the curtain came to be acted, Cato's groan of 
agony was bellowed out with such hearty good earnest as to- 
tally to scare away the tragic muse, and set prompter, play- 
ers and audience in a general, unrestrained fit of laughter. 
This was, we believe, the future statesman's first and last 
theatrical attempt."* 

No ; it was not his last. He will figure in another scene 
by and by which was eminently theatrical. But the anecdote 
seems to indicate a man of honest nature, little available for 
the purposes of the politician by profession. 

There is a remarkable passage in Dr. Jabez Hammond's 
Political History of New York relating to the nomination of 
Mr. Monroe, which is a valuable contribution to the Presi- 
dent-making science. Dr. Hammond was a Eepublican mem- 
ber of Congress at the time, and acquainted with the various 
schemes. Desirous to unfold to every reader " the way these 
things are done," I insert the passage here : ^ 

" Immediately atler the peace was concluded, Mr. Madison began to 
give tokens that Mr. Monroe was to be the executive candidate. Whether 
an undei'standing existed at the time of the election of Mr. Madison that 
Mr. Monroe, who at first exhibited some symptoms of oppugnation, should 
be his successor, or whether he was operated upon by the pressure of his 
Virginia friends, or from personal friendship, and from an opinion that Mr. 
Monroe was really the fittest and most suitable man, or whatever the cause 
may have been, it is certain that when danger from a foreign enemy and 
iomestic disturbance disappeared, Mr. Madison, contrary to his intentioni 

* Leisure Labors, by Joseph £• Cobb, p. 135. 

1816.] PBEBIDSNT MAKING IN 1816. 347 

when he tendered to Mr. Tompkins H e office of Secretary of State, did 
abandon his claims and sustain those of Mr. Monroe. 

" As soon as it was known in New York that Mr. Monroe was the 
executive candidate for the succession, a small party was got up who 
&vored his (Tompkins') pretensions, and among them were men who had 
been the confidential friends of Govemor Tompkins, and had participated 
largely in the bounties he had distributed. 

" There are good reasons to believe that the national administration, 
under the control of the Virginia dynasty, had for a long time entertained 
some jealousy of the leading and most influential Republicans in the State 
of New York. The great and rapidly increasing numerical weight of this 
State might have increased that jealousy. Hence the policy at Washington 
was to prevent any one man from getting, or rather from retaining, an as- 
cendency with the Republican party in the State. Hence we find that the 
minor section of that party were always the special favorites of the admin- 
istration, from the time of the existence of the Burr faction down to the 
period of which I am writing. Accordingly, William P. Van Ness, the 
second of Burr in the duel with Hamilton, the avowed author of Aristidea^ 
and the uncompromising enemy of De Witt Clinton, was made a judge of 
the United States court .... 

" At this time the selection of the Presidential candidate was made by 
a caucus of Republican members of Congress. This was then the common 
law of the Democratic party. The fourteenth Congress convened on the 
first Monday in December. As I happened to be a member of that Con- 
gress I can speak with some confidence in relation to the maneuveringa 
which occurred prior to the Congressional caucus. When the members 
torn ihis State arrived in Washington, it was found that nearly if not 
quite all the Republicans were for Governor Tompkins, if it should be found 
that there was a reasonable prospect of procuring his nomination ; but it 
was soon as<iertained that it could not be efiected. The New England 
States were all represented by Federalists, with the exception of three 
Republican members from that part of Massachusetts which now consti- 
tutes the State of Maine. The majority of the Republican members were 
from the South, and these were all opposed to the nomination of Tompkins. 
Their ostensible objection was, that he had never been in the service of the 
nation, and therefore their coastituents knew little or nothing of him. It 
was in vain tliat we urged his merits as Governor of New York during the 
late war. " I have no doubt^" said a member from North Carolina to me, 
^ that Mr. Tompkins is a good governor. We also have a good governor 
in North Carolina, but we do not^ on that account, expect you to support 
him for the office of President" It was difficult to answer this objection, 
filthough the only reason why (Governor Tompkins had not been in the 
•ervice of the nation was his refusal to accept the office of Secretary of 

S48 LI7B or ANDBSW JAOKBOM. [1616. 

State, solely for the reason that he could render more senrioe to the natiott 
as Gk)vemor than he could as Secretary of State. 

*^ I regret to say that those who manifested an inclination to support, 
in caucus, Governor Tompkins, may be designated by geographical lineSi 
His friends were to be found in New York, New Jersey, some in Pennsyl- 
▼ania, some in Kentucky, some in Ohio, and some in Maryland ; but not a 
single supporter of Tompkins could be found south of the Potomac. . . • 
It soon became evident that Tompkins could not be nominated ; but, before 
this was ascertained, at any rate by those of us who were stranger^ m 
meeting was held by the New York delegation, to ascertain each othem^ 
▼lews and to endeavor to agree on ulterior measures. 

" My object, and, I believe, the object of a majority of the delegates^ 
was, in case we should become satisfied that the project of nominating 
Gk)vemor Tompkins was hopeless, then to endeavor to procure as nearly an 
united vote of the State as possible for William H. Crawford, at that time 
Secretary of War. 

" The old members, as, for instance. General Porter, John W. Taylor, 
and Mr. Irving, of New York, were extremely wary and cautious. It was 
soon ascertained that few of us had hopes of succeeding with Tompkins, 
and General Porter made some suggestions respecting the chance of suo- 
oess by holding him up as a candidate in opposition to the caucus nomina- 
tion ; and, although neither he nor any one else entertaiued any seriom 
view of taking such a course, he appeared desirous to direct the attention 
of the delegates from the true question, which was, in case Tompkins was 
given up, between Crawford and Monroe. Some one finally observed that 
the latter was the important^ and in reality, the only question to be decided. 
The meeting was, notwithstanding, as appeared to me, much by means of 
the influence of General Porter, John W. Taylor, and Enos T. Throop, 
broken up without any expression of opinion as betweon Monroe and 
Crawford. I knew, and those gentlemen at the time knew, that more than 
four to one of the delegates were for Crawford. Mr. Poi-ter, although the 
fact was not tirjen generally known, was in favor of Monroe, and he was 
unwilling that it should be at that juncture publicly known how large a 
majority of the New York delegation was for Crawford, being apprehensive 
of its eflfects upon the members of Congress from the other States. General 
Porter was not long after appointed commissioner, under the British treaty, 
to run the boundary line between the United States and the province of 

" William H. Crawford was a self-made man. He was possessed of a 
vigorous intellect, strictly honest and honorable in his political conduct, 
sternly independent, and of great decision of character. On the other hand, 
iKr. Monroe, though he had been long in public life, a considerable part of 
which consisted in the execution of diplomatic agencies, was, speaking d 

1816.] PBEBIDENT MAKINQ IN 1816. 849 

nim as a candidate for the presidency, not distinguished for rigor ol uiiel- 
lect, or for decision of character, independence of action, or indeed for any 
extraordinary public services. He made no pretensions to distinction as a 
writer, or eloquence as a public speaker. He seems to have owed his suc- 
cess in life to great caution, prudence, and deUberation in every thing which 
he said or did. 

" With these views of the merits of Mr. Monroe and Mr. Crawford, m 
connection with the fact that the chief magistracy of the nation had been 
BO long held by citizens of Virginia, and considering (Jovemor Tompkins 
out of the question, a large majority of the New York delegation was rather 
ardent in support of Mr. Crawford. GJovemor Tompkins thought unkindly 
of their course. He thought they had too readily consented to give him 
op, although it was well known that Judge Spencer, whose opinion at that 
time had great influence with the members, decidedly preferred Crawford 
to Tompkins ; yet, had there been the least prospect of his nomination, I 
have no doubt they would, in good faith, have supported him to the last. 
Mr. Clinton was for Mr. Monroe. This foci I know: Mr. Van Buren took 
no decided part in the matter. In connection with the New York delega- 
tion, the members from New Jersey, part of the Pensylvania delegation, 
Colonel Connor, from Massachusetts, part of the membera from Ohio, Ken- 
tucky, and Tennessee, and North Carolina, and the whole of the Georgia 
delegation, were for Mr. Crawford. When Congress first assembled, as 
between Crawford and Monroe, I have not a particle of doubt that » ma* 
jority of the Republican members were for the former. But the caucus 
was put off from time to time, until the session was considerably advanced, 
and such was the influence of the administration on its own friends, or from 
other causes unknown to me, when the grand caucus was held Mr. Craw- 
ford received fifty-four votes, and Mr. Monroe sixty-five, who was there- 
fore nominated for President Governor Tompkins was nominated for 
Vice-President Of the members from New York, I believe that Messrs. 
Irving, Throop, and Birdseye, were the only ones who voted for Monroe." 

This result, it is said, was chiefly due to Mr. Crawford's 
voluntary postponement of his claims. In effect, he declined 
the nomination in favor of Mr. Monroe, and this procedure, 
together with the show of strength made by his adherents in 
the cancus, was supposed to place him before all others in the 
line of the succession. If King Caucus remains in power, 
Mr. Crawford is to be elected president in 1824. ' For eight 
y^ears we leave him comfortably disposed in the office of Beo* 

350 LIVE or ANDBSW JACKSON. [1816. 

rotary of the Treasury, to which Mr. Madison appointed him, 
and in which Mr. Monroe retained him. 

To return to General Jackson. To him, as to all men 
who achieve a great success, it happened that others sought 
to use his success for the furtherance of their own ends. That 
bouudless, new-bom popularity of his was something that 
could be used for a variety of purposes ; but by no class of 
men with better promise of effect than those president-makers 
who were rebels against King Caucus. It early engaged their 
attention, They had their eyes upon it before General Jack- 
son had been a month home from New Orleans. Nay, at 
New Orleans, Edward Livingston had already spoken on the 
subject to the General himself ; but finding him disposed to 
consider the proposition as simply ridiculous, had not pressed 
it — ^had laid it away for future use. 

As early as August, 1815, the anti-caucus men, I find, 
had an emissary abroad feeling the political pulse of l^e west- 
ern country. General John Adair, of Kentucky, August 20, 
1815, wrote to his friend. Colonel Anderson, as follows : " I 
lately had a visit from a very intelligent gentleman from the 
northeast ; and although he managed somewhat in the Yan- 
kee style, I have no doubt his object was to find out whether 
General Jackson would be supported in the west, if brought 
forward as a candidate for the presidency. I gave it as my 
opinion that he would be supported in Louisiana and Tennes- 
see, and in Kentucky, by a little exertion, he would get all the 
votes but two ; and that I was not certain they would be 
against him. (I mean the districts represented by Mr. Clay 
and Colonel Johnson.) He assured me there was a strong 
disposition in many of the northeastern States to run him if 
they could be assured he would be supported in the West. 
He was extremely anxious that I should go to the federal city 
this winter as a member, if possible ; but if that can not be, 
he wished me to spend the month of January there as a pri- 
vate gentleman. I would write to the General on the sub- 
ject, but am induced to believe (from questions that have 
been asked me by different gentle;nen from Tennessee) that 

1816.J FBESIDENT MAKING IK 1816. 351 

the General ha43 from some cause, some misrepresentation of 
my conduct, become offended with me/' * 

Who was this very intelligent gentleman from the north- 
east ? Possibly, Aaron Burr could have obliged us with his 

In November, 1815, Colonel Burr wrote to his son-in-law, 
Governor Joseph Alston, of South Carolina, the following 
epistle : 

"New York, November 20, 1816. 

"A congressional caucus will, in the course of the ensuing month, 
nominate James Monroe for President of the United States, and will c&U 
on all good Republicans to support the nomination. 

" Whether we consider the measure itself, the character and talents of 
the man, or the State whence he comes, this nomination is equally excep- 
tionable and odious. 

'^ I have often heard your opinion of these Congressional nominations 
They are hostile to all freedom and independence of suffrage. A certain 
junto of actual and factitious Virginians, having had possession of the gov* 
emment for twenty-four years, consider the United States as their property, 
and, by bawling * support the Administration,* have so long succeeded in 
duping the Republican public. One of their principal arts, and which has 
been systematically taught by Jefferson, is that of promoting State dissen- 
sions, not between Republican and Federal — that would do them no good 
— but schisms in the Republican party. By looking round you will 
see how the attention of leading men in the different States has been 
turned firom general and State politica Let not this disgraceful domination 

'* Independently of the manner of the nomination and the location oi 
the candidate, the man himself is one of the most improper and incompe- 
tent tliat could be selected. Naturally dull and stupid ; extremely illiterate ; 
indecisive to a degree that would be incredible to one who did not know 
him ; pusillanimous, and, of course, hypocritical ; has no opinion on any 
subject, and will be always under thfe government of the worst men ; pre- 
tends, as I am told, to some knowledge of military matters, but never com- 
manded a platoon, nor was ever fit to command one. ' Se served in ih€ 
Revolutionary War /' that is, he acted a short time as aid-de-camp to Lord 
Stirling, who was regularly .... Monroe's whole duty was to fill 
his lordship's tankard, and hear, with indications of admiration, his lord- 
ship's long stories about himself. S jch is Monroe's military experience. I 
Was witli my regiment at the time. As a lawyer, Monroe was far below 

* Kentucky R^porUr^ October, 1817. 


mediocrity. He never rose to the honor of trying a cause of tlie Talue of 
a hundred pounds This is a character exactly suited to the views of tho 
Virginian junto. 

"To this junto you have twice sacrificed yourself, and what have 
you got by it? Their hatred and abhorrence. Did you ever know 
them to countenance a man of talents and independence? Never, nor 
ever wilL 

" It is time that you manifested that you had some individual character, 
some opinion of your own, some influence to support that opinion. Mako 
them fear you, and they will be at your feet Thus far they have reason 
to believe that you fear them. 

" The moment is extremely auspicious for breaking down this degrad- 
ing system. The best citizens of our country acknowledge the feebleness 
of our administration. They acknowledge that offices are bestowed merely 
to preserve power, and without the smallest regard to fitness. If, then, 
there be a man in the United States of firmness and decision, and having 
standing enough to afibrd even a hope of success, it is your duty to hold 
him up to public view : that man is Andrew Jackson, Nothing is wanting 
but a respectable nomination, made before the proclamation of the Virginia 
caucus, and Jackson^s success is inevitable. 

" If this project should accord with your views, I could wish to see you 
prominent in the execution of it It must be known to be your work. 
Whether a formal and open nomination should now be made, or whether 
you should, for the present, content yourself with barely denouncing, by a 
joint resolution of both houses of your Legislature, congressional caucuses 
and nominations, you only can judge. One consideration inclines me to 
hesitate about the policy of a present nomination. It is this, that Jackson 
ought first to be admonished to be passive ; for the moment he shaU be 
announced as a candidate he will be assailed by the Virginia junto with 
menaces, and with insidious promises of boons and favors. There is a danger 
thai Jackson might be wrought upon by such practices. If an open nomina- 
tion be made, an express should be instantly sent to him. 

" This suggestion has not arisen from any exclusive attachment to Jack- 
son. The object is to break down this vile combination which rules and 
degrade%the United States. If you should think that any other man could 
be held up with better prospect of success, name that man. I know of no 
Buch. But the business must be accomplished, and on this occasion, and 
by you. So long as the present system prevails, you will be struggling 
against wind and tide to preserve a precarious influence. You will never 
be forgiven for the crime of having talents and independence. 

" Exhibit yourself, then, and emerge from this state of nullity. Yon 
owe it to yourself you owe it to me, you owe it to your country, you owe 
(t to the memory of the daad* 

1816.] PBBBIDENT-HAKIKa IN 1816. 353 

" I have talked of this matter to your late secretary, but ho has not 

seen this letter. 

" A. Burr. 

" P. 8. — ^Your secretary was to have delivered this personally, but 
has changed bis course on hearing that Jackson is on his way to Washing- 
ton. If you should have any confidential friend among the members of 
Congress from your State, charge him to caution Jackson against the ppT • 
fidious caresses with which he will be overwhelmed at Washington. 

" A. B." 

Afterwards : — 

" New York, December 11, 1815. 

"A copy of the preceding went under cover to Dr. Wragg. Since 
that date tilings are wonderfully advanced, as your secretary will write or 
tell you. These will require a written message (letter) from yourself and 
others, (or yourself alone, but three names would look more formal,) ad- 
vising Jackson what is doing ; that communications have been had with 
the northern States, requiring him only to be passive, and asking him for 
a list of persons in the western States to whom you may address yoni 


"A. Burr."* 

A precious, pregnant letter ! I advise the reader who de- 
sires to understand the whole art of president-making to turn 
back and deliberately read it a second time, dwelling partic- 
ularly upon the closing postscript. Comment is needless. 

This letter reached Governor Alston when he was a sick, 
heart-broken man, still inconsolable for the loss of his son 
and the tragic fate of his wife, Theodosia. " I fully coincide 
with you in sentiment," he wrote in reply to Colonel Burr, 
" but the spirit, the energy, the health necessary to give prac- 
tical effect to sentiment, are all gone. I feel too much alone, 
too entirely unconnected with the world, to take much inter- 
est in anything. Yet, without the smallest solicitude about 
the result, I shall certainly not fail to discharge my public 
duty, whenever the opportunity occurs, by giving a very 
strong and frank expression of my opinion on the subject 

* Ifemoira of Aann Burr, fay IC. L. Davi% vd. iL, pi 433^ 
VOL. u. — 23 

354 XiIFE or ANDBEW JACKSON. [1816. 

Q ovemor Alston died soon after, and the letter of Colonel 
Burr was found among his papers. 

I am enabled to state with positiveness that this letter 
had no effect in causing the subsequent nomination of Gen* 
eral Jackson for the presidency. The men who were chiefly 
instrumental in procuring that nomination were not aware 
of the existence of the letter till after the election of General 
Jackson, when it was handed about Washington, It is true, 
the programme so adroitly sketched by Burr was exactly 
carried out ; but it was not owing to Burr's suggestion. No 
other programme was possible. The objects to be attained 
were to break up the line of succession, and, as a means to 
that end, to dethrone King Caucus. Meanwhile, Mr. Monroe 
was elected President ; Mr. Crawford was in preserve for the 
succession ; the project of bringing out the hero of New 
Orleans, like a seed in the dark and silent soil, was germi- 

General Jackson long made light of these covert schemes, 
regarding the suggestion of his name for the presidency merely 
in the light of a bad joke. As late as 1821 he still so regarded 
it, or appeared to do so. Judge Brackenridge, the GenenJ's 
Florida secretary and translator, has this passage in one of 
his letters : *^ I shall never forget the evening (in Pensacola, 
1821) when, in presence of Mr. Henry Wilson and some other 
gentlemen, he took up a New York newspaper, in which he 
was mentioned as a probable candidate for the office of Presi- 
dent of the United States. After reading it he threw it down 
in anger : * Do they think,' said he, ^ that I am such a d — ^d 
fool as to think myself fit for President of the United States ? 
No, sir ; I know what I am fit for. I can command a body 
of men in a rough way ; but I am not fit to be President.' 
We were silent, but all gave him credit, as I afterwards found, 
for this proof of good sense. He had resolved to retire from 
public life, and pass the remainder of his days in peace and 
quiet on his farm."* 

* Letters of H. M. Brackenridge, page S. 




The good feeKng existing between General Jackson and 
Mr, Monroe ripened into a warm and intimate friendship 
during the General's visit to Washington, in the fall of the 
year 1815. Mr. Monroe's subsequent election to the presi- 
dency was an event gratifying to General Jackson for $ill rea- 
sons. One reason was that he hated Crawford. Indeed 
the word hated is mild to express the boiling fury of the 
General's wrath against the huge Georgian. The origin 
of the feud, as related to me by one who was cognizant 
of the facts at the time of their occurrence, shall be briefly 

Next to his defense of New Orleans, General Jackson 
valued himself most upon his Indian conquests and his In- 
dian policy. He comprehended perfectly that his conquest 
of the Creeks was that which had alone rendered the defense 
of New Orleans possible. He understood, to its full extent, 
the importance to the United States of having a clear, broad 
pathway of white man's land, from the settlements of West- 
em Tennessee to the Gulf of Mexico. He had secured this 
by the treaty of Fort Jackson, and he regarded it as the most 
valuable result of his Indian campaigns. Intent on the at- 
tainment of this grand object, he had turned a deaf ear to 
suppliant Creeks, to scheming Cherokees, and swept the 
highway to the Gulf free from every Indian claim. The 
Cherokees acquiesced most reluctantly, and, when the war of 
1812 was over, sent a deputation to Washington, to endeavor 
to obtain from the President what General Jackson had re- 
fused — the acknowledgment of their claim to part of the 
Creek lands. 

The Cherokee chiefs, it chanced, arrived at Washington 
during General Jackson's visit. He guessed their object 
To Mr. Crawford, then the 8eci:et^ry of War, he explained 


the Liisiness from the beginning, and urged him to refuse 
compliance with their demands point blank. He left the 
secretary with the impression that he had secured his object, 
and that his work in the southwest would not be undone. 
Mr. Crawford, however, upon hearing the case of the Chero- 
kees, as presented by themselves, thought their claim just, and 
allowed it. So that General Jackson^ on meeting them in 
the following summer, found that he was under the necessity 
of again negotiating for the ceded lands, and of buymg back 
what he had supposed to be already the property of the 
United States. His disgust was extreme. He felt himself 
humiliated in the eyes of the Indians. He considered his 
conquests, in part, annulled, and his rightful command inter- 
fered with. Time softened his animosity, but, during these 
years, there was no public man whom he held in such aver- 
sion as William H. Crawford, of Q-eorgia. And this aversioD 
had its effect upon the course of events. 

With the President-elect, however. General Jackson wa^ 
entirelv satisfied. He well knew that from James Monroe he 
need fear no thwarting of his plans as commander of the 
southern division ; Mr. Monroe being one of those gentlemen 
who are clay in the hands of such a potter as Andrew Jackson. 

We have now to present the famous correspondence that 
passed between these two eminent men in 1816 and 1817 — a 
correspondence that had much to do with the election of 
General Jackson to the presidency. Made public at a critical 
moment in 1824, the moderation and patriotic wisdom of 
General Jackson's letters offered a pleasant contrast to other 
letters of his that had reached the public eye, and won over 
to his 8iipi)ort a large number of the Federalists. The spec*- 
tacle exhibited of the first civilian of the nation holding dis- 
course with its first soldier, upon subjects of high import, both 
of them animated, as it seemed, by a heartfelt interest in the 
nation's good, was one most pleasing to the public of that 
day. No reader must overlook these letters. Our General 
appears to fine advantage in them. They show him in equi- 
librium^ unbiased by prejudice or passion. They show xm 


what kind of a president he would have made, if it were as 
easy to govern as it is to write pleasant sentences upon the 
art of governing. 

The reader has had specimens enough of General Jack- 
son's composition to know that these letters, as they will be 
given here, could not have been written by General Jackson's 
hand. For the information of the curious it may be men- 
tioned that the letters, before being dispatched, were " copied" 
by the General's friend, Major W. B. Lewis, of Nashville, in 
whose handwriting the principal letter was sent to its desti- 
Dation. The residence of Major Lewis, it may be convenient 
to have the reader tnow, was, and is, on the road leading 
from Nashville to the Hermitage, about two miles from the 
town. For many a year the General seldom passed it with- 
out stopping. Many a rough draft of document and letter 
was there reduced to a form and style presentable to fastidious 

But to the correspondence. A few days after General 
Jackson's return from the Indian country, in the autumn of 
1816, he wrote the following letter to Mr. Monroe, the Presi- 
dent-elect : 


" Headquarters, Dftibion of the South, ) 
"Nashville, 23d October, 1816. ) 

" Dear Sir : — I returned from the Nation on the 12th instant, and seixe 
the first moment from duty to write to you. 

" I have the pleasure to inform you tliat we have obtained, by cession, 
from the Cherokees and Chickasaws, all their claim south of Tennessee that 
interfered with the Creek cession. 

" We have experienced much diflBculty with tlie Chickasaws, from 
what they call their guarantee or charter, given by President Washington 
in the year 1794, and recognized by the treaty with that nation in 1801, 
which not only guaranteed the territory but bound the United States to 
prevent intrusions within the limits defined, of every kind whatever. In 
the treaty with the Cherokeea lately entered ^*nto at the city of Washinpp- 
ton, the greater part of the land guaranteed by the treaty of 1801 to the 
Chickasaws was included. The fact is that both President Washington 
and the present Secretary of War (Crawfcrd) must have been imposed on 

358 LIFE or ANDBSW JA0K80N. [1816. 

by &Ise lopresentationS) as neither the Cherokees nor the Cliickasawa had 
any right to the territory south of the Tennessee, and included within the 
Greek cession, as the testimony recorded on your journal and forwarded 
with the treaty will show ; it being within the possession of the Creeks, 
until conquered by us in the fall of 1813. I feel happy that all these oon« 
flicting claims are accommodated by the late treaties, and at a moderate pre- 
miam, payable in ten years; and that extensive fertile country west of the 
oounty of Madison and north of the Tennessee, which at once opens a free 
intercourse to and defense for the lower country, is acquired. 

" In a political point of view its benefits are Incalculable. We will now 
have good roads kept up and supplied by the industry of our own citizenSi 
and our frontier defended by a strong population. The sooner, therefore, 
that this country can be brought into market the better. By dividing this 
country into two districts, by a line drawn due east from the mouth of the 
Black Warrior to the Coosa river, and appointing an enterprising indivi- 
dual to superintend the northern district as surveyor, he can have all the 
lands north of the line ready for sale by the 1st of June next The vast 
capital now held for the purchase of this land, if offered for sale before the 
holders turn it to other objects, will insure the treasury an immense sum 
of money, and give to the government a permanent population, capable of 
d<ifending that frontier, which ought to induce the government to prepare 
it for market as early as possible. 

" Having learned from Greneral David Merriweather that Mr. Cravdbrd 
is about to retire from the Department of War, I am induced, as a friend to 
you and the government, to bring to your notice, as a fit character to fill 
that office. Colonel William H. Drayton, late of the army of the United 

** I am not personally acquainted with Colonel D., but, believing it of 
the utmost importance that the office of Secretary of War should be well 
filled, I have for some time, through every source that has presented itself, 
been making inquiry on that subject From information that I can rely 
on, the result is, that he is a man of nice principles of honor and honesty, 
of military experience and pride, possessing handsome talents as a lawyer 
and statesman. 

*' I am told before the war he was ranked with the Federaliits, but the 
moment his country was threatened he abandoned private ease and a lucra- 
tive practice for the tented field. Such acts as these speak loader than wrrds* 
" The tree is best known by its fruits," and such a man as this, it matlcra 
oot what he is called, will always act like a true American. Whether he 
would accept the appointment I can not say; but if he would, his talents, 
experience and energy would prove highly useful to his country. It is all- 
imporiant in peace and in war, as you well know, to have this office weH 
filled at present when there exists such strife in the army as appears in 


the north, it is important to select a character of such firmness and energj 
ts can not bo <swayed from strict rule and justice. From every information 
I have received, Colonel Drayton fills this character, and is better qualified 
to ezecQte the duties of the Department of War than any other character 
\ have a knowledge of, either personally or from information. 

" I write you confidentially. It is said here is spoken 

of to succeed Mr. Crawford. Rest assured this wiU not do. When I say 
this I wish you to understand me, that he does not possess sufficient capa- 
city, stability, or energy — the three necessary qualifications for a war officer. 
These hints proceed from the purest motives, that you may be supported 
in your administration by the best talents and virtue of our country ; that 
you may be hailed in your retirement from the executive chair with that 
unanimous approbation that has brought you to it 

'* Present Mrs. J. and myself respectfully to your lady and fiimUy, m 
which is included Mrs. Hay, and accept for yourself my warmest wishes 
for your happiness. 


" Hon. James Monboe, 


Twenty days after writing this letter, and before an an- 
swer could have been expected, General Jsrckson wrote again 
to the President elect. The reader will not be sorry to learn 
from this second letter that General Coffee was to be pro- 
vided for : — 


" [Private,'] Nashville, November 12, 1810. 

" Sir : Permit me to introduce to your notice Lieutenapt Gadsden, who 
will hand you this letter, and who is also bearer of the treaties lately con* 
duded with the Greeks, Ghickasaws, and Cherokees. 

" In my last to you I took the liberty of drawing your attention to the 
benefits that would result, both to the treasury of the United States and 
the defense of the Lower Mississippi and its dependencies, by bringing into 
marke : those tracts of country lately acquired by the treaties above named. 
I am 80 deeply impressed with the importance of th^ subject, that I can- 
not forego the present opportunity of again bringing it to your view. I 
have this moment wrote to the comptroller on this highly interesting and 
important business. If the plan proposed is adopted, the land can be brought 
into market within a very short time, which will immediately give to that 
section of country a strong and permanent settlement of American citizenc^ 
oompetent to ^ts defense. Should the government divide the surveyors 

860 LIFS OF ANDREW JA0K8ON. [1816. 

district, as proposed, and ^)point Gkneral Coffee suryejor of the northeni, 
his energy and industry will bring it into market in all June next. Shoul<f 
the district be divided as contemplated, and General Coffee appointed as 
•unreyor, it will leave open the appointment <^ receiver of public moneysi 
heretofore promised to the general, which vacancy I warmly recommend 
to be filled by Lieutenant Gkuisden, who, owing to the late, indeed I might 
■ay present, delicate state of his health, is desirous of resigning his appoint- 
ment in the army. In this, as in all my recommendations, I have the pub- 
lic good in view. 

" From the acquirements of Lieutenant Oadsden the army will siistun 
a great loss by the withdrawal of his services from it; but by retiring at 
present, and avoiding the insalubrious climate where his duty as an officer 
calls him, his health may be restored and his life preserved for the benefit 
of his country at some future period. There are few young men in the 
army or elsewhere possessing his merit. His education is of the best kind, 
and his mind is richly stored with the best kind of knowledge ; he should 
therefore be fostered as capable, at some future day, of becoming one of his 
country's niost useful and valuable citizens. Lieutenant Gadsden's situa- 
tion requires some office, the profits of which will yield him a competency 
while preparing himself for some professional pursuit; this office will afford 
it. These are the reasons that induce me so warmly to recommend him. 
I hope, should the events alluded to occur, he will receive the appointment. 

" Being deeply impressed with the importance of another subject which 
relates to yourself, as well as to the government, I hope I may be permitted 
once more to obtrude my opinions. In filling the vacancy occasioned by 
the transfer of Mr. Crawford from the war office to the treasury, it is of the 
highest moment that some proper and fit person should be selected. 

'' Tour happiness and the nation's welfare materially depend upon the 
selections which are to be made to fill the heads of departments. I need 
not tell you that feuds exist^ and have existed, to an injurious degree in the 
northern army. To fill the department of war with a character who has 
taken a part in those feuds, or whose feelings have been enlisted on the 
Bide of party, will be adding fuel to a fiame which, for the good of the ser- 
vice, already bums too fiercely. This and other considerations induced me 
lo enter on'the inquiry for a character best qualified to fill that department 
—it has resulted in the selection of Colonel William Drayton. Since my 
last to you, in which this subject was then named. General P4pley has ar- 
rived here, who heartily concurs with me in the opinion that Colonel Dray- 
Ion is the best selection that can be made. 

** Pardon me, my dear sir, for the following remarks concerning the 
next presidential term ; they are made with tne sincerity and freedom of a 
friend. I can not doubt they will be received with feelings similar to those 
which have impelled me to make them. Every thing depends on the ae* 


tecdon of your ministry. In every selection party and party feeling should 
be avoided. Now is the time to exterminate the monster called party spirit 
By selecting characters most conspicuous for their probity, virtue, capacity 
and firmness, without any regard to party, you will go far to, if net en- 
tirely, eradicate those feelings which, on former occasions, threw so many 
obstacles m the way of goverment ; and .perhaps have the pleasure and 
honor of uniting a people heretofore politically divided. The chief magis- 
trate of a g^eat and powerful nation should never indulge in party feelings. 
His conduct should be liberal and disinterested, always bearing in mind 
that he acts for the whole and not a part of the community. By this course 
you will exalt the national character, and acquire for yourself a name as 
imperishable as monumental marble. Consult no party in your choice ; 
pursue the dictates of that unerring judgment which has so long and so 
often benefitted our country and rendered conspicuous its rulers. These 
are the sentiments of a friend. They are the feelings — if I know my own 
heart— of an undissembled patriot 

'* Accept assurances of my sincere firiendship, and believe me to bo your 
obedient servant, 

''Andrew Jacksov. 
" The Hon. James Monroe.'* 

Mr. Monroe was prompt in replying to these epistles. 
His reply will remind the reader of some noted and contro- 
verted passages in Mr. -Jefferson's Anas. It may be regarded 
either as confirming Mr. Jefferson's statements respecting the 
designs of the early Federalists, or merely as showing to what 
an extent the pupil had caught the prejudices of his master 


" Washington, Dec. 14th, 1816. 

** Dear Sir : I have, since my last to you, had the pleasure of receiving 
two letters from you, the last of the 12th November. The advantages of 
the late treaties with the Indians are incalculable. One of the benefitb 
oonaists in putting an end to all dissatisfaction on the part of Tennessee, 
proceeding from the former treaty. This has been done on very moderate 
terms. Another consists in enabling the government to bring to market a 
large body of valuable land, whereby the public debt may be considerably 
diminished. A third, in extending our settlements along the Mississippi 
Mid towards the Mobile, whereby great strength will be added to our union 
•n qi arters where it is most wanted. As soon as our population gams a 
iftcided preponderance in those regions^ East Florida will hardly be oo& 


ndered by Spain as part of her dominions, and no other power would 
accept it from her as a gift Our attitude will daily become more 
imposing on all the Spanish dominions, and indeed on those of othei 
DOwers in the neighboring islands. If it keeps them in good order, 
in our relations with them, that alone will be an important conse- 

" I have communicated what you suggested respecting General Coffee 
and Lieutenant Gadsden to the President, who is, I am satisBed, well dis- 
posed to promote their views. 

'* It is very gratifying to me to receive your opinions on all subjects on 
which you will have the goodness to communicate them, because I have 
the utmost confidence in the soundness of your judgment and purity of 
your intentions. I will give you my sentiments on the interesting subject 
in question, likewise, without reserve. I agree with you decidedly in the 
principle that the chief magistrate of the country ought not to be the head 
of a party, but of the nation itself I am also of opinion that the members 
of the Federal party who left it in the late war, and gallantly served their 
country in the field, have given proofs of patriotism and attachment to free 
government that entitle them to the highest confidence. In deciding, 
however, how a new administration ought to be formed, admitting the re- 
sult to correspond with the wishes of my friends, many considerations claim 
attention ; as, on a proper estimate of them, much may depend in the suc- 
cess of that administration, and even of the Republican cause. We have 
heretofore been divided into two great parties. That some of the leaders 
of the Federal party entertained principles unfriendly to our system of gov- 
ernment I have been thoroughly convinced ; and that they meant to work 
a change in it^ by taking advantage of favorable circumstances, I am equally 
satisfied. It happened that I was a member of Congress under the con- 
federation, just before the change made by the adoption of the present Con- 
stitution ; and afterwards of the Senate, beginning shortly after its adop- 
tion. In the former I served tliree years, and in the latter rather a longer 
term. In these stations I saw indications of the kind suggested. It waa 
an epoch at which the views of men were most likely to unfold themselves, 
as, if anything favorable to a higher-toned government was to be obtained, 
that was the time. The movement in France tended, also, then, to test 
the opinions and principles of men, which was disclosed in a manner to 
leave no doubt on my mind of what I have suggested. No daring attempt 
was ever made, because there was no opportunity for it I thought that 
Washington was opposed to their schemes, and, not being able to take him 
with them, that they were forced to work, in regard to him, underhanded, 
using his name and standing with the nation, as far as circumstances ad- 
mitted, to serve their purposes. The opposition, which was carried on 
with great firomess, checked the career of this party, and kept it withic 


moderate limits. Many of the circumstances upon which my opinion is 
founded took place in debate and in society; and therefore find no place in 
wy public document. I am satisfied, however, that 8U(;h proof exists, 
founded on facts and opinions of distinguished individuals, which became 
public, to justify that which I have formed. 

" The contest between the parties never ceased fi'om its commencement 
to the present time, nor do I think that it can be said now to have ceasedi 
7ou saw the height to which the opposition was carried in the late war; 
the embarrassment it gave to the government, the aid it gave to the enemy. 
The victory at New Orleans, for which we owe so much to you, and to the 
gallant freemen who fought under you, and the honorable peace which took 
place at that time, have checked the opposition, if they have not overwhelmed 
it I may add that the daring measure of the Hartford Ck)nvention, which 
unfolded views which had been long before entertained, but never so fiilly 
understood, contributed also, in an eminent degree, to reduce the opposi- 
tion to its present state. It is under such circumstances that the election 
of a successor to Mr. Madison has taken place, and that a new administra- 
tion is to commence its service. The election has been made by the Re- 
publican party (supposing that it has succeeded), and of a person known to 
be devoted to that cause. How shall he act? How organize the adminis- 
tration so far as dependent on him when in that station ? How fill the va- 
cancies existing at the time ? 

" My candid opinion is, that the dangerous purposes which I have ad- 
verted to were never adopted, if they were known, especially in their full 
extent, by any large portion of the Federal party, but were confined to 
certain leaders, and they principally to the eastward. The manly and pa- 
triotic conduct of a great proportion of that party in the other States, I 
might perhaps say of all, who had an opportunity of displaying it, is a con- 
vincing proof of this fact But still southern and eastern Federalists have 
been connected together as a party, have acted together heretofore ; and 
although their conduct has been difierent of late especially, yet the distinc- 
tion between Republicans and Federalists, even in the southern and middle 
and western States, has not been fully done away. 

" To give effect to free government, and secure it from future danger, 
ought not its decided friends, who stood firm in the day of trial, be princi- 
pally relied on ? Would not the association of any of their opponents in 
the administration itself wound their feelings, or at least of very many of 
them, to the injury of the Republican cause ? Might it not be considered 
by the other party as an artful compromise with them, which would lessen 
ihc ignominy due to the councils which produced the Hartford Convention, 
and tliereby have a tendency to revive that party on its former principles? 
My impression is, that the administration should rest strongly on the Re- 
publican party, indulging to the other a spirit of oioderation, and evincing 


a desire to discriminate between its memberSy and to bring the whole into 
the Bepublican fold as quietly as possible. 

" Many men, very distinguished for their talents, are of opinion that *iie 
existence of the Federal party is necessary to keep union and order in the 
Republican ranks, that is, that free government can not exist without par- 
ties. This is not my opinion. That the ancient republics were always 
divided into parties ; that the English government is maintained by an op- 
position, that is, by the existence of a party in opposition to the ministry 
— ^I well know. But I think that the cause of these divisions is to be found 
m certain defects in those governments rather than in human nature, and 
that we have happily avoided those defects in our system. The 6rst object 
18 to save the cause, which can be done by those who are devoted to it only ; 
and, of course, by keeping them together, or, in other words, not by dis- 
gusting them by too hasty an act of liberality to the other party, thereby 
breaking the generous spirit of the Republican party and keeping alive that 
of the Federal. The second is, to prevent the re-organization and revival 
of the Federal party, which, if my hypothesis is true, that the existence of 
party is not necessary to free governments, and the other opinion which I 
have advanced is well founded, that the great body of the Federal party are 
Republican, will not be found impracticable. To accomplish both objects, 
and thereby exterminate all party divisions in our country, and give new 
strength and stability to our government, is a great undertaking, not easily 

" I am, nevertheless, decidedly of opinion that it may be done, and 
should the experiment fail I shall conclude that its failure was imputable 
more to the want of a correct knowledge of all circumstances claiming at- 
tention, and of sound judgment in the measures adopted, than to any other 
cause. I agree, I think, perfectly with you in the grand object that mode- 
ration should be shown to the Federal parly, and even a generous policy 
be adopted towards it ; the only difference between us seems to be, how 
far shall that spirit be indulged in the onset, and it is to make you thoroughly 
acquainted with my views on this highly important subject that I have 
written to you so freely on it Of the gentleman of whom you have spoken 
[ think as you do, of which I gave him proof when in the Department of 
War, by placing him in the Board of Officers for digesting and reporting a 
system of discipline for the army, and afterwards by other tokens of con- 
fidence ; and I add with pleasure that I should be gratified, regarding the 
feeling and claims above stated, to find an opportunity at a proper time 
hereafter, should ihe event in contemplation occur, to add other proofs of 
my good opinion and respect for him. 

'* In the formation of an administration it appears to me that the repre- 
sentative principle ought to be respected, in a certain degree at least, and 
^t the head of a department (there being four) should be taken from thv 


tour great sections (^ the Union, the east, the middle, the south and the 
west This pri:iciple should not be always adhered to. Great emergencies 
and transcendent talents would always justify a departure from it But it 
would produce a good -effect to attend to it when practicable. Each part 
of the Union would be gratified by it, and the knowledge of local details 
and means which would be thereby brought into the cabinet would be 
useful I am nowise compromised in respect to any one, but free to act, 
should I have to act^ according to my own judgment, in which I am thank- 
ful for the opinions of my friends, and particularly for yours, 

" On the subject of fortifications or works of defense of the coasts and 
frontiers, an arrangement has lately been made by the President with which 
I wish you to be well acquainted. You have heretofore, I presume, been 
apprized that Greneral Bernard, of the French corps of engineers, under the 
recommendation of General Lafayette, and many others o^ great distinc- 
tion in France, had offered his services to the United States, and that the 
President had been authorized by a resolution of Congress to accept them, 
confining his rank to the grade of the chief of our corps. This resolution 
being communicated to General Bernard by the late Secretary of War, to 
whom he was known, he came over in compliance with the invitation 
which accompanied it. From Mr. Gallatin he brought letters, stating that 
he waa the seventh in rank in the corps, and inferior to none in reputation 
and talentst, if not the first It required much delicacy in the arrangement^ 
to take advantage of his knowledge and experience in a manner acceptable 
to himself, without wounding the feelings of the officers of our own corpa^ 
who had rendered such useful services, and were entitled to the confidence 
and protection of their country. The arrangement adopted will, I think, 
accomplish fully both objects. The President has instituted a Board of 
Officers, to consist of five members, two of high rank in the corps. General 
Bernard, the engineer at each station (young Gadsden, for example, at 1:7 ew 
Orleans) and the naval officer commanding there, whose duty it is made 
to examine the whole coast and report such works as are necessary for ita 
defease to the Chief Engineer, who shall report the same to the Secretary 
of War, with his remarks, to be laid before the President M'Ree and 
Tutten are spoken of for the two first, who, with General Bernard, will 
continue till the service is performed ; the two latter will change with the 
station. The general commanding each division will be officially apprized 
of tliis engagement, that he may be present when he pleases, and give such 
aid as he may ibink fit The attention of the Board will be directed to 
the inland frontiers likewise. In wiis way it is thought that the feelings 
of no one can be hurt. We shall have four of our officers in every con- 
•ultation against one foreigner — so that if the opinion of the latter become! 
of any essential use, it must be by convincing his colleagues when they 
differ that he has reason on his side. I have seen General Bernard, and 


find him a modest unassuming man, who preferred our country io the pre^ 
Bent state of France to any in Europe, in some of which he was offered 
employment, and in any of which he may probably have found it He 
nnderstands that he is never to have command of the oorpa^ but always 
will rank second in it 

"This letter, you will perceive, is highly confidential; a relation which 
I wish always to exist between us. Write me as you have done, with- 
out reserve, and the more so the more gratifying your communicationa 
will be. 

^ With great respect and sincere regard, yours, 

" James Monbox.** 

The Greneral tried to submit with a good grace. Still he 
oould not quite give up Colonel Drayton. He wrote to the 
President elect another letter^ which was eminently Jack- 
Bonian: — 


** Nashville, Januazy 6, 1817. 

" Deab Sir : I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your 
letter of the 14th December last^ which I have read with great interest 
and much satisfaction. 

" Your idea of the importance of the newly acquired territory from the 
Indians is certainly correct, and all the importance you attach to it will be 
realized. The sooner these lands are brought into market, the sooner a 
permanent security will be given to what I deem the most important, as 
well as the most vulnerable, part of the Union. This country once settled, 
our fortifications of defense in the lower country completed, all Europe will 
cease to look at it with an eye to conquest. There is no other point, Am- 
erica united, that combined Europe can expect to invade with success. 

" On the other subjects embraced by my letter, as well as this, I gave 
you my crude ideas with the candor of a friend. I am much gratified that 
you received them as I intended. It was the purest friendship for you in- 
dividually, combined with the good of our country, that dictated the 
liberty I took in writing to you. The importance of the station you were 
about to fill to our country and yourself, the injury in reputation that the 
chief magistrate may sustain from the acts of a weak minister, the various 
interests that will arise to recommend for office their favorite candidate, and, 
fix)m experience in the late war, the mischief that did arise to our national 
character, by wickedness or weakness, induced me to give you my candid 
opinion on the importance of the character that should fill this office. 1 


had made for this purpose the most extensive inquiry in my power, from 
the most impartial sources, for the most fit character, combining virtue, 
honor and energy with talents, and all united in the individual named. 

" I was fully impressed with the propriety as well as with the policy 
you have pointed out^ of taking the heads of departments from the four 
grand sections of the United States, where each section can afford a 
character of equal fitness; where that cannot be done, fitness, and not 
locality, ought to govern ; the Executive being entitled to the best talents^ 
when combined with other necessary qualifications, that the Union can 

'* I have read with much satisfaction that part of your letter on the rise, 
progress, and policy of the Federalists. It is, in my opinion, a just exposi- 
tion. I am free to declare, had I commanded the military department where 
the Hartford Convention met, if it had been the last act of my life, I should 
have punished the three principal leaders of the party. I am certain an 
independent court-martial would have condemned them, under the second 
section of the act establishing rules and regulations for the government of 
the army of the United States. These kind of men, although called Feder- 
alists, are really monarchists and traitors to the constituted government. 
But I am of opinion that there are men called Federalists that are honest 
virtuous, and really attached to our government, and, although they diffez 
in many respects and opinions with the Republicans, still they will risk 
every thing in its defense. It is, therefore, a favorite adage with me that 
the ' tree is best known by its fruit' Experience in the late war taught 
me to know that it is not those who cry patriotism the loudest who are 
the greatest friends to their country, or will risk most in its defense. The 
Senate of Rome had a Sempronius, America has hers. When, therefore, I 
see a character with manly firmness give his opinion, but when overruled 
by a majority fly to support that majority, protecting the eagles of his 
country, meeting every privation and danger for a love of country and the 
security of its independent rights, I care not by what name he is called, I 
believe him to be a true American, worthy of the confidence of his country, 
and of every good man. Such a character will never do an act injurious to 
his country. Such is the character given to me of Colonel Drayton. Be- 
lieving in the recommendation, I was, and still am, confident he is well 
qualified to fill the office with credit to himself and benefit to his country, 
and to aid you in the arduous station a gratefiil country has called you 
to fill 

'^ Permit me to add that names of themselves are but bubbles, and some- 
times used for the most wicked purposes. I will name one instance. I 
W^ve, once upon a time, been denounced as a Federalist Yoxi will smile 
when I name the cause. When your country put up your name in oppo- 
lition to Mr. M. I was one of those who gave you the preference, and for 

368 L^FE or ANDBEW JA0K80K. [1817 

reasons that, in the event of war, which was then probable, you would 
steer the vessel of State with more energy, etc., eta That Mr. M. was one 
of the best of men^ and a great civih'an, I always thought; but I always 
believed that the mind of a philosopher could not dwell on blood and car- 
nage with any composure ; of course, that he was not well fitted for a 
stormy sea. 1^ was immediately branded with the epithet Federalist, and 
you also. But 1 trust, when compared with the good adage of the tree be- 
ing best known by its fruit, it was unjustly applied to either. 

" To conclude, my dear sir. My whole letter was intended to put you 
on your guard against American Seproniuses, that yoii might exercise your 
own judgment in the choice of your own ministry, by which you would 
glide smoothly through your own administration with honor to yourself 
and benefit to your country. This was my motive, this tlie first wish of 
my heart, to see you when I am in retirement, endeavoring to nurse a 
broken and debilitated constitution, administering the government with 
the full approbation of all good men, pursuing an undeviating course, alone 
dictated by your own independent, matured judgment. 

" Present Mrs. J. and myself respectfully to your lady, and acoept for 

yourself our best wishes, and believe me to be your most obedient servant^ 

"Akdbew Jackson. 
" The Hon. James Monroe." 

The next letter of Mr. Monroe's, written three days before 
his accession to office, is the shortest but most important of 
the series. We learn from it that General Jaokson might 
have filled the place himself which he had asked for Colonel 


"Washinoton, March Ist, 1817. 

" Dear Sir : — I wrote you a short letter lately by General Bernard, and 
I intended to have written you another, but had not time ; indeed, so con- 
stantly have I been engaged in highly important business that I have not 
had a moment for my friends. 

** In the course of last summer the President offered the Department of 
War to Mr. Clay, who then declined it Since it was known that the suf- 
frages of my fellpw-citizens had decided in my favor, I renewed to him tlie 
offer, which he has again declined. My mind was immediately fixed on you, 
chough I doubt whether I ought to wish to draw you from the command 
of the army to the South, where, in case of any emergency, no one could 
supply your place. At this moment our friend, Mr. Campbell, called and in- 
Gmned me that you wished me not to nominate you. In this state, I havt 


resolved to nominate .... though it is uncertain whether he will Berve^ 
His experience and long and meritorious services give him a claim over 
younger men in that State. 

" I shall take a person for the Department of State from the eastward ; 
and Mr. Adams' claims, by long service in our diplomatic concerns, appear- 
ing to entitle him to the preference, supported by his acknowledged abili- 
ties and intecn"ity, his nomination will go to the Senate. Mr. Crawford, it is 
expected, will remain in the Treasury. After all that has been said, I have 
thought that I should put the administration more on national grounds by 
taking the Secretary of State from the eastward than from this quarter, or 
the South or West. By this arrangement there can be no cause to suspect 
unfair combination for improper purposes. Each member will stand on his 
own merit, and the people respect us all according to our conduct To each 
I will act impartially, and of each expect the performance of his duty. While 
I am here, I shall make the administration, first, for the country and itB 
cause ; secondly, to give effect to the government of the people, through 
me, for the term of my appointment^ not for the aggrandizement of any 

'^ With great respect and sincere regard, yours, 

"Jamks Monros.** 


The blank in the above letter is to be filled with the name 
of the venerable Governor Shelby, of Kentucky, who, we may 
add, declined the appointment. Mr. Calhoun was subsequently 
nominated, but did not enter upon the duties of the office till 
the autumn of 1817. Meanwhile Mr. George Graham was the 
"Acting Secretary of War." General Jackson soon replied to 
the President. He strongly disapproved the nomination of 
Governor Shelby. 


"NAsnviLLB, March 18th, 1817. 

** Dear Sra : I had the pleasure this day of receiving your letter of the 
1st instant That by General Bernard I have not received. I learn by this 
day's mail that he has reached Knoxville, and will be on in a few day& 

**My friend Judge Campbell was instructed and fully authorized to 
make the communication to you that he did, and, I hope, gave yon fully 
my reasons for my determination and wishes on that subject. 

"I have no hesitation in saying that you have made the be^t selection 
to fill tlie Departiiient of State that could be made. Mr. Adams, lo the 

VOL. 11.-^24 


honr of difficulty, will be an able helpmate^ and I am convin ted his ap- 
pointment will afford general satisfaction. 

" No person stands higher in my estimation than .... He is a well 
tried patriot, and if he accepts will, with a virtuous zeal, discharge the du- 
ties of the office as &r as his abilities will enable him. I can not disguise to 
you my opinion on this occasion; my anxious solicitude for your public and 
private welfare requires of me candor on all occasions, and I am confpelled 
tc say to you that the acquirements of this worthy man are not competent 
to the discharge of the multiplied duties of this department. I therefore 
hope he may not accept the appointment. I am fearful, if he does, he will 
not add much splendor to his present well-earned standing as a public char- 
acter. Should he accept, rest assured, as long as I remain in the army it 
will afford me great pleasure in obeying your orders through him, and rer* 
dering his situation and duty easy and pleasant as far as circumstances wilV 
place it in my power. 

" I am aware of the difficulties that surround you in the selection of 
your Cabinet But the plan you have adopted of making all considera- 
tions yield to the general weal, will bring yon to retirement, with the sal- 
utations and applause of all the virtuous, wise and good ; and, should you 
be properly seconded by the Congress of the United States, you will be 
enabled to place the Union in a stat^ of security and prosperity that cannot 
be shaken by the convulsions of Europe. To this end you can calculate 
with confidence on my feeble exertions, so long as my constitution may 
permit me to be useful I have looked forward to that happy period, 
when, under your guidance, our government would be in the ' full tide of 
successful experiment* — when I would retire from public life, and endeavor 
to regain a much enfeebled constitution. Should you be properly seconded 
in your views, this period will arrive as soon as the measures you adopt 
for the defense of the frontier are carried into effect, by completing those 
fortifications that have been and may be selected for its defense, by erect- 
ing foundries and armories, and organizing and classing the militia. Then 
we will have peace, for then we will be prepared for war. Every man 
having a gun in his hand, all Europe combined cannot hurt us. Then all 
the world will be anxious to be at peace with us, because all will see wo 
wish peace with all, but are prepared for defense against those who mav 
attempt to infringe our national rights. 

" Accept assurances of my best wishes, and believe me to be, respect- 
fully, ycir obedient servant^ 

" Andrew Jacksok. 

'' Hon. James Monroe, 

» President of the United SUtea.** 

Mr. Graham held the office of Secretary of War for a fev 


months only. In October, 1817, he gave place to John C. 
Calhoun, of South Carolina, then in the prime of his man- 
hood, a favorite of New England, and of young men every- 

Thus ends the famous "Monroe Correspondence." It 
lay in the secretaries of the writers for seven years, neither 
of them anticipating its publication. 

Mr. Monroe visited Nashville during his presidency, when 
General Jackson figured conspicuously among those who wel- 
comed and escorted the President. At the grand ball given 
him at Nashville, General Jackson and Mr. Monroe entered 
the ball-room arm-in-arm, the General in his newest uniform, 
towering far above the little President. On the other side of 
the President walked General Carroll, who was also a man 
of lofty stature. "Ah !" whispered one of the ladies present, 
" how our General does surpass every one — how he does throw 
every one into the shade !" — a sentiment that was most cor- 
dially assented to by all of the little circle to whom it waa 



General Jackson had scarcely dispatched the last of 
his lofty, dispassionate epistles to Mr. Monroe, before he was 
involved in a correspondence that was neither lofty nor dis- 
passionate. It was as though he had said to himself: "These 
fine letters that I have been writing may lead those Washing- 
ton gentlemen into the opinion that I am a mild philosopher 
in epaulets. I must now do something to correct that ab- 
surd impression." Or it was as though, looking into the fu- 
ture, he had been seized with sudden compassion for the 
readers of his biography, and said, "After the Monroe cor- 
respondence they shall have something more spirited and 

372 LIFE OF ANDREW JA0K80K. [1817. 

It IS a military principle that an order from the centra, 
authority to a subordinate officer shall pass to that subor- 
dinate officer through his military chief. Owing to the great 
extent of the country, the exigencies of the service, and the 
inexperience of Secretaries of War, this rule had been often set 
aside during the late contest with Great Britain, and much 
inconvenience had thence resulted. Some correspondence had 
passed on the subject between General Jackson and the gov- 
ernment, in the course of which the General had stated the 
rule and pointed out the evils that had resulted and might 
result from its non-observance. But it was still occasionally 
disregarded ; and disregarded, as General Jackson thought, 
without necessity. A case occurred in the spring of 1817. 
One Major Long was dispatched by the General to make a 
topographical survey of part of the Mississippi river. While 
General Jackson was awaiting his report, he read in a news- 
paper that Major Long, in obedience to an order from the War 
Department, had betaken himself to New York, and was there 
employed in designing the projected fortifications of the har- 
bor. About the same time, Long^s report of his survey of 
the Missi8sip2)i was also published in the newspapers, without 
having been first transmitted to the General, by whose orders 
the survey had been undertaken. Need it be said that the 
General was exasperated beyond measure ? On the very day 
of Mr. Monroe's inauguration he wrote to the President re- 
monstrating against this irregularity. It required at that 
time about forty days for the mail to convey a letter from 
Nashville to Washington and bring back an answer. The 
General waited forty-nine days for a rei)ly to his letter of re- 
monstrance. A President is never so busy as during the first 
month of his presidency ; nor was Mr. Monroe, at any time, 
very prompt to decide in cases of difficulty or delicacy. No 
answer to the General's remonstrance, therefore, was dis- 
patched in time to satisfy the impetuosity of that officer. 

In such circumstances, the proper course for General 
Jackson to pursue was obviously this : To wait a little longer 
— to repeat his remonstrance— to gain his point, or resign bi9 


commission. He did neither of these things. Having waited, 
with what patience im could, for forty-nine days, he issued to 
the division under his command the following order : 

"division order. 

"Adjutant General's Officjb, I 
" Headquaeters Division of the Soutb, ) 

" Nashvillb, April 22, 1817. 

" The commanding General considers it due to the principles of subor- 
dination which ought and must exist in an army to prohibit the obedience 
of any order emanating from the Department of War to oflficcrs of thiB 
division who have been reported and been aasigned to duty, unless coming 
through him as the proper organ of communication. The object of this order 
is to prevent the recurrence of a circumstance which removed an important 
officer from the division without the knowledge of the commanding Gene* 
ral, and, indeed, when he supposed that officer engaged in his official dutiesi 
and anticipated hourly the receipt of his official reports on a subject of great 
importance to his command ; also to prevent the topographical reports from 
being made public through the medium of the newspapers, as was done in 
the case alluded to, thereby enabling the enemy to obtain the benefit of our 
topographical researches as soon as the General commanding, who is respon- 
sible for the division. Superior officers having commands assigned them are 
held responsible to the government for the character and conduct of that 
command, and it might as well be justified in an officer senior in command 
to give orders to a guard on duty, without passing that order through the 
officer of that guard, as that the Department of War should countermand 
the arrangements of commanding generals, without giving their orders 
through the proper channel To acquiesce in such a course would be a 
tame surrender of military rights and etiquette, and at once subvert the 
established principles of subordination and good order. Obedience to the 
lawful' commands of superior officers is constitutionally and morally re- 
quired ; but there is a chain of communication that binds the military com- 
pact^ which, if broken, opens the door to disobedience and disiespect, and 
gives loose to the turbulent spirits who are ever ready to excite to mutiny. 
All physicians able to peiform duty, who are absent on furlough, will 
'orthwith repair to their respective posts. Commanding officers of regi- 
ments and corps are ordered to report specially all officers absent Irom duty 
on tie 30th of June next, and their cause of absence. The army is to< 
imall to tolerate idlers, and they will be dismissed tlie service. 
" By order of Major General Ja( kson. 

*' Ropcrt Butler, 

''AiUutont Gweral** 


This order, published in all the newspapers, attracted 
aniversal attention. It was the talk of the whole country. 
The President, in a strait betwixt two, unable to act in the 
matter without giving dire oflFense either to the Secretary of 
War or to General Jackson, did nothing. Two months after, 
however, the matter was forced to an issue. General Ripley, 
then in command at New Orleans, received an order direct 
from the Department of War, which he, in obedience to the 
order of General Jackson, refused to obey, and notified his 
chief of the fact. General Jackson at once assumed the 
responsibility. He wrote to the President, on the 12th of 
August, commending the " proper disobedience of General 
Ripley," and justifying his own conduct. " In the view I 
took of this subject on the 4th of March," said he, " I had 
flattered myself you would coincide, and had hoped to receive 
your answer before a recurrence of a similar infringement of 
military rule rendered it necessary for me to call your atten- 
tion thereto. None are infallible in their opinions, but it is 
nevertheless necessary that all should act agreeably to their 
convictions of right. My convictions in favor of the course 
I have pursued are strong, and, should it become necessary, 
I will willingly meet a fair investigation before a military tri- 
bunal. The good of the service, and the dignity of the com- 
mission I hold, alone actuate me. My wishes for retirement 
have already been made known to you ; but, under existing 
circumstances, my duty to the oflScers of my division forbids 
it until this subject is fairly understood." 

The retirement of the acting Secretary of War, soon after 
the receipt of this letter, relieved the President from embar- 
rassment. In October Mr. Calhoun took possession of the 
War Department, and promptly decided that " on ordinary 
occasions orders from that department would issue only to 
the commanding generals of the divisions, and in cases where 
the service required a different course the general-in-chief 
would be notified of the order with as little delay as pos- 

Upon issuing this order Mr. Calhoun wrote to Genera- 

1817.] O0BBB8PONDEM0R WITH GBh. 800TT. 379 

Jackson a private letter, explanatory of his view of the sub- 
ject. This letter was highly prized by General Jackson, and 
laid the foundation of a friendship between the General and 
the Secretary that lasted many years. As we shall have 
much to do with the relations between these two men in 
after times, it is necessary to insert Mr. Calhoun's letter in 
this place. 


"War Department, ) 
« December 29, 1817. ) 

^* Sir : The inclosed general orders have issued from this department^ 
uiconnected with the cause which originally occasioned them. I have 
been iufluenced, in framing them, wholly by regard to the public interest. 

" I am aware the subject is delicate and important ; but I trust that in 
practice no inconvenience under their present form will be experienced. 

" The general rule is that all orders, in the first instance, will issue to 
commanders of division ; and this rule to be deviated from only when the 
public interest may require it The correctness of the rule itself cannot b< 
doubted. Order, discipline and responsibility, all concur in establishing ii 
But that there are exceptions to the rule is to my mind not less clear. 
The very principles on which it is established point out the exceptions. 

" Why maintain order, discipline and responsibility, but to give to the 
movements of the army promptitude and success? When, then, they can 
only be had by deviating from the established nile, the exception becomes 
the rule^ That such cases must occur, a mere reference to the great extent 
of the divisions furnishes incontestible prooC I will not press the subject 
further, for I perceive, by looking over the correspondence with the Presi- 
dent^ the orders accord substantially with your view in relation to this 
subject You insist on the rule that orders ought to issue to the com- 
manders of division, as they are responsible. This rule is the basis of the 
orders which have been adopted. You admit that necessity may cause 
exceptions to it, and it is the only cause of exception recognized by the 
orders ; for, I presume, when we speak of necessity in this case we only 
mean a due regard to the public interest 

*^ If, then, we are agreed in our mode of viewing this subject in the 
ibstract, we shall find little inconvenience in practice. For, on my part^ 
standing as I do m relation to the army, it is my duty, and will be my 
pride, to consult on all occasions, with due regard to higher obligations to 
the public, its interest and honor. Permit me to say, that to you, indi- 
fidually. I participate in those feelings of respect which any lover of hit 


country has toward you. In any efifort to add greater perfection to oui 
military establishment I must mainly rely for support on your weight of 
character and information. I cannot, therefore, conclude without exprea- 
nng the wish that our country may long continue to be benefited by your 
military services. 

" With sentiments of esteem, etc., 

" John C. Calhoun."* 

Thus, in effect, General Jackson triumphed, and the dig- 
nity of the government was supposed tio be saved.. A right 
thing was accomplished in a wrong way. The affair would 
have terminated here but for the officious conduct of an 
anonymous intermeddler at the North. 

On the 3d of September, General Jackson received an 
anonymous letter, post-marked " New York, August 14th," 
of which the following is a copy : " Your late order has been 
the subject of much private and some public remark. The 
wai office gentry and their adherents, pensioners, and expec- 
tants, have all been busy ; but no one (of sufficient mark for 
your notice) more than Major General Scott, who, I am credi- 
bly informed, goes so far as to call the order in question an 
act of mutiny. In this district he is the organ of government 
insinuations and the supposed author of the paper inclosed, 
which, however, (the bettor to cover him,) was not published 
until he had left this city for the lakes. Be on your guard. 
As they have placed spies upon Brown here, so it is probable 
you are not without them. The eastern Federalists have 
now all become good Republictms, and pledged to the sup- 
port of the President, as he to them. Government can now 
do well without the aid of Tennessee, etc., etc. * A word to 
the wise is enough.' " 

Inclosed with this letter was an article from the New York 
Columbian, signed "A Querist," in which it was asserted that 
General Jackson's order had been dictated by the General's 
ooncem for a protege, and that by it the government waa 
insulted and nullified. General Jackson, who was not per* 

* Papers of Mcjor Wm. B. Lewiii. 


Bonally acquainted with General Scott, and had never seen 
him, addressed to him the following communication : — 



** Headquabtebs Divison of the South, 
*' Nashville, September 8, 1817. 

** Sir : With that candor due the character you have sustained as a sol- 
dler and a man of honor, and with the frankness of the latter, I address you. 

" Inclosed is a copy of an anonymous letter, post-marked * New York, 
14th August^ 1817/ together with a publication taken from the Columhianf 
which accompanied the letter. I have not permitted myself for a moment 
to believe that the conduct ascribed to you is correct Candor, however, 
induces me to lay them before you, that you may have it in your power to 
say how far they be incorrectly stated. 

'' If my order has been the subject of your animadversion, it is believed 

you will at once admit it and the extent to which you may have gone. 

*' I am, sir, respectfully, 

" Your most obedient servanti 

** Andrew JAOESOir. 
" General W. Scott, U. S. Army." 

General Scott's reply to this letter was every thing that a 
reply to it should have been. It was candid, courteous, ex- 
plicit. He disclaimed the authorship of the article in the 
Columbian ; he had not seen it, he said, till he received it 
from General Jackson. He had expressed the opinion, and 
still held the opinion, that the order in question was of a mu- 
tinous tendency. "Conversing," said General Scott, "with 
some two or three private gentlemen, about as many times, 
on the subject of the division order, dated at Nashville, April 
22d, 1817, it is true that I gave it as my opinion that that 
paper was, as it respected the future, mutinous in its character 
and tendency ; and, as it respected the past, a reprimand of 
the commander-in chief, the P-esident of the United States ; 
for, although the latter be not expressly named, it is a prin- 
ciple well understood that the War Department, without at 
least his supposed sanction^ can not give a valid command to 
an ensign." 

General Scott argued and illustrated the case at consider* 


able length, and with tae most perfect temper ; showing what 
confusion and disaster might arise if the President could, in 
no circuinstances whatever, issue an order directly to a subor- 
dinate officer. He added : "I must pray you to believe, sir, 
that I have expressed my opinion on this great question with- 
out the least hostility to yourself personally, and without any 
view of making my court in another quarter, as is insinuated 
by your anonymous correspondent. I have nothing to fear 
or hope from either party. It is not likely that the executive 
will be offended at the opinion that it has committed an ir- 
regularity in the transmission of one of its orders ; and as to 
yourself, although I cheerfully admit that you are my superior, 
I deny that you are my commanding officer, within the mean- 
ing of the sixth article of the Rules and Articles of War. Even 
if I had belonged to your division I should not hesitate to re- 
peat to you all that I have said, at any time, on your subject, 
if a proper occasion offered. And what is more, I should ex- 
pect your approbation, as, in my humble judgment, refutation 
is impossible." 

To this most moderate, proper, and gentleman-like letter, 
General Jackson sent a reply of so incredible a character that 
when it was paraded in the campaign newspapers of 1824 
many pronounced it a forgery — a weak invention of the enemy 
to influence votes. But no ; it was really written and dis- 
patched by General Jackson. And what is more, he thought 
BO well of the performance as to furnish a copy for publica- 
tion ; and that, too, at a time when no one called for it and 
few knew of its existence. 


'' Headquarters Division or the South, ) 
" Nashville, December 3, 1817. ) 

*• Sir: I have been absent from this place a considerable time, rendering 
ie last friendly office I could to a particular friend, whose eyes I closed 
on the 20th ultimo. Owinfif to tliis, your letter of the 4th of October was 
Dot received until the 1st instant. 

'* Upon the receipt of the anonymous communication made me firoa 

1&17.] C0BBE8P0KDENCE WITH GBS 8C0TT. 379 

N'ew York I hastened to lay it before yoo. That course was suggested 
to me by the respect I felt for you as a man and a soldier^ and that you 
might have it in your power to answer how far you had been guilty of so 
base and inexcusable conduct. Independent of the services you have ren- 
dered your country, the circumstance of you wearing the badge and in- 
signia of a soldier led me to the conclusion that I was addressing a gentle- 
man. With these feelings you were written to ; and had an idea been for 
a moment entertained that you could have descended from the high and 
dignified character of a major general of the United States, and used lan- 
guage so opprohrioiL8 and insolent as you have done, rest assured I should 
have viewed you as rather too contemptible to have held any converse with 
you on the subject If you have lived in the world thus long in entire 
ignorance of the obligations ajid duties which honor impose, you are indeed 
past the time of learning ; and surely he must be ignorant who seems ^ 
little under their influence. 

*' Pray, sir, does your recollection serve in what school of philosophy 
you were taught, that, to a letter inquiring into the nature of a supposed 
injury, and clothed in language decorous and unquestionable, an answer 
should be given couched in pompotis insolence and bullying expression t I 
had hoped that what was charged upon you by my anonymous correspon- 
dent was unfounded* I had hoped so from a belief that General Scott was 
a soldier and gentieman. But when I see those statements doubly confirmed 
by his own words, it becomes a matter of inquiry how far a man of hon- 
orable feeliags can reconcile them to himself, or longer set up a claim to 
that character. Are you ignorant, sir, that had my order, at which your 
refined judgment is so extremely touched, been made the subject of inquiry, 
you might, from your standing, not your character, have been constituted 
one of my judges ? How very proper, then, was it, thus situated, and with- 
out a knowledge of any of the attendant circumstances, for you to have 
prejudged the whole matter. This, at different times, and in the circle of 
your friends, you could do, and yet had I been arraigned, and you detailed 
as one of my judges, with the designs of an assassin lurking under a fair 
exterior, you would have approached the holy sanctuary of justice. Is con- 
duct hke this congenial with that high sense of dignity which should be 
seated in a soldier's bosom ? Is it due from a brother officer to assail in 
the dark the reputation of another^ and stab him in a moment when he can 
net expect it? I might insult an honorable man by questions such as these, 
but shall not expect they will harrow up one who must be dead to all those 
feelings which are the true characteristics of a gentleman. 

** In terms, polite as I was capable of noting, I asked you if my in- 
formant had stated truly ? If you were the author of the publication and 
lemarks charged against yon, and to what extent? A reference to your 
letter, without any comment of mine, will inform how far you have pui« 


sued a similar course ; Jiow UtSe of the gentleman and how muck of the hee* 
taring huMy you have manifested. If nothing else would, the epaulets which 
grace your shoulders should h«&ye dictated to you a different course, anc 
have admonished you that, however small may have been your respect for 
another, respect for yourself should have taught you the necessity of reply- 
ing, at least mildly, to the inquiries I suggested, and more especially should 
you have done this, when your own convictions must have fixed you as 
guUty of the abominable crime of detraction — of slandering ^ and behind hia 
backj a brother officer. But not content with answering to what was pro- 
posed, your overweening vanity has led you to make an offering of your 
advice. Believe me, sir, it is not in my power to render you my thanks. 
I think too highly of myself to suppose that I stand at all in need of your 
admonitions, and too Ughtly of you to appreciate them as useful. For good 
advice I am always thankful, but never fail to spurn it when I know it to 
flow from an incompetent or corrupt source. The breast where base and 
guilty passions dwell is not the place to look for virtue, or any thing that 
leads to virtue* My notions, sir, are not those now taught in modem schools 
and in fashionable high life. They were imbibed in ancient days, and hith- 
erto have and yet bear me to the conclusion, that he who can wantonly 
outrage the feelings of another, who, without cause, can extend injury 
where none is done, is capable of any crime, however detestable in its na- 
ture, and will not fail to commit it whenever it may be imposed by neces- 

" I shall not stoop, sir, to a justification of my order before you, or to 
notice the weakness and absurdities of your tinsel rhetoric. It may be 
quite conclusive with yourself, and I have no disposition to attempt con- 
vincing you that your ingenuity is not as profound as you have imagined 
it. To my government, whenever it may please, I hold myself liable to an- 
swer, and to produce the reasons which prompted me to the course I took; 
and to the intermeddling pimps and spies of the War Department, who are 
in the garb of gentlemen, I hold myself responsible for any grievance they 
may labor under on my account, with which you have my permission to 
number yourself. For what I have said I offer no apology. You have de- 
served it all and more, were it necessary to say more. I will barely remark, 
in conclusion, that if you feel yourself aggrieved at what is here said, any 
communication from you will reach me safely at this place. 

•* I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant. 

"Andrew Jackson*. 

"Brevet Maj. Gen. W. Scott, U. S. A., New York." 

Upon reading this unique epistle General Scott very na- 
turally concluded that it had been written by a man in a 
tearing passion^ and even indulged the hope of soon receiving 


an apology foi its offensive language, and a request to burn 
the letter. With this expectation he showed the fiery docu- 
ment to but one individual, a confidential member of his staff, 
[n his reply to General Jackson he declined accepting his 
challenge to mortal combat on religious grounds. " But," he 
added, " lest this motive should excite the ridicule of gentle- 
men of liberal habits of thinking and acting, I beg leave to 
add, that I decline the honor of your invitation from patri- 
otic scruples. My ambition is not that of Erostratus. I should 
think it would be easy for you to console yourself under this 
refusal by the application of a few epithets, as coward, etc., to 
the object of your resentment ; and here I promise to leave 
you until the next war, to persuade yourself of their truth." 

In remarking upon the violent and offensive language of 
General Jackson he mingled rebuke with compliment. " It 
would be as easy," said he, " to retort all this abuse as it was 
for you to originate it. But I must inform you, sir, that 
however much I may desire to emulate certain portions of youi 
history, I am not at all inclined to follow the pernicious ex- 
ample that your letter furnishes." 

General Scott concluded by expressing a belief that, on 
the return of General Jackson's " wonted magnanimity," he 
would be requested to burn a letter which could only have 
been dictated by passion. He should, therefore, hold the let- 
ter in reserve for a certain time. 

With this reply, which was most creditable to the writer 
in every respect, the correspondence, for the time, ended. 
Ere long, General Scott was surprised to see in the news- 
papers the whole correspondence. Several years passed, dur- 
ing which the two officers were never within a hundred miles 
of one another. The impression left upon the mind of Gen- 
eral Scott was, that if ever they did meet a scene of violence 
was to be expected. At length they were in Washington 
together, wh^n the affair was brought to a termination in 
a manner which will be related at the proper place. 

Thert is no justifying General Jackson's conduct to Gen- 
eral Scott in this correspondence. It was ridiculous. It ex- 

S82 LIFE OF ANDREW JA0K80K. [1817. 

hibits the worst weakness of his character in a striking light. 
We must avow the truth that, with all his virtues, his good 
intentions, his great services, Andrew Jackson could no longer 
bear opposition either to his will, his measures, or his opin- 
ions. His patriotism was real, but his personality was power- 
ful, and the two were so intermingled with and lost in one 
another, that he honestly regarded the man who opposed him 
as an enemy to virtue and to his country. Conscious of the 
rectitude of his intentions, having at heai*t the honor and 
interest of the United States, and unable to see two sides to 
any question, he could attribute a diflference of opinion only 
to moral obliquity, mental incapacity, ambition, or spite. 
The reader must allow for this, must try and forgive it; must 
take into consideration the peculiar race whence this man 
sprung ; his singular career hitherto, and the frightful adula- 
tion of which he was the ceaseless victim. There are mil- 
lions of men now living who are as little able to tolerate an 
opinion different from their own, as little able to bear cen- 
sure, as General Jackson ever was. But many of us conceal 
this weakness of ours both from ourselves and from others 
We do not fly into a passion when we are censured, and indite 
vituperative letters, because there are certain artificial re- 
straints to which we are subject, but which were not known 
to this frontier General. Nor have many of us to endure the 
calamity of being the pride and favorite of a nation, sur- 
rounded by flatterers, cheered by crowds, presented with 
swords by legislatures, with medals by Congress, with silver- 
ware by ladies ; sought by politicians, counseled with by 
presidents, and deferred to by cabinets. Yet how many of 
us find it easy to respect the understanding that difiers 
from us, or the motives that condemn us ? 

The good sense which enables a man to take a correct view 
of himself and of what is due to himself, is the rare and late 
fruit of culture and reflection. Andrew Jackson was uncul- 
tured and not given to reflection. He could feel. He could 
act. He could discern. Often he felt nobly. He often acted 
gloriously. His swift intuitive glance was often correct 




But when that swift, intuitive glance was not correct, nc 
man could correct it. The aflfair with General Scott was a 
case in point. The feud with General John Adair of Ken- 
tucky was another. In both General Jackson was partly in 
the right and partly in the wrong. 

In the battle of the 8th of January, 1815, it will be re- 
membered, General Adair commanded the Kentucky troops 
in the absence of General Thomas, who was sick. Solicitous 
for the honor of his adopted State and of the troops he had 
commanded, General Adair endeavored to convince General 
Jackson that the retreat of the Kentuckians on the western 
bank of the Mississippi was not the ^ inglorious flight' which 
the General's dispatch to the Secretary of War had repre- 
sented it. Some warm conversations on the subject passed 
between General Adair and the Commander-in-Chief after 
the battle. A few days later, Adair drew up a full and care- 
ful statement of the events that led to the retr^t ; justifying 
the troops, and supporting his view of the affair by the written 
statements of officers who had witnessed and taken part in it. 
General Jackson's reply to this elaborate letter was moderate 
and conciliatory. " The court of inquiry," he said, " greatly 
to my satisfaction^ have acquitted Colonel Davis of any con- 
duct deserving censure on the right bank of the river ; on the 
left, it gives me great happiness to state, that the Kentuck- 
ians who acted immediately under your command, sustained 
the honor of their State and of our common country." 

With the writing of this letter General Jackson's action in 
the matter, for the time being, terminated. A slight inadver- 
tence, however, on the part of General Thomas or his secretary, 
led, in after years, to the misunderstanding we are about to 
relate. Before transmitting to Kentucky the decision of the 
court of inquiry, the secretary of General Thomus appended 


to it, by wa) of postscript, a few words expressive of his Gen- 
eral's hearty concurrence in the exculpation of the Kentucky 
troops." The General,*' he wrote, " is impressed with a belief 
that the conduct of the detachment of Kentucky militia com- 
posing Colonel Davis' command on the 8th of January has been 
misrepresented, and that their retreat was not only excusable, 
but absolutely justifiable, owing to the unfortunate position 
in which they were placed." The writer forgot to apj>end his 
signature to this sentence. When, therefore, his letter was 
read in Kentucky, the words, " The General," were supposed 
to mean General Jackson. It was thought, throughout the 
State, that General Jackson had, at length, been convinced 
of his error, and had taken that mode of retracting the unjust 
language of his public dispatch. This view of the matter 
was highly agreeable to the gallant sons of Kentucky, whom 
the alleged "inglorious flight" of their brethren at New 
Orleans had, at first, overwhelmed with astonishment and 
shame. The dispatch of General Thomas, containing the 
exculpatory postscript, though often published in Kentucky, 
was not seen by General Jackson at the time. 

In 1817 was issued, in Kentucky, Mr. R. B. McAfee's 
" History of the War ;" the author of which quoted the words 
of General Thomas' secretary, attributing them to General 
Jackson, and characterizing them as a " dry, reluctant sen- 
tence of justification." The idea was conveyed that General 
Jackson, prejudiced as he was against the Kentucky troops, 
had been compelled, by the irresistible force of testimony, to 
acknowledge himself in the wrong. Even General Jackson 
vindicates our brave Kentuckians 1 Their very accuser pub- 
licly withdraws his accusation 1 

This passage, copied into the Kentucky Reporter, was 
shown to General Jackson. Prompt, indignant denial was 
dispatched to the editors, in which the General pronounced 
the retracting sentence " a forgery of the blackest kind," " a 
wicked, willful and corrupt forgery," and the author thereof 
" a villain." He demanded of the editors that they should 
publish in their journal, entire, the correspondence that had 


passed between himself and General Adair on the subject in 
1815. He also intimated that his opinion of the conduct of 
the Kentucky troops, as expressed in his dispatch after the 
baltle, was still unchanged. 

The editors declined publishing the correspondence on the 
ground that it had been already published, and they did not 
wish to encumber their columns with uninteresting matter. 
They added, however : " We do not wish you to believe that 
we would obstinately refuse to publish in our paper any thing 
that you might desire us to publish. We have given you our 
reasons for declining to publish and republish what you have 
requested, but if these reasons are not satisfactory to you 
we will publish any thing for you which is not abusive or dis- 
respectful to ourselves." 

Their reasons were not satisfactory to General Jackson, 
He wrote a second letter to the editors, going over the subject 
at great length, and reasserting all his former positions. A 
typographical error occurred in the printing of this communi- 
cation which embroiled General Jackson with General Adair. 
The oflFensive passage was written by General Jackson thus : 
" Here we have the positive declaration of the author (Mt. 
McAfee) that the forged paper was furnished by General 
Adair." This sentence was thus printed : " Here we have 
the positive declaration of the author that the forged paper 
was forged by General Adair." 

General Jackson said further : " I will now add that the 
full view which I had from the parapet of my line of defense 
gave me full evidence of the inglorious flight of the troops, on 
the right bank, before the enemy. And although I could not 
distinguish between corps, still it was clearly seen that the 
right first gave way ; and no where did I behold that manly 
defense which I expected, except from Patterson's batteries, 
which were well served. This statement I had made more 
than oncp, to General Adair ; he knew my feelings on this 
occasion, and that I could not be brought to bend from them ; 
my answer, as I now suppose, was found not to meet the pur- 
pose that was expected ; therefore this forged dish, dressed in 
VOL. n. — 26 


the true Spanish style, was produced to convey to the world 
the idea, expressed in your quotation from the History of 
the Late War in the Western Country, that Greneral Adair's 
application to me had produced this * dry, reluctant sentence 
of justification.' Now, sir, you have declared that had you 
found that an imposition was intended, you would have felt 
the same indignation which I had expressed ; you must now 
be convinced of it, and will I trust expose to public view the 
authors of this forgery, that they may receive at the bar of pub- 
lic justice merited punishment. I hope it will not be found, 
as alleged by the author of the Late War, that General Adair 
has had any agency in bringing into existence this piece of fab- 
ncation ; but he certainly appears implicated, and, if inno- 
cent, it is due to justice that he should be declared so, and 
the real source from whence it came ascertained. . . . 
You are pleased to remark that you * can not see the pro- 
priety of so much warmth and indignation.' I trust that I 
shall ever feel an honest warmth and indignation when I see 
truth sacrificed at the shrine of local feelings and inteiest, 
and an attempt made, under the authority of my name, to 
blasf the well-earned fame of meritorious and deserving men. 
From your own professions, I have grounds for believing that 
from the evidence now before you, you will feel equally indig- 
nant at the imposition, and believe that the troops in ques- 
tion have not been so much defamed, or the injustice done 
them so notorious as you had supposed. You stiite that the 
reputed conduct of those troops was calculated to stain the 
proud military character of a large and patriotic State. As 
well might it be said that the disgraceful flight of my rear 
guard, on the 24th January, 1814, at Enotochopeo, had stained 
the proud military character of the State of Tennessee. The 
cases are similar — I witnessed both. And could anv one ever 
think that the disgraceful flight of a few, whilst others of the 
same corps fought bravely and sustained the honor of their 
country, could attach disgrace to a State ? Surely not. The 
fact is, that the Kentuckians, like all other good mateiials^ 
have and ever will cover themselves with glory when well 


oflBicered and gallantly led ; but, like all other troops, when 
badly officered and timidly led will be covered with disgraca 
You repeat your astonishment at my warmth : I will add an- 
other reason why I feel warm and indignant. From the fore- 
going extract from the History of the Late War in the West, 
it will be seen that those fabrications are attempted, through 
that medium, to be handed down to posterity as truths ; and 
that, too, without contradiction under the eye of those who 
knew their falsehood. The most unworthy and dishonorable 
feelings are there ascribed to me. I am described as reltiC" 
tantly yielding justice to the demand of General Adair. Such 
degeneracy of feeling toward any of the tioops which I have 
had the honor to command is false ; and to ascribe them to 
me could only spring from the most malevolent breast. . . . 
Justice and truth are my polar stars, from which I never have, 
nor ever will knowingly depart ; and permit me to add, that 
neither wealth, power, or any other consideration, can ever 
draw from me a falsehood, or prevent my doing justice. 
Whenever I could be operated upon by such ignoble feelings 
as either flattery or fear to do an ungenerous act, I should 
loathe myself and wish to close my mortal career." 

General Adair, who had neither forged nor furnished any 
paper for the purposes of the historian, and had not seen his 
work, was naturally indignant at the language of General 
Jackson, and replied to him in a tone that accorded with his 
feelings. Not content with a simple denial of the charge of 
forgery, he proceeded to offer a variety of satirical observa- 
tions upon General Jackson's letter. " I have long since been 
of the opinion," said Adair, " that no wise or prudent general 
would ever fight over his victories a second time on paper : 
perhaps no instance could be drawn from history where this 
rule would more forcibly apply than to the battle of the 
eighth of January below New Orleans." And much more of 
a character equally irritating, accusing the General of ill- 
temper, prejudice, and ignorance of what had transpired in 
his own camp. 

The reply of General Jackson was exceedingly long, and 


by no m(-an8 of the intemperate character that might have 
been expected. " It is yow, General," said Jackson, " who 
appear to write to the editors in a passion ; and this passion 
does not arise from any expression of mine, but from an error 
in the editors — whether it be accidental or design is for you 
and themselves to decide ; they have published it correctly 
in a note in the same paper, and corrected it in a subsequent 
one. It is a subject on which I feel no concern. On this, as 
on similar occasions when any become irritated with me on 
false premises or information, and make loud complaints 
through public prints of acts never done, I regard it not : 
such passions always subside without injury. You ask 
through the Reporter an explanation of my allusion to the 
* Spanish Dish.' It will not be given ; my letter speaks for 
itself. It is plain, and without innuendo. You are charged 
by the historian with having furnished the forgery commented 
on ; you can read it coolly, and draw your own conclusions. 
This is my only explanation. I am astonished at your impu- 
dence to speak oi fighting battles over again. You well know, 
sir, that your misrepresentations and falsehoods, combined 
with those of your colleague and the editors of a newspaper, 
have been disturbing the tranquillity of the public mind, by 
endeavoring to cast a stigma on the well-earned fame of bravo 
and meritorious officers, and seeking to convince the world 
that men were heroes who ingloriously fled before the enemy. 
For the purpose of forestalling public opinion, you have ex- 
pressed a fear that I will not do you justice. This is only 
deception, for you know me better. As far as I know it, you 
shall have the truth." 

Passing over much irrelevant matter, we come to the sin- 
gle paragraph of General Jackson's communication which is 
devoted to the real point at issue between himself and Gen- 
eral Adair : " However I might be pleased with the acquittal 
of Colonel Davis, still I saw falsehoods in the testimony, and 
which, of my own knowledge, I pronounce such. It was 
stated in the evidence and reiterated to me in your letter of 
the twentieth of March, that Colonel Davis' detachment, 


after having retreated to and formed on General Morgan's 
line, received the attack of the enemy, and fired from three to 
seven rounds. You know, sir, very well, that when the enemy 
advanced on the right bank of the river, the parapet of my 
line being crowded with officers and soldiers, I ordered that 
they should take off their hats and give our troops on the 
right bank three cheers. Whilst in the act of cheering, 1 saw 
the right of General Morgan's line precipitately give way. 
The most expert and well-drilled soldier in the art of loading 
and firing could not have discharged his piece three times 
before they were many paces retiring with the utmost precip- 
itation. I therefore knew the statement to be false, and every 
person who witnessed this distressing scene knew it also. I 
have, and always will endeavor to reward the brave with my 
approbation ; but no influence, however extensive, no irrita- 
tion, however strong, shall ever cause me to deviate from 
what I believe to be correct, to do an act of injustice to brave 
men, by approbating the coward who deserts in the hour of 
danger. If such conduct toward the deserving can be termed 
' prejudice,' I glory to possess it." 

To which General Adair replied : " The General saw all 
this from his parapet, and he ordered his men to give those 
on the other bank three cheers 1 1 I was standing by him 
when he gave this order, and with a smile (not of approba- 
tion) observed I was afraid they could not hear us. The dis- 
tance from us to them on a straight line was upwards of one 
mile and a half ; there was a thick fog, and I confess I could 
not see the troops of either army. All I could discover was 
the blaze from the guns ; and seeing that continue to pro- 
gress up the river was the only knowledge we had that our 

men were retreating The General tells you 

he has entered into this contest merely to do justice to two 
brave and meritorious officers, Patterson and Morgan. As 
to the Commodore, his best friends will agree, he stepped out 
>f his line of duty when he undertook to designate corps in a 
Dattle on land to the Secretary of the Navy ; and if General 
Jackson can point out a single order or arrangement of Geo- 

390 LIFE or ANDBEW JA0K80H. PSl? 

eral MoTgan that was not childishly weak and unmilitary, ] 
am mistaken. He led no corps into action, and was only 
conspicuous whilst retreating in front of his men, calling tc 
them to form! form! which is often the case with those who 
run fastest. Morgan writes merely to justify the GfeneraL 
These great chiefs have a great respect for each other. The 
General thinks I became the champion of the Kentuckians 
with the view of thereby obtaining a seat in the Senate of 
Congress, or in the gubernatorial chair of Kentucky. For 
this idea he is indebted to his friend George Poindexter, of 
fugitive memory. There is a strange coincidence between the 
minds and dispositions of these two great men. Loud, noisy, 
and abusive, nature seems to have formed them in mind and 
disposition for tavern and town bullies, but fortunately for 
society denied them the physical power necessary. It is 
owing to this defect that they have so frequently been en- 
gaged in paper contests. As to the General's very laconic 
answer to my former remarks on his ' Spanish dish,* I will 
only observe that this affair relates only to him and myself 
alone, and it only shows his willingness to rake from its ashes 
an old calumny of my connection with Colonel Burr. What- 
ever were the intentions of Colonel Burr, I neither organized 
troops at that time, nor did I superintend the building of 
boats for him, nor did I write confidential letters recommend- 
ing him to my friends, nor did I think it necessary after his 
failure was universally known to save myself by turning 
informer or State witness." 

General Adair added to his vindication of the Kentuck- 
ians a great mass of testimony, which, if the deliberate word 
of eye-witnesses can establish anything, establishes the tnith 
of his version of the occurrences on the western bank of the 
Mississippi.* Whether this array of evidence had the effect 
of convincing General Jackson does not ap[)ear, as the contro- 
versy closed with the publication of General Adair's last 
communication. In later years the two generals became very 

* Soe pamphlet, entitled *' Letters of General Adair and Qencral Jack80l^ 
rolative to the charge of oowardice,** eta, etc. Lexington, Ky., 1817. 


good friends once more, and ^^ fought their battles over again" 
in a more agreeable manner. 

From these private quarrels the attention of General 
Jackson/ toward the close of this quarrelsome year, was 
drawn away to the consideration of public events of threat- 
ening import, which nearly concerned the Commander-in- 
Chief of the Southern Division of the Army of the United 




There was trouble again among the Indians — the Indians 
of Florida, the allies of Great Britain during the war of 1812, 
commonly known by the name of Seminoles. Composed in 
part of fugitive Creeks, who scouted the treaty of Fort Jack- 
son, they had indulged the expectation that, on the conclusion 
of peace, they would be restored by their powerful ally to the 
lands wrested from the Creeks by Jackson's conquering arm 
in 1814 

This claim of theirs to the lost terrritory of the Creeks, 
though groundless, had a slight show of ground. The ninth 
article of the treaty of Ghent begins with these words : " The 
United States of America engage to put an end, immediately 
after the ratification of the present treaty, to hostilities with 
all the tribes or nations of Indians, with whom they may be 
at war at the time of such ratification, and forthwith to re- 
store to such tribes or nations, respectively, all the posses- 
sions, rights, and privileges which they may have enjoyed or 
been entitled to in one thousand eight hundred and eleven, 
previous to such hostilities." 

Observe the words, ^^with whom they may he cU war ai 
the tim^^ of such ratijlcation," The United States were nol 
at war with the Creeks at the date of the ratification of the 
treaty of Ghent. The Creek war was at an end and the treaty 

392 LIVB or ANDREW JACKSON. [1817. 

of Fort Jackson signed four months before. The Oreeks 
who had fled to Florida could only reply to this by sajing, 
in effect : " We were not consenting parties to the treaty of 
Fort Jackson ; we were not then subdued, but still waged 
war against the United States ; t(;e are as much entitled to 
be considered the Creek nation as were those recreant chiefs 
who signed away, at Fort Jackson, the common home and 
property of us all." The plea was plausible enough, and to 
them most convincing ; but it could not convince either the 
English or the American government. Indeed, the mere 
number of the Florida Creeks refuted it. At no time after 
the war of 1812 could there be mustered in Florida more than 
seven hundred Seminole warriors ; and a large proportion 
of these had neither the shadow nor the pretense of a claim 
to the ancient domain of the Creeks. This estimate is that 
of General D. B. Mitchell, who, as Governor of the adjacent 
State of Georgia, and afterward as Creek agent, had the best 
opportunity of forming a correct opinion.* 

This poor remnant of tribes once so numerous and power- 
ful had not a thought of attempting to regain the lost lands 
by force of arms. The best testimony now procurable con- 
firms their own solemnly reiterated assertions, that they de- 
sired and endeavored to live in peace with the white settlers 
of Georgia. General Mitchell strongly expresses this opinion. 
All their " talks," petitions, remonstrances, letters, of which 
a large number are still accessible, breathe only the wish for 
peace and fair dealing. The Seminoles were drawn at last 
into a collision with the United States by a chain of circum- 
stances with which they had little to do, and the responsi- 
bility of which belongs not to them. 

Colonel Edward Nichols, whose proceedings in Florida 
before the attack upon New Orleans have been related in 
previous pages of this work, reappeared on the scene of his 
remarkable exploits after the peace. He seems to have re- 
garded the Seminoles as his "mission." He went through 

* Deposition of D. B. Mitchel before a oommittee of the United Stntoa Senate^ 
Nbroary, 1819. Doo. 100, page 37. 


the preposterous ceremony, in the spring of 1815, of forming 
ftn alliance offensive and defensive between the Seminoles and 
Great Britain. He repaired and strengthened a fort on the 
Appalachicola river, sixty miles below the junction of the 
Chattahoochie and Flint, which he styled the " British Post 
on the Appalachicola," and which afterwards acquired a sad 
celebrity as the " Negro Fort." These things he did entirely, 
as it seems, on his own responsibility, and without conde- 
scending to pay the slightest regard to the authority of the 
Spanish governor. He ruled and duccted his Indians in the 
manner of a hot-headed young patriarch, who owed allegiance 
to nobody. Let us, however, be just to this wild, well inten- 
tioned Irishman. He has been accused of being an " insti- 
gator" of the Seminole war. The accusation is false. His 
advice to the Indians, on all occasions, was to keep the peace 
with the people of the United States — to defend themselves 
if attacked, but on no account ever to cross the line between 
the American and the Spanish territory. He even instituted 
a kind of police among the Seminoles, the object of which 
was to prevent any individuals of the tribe from plundering 
and molesting the Georgia settlers. It is important to estab- 
lish this point. I request the reader to read attentively the 
following letter from Colonel Nichols to Colonel Benjamin 
Hawkins, Creek agent. Several letters passed, in the spring 
of 1815, between Nichols and Hawkins ; but this is the prin- 
cipal letter, and it is the one chiefly relied upon by Mr. John 
Quincy Adams to support his charge that Nichols incited the 
Indians to hostility. The letter played an importimt part in 
subsequent negotiations, and was tossed from court to court, 
and from war-office to war-office, a distracting shuttlecock 
for several months. The italics in the copy subjoined are 
those of Mr. Adams : 


"BwnsH Post, > 

"APPAULOmOHOLA RlYEB, Maj 12, 1816. ) 

** In my letter to you of the 28th ultimo I requested you would be so 
good as to make inquiry into the murder and robberies committed on the 


Beminules belcnging to the chief called Bowlegs, at the same time declanDg 
mj determination of punishing with the utmost rigor of the law any one 
of our side who broke it Of this a melancholy proof has been given in th« 
execution of an Indian of the Ataphalgo town by Hothly Poya Tustun- 
nugee, chief of Ocmulgees, who found him driving off a gang of cattle be- 
longing to your citizens, and for which act of justice I have given him 
double presents and a chiefs gun, in the open square before the whole of 
the chiefs, and highly extolled him. These, sir, are the steps I am daily 
taking to keep the peace with sincerity ; but I am sorry to say the same 
line is not taken on your side, nor have you written to say what steps you 
are taking or intend to take to secure this mutual good. Since tiie last 
complaint from Bowlegs, I have had anotlier from him to suy your citizens 
have again attacked and murdered two of his people ; that tliey had stolen 
a gang of his cattle, but that he had succeeded in regaining them. 

" I asked him what proof he had of their being killed. They said they 
had found their bloody clothes in the American camp, which was hastily 
evacuated on their approach. Now, sir, if tliese enormities are suffered to 
be carried on in a Christian country, what are you to expect by showing 
such an example to the uncultivated native of the woods (for savage I will 
not call them, their conduct entitles them to a better epithet). I have, how- 
ever, ordered them to stand on the defensive^ and have sent them a Targe sup' 
piy of arms aud ammunition^ and told them toptU to deaihj without mercy ^ 
any one molesting them ; but at all times to be careful and not put a foot 
over the American line. In the meantime that I should complain to you ; 
that I was convinced you would do your best to curb such infamous con- 
duct Also that those people who have done such deeds would, I was con- 
vinced, be disavowed by the government of tlie United States and severely 
punishe(.l. They have given their consent to await your answer before they 
take revenge ; but, sir, they are impatient for it, and well armed as the na- 
tion now is, and stored with ammunition and provisions^ having a stronghold 
to retire upon in case of a superior force appearing, picture to yourself «tr, the 
miseries that may be suffered by good and innocent citizens on your frontiers^ 
and I am sure you will lend me your best aid in keeping the bad spiiita in 

" Yesterday, in a full assembly of the chiefs, I got them to pass a law 
for four resolute chiefs to be appointed in different parts of the nation, some- 
thing in the character of our sheriffs, for the purpose of inflicting condign 
ptmishment on such people as broke the law ; and I will say this much for 
them, that I never saw men execute laws better than they do. 

" I am also desired to say to you by the chiefs, that they do not find 
that your citizens are evacuating their lands, according to the ninth article 
of the treaty of peace, but that they were fresh provisioning the forts. This 
Mint, sir, I beg of you to look into. They also request me to inform you 


that they have signed a treaty of offensive and defensive alliancre with Groat 
Britain, as well as one of commerce and navigation, whioh, as soon as it is 
ratified at home, you shall be made more fully acquainted with. 

" I am, sir, your very humble servatt^ 

"Edward Nichols, 

** Commandini; his Britannic Mi^esty^s forces In the Crcok Nation.* 

**Addr«»sed, *0n hia Britannic Mi^esty's servlca, to CoI.Bxifj. Hawkixs, commanding at 
Fort Uawklns/ " 

Colonel Hawkins replied to this letter in a somewhat sat- 
irical, but perfectly polite manner ; saying, in effect : " It is 
none of yom* business, Colonel Nichols ; it is high time you 
were well out of Florida, and on your way home, with your 
silly treaty in your pocket. Nichols — we have had enough 
of you." But, a few days after, when Colonel Hawkins re- 
ceived the same complaint direct from the chief, Bowlegs, he 
promptly forwarded it to the Governor of Georgia, and re- 
quested him to investigate and redress the grievance. He 
took occasion, also, to send an account of Colonel Nichols' 
late performances to the Secretary of War, who notified Mr. 
Adams, then the American minister at the British court, re- 
questing him to remonstrate on the subject with the British 
government. Nichols, early in the summer of 1815, sailed for 
London, taking with him all his white troops, the prophet- 
chief, Francis, and a considerable deputation of Creek Indians. 
He left his fort on the Appalachicola in good order, well 
armed, and supplied with an extraordinary quantity of gun- 
powder. A few months after his departure, the magazine 
contained seven hundred and sixty-three barrels 1 And this, 
tio, at a time when the high and mighty governor of the 
province had not, at Pensacola, powder enough to salute the 
royal standard of Spain. 

Mr. Adams, in an interview with Earl Bathurst, the Brit- 
ish Secretary for Foreign Affairs, called his attention to the 
conduct of Colonel Nichols, then just arrived in London witL 
his crew of savages. Mr. Adams reported the conversation to 
his government. " I said,'' wrote he, in a dispatch dated Sep- 
tember 19th, 1815, " that the American government had been 

« State Papers, 2d SesBion 16th Gongre«y vol iv., Na 66, p. 34^ 

396 LIVB OF AMDBEW JA0K80N. [1815. 

peculiarly concerned at the proceedings of Colonel Nichols, 
because they appeared to be marked with unequivocal and 
extraordinary marks of hostility. 

" ' Why/ said Lord Bathurst,.^ to tell you the truth, Col- 
onel Nichols is, I believe, a man of activity and spirit, but a 
very wild fellow. He did make and send over to me a treaty, 
offensive and defensive, with some Indians ; and he is now 
come over here, and has brought over some of those Indians. 
I sent for answer that he had no authority whatever to make a 
treaty offensive or defensive with Indians, and that this gov- 
ernment would make no such treaty. I have sent him word 
that I could not see him upon any such project. The In- 
dians are here in great distress indeed ; but we shall only 
furnish them with the means of returning home, and advise 
them to make their terms with the United States as well as 
they can.' 

" Perceiving that I had particularly noticed tliis declara- 
tion that he had declined seeing Colonel Nichols, he said that 
he should, perhaps, see him upon the general subject of his 
transactions, but that he had declined seeing him in regard to 
bis treaty with the Indians. 

" In this conversation. Lord Bathurst's manner, like that 
of Lord Liverpool in the conference which I had about a 
month before with him, was altogether good humored and 
conciliatory. J'he conduct of all the officers and persons com- 
plained of was explicitly disavowed ; and I understood at first 
the observation of Lord Bathurst, that he had declined seeing 
Colonel Nichols, as an intimation that it was intended to ex- 
hibit to that officer unequivocal marks of displeasure. But 
the subsequent explanation left me to conclude that, although 
the disapprobation of his proceedings was strongly expressed 
to me, the utmost extent of it that would be shown to him 
would be the refusal to ratify his treaty, offensive and defen- 
sive, with the Indians."* 

The prophet Francis, however, was treated with much 

distinction by the British government. He was prcisented, 

* State Fapexi^ 2d Seasion 15th Congress, rol iv. No. 65, p. 60. 

1817.] THE NBGBO FOKT. 397 

in consideration of his past services, with the commission and 
uniform of a brigadier general, with a gold-mounted toma* 
hawk, a diamond snuff-box, and a'sum of money. He was 
also admitted to an interview with the Prince Regent, who 
received him with an imposing show of ceremony. A double 
flourish of trumpets, says a London journal of the time, an* 
nounced the approach to the presence of the Regent of " the 
patriot Francis, who fought so gloriously in our cause in 
America. He was dressed in a most splendid suit of red and 
gold, and by his side he wore a tomahawk mounted in gold." 
Francis and the other Indians returned home in 1816, 
bearing new exhortations from their friend Nichols to live in 
peace with the white man, and to punish rigorously any of 
their own nation who should conunit outrages upon the 
Americans across the border. 



To South Carolina and Georgia, the Spanish province of 
Florida was the Dismal Swamp of the early day ; that is, a 
safe and tempting refuge for runaway slaves. Those States 
were the last to give up the African slave trade. As late as 
the year 1808, cargoes of African savages were landed at the 
Georgian ports and distributed among the Georgian planters. 

Even the docile African is not reduced to submission in a 
day, or a year, or a generation. It is said to require three 
generations to produce a gentleman. We have heard, too, 
that the wild horse does not, until the third generation, be- 
come an always trustworthy nag ; nor the wild buffalo a 
sedate and well-broken ox. Three generations, also, must 
pass before the savage from the African coast is subdued into 
%n unresentful, submissive, and contented slave. And, as 
there are some white men, some horses, and some buffaloe8| 





398 LIFB or ANDREW JACKSOH. [1816 

of blood 80 fierce and temper so mettlesome, as nerer to be 
tamed, so there are some of the sons of Africa that can not, 
by any of the processes ifsually employed, be completely re- 
duced to servitude. They sink under the treatment, or fly 
to some Dismal Swamp. We have before remarked that the 
early newspapers of Georgia teem with evidence that the 
planters had trouble enough with such untameable spirits — 
those African chieftains, fierce and sullen, who could not 
bend themselves to submit to the steady toil of the plan- 

The northern parts of Florida were full of fugitive slaves 
and the descendants of fugitive slaves at the time of which 
we are now writing. There were black men in Florida whose 
ancestors had lived there since 1750. A large number had 
maintained themselves there in freedom for many years, and 
reared families, and cultivated farms, and gathered herds of 
cattle. A few of the blacks had intermarried with the In- 
dians, but, as a general rule, the two races remained distinct, 
and there was antipathy between them. The Indians some- 
times assisted in the capture of runaway slaves, and, occasion- 
ally, even set on foot expeditions of their own accord, for the 
express purpose of taking runaways and delivering them to 
their masters — ^induced thereto sometimes by avarice, and 
sometimes by enmity. The number of negroes living in 
freedom in Florida about the year 1816, may be estimated at 
eight hundred, of whom about two hundred and fifty were 
men capable of bearing arms. They had chiefs and captains 
among them, the most famous of whom was one Gar9on, brave^ 
athletic, wary, and cruel. 

After the departure of Colonel Michols from Florida in 
1815, the fort erected by him on the Appalachicola river 
became the stronghold of these negroes, whose farms and 
grazing lands, we are officially told, extended fifty miles along 
the fertile banks of that river, above and below the fort^ 

* For all the docamoDts relating to the Negro Fort, see State Papera, 2^ 
fieesioD, 16th Congrosa, Vol TV, This chapter ia compiled almost wholly froa 
those papers 

1816.] THE NEGRO FOBT. 399 

By what means the Seminoles were dispossessed of the fort 
we can only conjecture. The Indian is not a creature dis- 
posed to live in an inclosure. The probability is, that the 
Indians left the fort to wander off into the forests and ever- 
glades, and the negroes, finding the fort untenanted, took 
possession ; and thus, having nine points of the law on their 
side, chose to consider those nine points ten. With the 
negroes in the fort were a few Choctaw Indians, but no Semi- 
noles. The Seminoles, however, still claimed the ownership 
of the fort and all its valuable contents, averring, and aver- 
ring truly^ that they had been given to them, and to them 
alone, by their father. Colonel Nichols. They resented the 
occupation of the fort by the negroes. But all the Indians 
in America could not have taken it, if defended with only 
ordinary vigilance and courage. 

This stronghold was a grand acquisition for the negroes. 
It was situated on a lofty and picturesque height, long known 
by the name of Prospect Bluff. In the rear it was protected 
by impassable swamps, and it was too far from the river for 
its ramparts to be injured by any ordnance that could be 
fired from the small craft which alone could navigate the 
narrow, shallow, and crooked Appalachicola. The fort was well 
and strongly constructed. Among the ten or twelve pieces 
of cannon mounted on the ramparts were one thirty-two 
pounder and three twenty-fours. Within the fortifications 
there had been stored away by Colonel Nichols, and left by 
him in the custody of the Indians, twenty-five hundred mus- 
kets, the same number of sets of accouterments, live hundred 
carbines, five hundred steel-scabbarded swords, four hundred 
pistols, three hundred quarter-casks of rifle powder, and 
seven hundred and sixty- three barrels of common powder. 
The arms were new and of excellent quality, and the greater 
part of them were still in the boxes and packing-cases in 
which they had been brought from England. For what pur- 
pose, by whose authority. Colonel Nichols had been thus lav- 
ish of the property of those in whose service he was, I cannot 
ima^^ine. But thus lavish he was ; and all these costly and 


dangerous stores had fallen into the possession of the negroes 
who held the post, which was then known throughout the 
lower country as the Negro Fort. The fort, we must repeat, 
was about sixty miles below the Georgia line, and seventeen 
miles from the mouth of the Appalachicola. 

Emboldened bj the possession of this stronghold, the 
negroes, it was alleged, committed depredations alike upon 
the settlers on the frontiers of Georgia, upon the Spaniards 
of Florida, and even upon the Seminoles ; driving off cattle, 
and sometimes firing upon boats ascending the river. The 
Negro Fort, in truth, was the strongest and most uaassailable 
place in all the southeastern country, and was regarded in 
the light of a nuisance by the Spanish no less than by the 
American authorities. The mere existence of such a place, 
so near the borders of slave States, was looked upon as an 
evil of the first magnitude by the planters of the extreme 
south, whose slaves, in a few hours or days, could reach the 
negro settlements in the vicinity of the fort, and place them- 
selves beyond pursuit. 

General Jackson had scarcely returned home from his 
triumphal visit to Washington before he began to take meas- 
ures for the suppression of this portentous and growing eviL 
His first step was to write a letter to the Governor of Pensa- 
cola on the subject. This letter, considering that it was ad- 
dressed by Andrew Jackson to a Spanish governor, must be 
pronounced eminently civil and moderate. " I can not per- 
mit myself," concluded the General, " to indulge a belief that 
the Governor of Pensacola, or the military commander of that 
place, will hesitate a moment in giving orders for this ban- 
ditti to be dispersed, and the property of the citizens of the 
United States forthwith restored to them, and our friendly 
Indians particularly, when I reflect that the conduct of this 
banditti is such as will not be tolerated by our government, 
and if not put down by Spanish authority, will compel us, in 
self-defense, to destroy them. This communication is in- 
trusted to Captain Amelung, of the 1st regiment of United 
States infantry, who is charged to bring back such answer af 

181 (S.] THE KEGBO FOBT. 401 

you will be pleased to make to this letter. In your answer 
you will be pleased to state whether that fort has been built 
by the government of Spain, and whether those negroes who 
garrison it are considered as the subjects of his Catholic Maj- 
esty, and if not by his Catholic Majesty by whom and imder 
whose orders it has been erected." 

Captiiin Amelung was received by the governor with the 
courtesy of a Spanish grandee. In his reply to General Jack- 
son, the governor declared that he would state (" with the 
veracity which comports with the character of an honorable 
officer, in which class I rank myself) all he knew of the de- 
testable fort in question. He had but just arrived in Florida ; 
he had heard of the fort and of the conduct of the brigands 
who held it; he had written to his official chief, the Governor 
General of Havanna, on the subject, without whose author- 
ization he could do nothing ; he expected an answer at an 
early day, and as soon as he received it he would take the 
requisite measures ; till then he hoped General Jackson would 
not consider himself bound to do any thing in violation of the* 
sovereignty of the king his royal master. Having spread 
these sentiments over ten pages of foolscap, the sublime gov- 
ernor concluded by observing that he held the virtues and 
military talents of General Jackson in the highest possible 
esteem, and that he prayed God to preserve his excellency 
many years. 

The lofty Governor omitted to mention a circumstance 
which Captain Amelung, in his report to General Jackson, 
supplied. The Governor had not the means of reducing the 
obnoxious fort. " Pensacola itself," said Captain Amelung, 
" is, I can assure you, entirely defenseless. The garrison con- 
sists of from eighty to one hundred effective men, exclusive of 
a battalion of colored troops, say about one hundred and fifty 
men, of whom the inhabitants themselves stand in constant 
dread. They have about one hundred and fifty serviceable 
muskets, about five hundred musket cartridges, and not enough 
gunpowder to fire a salute. One gun was mounting at Bar- 
rancas on the day I left there. To this is to be added the dia- 
VOL. II. — 26 

402 LIFE OF ANDBEW JA0K8ON. [1816 

satisfaction of the inhabitants and even of a number of the 
officers of government, and the desire of a majority to see a 
change effected. I must not forget to present to you, on the 
part of the Governor, the thanks of the inhabitants of Pen- 
sacola for the exemplary and humane conduct of the army 
under your command at Pensacola, and I verily believe their 
professions to be sincere. The Governor, also, on my men- 
tioning, in conversation, that I was persuaded you would will- 
ingly assist in destroying the fort, said if the object was of 
sufficient importance to require the presence of General Japk- 
son, he would be proud to be commanded by you ; and that 
if the Captain General of Cuba could not furnish him with 
the necessary means, he might perhaps apply to you for as- 

This report (dated New Orleans, June 4th, 1816), together 
with the Governor's letter. General Jackson forwarded to the 
Department of War, observing to the Secretary that it ap- 
peared, from these documents, that the Spanish authorities 
would not take it seriously amiss if the Negro Fort were de- 
stroyed by the forces under his own command ; and he re- 
quested the orders of the President with regard to it. While 
General Jackson was awaiting a reply from the War Depart- 
ment events occurred which rendered a reply unnecessary. 

In the spring of 1816 it chanced that the forces of the 
United States on the frontiers of Georgia, under the com- 
mand of General Gaines, were busily employed in erecting 
fortifications at the junction of the two rivers (Chattcahoochie 
and Flint), which unite near the boundary line between Georgia 
and Florida to form the Appalachicola. It was convenient 
to forward stores to this important post (named Fort Scott) 
by way of New Orleans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Aj)pa- 
lachicola, in effecting which it was necessary to pass under the 
guns of the N^gro Jbort. 

On the 24th of June the first convoy of stores destined 
for Fort Scott sailed from New Orleans. It arrived off th* 
mouth of the Appalachicola on the 10th of July. It consisted 
of four vessels — two gun-boats and two small schooners — ^tlie 

1816.] THE NXOBO FOBt. 403 

whole under tho command of Sailingmaster Jaiiiis Loomis, of 
the United States navy. General Gaines, thinking it probable 
that opposition would be made to the passage of these vessels by 
the garrison of the Negro Fort, ordered Colonel Clinch of the 
army of the United States, commanding the troops at Fort 
Scott, to descend the Appalachicola with an adequate force 
to the vicinity of the fort, and there take position until he 
heard of the approach of the expected fleet. If the vessels 
were allowed to pass without molestation the fort was not to 
be attacked; if the negroes opposed the ascent of the boats the 
fort was to be reduced and destroyed. Accordingly, Loomis, 
on reaching the mouth of the Appalachicola, was boarded by 
an express from Colonel Clinch, informing him of those 
orders, and requesting him to remain at the mouth of the 
river until he should receive notice of the arrival of the troops 
above the fort. 

The negroes, unfortunately for themselves, had resolved 
on war. For five days Loomis lay quietly at anchor, hearing 
nothing and seeing nothing to excite apprehension. " On the 
I5th," however, as he wrote in his official dispatch, *•' I dis- 
covered a boat pulling out of the river, and being anxious to 
ascertain whether we should be permitted peaceably to pass 
the fort above us, I dispatched a boat with an officer to gain 
the necessary information. On nearing her she fired a volley 
of musketry into my boat, and immediately pulled in for the 
river. I immediately opened a fire on them from the gun- 
vessels, but with no effect. On the 17th, at five a. m., I 
manned and armed a boat with a swivel and musketry, and 
four men, and gave her in charge of Midshipman Luff borough, 
for the purpose of procuring fresh water, having run short of 
that article. At eleven a. m., Sailingmaster Bassett, who had 
been on a similar expedition, came alongside with the body of 
John Burgess, who had been sent in the boat with Midship- 
man Luffborough. His body was found near the mouth of 
the river, shot through the heart. At four p. m. I discovered 
% man at the mouth of the river on a sand bar ; sent a boat 
and brought him on board. He proved to be John LopMW 


the ouly survivor of the boat's crew sent with Midshipmnc 
Luffborough. He reports that on entering the river they 
discovered a negro on the beach near a plantation ; that Mr. 
Luffborough ordered the boat to be pulled directly for him ; 
that on touching the shore he spoke to the negro, and directly 
received a volley of musketry irom two divisions of negroes 
and Indians, who lay concealed in the bushes on the margin 
of the river. Mr. Luffborough, Robert Maitland,, and John 
Burgess were killed on the spot. Lopaz made his escape by 
swimming ; and states that he saw the other seaman, Ed- 
ward Daniels, made prisoner. Lopaz supposes that there 
must have been forty negroes and Indians concerned in the 
capture of the boat." 

An ominous welcome I Loomis, not knowing the num- 
ber, resources, or situation of the enemy, and unable, from 
the sniallness of his own force, to detach a party in pursuit, 
remained at the mouth of the river and kept his men close on 
board the vessels. In effect they were prisoners ; for to ap- 
proach the shore was to court destruction. Nor were they, by 
any means, sure of not being themselves attacked by a flotilla 
of the desperadoes, as it was known that the negroes possessed 
A schooner and many large boats. Day after day passed in 
this susjiense, during which the position of the commander of 
the squadron was one of extreme anxiety and discomfort. 
We must leave him in it, however, while we go to inquire in- 
to the movements of Colonel Clinch. 

July the 16th, Colonel Clinch, with two companies ol 
troi^ps, numbering together one hundred and sixteen men, 
emb;irkcil near Fort Scott, and dropped down the Apj>alach- 
icola toward the negro fortress. He was joined, a few hourg 
after, bv a lan^^e bodv of Seminoles who, bv a stninije coinci- 
dence, had set out on a negro hunting expedition, which they 
had projecteil long ago, and were then in full march for the 
negro settlements around the Negro Fort A council was held 
between the American officers and the Indian chiefs, at which 
it was agreed that the two bodies should act in concert ; the 
Indians marching in the van and seizing every negro they 

1817.] THB KEGBO FORT. 40fl 

2Qet, and the American troops following in their hoats. On 
reaching the vicinity of the fort, both parties were to take a 
position, and await the arrival of tidings from the ascending 

Before reaching the fort the Indians, filing stealthily in 
advance, pounced upon a stray negro, u})on whose person was 
found the fresh scalp of a white man. On being brought to 
Colonel Clinch, the prisoner said that Gar§on, with a party 
of Indians and negroes, had attacked a boat's crew of Ameri- 
cans, a few days before, killed some of them, wounded others, 
and taken one prisoner ; and that, after the action, Gar§on 
and his gang had retired to the fort. This was enough for 
Colonel Clinch. He hurried forward, landed a mile above the 
fort, disposed his forces so as to prevent the escape of the 
garrison, and sent word to Loomis to come on with his fleet 
and assist in reducing the stronghold of the murderers. The 
Indians opened a desultory useless fire on the post, and the 
negro garrison replied with thundering salvos of artillery, 
which frightened the Indians terribly, but hurt no one, the 
troops being sheltered by woods. Toward evening of the 
first day of the investment, the Indians, during an interval of 
silence, demanded the surrender of their fort. The negroes 
hooted derisively in reply, hoisted a red flag, and over it on 
the same stafi* the British union jack, and sent thirty-two 
pound shot crashing into the forest again. On the approach 
of Colonel Clinch, all the negroes in the vicinity had hurried 
into the fort for safety. The plac^ contained, when it was 
invested, one hundred men, and two hundred and thirty-four 
women and children. There were two magazines within the 
fortification, one containing six hundred barrels of powder, 
and the other one hundred and sixty- three. 

Before the gun-boats could be warped up the stream to 
Dueling Blufi", four miles below the fort, several days passed, 
during which the negroes fired their cannons as often as the 
troops showed themselves, but always without effect. They 
(ired, too, upon Colonel Clinch as he passed the fort in hii 
boat to meet Loomis at Dueling Bluff. 

406 LIFE OF AKDKXW JA0K80N. [181& 

At four o'clock in the morning of July 27th the gun-boata 
left Dueling Bluff and began to ascend the stream. At five 
tley made fast to the shore within range of the fort's great 
guns^ which opened fire upon them without delay. Loomis 
returned the fire, but the small shot from the gun-boats' ord- 
nance had no perceptible effect upon the solid ramparts. The 
coppers of one of the boats had been cleared of their usual 
utensils some hours before, and some cannon balls made red 
hot in the culinary fire. A gun was loaded with one of these 
and so aimed that the fiery missive should fall within the for- 
tification. The gun, pointed with deadliest accuracy, was dis- 

Seldom, in the horror-laden history of war, has a single ball 
been charged with such a mission to destroy as that which then 
rushed from the cannon's mouth. It penetrated the larger 
magazine of the fort I An explosion, as of a hundred thousand 
cannons, shook Florida. The Negro Fort in an instant was a 
mass of smoking ruins, covering heaps of human beings of 
every age-— dead, dying, mangled, shrieking. No words can 
describe the scene, nor does it need description. There is no 
imagination so torpid as not to be able to conceive at once all 
its thousand horrors. 

Of the three hundred and thirty-four inmates of the fort 
two hundred and seventy were killed instantly I The greater 
part of those who were taken out alive died soon after. Three 
men only crawled from the ruins uninjured, one of whom was 
Q-arQon, the commandant: 

The Indians, with that mingled meanness and ferocity 
which marks their conduct on such occasions, raised the un- 
timely yell of triumph, and clambered up the bluff. Thn 
troops and the crews of the gun-boats, stunned and ap- 
palled for some moments by the explosion, soon followed. 
The gun-boatmen were concerned for the fate of the sailor 
Daniels, who had been taken prisoner by Gar§on at the 
mouth of the river and conducted to the fort. Upon in- 
quiring of the survivors what had become of him, they as- 
certained that he had been tarred and burnt alive. As a 


punishment for this sayage act^ Gar9on and a Choctaw 
chief were delivered over to the Seminoles and Dut to 

And thus was destroyed, not the Negro Fort only, but 
the growing negro power of Florida. Peace and a feeling 
of security were restored to the borders — ^for a time. The 
Indians and negroes were alike impressed and overawed 
by such a striking display of the white man's wonder- 
working wit. 

Colonel Clinch had unwisely promised to bestow upon the 
friendly Indians all the small arms that might be found in the 
fort, and, accordingly, a large quantity of muskets, pistol^ 
swords and accoutrements, uninjured by the explosion, were 
carried off by the Seminoles. The possession of these arms 
had their effect, doubtless, upon subsequent events. The 
tribe might never have been mad enough to take up arms 
against the United States if they had not had so many 
arms to take up. 



The blowing up of the Negro Fort, besides quieting the 
frontiers for a few months, demonstrated to all parties coU'- 
cemed that the Spanish government in Florida was not a re- 
ality but a burlesque. The explosion gave an impetus to the 
negotiations for the purchase of the province by the United 
States. Before a year had elapsed, such hopeful progress had 
been made in the negotiation that American speculators, who 
had access to official information, began to buy land in the 
vicinity of Pensacola. Among those who did so, late in the 
summer of 1817, were a party of Tennesseans, headed by 
Captain John Donelson and Major John H. Eaton, both near 
friends and connections of General Jackson. It is probable 
enough that General Jackson suggested this investment It 


is certain that he approved it. These gentlemen bought sixtj 
acres of land close to Pensacola^ and two thousand acres on 
the bay, two or three miles distant from the town, paying for 
the whole about sixteen thousand dollars.^ Many other gen- 
tlemen of Tennessee dabbled in similar speculations. There 
was, indeed, a kind of rage for Pensacola lots in 1817. It was 
thought that as soon as the incubus of Spanish rule was re- 
moved from Florida, the country would make the most sur- 
prising advances, and Pensacola would soon become the rival 
of New Orleans for the commerce of the Gulf. 

But there is many a slip between the cup and the lip. 
Other parties were looking upon Florida with covetous eyes. 
Other powers had claims upon Florida besides Spain and 
Manifest Destiny. Before the cession of Florida to the 
United States could be peacefully consummated some time 
was to elapse, and many strange and deplorable events were to 

The Seminoles were in a suppressed ferment. The explo- 
sion of the Negro Fort had an unexpected effect upon their 
already disordered minds. Until the band of negro-hunting 
Seminoles fell in with Colonel Clinch as he was descending 
the Appalachicola in July, 1816, the tribe had not generally 
learned that the forces of the United States were construct- 
ing forts at and above the junction of the Chattahoochie and 
Flint. The lands upon which those new forts were built was 
part of those which the treaty of Fort Jackson had wrested 
from the Creeks, and which the Seminoles still claimed, and 
still hoped, fondly and foolishly, that Colonel Nichols would 
regain for them. The poor, deluded Seminoles looked with 
alarm and despair upon the construction of these forts, which 
hemmed them narrowly in between a line of forts and the 
Gulf of Mexico. The Little Prince, one of the Seminole 
chiefs, sent a talk, or remonstrance to General Gaines on the 
subject early in 1816, requesting him to send his talk to Gen- 
eral Jackson. " I beg," said the chief in conclusion, " that 

* Deposition of John H. Eaton before a oommitteo of the United Statef 8t» 
•te^ Februaiy, 1819. 


/ou will send me back an answer, and a little ink, and a sheet 
of paper, in order to enable me to write again if it should be 

In 1816 and 1817, some of the lands in Georgia, formerly 
belonging to the Creeks, were surveyed and sold, and the In- 
dians who still lived on them were ordered to remove. In 
some instances the Indians were removed by force. 

Besides these grievances (and they could not but seem such 
to the Seminoles) they had others which were grievances indeed. 
The explosion of the Negro Fort did not destroy all the des- 
peradoes of Florida. " The peace of the frontier of Georgia," 
says General D. M. Mitchell, who was the governor of that 
State in 1817, " has always been exposed and disturbed, more 
or less, by acts of violence committed as well by the whites as 
the Indians, and a spirit of retaliation has prevailed. These 
petty acts of aggression were increased and multiplied by a 
set of lawless and abandoned characters, who had taken refuge 
on both sides of the St. Mary's river, living principally by 
plunder. I believe the first outrage committed on the fron- 
tier of Georgia, after the treaty of Fort Jackson, was by these 
banditti, who plundered a party of the Seminole Indians ou 
their way to Georgia for the purpose of trade, and killed one 
of them." 

We need no new evidence on a subject like this. The 
white settlers on the frontiers have never lived in peace with 
Indians, and can not live in peace with them. The intense 
antipathy which is excited in the mind of the white man by 
living in proximity to the red man is sure at last to degen- 
erate into rancorous hostility. The white settler does not 
long believe that an Indian has rights which the white man 
is bound to respect.** 

* A reoout letter from California contains the following : *' The Federal goy- 
emment committed a great mistake ten years ago in not ordering a large military 
force to this State with orders to hunt and shoot down all the Indians from the 
Ck>lorado to the Klamath. This would have been the cheapest method of man- 
aging the Indian affairs of California, and perhaps the moat humane. A weak aen* 
timentalism may bo horrified at the slaughter of Indians, as you would slaui^htei 
woWes; but the strong hearted, clear headed philanthropist w'^V say that a geo 

410 LIFE or ANDREW JACKSON. [1817. 

Nevertheless, for several months after the destruction of 
the N<»gro Fort, the frontiers were not disturbed by any 
"outrages" serious enough to be heard of beyond the locality 
in which they occurred. Early in the spring of 1817, a great 
part of the United States troops were withdrawn from Fort 
Scott ; a circumstance deplored at the time, and protested 
against by Governor Mitchell, but without immediate effect. 
The SeminoleSj no longer protected and no longer overawed 
by the forces of the United States, were more exposed than 
ever to the outrages of the "banditti," and less restrained 
than ever from sending out parties to retaliate. 

In all their troubles, the first and last thought of the 
Seminoles was their old friend. Colonel Nichols, and the pro- 
mises he had left them that their lands should be restored, 
and their rights protected by the strong arm of Britain. Bat 
they had no means of conveying to him the tidings of theif 
distress. Even if " a little ink and a sheet of paper" had not 
been wanting to them, they could not send a letter across the 
ocean, nor even to the British Governor of New Providence. 
They applied, it is true, to one Hambly, who had served 
under Nichols, and who was then a clerk in the employ of 
Forbes & Co., a trading-house of Florida, one of whose depSts 
was established on the site of the Negro Fort. But Hambly, 
like his employers, was supposed to have gone over to the 
** American party," and did not, so the Indians thought, for- 
ward their talks to the British authorities. The Indians com- 
plained, too, that Forbes & Co. undervalued their peltries, 

eral slaughter, for the clearly-expressed purpose of getting the friendless red men 
out of the way, is preferable to the system of slow heart-breakage, and long- 
drawn torments now practiced. It is a settled fact that every wild Indian in th« 
State must die ; and the question is, whether it were bettor that he should be 
shot at once, or tortured through half a dozen years by rum, disease, bereave- 
ment of all relatives and friends, and then finally shot because he has committed 
some * outrage.' If I were the Indian, I should prefer being shot at once; 1 
should enter a strong protest against this violation of all my natural rights by 
wicked, rude, uncontrolled white men, they being secure from punishment, and 
t hopeless of redress. It is supposed that ten years ago there were sixty tbofh 
land Indians in the State: to-day there are not ten thonsand."— ^cto York IH 
bwM^ September, 1869. 


and demanded exorbitant prices for the goods which they 
gave in exchange. They held the firm in distrust and dis- 
like—whether justly or unjustly no evidence now accessible 
enables us to decide. 

But the Seminoles found friends at length, in whom they 
confided, who entered into their feelings, and who assisted 
them to give utterance to their complaints. 

The group of islands, five hundred in number, called the 
Bahamas, belonging to Great Britain, is separated from the 
eastern coast of Florida by a channel only forty-five miles 
wide. Of these islands New Providence is the largest, and 
of New Providence Nassau is the principal town. The Brit- 
ish governor resides at Nassau, which was a town of seven or 
eight thousand inhabitants in 1817. The people of New 
Providence were naturally conversant with the affairs of 
Florida. At New Providence Colonel Nichols had enlisted 
part of the troops with which in 1814 he made his famoui 
descent upon Florida. To New Providence many of those 
troops returned after the war. At New Providence the chief 
Francis stopped on his way home from England. The Gov- 
ernor of New Providence, being the nearest representative of 
British majesty, was the person who. Colonel Nichols had 
assured the Seminoles, would look to their interests, give 
them advice, and receive their talks. 

Early in the year 1817, Alexander Arbuthnot, a Scotch- 
man by birth, for many years a merchant of New Providence, 
came in his own schooner from the Bahamas to trade in 
Florida with the Indians and Spaniards. He brought with 
him such articles as powder, lead, knives, blankets, vermil- 
ion, beads, calico, and clothing, with the design of exchanging 
these commodities for skins, beeswax, and corn. The popula- 
tion of Florida at that time may have been, in all, ten thou- 
sand, and there was, accordingly, a field for such a trade as 
he proposed to open. 

Arbuthnot was a man past the prime of life, of some sub- 
stance, of good presence, and of respectable education. Hiii 
letters, log-book, diary, and other writings, which his Bvim^ 


quent tragic fate caused to be published^ show him to have 
been a man of intelligence, ability and humanity — a credit- 
able specimen of a Scottish merchant. He came to Florida 
as a trader merely. He came, moreover, as a kind of com- 
petitor for the favor of the Indians with the house of Forbes 
& Co., and he may have come in consequence of the known 
dissatisfaction of the Indians with that firm. 

His interests, therefore, as well as his inclinations, induced 
him to take the part of the Seminoles, and to exhibit his 
partiality for them in various ways. He bore no commission 
from the Governor of New Providence. He neither had, nor 
exercised, nor attempted to exercise, any authority in Flor- 
ida. He was a trader, and nothing but a trader. But he 
was a trader who had good feeling enough to take an interest 
in the welfare of his untutored customers. That he should 
have adopted the Seminole side of the questions in dispute, 
and shared their prejudices, was most natural to a man in his 
situation, who could not have been well informed respecting 
a portion of the history of the United States, of which sena- 
tors in Congress were ignorant. However he may have erred 
in opinion on the subjects referred to, his voice was always 
for peaceful measures. Keep the peace, at all hazards, under 
aU provocations, was the burden of his advice to the Indians 
on every occasion. Not a syllable can be found in his papers 
which can be fairly made to support the charge that he insti- 
gated the Indians to hostility. A man of his intelligence and 
caution, all of whose interests were on the side of peace, could 
have held no other language to this poor fragment of a tribe 
than such as tended to peace. 

Arbuthnot had not been long in Florida before he was 
solicited and authorized by the Indians to make known their 
situation and their alleged grievances to the British govern- 
ment. He complied with their request. He wrote to the 
Governor of New Providence, to the British Minister at 
Washington, to Colonel Nichols in London, to Hambly at 
Prospect Bluff, to the Governor General of Havanna, to the 
Spanish governors in Florida^ to the commandants of the 


Americiin posts, and finally to General Mitchell of Georgia, 
detailing the complaints of the Seminoles at great length, 
communicating their talks, and calling upon his correspond- 
ents to bestir themselves in their behalf. 

His own feelings with regard to the injuries of which the 
Seminoles complained may be gathered from an entry in hia 
diary, written late in the summer of 1817, as he was about 
to sail to New Providence : " These men," he writes, " are 
children of nature ; leave them in their forests to till their 
fields and hunt the stag, and graze their cattle, their ideas 
will extend no further ; and the honest trader, in supplying 
their moderate wants, may make a handsome profit of them. 
They have been ill treated by the English and robbed by 
the Americans ; cheated by those who have dealt with them, 
receiving goods and other articles at most exorbitant prices 
for their peltry, which have been much undervalued. I say 
the English ill treat them. After making them parties in 
the war with America, they leave them without a pilot, to be 
robbed and ill treated by their natural and sworn enemies the 
Americans. When the English officer. Colonel Nichols, left 
Prospect BluflF, on the Appalachicola river, he left particular 
orders with Cappachimico and the other chiefs, not on any 
account to enter on the territory of the Americans, while, at 
the same time he informed them the Americans were to give 
up that territory they had taken possession of during the war. 
But while he informed the Indians how they should act, and 
what the Americans were to do in compliance with the treaty, 
he left no person to guide them in their conduct, in case the 
latter should not comply, or continue to extend their encroach- 
ments and commit aggressions. When such was the case 
they had none to represent their case to the British govern- 
ment but William Hambly, the clerk of John Forbes, and 
Doyle, another of his clerks, both of whom had, long before 
the conclusion of the war, sold themselves to the American 
government; and while they were receiving British pay acted 
as spies to the Ameiicans. These persons were not likely to 


represent the condnct and encroachments of the Americans in 
their true light." 

It may be advisable to add to this extract one of the let* 
tcrs written by Arbuthnot in the summer of 1817, on behalf 
of the Seminoles. It will interest the reader, besides showing, 
better than could be otherwise shown, the spirit of Arbuth- 
Qot's conduct with regard to the Indians. 


"Nassau, New Puoyidkkgb, ) 
"August 26, 1817. ) 

'^ Sir : Especially authorized by the chiefe of the lower Creek nation, 
whose names I affix to the present, I am desired to address you, that yoa 
may lay their complaint before his majesty's government They desire it 
to be made known that they have implicitly followed your advice in living 
friendly with the Americans, who are their neighbors, and nowise attempt 
to molest them, though they have seen the Americans encroach on their 
territory, burning their towns and making fields where their houses stood. 
Rather than make resistance, they have retired lower in the peninsula. 
The town Eabaliaway, where Oils Micco was chie^ is one instance of the 
encroachments of the Americans. This town was situated under the guns 
of Fort Guines, and Micco was desired to submit to the Americana, or hia 
town would be blown to atoms. Rather than do so, he retired, and is now 
Eving in the lower nation, and his fields, and even where the town stood, 
are ploughed up by the Americans. They complain of the English govern* 
ment neglecting them, afler having drawn them into a war with America; 
that you, sir, have not kept your promise, in sending people to reside 
among them ; and that if they have not some person or persons, resident 
in the nation, to watch over their interest, they will soon be driven to the 
•xtremity of the peninsula. You left Mr. Hambly to watch over the in- 
terest of the Creek nation ; but you hardly left the nation when he turned 
traitor, and was led by Forbes to take the part of the Americans. His let- 
ter to me, of which I annex you a copy, will show you what length he 
could go, if he had the means. It is Hambly and Doyle who give the In- 
dians all the trouble they experience. They send their emissaries among 
the lower Creeks, and make them believe the Cowhellas, aided by thi> 
Americans, are coming to destroy them; thus both are put in fear, and 
their fields are neglected, and hunting is not thought o£ I have endeav- 
ored to do away this fear by writing the chief of the Cowella towns that 
they ought to Uve on friendly terms with their brethren of the lower nation, 
whose wishes were to be on good terms with them, and not to listen tc 


any bad talks, but to chase those that give them from among them. Mj 
letter was answered from them rather favorably, and I hope the talk that 
was sent to the Big Warrior last June will heal the difference between them. 

'^ HiUisajo (Francis) arrived in my schooner at Ocklocknee Sound last 
June, and was well received by all the chiefs and others who came to wel- 
come him home. In consequenoe of his arrival a talk was held, the sub* 
stance of which was put on paper for them, and it was sent with a pipe 
of peace to the other nations. HiUisajo wished to return to Nassau with 
me, but I prevailed on him to stay in the nation and keep them at peace. 
I regret, sir, to notice this poor man's affairs, though, by his desire. It ap- 
pears that he arrived at Nassau a short time after I had left it in January, 
and Captain Woodbine being there, took charge of him, his gooos and 
money, prevailing on the governor to let him stay with him until he went 
down to the nation, which it was his intention to do. Of the money received 
from Gk)vernor Cameron, there had only been given him by Captain Wood- 
bine eighty dollars ; also a barrel of sugar, a bag of coffee, and a small keg 
of rum ; and the interpreter, Thugart, informed me that when Hillisajo 
asked for an account, Captain Woodbine refused it, saying it would be 
useless to a man who could not read. He also misses two cases, one of 
which he thinks contains crockery. I have made inquiry of his Majesty's 
ordnance storekeeper, and he informs me the whole were delivered to 
Captain Woodbine ; they are therefore lost to Hillisiy'o. 

" I am desired to return Hillisajo's warmest acknowledgments for the 
very handsome manner you treated him in England, and he begs hia 
prayer may be laid at the foot of his royal highness, the Prince Regent. I 
left him and all his family well on the twentieth of June. Old Cappachi- 
micco desires me to send his respects, and requests that you will send out / 

some people to live among them, and all the land they took from Forbes 
shall be theirs. At all events, they must have an agent among them, to 
see that the Americans adhere to the treaty, and permit them to live un- 
molested on their own lands. This agent should be authorized by his 
Majesty's government, or he will not be attended to by the AmericanSi 
In the gazettes of Georgia, the Americans report the Seminole Indians are 
continually committing murders on their borders, and making incursions 
into the State. These are fabrications, tending to irritate the American 
government against the poor Indians; for, during the time I was in the 
nation, there was only one American killed, and he, with two others, were 
hi the act of driving off cattle belonging to Boleck, chief of Suwany, whereas 
three men and a boy were killed last June by a party of American cattle- 
BtealerS; while in their hunting-K^amps ; the boy they scalped, and one of 
Boleck's head men was killed in Sl John's river in July. The backwood 
Georgians, and those resident on the borders of the Indiati nation^ are con- 
tinually entering it and driving off cattle. They have in some mstan^seff 


made settlements, and particularly on the Choctohacky river, where a oon* 
nderable number have descended. 

" By the treaty with Great Britain, the Americans were to give up to 
the Indians all the lands that may have been taken from them durinp^ the 
war, and place tliem on the same footing they were in 1811. It appears 
that they have not done so; that Fort Gaines on Ihe Chatahoochy and 
Camp Crawford on the Flint River, are both on Indan territory that was 
not in possession of -America in 1811. They are fearful that before any aid 
is given by the English government they will be no longer iu possession o^ 
any territory. 

" I wrote last January to his excellency the Hon. Charles Baggott re- 
specting the encroachments of the Americans, as I was informed by the 
copy of a letter from the right honorable Earl Bathurst, handed me by his 
excellency Gbveriior Cameron, that his Majesty's embassador had received 
orders to watch over the interest of the Indians. Since my return here I 
have received of Mr. Moodie, of Charleston, an extract of a letter from the 
honorable Charles Baggott that the expense of postage is so considerable 
any furtlier communications of the same nature must be sent him by pri- 
vate hands. Now, sir, as no person goes from this direct to Washington, 
how am I to be able to comply with his desire ? Thus he will be kept 
ignorant of Uie situation of the poor Indians, and the encroachments daily 
made on tlieir lands by American settlers, while he may be told by the 
American government that no encroachments have been made, and that 
the forts they still hold are still necessary to check the unruly Seminoles. 
Thus the person appointed to watch over the interest of the Indians, having 
no other means of information than from the parties interested in their de- 
struction, and seeing from time to time in the American gazettes accounts 
of cruel murders, etc., etc., committed by the Indians on the frontier set- 
tlements of the United States, he apprehends the Indians merit all the 
Americans do to them. 

" But let his Majesty's government appoint an agent with full powers 
to qorrespond with his Majesty's embassador at Washington, and bis eyes 
will then be opened as to the motives of that influence, American individ^ 
uals as well as the government^ in villifying the Indians. The power given 
me and the instnictions were to memorialize his Majesty's government, as 
well as the Governor General of Havana, but if you will be pleased to lay 
this letter before his Majesty's Secretary of State, it will save the necessity 
of the first, and I fear that a memorial to the Gove nor General would b« 
of no use. Referring you to the annexed names, 

" I am, most respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"A. Arbuthnot. 

''Lieut Col Edwabd Niohota" 


Whether these accusations against Hambly and Doyle had 
any foundation in truth, or whether they were based upon the 
misrepresentations of the Indians, or whether they were the 
offspring of prejudice on the part of a rival trader, I know not. 
Arbuthnot seems to have been strongly convinced of their 
truth, and deeply embittered against the two clerks. To Ham- 
bly, who had accused him of inciting the Indians to hostile 
acts, Arbuthnot indignantly retorted : " If your conduct, sir, 
to the Indians were guided by as pure motives as mine, you 
would endeavor to influence them to respect each other as 
brothers, and live in harmony and friendship, cultivating their 
lands in summer, and taking their diversions of hunting in 
winter, respecting their neighbors and making yourself re- 
spected by them. If thus, sir, you would act (and by your 
knowledge of their language you have much more in your 
power than any other man), you would then be the true friend 
of the Indians. Were I an instigator of theft and murder, 
would I hold the language I have done to the chiefs and others 
who have called on me ? Ask the lieutenant commanding at 
Fort Gaines if my letter to him breathed the strains of a 
murderer ? Ask Opy Hatchy, or Dany, his interpreter, if the 
recommendatory note I sent him by order of Apiny could be 
written by an instigator of murder ? Ask Apiny himself if 
my language to him was that of a murderer ? Ask Mappa- 
litchy, a chief, residing among the Americans on Oakmulgee^ 
if my lan^age and advice to him favored that of a murderer? 
All those and every Indian who heard my talks will contra- 
dict your vile assertions." 

Arbuthnot alludes in this passage to a letter of his to 
the commandant of Fort Gaines. That letter was extremely 
creditable to Arbuthnot's heart, if less so to his judgment. It 
was written in the full belief that the lands north of the Florida 
line really belonged to the Seminoles. " The head chiefs," 
wrote Arbuthnot (March 3d, 1817), " request that I will in- 
quire of you why American settlers are descending the Chat- 
tahoochie, driving the poor Indian from his habitation, and 
♦making possession of his home and cultivated fields? Without 

VOL, II. — 27 

418 LIFE or ANDBEW JACK80K. [1817 

anthority I can claim nothing of you, but a humaue and phil- 
anthropic principle guiding me, I hope the same will influ- 
ence you, and if such is really the case, and the line marked 
out by the treaty of peace between Great Britain and the 
United States respecting the Indian nations has been in- 
fiinged upon by the subjects of the latter, that you will rep- 
resent to them their improper conduct, and prevent its con- 

It was in vain that Arbuthnot wrote and pleaded for his 
untutored friends. His letters in their behalf produced no 
effects whatever. He and the Seminoles were equally in the 
dark respecting the treaty of Fort Jackson and the claim of 
the Seminoles to the Creek lands. Arbuthnot trafficked and 
traded during the whole year, making occasionally a voyage 
in his schooner to Nassau, and filling up his leisure hours in 
writing letters for the Indians. Before the year closed Boleck 
and the other chiefs were considerably indebted to him for 
goods. This fact alone would have made a cautious trader 
the advocate of peace. 

We have alluded to the cargo of Arbuthnot's schooner, 
Chance. It remains to speak of her passengers. 

Early in the year came over one Peter Cook, as clerk to 
Arbuthnot, whom Arbuthnot afterwards discharged and made 
an enemy of. Later, a son of Arbuthnot came to assist hifl 
father in his Florida business. In September the schooner 
brought to Florida a passenger whom Arbuthnot always men- 
tions in his diary as " Captain W." The wary merchant did 
not like this Captain W., nor approve his proceedings. Cap- 
tain W., on reaching the coast, had a talk with some Semi- 
nole chiefs who came on board the schooner, in the course of 
which, it appears, he made large promises to them of British 
, protection and bounty. " I take no notice," writes the pru- 
dent Arbuthnot in his log-book, " of Captain W.'s talk to the 
Indians, because I doubt much if what he stated was founded 
in fact, and was only mentioned by him to strengthen the 

* State Pnpen, 2d Senion 16th OongroBS, Doa 66, p. 210. 

1817.] THE 8SMIN0LES l^IKD NEW FBIEND8. 419 

chiefs in their attachment to the British government. [ say 
no further on this head. Of his promises I fear he has also 
gone too far; and perhaps at a future time, when the IndianB 
find them unperformed, the rage for their disappointment 
may fall on me, as a party aiding and abetting Captain W. 
in his deception. I have gone beyond my promise to Captain 
W. I have been deceived in almost every thing, and yet he 
thinks every thing and person must be subservient to him. I 
have had himself and aide-de-camp on board since the 31st 
August ; in any expedition, in canoe or boat, I have supplied 
his wants. I kept three negroes on board more than two 
months on his account. I presented the chiefs for him and 
on his accoimt. I have seen my provisions taken and given 
away, when we were on short allowance ; for Captain W. 
gives liberally, when it is not out of his own pocket, but is 
extremely costive when anything is wanted from home." 

And who was Captain W. ? Captain W. was no other 
than that Captain Woodbine who, under the command of 
Colonel Nichols, drilled, organized, and led the Florida In* 
dians in 1814. He is so frequently styled, in the papers 
relating to Florida affairs of this period, the "Notorious 
Woodbine," that a foreign reader, imperfect in his English, 
might be led to suppose that notorious was part of the cap- 
tain's name. As we habitually speak of the venerable Bede 
and the judicious Hooker, feeling that these adjectives by 
mere length of tenure belong to those reverend persons, so 
writers on the affairs of Florida have felt it necessary to couple 
the name of Woodbine with the epithet notorious. If not 
notorious, then " infamous." Sometimes the obnoxious per- 
son is spoken of as " the notorious Woodbine, of iufamouB 
memory." But with all his notoriety it is difficult in the ex- 
treme to obtain the least approach to certainty as to his de- 
signs in Florida, and the particular object of his presence 
there in 1817. We know little more than that he had ob- 
tained from the Indians a grant of land in Florida ; that he 
came to Florida in September of this year; and that he sailed 
away again to New Providence^ where he lived. Alx)ut iho 

420 LIFE 07 AKDBBW JAOKSOK. [1817. 

same time two Seminoles went to Nassau as a deputation to 
Cameron, the Governor of New Providence. The probability 
is that Woodbine was then a mere adventurer, whose sok 
interest and object in Florida was the lands which the In- 
dians had given him ; his possession of which depended upon 
Florida becoming a British, or remaining a Spanish, or be- 
coming an independent province. It was lucky, indeed, for 
Woodbine that he got safely out of Florida when he did. 
There was an individual residing in the neighborhood of 
Nashville who had recollections of this Captain W., and in 
whose mind he was never other than notorious. 

But the schooner brought to Florida another passenger, 
who came, as he said, "to attend to Captain Woodbine's 
business." This was that too famous Ambrister, afterwards 
associated with Arbuthnot in a terrible destiny. Ambrister 
had served four years as a midshipman in the English navy, 
and left the service before the war of 1812. He joined Nichols 
at New Providence, and served under him in Florida in the 
rank of lieutenant of marines ; wandering over half the globe 
after the war. Reappearing in Florida in the fall of 1817, 
but without a commission or any public object or official 
authorization, he acted the part of a most thoughtless, head- 
strong, lawless adventurer. Like Arbuthnot, whom he seems 
to have despised and plundered, he threw himself into the 
Indian cause and wrote letters in their behalf; .but, unlike 
Arbuthnot, he did all that in him lay to induce the Indians 
to resist the alleged encroachments of the Americans by force 
of anus. He flourished about in his uniform. He gave orders 
and assumed the airs of command. He wrote to his relative, 
Governor Cameron, asking him to send arms and ammunition 
to the Indians. He wrote to Nichols, telling him that three 
hundred blacks, " a few of our Bluff people" among them, 
had " stuck to the caiLse" and expected him to come out and 
take their part, as he had promised. "Francis says,*' he 
added in a postscript, " you must bring the horses when you 
come out that you promised ; and that his house has been 
burnt down, and burnt his uniform clothes." 


The presence of such a man among the Seminoles, at a 
time when their minds had been long excited by dwelling 
upon and magnifying their grievances, real and imaginary, 
was almost enough of itself to precipitate hostilities. It is 
evident, nevertheless, that Ambrister was far more foolish than 
wicked. He knew not what he did. It was, probably, the 
vain and weak desire of cutting a figure among the Indians 
that led him to his doom. 

While thus, during the year 1817, affairs in Florida were 
approaching a crisis, and two nations were negotiating for the 
privilege of governing it, and three races were contending foi 
its possession, a nimble hand was stretched out from the sea, 
which made a vigorous clutch at the prize, with the design 
of balking all the contestants. 



On the Atlantic coast of Florida there is an island fifteen 
miles long and four wide, called Amelia Island ; which now 
forms part of the county of Nassau, and shows to the Cali- 
fornia steamers a revolving light one hundred feet above the 
sea, visible at a distance of sixteen miles. There is a town 
upon this island, Femandina by name, a flourishing place in 
the old embargo and privateering times, with occasionally 
three hundred square-rigged vessels in its harbor ; but now 
Uiuch fallen to decay. 

In June, 1817, a band of fillibusters landed upon Amelia 
1 sland. They were commanded by a personage once renowned, 
now forgotten, who was wont to announce himself to the 
universe as " Citizen Gregor McGregor, Brigadier General of 
the armies of the United Provinces of New Granada and 
Venezuela, and General-in-Chief of the aimies of the Two 
Floridas, commissioned by the Supreme Directors of Mexico, 


South America, etc., etc/' Thia gentleman (a Scottish baro- 
net, I believe, and man of fortune) was one of those European 
enthusiasts who went to the assistance of the Spanish prov- 
inces of America in their attempts to parody the American 
revolution. He wrote the most distinguished proclamations 
in their behalf. Frustrated in his designs in South America, 
he sailed away in his own vessel, the General McGregor, to 
Baltimore ; where, gathering a band of " patriots" of all na- 
tions, he prepared to strike another blow at Spanish power by 
seizing Florida. His object, as he said to a friend in Balti- 
more before sailing, was to " take possession of Amelia, and 
thence to wrest the Floridas from Spain ; when he should 
immediately call on the inhabitants, by proclamation, to des- 
ignate some of their most respectable fellow-citizens to form 
a constitution on the model of some of the adjoining States. 
That, so far as it might depend on him, he would encourage 
the existing disposition of the people in that section to con- 
federate with the United States." Cuba, he thought, was 
ripe for revolution. Florida well seized, and used as a basis 
of operations, the Spanish power in America could not long 
sustain itself. 

Arriving at Amelia Island with about fifty followers, he 
promptly effected his purpose of publishing a proclamation, 
in the course of which he remarked that he hoped to " plant 
the Green Cross of Florida on the proud walls of St. Augus- 
tine," and desired the whole of Florida to consider itself, and 
to be considered, in a state of blockade. Nature is chary of 
her gifts. When she endows a man with the capacity of pro- 
ducing proclamations of that kind, she denies him the ability 
to carry them into effect. Exhausted in the effort of com- 
position, he achieves nothing more. It will not astonish the 
philosophic reader, therefore, to learn that Citizen Gregor 
McGr^or did not perform the horticultural feat of converting 
the Green Cross of Florida into a wall-flower at St. Augus- 
tine ; nor did he succeed in convincing any portion of the 
maritime public that he had blockaded Florida with his pri- 
vate yacht, the General McGregor. On the contrary, the port 


of Fernandina remained the resort of privateersmen and 
slavers. Citizen McGregor, not prospering in his revolutioik^ 
owing, as he said, to the want of men and money, listened to 
the counsels of the " Notorious Woodbine," who visited the 
Island of Amelia soon after the arrival of the patriota 
" Woodbine," wrote a gentleman on the island to the Secre- 
tary of War, " persuaded McGr^or that he could find friends 
and funds in New Providence, and that a British r^ment had 
lately been disbanded there ; that they would pick up as many 
of the soldiers as possible, and with what negroes and others 
they could gather, would make a tolerable force. They were 
then to sail for Tampa Bay, a fine harbor to the northwest- 
ward of Cape Florida, where they were to be joined by fifteen 
hundred Indians, already engaged to Woodbine, and invade 
Florida from that point. They are then to march across, and 
attack St. Augustine."* 

In the month of September, Woodbine, Citizen Gregoi 
McGregor and his " lady," went to New Providence in the 
schooner General McGregor, but returhed not to decorate the 
proud walls of St. Augustine. In December, McGregor wrote 
to his Baltimore friend : " I leave this day for England, to 
arrange my private affairs, which, from the many years that 
I have been in South America, have not improved by my 
absence. My family remains here until my return." And so 
vanishes into the blue ocean the vague, imposing form of 
Brigadier General Sir Gregor McGregor. 

But his followers remained upon Amelia Island. Thoy 
were soon joined by Commodore Aury, another " patriot" in 
the service of the Mexican Eepublic, which was struggling 
then to proclaim itself into existence. With Commodore 
Aury came a hundred and fifty patriots and several vessels^ 
Aury, who seems to have been a man of honor, sincerely do- 
voted to the cause, strove for some months to continue and 
do the work which McGregor's proclamation had announced. 
He proceeded to form a provisional government ; caused a 
legislature to be elected ; set a committee at work drawing up 

* State Papers, 2d Sesaioii loth Congreaa^ vol. iv^ Doa 66, p. 19a 


R constitution, and invited all Florida to join in the great 
business of throwing off the Spanish yoke. He was attacked 
at Fernandina by a Spanish force. A report reached the 
United States that he had been defeated, and that the Span- 
ish general had cut off fifteen pairs of patriot ears, which the 
Governor of Pensacola had bought at the extravagant rate of 
fifty dollars per pair. But the truth was far otherwise. Amy 
beat off the Spanish troops, and the Green Cross stiU waved 
in triumph over Fernandina. 

It was a most motley and miscellaneous crew that Commo- 
dore Aury found himself associated with upon the island of 
Amelia. There were British adventurers of the Woodbine 
and Ambrister stamp ; Irish and French refugees ; Scotch 
enthusiasts ; Mexican and Spanish patriots ; several of La- 
fitte's Baratarian band ; a company of negro troops who had 
served in Mexico under Aury ; the original inhabitants of 
Fernandina; and large numbers of privateersmen, slavers, 
and other seafaring scoundrels. And when it is stated that 
one of the first acts of' the fillibusters was the establishment 
of a NEWSPAPER, no one will need to be told that there were 
Americans among them. 

Commodore Aury was soon immersed in a sea of difficul- 
ties. The fillibusters fell to quarreling with one another. 
There were two parties, and each party had its factions. One 
party was composed of those who were earnestly intent on 
wresting the province from Spain, and making it an indepen- 
dent republic. This was unquestionably the object of Com- 
modore Aury. " I came," said Aury in one of his addresses 
to the " legislature," " to assist General McGregor in liberat- 
ing the Floridas, thereby drawing the attention of our com- 
mon enemy, and attacking the tyrant in his other possessions ; 
•convinced that the independence of the two Floridas once se- 
cured, forces could be raised which, united with those of the 
other chiefs, might strike a decisive blow to tyranny. My con- 
duct, since ray anival at Amelia, is so well known to you all, 
gentlemen, that it requires no mention to be made of it. I wili 
only ask whether^ in any one single instance, I have deviated 


from the principles which might insm-e liberty to our op* 
pressed brethren, and give succor to Mexican patriots, who, 
in spite of repeated disasters, still rise with redoubled enthu- 
siaem in defense of their sacred rights." 

The other party seems to have been composed of those 
who wished to use their temporary possession of Amelia island 
and its harbor for the purpose of smuggling into the United 
States the cargoes of the privateers, and for the still more 
nefarious object of landing and selling slaves from the African 
coast. Whatever the cause of quarrel, the factions, we are 
told, were soon " at daggers' points," and the island was a 
scene of riot and bloodshed for several days. 

In these disheartening circumstances Commodore Aury 
resorted to the expedient that suggests itself to the " patriot" 
mind in all difficulties. He issued a proclamation. He 
dated it " November 5, 1817, and year one of independence."* 
He declared martial law for ten days. Quiet was restored at 

♦ The following is a copy of Commodore Aury'a proclamation : " Inhabitanta 
of FerDandina I For da}'s past you have witnessed the scandalous transactions of 
a taction composed of men who, existing and toleratod on this island by our gen- 
erosity, have solely been engaged in subverting social order. They are mercen- 
aries, traitors, or cowards, who abandoned the cause of republicanism in the hoar 
of danger, and who, either hired by our enemies, or misled by the intrigues of a few 
aspiring individuals, have attempted to involve us in all the complicated horroFB 
of a civil war. Citizens, we are republicans from principle, our fortunes have been 
spent, and our lives oft exposed for this most glorious cause. We have come here 
to plant the tree of liberty, to foster free institutions, and to wage war against the 
tyrant of Spain, the oppressor of America and the enemy of the rights of man. 
We are ever ready to pay obedience to the principles of repubhcanism, but firmly 
djetermined never to adhere to the dictates of a (action. 

" When the heat of passion shall be no more, when public peace and tran- 
qoility are restored, we shall see with a lively pleasure the establishment of % 
provisional government most suitable to our common interest, and to the 80- 
vancement of our glorious cause. 

'* Americans, Englishmen, Irishmen, and Frenchmen, men of all nations, W8 
we freemen; let us for ever be united by the love of Uberty and hatred to tyranny. 

'* Soldiers and sailors, martial law is declared to be in force for ten daya Lei 
!18 give to cur brethren of the Flor?das proofs of our militaiy disclplme, and of ooi 
respect for the property of the inhabitants. 

^ Headquarters of Femandina, November 6, 1817 and year one of indepeap 
ience. ** Louis Aufff** 


length, and the commodore and his legislature continucif the 
work of forming a government and drawing up a constitu- 

The rest of this episode in the history of Florida is soon 
told. A considerable portion of the Republican party of the 
United States were disposed at first to sympathize with and 
aid the revolutionists. But the reports of the landing of 
slaves, of the smu^ling of merchandise, and the dissensions 
of the band, soon changed this feeling into contempt and dis- 
gust. President Monroe and his cabinet had begim to regard 
Florida as their own. Even the sum of money to be paid by 
the United States for its purchase had been agreed upon and 
published in all the newspapers. The government looked to 
see the Spanish authorities expel the invaders. When, how- 
ever, they learned that the forces of Spain (a rabble of In- 
dians, Spaniards, and negroes) had been defeated by the filli- 
busters, and had given up the island to them after a loss of 
only half a dozen killed and woimded, they deemed it their 
duty to do what Spain evidently could not do. Land and 
naval forces were dispatched to Amelia Island late in the year 
1817, with orders to remove the invaders — peacefully if they 
could, forcibly if they must. Commodore Aury made no re- 
sistance. He asked a few weeks of delay, which were granted. 
Early in the spring of 1818 the revolutionists took their peace- 
ful departure ; the flag of the United States replaced the 
green cross, and troops of. the United States garrisoned Fer- 

nandina, in trust for his Catholic Majesty of Spain. 

The reader is now prepared to follow understandingly, 

with little further digression or explanation, the events in 

Florida which were controlled by General Jackson. Tha 

icene is set; the tragedy may begin. 

1017. iTTAOK n?oii rowLTowir. 427 



November. Alarm pervades the frontiers of Georgia 
The Seminoles are sullen and savage. During the autunm 
there have been outrages and murders. White men have 
killed and plundered Indians ; Indians have killed and plun- 
dered white men. United States troops again occupy Fort 
Scott and the other posts near the junction of the Chatta- 
hoochie and Flint. A body of Georgia militia are in the 
field, called out to assist in expelling the fiUibusters from 
Amelia. Boat loads of provisions and munitions are ascend- 
ing the Appalachicola once more. There is a bustle of war- 
like preparation all along the rivers and the line that divides 
Florida and Georgia. There are Seminole villages on both 
sides of that line, some of which are friendly to the whites, 
others hostile. 

But as late as the middle of November, despite the irrita- 
tion, the resentments, the alarms, no act of war has been 
done on either side. The outrages have been the work of 
individuals and small parties. As between the United States 
and the Seminoles there is peace. 

General Edmund P. Gaines still commands in this quar- 
ter. During the year he has been^ " talking" with the sullen 
chiefs, from time to time, assuming in his talks that the In- 
dians were wholly in fault. This was one of his talks : 
" Your Seminoles are very bad people. I don't say whom. 
You have murdered many of my people, and stolen my cattle 
and many good horses that cost me money ; and many good 
houses that cost me money you have burned for me ; and 
now that you see my writing, you will think that I have 
spoken right. I know it is so, you know it is so ; for now 
you may say I will go upon you at random. But just give 
me the murderers, and I will show them my law ; and when 
that is finished and past, if you will come about any of my 


people, you will see your friends, and if you see me you will 
see your friend. But there is sometliing out in the sea, a 
bird with a forked tongue ; whip liim back before he lands, 
for he will be the ruin of you. Yet perhaps you do not know 
who or what I mean — I mean the name of Englishman. I 
tell you this, that if you do not give me up the murderers 
who have murdered my people, I say I have got good strong 
warriors with scalping knives and tomakawks. You harbor 
a great many of my black people among you, at Sahwahnee. 
If you give me leave to go by you against them, I shall not 
hurt any thing belonging to you " 

To which the chief, " King Hatchy," haughtily replied : 
'* You charge me with killing your people, stealing your cat- 
tle, and burning your houses. It is I that have cause to 
complain of the Americans. While one American has been 
justly killed, while in the act of stealing cattle, more than 
four Indians have been murdered while hunting by these 
lawless freebooters. I harbor no negroes. When the English- 
men were at war with America, some took shelter among 
them, and it is for you white people to settle those things 
among yourselves, and not trouble us with what we know 
nothing about. I shall use force to stop any armed Ameri- 
cans from passing my towns or my lands." 

Such was the humor of the two races in the autumn of 

Fourteen miles east of Fort Scott, in Georgia, but near 
the Florida line, on lands claimed by the United States un- 
der the treaty of Fort Jackson, was a Seminole village, called 
by the settlers Fowltown. The chief of this village of forty- 
five warriors was supposed to be, and was, peculiarly embit- 
tered against the whites. The red war-pole had been erected 
by his warriors, around which they danced the war- dance. 
The Fowltown chief was resolved to hold his lands, and resist 
by force any further encroachments, and had said as much to 
Colonel Twiggs, the commandant of Fort Scott. " I warn 
yuu/' he said to Colonel Twiggs, early in November, " not to 
cross, nor cut a stick of wood on the east side of the Flint 


That land is mine. I am directed by the powers above and 
the powers below to protect and defend it. I shall do so." A 
few days after General Gaines arrived at Fort Scott with a 
reinforcement of regular troops, when the talk of the Fowl- 
town chief was reported to him. General Gaines, " to ascer- 
tain," as he said, " whether his hostile temper had abated/' 
had previously sent a runner to the chief to request him to 
come to him at Fort Scott. The chief replied, " I have al- 
ready said to the officer commanding at the fort all I have to 
say. I will not go." 

General Gaines immediately detached a force of two 
hundred and fifty men, under command of Colonel Twiggs, 
with orders "to bring to me the chief and his warriors, 
and, in the event of resistance, to treat them as ene- 

On the morning of November 21st, before the dawn of 
day, the detachment reached Fowltown. The warriors fired 
upon the troops without waiting to learn their errand. It 
could not be expected to occur to the benighted Seminole 
mind that a large body of troops arriving near their town in 
the darkness of a November morning could have any but a 
hostile errand. The fire of the Indians, which was wholly 
without effect, was " briskly returned" by the troops, when 
the Indians took to flight, with the loss of two men killed 
and one women, besides several wounded. Colonel Twiggs 
entered and searched the abandoned town. Among other 
articles found in the house of the chief were a scarlet coat of 
the British uniform, a pair of golden epaulets, and a cer- 
tificate, in the handwriting of Colonel Nichols, declaring that 
the Fowltown chief had ever been a true and faithful friend 
of the British. Colonel Twiggs took post near the town, 
erected a temporary stockade, and waited for further orders. 
Shortly afterwards the town was burnt by General Gainefl 

The die was cast. The revenge of the Seminoles for thif 

^ Diiipatch of Gkdnes to Secretar/ of War, November 21, 1817. 


seizure of Fowltown,^ and the slaughter of its warriors and 
the woman, was swift, bloody, and atrocious. 

Nine days after, a large open boat, containing forty United 
States troops, seven soldiers' wives and four little children, 
under command of Lieutenant Scott, of the 7th infantry, was 
warping slowly up the Appalachicola river. They were within 
one mile of reaching the junction of the Chattahoochie and 
Flint, and not many miles from Fort Scott. To avoid the 
swift current, the soldiers kept the boat close to the shora 
They were passing a swamp, densely covered with trees and 
oane. Suddenly, at a moment when not a soul on board sus- 
pected danger, for not an Indian, nor trace of an Indian had 
been seen, a heavy volley of musketry, from the thickets 
within a few yards of the boat, was fired full into the closely- 
compacted party. Lieutenant Scott and nearly every man in 
the boat were killed or badly wounded at the first fire. Other 
volleys succeeded. The Indians soon rose from their ambush 
and rushed upon the boat with a fearful yell. Men, women 
and children were involved in one horrible massacre, or spared 
for more horrible torture. The children were taken by the 

* Among the proo& that the attack upon Fowltown was the dkect and im- 
mediate cause of the Seminole war, the following extract from General D. M. 
Mitchell's deposition on the subject before a committee of the XJuitod States Sen- 
ate^ February, 1819, is one of the most conclusive: " About the 1st of August^ 
1817, 1 received a letter from M^jor Twiggs, then at Fort Scotf, dated the 4th of 
that month, written, as he says, ot tlie request of the cbiefb of three towns near 
that place, expressive of their willingness to agree to the talk delivered by me in 
July at Fort Hawkins. Of the three towns referred to the Fowltown was one, 
but before 1 had an opportunity of sending for those chiefs, or of taking anj 
measures for meeting their proposition, General Gaines arrived with a detach- 
ment of troops from the West, sent for the chief of Fowltown, and for his cou 
tomaoy in not immediately appearing before him, the town was attacked and dO' 
fltroyod by the troops of the United States by order of General Gaines. This fiid 
waS) I conceive, the immediate cause of the Seminole war. The reasons ae^igned 
§x the destniction of Fowltown, in addition to the contumacy of the cbieC were^ 
fho reftisal of the chiefb of the Semiholos to give up some murderers, and tho hos- 
tile aspect which they had assumed. Of this demand and refusal 1 know nothing 
mon than what has been published, but truth compels me to say, that before the 
attack on Fowltown aggressions of this kind were as frequent on the part of ths 
whites as on the part of the Indians, the evidenoe of which oaii be Ihmished from 
filet of the executive of (Georgia." 


heels and their brains dashed out against the sides of the boat. 
The men and women were scalped, all but one woman, whc 
was not wounded by the previous fire. Four men escaped by 
leaping overboard and swimming to the opposite shore, of 
whom two only reached Fort Scott uninjured. Laden with 
plunder, the savages reentered the wilderness, taking with 
them the woman whom they had spared. In twenty minutes 
after the first volley was fired into the boat, every creature in 
it but five was killed and scalped, or bound and carried off. 

The Seminoles had tasted blood, and thirsted like tigers 
for more. Still haunting the banks of the river, they attacked, 
a few days later, a convoy of ascending boats, under Major 
Muhlenburgh, killing two soldiers and wounding thirteen. 
For four or five days and nights the boats lay in the middle 
of the stream, immoveable ; for not a man could show him- 
himself for an instant above the bulwarks without being fired 
upon. With diflSculty, and after great suffering on the part 
of the sick and wounded, the fleet was rescued from its hor- 
rible situation by a party from Fort Scott. 

About the same time a party of Seminoles, under the 
command of the Fowltown chief, surprized Hambly and 
Doyle, the clerks so obnoxious to the Indians and to Ar- 
buthnot, and broke up their establishment on the Appala- 
chicola. The house and store of the clerks were plundered 
of all their valuable contents, and themselves carried away 
prisoners to the southward. The Indians, then and after- 
wards, declared that these men were the cause of all their 

The prophet-chief, Francis, was soon in the field. A 
party under his command surprized a Georgia militia man, 
named M'Krimmon, while he was fishing, and carrying him 
off into the interior doomed him to the stake. Stripped, 
shaved, bound, and surrounded with fagots, the Indians 
whooping and dancing around him, he stood awaiting the 
application of the torch, when Milly Francis, the youngest 
daughter of the chief, a girl of fifteen, implored the lif 5 of th« 
prisoner. She fell upon her knees before her father^ it is saidj 


432 LIFE OF AKDBEW JA0K80N. [1817 

and entreated him to show mercy. He yielded at length, and 
M'Krimmon escaped a terrible doom, and was deliverered up 
to the Spanish commandant at Fort St. Marks. 

Before the year closed Fort Scott itself was threatened. 
A dosnltory and ineflFectual fire was kept up upon it for sev- 
eral days. The garrison being short of provisions, and form- 
ing a most exaggerated estimate of the numbers of the 
^ enemy, feared to be obliged to abandon the post. 
^ This was war indeed. The government at Washington 

\' ^ was promptly informed of these terrible events by General 

^ Gaines, who advised the most vigorous measures of retalia- 

V^ tion, " I am now quite convinced," said he, " that the hos- 

V tility of these Indians is and has long since been of so deep a 

*' character as to leave no ground to calculate upon tranijuillity, 

or the future security of our frontier settlements, until the 
towns south and east of this place shall receive a signal proof 
of our ability and willingness to retaliate for every outrage.'* 
The Seminoles, he added, were puffed up with conceit, and 
were laboring under a fatal delusion of receiving aid from the 
British. They felt sure of being able to beat the Americans. 
" They assert that we have never beaten their people except 
when we have been assisted by 'red people.'" General 
Gaines estimated the number of the Seminole warriors at 
twenty-seven hundred. 

It chanced that just before these dispatches reached 
Washington, the Secretary of War, Mr. J. C. Calhoun, not 
anticipating serious trouble from the Indians, had sent orders 
to General GaineiS to proceed to Amelia Island, to cooperate 
with the naval forces in the expulsion of the revolutionista. 
General Gaines was accordingly compelled to leave the fron- 
tiers at a time when his presence there was most needed. 
The government, fearing the effect at such a moment of the 
absence of a general oflScer from the scene of hostilities, re- 
solved upon ordering General Jackson to take command in 
person of the troops upon the frontiers of Georgia. 

General Jackson had been watching the course of events 
in the southeast with an attentive and earnest mind. The 


dispatches of General Gaines to the War Department, and 
the orders of the Department to General Gaines, had been 
duly forwarded to him. He had arrived at one very clear 
i*nd correct opinion. So long as the Spaniards hold Florida,"^ 
he thought, there will be trouble between the Seminoles and j 
the settlers upon the Georgia frontiers. The government, '^^ 
anxious for the speedy conclusion of the pending negotiation 
for the purchase of Florida, had forbidden General Gaines to 
pursue the Seminoles into Florida. Afterwards, when the 
news of the massacre of Lieutenant Scott reached Washing- 
ton, they had authorized Gaines to cross the line, provided 
the hostile Indians could be reached and punished in no other 
way. But on no account was General Gaines to molest or 
threaten a Spanish post ! If the hostile Indians took refuge 
within a Spanish fortress, he was to relinquish the pursuit, 
and take no further step without receiving new and explicit 
orders from the Department of War, 

Upon perusing these orders to General Gaines, General 
Jackson was moved to write to President Monroe a confiden- 
tial letter upon the subject, of which a copy is subjoined. 
This letter, be it observed, was written after the dispatch 
ordering General Jackson to the scene of war had left Wash- 
ington, but before it had reached the Hermitage. The orders 
of the War Department to General Jackson, and this confi- 
dential letter from General Jackson to the President, passed 
each other about midway between Nashville and Washington. 


" Nashville, 6th January, 1818. 

" Sir : A few days since I received a letter from the Secretary of War, 
of the 17th ult,, with inclosures. Your order of the 19th ult through him 
to Brevet Major General Graines to enter the territory of Spain, and chas- 
tise the ruthless savages who have been depredating on the property and 
lives of our citizens, will meet not only the approbation of your country, 
but \he approbation of Heaven. Will you, however, permit me to suggest 
the catastrophe that might arise by General Gaine's compliance with the 
last clause of your order? Suppose the case that the Indians are beaten* 
they take refuge either in Pensacola or St Augustine, which open thfl£s 
VOL II. — 28 

434 LiFS OF andbbW jaokbok. [1817. 

gfttes to tiem j to profit by his victory, Gkneral Gaines pursues the fngi- 
liyeS) and has to hidt before the garrison until he can communicute with 
his government In the meantime the militia grow restless, and he is left 
to defend himself by the regulars. The enemy, with the aid of their Spanish 
friends and Woodbine's British partisans, or, if you please, with Aury^s 
force, attacks him. What may not be the result ? Defeat and massacre. 
Permit me to remark that the arms of the United States must be carried 
to any point within the limits of East Florida, where an enemy is permitted 
and protected, or disgrace attends. 

"The executive government have ordered, and, as I conceive, very 
properly, Amelia Island to be taken possession of. This order ought to be 
carried into execution at all hazards, and simultaneously the whole of East 
Florida seized, and held as an indemnity for the outrages of Spain upon the 
property of our citizens. This done, it puts all opposition down, secures 
our citizens a complete indemnity, and saves us from a war with Great 
Britain, or some of the continental powers combined with Spain. This can 
be done without implicating the government Ld it be signified to me 
thraitgh any channel (aay Mr, J, Ehea) Ihai the possession of the Fhridaa 
would he desirable to the United States^ and in sixty days ii wiU he accom^ 

'' The order being given for the possession of Amelia Island, it ought to 
be executed, or our enemies, internal and external, will use it to the dis- 
advantage of the government If our troops enter the territory of Spain in 
pursuit of our Indian enemy, all opposition that they meet with must be 
put down, or we will be involved in danger and disgrace. 

"I have the honor, etc., 

" Andrew Jacksos; 
" Hon. James Monboe, 

** Pretident United 8tot«t.'^ 

Before proceeding further let us trace the history of this 
important letter, Mr. Monroe, in one of his later letters to 
General Jackson, told him in what circumstances it was re- 
ceived. " Your letter of January 6th," wrote the President, 
" was received while I was seriously indisposed. Observing 
that it was from you, I handed it to Mr. Calhoun to read, 
after reading one or two lines only myself The order to you 
to take command in that quarter had before been issued. He 
remarked, after perusing the letter, that it was a confidential 
one relating to Florida, which I mvM aTiswer." 

* From General JacksoD's " Exposition** of his conduct in Florida in Bentoo*i 
Ihirty dears' View, L, 170. 


Man^ years atlier, Mr. Monroe wrote to Mr. Calhoun : " j 
well remember that when I received the letter from General 
Jackson of the 6th of January, 1818, 1 was sick in bed, and 
could not read it. You were either present, or came in im- 
mediately afterwards, and I handed it to you for perusaL 
After reading it, you replaced it with a remark that it required 
my attention, or would require an answer ; but without any 
notice of its contents. Mr. Crawford came in soon afterwards, 
and I handed it also to him for perusaL He read it, and re- 
turned it in like manner, without making any comment on 
its contents, further than that it related to the Seminole war, 
or something to that effect. I never showed it to any other 
person, and I am not certain whether it was he or you who 
observed that it related to the Seminole war. Having made 
all the arrangements respecting that war, and being some time 
confined by indisposition, the letter was laid aside and forgot- 
ten by me, and I never read it until after the conclusion of 
the war, and then I did it on an intimation &om you that it 
required my attention. You ask whether that letter was be- 
fore the cabinet in the deliberation on the dispatches received 
from the General communicating tht result of that war, or 
alluded to by any member in the administration. My im- 
pression decidedly is, that it was not before the cabinet, nor 
do I recoUect or think that it was alluded to in the delibera- 
tions on the subject."* 

General Jackson himself, in his " Exposition," prepared 
for publication in his lifetime, but not published till after his 
death, tells the rest of this remarkable letter's remarkable his- 
tory. " Availing himself," says General Jackson, " of the 
suggestion contained in the letter, Mr. Monroe sent for Mr. 
John Bhea (then a member of Congress), showed him the 
confidential letter, and requested him to answer it. In con- 
formity with this request, Mr. Bhea did answer the letter, 
and informed General Jackson that the President had shown 
him the confidential letter, and requested him to state that 
he approved of its suggestions. This answer was received bv 

»Kr. Monioeto Mr. Otlhoua, Ubj 191b, 1830 


the Geneml on the second night he remained at Big Creek, 
which is four miles in advance of Hartford, Georgia, and be- 
fore his arrival at Fort Scott to take command of the troops 
in that quarter." 

But what became of Mr. Ehea's letter ? Why has tha: 
never been produced, since its production would have silenced 
the thousand tongues that so loudly condemned General Jack- 
son for the conduct which it authorized ? The General an- 
swers this question : "About the time (February 24th, 1819) 
Mr. Lacock made his report (to the Senate — adverse to Jack- 
son) General Jackson and Mr. Bhea were both in the city of 
Washington. Mr. Bhea called on General Jackson* as he 
said, at the request of Mr. Monroe, and begged him on his 
return home to bum his reply. He said the President feared 
that by the death of General Jackson, or some other accident, 
it might fall into the hands of those who would make an im- 
proper use of it. He therefore conjured him by the friendship 
which had always existed between them (and by his obliga- 
tions as a brother mason) to destroy it on his return to Nash- 
ville. Believing Mr. Monroe and Mr. Calhoun to be his de- 
voted friends, and not deeming it possible that any incident 
could occur which would require or justify its use, he gave 
Mr. Bhea the promise he solicited, and accordingly, after his 
return to Nashville, he burnt Mr. Bhea's letter, and on his 
letter book, opposite the copy of his confidential letter to Mr. 
Monroe, made this entry : ^Mr, Bhea's letter in answer is 
burnt this 12th April, 1819.' "* 

Mr. Bhea, we must add, was an aged member of Congress 
from Tennessee, an intimate and confidential friend of General 
Jackson and of the administration. But three persons ever 
saw his letter to the General, namely, himself. General Jack- 
son and Judge Overton. Bhea and Overton both wrote state- 
ments supporting that of General Jackson. But it is unfor- 
tunate that neither of these gentlemen should have endeavored 
to give, from memory, an outline of the contents of the miss- 
ing document. After reading the letter, Mr. Calhoun says, 

* Expoeition Bentoa's Tn^rtj Yeara^ I, 179. 


" I thought no moie of it. Long after, I think it was at the 
commencement of the next session of Congress, I heard some 
allusion which brought that letter to my recollection. It was 
from a quarter which induced me to believe that it came from 
Mr. Crawford. I called and mentioned it to Mr. Monroe, and 
found that he had entirely forgotten the letter. After search- 
ing some time he found it among some other papers, and read 
it J as he told me J for the first time*' 

There is a discrepancy here, which has not been, and can 
not be explained. It does not appear that Mr. Monroe ever 
admitted having authorized Mr. Bhea to answer the confiden- 
tial letter. There is no allusion to the circumstance in any 
published letter of his that I have been able to discover. 
Whether to attribute his silence to forgetfulness or to dis- 
cretion, I know not. 

But, aside from all questions of this kind, would any one 
believe that an affair of such vast importance, which came 
within a lifting of the finger (so said the prime minister of 
England) of involving two nations in war, could be treated so 
lightly ? Was Andrew Jackson an edged tool that could be 
safely played with ? He was in earnest when he wrote that 
letter to the President. He meant every word of it. He 
looked upon himself, and rightly, as the custodian of the 
southern frontiers, whose tranquility, he well knew, no vigil- 
ance could secure as long as a Spanish governor ruled, and 
British adventurers conspired, in Florida. Upon the receipt 
of a letter like that, from such a man as he, one would have 
supposed that the whole available wisdom of the government 
would have been brought to bear upon it, and the answer 
most carefully considered and most swiftly dispatched. Mr. 
John Quincy Adams, the Secretary of State, who had the 
foreign afl^airs of the country in his special charge, who had 
to bear the brunt of the consequences of General Jackson's 
measures, never so much as heard of it till the subsequent 
diplomatic battle had been fought and won. 

Meanwhile the order of the Secretary of War to Genera] 
Jackson to take command in the southeast was speeding on 

488 LIVH OV iiNDBEW JACKSON. [1817. 

its way. That order, dated December 26th, 1817, was in the 
words following : " You will repair, with as little delay as 
practicable, to Fort Scott, and assume the, immediate com- 
mand of the forces in that quarter of the southern division. 
The increasing display of hostile intentions by the Seminole 
Indians may render it necessary to concentrate all the con- 
tiguous disposable force of your division upon that quarter. 
The regular force now there is (ibout eight hundred strong, 
and one thousand militia of the ^te of Georgia are called 
into service. General Gaines estimates the strength of the 
Indians at twenty-seven hundred. Should you be of opinion 
that our numbers are too small to beat the enemy, you will 
call on the executives of the adjacent States for such an ad- 
ditional militia force as you may deem requisite. General 
Gaines had been ordered early in last month, to repair to 
Amelia Island. It is presumed that he had therefore reUn- 
quished the conamand at Fort Scott. Subsequent orders have 
been issued to the General (copies of which will be fmrnished 
to you) advising him that you would be directed to take 
command, and directing him to reassume, should he deem the 
public interest to require it, the command at Fort Scott untfl. 
you should arrive there. If, however, the General should have 
progressed to Florida before the subsequent orders may have 
reached him, he was instructed to penetrate the Seminole 
towns through Florida,, provided the strength of his command 
at Amelia would justify his engaging in offensive operations. 
With this view you may be prepared to concentrate your force 
and to adopt the necessary measures to terminate a conflict 
which it has ever been the desire of the President, from con- 
siderations of humanity, to avoid, but which is now made 
necessary by their settled hostilities.'' 

General Gaines was complimented upon his conduct, and 
care was taken to avoid the appearance of his being super- 
seded. " As soon as it was known," wrote the Secretary of 
War to General Gaines, " that you had repaired to Amelia 
Island in obedience to orders, and it being uncertain how long 
you might be detained there, the state of things at Fort Scott 

• -4 

1818.] '^pbomptitttdk/' 439 

madedt necessary to order General Jackson to take command 
there. From his known promptitude, it is presumable that 
his arrival may be soon expected, and, in the mean time, full 
confidence is placed in your well established military talenta 
I hope the junction of the militia will enable you to carry on 
offensive ope£lations and to restrain the enemy from depreda- 
tions on the frontier.'' 

Arbut}mot still strove to save the doomed Seminoles from 
the consequences of their rash and bloody deeds. As late as 
January 19th, 1818, we find him writing on their behalf to 
General D. M. Mitchell, then the agent of the United States 
for the Creeks. " In taking this liberty of addressing you, sir," 
he wrote, " in behalf of the unfortunate Indians, believe me 
I have no wish but to see an end put to a war which, if per- 
sisted in, I foresee must eventually be their ruin ; and as they 
were not the aggressors, if, in the height of their rage, they 
committed any excesses, that you will overlook them, as the 
just ebullitions of an indignant spirit against an invading 



Late in the evening of January 11th the express bearing 
the orders of Mr. Calhoun to General Jackson, after a ride of 
fifteen days, reached the Hermitage. Before he slept that 
night the General had concluded upon his plan of operations. 
His plan was that of a man untrammeled by red tape and 
unacquainted with the art of " How not to do it." 

There are now in the field, Mr. Calhoun said, eight hun- 
dred regular troops and a thousand Georgia militia. If you 
think these forces insufficient, call on " the executives of the 
adjacent States for such additional militia as you may deem 
requisite." Adjacent 1 Adjacent to what ? There was but 
me State adjacent to Florida, Georgia, namely, and the mili- 





tia of Georgia were already in the field. Alabama was not 
yet a State. It did not cost General Jackson any computa- 
ble period of time to decide that the " additional militia of 
the adjacent States'' meant a thousand mounted volunteers 
from West Tennessee and Kentucky, the men with whom he 
^^ \ had fought the Creeks and the British in the last war. But 
he was to call upon the " executives of the adjacent States." 
The Governor of Tennessee, as it chanced, was absent from 
Nashville on a tour of the Cherokee country near Knoxville, 

\y and it was not known either where he was or when he would 

^^ ...- \ return.' 

: • General Jackson took the responsibility. He sent pri- 

^ vately to a number of his old volunteer officers, and requested 

them to meet him at Nashville. They assembled at the time 

^"^^ appointed. They embraced his scheme without a dissentient 

voice, and separated to carry it into effect. The General 
issued one of his spirit-stirring addresses, and the yeomen of 
West Tennessee were eager to mount and follow him to the 
/ end of the world. On the last day of January, twenty days 
^ after the General had received Mr. Calhoun's dispatch, and 
twelve days after the meeting of the officers at Nashville, two 
r^ments of mounted men, numbering more than a thoHsand, 
assembled at the old rendezvous of Fayetteville, Tennessee, 
ready to march. One hundred of these went from Nashville 
alone. Twenty days' rations were ordered to be distributed 
to this force. They were placed under the command of In- 
spector-General Hayne, who was directed to march them with 
all dispatch to Fort Jackson, whence, with a fresh supply of 
provisions, they were to be led to Fort Scott. General Jack- 
son himself would proceed to Fort Scott at an earlier date by 
a directer route, and at greater speed, accompanied only by 
two companies as a " guard." From Fort Scott the combined 
forces of Tennessee and Georgia, with the regular troops, 
would sweep down into Florida, and, unless the Spaniards 
behaved unexpectedly well, overrun that province and hold 
it for the United States. 

^ General Jackson's Memorial. Senate^ 1820. 

1818.] •^PBOMPTITUDE." 441 

The Governor of Tennessee approved General Jackson's 
measures. The Secretary of War approved them. "The 
measures you have taken," wrote Mr. Calhoun on the 24th 
of Januarj', " to bring an eflficient force into the field are ap- 
probated, and a confident hope is entertained that a speedy 
and successful termination of the Indian war will follow your 
exertions." He wrote again to the same effect on the sixth 
of January. He wrote subsequently to the Governor of Ala- 
bama, that " General Jackson is vested with full powers to 
conduct the war in the manner he may judge best." How 
General Jackson judged the war ought to be conducted. Gen- 
eral Jackson's confidential letter to Mr. Monroe had already 
informed the Secretary of War. 

On the twenty-second of January, General Jackson and 
his " guard" left Nashville amid the cheers of the entire pop- 
ulation. The distance from Nashville to Fort Scott is about 
four himdred and fifty miles. A march of eighteen days 
brought the General to Fort Hawkins, in the northern part 
of Georgia, where he heard ill news from the frontier. Part 
of the Georgia militia had abandoned the war and returned 
home. Fort Scott was starving. The contractors, as usual, 
had failed to supply provisions. But the quartermaster of 
General Gaines had succeeded in purchasing eleven hundred 
hogs, with which, if a little com could be added, the General 
hoped to keep the army alive till the provisions he had or- 
dered from New Orleans could arrive. 

He pushed on to Hartford, a village of northern Georgia, 
two days' march from Fort Hawkins. There he met General 
Gaines, with a body of newly-raised Georgia militia, and 
there General Jackson wrote a dispatch to the Secretary of 
War, denouncing the system of supplying armies by contract. 
It might answer, he said, in time of peace ; but when active 
operations are necessary, and everything depends upon quick- 
ness of movement, no dependence could be placed upon a 
contractor. If contractors must be employed, let them be 
subject to court-martial if they fail to keep the army sup^ 


GontinaiDg his march south ward, he reached the friendly 
Indian village of Chehaw, sixty miles north of Fort Scott. 
His tired and hungry troops were received by the Chehaw In- 
dians with hearty welcome, and supplied with all the com 
they could spare. Every warrior in the village fit for service 
joined the army, leaving in the village only the old men, the 
women, and children, and the sick. These Indians were but 
the forerunners of a mighty host of friendly Creeks, a brigade 
nearly two thousand strong, under the half-breed M'Intosh, 
who were already in the field and on their way to join Gten- 
exel Jackson in the lower country. li'Intosh was the chief 
who had commanded the friendly Indians at the battle of the 
Horse-shoe, six years before. He was now a brigadier gtai- 
eral in the service of the United States. 

With so many mouths to feed the provision question be- 
came one of the most extreme and pressing importance. At 
Fort Early, in the south of Georgia, General Jackson arrived 
on the 26th of February, with nine hundred Georgians, two 
companies of Tennesseans, and a body of Indians. Worse 
news met him there from Fort Scott Such was the scarcity 
of provisions at the fort, that the commandant sent word that 
unless relieved in a very few days he should be compelled to 
abandon the post. To prevent a catastrophe so fatal, Gen- 
eral Gaines, with a few officers and men, threw himself into a 
boat, and started, at nightfall, down the river Flint toward 
Fort Scott. General Jackson resumed his 'march, his difficul- 
ties increasing at every step. " The excessive rains," he 
wrote at Fort Early, " have rendered the roads so bad that 1 
ordered the troops, on their march here, to take their bag- 
gage on the wagon horses, and abandon their wagons. This 
facilitated their march to this place, which they reached to- 
day ; and eleven hundred men are now here without a barrel 
of flour or a bushel of corn. We have pork on foot, and 
to-morrow I shall proceed to Fort Scott, and endeavor to pr