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Title: The Battle of New Orleans
including the Previous Engagements between the Americans
and the British, the Indians and the Spanish which led to
the Final Conflict on the 8th of January, 1815
Author: Zachary F. Smith
Release Date: June 5, 2008 [EBook #25699]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
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[Illustration: Z.F. SMITH.
Member of the Filson Club]
FILSON CLUB PUBLICATIONS No. 19
Battle of New Orleans
Previous Engagements between the Americans and the
British, the Indians, and the Spanish which
led to the Final Conflict on the
8th of January, 1815
ZACHARY F. SMITH
Member of The Filson Club and Author of a History of Kentucky
and School Editions of the same
JOHN P. MORTON & COMPANY
PRINTERS TO THE FILSON CLUB
The Filson Club
and All Rights Reserved
In the preparation of the following account of the "Battle of New
Orleans," I have availed myself of all accessible authorities, and have
been placed under obligations to Colonel R.T. Durrett, of Louisville,
Kentucky. I have had free access to his library, which is the largest
private collection in this country, and embraces works upon almost every
subject. Besides general histories of the United States and of the
individual States, and periodicals, newspapers, and manuscripts, which
contain valuable information on the battle of New Orleans, his library
contains numerous works more specifically devoted to this subject. Among
these, to which I have had access, may be mentioned Notices of the War
of 1812, by John M. Armstrong, two volumes, New York, 1840; The Naval
History of Great Britain from 1783 to 1830, by Edward P. Brenton, two
volumes, London, 1834; History of the Late War, by H.M. Brackenridge,
Philadelphia, 1839; An Authentic History of the Second War for
Independence, by Samuel R. Brown, two volumes, Auburn, 1815; History of
the Late War by an American (Joseph Cushing), Baltimore, 1816;
Correspondence between General Jackson and General Adair as to the
Kentuckians charged by Jackson with inglorious flight, New Orleans,
1815; An Authentic History of the Late War, by Paris M. Davis, New York,
1836; A Narrative of the Campaigns of the British Army by an Officer
(George R. Gleig), Philadelphia, 1821; History of Louisiana, American
Dominion, by Charles Gayarre, New York, 1866; The Second War with
England, illustrated, by J.T. Headley, two volumes, New York, 1853;
History of the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain,
by Rossiter Johnson, New York, 1882; The Pictorial Field-book of the War
of 1812, by Benjamin J. Lossing, New York, 1868; The War of 1812 in the
Western Country, by Robert B. McAfee, Lexington, Kentucky, 1816;
Historical Memoirs of the War of 1814-1815, by Major A. Lacarriere
Latour, Philadelphia, 1816; Messages of James Madison, President of the
United States, parts one and two, Albany, 1814; The Military Heroes of
the War of 1812, by Charles J. Peterson, Philadelphia, 1858; The Naval
War of 1812, by Theodore Roosevelt, New York, 1889; The History of the
War of 1812-15, by J. Russell, junior, Hartford, 1815; The Glory of
America, etc., by R. Thomas, New York, 1834; Historic Sketches of the
Late War, by John L. Thomson, Philadelphia, 1816; The Life of Andrew
Jackson, by Alexander Walker, Philadelphia, 1867; A Full and a Correct
Account of the Military Occurrences of the Late War between Great
Britain and the United States, by James Williams, two volumes, London,
I have also been placed under obligations to Mr. William Beer, librarian
of the Howard Library of New Orleans, which has become a depository of
rare works touching the history of the South Mississippi Valley, and
especially relating to the War of 1812 and the battle of New Orleans. A
list of all the works in this library which Mr. Beer placed at my
disposal would be too long for insertion here, but the following may be
mentioned: Claiborne's Notes on the War in the South, Goodwin's
Biography of Andrew Jackson, Reid and Easten's Life of General Jackson,
Nolte's Fifty Years in Both Hemispheres, Report of Committee on
Jackson's Warrant for Closing the Halls of the Legislature of Louisiana,
The Madison Papers, Ingersoll's Historic Sketch of the Second War
between Great Britain and the United States, Cooke's Seven Campaigns in
the Peninsula, Hill's Recollections of an Artillery Officer, Coke's
History of the Rifle Brigade, Diary of Private Timewell, and Cooke's
Narrative of Events. No one would do justice to himself or his subject
if he should write a history of the battle of New Orleans without
availing himself of the treasures of the Howard Library.
England was apparently more liberal than Spain or France when, in the
treaty of 1783, she agreed to the Mississippi River as the western
boundary of the United States. Spain was for limiting the territory of
the new republic on the west to the crest of the Alleghany Mountains, so
as to secure to her the opportunity of conquering from England the
territory between the mountains and the Great River. Strangely enough
and inconsistently enough, France supported Spain in this outrageous
effort to curtail the territory of the new republic after she had helped
the United States to conquer it from England, or rather after General
Clark had wrested it from England for the colony of Virginia, and while
Virginia was still in possession of it. The seeming liberality of
England, however, may not have been more disinterested than the scheming
of Spain and France in this affair. England did not believe that the
United States could exist as a permanent government, but that the
confederated States would disintegrate and return to her as colonies.
The King of England said as much when the treaty was made. If, then,
the States were to return to England as colonies, the more territory
they might bring with them the better, and hence a large grant was
acknowledged in the treaty of peace. The acts of England toward the
United States after acknowledging their independence indicate that the
fixing of the western boundary on the Mississippi had as much
selfishness as liberality, if indeed it was not entirely selfish.
The ink was scarcely dry upon the parchment which bore evidence of the
ratified treaty of 1783 when the mother country began acts of hostility
and meanness against her children who had separated from her and begun a
political life for themselves. When the English ships of war, which had
blockaded New York for seven long years, sailed out of the harbor and
took their course toward the British Isles, instead of hauling down
their colors from the flagstaff of Fort George, they left them flying
over the fortification, and tried to prevent them from being removed by
chopping down all the cleats for ascent, and greasing the pole so that
no one could climb to the top and pull down the British flag or replace
it by the colors of the United States. An agile sailor boy, named Van
Arsdale, who had probably ascended many trees in search of bird's nests,
and clambered up the masts of ships until he had become an expert
climber, nailed new cleats to the flagstaff and climbed to its summit,
bearing with him the flag of the new republic. When he reached the top
he cut down the British flag and suspended that of the United States.
This greasy trick may have been the act of some wag of the retiring
fleet, and might have been taken for a joke had it not been followed by
hostile acts which indicated that this was the initial step in a long
course of hostility and meanness.
But it was soon followed by the retention of the lake forts which fell
into British hands during the Revolutionary War, and which, by the terms
of the treaty, were to be surrendered. Instead of surrendering them
according to the stipulations of the treaty, they held them, and not
only occupied them for thirteen years, but used them as storehouses and
magazines from which the Indians were fed and clothed and armed and
encouraged to tomahawk and scalp Americans without regard to age or sex.
And then followed a series of orders in council, by which the commerce
of the United States was almost swept from the seas, and their sailors
forcibly taken from American ships to serve on British. These orders in
council were so frequent that it seemed as if the French on one side of
the British Channel and the English on the other were hurling decrees
and orders at one another for their own amusement while inflicting dire
injuries on other nations, and especially the Americans.
Had it not been for these hostile acts of the British there would have
been no War of 1812. Had they continued to treat the young republic with
the justice and liberality to which they agreed in fixing its western
boundary in the treaty of 1783, no matter what their motive may have
been, there would have been no cause for war between the two countries.
The Americans had hardly recovered from the wounds inflicted in the
Revolutionary War. They were too few and too weak and too poor to go to
war with such a power as England, and moreover wanted a continuance of
the peace by which they were adding to the population and wealth of
their country. What they had acquired in the quarter of a century since
the end of the Revolutionary War was but little in comparison with the
accumulations of England during long centuries, and they were not
anxious to risk their all in a conflict with such a power; but young and
weak and few as they were, they belonged to that order of human beings
who hold their rights and their honor in such high regard that they can
not continuously be insulted and injured without retaliation. The time
came when they resolved to bear the burdens of war rather than submit to
unjustice and dishonor.
In the French and Indian war which preceded the Revolution there was
fighting for some time before a formal declaration of war. The English
drove the French traders from the Ohio Valley, and the French forced out
the English while the two nations were at peace. The French chassed from
one of their forts to another with fiddles instead of drums, and the
English with fowling-pieces instead of muskets rambled over the forest,
but they sometimes met and introduced each other to acts of war while a
state of hostility was acknowledged by neither. Something like a similar
state of things preceded the War of 1812. Tecumseh was at work trying to
unite all the tribes of Indians in one grand confederacy, ostensibly to
prevent them from selling their lands to the Americans, but possibly for
the purpose of war. While he was at this work his brother, the Prophet,
had convinced the Indians that he had induced the Great Spirit to make
them bullet-proof, and the English so encouraged them with food and
clothing and arms that they believed they were able to conquer the
Americans, and began to carry on hostilities against them without any
formal declaration of war by either party. The battle of Tippecanoe,
which came of this superstition among the Indians and this encouragement
from England, may be considered the first clash of arms in the War of
1812. The English took no open or active part in this battle, but their
arms and ammunition and rations were in it, and after it was lost the
Indians went to the English and became their open allies when the War of
1812 really began. Whether the English were allies of the Indians or the
Indians allies of the English, they fought and bled and died and were
conquered together after the initial conflict at Tippecanoe, in 1811, to
the final battle at New Orleans in 1815, which crowned the American arms
with a glory never to fade.
The Filson Club, whose broad field of work in history, literature,
science, and art is hardly indicated by the name of the first historian
of Kentucky, which it bears, has deemed three of the battles which were
fought during the War of 1812 as the most important of the many that
were waged. These three were, first, the battle of Tippecanoe, regarded
as the opening scene of the bloody drama; second, the battle of the
Thames, by which the power of the British was crushed in the west and
northwest, and third, the battle of New Orleans, which ended the war in
a glorious victory for the Americans. The Club determined to have the
history of these three battles written and filed among its archives, and
to have the matter published for the benefit of the public. Hence, the
task was undertaken by three different members of the Club.
The first of these, "The Battle of Tippecanoe," was prepared for the
Club by Captain Alfred Pirtle, and published in 1900 as Filson Club
Publication Number 15. It is an illustrated quarto of one hundred and
sixty-seven pages, which gives a detailed account of the battle of
Tippecanoe and the acts of the Indians and British which led to it and
the important consequences which followed. The names of the officers and
soldiers, and especially those of Kentucky who were engaged in it, are
given so far as could be ascertained, and the book is a historic record
of this battle, full enough and faithful enough to furnish the reader
with all of the important facts.
The second, "The Battle of the Thames," the 5th of October, 1813, was
undertaken by Colonel Bennett H. Young, and appeared in 1903 as the
eighteenth publication of the Filson Club. It is an elaborately
illustrated quarto of two hundred and eighty-six pages, and presents a
detailed account of the acts which led up to the main battle and the
engagements by land and water which preceded it. It contains a list of
all the Kentuckians who as officers and privates were in the battle. The
reader who seeks information about this battle need look no further than
The third and last of these important battles occurred at New Orleans
the 8th of January, 1815. Its history was prepared for the Club by Mr.
Z.F. Smith, and now appears as Filson Club Publication Number Nineteen,
for the year 1904. It is an illustrated quarto in the adopted style of
the Club, which has been so much admired for its antique paper and
beautiful typography. It sets forth with fullness and detail the
hostilities which preceded and led to the main battle, and gives such a
clear description of the final conflict by the assistance of charts as
to enable the reader to understand the maneuvers of both sides and to
virtually see the battle as it progressed from the beginning to the end.
This battle ended the War of 1812, and when the odds against the
Americans are considered, it must be pronounced one of the greatest
victories ever won upon the battlefield. The author, Mr. Z.F. Smith, was
an old-line Whig, and was taught to hate Jackson as Henry Clay, the
leader of the Whigs, hated him, but he has done the old hero full
justice in this narrative, and has assigned him full honors of one of
the greatest victories ever won. Although his sympathies were with
General Adair, a brother Kentuckian, he takes up the quarrel between him
and General Jackson and does Jackson full and impartial justice. If
Jackson had been as unprejudiced against Adair as the author against
Jackson, there would have been nothing like a stain left upon the
escutcheon of the Kentuckians who abandoned the fight on the west bank
of the Mississippi because it was their duty to get out of it rather
than be slaughtered like dumb brutes who neither see impending danger
nor reason about the mistakes of superiors and the consequences. He who
reads the account of the battle of New Orleans which follows this
introduction will know more about that battle than he knew before, or
could have learned from any other source in so small a compass.
_President of The Filson Club_.
The Author, _Frontispiece_
Seat of War in Louisiana and Florida, 8
Position of the American and British Armies near New
Orleans on the 8th of January, 1815, 24
Battle of New Orleans, on the 8th of January, 1815, 56
General Andrew Jackson, 72
General John Adair, 112
Governor Isaac Shelby, 164
Colonel Gabriel Slaughter, 174
THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS
GULF COAST CAMPAIGN, PRECEDING THE FINAL STRUGGLE.
On the 26th of November, 1814, a fleet of sixty great ships weighed
anchor, unfurled their sails, and put to sea, as the smoke lifted and
floated away from a signal gun aboard the Tonnant, the flagship of
Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, from Negril Bay, on the coast of
Jamaica. Nearly one half of these vessels were formidable warships, the
best of the English navy, well divided between line-of-battle ships of
sixty-four, seventy-four, and eighty guns, frigates of forty to fifty
guns, and sloops and brigs of twenty to thirty guns each. In all, one
thousand pieces of artillery mounted upon the decks of these frowned
grimly through as many port-holes, bidding defiance to the navies of the
world and safely convoying over thirty transports and provisioning
ships, bearing every equipment for siege or battle by sea and for a
formidable invasion of an enemy's country by land. Admiral Cochrane, in
chief command, and Admiral Malcombe, second in command, were veteran
officers whose services and fame are a part of English history.
On board of this fleet was an army and its retinue, computed by good
authorities to number fourteen thousand men, made up mainly of the
veteran troops of the British military forces recently operating in
Spain and France, trained in the campaigns and battles against Napoleon
through years of war, and victors in the end in these contests. Major
Latour, Chief Engineer of General Jackson's army, in his "Memoirs of the
War in Florida and Louisiana in 1814-15," has carefully compiled from
British official sources a detailed statement of the regiments, corps,
and companies which constituted the army of invasion under Pakenham, at
New Orleans, as follows:
King's Own, Lieutenant-colonel Brooks 750
Royal Fusileers, Lieutenant-colonel Blakency 850
Duchess of York's Own, Lieutenant-colonel Baker 350
Royal Fusileers, Lieutenant-colonel Patterson 900
Somersetshire, Lieutenant-colonel H. Thornton 1,000
Monmouth Light Infantry, Lieutenant-colonel Patrickson 850
East Essex, Lieutenant-colonel Mullen 750
Buck Volunteers, Lieutenant-colonel Wm. Thornton 650
Highlanders, Lieutenant-colonel Dale 1,100
Rifle Corps, Major Mitchell 500
West India (colored), Lieutenant-colonel Whitby 700
West India (colored), Lieutenant-colonel Hamilton 700
A detachment from the Sixty-second Regiment 350
Rocket Brigade, Artillery, Engineers, Sappers and
Royal Marines and sailors from the fleet 3,500
Including artillerists, marines, and others, seamen of the ships' crews
afloat, there were not fewer than eighteen thousand men, veterans in the
service of their country in the lines of their respective callings, to
complete the equipment of this powerful armada.
At the head of this formidable army of invasion were Lord Edward
Pakenham, commander-in-chief; Major-general Samuel Gibbs, commanding the
first, Major-general John Lambert, the second, and Major-general John
Keene, the third divisions, supported by subordinate officers, than whom
none living were braver or more skilled in the science and practice of
war. Nearly all had learned their lessons under the great Wellington,
the conqueror of Napoleon. Since 1588, when the combined naval and
military forces of England were summoned to repel the attempted invasion
and conquest of that country by the Spanish Armada, the British
Government had not often fitted out and sent against an enemy a combined
armament so powerful and so costly as that which rendezvoused in the
tropical waters of Negril Bay in the latter autumn days of 1814. Even
the fleet of Nelson at the Battle of the Nile, sixteen years before,
where he won victory and immortal honors by the destruction of the
formidable French fleet, was far inferior in number of vessels, in
ordnance, and in men to that of Admiral Cochrane on this expedition. The
combined equipment cost England forty millions of dollars.
In October and November of this year, the marshaling of belligerent
forces by sea and land from the shores of Europe and America, with
orders to rendezvous at a favorable maneuvering point in the West
Indies, caused much conjecture as to the object in view. That the War
Department of the English Government meditated a winter campaign
somewhere upon the southern coasts of the United States was a common
belief; that an invasion of Louisiana and the capture and occupation of
New Orleans was meant, many surmised. For reasons of State policy, the
object of the expedition in view was held a secret until the day of
setting sail. Now it was disclosed by those in command that New Orleans
was the objective point, and officers and men were animated with the
hope that, in a few weeks more, they would be quartered for the winter
in the subjugated capital of Louisiana, with a dream that the coveted
territory might be occupied and permanently held as a possession of the
The Government at Washington was advised that, during the summer and
early autumn months of 1814, our implacable enemy was engaged in
preparations for a renewal of hostilities on a scale of magnitude and
activity beyond anything attempted since the war began; but it seemed
not fully to interpret the designs and plans of the British leaders.
Especially unfortunate, and finally disastrous to the American arms, was
the inaptness and inertness of the Secretary of War, General Armstrong,
in failing to adopt, promptly and adequately, measures to meet the
emergency. For almost a year after the destruction of the English fleet
on Lake Erie by Commodore Perry, and of the English army at the battle
of the Thames by General Harrison, a period of comparative repose ensued
between the belligerents. The British Government was too much absorbed
in delivering the _coup-de-main_ to the great Napoleon to give attention
to America. But her opportunity came. The allied powers defeated and
decimated the armies of the French Emperor, and forced him to capitulate
in his own capital. On the 3d of March, 1814, they entered Paris. On the
eleventh of May Napoleon abdicated, and was sent an exile to Elba.
England was at peace with all Europe. Her conquering armies and fleets
would be idle for an indefinite period; yet, it would be premature to
disband the former or to dismantle the latter. Naturally, attention
turned to the favorable policy of employing these vast and ready
resources for the chastisement and humiliation of her American enemies,
as a fit closing of the war and punishment for their rebellious
defiance. Under orders, the troops in France and Spain were marched to
Bordeaux and placed in a camp of concentration, from which they were
debarked in fleets down the river Garonne, and across the Atlantic to
their destinations in America. An English officer with these troops
expressed the sentiment of the soldiers and seamen, and of the average
citizen of England at this time, in this language: "It was the general
opinion that a large proportion of the Peninsular army would be
transported to the other side of the Atlantic, that the war would there
be carried on with vigor, and that no terms of accommodation would be
listened to, except such as a British general should dictate in the
Overtures for the negotiation-of a treaty of peace had been interchanged
between the two nations at war as early as January. By April the
American Commissioners were in Europe, though the arrival of the English
Commissioners at Ghent for final deliberations was delayed until August.
Meanwhile, several thousands of these Peninsular troops were transported
to reinforce the army in Canada. On the sixteenth of August a small
fleet of British vessels in Chesapeake Bay was reinforced by thirty sail
under the command of Admirals Cochrane and Malcombe, one half of which
were ships of war. A large part of this flotilla moved up the Potomac
and disembarked about six thousand men, under command of General Ross.
The battle of Bladensburg was fought on the twenty-fourth, followed
immediately by the capture of Washington and the burning of the
Government buildings there. A few days after, the combined naval and
military British forces were defeated in an attack on Baltimore, General
Ross, commander-in-chief, being among the slain. About the same date,
Commodore McDonough won a great and crushing victory over the English
fleet on Lake Champlain, while the British army of fourteen thousand
men, under Sir George Prevost, was signally defeated by the Americans,
less than seven thousand in number, at Plattsburg, on the border of New
Such was the military situation in the first month of autumn, 1814.
Seemingly, the British plenipotentiaries had a motive in reserve for
delaying the negotiations for peace. England yet looked upon the United
States as her wayward prodigal, and conjured many grievances against the
young nation that had rebuked her cruel insolence and pride in two wars.
She nursed a spirit of imperious and bitter revenge. A London organ,
recently before, had said: "In diplomatic circles it is rumored that our
military and naval commanders in America have no power to conclude any
armistice or suspension of arms. Terms will be offered to the American
Government at the point of the bayonet. America will be left in a much
worse situation as a commercial and naval power than she was at the
commencement of the war."
[Illustration: SEAT OF WAR. LOUISIANA & FLORIDA]
The reverses to the British arms on Lake Champlain, at Plattsburg, and
at Baltimore, virtually ended hostilities in the Northern States for the
remaining period of the war. Winter approaching, all belligerent
forces that could be marshaled would be transferred to the waters of
the Gulf for operations on the coast there. The malice and wanton
barbarity of the English in burning the national buildings and property
at Washington, in the destruction and loot of houses, private and
public, on the shores of the Chesapeake and Atlantic, and in repeated
military outrages unjustified by the laws of civilized warfare, had
fully aroused the Government and the citizenship to the adoption of
adequate measures of defense for the Northern and Eastern States. It was
too late, however, to altogether repair the injuries done to the army of
the Southwest by the tardiness and default of the head of the War
Department, which, as General Jackson said in an official report,
threatened defeat and disaster to his command at New Orleans. Indignant
public sentiment laid the blame of the capture of Washington, and of the
humiliating disasters there, to the same negligence and default of this
official, which led to his resignation soon after.
GENERAL JACKSON ASSUMES COMMAND OF THE SEVENTH MILITARY DISTRICT OF
General Andrew Jackson had, in July, 1814, been appointed a
major-general in the United States army, and assigned the command of the
Southern department, with headquarters at Mobile. His daring and
successful campaigns against the Indian allies of the British the year
previous had won for him the confidence of the Government and of the
people, and distinguished him as the man fitted for the emergency. At
the beginning of the war British emissaries busily sought to enlist,
arm, and equip all the Indians of the Southern tribes whom they could
disaffect, as their allies, and to incite them to a war of massacre,
pillage, and destruction against the white settlers, as they did with
the savage tribes north of the Ohio River. In this they were
successfully aided by Tecumseh, the Shawanee chief, and his brother, the
Prophet. These were sons of a Creek mother and a Shawanee brave. By
relationship, and by the rude eloquence of the former and the mystic
arts and incantations of the latter, they brought into confederacy with
Northern tribes--which they had organized as allies of the English in a
last hope of destroying American power in the West--almost the entire
Creek nation. These savages, though at peace under treaty and largely
supported by the fostering aid of our Government, began hostilities
after their usual methods of indiscriminate massacre and marauding
destruction, regardless of age or sex or condition, against the exposed
settlers. The latter sought refuge as they could in the rude stockade
stations, but feebly garrisoned. At Fort Mims, on the Alabama River,
nearly three hundred old men and women and children, with a small
garrison of soldiers, were captured in a surprise attack by a large body
of warriors, and all massacred in cold blood. This atrocious outbreak
aroused the country, and led to speedy action for defense and terrible
chastisement for the guilty perpetrators. The British officers offered
rewards for scalps brought in, as under Proctor in the Northwest, and
many scalps of men and women murdered were exchanged for this horrible
In October, 1813, General Jackson led twenty-five hundred Tennessee
militia, who had been speedily called out, into the Creek country in
Alabama. A corps of one thousand men from Georgia, and another of
several hundred from the territory of Mississippi, invaded the same from
different directions. Sanguinary battles with the savages were fought by
Jackson's command at Tallasehatche, Talladega, Hillabee, Autosse,
Emuckfau, Tohopeka, and other places, with signal success to the
American arms in every instance. The villages and towns of the enemy
were burned, their fields and gardens laid waste, and the survivors
driven to the woods and swamps. Not less than five thousand of the great
Ocmulgee nation perished in this war, either in battle or from the
ruinous results of their treachery after. Nearly one thousand of the
border settlers were sacrificed, one half of whom were women and
children or other non-combatants, the victims of the malignant designs
and arts of British emissaries. The chief of the Creeks sued for peace,
and terms were negotiated by General Jackson on the 14th of August,
From his headquarters at Mobile, in September, 1814, General Jackson,
with sleepless vigilance, was anticipating and watching the movements of
the British upon the Gulf coast, and marshaling his forces to resist any
attack. There had been reported to him the arrival of a squadron of nine
English ships in the harbor of Pensacola. Spain was at peace with our
country, and it was due that the Spanish commandant of Florida, yet a
province of Spain, should observe a strict neutrality pending
hostilities. Instead of this comity of good faith and friendship, the
Spanish officials had permitted this territory to become a refuge for
the hostile Indians. Here they could safely treat with the British
agents, from whom they received the implements of war, supplies of food
and clothing, and the pay and emoluments incident to their services as
allies in war. In violation of the obligations of neutrality, the
Spanish officials not only tolerated this trespass on the territory of
Florida, but, truckling to the formidable power and prestige of the
great English nation, they dared openly to insult our own Government by
giving aid and encouragement to our enemy in their very capital.
The most important and accessible point in Spanish Florida was
Pensacola. Here the Governor, Gonzalez Maurequez, held court and
dispensed authority over the province. The pride of the Spaniards in the
old country and in Florida and Louisiana was deeply wounded over the
summary sale of the territory of Louisiana by Napoleon to the United
States in 1803; recalling the compulsory cession of the same to France
by Spain in 1800. Naturally they resented with spirit what they deemed
an indignity to the honor and sovereignty of their nation. The Spanish
minister at Washington entered a solemn protest against the transaction;
questions of boundaries soon after became a continuing cause of
irritating dispute. The Dons contended that all east of the Mississippi
River was Florida territory and subject to their jurisdiction. A
military demonstration by General Wilkinson, then in command of the army
of the Southwest, was ordered from Washington, opposition awed into
silence, and the transfer made. In brief time after the boundaries of
Florida were fixed on the thirty-first degree of north latitude, and
east of a line near to the present boundary between Louisiana and
Mississippi. Previously Mobile was the seat of government for Florida,
but American aggression made the removal of the Government to Pensacola
compulsory, and gave an additional cause of grievance to our sensitive
neighbors. Under British auspices and promises of protection, the
Governor displayed his resentment.
To confirm the report that came to him at Mobile of the arrival of an
English squadron in Pensacola Bay, and of treacherous aid and comfort
being given by the Spanish Governor, Jackson sent as spies some friendly
Indians to the scene of operations, with instructions to furtively
observe all that could be seen and known, and report to him the
information. It was confirmed that the ships were in the harbor, and
that a camp of English soldiers was in the town; that a considerable
body of Indian recruits had been armed and were being drilled, and that
runners had been dispatched to the country to invite and bring others to
the coast to join them as comrades in arms. A few days after, a friendly
courier brought news that several hundred marines had landed from the
ships, that Colonel Nichols in command and his staff were guests of
Governor Maurequez, and that the British flag was floating with the flag
of Spain over one of the Spanish forts.
An order issued about this time by Colonel Nichols to his troops,
followed by a proclamation to the people of Louisiana and Kentucky,
revealed in visible outlines something of the purposes and plans of the
menacing armaments. He advised his command that the troops would
probably soon be called upon to endure long and tedious marches through
forests and swamps in an enemy's country, and exhorted them to
conciliate their Indian allies and "never to give them just cause of
offense." He addressed the most inflammatory appeals to the national
pride and prejudices of the French people of Louisiana, and to supposed
discontented citizens of Kentucky, whose grievances had grown out of
their neglect by the National Government or been engendered by the arts
of designing politicians and adventurers.
BATTLE AT MOBILE BAY--THE BRITISH REPULSED.
General Jackson strongly suspected that Louisiana would be invaded, and
that New Orleans was designed to be the main and final point of attack.
Yet he was led to believe that the British would attempt the capture of
Mobile first, for strategic reasons. Early in September he reinforced
the garrison of Fort Bowyer, situated thirty miles south of Mobile. This
fortification, mounting twenty cannon, commanded the entrance to the
harbor. It was garrisoned by one hundred and thirty men, under the
command of Major William Lawrence. On the fifteenth of September the
attack was made by a squadron of four ships of war, assisted by a land
force of seven hundred marines and Indians. Though the enemy mounted
ninety-two pieces of artillery, in the assault made they were defeated
and driven off to sea again, with a loss of two hundred killed and
wounded, the flagship of the commander sent to the bottom, and the
remaining ships seriously damaged.
ASSAULT AND CAPTURE OF PENSACOLA, THE SPANISH CAPITAL OF
FLORIDA--THE BRITISH DRIVEN TO SEA.
Incensed at the open and continued violations of neutrality by the
Spanish Governor, who had permitted Pensacola to be made a recruiting
camp for the arming and drilling of their Indian allies by the British,
General Jackson determined to march his army against this seat of
government, and to enforce the observance of neutrality on the part of
the Spanish commandant at the point of the bayonet if need be. He had
removed his headquarters to Fort Montgomery, where by the first of
November his command consisted of one thousand regular troops and two
thousand militia, mainly from Tennessee and Mississippi--in all, about
three thousand men. With these he set out for Pensacola, and on the
evening of the sixth of November encamped within two miles of the town.
He sent in Major Peire, bearing a flag of truce to the Governor, with a
message that Pensacola must no longer be a refuge and camp for the
enemies of the United States, and that the town must be surrendered,
together with the forts. The messenger was fired on and driven back from
Fort St. Michael, over which the British flag had been floating jointly
with the flag of Spain. The firing was done by British troops harbored
within. Governor Maurequez disavowed knowledge of the outrage, but
refused to surrender his authority. The next morning the intrepid
Jackson entered the town and carried by storm its defenses, the British
retreating to their ships and putting off to sea. Fort Barrancas was
blown up by the enemy, to prevent the Americans from turning its guns
upon the escaping British vessels. The Spanish commandant made profuse
apologies, and pledged that he would in future observe a strict
Jackson, fearing another attempt to capture Mobile by the retiring
fleet, withdrew from Pensacola and marched for the former place,
arriving there on the eleventh of November. At Mobile, messengers from
those in highest authority at New Orleans met him, urging that he
hasten there with his army and at once begin measures for the defense of
that city. Information had been received by W.C. Claiborne, then
Governor of Louisiana, from a highly credited source--most unexpected,
but most fortunate and welcome--that the vast British armament of ships
and men rendezvousing in the West Indies was about ready to sail, and
that New Orleans was assuredly the objective point of the expedition.
LAFITTE, THE PIRATE OF THE GULF, AND HIS SEA-ROVERS, LOYAL TO THE
The informant was the celebrated Captain Jean Lafitte, the leader of the
reputed pirates of the Gulf, who had been outlawed by an edict of our
Government. The circumstances were so romantic, and displayed such a
patriotic love for and loyalty to our country, that they are worthy of
brief mention. As Byron wrote, he
Left a corsair's name to other times,
Linked with one virtue and a thousand crimes.
But this does injustice to these _marauders of the sea_, who put in a
plea of extenuation. The disparity of their virtues and their crimes is
overwrought in the use of poetic license. Before the period of the
conquest of Guadeloupe by the English, the French Government in force
on that island had granted permits to numerous privateersmen to prey
upon the commerce of the enemy, as our own Government had done in two
wars. Now they could no longer enter the ports of that or of any other
of the West India islands, with their prizes and cargoes. Lafitte and
his daring sea-rovers made of the Bay of Barataria, on the Gulf coast
sixty miles south of New Orleans, a place of rendezvous and headquarters
for their naval and commercial adventures. From this point they had
ready and almost unobserved communication by navigable bayous with New
Orleans and the marts beyond. They formed a sequestered colony on the
shores of Barataria, and among the bold followers of Lafitte there were
nearly one hundred men skilled in navigation, expert in the use of
artillery, and familiar with every bay and inlet within one hundred
miles of the Crescent City. Their services, if attainable, might be made
invaluable in the invasion and investment of New Orleans contemplated by
the British, who through their spies kept well informed of the
conditions of the environment of the city. The time seemed opportune to
win them over. If not pirates under our laws, they were smugglers who
found it necessary to market the rich cargoes they captured and brought
in as privateersmen. Barred out by other nations, New Orleans was
almost the lone market for their wares and for their distribution
inland. Many merchants and traders favored this traffic, and had grown
rich in doing so, despite the severity of our revenue laws against
smuggling and the protests of other nations with whom we were friendly.
One of the Lafitte brothers and other leaders of the outlawed community
were under arrest and held for trial in the Federal Court at New Orleans
at this time. From Pensacola, Colonel Nichols sent Captains Lockyer, of
the navy, and Williams, of the army, as emissaries to offer to the
Baratarian outlaws the most enticing terms and the most liberal rewards,
provided they would enlist in the service of the British in their
invasion of Louisiana. Lafitte received them cautiously, but
courteously. He listened to their overtures, and feigned deep interest
in their mission. Having fully gained their confidence, they delivered
to him sealed packages from Colonel Nichols himself, offering thirty
thousand dollars in hand, high commissions in the English service for
the officers, and liberal pay for the men, on condition that the
Baratarians would ally themselves with the British forces. After the
reading of these documents, the emissaries began to enlarge on the
subject, insisting on the great advantages to result on enlisting in the
service of his Britannic Majesty, and the opportunity afforded of
acquiring fame and fortune. They were imprudent enough to disclose to
Lafitte the purpose and plans of the great English flotilla in the
waters of the Gulf, now ready to enter upon their execution. The army of
invasion, supported by the navy of England, would be invincible, and all
lower Louisiana would soon be in the possession of the British. They
would then penetrate the upper country, and act in concert with the
forces in Canada. On plausible pretexts the emissaries were delayed for
a day or two, and then returned to their ship lying at anchor outside
the pass into the harbor. Lafitte lost little time in visiting New
Orleans and laying before Governor Claiborne the letters of Colonel
Nichols and the sensational information he had received from the British
It was this intelligence which was borne in haste to General Jackson at
Mobile, by the couriers mentioned previously. The Lafittes promptly
tendered the services of themselves, their officers, and their men, in a
body to the American army, and pledged to do all in their power, by sea
and land, to defeat and repel the invading enemy, on condition that the
Government would accept their enlistment, pardon them of all offenses,
and remove from over them the ban of outlawry. This was all finally
done, and no recruits of Jackson's army rendered more gallant and
effective service, for their numbers, in the stirring campaign that
followed. They outclassed the English gunners in artillery practice, and
showed themselves to be veterans as marines or soldiers.
On receipt of this information of Lafitte, confirmed from other secret
and reliable sources, the citizens were aroused. A mass-meeting was held
in New Orleans and a Committee of Safety appointed, composed of Edward
Livingston, Pierre Fouchet, De la Croix, Benjamin Morgan, Dominique
Bouligny, J.A. Destrahan, John Blanque, and Augustine Macarte, who acted
in concert with Governor Claiborne, and with the Legislature called into
JACKSON ARRIVES IN NEW ORLEANS.
General Jackson left Mobile on the twenty-first of November and arrived
with his little army at New Orleans on the second of December, and
established headquarters at 984 (now 406) Royal Street. He found the
city well-nigh defenseless, while petty factions divided the councils of
leaders and people, especially rife among the members of the
Legislature. There was, incident to recent changes of sovereignties and
conditions of nationalities, serious disaffection on the part of a most
respectable element of the population of Louisiana and Florida toward
the American Government. The French and Spaniards, who mainly composed
the population, intensely loved their native countries with a patriotic
pride. They knew allegiance to no other, until a few years before, by
the arbitrary edicts of Napoleon, all of Louisiana was sold and
transferred to the United States. Other causes of irritation added to
the bitterness of resentment felt by the old Spanish element. Spain
tenaciously insisted on enforcing her claims of sovereignty to all
territory from the east bank of the Mississippi to the Perdido River, on
the east line of Alabama. But the American settlers within the same
became turbulent, and in October, 1810, these bold bordermen organized a
filibustering force of some strength, captured and took possession of
Baton Rouge, killing Commandant Grandpre, who yet asserted there the
authority of Spain. When Congress met, in December, 1810, an act was
passed in secret session authorizing the President to take military
possession of the disputed coast country in certain contingencies. Under
orders from Washington, General Wilkinson, with a force of six hundred
regulars, marched against Mobile, took possession of the Spanish fort,
Charlotte, and caused the garrison to withdraw to Pensacola.
This precipitate action--the British envoy protesting against such
informal occupation--was justified at home on the plea of strong grounds
of suspicion that England herself might suddenly assert sovereignty over
the same territory under secret treaty with Spain. Amid these rude and
revolutionary proceedings, all within a decade of years, necessarily
there followed a tumult of differing sentiment and contentions among the
Spanish, French, and American people of the section. Fortunately the
French element were of a nativity whose country had been for generations
the inveterate enemy of the English, our common foe. If there were any
who felt resentment before over the enforced change of allegiance from
beloved France to the stranger sovereignty, when the crisis of campaign
and battle came none were more gallant and brave in meeting the invading
On the ninth of December the great English flotilla appeared off
Chandeleur Islands, and came to anchor near to Ship Island, the
shallowness of the water not permitting the nearer approach to the main
shore of vessels so large. The British authorities yet believed that the
destination of this fleet was unknown to the Americans ashore; but in
this they were mistaken, as they afterward admitted. The inadequacy of
men and means and measures to properly meet and repel such an
invading force, as mentioned before, was mainly due to the tardy
negligence of the department at Washington. The sleepless vigilance and
untiring energy of General Jackson was in marked contrast to this, not
only within his own military jurisdiction, but in the whole region
around. His trusty spies, pale and dusky, were everywhere, and little
escaped his attention. The situation was now critical in the extreme.
Fortunately, the unbounded confidence all had in their military chief
inspired hope and infused energy among the people. He had never been
defeated in battle. If any one could wrest victory now out of the
inauspicious and chaotic conditions that threatened disaster, they
believed it to be General Jackson.
Marvelous was the change wrought by his timely appearance on the theater
of active operations. The partial attempts to adopt measures of defense
were of little avail. The joint committee of the Legislature to act in
concert with Governor Claiborne, Commodore Patterson, and the military
commandant, had done but little as yet. There was wanting the
concentration of power always needed in military operations. Latour, in
his "Memoirs of the War of 1814-15," graphically describes the condition
of affairs as he saw and knew them to exist:
Confidence was wanting in the civil and military authorities, and a
feeling of distrust and gloomy apprehension pervaded the minds of the
citizens. Petty disputes on account of two committees of defense,
unfortunately countenanced by the presence and influence of several
public officials, had driven the people to despondency. They
complained, not without cause, that the Legislature wasted time, and
consumed the money of the State, in idle discussions, when both time
and money should have been devoted to measures of defense. The banks
had suspended payment of their notes, and credit was gone. The
moneyed men had drawn in their funds, and loaned their money at the
ruinous rates of three or four per cent per month. The situation
seemed desperate; in case of attack, none could hope to be saved only
by miracle, or by the wisdom and genius of a great commander.
After his habit of giving his personal attention to every detail,
General Jackson, on his arrival, visited Fort St. Philip, ordered the
wooden barracks removed, and had mounted additional heavy artillery. He
caused two more batteries to be constructed, one on the opposite bank of
the Mississippi, and the other half a mile above, with twenty-four
pounders in position, thus fully guarding the approach by the mouth of
the river. He then proceeded to Chef Menteur, as far as Bayou Sauvage,
and ordered a battery erected at that point. He continued to fortify or
obstruct the larger bayous whose waters gave convenient access to the
city between the Mississippi and the Gulf.
As early as July before, the Secretary of War, in view of the formidable
armaments of England, had made requisition of the several States for
ninety-three thousand five hundred men for general defensive purposes,
under a law of Congress enacted the previous April. The quota of
Kentucky was fifty-five hundred infantry; of Tennessee, twenty-five
hundred infantry; of Mississippi territory, five hundred infantry, and
of Louisiana, one thousand infantry. That portion of the quota of
Kentucky destined for New Orleans, twenty-two hundred men, and a portion
of the quota of Tennessee, embarked upon flatboats to float fifteen
hundred miles down the Ohio and Mississippi waters, had not arrived on
the tenth of December. Through the energetic efforts of the Governor,
aided by Major Edward Livingston and the Committee of Safety, the quota
of Louisiana was made up. With these, General Coffee's Tennesseans,
Major Hinds' Mississippians, and one thousand regular troops, there were
less than three thousand men for defensive operations yet available.
BATTLE OF THE GUNBOATS WITH THE FLEET OF BARGES.
An event was soon to happen which seemed for the time an irreparable
disaster to the American cause. Commodore Daniel T. Patterson, in
command of the American naval forces, on learning of the approach of
the British fleet, sent Lieutenant Thomas Ap Catesby Jones, with five
gunboats, one tender, and a dispatch boat toward the passes out to Ship
Island, to watch the movements of the British vessels. This little
flotilla, barely enough for scout duty at sea, was the extent of our
naval forces in the Gulf waters near. The orders were to fall back, if
necessary, from near Cat Island to the Rigolets; and there, if hard
pressed, to sink or be sunk by the enemy. Moving in waters too shallow
for the large English ships to pursue, until the thirteenth, Lieutenant
Jones sailed for Bay St. Louis. Sighting a large number of the enemy's
barges steering for Pass Christian, he headed for the Rigolets. But the
wind having died away and an adverse current set in, the little fleet
could get no farther than the channel inside of Melheureux Island, being
there partially grounded. Early on the morning of the fourteenth, a
flotilla of barges formed in line was discovered coming from the
direction of the enemy's ships, evidently to overtake and attack the
becalmed gunboats. The two tenders, lying beyond the aid of the latter,
were captured after a spirited resistance. The guns of these were now
turned upon Lieutenant Jones' gunboats in a combined attack of the fleet
of barges, forty-five in number, and a supporting squad of marines. The
total equipment was twelve hundred men and forty-five pieces of
artillery. The American defensive forces were seven small gunboats,
manned by thirty guns and one hundred and eighty men. The enemy's
oarsmen advanced their entire fleet in line of battle until the fire
from the gunboats caused severe losses and some confusion in the
movements of the barges. They then separated in three divisions and
renewed the attack. The battle became general, and was contested
fiercely for nearly two hours, when the gunboats, overpowered by
numbers, were forced to surrender, losing six men killed and thirty-five
wounded, among the latter Lieutenants Jones, Speddin, and McKeever, each
in command of a boat. Several barges of the enemy were sunk, while their
losses in killed and wounded were estimated at two to three hundred.
Among the wounded were Captain Lockyer, in command, and other officers.
The preparations for defense on shore were now pushed forward with
redoubled energy. General Jackson gave unremitting attention to the
fortifying of all points which seemed available for the approach of the
enemy; it was impossible to know at what point he might choose to make
his first appearance on land. Captain Newman, in command of Fort Petit
Coquille, at the Rigolets, next to Lake Pontchartrain, was reinforced,
and the order given to defend the post to the last extremity. If
compelled to abandon it, he was instructed to fall back on Chef Menteur.
Swift messengers were sent to Generals Carroll and Thomas to make all
speed possible with the Tennessee and Kentucky troops on their way to
New Orleans. Also, a courier was dispatched to General Winchester,
commanding at Mobile, warning of the possible danger of another attack
on that place, since the loss of the gunboats. Major Lacoste, with the
dragoons of Feliciana and his militia battalion of colored men, was
directed, with two pieces of artillery, to take post at the confluence
of Bayous Sauvage and Chef Menteur, throw up a redoubt, and guard the
road. Major Plauche was sent with his battalion to Bayou St. John, north
of the city, Major Hughes being in command of Fort St. John. Captain
Jugeant was instructed to enlist and form into companies all the Choctaw
Indians he could collect, a mission that proved nearly barren of
results. The Baratarians, mustered into ranks and drilled for important
services under their own officers, Captains Dominique You, Beluche,
Sougis, Lagand, and Golson, were divided out to the forts named, and to
other places where expert gunners were most needed.
On the eighteenth of December a grand review of the Louisiana troops was
held by Jackson in front of the old Cathedral, now Jackson Square. The
day was memorable by many incidents, not all in harmony with the
purposes and plans of the civil and military leaders of defense. The
entire population of the city and vicinity were present to witness the
novel scenes, men and women vying with each other in applauding and
enthusing the martial ardor of the soldiers on parade. Such an army,
hastily improvised in a few brief days from city, country, and towns,
made up of a composite of divergent race elements, as was that of the
Louisiana contingent with the command of Jackson at New Orleans, was
perhaps never paralleled in the history of warfare before. Major
Plauche's battalion of uniformed companies was made up mainly of French
and Spanish Creoles, with some of American blood, enlisted from the
city; and from the same source came Captain Beale's Rifle Company,
mostly American residents. The Louisiana militia, under General Morgan,
were of the best element of the country parishes, of much the same
race-types as Plauche's men, of newer material, and without uniforms.
Then came the battalion of Louisiana free men of color, nearly three
hundred strong, led by Major Lacoste, and another battalion of men of
color, two hundred and fifty in number, commanded by Major Daquin,
recruited from the refugees in New Orleans from St. Domingo, who had
taken part in the bloody strifes in that island, and who bore like
traditional hatred to the English, with all who spoke the French tongue.
Add to the above a small detachment of Choctaw Indians; and lastly, the
loyal pirates of Lafitte, who were patriotic enough to scorn the gold of
England, and brave enough to offer their services and their lives, if
need be, to the cause of our country; and together, these give us a
picture of the men under review, whom Jackson was to lead to battle in a
few days against the best-trained troops of Europe. Though of new
material, and suddenly called into service, this provincial contingent
of twelve hundred men, animated with the spirit of battle against an
invading foe, proved themselves, when ably officered, the equals of the
best troops in the field.
JACKSON DECLARES MARTIAL LAW.
On the sixteenth, two days before the review, General Jackson issued
from his headquarters an order declaring "the city and environs of New
Orleans under martial law." This imperious edict was resorted to in the
firm belief that only the exercise of supreme military authority could
awe into silence all opposition to defensive operations. Every person
entering the city was required to report himself to headquarters, and
any one departing from it must procure a pass. The street lamps were
extinguished at nine o'clock at night, and every one found passing after
that hour was subject to arrest. All persons capable of bearing arms who
did not volunteer were pressed into the military or naval service.
Rumors were rife that British spies were secretly prowling in the city,
and coming into the American camp. Reports of disloyal utterances and
suspicious proceedings on the part of certain citizens came repeatedly
to the ears of the commander-in-chief. More serious yet, he was aroused
to fierce anger by personal and direct intelligence that certain leading
and influential members of the Legislature favored a formal capitulation
and surrender of Louisiana to the enemy, by that body, in the event of a
formidable invasion, for the greater security of their persons and
property. These persons had circulated a story that Jackson would burn
the city and all valuable property in reach rather than let it fall into
the hands of the British.
Determined that disloyalty should find no foothold to mar his military
plans, or to disaffect the soldiery or citizens, General Jackson, on the
day previous to his declaration of martial law, issued the following
TO THE CITIZENS OF NEW ORLEANS.
The Major-general commanding, has, with astonishment and regret,
learned that great consternation and alarm pervade your city. It is
true the enemy is on our coast and threatens to invade our territory;
but it is equally true that, with union, energy, and the approbation
of Heaven, we will beat him at every point his temerity may induce
him to set foot on our soil. The General, with still greater
astonishment, has heard that British emissaries have been permitted
to propagate seditious reports among you, that the threatened
invasion is with a view to restore the country to Spain, from the
supposition that some of you would be willing to return to your
ancient government. Believe not such incredible tales; your
Government is at peace with Spain. It is the vital enemy of your
country,--the common enemy of mankind, the highway robber of the
world, that threatens you. He has sent his hirelings among you with
this false report, to put you off your guard, that you may fall an
easy prey. Then look to your liberties, your property, the chastity
of your wives and daughters. Take a retrospect of the conduct of the
British army at Hampton, and other places where it entered our
country, and every bosom which glows with patriotism and virtue, will
be inspired with indignation, and pant for the arrival of the hour
when we shall meet and revenge these outrages against the laws of
civilization and humanity.
The General calls upon the inhabitants of the city to trace this
unfounded report to its source, and bring the propagator to condign
punishment. The rules and articles of war annex the punishment of
death to any person holding secret correspondence with the enemy,
creating false alarm, or supplying him with provision. The General
announces his determination rigidly to execute the martial law in all
cases which may come within his province.
By command. THOMAS L. BUTLER,
BAYOU BIENVENUE AND THE BRITISH SPIES OF THE FISHERMEN'S
Bayou Bienvenue, formerly called St. Frances River, drains all the
waters of a swamp-basin, of triangular form and about eighty square
miles in surface, bounded on the west by New Orleans, on the northwest
by Chef Menteur, and on the east by Lake Borgne, into which it empties.
It receives the waters of several other bayous from the surrounding
cypress swamps and prairies. It is navigable for vessels of one hundred
tons burden as far as the junction with old Piernas Canal, twelve miles
from its mouth. It is about one hundred and twenty yards in width, and
has from six to nine feet of water at the bar, according to the flow of
the tides. Its principal branch is Bayou Mazant, which runs to the
southwest and receives the waters of the canals of the old plantations
of Villere, Lacoste, and Laronde, on and near which the British army
encamped, about eight miles below New Orleans. The banks of these
bayous, which drain the swamp lands on either side of the Mississippi,
are usually about twelve feet below the banks of the river, which have
been elevated by the deposit of sediment from overflows for centuries.
These slopes, from the banks back to the swamps, usually ten to eighteen
hundred yards, drain off the waters and form the tillable lands of the
sugar and cotton planters. They are protected from overflows by levees
thrown up on the banks of the river. These plantation lands formed the
only ground in this country for the encampment of a large army, or
available for a march on New Orleans. On nearly all the large sugar
plantations canals were cut from the bank of the river running back to
the swamp, to furnish at high tides water-power for mills which did the
grinding or sawing for the plantations.
Bayous Bienvenue and Mazant, as mentioned, formed a waterway from Lake
Borgne to the rear of the plantations of Villere, Lacoste, and Laronde,
situated but two or three hours' easy march to the city, to which there
was a continuous roadway through the plantation lands between the river
and the swamps. The enemy was fully informed of every point of approach
by spies within the military lines, and since the capture of the
gunboats determined on an attempt to secretly invade the environing
country, and to assault and capture New Orleans by surprise. But one
mile from Lake Borgne, on the low bank of Bayou Bienvenue, was a village
of Spanish and Portuguese fishermen and their families. From the bayous
and adjacent lakes they furnished the city markets with fish, and were
familiar with every body of water and every nook and inlet for many
miles around. A number of these became notorious as spies in the pay of
the British. Of this treacherous little colony, the names of Maringuier,
Old Luiz, Francisco, Graviella, Antonio el Italiano, El Campechano,
Mannellilo, and Garcia became known as connected with this disloyalty.
These served the English as pilots to their barges, as guides to the
best approaches to New Orleans, and as ready spies within and without.
The English commander in charge sent Captain Peddie, of the army, on the
twentieth of December, as a spy in the disguise of one of these
fishermen, to inspect and report upon the feasibility of entering with
the army at the mouth of Bayou Bienvenue, landing at the plantations
above and marching suddenly by this route on the city. Old Luiz and two
others of the fishermen were his guides. He safely and without suspicion
penetrated to Villere's plantation, viewed the field for encampment
there, and noted the easy route of approach to the city, without an
obstruction in the way. His report being most favorable, the British
officer in command decided at once on invasion and attack from this
FIVE THOUSAND BRITISH TROOPS ENTER BAYOU BIENVENUE AND LAND NEAR
By Jackson's order, Major Villere, son of General Villere, the owner of
the plantation, placed a picket of twelve men at Fisherman's Village on
the twenty-first, to watch and report promptly in case the enemy
appeared there. After midnight, near the morning of the twenty-third,
five advance barges bearing British troops glided noiselessly into
Bienvenue from Lake Borgne, capturing the picket of twelve men without
firing a gun. Soon after, the first division of the invading army,
twenty-five hundred strong, under command of Colonel Thornton, appeared
in eighty barges, and passed up the bayous to Villere's canal, where a
landing was effected by the dawn of day. After a brief rest and
breakfast, the march of two miles was made to Villere's plantation,
arriving there at half-past eleven. The troops at once surrounded the
house of General Villere, and surprised and made prisoners a company of
the Third Louisiana Militia stationed there. Major Villere, after
capture, escaped through a window at the risk of his life, reached the
river bank and crossed over in a small boat, and hastened to New Orleans
with the startling news. Colonel Laronde also escaped, and reached
headquarters in the early afternoon; on the day before he had reported
the sighting of several suspicious vessels out upon Lake Borgne,
seemingly to reconnoiter.
Jackson had ordered Majors Latour and Tatum, of his engineer corps, to
reconnoiter in the direction of the Laronde and Lacoste plantations, and
to carefully examine this avenue of approach by the enemy. These
officers left the city at eleven o'clock, and had reached Laronde's,
when they met several persons fleeing toward the city, who told them of
the arrival of the British at Villere's, and of the capture of the
outpost there. It was then but half-past one o'clock. The two scouts put
spurs to their horses, and by two o'clock the General was informed of
the facts. With that heroic promptness and intuition characteristic and
ever present with him, he exclaimed with fierce emphasis: "By the
eternal! the enemy shall not sleep upon our soil!" The invading movement
was a complete surprise, and there was not yet a defensive work to
obstruct the march of the British upon the coveted city. Only genius and
courage of the highest order could have met successfully such an
emergency, and Jackson alone seemed equal to the occasion.
JACKSON DETERMINES TO ATTACK--BLOODY NIGHT-BATTLE OF THE
TWENTY-THIRD OF DECEMBER.
Orders were issued rapidly, as the report of the alarm-gun gave notice
to all to be ready. The troops were stationed within a radius of a few
miles of the city, in garrisons. Major Plauche was summoned to bring
down his battalion of uniformed volunteers from Bayou St. John, which
summons was obeyed in a run all the way. General Coffee, encamped four
miles above the city, under similar order, was at headquarters within
one hour. Colonel McRae, with the Seventh regulars, Lieutenant Spotts,
with two pieces of artillery, and Lieutenant Bellevue, with a detachment
of marines, were all formed on the road near Montruil's plantation.
Coffee's riflemen and Hinds' Mississippi dragoons formed the advance in
the order of march. Beale's Orleans Rifles followed closely after, and
by four o'clock these had taken position at Rodrique's Canal. The
battalion of men of color, under Major Daquin, the Forty-fourth
regulars, under Captain Baker, and Plauche's men, were in close
Commodore Patterson was requested to arm such vessels lying in the river
as were ready, and to drop down and take station opposite the enemy. The
schooner Carolina was put in position; the sloop of war Louisiana could
not steer in the stream. Governor Claiborne, with the First, Second, and
Fourth Louisiana Militia, occupied a post in the plain of Gentilly, to
cover the city on the side of Chef Menteur. A picket of five mounted men
was fired on near the line of Laronde's and Lacoste's plantations, and
driven in about four o'clock. A negro was apprehended, who had been sent
by the British with printed copies of a proclamation in Spanish and
French, in terms as follows: "Louisianians! remain quiet in your houses;
your slaves shall be preserved to you, and your property respected. We
make war only against Americans." This was signed by Admiral Cochrane
and General Keene. Other copies were found.
About nightfall the troops were formed in line of battle, the left
composed of a part of Coffee's men, Beale's Rifles, the Mississippi
dragoons, and some other mounted riflemen, in all about seven hundred
and thirty men, General Coffee in command, Colonel Laronde as guide.
Under cover of the darkness, they took position back of the plantation
of the latter. The right formed on a perpendicular line from the river
to the garden of Laronde's plantation, and on its principal avenue. The
artillery occupied the high road, supported by a detachment of marines.
On the left of the artillery were stationed the Seventh and
Forty-fourth regulars, Plauche's and Daquin's battalions, and a squad of
Choctaw Indians, all under the command of Colonel Ross.
The second invading division of the British army, made up of the
Twenty-first, Forty-fourth, and Ninety-third Regiments, with a corps of
artillery, in all about twenty-five hundred men, was disembarked at the
terminus of Villere Canal at half-past seven o'clock in the evening of
the twenty-third, just as the roar of the ship's cannon announced the
opening of the night battle. At seven o'clock Commodore Patterson had
anchored the Carolina in the Mississippi, as requested, in front of the
British camp, and but a good musket-shot away. Such was the security
felt by the enemy in camp that they stood upon the levee and viewed her
as a common boat plying the river. Within thirty minutes she opened upon
the enemy a destructive fire which spread consternation and havoc
throughout their camp. In half an hour more they were driven out, with
many killed and wounded. About eight o'clock the troops on the right,
led by Jackson himself, began the attack on the enemy's left. The
Seventh and Forty-fourth regulars became hotly engaged along the line,
supported by McRae's artillery. Plauche's and Daquin's battalions coming
up, the fighting became furious from the road to Laronde's garden. The
British were forced back within the limits of Lacoste's plantation, the
combatants being often intermingled and fighting hand-to-hand, almost
undistinguishable in the darkness of night, made denser by the smoke of
battle and the gathering fog.
Meanwhile, Coffee's troops, from the rear of Laronde's plantation, were
moved to the boundary limits of Lacoste and Villere, with a view of
taking the enemy in the rear. Coffee extended his front and ordered his
men to move forward in silence and to fire without orders, taking aim as
best they could. They drove the enemy before them, and took a second
position in front of Lacoste's plantation. Here was posted the
Eighty-fifth Regiment of the British army, which was forced back by the
first fire toward their main camp. Captain Beale's Riflemen advanced on
the left into the British camp at Villere's, driving the enemy before
them and taking some prisoners, but sustained some loss before joining
Coffee again. Coffee's division finally took a last position in front of
the old levee, near Laronde's boundary, where it harassed the enemy as
they fell back, driven by Jackson on the right. By ten o'clock the
British had fallen back to their camp in discomfiture, where they were
permitted to lay in comparative quiet until morning, except their
harassment from the artillery fire of the schooner Carolina. In the
darkness and confusion of combat at dead of night lines were broken and
order lost at times, until it was difficult to distinguish friends from
foes. General Jackson led his troops back to the opening point of the
attack and rested them there until morning, when he fell back over one
mile to Rodrique's Canal, the position selected for the defense of the
Three hundred and fifty of the Louisiana militia, under command of
General David Morgan, were stationed at English Turn, seven miles below
Villere's, and nearly fourteen miles from New Orleans. Intelligence of
the arrival of the British at Villere's, on the twenty-third, reached
General Morgan's camp at one o'clock in the afternoon of the day.
Officers and men expressed an eagerness to be led against the enemy; but
General Morgan, not having then received orders from Jackson to that
effect, deemed it prudent to hold them waiting in camp. At half-past
seven o'clock, when the guns from the Carolina were heard bringing on
the battle, it was found difficult to restrain them longer. Morgan
finally, at the urgent request of his officers, gave orders to go
forward, which the troops received with ardor. They reached a point near
Jumonville's plantation, just below Villere's, when a picket guard in
advance met a picket force of the enemy and fired on it; the fire was
returned. A reconnoiter failing to discover the numbers and position of
the enemy in his front, Morgan took a position in a field until three
o'clock in the morning, when he marched his men back to camp. The
failure of this command to join issue in this battle, in concert with
the other commands of Jackson's army, was apparently most unfortunate.
The records do not show what orders, if any, were sent from headquarters
by Jackson to General Morgan in summoning his forces in the afternoon of
the day for the attack at night. It is barely possible that the General
neglected to dispatch an order to, or to communicate with, the commander
of so important a body of troops, in numbers nearly one fifth of the
entire American forces engaged, in a critical hour when every available
soldier was needed on the field of combat. A swift messenger sent by
Jackson from headquarters at two o'clock, as to other outpost commands,
could easily have reached English Turn at five o'clock. General Morgan
knew that the invading army were in bivouac seven miles above. By eight
o'clock he could have had his troops in attacking distance of the enemy,
and in their rear. When Jackson and Coffee assaulted the British lines
at eight o'clock, and drove them back in confusion upon their camp, a
spirited surprise attack by Morgan's command in the rear, any moment
before nine o'clock, would probably have routed the entire British
division engaged and forced them to lay down their arms or retreat to
their boats. He did move his command forward, and halt them at some
distance from the enemy, but it was probably too late. The battle was
over and the opportunity gone.
An after-incident throws a ray of light upon the criticism of the day
upon the above affair. Honorable Magloire Guichard, President of the
House of Representatives, in his testimony before the Committee of
Inquiry on the military measures employed by Jackson against the
On the twenty-seventh of December, when I got home, I found Colonel
Declouet (of Morgan's command), who had just crossed the river. Amid
the conversation of the evening, I expressed my surprise at his not
having attacked the British from the lower side, on the night of the
twenty-third; that had he done so with the men under his command, at
the same time with the troops coming from the city, all would have
terminated on that evening, and the British would have laid down
their arms. He expressed great sorrow that he had not been the master
to do so. He declared that this was his intention, but that General
Morgan refused to comply with his request. Afterwards, having
resolved to come toward midnight to reconnoitre, they had met with a
small picket, who fired upon them; they returned the fire, and then
The British loss in this initial night-battle is put by our authorities
at four to five hundred in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Their own
official reports admit three to five hundred. The Americans had
twenty-four killed, one hundred and fifteen wounded, and seventy-four
made prisoners. The fall of Colonel Lauderdale, of Mississippi, was much
So unique in the annals of military experience was this fiercely fought
night-battle, so startling in its surprise of the bold and confident
Britons, and so characteristic of Jackson's grim humor of war, that it
is interesting to know the impressions it made upon the minds of the
enemy. With this view, we quote a vivid description from the history of
an English officer who was in the campaigns against Napoleon, with Ross
and Pakenham in America, and who was a participant in this battle,
Captain Robert Gleig. He says:
About half-past seven at night our attention was drawn to a large
vessel which seemed to be stealing up the river, opposite our camp,
when her anchor was dropped and her sails quietly furled. She was
repeatedly hailed, but gave no answer. An alarm spread through our
bivouac, and all thought of sleep was abandoned. Several musket shots
were fired at her, when we heard a commanding voice cry out: "Give
them this for the honor of America!" The words were instantly
followed by the flashes of her guns, and a deadly shower of grape
swept down numbers in our camp.
Against this dreadful fire we had nothing as yet to oppose. We sought
shelter under the levee, and listened in painful silence to the
pattering of shot which fell among our troops, and to the shrieks and
groans of the wounded who lay near by. The night was dark as pitch.
Except the flashes of the enemy's guns, and the glare of our own
deserted fires, not an object could be distinguished. In this state
we lay helpless for nearly an hour, when a straggling fire of
musketry, driving in our pickets, warned us to prepare for a closer
and more desperate strife. This fire was presently succeeded by a
fearful yell, while the heavens became illuminated on all sides by a
semi-circular blaze of musketry.
Rushing from under the bank, the Eighty-fifth and Ninety-fifth
Regiments flew to support the pickets; while the Fourth, stealing to
the rear, formed close column as a reserve. But to describe this
action is out of the question, for it was such a battle as the annals
of warfare can hardly parallel. Each officer, as he was able to
collect twenty or thirty men around him, advanced into the midst of
the enemy, where they fought hand to hand, bayonet to bayonet, and
sword to sword, with the tumult and ferocity of Homer's combats
before the walls of Troy. Attacked unexpectedly in the dark, and
surrounded by enemies before we could arrange to oppose them, no
order or discipline of war could be preserved. We were mingled with
the Americans before we could tell whether they were friends or foes.
The consequence was that more feats of individual gallantry were
performed in the course of the conflict than many campaigns might
have afforded. The combat having begun at eight in the evening, and
long and obstinately contested, continued until three in the morning;
but the victory was decidedly ours, for the Americans retreated in
the greatest disorder, leaving us in possession of the field. Our
losses, however, were enormous. Not less than five hundred men had
fallen, many of whom were our first and best officers.
The recall being sounded, our troops were soon brought together,
forming in front of the ground where we had at first encamped. Here
we remained until the morn, when, to avoid the fire of the vessel, we
betook ourselves to the levee on the bank, and lay down. Here we lay
for some hours, worn out with fatigue and loss of sleep, and
shivering in the cold of a frosty morning, not daring to light a fire
or cook a meal. Whenever an attempt was made, the ship's guns opened
on us. Thus was our army kept prisoners for an entire day.
This was not a field victory for either combatant, but rather a drawn
battle, as each party fell back to the lines occupied at the opening. It
was a very great victory for the Americans in its bearings on the final
issues of the campaign. The attack of Jackson was to the British like a
bolt of lightning from a clear sky. It paralyzed and checked them on the
first day, and at the first place of their encampment on shore, and
enabled him to adopt measures to beat back the invaders in every attempt
they made for a further advance inland. The enemy had found an open way
and expected an easy march, with a certainty that the Crescent City, by
Christmas Day, would become an easy prey for their "Loot and Lust," as
Admiral Cochrane is said to have promised. Instead of a garden of
delights, they had walked into a deathtrap at the gate of entrance.
Confidence and prestige were shaken in the front of a foe equal in valor
and as skilled in arms as themselves. The rude reception given by
Jackson had compelled the army of the invaders to halt in its first
camp, and to re-form, to reinforce, and to rehabilitate its plans,
before daring another step forward. This delay, fatal to the British,
probably saved the city. On the next morning early (of the
twenty-fourth) the first division of the British army would have been
reinforced by the second division landed on the night of the battle,
giving five thousand fresh veteran troops in bivouac at Villere's, with
which to march upon the city. It was but seven miles distant, with a
broad, level highway leading to it. Jackson could have opposed to this
army not over two thousand men in the open field, where every advantage
would have been with the enemy. With the bravery and discipline the
latter showed in the surprise-battle at night, they would have made an
irresistible march to victory against the city, had not the invincible
Jackson paralyzed them with this first blow. It was a master-stroke,
worthy the genius of a great commander.
The valor of the English soldiers was rarely, if ever, surpassed on a
bloody field of contest. There was no panic, no rout, no cowering under
the murderous fire of the ship's guns, or when the blaze of musketry
encircled them in the darkness of the night. Although the ranks were
broken and little order prevailed, the men rallied to the calls of the
nearest officers, and plunged into the thickest of the strife. Only this
veteran discipline and stubborn British courage saved the enemy from
rout and worse disaster. Colonel Thornton, the bravest and most skillful
of the officers of the English army, as he repeatedly proved himself,
commanded on this occasion. General Keene had not yet come up.
The American forces engaged were: United States regulars, Seventh
Regiment, Major Peire, four hundred and sixty-five men, and Forty-fourth
Regiment, Captain Baker, three hundred and thirty-one men; marines,
Lieutenant Bellevue, sixty-six; artillery, McRae, twenty-two; Major
Plauche's battalion, two hundred and eighty-seven; Major Daquin's
battalion of St. Domingo men of color, two hundred and ten; Choctaws,
Captain Jugeant, eighteen; Coffee's Tennessee Brigade, five hundred and
sixty-three; Orleans Rifles, Captain Beale, sixty-two; and Mississippi
Dragoons, Major Hinds, one hundred and seven; in all, twenty-one hundred
and thirty-one men.
JACKSON ENTRENCHES AT RODRIQUE'S OLD CANAL SITE.
As mentioned, Jackson occupied the line of Rodrique's Canal, two miles
above the British camp at Villere's, and five miles below the city. The
space from the river here back to the swamp was but seventeen hundred
yards, making it an admirable line for defense. Early on the
twenty-fourth every available man was put to work throwing up a
breastwork on the upper side of the canal, while pieces of artillery
were planted at commanding points for immediate emergency. Negroes from
the adjacent plantations were called in to expedite the work of building
the entrenchment and suitable redoubts, as had been done at other works
of fortification and defense. On the twenty-fifth, General Morgan was
ordered to abandon the post at English Turn and to move his command of
Louisiana militia to a position on the right bank of the river, at
Flood's plantation, opposite Jackson's camp.
THE SHIP CAROLINA BURNED WITH HOT SHOT--ARTILLERY DUEL ON THE
The enemy determined to destroy the ship Carolina, as she lay out in the
river, from whose deadly broadsides by day and by night they had been so
terribly harassed since the opening of the night battle of the
twenty-third. Having brought up their artillery from their
landing-place, they erected a battery commanding that part of the river,
with a furnace for heating shot. On the twenty-seventh, they opened fire
in range, and in fifteen minutes the schooner was set on fire by the
red-hot missiles and burned to the water's edge. The fire of the battery
was next directed against the Louisiana, a larger war-vessel, the
preservation of which was of great importance. Lieutenant Thompson, in
command, with the combined efforts of one hundred men of his crew,
succeeded under fire of the battery in towing her beyond the range of
the guns of the enemy.
On the evening of the twenty-seventh the British moved forward in force,
drove in the American advance lines, and occupied Chalmette's
plantation, one mile above Laronde's. During the night they began to
establish several batteries along the river. At dawn of day on the
twenty-eighth they advanced in columns on the road, preceded by several
pieces of artillery, some playing upon the Louisiana and others on the
American lines. The ship's crew waited until the columns of the enemy
were well in range, when they opened upon them a destructive fire, which
silenced their guns. While this oblique fire fell upon the flank of the
British, the batteries on the American line answered them from the front
with much effect. One shot from the Louisiana killed fifteen of the
enemy's men. Some of his guns were dismounted, and he was driven from
several of his batteries. In seven hours' cannonading the ship fired
eight hundred shot. The enemy threw into the American ranks many
Congreve rockets, evidently misled in the hope that these ugly-looking
missiles would strike terror to the ranks of our troops. These soon
learned that they were not so dangerous as they appeared. The infantry
this day did not engage in more than heavy picket skirmishing, and in
checking the demonstrations of the enemy on our lines. This movement all
along the line was evidently a feint in force, to draw from Jackson's
army information as to the powers of resistance it might offer and to
ascertain its most vulnerable point of attack. The loss of the British
this day was estimated at two hundred; that of the Americans much less,
as they were mainly sheltered from the enemy's fire. There were nine
killed and eight wounded.
DEFENSES ON THE WEST BANK OF THE RIVER.
Realizing that the enemy might suddenly throw a force across the river,
and by a flank movement up the right bank gain a position opposite the
city, from which, by shot and shell, he might compel a surrender,
Jackson sent Major Latour, chief of his engineer corps, to the west
side, with orders to select a position most suitable for a fortified
line in the rear of General Morgan's camp. Bois-Gervais Canal, three
miles below New Orleans, was fixed upon, and one hundred and fifty
negroes from the plantations near at once set to work. In six days they
completed the parapet, with a glacis on the opposite side.
Commodore Patterson removed from the Louisiana a number of her guns,
which he placed in battery in front of Jordon's plantation, on the right
bank, with which he did important service to the end of the campaign.
This formidable battery was formed to give a deadly flanking fire on the
enemy's ranks from the opposite bank of the river. It was manned and
served by sailors, mostly landed from the Carolina when she was burned.
They had been enlisted about the city after the gunboats were destroyed;
men of all nations, not a third of them speaking the English language.
The constant daily fire of this battery caused the British to fall back
from Chalmette's and Bienvenue's houses and to seek safer quarters in
the rear, after the artillery duels of the twenty-eighth.
Captain Henly, of the late ship Carolina, was placed in command of a
strong redoubt on the bank of the river, opposite New Orleans, around
which was a fosse twenty-five feet in width, the earth from which was
thrown up to form a steep glacis, from the summit of the wall serving as
a parapet to the brink of the fosse. Here a battery of two twenty-four
pounders commanded at once the road and the river back to the swamp.
The Tennesseans, placed on the left, and operating in the undergrowth of
the woods of the swamp, were a continual terror to the British sentinels
and outposts. Clad in their brown hunting-dress, they were
indistinguishable in the bush, while with their long rifles they picked
off some of the British daily. The entrenchment line was being daily
A SECOND ATTEMPT TO BREACH THE AMERICAN WORKS, ON THE FIRST OF
JANUARY--GREAT ARTILLERY DUEL.
On the evening of the twenty-fifth, Sir Edward Pakenham arrived at the
British headquarters, and at once assumed chief command of the army in
person. He was a favorite of Lord Wellington in the Peninsular
campaigns, and held in high esteem by the English Government and people.
His presence imparted great enthusiasm to the officers and men of the
army, a majority of whom had served under him in other wars. The
invading British forces were now swelled to over ten thousand men for
present service. On the thirtieth and thirty-first, the enemy was
ominously busy in throwing up redoubts and in pushing his offensive
works in threatening nearness to our lines. In front of Bienvenue's
house he constructed a battery, of hogsheads of sugar taken from the
near plantations, the season for grinding the cane and converting the
product into sugar having just closed. A redoubt was also begun at a
point nearer the wood, fronting the American left, and some guns mounted
by the thirty-first. A heavy cannonading was opened on this day, from
this and other batteries along the British front, to which our own guns
responded, including those of the marine battery across the river, until
two in the afternoon.
[Illustration: BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS, JANUARY 8, 1815.]
These demonstrative movements of the enemy, with his busy
reconnoitering, foreboded an attack in force.
In the night of the thirty-first he erected, under cover of darkness,
two other batteries of heavy guns at a distance of six hundred yards
from the front of Jackson's entrenchments, on a ditch running along the
side of Chalmette's plantation, at distances of three and six hundred
yards from the river. During the night the men working on the platforms
and mounting the ordnance could be distinctly heard.
On the morning of the 1st of January, 1815, the earth was veiled by a
dense fog until eight o'clock. As the misty cloud lifted above the
horizon, the enemy opened up a terrific fire from his three batteries in
front, mounting respectively two, eight, and eight pieces of heavy
cannon. A meteor-like shower of Congreve rockets accompanied the balls,
filling the air for fifteen minutes with these missiles of terror. The
two batteries nearest the river directed their fire against McCarty's
house, some hundreds of yards behind our front line, where Jackson and
his staff had their headquarters. In less than ten minutes more than one
hundred balls, rockets, and shells struck the house. Bricks, splinters
of wood, and broken furniture were sent flying in all directions, making
the premises dangerously untenable. General Jackson and his staff
occupied the house at the time; yet, strange to say, not a person was
even wounded. There is no account that the old hero "ingloriously fled,"
but it is in evidence that he retired with commendable dispatch to a
Though the batteries of the enemy were in a better position, on a lower
plane, and with a narrower front than those of the Americans, the
gunners of the latter fired with more precision and effect on this day,
and on other occasions, as their own officers afterward admitted. In an
hour's time the fire from the enemy's side began to slacken, and
continued to abate until noon, when his two batteries to the right were
abandoned. Our balls dismounted several of his guns early in the day,
and in the afternoon the greater part of his artillery was dismounted or
unfit for service. The carriages of three of the guns on the American
side were broken, and two caissons, with over one hundred rounds of
ammunition, were blown up by rockets, at which the enemy loudly cheered.
The cheeks of the embrasures of our batteries were formed of cotton
bales, which the enemy's balls struck, sending the cotton flying through
the air. The impression that Jackson's breastwork line was constructed
of bales of cotton is a mistake. Bales of cotton were used only at the
bottom and sides of the embrasures, for a firmer support for the
artillery, beneath a casing of heavy plank. The British, in the absence
of cotton bales, used hogsheads of sugar, which were conveniently near,
for the same purposes. These our shot easily knocked to pieces,
saturating the damp earth around with the saccharine sweets. Our
breastworks were more substantially and easily made of the alluvial
The guns of the British batteries nearest the levee were directed in
part against the marine battery across the river during the day, but
with little effect. Before the close the enemy's guns were silenced,
and several of them abandoned. The British columns were in readiness,
drawn up in several parallel lines, prudently awaiting in the back
ditches and the trenches between the batteries a favorable moment to
advance to an assault of our lines. In this they were disappointed; the
superiority of the American artillery left them no hope of an advantage
by breaching our lines with this arm. That this was their object their
own authorities state. The losses this day of the Americans were
thirty-five killed and wounded; the enemy admitted a loss of
seventy-five. During the night of the first of January, the latter
succeeded in removing his heavy guns from the dismantled batteries,
dragging them off with much difficulty through the mired earth.
A VIEW FROM THE ENEMY'S STANDPOINT.
It is interesting to view a situation from an enemy's standpoint, and to
know the impressions made upon an enemy's mind in a great issue like the
one of contest. We quote again from Gleig's "Campaigns of the English
It was Christmas Day, and a number of officers, clubbing their scant
stocks of provisions, resolved to dine together in memory of former
times. But at so melancholy a Christmas dinner, I do not remember to
have been present. We dined in a barn; of tableware, of viands, and
of good cookery, there was a dismal scarcity. These were matters,
however, of minor thought; the want of many well-known and beloved
faces thrilled us with pain. While sitting at the table, a loud
shriek from outside startled the guests. On running out, we found
that a shot from the enemy's ship had cut almost in twain the body of
a soldier, and he was gasping in death.
On the twenty-eighth, the British army advanced in full force,
supported by ten pieces of artillery, with a view to a final assault.
They did not do much more than the bringing on of a heavy artillery
duel, in which they were severely worsted and driven back to camp.
That the Americans are excellent shots, as well with artillery as
with rifles, we had frequent cause to acknowledge; but perhaps on no
occasion did they assert their claim to the title of good
artillerymen more effectually than on the present. Scarcely a shot
passed over, or fell short; but all striking full into our ranks,
occasioned terrible havoc. The crash of the fire-locks and the fall
of the killed and wounded, caused at first some confusion. In half an
hour three of our heavy guns were dismounted, many gunners killed,
and the rest obliged to retire. The infantry advanced under a heavy
discharge of round and grape shot, until they were checked by a canal
in front. A halt was ordered, and the men commanded to shelter
themselves in a wet ditch as best they could.
Thus it fared with the left of the army. The right failing to
penetrate through the swamp, and faring no better, was compelled to
halt. All thought of a general attack for this day was abandoned. It
only remained to withdraw the troops from their perilous position
with as little loss as possible. This was done, not in a body, but
regiment by regiment, under the same discharge which saluted their
There seemed now but one practicable way of assault; to treat these
field-works as one would treat a regular fortification, by erecting
breaching batteries against them, and silencing, if possible, their
guns. To this end three days were employed in landing heavy cannon,
bringing up ammunition, and making other preparations, as for a
siege. One half of the army was ordered out on the night of the
thirty-first, quietly led up to within three hundred yards of the
enemy's works, and busily employed in throwing up a chain of works.
Before dawn, six batteries were completed, with thirty pieces of
heavy cannon mounted, when the troops, before the dawn of day, fell
back and concealed themselves behind some thick brush in the rear.
The Americans had no idea of what was going on until morning came.
This whole district was covered with the stubble of sugar-cane, and
every storehouse and barn was filled with large barrels containing
sugar. In throwing up the works this sugar was used. Rolling the
hogsheads towards the front, they were placed in the parapets of the
batteries. Sugar, to the amount of many thousand pounds sterling, was
thus disposed of.
On the morning of January 1st, a thick haze obscured the sun, and all
objects at the distance of a few yards, for some hours. Finally, as
the clouds of fog drifted away, the American camp was fully exposed
to view, but three hundred yards away. The different regiments were
upon parade, and presented a fine appearance. Mounted officers rode
to and fro, bands were playing, and colors floating in the air. All
seemed gala, when suddenly our batteries opened. Their ranks were
broken; the different corps dispersing, fled in all directions, while
the utmost terror and disorder appeared to prevail.
While this consternation lasted among the infantry, their artillery
remained silent; but soon recovering confidence, they answered our
salute with great precision and rapidity. A heavy cannonade on both
sides continued during the day, until our ammunition began to
fail--our fire slackening, while that of the enemy redoubled. Landing
a number of guns from their flotilla, they increased their artillery
to a prodigious amount. They also directed their cannon on the
opposite bank against the flank of our batteries, and soon convinced
us that all endeavors to surpass them in this mode of fighting would
be useless. Once more, we were obliged to retire, leaving our heavy
guns to their fate. The fatigue of officers and men, it would be
difficult to form a conception of. For two entire nights and days not
a man had closed his eyes, except to sleep amid showers of
cannon-balls. We retreated, therefore, baffled and disheartened. It
must be confessed that a murmur of discontent began to be heard in
the camp. The cannon and mortars of the enemy played on our men night
and day, from their main position; likewise a deadly fire from
eighteen pieces on the opposite bank swept the entire line of our
encampment. The duty of a picket was as dangerous as to go into
battle. The American sharpshooters harassed them from the time they
went on duty till they were relieved; while to light fires served
only as marks for the enemy's gunners. The murmurs were not of men
anxious to escape from a disagreeable situation; but rather resembled
the growlings of a chained animal, when he sees his adversary, but
can not reach him. All were eager to bring matters to the issue of a
battle, at any sacrifice.
TENNESSEE AND KENTUCKY TROOPS ARRIVE--GOVERNMENT CENSURED FOR
General Carroll's division of Tennessee troops arrived about this time;
also the Louisiana militia were reinforced by several companies from the
more distant parishes. On the fourth of January the entire body of
Kentucky militia reached New Orleans, twenty-two hundred in number, and
went into camp on Prevost's plantation. The day following, seven hundred
and fifty of these repaired to the lines, and went into camp in the
rear, arms being furnished to but five hundred of the number. There
were, at this time, nearly two thousand brave and willing men within
Jackson's lines, whose services were lost to the army and to the country
for the want of arms. The dangerous delay of the arrival of the troops,
and with this, the failure of the arrival of the arms and munitions
necessary to equip the men for service, had their beginning in the
culpable negligence of the War Department at Washington, of which
history has had occasion to complain. But a more immediate cause for the
irreparable delay in the arrival of the stores for arming and equipping
the troops is found in the conduct of the quartermaster who
superintended the shipment of the same from Pittsburgh. Though he was
offered a contract to ship these supplies by a steamboat, and to
deliver them at New Orleans in ample time for use, for some reason he
declined the offer. He then had them loaded on a flatboat and slowly
floated to their destination, when there was little or no hope of their
arrival in time for use. At the date of the final battle at New Orleans
they were afloat somewhere near the mouth of the Ohio River, and of
course did not arrive until many days after all need of them was over.
On the twenty-ninth of December, General Jackson wrote to the Secretary
of War these words of protest against this failure to make provision for
his army in such a crisis as the present:
I lament that I have not the means of carrying on more offensive
operations. The Kentucky troops have not arrived, and my effective
force at this point does not exceed three thousand men. That of the
enemy must be at least double; both prisoners and deserters agreeing
in the statement that seven thousand landed from their boats.
When the militia of Kentucky were called for, Governor Shelby was
assured that the United States quartermaster would furnish
transportation for the troops to New Orleans; but no such officer
reported himself, and no relief came from Washington. The men had
rendezvoused on the banks of the Ohio in waiting, and here the
expedition must have ended had not Colonel Richard Taylor, of Frankfort,
then quartermaster of the State militia, on his own credit, borrowed a
sum sufficient to meet the immediate emergency. With this he purchased
such boats as he could, some of which were unfit for the passage. Camp
equippage could not be had in time, and about thirty pots and kettles
were bought at Louisville, one to each company of eighty men. At the
mouth of the Cumberland River they were detained eight days, with their
axes and frows riving boards with which to patch up their old boats.
From this point they started with half a supply of rations, to which
they added as they could on the way down the Mississippi River. The men
knew there was due them an advance of two months' pay when ordered out
of the State. The United States quartermaster distributed this pay to
the Tennessee troops who had preceded them, but withheld it from the
Kentuckians. Believing that they would be furnished suitable clothing or
pay, blankets, tents, arms, and munitions with reasonable promptness,
they left home with little else than the one suit of clothing they wore,
usually of homespun jeans. As a writer has said: "Rarely, if ever, has
it been known of such a body of men leaving their homes, unprovided as
they were, and risking a difficult passage of fifteen hundred miles in
the crudest of barges to meet an enemy. They could have been prompted
alone by a patriotic love of country and a defiance of its enemies."
This contribution of Kentucky for the defense of Louisiana was made just
after she had furnished over ten thousand volunteer troops in the
campaigns of Harrison in the Northwest, who made up the larger part of
the soldiers in that army for the two years previous, and who recently
had won the great victory at the battle of the Thames. Governor Shelby
tendered to the government ten thousand more Kentuckians for the army of
the Southwest, if they were needed to repel the invaders.
It was in the midst of an unusually severe winter in Louisiana, in a
season of almost daily rainfalls, when the Kentucky and part of the
Tennessee troops reached their destination. They went into camp without
tents or blankets or bedding of straw even, on the open and miry
alluvial ground, with the temperature at times at freezing point. This
destitution and consequent suffering at once enlisted the attention and
sympathies of the public. The Legislature of Louisiana, in session,
promptly voted six thousand dollars for relief, to which the generous
citizens added by subscription ten thousand dollars more. With these
funds materials were purchased. The noble women of New Orleans, almost
without an exception, devoted themselves day and night to making up the
materials into suitable garments and distributing them as they were most
needed. In one week's time the destitute soldiers were supplied and made
comfortable. These backwoodsmen, defenders of their country, did not
forget till their dying day the generous and timely ministries in a time
of trial, in which the women and the men of Louisiana, and especially of
New Orleans, seemed to vie; nor did they cease to speak in their praise.
Again, in view of the approaching battle, Jackson, in correspondence
with the Secretary of War, complains that the arms from Pittsburgh had
not yet arrived, expressing grave apprehensions of the consequences.
"Hardly," said he, "one third of the Kentucky troops, so long expected,
are armed; and the arms they have are barely fit for use." He presages
that the defeat of our armies and the dishonor of the officers
commanding, and of the nation, may be consequences chargeable to the
neglect of the government.
The American batteries on both sides of the river continued day and
night to fire upon and harass the British. Wherever a group of the
latter appeared, or an assailable object presented, the American fire
was directed to disperse or destroy. This incessant cannonading
exercised our gunners in the more skillful use of their pieces, annoyed
the enemy in the work of his fortifications, and rendered his nights
JACKSON'S ENTRENCHED LINE, AND THE POSITIONS OF THE TROOPS AND
Jackson's lines, five miles below the city, were along the canal, or old
mill-race, on the border of the plantations of Rodrique and Chalmette.
The old ditch, unused for years, had filled up in part with the washings
of the earth from its sides, and grown over with grass. It was chosen
because it lay at a point the shortest in distance from the river to the
swamp, and thus the more easily defended. Along the upper bank of the
canal a parapet was raised, with a banquet behind to stand upon, by
earth brought from the rear of the line, thus raising the original
embankment. The opposite side of the canal was but little raised,
forming a kind of glacis.
Plank and posts from the adjacent fencing were taken to line the parapet
and to prevent the earth from falling back into the canal. All this was
done at intervals of relief, by the different corps, assisted by labor
from the plantations near. It was not until the seventh of January that
the whole extent of the breastwork was proof against the enemy's cannon.
The length of the line was less than one mile, more than half of which
ran from the river to the wood, the remainder extending into the depths
of the wood, taking an oblique direction to the left and terminating in
the impassable swamp. The parapet was about five feet in height and from
ten to twenty feet thick at the base, extending inland from the river
one thousand yards. Beyond that, to the wood and swamp, where artillery
could not well be employed, the breastwork was formed of a double row of
logs, laid one over the other, leaving a space of two feet, which was
filled with earth.
The artillery was distributed on the line as follows:
Battery 1, Captain Humphries, of the United States artillery, consisted
of two twelve-pounders and a howitzer, on field carriages, and was
located thirty yards from the river, outside the levee.
Battery 2, ninety yards from Battery 1; Lieutenant Norris, of the navy;
one twenty-four pounder.
Battery 3, fifty yards from Battery 2; Captains Dominique and Bluche, of
the Baratarians; two twenty-four pounders.
Battery 4, twenty yards from Battery 3; Captain Crawly, of the navy, one
thirty-two pounder, served by part of the crew of the Carolina.
Battery 5, Colonel Perry and Lieutenant Carr, of the artillery; two
six-pounders, one hundred and ninety yards from Battery 4.
Battery 6, thirty-six yards from Battery 5; Lieutenant Bertel; one brass
Battery 7, one hundred and ninety yards from Battery 6; Lieutenants
Spotts and Chauveau; one eighteen-and one six-pounder.
Battery 8, sixty yards from Battery 7; one brass carronade, next
Carroll's and Adair's commands.
Out beyond this last piece the line formed a receding elbow, mentioned
above, made unavoidable by great sinks in the soil, filled with water
from the canal. Here, and beyond into the wood, the ground was so low
that the troops were literally encamped in the water, walking often in
mire a foot in depth, their few tents being pitched on small mounds
surrounded with water or mud. Amid these discomforts, in this
ague-breeding miasm, the Tennesseans, under Generals Coffee and Carroll,
and the Kentuckians, under General Adair, for days endured the dangers
of battle and privations of camp and campaign. As one historian who was
with Jackson's army writes: "They gave an example of the rarest military
virtues. Though constantly living and sleeping in the mire, these
patriotic men never uttered a complaint or showed the least symptoms of
impatience. It was vitally necessary to guard that quarter against an
attack on our flank, and to repulse him on the edge of our breastwork,
where artillery could not be employed. We had no battery on the center
and left for thirteen hundred yards, the nature of the ground not
admitting. The Tennesseans and Kentuckians defended this entire two
thirds of our line with rifles and muskets only. As anticipated, the
enemy made his main assault against these rifles and muskets, in a vain
attempt to flank our army."
A view of the positions of the respective corps in Jackson's line will
be of interest here. The redoubt on the river, where the right of the
line rested, was guarded by a company of the Seventh United States
Infantry, commanded by Lieutenant Ross; the artillery was served by a
detachment of the Forty-fourth United States Infantry, under Lieutenant
Marant. At the extremity of the line, between Battery 1 and the river,
was posted Captain Beale's company of New Orleans Rifles, thirty men
strong. The Seventh United States Regiment covered the space from
Batteries 1 to 3, four hundred and thirty men, commanded by Major Peire.
The interval between Batteries 3 and 4 was occupied by Major Plauche's
battalion of Louisiana uniformed companies, and by Major Lacoste's
battalion of Louisiana men of color, the former two hundred and
eighty-nine men, and the latter two hundred and eighty strong. From
Batteries 4 to 5, the line was held by Major Daquin's battalion of
St. Domingo men of color, one hundred and fifty in number; and next to
these were placed the Forty-fourth United States Regulars, two hundred
and forty men, commanded by Colonel Baker.
[Illustration: ANDREW JACKSON. Seventh President of the United States.]
From this point toward the center and left, for eight hundred yards, the
breastwork was manned by the troops from Tennessee, commanded by General
Carroll, and the Kentuckians, under command of General Adair, supported
by the men of the nearest batteries. General Carroll reported that he
had over one thousand Tennesseans in his immediate command, in line of
action. General Adair had, on the morning of the seventh of January,
received arms for only six hundred of the Kentucky troops. He says, in a
subsequent correspondence, that on the seventh, anticipating the attack
of the British the following day, he went into New Orleans, and plead
with the Mayor and Committee of Safety to lend him, for temporary use,
several hundred stand of arms stored in the city armory and held for the
defense of the city in emergency, and to put a check to any possible
insurrectionary disturbance. To this the Mayor and committee finally
consented, on the condition that the removal of the arms out of the city
should be kept secret from the public. To this end, instead of General
Adair marching in and arming his men, the city authorities had the
arms, concealed in boxes, hauled out to the camp and delivered there.
This was done late in the dusk of the evening, and on the night of the
seventh four hundred more of the Kentuckians were thus armed and marched
forward to take a position with their comrades just in the rear of the
entrenchment, making one thousand Kentuckians under arms and ready for
In council with General Jackson, General Adair had suggested that the
British would most probably endeavor to break our line by throwing heavy
columns against it at some chosen point; and that such was the
discipline of their veterans, they might succeed in the effort without
very great resistance was made. To be prepared for such a contingency,
it would be well to place a strong reserve of troops centrally in the
rear of the line, ready at a moment's notice to reinforce the line at
the point of assault. Jackson approved this suggestion, and gave orders
to General Adair to hold the Kentucky troops of his command in position
for such contingency. With Colonel Slaughter's regiment of seven hundred
men, and Major Reuben Harrison's battalion, three hundred and five men
(the Kentuckians under arms), Adair took position just in the rear of
Carroll's Tennesseans, occupying the center of the breastwork line.
By the statements of their commanders, the joint forces of the
Tennesseans and Kentuckians defending the left center were about two
thousand men. General Coffee's Tennesseans, five hundred in number,
occupied the remainder of the line on the left, which made an
elbow-curve into the wood, terminating in the swamp. Ogden's squad of
cavalry and a detachment of Attakapas dragoons, about fifty men in all,
were posted near the headquarters of the commander-in-chief, and these
were later joined by Captain Chauvau, with thirty mounted men from the
city. The Mississippi cavalry, Major Hinds in command, were held in
reserve, one hundred and fifty strong, posted on Delery's plantation.
Detachments of Colonel Young's Louisiana militia, in all about two
hundred and fifty men, were placed on duty at intervals on the skirts of
the wood, behind the line as far as Piernas' Canal. Four hundred yards
in the rear a guard was posted to prevent any one going out of the camp,
and a line of sentinels was extended to the wood for the same purpose.
The above details show that there were of Jackson's army on the left
bank of the river, on active duty, about forty-six hundred men; yet on
the battle-line of the eighth of January there were less than four
thousand to engage the enemy. The remainder were in reserve, or on guard
duty at various points.
From official reports and historical statements derived from British
sources, there were present and in the corps of the British army of
assault, on the morning of the eighth of January, about eleven thousand
men, fully eight thousand of whom were in the attacking columns and
reserve on the left bank of the river, the flower of the English army.
THE BATTLE OF SUNDAY, THE EIGHTH OF JANUARY.
It was not yet daybreak on the morning of the eighth of January when an
American outpost came hastily in, with the intelligence that the enemy
was in motion and advancing in great force. In brief time, as the day
began to dawn, the light discovered to our men what seemed the entire
British army in moving columns, occupying two thirds of the space from
the wood to the river. Obedient to the commands of their officers, who
gallantly led in front of their men, the massive columns of the enemy
moved up with measured and steady tread. Suddenly a Congreve rocket, set
off at a point nearest the wood, blazed its way across the British front
in the direction of the river. This was the signal for attack.
Immediately the first shot from the American line was fired from the
twelve-pounder of Battery 6. This was answered by three cheers from the
enemy, who quickly formed in close column of more than two hundred men
in front and many lines deep. These advanced in good order in the
direction of Batteries 7 and 8, and to the left of these. It was now
evident that the main assault would be made upon that part of the
breastwork occupied by Carroll's Tennesseans, with the intent to break
the line here and flank Jackson's army on the right.
As soon in the morning as word came that the British were in motion for
an advance, General Adair formed his Kentuckians in two lines in close
order, and marched them to within fifty paces of the breastwork, in the
rear of Carroll's command. The day had dawned, and the fog slowly
lifted. There was no longer doubt of the point of main assault, as the
enemy's heaviest columns moved forward in Carroll's front. The lines of
the Kentucky troops were at once moved up in order of close column to
the Tennesseans, deepening the ranks to five or six men for several
hundred yards. Batteries 6, 7, and 8 opened upon the enemy when within
four or five hundred yards, killing and wounding many, but causing no
disorder in his ranks nor check to his advance. As he approached in
range, the terrible fire of rifles and musketry opened upon him from the
Tennessee and Kentucky infantry, each line firing and falling back to
reload, giving place to the next line to advance and fire.
The British attack was supported by a heavy artillery fire, while a
cloud of rockets continued to fall in showers throughout the contest.
The assaulting columns did little execution with small arms, as they
came up relying more on the use of the bayonet in case of effecting a
breach in our line. Some of them carried fascines and ladders in
expectation of crossing the ditch and scaling the parapet. But all in
vain. The musketry and rifles of the Tennessee and Kentucky militia,
joining with the fire of the artillery, mowed down whole files of men,
and so decimated their ranks as to throw them into a panic of disorder
and force a retreat. This first disastrous repulse was within
twenty-five minutes after the opening of the battle. Writers present who
have undertaken to describe the scene at the time say that the constant
rolling fire of cannon and musketry resembled the rattling peals of
thunder following the lightning flashes in a furious electric storm. An
English officer present mentions the phenomenon, that though the flashes
of the guns were plainly visible in front, the firing seemed to be from
the wood and swamp a mile or two away on the left. They did not hear the
sound from the front, but only the echoes from the direction named, as
though the battle raged out there.
The defeated column, forced to fall back broken and disordered, was
finally rallied by the heroic efforts of the officers, reinforced with
fresh troops, and led to a second attempt at assault; but the carnage
and destruction were as great as in the first attempt, while almost no
impression was made upon the defensive line of the Americans. The
British were again compelled to retreat in disorder, leaving great
numbers of their comrades dead or wounded on the ground, or prisoners to
the Americans. The hope of victory had now become a forlorn one to the
British. They were broken in numbers, broken in order and discipline,
and broken in prestige. Yet the brave officers, led by their
commanders-in-chief, determined not to give up the contest without a
last desperate effort. A part of the troops had dispersed and retreated
to shelter among the bushes on their right; the rest retired to the
ditch where they were first perceived in the morning, about five hundred
yards in our front. In vain did the officers call upon the men to rally
and form again for another advance, striking some with the flat of their
swords, and appealing to them by every incentive. They felt that it was
almost certain destruction to venture again into the storm of fire that
awaited them, and were insensible to everything but escape from
impending death. They would not move from the ditch, and here sheltered
the rest of the day. The ground over which they had twice advanced and
twice retreated was strewn thickly with their dead and wounded. Such
slaughter of their own men, with no apparent loss on our side, was
enough to appal the bravest of mankind.
Nearly one hundred of the enemy reached the ditch in front of the
American breastwork, half of whom were killed and the other half
captured. A detachment of British troops had penetrated into the wood
toward our extreme left, to divert attention by a feint attack. The
troops under General Coffee opened on these with their rifles, and soon
forced them to retire.
After the main attack on the American left and center had begun, another
column of over twenty-five hundred men, under the command of General
Keene, advanced along the road near the levee, and between the levee and
the river, to attack the American line on the extreme right. They were
partly sheltered by the levee from the fire of the artillery, except
that of Battery 1 and the guns across the river. Our outposts were
driven in, and the head of the column pushing forward occupied the
unfinished redoubt in front of our entrenched line before more than two
or three discharges of artillery could be made. Overpowering the small
force here, they compelled it to fall back, after killing and wounding a
few men. Bravely led by Colonel Rence and other officers of rank, the
British gained a momentary advantage, and threatened to storm the
entrenchment itself. But Beale's Rifles from the city, defending this
extreme, poured fatal volleys upon the head of the column, while
Batteries 1 and 2 mowed down the ranks. The Seventh Regiment, the only
infantry besides Beale's in musket range, did deadly execution also. By
these, the farther advance of the enemy was made impossible, while the
nearest ground they occupied was strewn with their dead and wounded,
among whom were General Keene, Colonel Rence, and other prominent
officers. Many passed the ditch and scaled the parapet only to be shot
down in the redoubt by the unerring riflemen behind the entrenched line.
Like the main column on the left, this second column on the right,
broken and shattered, was compelled to fall back in great disorder upon
the reserve, with no effort after to renew the assault. The dead and
wounded lay thick along the road, the levee, and the river bank, as far
out as the range of our guns. A flanking fire from the battery across
the river harassed the troops in this column both in the advance and
retreat, as they passed in plain view, from which fire they sustained
The battle was now ended as far as the firing of musketry and small arms
was concerned. The last volleys from these ceased one hour after the
British column first in motion attacked our line upon the left center,
at half-past seven o'clock. In that brief time, one of the best equipped
and best disciplined armies that England ever sent forth was defeated
and shattered beyond hope by one half its number of American soldiers,
mostly militia. For one hour after the opening attack the firing along
the American line had been incessant, and the roar of the cannon,
mingling with the rattling noise of the musketry and rifles,
reverberated over the open plains and echoed back from the wood and
swamp, until the issue of combat sent the enemy to cover beyond range.
The artillery from our batteries, however, kept up a continuous fire
against the guns of the enemy, or against squads of their troops who
might expose themselves, until two o'clock in the afternoon, when the
lull of strife came to all.
The scene upon the field of contest was one that can not be pictured in
words to convey an adequate impression. British officers who campaigned
in Europe, in the wars of the Peninsula, testified that in all their
military experiences they had witnessed nothing to equal the stubborn
fierceness of the contending forces, and the fearful carnage that befell
the troops of the British army. We have mentioned how thickly strewn was
the ground along the levee and the road, on the right next to the river,
with the dead and the wounded of the enemy. The fatality among the
officers here was fearful. General Keene, in command of this second
attacking column, was borne from the field badly wounded. Colonel Rence,
next in command with Keene, was killed while leading the assault in the
redoubt. Near by fell Major King, mortally wounded, and others of rank,
leaving the command with but few leaders to conduct the broken ranks in
precipitate retreat. On our left, in the front of the Tennesseans and
Kentuckians, the greatest execution had been done. The slaughter here
was appalling. Within a space three hundred yards wide, and extending
out two hundred yards from our breastwork on the battlefield, an area of
about ten acres, the ground was literally covered with the dead and
desperately wounded. A British officer, who became also historian, says
that under the temporary truce he rode forward to view this scene. Such
a one he never witnessed elsewhere. There lay before him in this small
compass not less than one thousand men, dead or disabled by wounds, all
in the uniform of the British soldier; not one American among the
number. The fatality to the English officers had been even greater on
our left than on our right. Lord Pakenham, commander-in-chief, after the
first repulse of the main column, with a courage as reckless as it was
vain rode forward to rally his troops and lead them to a second attack
in person, and in the midst of a hail of missiles from cannon and
small-arms fell mortally hurt with several wounds, and died within an
hour. Major-general Gibbs, next in command, was stricken down a few
minutes after, dying within a few hours. Others in high rank were
carried down in the holocaust of casualties, until the British army
became unnerved for the want of leadership in the hour of disaster and
Adjutant-general Robert Butler, in his official report to General
Jackson a few days after the battle of the eighth, placed the losses of
the British at seven hundred killed, fourteen hundred wounded, and five
hundred prisoners; twenty-six hundred men, or almost one third the
entire number the enemy admitted to have taken part in the contest of
the day. The loss of the Americans was six killed and seven wounded,
thirteen in all. Instead of comment upon this remarkable disparity of
losses, and the causes that led to such a signal victory for the
Americans and such a humiliating defeat for our enemies, it will be more
interesting to our readers to quote from English writers who were
participants in the battle, and eye-witnesses of the scenes they
describe with graphic pen. We are ever curious to know what others see
and say of us, especially if they honestly criticize us with a spice of
AN ENGLISH OFFICER'S ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE.
Gleig, in his "History of British Campaigns," says:
Dividing his troops into three columns, Sir Edward Pakenham directed
that General Keene, at the head of the Ninety-fifth, the light
companies of the Twenty-first, Fourth, and Forty-fourth Regiments,
and the two black corps, should make a demonstration on the right;
that General Gibbs, with the Fourth, Twenty-first, Forty-fourth, and
Ninety-third, should force the enemy's left; while General Lambert,
with the Seventh and Forty-third, remained in reserve. Our numbers
now amounted to a little short of eight thousand, a force which, in
any other part of America, would have been irresistible. The forces
of the enemy were reported at twenty-three to thirty thousand. I
suppose their whole force to have been twenty-five thousand. All
things were arranged on the night of the 7th, for the 8th was fixed
upon as the day decisive of the fate of New Orleans.
On the morning of the 8th, the entire army was in battle array. A
little after daylight, General Pakenham gave the word to advance The
troops on the right and the left, having the Forty-fourth to follow
with the fascines and ladders, rushed on to the assault. On the left,
next to the river, a detachment of the Ninety-fifth, Twenty-first and
Fourth, stormed a three-gun battery and took it. It was in advance of
the main line of works. The enemy, in overpowering numbers, repulsed
our attacking force and recaptured the battery _with immense
slaughter_. On our right again, the Twenty-first and Fourth being
almost cut to pieces, and thrown into some confusion by the enemy's
fire, the Ninety-third pushed up and took the lead. Hastening
forward, our troops soon reached the ditch; but to scale the parapet
without ladders was impossible. Some few indeed, by mounting upon
each others' shoulders, succeeded in entering the works; but these
were, most of them, instantly killed or captured. As many as stood
without were exposed to a sweeping fire, which cut them down by whole
companies. It was in vain that the most obstinate courage was
displayed. They fell by the hands of men they could not see. The
Americans, without lifting their faces above the rampart, swung their
fire-locks over the wall and discharged them directly upon their
Poor Pakenham saw how things were going, and did all that a general
could do to rally his broken troops. He prepared to lead them on
himself, when he received a slight wound in the knee, which killed
his horse. Mounting another, he again headed the Forty-fourth, when a
second ball took effect more fatally, and he dropped lifeless in the
arms of his aid-de-camp. Bravely leading their divisions, Generals
Gibbs and Keene were both wounded, and borne helpless from the field.
All was now confusion and dismay. Without leaders, and ignorant of
what was to be next done, the troops first halted, and then began to
retire, till finally, the retreat was changed into a flight, and they
quitted the ground in the utmost disorder. But the retreat was
covered in gallant style by the reserve. The Seventh and Forty-third,
under General Lambert, presented the appearance of a renewed attack,
and the enemy, overawed, did not pursue.
On the granting of a two-days' truce for the burial of the dead,
prompted by curiosity, I mounted my horse and rode to the front. Of
all the sights I ever witnessed, that which met me there was, beyond
comparison, the most shocking and the most humiliating. Within the
compass of a few hundred yards, were gathered together nearly a
thousand bodies, all of them arrayed in British uniforms. Not a
single American was among them; all were English. And they were
thrown by dozens into shallow holes, scarcely deep enough to hide
their bodies. Nor was this all. An American officer stood by smoking
a cigar, and abruptly counting the slain with a look of savage
exultation, repeating that their loss amounted only to eight 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. I turned my
horse's head and galloped back to the camp.
The changes of expression now visible in every countenance, no
language can portray. Only twenty hours ago, and all was hope and
animation; wherever you went, you were enlivened by the sounds of
merriment and raillery. The expected attack was mentioned, not only
in terms of sanguine hope, but in perfect confidence as to the
result. Now gloom and discontent everywhere prevailed.
Disappointment, grief, indignation and rage succeeded each other in
all bosoms; nay, so were the troops overwhelmed by a sense of
disgrace, that, for awhile they retained their sorrow without hinting
at the cause. Nor was this dejection because of laurels tarnished,
wholly. The loss of comrades was to the full, as afflicting as the
loss of honor; for, out of more than seven thousand in action on this
side, no fewer than two thousand had fallen. Among these were two
generals in chief command, and many officers of courage and ability.
Hardly an individual survived who had not to mourn the loss of some
special and boon companion.
BRITISH EXCUSES FOR DEFEAT.
Many causes for the failure of the campaign of invasion, and for the
disastrous issue of the battle of the eighth, were conjectured in the
English army. Almost universal blame was attributed to Colonel Mullins,
of the Forty-fourth Regiment, which was detailed under orders to prepare
and have ready, and to carry to the front on the morning of the eighth,
fascines and ladders with which to cross the ditch and scale the
parapet, as the soldiers fought their way to the breastwork of the
Americans. It was freely charged that the Colonel deserted his trust and
at the moment of need was half a mile to the rear. It was then that
Pakenham, learning of Mullins' conduct, placed himself at the head of
the Forty-fourth and endeavored to lead them to the front with the
implements needed to storm the works, when he fell mortally wounded. Of
this incident another British officer, Major B.E. Hill, writes:
Before sunset of the 7th, I was directed to carry instructions to
Colonel Mullins, of the 44th, respecting the redoubt in which the
fascines and scaling ladders were placed, and to report the result of
my interview to Sir Edward Pakenham. I saw Colonel Mullins, and read
to him the directions from headquarters, begging to know if he
thoroughly understood their purport? I was assured that nothing could
be clearer. Reporting to Sir Edward, he thanked me for so completely
satisfying him that the orders so important would be certainly and
Colonel Mullins may have been guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer,
for which he was tried and cashiered in England; he probably saved his
life at the expense of his honor, in being absent from his post on that
day. But the British officers magnified the importance of the presence
of himself and his regiment with their fascines and ladders ready for
use. Even with the help of these devices, there were not men enough in
the English army to have crossed the ditch, climbed the parapet, and
made a breach in the breastwork line of the Americans. Some of them
might have reached the ditch alive, as did some of their comrades, but
like those comrades they would have died in the ditch or been made
prisoners. The Americans, too, could have used the bayonet as well as
the British, if necessary.
BATTLE OF THE EIGHTH OF JANUARY ON THE WEST BANK OF THE RIVER.
We have mentioned that after the night battle of the twenty-third of
December General Jackson ordered General Morgan to move his command of
Louisiana troops from English Turn, seven miles below the British camp
at Villere's, and to take a position on the west bank of the
Mississippi, opposite to the American camp. Very naturally, the
possibility, and even the probability, of the enemy, when his army was
made formidable by all the reinforcements coming up, throwing a heavy
flanking force across the river, marching it to a point opposite New
Orleans and forcing a surrender of the city, suggested itself to the
military eye of Jackson. After the latter entrenched at Rodrique Canal,
by the first of January, there was no other strategical route by which
the British could have successfully assailed the city. The importance of
this seems to have been fully comprehended neither by the one combatant
nor the other until too late to fully remedy the omission.
Just such a flanking movement was undertaken by the English at the
latest day, which brought on a second battle on the eighth, on the right
bank of the river, resulting in a defeat to the American forces, and
well-nigh ending in disaster to the American cause. It is in evidence
that this strategic movement was the result of a council of war held by
the British officers, at which Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane was
present. This idea of reaching the city by a heavy detachment thrown
across the river and marching up to a point opposite, in cannon reach,
had occurred before; but the difficulty was in finding a way to cross
over the troops and artillery, with the Americans in command of the
means of transportation. The suggestion came from Admiral Cochrane that
the Villere Canal from the bayou could be easily deepened and widened to
the river bank and opened into the river for the passage of the boats
and barges from the fleet, and a sufficient force thrown across the
river in that way under cover of night. This seemed feasible, and the
strategy determined on. It is related further that Lord Pakenham
insisted that the main attack upon the city for its capture should be
made by a heavy detachment in this direction, and at the same time only
a demonstration in force made on the American breastworks with the whole
army, supported by the artillery. He urged that to directly assault the
fortified line in front would be at a fearful loss of life, if
successful; if it failed it would be disastrous. The Admiral replied to
this tauntingly, that there was no cause for alarm over anticipated
defeat; he would undertake to force the lines of the American militia
with two or three thousand marines. In allusion to this, Latour says:
"If the British commander-in-chief was so unmindful of what he owed to
his country, and to the army committed to his charge, as to yield to the
ill-judged and rash advice of the Admiral, he sacrificed reason in a
moment of irritation; though he atoned with his life for having acted
contrary to his own judgment." Undoubtedly the English made their last
and most fatal blunder here.
As the English writers who were with the army have so variously
minimized the forces under Colonel Thornton, and so exaggerated the
numbers of the Americans in this affair on the west bank, we quote from
the official report of Major-general Lambert, who succeeded to the
immediate command of the invading army after the fall of Generals
Pakenham, Gibbs, and Keene, what appears to be reliable:
_To Lord Bathurst_: JANUARY 10th, 1815.
It becomes my duty to lay before your Lordship the proceedings of the
force lately employed on the right bank of the Mississippi River.
Preparations had been made on our side to clear out and widen the
canal that led from the bayou to the river, by which our boats had
been brought up to the point of disembarkation, and to open it to the
Mississippi, by which our troops could be got over to the right bank,
and the co÷peration of armed boats be secured. A corps consisting of
the 85th light infantry, two hundred seamen, four hundred marines,
the 5th West India Regiment, and four pieces of artillery, under the
command of Colonel Thornton, of the 85th, were to pass over during
the night, and move along the right bank toward New Orleans, clearing
its front, until it reached the flanking battery of the enemy on that
side, which it had orders to carry. Unlooked for difficulties caused
delay in the entrance of the armed boats from the canal into the
river, destined to land Colonel Thornton's corps, by which several
hours' delay was caused. The ensemble of the general movement was
lost, a point of the last importance to the main attack on the left
bank, although Colonel Thornton ably executed his instructions.
MAJ.-GEN. LAMBERT, _Com'd'g._
The two regiments above, with the seamen and marines, if all were
present, would have given Colonel Thornton a command of nearly two
thousand men. But it is said that in consequence of some difficulties in
getting the boats through the canal into the river, and delay consequent
thereon, a part of the forces were left behind. From the best
authorities, there were twelve hundred British troops landed upon the
west bank of the river on the morning of the eighth, by daybreak--all
except the West India regiment.
DEFENSIVE WORKS AND FORCES ON THE WEST BANK, OPPOSITE JACKSON'S
General Morgan, commanding the Louisiana militia, was in position on
Raquet's old canal site, next to the river. Major Latour, chief of the
engineer corps, had been instructed by General Jackson, a week or two
before the battle, to proceed across the river and to select on that
side a suitable line for defensive works for General Morgan, in case the
enemy should attempt a flanking movement on the right bank. Of this
mission, Major Latour writes:
Agreeable to orders, I waited on General Morgan, and in the presence
of Commodore Patterson communicated to him my orders, and told him I
was at his disposal. The General seemed not to come to a conclusion,
but inclined to make choice of Raquet's line. He then desired that I
inspect the different situations myself, and make my report to him.
My orders were to assist him, and my opinion was subordinate to his.
I chose for the intended line of defense an intermediate position,
nearly at equal distances from Raquet's and Jourdan's canal, where
the wood inclines to the river, leaving a space of only about nine
hundred yards between the swampy wood and the river. Works occupying
this space could not well be turned, without a siege and assault in
heavy force by the enemy. I made a rough draft of the intended line,
and immediately the overseer set his negroes to execute the work.
Returning to the left bank, I made my report to the
Commander-in-chief, who approved the disposition made. One thousand
men could have guarded a breastwork line here, and half that number
would have been sufficient had pieces of cannon been mounted in the
intended outworks. That line, defended by the eight hundred troops
and the artillery of General Morgan's command, on the 8th, could have
defied three or four times the number of British who crossed over to
the right bank that day. But these dispositions had been changed by
General Morgan, and the negroes ordered to work on the Raquet line.
Major Latour had selected for General Jackson his line of defense on the
left bank of the river, and had directed the construction of the
breastwork and redoubts to the entire satisfaction of the General. He
objected to the Raquet line favored by General Morgan, as wholly
unsuited for defense. The space here from the river to the wood swamp
was two thousand yards, or considerably over one mile, a much longer
line than Jackson's on the other side. To be effective against an
attacking force, the entrenchment and outworks must be extended to cover
the entire space. It would require then more than double the number of
troops and of pieces of artillery for defense than the situation
selected by Latour.
In determining on this change of the line of defense, contrary to the
judgment and warning of the chief of the engineer corps, General Morgan
seems to have been influenced by one consideration paramount to all
others. He was in daily council with Commodore Patterson, and was
assured of the powerful aid of his battery on the right bank, which had
done such execution in the ranks of the British across the river. Should
the enemy attack General Morgan's position at Raquet's line, the
Commodore could turn his twelve pieces of cannon in their embrasures,
sweep the field, and drive back any reasonable force in range. With
this support of his artillery, the few hundred militia of Morgan's
command could more successfully repulse an attack at Raquet's line than
at the line selected by Latour farther away. This change in the
situation and plan of defense is characterized by Latour and other
authorities as an unmilitary proceeding, as it abandoned the idea of a
fortified line behind which a successful defense could have been made
probable, if not certain, for an almost open field subject to the
flanking movement of veteran troops against raw militia, with no
auxiliary support except a park of artillery with guns turned another
way, and of most doubtful use in case of need. General Morgan must not
share alone the criticism which has been so freely made of his
disposition of forces and changes of strategic plans which resulted in
sensational disaster to his command. Commodore Patterson, experienced in
military affairs as well as naval, advised with him, and must have
approved. This change of line, made some days before the eighth, must
have been known, and on the representations of Morgan and Patterson,
approved by General Jackson. It is not conceivable that so important a
change of plans would have been made by a subordinate officer, affecting
seriously the safety of New Orleans, without the consent of the
commander-in-chief. The latter seemed always to have held in very high
personal esteem these two officers, and to have had confidence in their
abilities as commanders.
As mentioned above, the dispositions made for a line of defense by Major
Latour were changed by General Morgan, and the negroes set to work on
Raquet's line. A breastwork fortification was thrown up by the seventh
of January, extending but two hundred yards from the river bank out on
the site of the old canal. From this terminus across the plantation land
to the wooded swamp was an open plain, with scarce an obstruction to the
deploy of troops or the sweep of artillery. The old canal had long been
in disuse, and the ditch was filled nearly full with the washings and
deposits of years. Behind this two hundred yards of entrenchment General
Morgan massed all the Louisiana troops of his command and planted his
artillery, three pieces in all. From the end of the breastwork on the
right, one mile or eighteen hundred yards to the swamp, there were no
defensive works from behind which to repulse the assault of an enemy,
nor any means of resistance in sight to an attack, other than the guns
in battery of Commodore Patterson, of more than doubtful use, and the
yet very doubtful contingent of reinforcements sufficient from General
Jackson's limited supply of men and arms.
On the seventh, the forces of Morgan's immediate command were the First
Louisiana Militia on the left, next to the river; on the right of these,
the Second Louisiana; and on the right of the latter, the drafted
Louisiana militia, in all about five hundred men, who occupied the
fortified line of two hundred yards. It was not until late this day that
General Jackson seemed to fully awaken to the impending dangers of this
formidable flanking movement across the river. He at once gave orders
that five hundred of the unarmed Kentucky militia in camp should be
marched up the river to New Orleans and receive certain arms in store
there; then cross the river, and march down five miles on the west bank
and reinforce General Morgan's command by, or before, daylight next
morning. It was late afternoon when they started on this tramp of ten
miles, through mud and mire ankle deep. Arriving at New Orleans, it was
found that four hundred stand of arms which were expected to be obtained
from the city armory had been loaned to General Adair, and sent to him
at the Kentucky camp for other use. From other sources some
miscellaneous old guns were obtained to equip less than two hundred of
the detailed Kentuckians, who crossed the river, began their weary night
march, and reported to General Morgan before daylight of the eighth,
ready for duty, though they had not slept for twenty-four hours, nor
eaten anything since noon of the previous day. Their arms, a mongrel
lot, were many of them unfit for combat; old muskets and hunting-pieces,
some without flints, and others too small-bored for the cartridges.
THE BRITISH CROSS THE RIVER AND LAND AT DAYBREAK; THEY BEGIN THE
ATTACK--THE BATTLE AND RETREAT.
About sunset on the evening of the seventh, General Morgan was notified
of the intention of the enemy to cross the river by Commodore Patterson,
who had closely observed his movements in the afternoon. Before day-dawn
on the eighth, the General received information of the enemy landing on
the west bank, at Andry's plantation. The rapid current of the
Mississippi had carried his little flotilla three miles below the point
he had desired to land. Having debarked his troops, he marched up the
river; his boats, manned by four pieces of artillery, keeping abreast
and covering his flank. A detachment of Louisiana militia, about one
hundred and fifty men, under command of Major Arnaud, had been sent in
the night a mile or two down the river to oppose the landing and to
check the advance of the British. These raw militia, very poorly armed,
retired before the enemy. The detachment of one hundred and seventy
Kentuckians just arrived, under command of Colonel Davis, was ordered to
move forward to the support of the command of Major Arnaud. Though
wearied with the toilsome all-night march, the Kentucky troops went
forward about one mile below Morgan's line and took position on Mayhew's
Canal, their left resting on the bank of the river. Major Arnaud halted
his Louisiana militia on the right of these in line. The enemy, over one
thousand strong, came up in force under Colonel Thornton, who commanded
the British in the night battle of the twenty-third. A heavy fire of
musketry from the front was supported by a flanking fire of artillery
and rockets from the boats. The command of Major Arnaud gave way and
hastily retreated to the wood, appearing no more during the day on the
field of action. The Kentuckians returned the fire of the enemy with
several effective volleys, when they were ordered by an aid-de-camp of
General Morgan's, just arrived, to fall back and take a position on his
line of defense.
The falling back of the Kentuckians before the enemy was under orders
which they could not but obey. They were holding him in check and
inflicting heavier losses than they were receiving, against four or five
times their own numbers. They fell back one mile in good order. By
disposition of the commanding officer, they were placed in line, with an
open space of two hundred yards between their extreme left and the
extreme right of the entrenched Louisianians, and stretched out to cover
a space of three hundred yards, or one man to nearly two yards of space.
The remainder of the line stretching to the wood on the extreme right,
twelve hundred yards, was wholly without defensive works, or any defense
excepting a picket of eighteen men under Colonel Caldwell, stationed out
two hundred yards beyond the extreme right of the Kentuckians. Less than
two hundred poorly armed militia were thus isolated and distributed in
thin ranks to defend a line one mile in length, while General Morgan lay
behind his entrenchment, defending a space of two hundred yards with
five hundred troops and three pieces of artillery, which could have been
easily held by two hundred men.
Colonel Thornton, in command of the British troops, in advancing to the
attack, readily perceived with his trained military eye the vulnerable
situation of the American forces. Gleig, the English author present,
gives the disposition of the enemy's assaulting columns as follows: The
Eighty-fifth, Colonel Thornton's own regiment, about seven hundred men,
stretched across the field, covering our front, with the sailors, two
hundred in number, prepared to storm the battery and works; while the
marines formed a reserve, protecting the fleet of barges. It is not
probable that the attack upon the entrenchments next to the river was
intended to be more than a demonstration in force to hold the attention
of General Morgan and his command there, while the main assault was
being directed with the Eighty-fifth Regiment against the thin and
unsupported line of the Kentucky militia, with a view of flanking these
and getting in the rear of General Morgan's breastworks.
We quote from Major Latour's "Historical Memoir" a further account:
The enemy advancing rapidly by the road opposite the left of the
line, the artillery played on him with effect; and as he came nearer,
the musketry began to fire also. This having obliged him to fall
back, he next directed his attack against the detached Kentuckians on
our right, one column moving toward the wood and the other toward the
centre of the line. Now was felt the effect of the bad position that
we occupied. One of the enemy's columns turned our troops at the
extremity of Colonel Davis' command, while the other penetrated into
the unguarded space between the Kentuckians and the breastwork of the
Louisianians. Flanked at both extremes by four times their own
number, and unsupported, the Kentucky militia, after firing several
volleys, gave way; nor was it possible again to rally them.
Confidence had vanished, and with it all spirit of resistance. If
instead of extending over so much space, those troops had been
formed in close column, the confusion that took place might have been
avoided, and a retreat in good order made.
The enemy having turned our right, pushed on towards the rear of our
left, which continued firing as long as possible. At length the
cannon were spiked just as the enemy arrived on the bank of the
canal. Commodore Patterson had kept up an artillery fire on the
British over the river. As they advanced up the road, he would now
have turned his cannon in their embrasures, and fired on those of the
enemy who had turned our line and come in range. But the Kentucky
troops and the Louisianians masked the guns, and made it impossible
to fire without killing our own men. Seeing this, he determined to
spike his guns and retreat.
The Louisiana militia under General Morgan now fell back and took a
position on the Bois Gervais line, where a number of the fleeing
troops rallied. A small detachment of the enemy advanced as far as
Cazelards, but retired before evening. In the course of the night all
the enemy's troops recrossed the river, to join their main body. The
result of this attack of the enemy on the right bank was, the loss of
one hundred and twenty of his men, killed and wounded. The
commander-in-chief, receiving intelligence of the retreat of our
troops on the right bank, ordered General Humbert, formerly of the
French army, who had tendered his services as a volunteer, to cross
over with a reinforcement of four hundred men, assume command, and
repulse the enemy, cost what it might. The order was verbal; some
dispute having arisen over the question of military precedence, and
the enemy withdrawing, no further steps were taken.
"THE KENTUCKIANS INGLORIOUSLY FLED"--A PROFOUND SENSATION.
In this historic review, we dwell exhaustively upon the episode of this
battle on the west bank, on the 8th of January, 1815, not because of any
intrinsic importance of the subject, but rather from the sensational
incidents which attended the movements of the belligerents, and which
were consequent upon the issue. The galling words of General Jackson,
hastily and unguardedly uttered in an attempt to throw the blame of
defeat upon a small detachment of Kentucky militia, "the Kentuckians
ingloriously fled," were resented as an undeserved stigma upon the honor
and good name of all the Kentuckians in the army, and upon the State of
Kentucky herself. The epigrammatic phrase, construed to mean more than
was intended, perhaps, like Burchard's "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion,"
struck a chord of sympathetic emotion that vibrated not only in the army
and the community of Louisiana, but throughout the entire country. These
burning words are of record in the archives at Washington, and
remembered in history; but the facts in full, which vindicate the truth
and render justice to whom it is due, are known to but few, if known to
any now living. In the words of Latour: "What took place on the right
bank had made so much sensation in the immediate seat of war, and had
been so variously reported abroad, to the disparagement of many brave
men, that I thought it a duty incumbent on me to inquire into
particulars and trace the effect to its cause."
Rather than give our own impressions, we quote from "Reid and Eaton's
Life of Jackson" an account of this affair, interesting because written
when the subject was yet fresh in the public mind, and from the intimacy
of the authors with the personal and public life of General Jackson:
On the night of the 7th, two hundred Louisiana militia were sent one
mile down the river, to watch the movements of the enemy. They slept
upon their arms until, just at day, an alarm was given of the
approach of the British. They at once fell back towards General
Morgan's line. The Kentucky detachment of one hundred and seventy
men, having arrived at five in the morning, after a toilsome
all-night march, were sent forward to co÷perate with the Louisiana
militia, whom Major Davis met retreating up the road. They now formed
behind a mill-race near the river. Here a stand was made, and the
British advance checked by several effective volleys. General
Morgan's aid-de-camp being present, now ordered a retreat back to the
main line of defense, which was made in good order. In the panic and
disorderly retreat afterwards are to be found incidents of
justification, which might have occasioned similar conduct in the
most disciplined troops. The weakest part of the line was assailed
by the greatest strength of the enemy. This was defended by one
hundred and seventy Kentuckians, who were stretched out to an extent
of three hundred yards, unsupported by artillery. Openly exposed to
the attack of a greatly superior force, and weakened by the extent of
ground they covered, it is not deserving reproach that they abandoned
a post they had strong reasons for believing they could not maintain.
General Morgan reported to General Jackson the misfortune of defeat
he had met, and attributed it to the flight of these troops, who had
drawn along with them the rest of his forces. True, they were the
first to flee; and their example may have had some effect in alarming
others. But, in situation, the troops differed. The one were exposed
and enfeebled by the manner of their arrangement; the other, much
superior in numbers, covered a less extent of ground, were defended
by an excellent breastwork manned by several pieces of artillery; and
with this difference,--the loss of confidence of the former was not
without cause. Of these facts, Commodore Patterson was not apprised;
General Morgan was. Both reported that the disaster was owing to the
flight of the Kentucky militia. Upon this information, General
Jackson founded his report to the Secretary of War, by which these
troops were exposed to censures they did not merit. Had all the
circumstances as they existed, been disclosed, reproach would have
been prevented. At the mill-race no troops could have behaved better;
they bravely resisted the advance of the enemy. Until an order to
that effect was given, they entertained no thought of retreating.
Intelligence quickly came to General Jackson of the defeat and rout of
General Morgan's command, imperiling the safety of the city of New
Orleans, in the midst of the congratulations over the great victory of
the main army on the east bank. Naturally, a state of intense excitement
followed, bordering on consternation for a few hours. When the danger
was ended by the withdrawal of the British forces to recross the river,
the report of General Morgan, followed by that of Commodore Patterson,
came to headquarters, laying the blame of defeat and disaster to the
alleged cowardly retreat of the Kentucky militia. With General Jackson's
great personal regard for the authors of these reports, he took for
granted the correctness of the charge of censurable conduct. Amid the
tumult of emotions that must have been felt, rapidly succeeding the
changes of scenes and incidents and issues of strategy and battle during
that eventful twenty-four hours, the great commander yielded to the
impulse of the moment to write in his official report to the Secretary
of War, on the ninth, the day succeeding the battles, the following
Simultaneously with his advance upon my lines, the enemy had thrown
over in his boats a considerable force to the other side of the
river. These having landed, were hardly enough to advance against the
works of General Morgan; and what is strange and difficult to
account for, at the very moment when their discomfiture was looked
for with a confidence approaching to certainty, the Kentucky
reinforcement, in whom so much reliance had been placed, ingloriously
fled, drawing after them by their example the remainder of the
forces, and thus yielding to the enemy that most formidable position.
The batteries which had rendered me, for many days, the most
important service, though bravely defended, were of course now
abandoned; not, however, until the guns had been spiked.
Commodore Patterson also sent in a report to the Secretary of the Navy,
characterizing the little detachment of Kentucky militia in terms as
censurable and as unjust as were the words of General Jackson. When
these official reports became publicly known, imputing all blame of
disaster to the retreat of the Kentuckians, an indignant protest was
entered by General Adair and by the entire Kentucky contingent of the
army. In this protest they had the sympathy and support of a large
portion of other troops of the army, and of the community. Language at
this late day of forgetfulness and calmer reason would be too tame to
really portray the irritations, the bitter recriminations, and the angry
protests which agitated army circles, and the civil community as well,
and which were echoed from many parts of the country at large.
A COURT OF INQUIRY APPOINTED BY THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF EXONERATES
General Adair, supported by the officers of his command, insisted that
the statements made in these reports to the departments at Washington
were made upon a misapprehension of the facts, and that great injustice
had been done the Kentucky militia in General Morgan's command by
attempting to shift the responsibility of defeat from its real sources,
and placing it to their discredit. A military court of inquiry was
demanded, and granted by the commander-in-chief, the members of which
were officers of rank in the army, and disinterested by their relations
in the findings, and General Carroll, of Tennessee, appointed to
preside. The following notice was served on General Morgan, and similar
notices on other officers concerned:
NEW ORLEANS, LA., February 9, 1815. BRIGADIER-GENERAL
_Sir_: A Court of Inquiry is now in session for the purpose of
inquiring into the conduct of the officers under your command, on the
morning of the 8th of January. As you are somewhat concerned, I have
to request that you will introduce such witnesses on to-morrow as you
may think necessary. The conduct of Colonel Cavalier, and of Majors
Tesla and Arnaud, is yet to be inquired into.
Your Most Obt. Servant,
WM. CARROLL, Maj.-Gen'l,
_Prest. of Court_.
The following opinion was rendered:
REPORT OF THE COURT OF INQUIRY.
HEADQUARTERS 7TH MILITARY DISTRICT. NEW ORLEANS, LA.,
February 19, 1815.
At a Court of Inquiry, convened at this place on the 9th inst., of
which Major-general Carroll is President, the military conduct of
Colonel Davis, of Kentucky Militia, and of Colonels Dijon and
Cavalier, of Louisiana Militia, in the engagement on the 8th of
January last, on the west bank of the Mississippi, were investigated;
the Court, after mature deliberation, is of opinion that the conduct
of those gentlemen in the action aforesaid, and retreat on the 8th of
January, on the western bank of the river, is not reprehensible. The
cause of the retreat the Court attributes to the shameful flight of
the command of Major Arnaud, sent to oppose the landing of the enemy.
The retreat of the Kentucky militia, which, considering their
position, the deficiency of their arms, and other causes, may be
excusable; and the panic and confusion introduced into every part of
the line, thereby occasioning the retreat and confusion of the
Orleans and Louisiana militia. While the Court found much to applaud
in the zeal and gallantry of the officer immediately commanding, they
believe that a further reason for the retreat may be found in the
manner in which the force was placed on the line; which they consider
exceptionable. The commands of Colonels Dijon, Cavalier, and
Declouet, composing five hundred men, supported by three pieces of
artillery, having in front a strong breastwork, occupying a space of
only two hundred yards; whilst the Kentucky militia, composing
Colonel Davis' command, only one hundred and seventy strong, occupied
over three hundred yards, covered by a small ditch only.
The Major-general approves the proceeding of the Court of Inquiry,
which is hereby dissolved.
H. CHOTARD, _Asst. Adj. Gen._
CONTROVERSY BETWEEN JACKSON AND ADAIR.
General Adair seems to have regarded the decision of the Court of
Inquiry as a modifying compromise, in deference to the high personal
character and influence of a number of persons concerned, and not the
full vindication of the Kentucky militia from the imputations of
ungallant conduct on the field reflected upon them in the official
reports. The controversy, and other causes preceding it, had rankled the
bosoms of both General Jackson and himself, and estranged the warm
friendship that had before existed between them. Adair thought that
Jackson should withdraw, or modify, the language of his official report.
General Jackson was not a man to readily retract; and was certainly not
in the humor with Adair to retract anything he had said. He would do no
more than approve the opinion of the Court of Inquiry. This, perhaps,
was as much as General Adair should have asked at the time.
On the 10th of February, 1816, the Legislature of Kentucky, in a
resolution of thanks to General Adair for gallant services at New
Orleans, added: "And for his spirited vindication of a respectable
portion of the troops of Kentucky from the libelous imputation of
cowardice most unjustly thrown upon them by General Andrew Jackson."
This and other incidents intensified the animosity of feeling.
It was some two years after the close of hostilities that the
correspondence between Jackson and Adair was terminated in language and
spirit so intensely bitter as to make the issue personal. Adair had
reported all proceedings and facts concerning the Kentucky troops during
the campaign to Governor Shelby, who had taken a very active part in
sending all possible aid for the defense of New Orleans. In these
reports he reflected on what he deemed the injustice done the Kentucky
troops in several official publications; especially by General Jackson,
not only in the affair of Morgan's rout, but in his report of other
operations during the campaign. These were causes of irritation on the
part of the commander-in-chief. The burning words in the reports of
General Jackson, General Morgan, and Commodore Patterson, imputing
cowardice to a few of their comrades, had touched a sensitive chord and
sunk deep into the hearts of the Kentucky troops in the army. In their
resentments, expressed in words and sometimes in actions, all danger
from the enemy being over, they were perhaps not always so orderly as
soldiers should be while in camp, or on scout or picket service.
[Illustration: JOHN ADAIR.
Eighth Governor of Kentucky.]
In the closing correspondence, the language used by both Jackson and
Adair became exceedingly bitter; that of the former beyond all restraint
toward his respondent. The issue of this controversy, tradition says,
was a challenge to meet upon the field of honor, then so called, and to
settle it at the pistol's point. The challenge was accepted. By whom it
was sent, the author has not been able to learn. In the absence of any
record, written or in print, of this affair, he has to rely upon oral
recitals which have come down through members of the Adair family in
Kentucky, and are remembered in the main facts to-day. The would-be
combatants met by appointment at a spot selected on the border line of
their respective States, accompanied each by his second, his surgeon,
and a few invited friends. The unfriendly breach between Jackson and
Adair, and its possible tragic issue, seems to have given deep concern
to some of their friends. There was no other cause of enmity between
them save what grew out of the unfortunate occurrences at New Orleans.
They were of the same political party--Jeffersonian Republicans, as they
were known then, in distinction from Federalists. Jackson had won renown
and prestige as no other in America, and his name had already been
mentioned in connection with the highest office within the gift of the
people. Adair was held in high esteem by the people of Kentucky, and
bright hopes of political preferment were held out by his party friends.
Other considerations added, induced friends on either side to urge a
reconciliation, which was happily effected on terms mutually
satisfactory. The above account of this meeting on the field of honor
was related to the author by General D.L. Adair, of Hawesville,
Kentucky, now long past his fourscore years. He gave the facts to the
writer, he said, as he received them from his father, Doctor Adair, of
Hardin County, Kentucky, many years ago. Doctor Adair was a cousin of
General Adair, of Jackson's army, and was one of the intimate friends
whom the General invited to be present upon the ground.
The correspondence of Jackson and Adair throws light upon the subject of
this controversy, and reveals to us some of the causes of the errors and
contentions of this affair. We have mentioned that Adair, in his
eagerness to arm as many as possible of the Kentucky militia and place
them in line for the main battle of the eighth, went into the city and
plead with the Committee of Safety to loan him four hundred stand of
arms, held in the city armory for the protection of New Orleans, for a
few days. This urgent request was granted, and the arms privately moved
out, hauled to the camp of the Kentuckians, and delivered there about
nightfall of the seventh. Four hundred more of the Kentuckians were thus
armed and moved up to the rear of the breastwork, ready for the battle
next morning. Adair believed that he was acting in the line of his duty,
and that Jackson would approve of his device for arming more of his idle
men in camp. Busy as he was that day in New Orleans, and in equipping
and marshaling the men of his command for battle, he was not made aware
of the urgent need of reinforcements on the opposite bank of the river,
nor did he know of the purpose of the commander-in-chief to arm these
from the city armory. While Adair's device very much strengthened
Jackson's line on the left bank, it unfortunately defeated Jackson's
plan of sending four hundred more men to reinforce General Morgan on the
right bank, and may in this way have largely contributed to the latter's
When Jackson, late on the seventh, ordered a detail of five hundred of
the Kentucky militia to be marched at once to New Orleans, there to be
armed, to cross the river and report by daylight to General Morgan, he
expected to use the arms from the city armory. There was no other
We may readily imagine the feeling of disappointed chagrin and passion
that stirred to its depths the strong nature of Jackson, when the
intelligence quickly came to him across the river of the disaster to
Morgan's command, and of its retreat toward New Orleans, followed by the
enemy. It was in this tumult of passion and excitement that the report
of Morgan, followed by that of Patterson, was brought to him, imputing
the cause of defeat and disaster to the cowardly retreat of the Kentucky
detachment. Under the promptings of these incidents of the day,
Jackson's report to the Secretary of War was made, in which the words of
censure were so unjustly employed. Jackson must have informed Morgan on
the evening of the seventh that he would reinforce him with five hundred
armed soldiers. When Colonel Davis reported to Morgan, one hour before
daylight, the arrival of the Kentucky contingent, the latter was
expecting five hundred men to reinforce him. Had this been done, the
Kentucky troops and Major Arnaud's one hundred and fifty Louisianians
would have made the forces sent to the front to check the advance of the
British under Colonel Thornton over six hundred men. Such a force, well
officered, would probably have held the enemy in check, fallen back in
good order, and made a stubborn fight on the line of battle. But there
was only one third the Kentucky force expected; and when Major Arnaud's
command retreated, there was but this contingent of one hundred and
seventy Kentucky militia left to resist the advance of one thousand
British veterans, and to meet their main assault on the center and right
of the long line of battle. It made its march from New Orleans at
midnight, and was reported to General Morgan before daybreak. These
facts give a more intelligible view of the plan of battle arranged by
this officer. It was undoubtedly marred and broken up by the unforeseen
incidents mentioned, unfortunately for General Morgan and for the
American cause. Commodore Patterson, in his report to the Secretary of
the Navy, five days after the battle, makes the force of Kentucky
militia that gave way before the British four hundred men, more than
double the real number; thus showing the error prevalent.
When the facts came out that General Adair had secured the four hundred
stand of city arms for his own immediate command with which Jackson had
designed to arm the reinforcement for General Morgan, the incident was
naturally very irritating to the Commander-in-chief. It was imputed as a
cause, in part, of the defeat and disaster on the right bank. Jackson
seems to have complained to Adair that the latter ought to have known of
his order to call out the detachment of five hundred Kentuckians in
time, and of his intention to arm them in the city. Adair replied that
the order came to General Thomas, in chief command of the Kentuckians,
lying ill in camp, while he was busily engaged in New Orleans and at the
front, preparing his own command for battle next day; that he did not
know of the intention of Jackson to use the city arms until too late to
repair the mistake. It made up a chapter of accidents and errors,
happening with best intentions. As for the little body of Kentucky
militia, who were made sensationally notorious, where there was honor
and fame for no one, poorly armed and wearied with fasting and a heavy
all-night march, they did as well as troops could do. It is doubtful if
any one hundred and seventy troops in Jackson's army would have done
better. Unsupported, and attacked and flanked by four times their own
number, no troops could have held their ground longer.
In the possession of Judge William H. Seymour, of New Orleans, is an
original letter of Major Latour, addressed to General Morgan in
anticipation of the publication of his "Historical Memoirs of the War of
1812-15," advising him that he would give an account also of the
military situation and battle on the west bank, as he viewed them; and
inviting any statement from General Morgan in his own vindication that
he might choose to make. This letter is not printed in the history, but
was seen and copied by the author, through the courtesy of Judge
Seymour, who is a lineal descendant of a sister of Andrew Jackson. A
diligent inquiry was made by the writer of this monograph for a copy of
General Morgan's report, and also of letters or documents from him in
vindication of his course in the affairs mentioned. If any such are in
print, or otherwise preserved, the author did not succeed in finding
them, to his regret.
NEW ORLEANS, LA., April, 1815. TO GENERAL DAVID
_Sir_: I send you herewith a copy of the publication that I am
preparing for the press, upon the last campaign, relating to the
transaction that took place on the right bank, on the 8th of January.
As I am of opinion that you are to bear the blame of our disgrace on
that part of our defense, I thought myself in duty bound, as a man
of honor, to participate to you what I wrote on the subject previous
to my putting it to the press. What I have stated is, I believe,
strictly true; however, sir, you are in a situation to furnish me
with such observations as may tend to rectify what should not be
printed, in its true light.
Be persuaded, sir, that I have no enmity against you; on the
contrary, as a private citizen, I have the regard for you that I
think you deserve. Then I hope you will not take my conscientious
caution in a bad part, and that you will direct to me in
Philadelphia, where I am departing for in a day or two, anything you
will choose to write for your vindication. It will find room in the
appendix, at all events, should it be founded upon proper
I remain, sir, your most respectful servant,
A. LACARRIERE LATOUR.
Incidental prominence has been given to this episode of the battle of
the eighth, on the west bank of the river, far beyond its real merits as
an event of the military operations around New Orleans. Worse panic and
confusion resulted among the American militia at Bladensburg, in front
of Washington, and at other places, during the War of 1812-15, and
passed into history without unusual criticism, as incidents common to
warfare. But the injustice done to the little band of Kentucky militia,
imputing to them cowardly conduct, on the part of some of the highest
officials of the army, aroused a spirit of indignant protest that
echoed far and wide, and would not down. Had it not been for the
misleading report of General Morgan, followed by that of Commodore
Patterson, and prompting that of General Jackson to the Secretary of
War, saying that "the Kentuckians ingloriously fled," and imputing blame
to no other party, the incident of the battle and defeat would have been
mentioned and passed without comment.
THE COVERT RETREAT OF THE BRITISH.
The battles of the eighth were decisive of the campaign, and of the War
of 1812-15, so far as military operations were concerned. The British
had been beaten in generalship and beaten upon the field of battle,
until they were made to feel and to confess to defeat so crushing as to
leave no hope of retrieving disaster. Within fifteen days after landing,
they had sustained losses equal to one third of their entire army of
invasion. With prestige gone and spirit broken, and their ranks
shattered, there was but one thing left to do. To cover their retreat
and get safely back to their ships before the broken remnants of their
army were made to capitulate by surrender became a matter of gravest
concern. The situation is set forth in the following official letter to
the Secretary of War:
CAMP BELOW NEW ORLEANS, January 19, 1815.
_Sir_: Last night, at 12 o'clock, the enemy precipitately decamped
and returned to his boats, leaving behind him, under medical
attendance, eighty of his wounded, fourteen pieces of heavy
artillery, and a quantity of ammunition. Such was the situation of
the ground he abandoned, and that through which he retired, protected
by canals, redoubts, intrenchments, and swamps on his right and the
river on his left, that I could not, without great risk, which true
policy did not seem to require, much annoy him on his retreat.
Whether it is the purpose of the enemy to renew his efforts at some
other point, or not, I can not certainly determine. In my own mind,
however, there is little doubt that his last exertions have been made
in this quarter, at least for the present season. In this belief I am
strengthened by the prodigious losses he has sustained at the
position he has just quitted, and by the failure of his fleet to pass
Fort St. Philip. His loss on this ground, since the debarkation of
his troops, as stated by the last prisoners and deserters, and as
confirmed by many additional circumstances, must have exceeded four
thousand men. We succeeded on the 8th, in getting from the enemy
about one thousand stand of arms of various kinds.
Since the action of the 8th, the enemy have been allowed but very
little respite, my artillery from both sides of the river being
constantly employed until the hour of their departure, in annoying
them. They were permitted to find no rest.
I am advised by Major Overton, who commands at Fort St. Philip, in a
letter of the 18th, that the enemy having bombarded his fort for nine
days, with thirteen-inch mortars, without effect, had on the morning
of that day retired. I have little doubt that he would have sunk
their vessels had they attempted to run by.
Do not think me too sanguine in the belief that Louisiana is now
clear of the enemy. I need not assure you, however, that wherever I
command, such a belief shall never occasion any relaxation in the
measures for resistance. I am but too sensible that while the enemy
is opposing us, is not the most proper time to provide for them. On
the 18th, our prisoners on shore were delivered to us, an exchange
having been agreed to. I shall have on hand an excess of several
I have the honor to be, &c.,
The losses to the American army, in the five battles fought from the
twenty-third of December to the eighth of January, inclusive, are
summarized in the report of the Adjutant-general, which we give:
CAMP BELOW NEW ORLEANS, Jan'y 16, 1815.
Sir: I enclose for the information of the War Department, a report of
the killed, wounded, and missing, of the army under Major-general
Jackson, in the different actions with the enemy since their landing.
BATTLE. KILLED. WOUNDED. MISSING.
December 23d 24 115 74
December 28th 9 8 None.
January 1st 11 23 None.
January 8th 13 39 19
----- ------ -----
57 185 93
A total of three hundred and thirty-five men. This includes the killed,
wounded, and missing in the two battles on the eighth.
Our English authorities are so marked with exaggerations and
discrepancies as to numbers in either army, and also as to losses and
casualties, that they are unreliable. There is with nearly all their
writers, and in the reports of their officers, a disposition to minimize
numbers on their own side, and to overstate those on the side of the
Americans. This was no doubt due to a sense of mortified pride and deep
chagrin over their repeated defeats and final expulsion from the
country, under humiliations such as English armies and navies had rarely
before known in history. General Jackson was not far wrong in estimating
the entire losses of the British, during the two weeks of invasion, at
more than four thousand men. If the large number who deserted from their
ranks after the battles of the eighth of January be included, the excess
would doubtless swell the numbers much above four thousand. Their
killed, wounded, and missing on the eighth approximated three thousand.
So decimated and broken up were their columns that they dared not risk
REPULSE OF THE BRITISH FLEET BEFORE FORT ST. PHILIP.
On the first of January, Major W.H. Overton, in command of Fort St.
Philip, which guards the passage of the Mississippi River from its mouth
for the protection of New Orleans, received information that the enemy
intended to capture or pass the fort, to co÷perate with their land
forces threatening the city. On the seventh, a fleet of two
bomb-vessels, one sloop, one brig, and one schooner appeared and
anchored below the fortification and began an attack. For nine days they
continued a heavy bombardment from four large sea-mortars and other
ordnance, but without the effect they desired. Making but little
impression toward destroying the fort, and fearing to risk an attempt
finally to pass our batteries, the fleet withdrew on the morning of the
eighteenth, and passed again into the Gulf. Our loss in this affair was
but two killed and seven wounded. During the nine days of attack the
enemy threw more than one thousand bombs from four ten-and thirteen-inch
mortars, besides many shells and round shot from howitzers and cannon.
AN ENGLISH SOLDIER'S VIEW OF DEFEAT.
A graphic pen-picture of the chaotic and wretched condition of the
English army after the crushing defeat of the eighth, and until its
final return to the fleet, is given by Gleig in his "Narrative of the
Campaigns." It will be read with all the more interest because it is the
frank admission of a brave though prejudiced officer, giving an enemy's
view of the great disaster that befell the British arms, in which he
General Lambert prudently determined not to risk the safety of his
army by another attempt upon works evidently so much beyond our
strength. He considered that his chances of success were in every
respect lessened by the late repulse. An extraordinary degree of
confidence was given to the enemy, while our forces were greatly
diminished in numbers. If again defeated, nothing could save our army
from destruction; it could only now retreat in force. A retreat,
therefore, was resolved upon while the measure appeared practicable,
and toward that end all our future operations were directed.
One great obstacle existed; by what road were the troops to travel to
regain the fleet? On landing, we had taken advantage of the bayou,
and thus come within two miles of the cultivated country, in our
barges. To return by the same route was impossible. In spite of our
losses there were not enough boats to transport above one half of the
army at one time. If we separated, the chances were that both
divisions would be destroyed; for those embarked might be
intercepted, and those left behind might be attacked by the whole
American army. To obviate the difficulty, it required that we should
build a passable road through the swamp, to Lake Borgne, some twenty
miles away. The task was burthened with innumerable difficulties.
There was no firm foundation on which to work, and no trees to assist
in forming hurdles. All we could do was to bind together large
quantities of swamp weeds and lay them across the quagmire. It was
but the semblance of a road, without firmness and solidity.
To complete this road, bad as it was, occupied nine days, during
which our army lay in camp, making no attempt to molest the enemy.
The Americans, however, were not so inactive. A battery of six guns,
mounted on the opposite bank, kept up a continued fire upon our men.
The same mode of proceeding was adopted in front, and thus, night and
day we were harassed by danger, against which there was no fortifying
ourselves. Of the extreme unpleasantness of our situation, it is
hardly possible to convey an adequate conception. We never closed our
eyes in peace, for we were sure to be awaked before the lapse of many
minutes, by the splash of a roundshot or shell in the mud beside us.
Tents we had none, but lay some in open air, and some in huts of
boards, or any material we could procure. From the moment of our
landing, December 23d, not a man had undressed, except to bathe; many
had worn the same shirt for weeks. Heavy rains now set in, with
violent storms of thunder and lightning, and keen frosts at night.
Thus we were wet all day, and nearly frozen at night. With our
outposts there was constant skirmishing. Every day they were attacked
by the Americans, and compelled to maintain their ground by dint of
hard fighting. No one but those who belonged to this army can form a
notion of the hardships it endured, and the fatigue it underwent.
Nor were these the only evils which tended to lessen our 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, while individuals would persuade our
sentinels to quit their stations. It could not be expected that
bribes so tempting would always be refused. Many desertions began
daily to take place, and ere long became so frequent, that the evil
rose to be of a serious nature. In the course of a week, many men
quitted their colors, and fled to the enemy.
Meanwhile, the wounded, except such as were too severely hurt to be
removed, were embarked in the boats and sent off to the fleet. Next
followed the baggage and stores, with the civil officers,
commissaries, and purveyors; and last of all such of the light
artillery as could be drawn without risk of discovery. But of the
heavy artillery, no account was taken. It was determined to leave
them behind, retaining their stations. By the 17th, no part of the
forces was left in camp but the infantry. On the evening of the 18th,
it also began the retreat. Trimming the fires, and arranging all in
the 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, with injunctions not to retire
till daylight appeared. Profound silence was maintained; not a man
opened his mouth, except to issue necessary orders in a whisper. Not
a cough or any other noise was to be heard from the head to the rear
of the column. Even the steps of the soldiers were planted with care,
to prevent the slightest echo. Nor was this precaution unnecessary.
In spite of every endeavor to the contrary, a rumor of our intention
had reached the Americans; for we found them of late very watchful
While our route lay alongside the river, the march was agreeable
enough, but as soon as we entered the marsh, all comfort was at an
end. Our roadway, constructed of materials so slight, and resting on
a foundation so infirm, was trodden to pieces by the first corps.
Those who followed were compelled to flounder on the best way they
could. By the time the rear of the column gained the morass, all
trace of a way had disappeared. Not only were the reeds torn asunder
and sunk by the pressure of those in front, but the bog itself was
trodden into the consistency of mud. Every step sunk us to the knees,
and sometimes higher. Near the ditches, we had the utmost difficulty
in crossing at all. There being no light, except what the stars
supplied, it was difficult to select our steps, or follow those who
called to us that they were safe on the other side. At one of those
ditches, I myself beheld an unfortunate wretch gradually sink until
he totally disappeared. I saw him flounder, heard his cry for help,
and ran forward with the intention of saving him; but before I had
taken a second step, I myself sunk to my breast in the mire. How I
kept from smothering is more than I can tell, for I felt no solid
bottom under me, and sank slowly deeper and deeper, till the mud
reached my arms. Instead of rescuing the poor soldier, I was forced
to beg assistance for myself. A leathern canteen strap being thrown
to me, I laid hold of it, and was dragged out, just as my
fellow-sufferer was buried alive, and seen no more.
All night we continued our journey, toiling and struggling through
this terrible quagmire; and in the morning reached the Fishermen's
Huts, mentioned before as standing on the brink of Bayou Bienvenue,
near Lake Borgne. The site is as complete a desert as the eye of man
was ever pained by beholding. Not a tree or a bush grew near. As far
as the eye could reach, an ocean of weeds covering and partially
hiding the swamp presented itself, except on the side where a view of
the Lake changed, without fertilizing, the prospect. Here 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 on the chilly ground, without so much
as pulling off my muddy garments; in an instant all my cares and
troubles were forgotten. After many hours, I awoke from that sleep,
cold and stiff, and creeping beside a miserable fire of weeds,
devoured the last morsal of salt pork my wallet contained.
The whole army having come up, formed along the brink of the Lake; a
line of outposts was planted, and the soldiers commanded to make
themselves as comfortable as possible. But there was little comfort.
Without tents or shelter of any kind, our bed was the morass, and our
sole covering the clothes which had not quitted our backs for a
month. Our fires, so necessary to a soldier's happiness, were
composed solely of weeds, which blazed up and burned out like straw,
imparting but little warmth. Above all, our provisions were expended,
with no way to replenish in reach. Our sole dependence was the fleet,
nearly one hundred miles away, at anchor. It was necessary to wait
until our barges could make the trip there, and return. For two
entire days, the only provisions issued to the troops were some
crumbs of biscuit and a small allowance of rum. As for myself, being
fond of hunting, I determined to fare better. I took a fire-lock and
went in pursuit of wild ducks, of which there seemed plenty in the
bog. I was fortunate enough to kill several, but they fell in the
water, about twenty yards out. There was no other alternative.
Pulling off my clothes, and breaking the thin ice, I waded out and
got my game, and returned to shore, shivering like an aspen. As I
neared the shore, my leg stuck fast in the mire, and in pulling it
out my stocking came off, a loss that gave me great discomfort, until
we went aboard the fleet. I request that I may not be sneered at when
I record this loss of my stocking as one of the disastrous
consequences of this ill-fated expedition.
As the boats returned, regiment after regiment set sail for the
fleet. But, the wind being foul, many days elapsed before all could
be got off. By the end of January, 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 woefully thinned, our chiefs slain, our clothing tattered
and filthy, and our discipline in some degree injured. A gloomy
silence reigned throughout the armament, except when it was broken by
the voice of lamentation over fallen friends. The interior of each
ship presented a scene well calculated to prove the misadventures of
human hope and human prudence. On reaching the fleet, we found that a
splendid regiment, the 40th Foot, of one thousand men, had just
arrived to reinforce us, ignorant of the fatal issue of our attack.
But the coming of thrice their number could not recover what was
lost, or recall the fateful past. There was no welcome, nor
rejoicing; so great was the despondency that no attention was given
to the event. A sullen indifference as to what might happen next
seemed to have succeeded all our wonted curiosity, and confidence of
success in every undertaking.
On the 4th of February, the fleet weighed anchor and set sail, though
detained by adverse winds near the shore of Cat Island until the 7th,
when it put to sea. Our course, towards the east, led to the
conjecture that we were steering towards Mobile. Nor was it long
before we came in sight of the bay which bears that name.
SECOND ATTACK ON FORT BOWYER, MOBILE BAY.
So great and so repeated had been the reverses of the British arms, that
an opportunity to retrieve lost prestige, even in a small degree, could
not well be permitted to pass unimproved. The great flotilla of sixty
vessels, with the fragments of the shattered army, which set sail with
flags and pennants gayly flying in the breeze from Negril Bay, Jamaica,
but a little over two months ago, was still a power upon the sea, at a
safe distance from Jackson's triumphant army. The little outpost of a
fort that guarded Mobile Bay, which had inflicted a heavy loss on, and
beaten off, a squadron of the enemy's ships a few months before, lay in
their path homeward, and it was determined to invest it, and to
overwhelm it with numbers. On the sixth of February, the great armament
appeared in sight of Dauphin Island. On the seventh, twenty-five ships
anchored in a crescent position extending from the island toward Mobile
Point, where stood the fort. On the morning of the eighth, the enemy
landed five thousand troops opposite the line of ships at anchor,
investing the fort by sea and land. The fortification was erected for
defense mainly on the sea side, to render it formidable to ships
attempting to enter the pass into Mobile Bay. On the land side was a
sandy plain, rendering it incapable of defense against a superior force
protected by extensive siege works. The enemy mounted a number of
batteries behind parapets and epaulements, which directed their fire
upon the weakest parts of the defense. The fort was gallantly defended
by a garrison of three hundred and fifty men, under command of Colonel
William Lawrence. Some losses were inflicted on the besiegers as they
continued to push their works to within short musket-range of the fort.
But the heavy cannonading and fire from small-arms encircled the
besieged from every direction, and further defense became hopeless.
Terms of surrender were agreed to on the eleventh, and on the twelfth
the garrison marched out with the honors of war, yielding possession to
NEGOTIATIONS FOR PEACE CONCLUDED ON THE 24TH OF DECEMBER, 1814.
The small victory at Mobile Bay was barren of any gain to the British
cause; for, on the fourteenth, two days after the surrender,
intelligence came from England to General Lambert that articles of peace
had been signed by the plenipotentiaries of the belligerent nations, in
session at Ghent. Gleig remarks, in his "Narrative": "With the reduction
of this trifling work ended all hostilities in this quarter of America;
for the army had scarcely reassembled, when intelligence arrived from
England of peace. The news reached us on the fourteenth, and I shall not
deny that it was received with much satisfaction."
On the nineteenth, General Jackson issued an address from headquarters,
from which we reproduce as follows: "The flag-vessel, which was sent to
the enemy's fleet at Mobile, has returned, and brings with it
intelligence, extracted from a London paper, that on the twenty-fourth
of December articles of peace were signed by the commissioners of the
Thus, on the day after the first landing of the British army on
Louisiana soil, and after the first battle was fought at night, terms of
peace were agreed on. It was fifteen days after that auspicious event
until the battles on the eighth occurred, causing such disaster and loss
of valuable lives to the English army and nation; and fifty-two days
from the signing of articles until a message of the good news was
received by the commander-in-chief of the British forces. There was no
alternative but to await the slow passage of the ship across the wide
Atlantic, with sails set to breeze and calm, and sometimes tossed and
delayed by adverse storm. To-day, the news of such an event would be
flashed over the great cables under the sea and the network of electric
wires throughout the land, in the twinkling of an eye after its
occurrence. Such an advantage at the time would have been worth to
England the entire cost of the telegraph system of the world.
LEGISLATURE SUPPRESSED UNDER MARTIAL LAW--CHARGES OF TREASONABLE
On the morning of the twenty-eighth of December, just as the British
began their attack on the American line, General Jackson issued an order
forcibly forbidding the meeting of the Legislature in session, and for
taking possession of the legislative halls. The proceeding created great
excitement in the civil and military circles of the city, especially
among the members of the body and their immediate friends. The author is
indebted to Mr. William Beer, of the Howard Library of New Orleans, for
the loan of a copy of a rare little book entitled "Report of the
Committee of Inquiry on the Military Measures Employed Against the
Legislature of the State of Louisiana, the 28th of December, 1814." In
the full report of the testimony taken by the committee, we have a
history of the causes which led to this open rupture between the
commander-in-chief and the General Assembly of Louisiana, and of its
incidents and issues.
Since the landing of the British army on the twenty-third, there were
afloat in nebulous form some rumors of disaffection toward the American
military occupation of Louisiana, among an element of the population
unfriendly to the sovereignty of the United States over the territory
since its purchase from Napoleon. Up to the time of the military
occupation under Jackson, this hostile feeling seemed to display its
temper and policies mainly in matters of civil procedure. There was very
naturally a jealous opposition on the part of many leading citizens, of
French and Spanish descent, of whom the population west of the
Mississippi was almost entirely made up, against the annexation of the
territory east of that river as part of Louisiana, on equal terms of
citizenship and co-sovereignty. This east territory, they felt, had been
rudely seized and possessed by the United States, against the claim and
protest of Spain. It was being settled by American people, who in time
would help to Americanize the country, and to lessen the power and
control of the former creole domination. The virtues of a patriotic
love of their native countries yet lingered in the bosoms of these
citizens--a patriotic love which, when finally transferred to the new
government they were under, burned as brightly for the new sovereignty
as for the old.
Captain Abner L. Duncan, aid to Jackson, testified before the committee
On the 28th, Colonel Declouet (of General Morgan's command) coming in
haste from the city, joined this respondent and begged him to inform
General Jackson that a plan was on foot among several members of the
Legislature for the surrender of the country to the enemy. Colonel
Declouet named in confidence to myself, to Generals Jackson and
Morgan, and to Major Robinson, several members as persons determined
on making the attempt. He added, that he heard one or more members
say, that Jackson was carrying on a Russian war (alluding to the
burning of Moscow), and that it was best to save private property by
a timely surrender; that he, Colonel Declouet, had been invited to
join in the measure. On this respondent making the communication to
General Jackson, the order he received was: "Tell Governor Claiborne
to prevent this, and to blow them up if they attempt it!"
Colonel Declouet told me the plan had been first disclosed to him by
the Speaker of the House, Mr. Guichard. He said in presence of
General Jackson and Mr. Daresac, that many other influential men were
concerned in it, and that they had held several night or secret
meetings on the subject. He gave the names of Mr. John Blanque and
Mr. Marigny, and generally all those voting with Mr. Blanque in the
House. He stated that, as an inducement offered to unite in the
plan, he was informed by Mr. Guichard that General Jackson would burn
and destroy everything before him sooner than surrender the country,
and that the English would respect private property. I understood
also, from some members of the House, Mr. Harper and Mr. Fickland
among them, and in the Senate from General Morgan and Mr. Hireart,
that an attempt would be made to dismember the State. I also
understood from other members that they would consider it an act of
violence; and would resist it by violence.
Colonel Declouet was the chief informant at headquarters; but rumors had
been rife for several days of disloyal utterances and of mysterious
proceedings, which caused uneasiness to the civil and military
authorities, and especially to Governor Claiborne, who had made known
his apprehensions of trouble from the disaffected element, warning
General Jackson of the dangers possible from this quarter. The
Legislature was to convene on the twenty-eighth; and it was intimated
that the overture for a surrender might be resolved upon that day. Such
a possible action, in the very crisis of battle, could be but an attempt
to marplot the military plans of the commander-in-chief, and to marshal
an enemy in the rear. The information brought in so abruptly on that
morning by Colonel Declouet made a profound impression on the mind of
General Jackson. The enemy had already opened the battle of the
twenty-eighth of December, with the forward movement of his columns and
under the heavy fire of his batteries.
In the excitement of the moment, Jackson gave the verbal order to his
aid, Captain Duncan, to be delivered at once to Governor Claiborne for
immediate execution. This order, as rendered by Captain Duncan, directed
the Governor to summarily close the halls of the Legislature, and to
place a guard at the doors to prevent a meeting of the body until
further orders. Duncan testified that the General put in emphasis the
words: "Tell Governor Claiborne to prevent this, and to blow them up if
they attempt it!"
The order was executed. The Governor commissioned General J.B. Labitat,
of the Louisiana troops, to enforce it; he placed a guard of soldiers at
the doors of the building, and forbade entrance to the members on that
day. Captain Duncan had put spurs to his horse and started on a lope to
the city with the order. On the way he met Colonel Fortier, an aid to
the Governor, who consented to promptly deliver the order, permitting
Duncan to return. In the proceedings of the committee, Honorable Levi
Wells, member of the House of Representatives from Rapides Parish,
testified that on the twenty-eighth, under an order of General Jackson,
an armed guard was placed at the doors of the legislative halls in the
city of New Orleans, which was to hinder the members from assembling;
"and even to fire on them, should they dare to persist in their design;
and that the life of a representative of the people, and a member of the
Body, was exposed to the greatest danger; that a sentinel, to hinder him
from repairing to his post, presented his bayonet and threatened to run
him through with it, unless he retired, adding to this outrage the most
Through the mediation of friendly counsel the views of both the civil
and military chiefs were modified. The order was revoked within
twenty-four hours, and the guards withdrawn; on the twenty-ninth, the
Legislature was permitted to convene. In the conclusion, the committee
exonerated Speaker Guichard and other members of the Legislature
referred to as under suspicion, and severely censured Colonel Declouet
and Captain Duncan as the indiscreet authors of all the trouble. The
measures taken by General Jackson and Governor Claiborne were effectual;
while the report of the committee was evidently drawn to modify and
explain the imputed indiscretions of some of their fellow-members who
had been compromised. The procedure did not include all the legislators;
for some of these had volunteered their services, shouldered their
muskets, and gone to the front of battle.
A feeling of keen resentment toward General Jackson and some officers
involved in this affair was nursed long after by these legislators.
After peace was assured and hostilities at an end, the Legislature voted
a resolution of thanks for valiant services in defense of Louisiana to
the officers and soldiers from the States of Kentucky, Tennessee, and
Mississippi, with the request to the Governor that he should convey the
sense of this resolution in appropriate terms in a letter each to the
officers in command of these troops, respectively. The resolution was as
_Resolved_, That the thanks of the General Assembly be presented, in
the name of the State, to our brave brother soldiers from Tennessee,
Kentucky, and the Mississippi Territory, and their gallant leaders,
Generals Coffee, Carroll, Thomas, Adair, and Colonel Hinds, for the
brilliant share they have had in the defense of this country and the
happy harmony they have maintained with the inhabitants and militia
of the State.
_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.
_President of Senate_.
Approved, February 2d, 1815.
WM. C. CLAIBORNE,
_Governor of State_.
The great chieftain could well afford to pass the slight in silence,
hailed as he was by the acclamations of the multitude--the deliverer of
the country, and the hero of the nation!
A similar resolution of thanks was voted to the officers and troops of
Louisiana, who had so patriotically sprung to arms on the invasion of
the enemy, and who had so gallantly fought in the several battles of the
campaign. In this resolution separate mention was made of each of the
officers of the State troops and their several commands, reciting the
meritorious services they had rendered, in terms of special praise,
making exceptions of certain officers who had incurred the displeasure
of some of the honorable legislators.
Under the first resolution, letters were addressed each to Generals
Coffee and Carroll, of Tennessee, to Major Hinds, of Mississippi, and to
Generals Thomas and Adair, of Kentucky. As these letters are of similar
tenor, we quote only the correspondence with General Adair:
NEW ORLEANS, February 25th, 1815.
_Sir_: To a soldier who has done his duty in all the conflicts in
which his country has been involved, from the War of Independence to
the present moment, it must be matter of great exultation to notice
the valor and firmness of the children of his old friends; to be
convinced that they are the true descendants of the old stock. That
the young men of your brigade should have looked up to you in the
hour of battle, as their guide and their shield, is only a
continuation of that confidence which their fathers had in a chief
whose arm had so often, and so successfully, been raised against the
foe. The enclosed Resolution of the General Assembly of Louisiana
will show you the high sense which is entertained in this State of
your services and of those of your brothers in arms. Be towards them
the vehicle of our sentiments, and receive for yourself the
assurances of my respect and best wishes.
WM. C.C. CLAIBORNE,
_Governor of Louisiana_.
To General John Adair.
The response of General Adair:
GOV. WM. C.C. CLAIBORNE.
_Sir_: I have the honor of acknowledging the receipt of Your
Excellency's note, inclosing a Resolution of the Legislature of
Louisiana, generously awarding the thanks of the State to the militia
from her sister States, who aided in the late successful struggle to
expel a powerful invading enemy from her shores.
To a proud American, citizen or soldier, the consciousness of having
faithfully discharged his duty to his country must ever be his
highest and most lasting consolation. But when to this is added the
approbation, the gratitude of the wisest, the most respectable part
of the community, with whom and under whose eye it has been his
fortune to act, it will ever be esteemed, not only the highest reward
for his services, but the most powerful incentive to his future good
Accept, sir, for the Legislature, my warmest acknowledgments for the
honorable mention they have made of the corps to which I belong, and
for yourself the esteem and respect so justly due from me, for your
polite and highly interesting note of communication; and my best
wishes for your health and happiness.
GENERAL JACKSON--CLASH WITH THE COURT.
A member of the Legislature, Mr. Loillier, severely censured the
commander-in-chief for continuing New Orleans and vicinity under martial
law after the defeat and embarkation of the British army, and for his
arbitrary course in sending a body of creole troops to a remote camp
near Baton Rouge, in response to their petition for a discharge. Jackson
ordered his arrest. Loillier applied to Judge Hall, of the United States
District Court, for a writ of habeas corpus, which was promptly granted
by the court. General Jackson summarily ordered the arrest of Judge Hall
also; and that he and the assemblyman both be deported beyond the
military lines, as persons liable to incite insubordination and mutiny
within the martial jurisdiction. Intelligence of the treaty of peace at
Ghent soon followed, and martial law once again yielded to civil
Judge Hall, resenting what he deemed a great indignity upon the court,
issued an order, summoning Jackson to appear before him to answer a
grave charge of contempt. Jackson's attorney attempted to plead in his
defense, but the judge silenced him, and set the hearing a week after.
On the thirty-first of March, Jackson appeared in court in person, but
refused to be interrogated. As his defense had been denied, he announced
that he was there only to receive the sentence of the court. Judge Hall
then imposed a fine of one thousand dollars, which sum the veteran
offender drew from his pocket and handed in to the court.
These proceedings were attended with profound excitement throughout the
city and community. The hero of the day had a determined following
present in crowds at and near the court-room; and among these were the
Baratarian contingent, with their leaders, and others as desperate as
these. But the great commander had set the example of implicit obedience
to the law, and no disrespect to the court was shown. But as the General
sought to retire from the scene, the enthusiasm of the crowds overleaped
all bounds of propriety. With shouts and roars of applause the devoted
people lifted him in their arms and upon their shoulders, and bore him
in triumph through the streets of the city to his headquarters, despite
the chagrin and helpless protestations of the victim of their
admiration. Tall and gaunt, and angular in person, with his long, spare
limbs dangling helplessly about him, and rocked and swayed by the
movement of the masses under him, the great warrior was never in all his
life before in a position more awkward and undignified. The master of
men and emergencies was unthroned for one time in life.
The money to pay the fine was proffered over and over again to reimburse
him by ardent friends, but Jackson would listen to no terms of payment
of the fine, except out of his own purse. He alone had committed the
offense--if there was an offense--and he alone would assume to pay the
penalty. It was not until 1844, one year before his death, that Congress
passed an act to refund the principal and interest, which amounted then
to twenty-seven hundred dollars. In advocacy of this bill Stephen A.
Douglas, then Senator from Illinois, made his maiden speech upon the
floor of the Senate of the United States.
ENGLAND'S PURPOSE TO CONQUER AND HOLD POSSESSION OF THE TERRITORY CEDED
BY NAPOLEON, AND TO ESTABLISH HER DOMINION IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY.
There are evidences that the English Government had revived an old dream
of conquest and expansion, by which she might once again establish
dominion west of the Alleghany Mountains, by the capture of New
Orleans, the key to the lower Mississippi Valley. It is a well-known
fact in history that that government refused to recognize the legitimacy
of the sale and transfer of the Territory of Louisiana by Napoleon to
the United States. She had looked upon the transaction with a covetous
and jealous eye, for she had nursed the hope some day of adding to her
own vast possessions, by conquest or purchase, not only the domain of
Louisiana, but that of Florida also. Had it not been that she was
engrossed with her military and naval forces in the turbulent wars in
Europe, during the ascendant period of Napoleon, the British Government
would most probably have employed her armies and navies mainly in the
accomplishment of these aims of territorial aggrandizement. Her invasion
of the Northwest territory from Canada, at the opening of the War of
1812-15, which so disastrously ended with the destruction of the British
fleet by Commodore Perry on Lake Erie, and the annihilation of the
British army by General Harrison at the battle of the Thames, was but an
entering wedge to her deep designs. After the fall of Napoleon and the
pacification of Europe relieved her armies and navies of further service
on that side of the ocean, she, in her pride and insolence, believed
that she would be invincible in America. Her cherished dream might now
at last be realized by the conquest and permanent possession of
Louisiana. We have mentioned the significant fact that overtures for
peaceful negotiations had been mutually arranged as early as January,
1814, and commissioners soon after appointed to meet at Ghent. When the
capitulation at Paris and the exile of Napoleon to Elba occurred within
a few brief months, repeated excuses for the delay of negotiations by
the British envoys were made. The United States wanted peace on
equitable terms, for she had nothing to gain by continuing the war.
England dallied and delayed; meanwhile marshaling her military and naval
forces for a final crushing blow on her American foe. When articles of
peace were signed on the twenty-fourth of December, the British
Government knew that information of the event would not reach the
belligerents in the Gulf of Mexico until some time in February. But His
Majesty, the King of England, and his councilors, confidently believed,
as did the officers in command of the English army and navy in this
expedition, that the victorious invaders would eat their Christmas
dinner in the subjugated city of New Orleans, and there to stay.
Gleig, an educated officer with the army of invasion, who became the
chief English historian of the campaign, in his "Narrative," has to
The primary cause of our defeat may be traced to a source more
distant than I have mentioned; I mean to the disclosure of our
designs to the enemy. How this occurred, I shall not take upon me to
declare; though several rumors bearing at least the guise of
probability have been circulated. The attack on New Orleans was
professedly a secret expedition, so secret indeed that it was not
communicated to the inferior officers and soldiers in the armament
until immediately previous to our quitting Jamaica. To the Americans,
however, it appears to have been long known before. And hence it was
that, instead of taking them unawares, we found them fully prepared
for our reception. _That our failure is to be lamented no one will
deny, since the conquest of New Orleans would have been, beyond all
comparison, the most valuable acquisition that could be made to the
British dominion throughout the whole Western hemisphere. In
possession of that post, we should have kept the entire Southern
trade of the United States in check, and furnished means of commerce
to our own merchants, of incalculable value._
On the 29th of August, 1814, Colonel Edward Nichols, in command of the
land forces quartered in the Spanish capital of Pensacola, issued a
proclamation, from which we quote:
Natives of Louisiana! On you the first call is made to assist in
liberating from a faithless, imbecile government, your paternal soil.
Spaniards, Frenchmen, Italians, and British; whether settled, or
residing for a time in Louisiana, on you also, I call to aid me in
this just cause. The American usurpation in this country must be
abolished, and the lawful owners of the soil put in possession. I am
at the head of a large body of Indians, well armed, disciplined, and
commanded by British officers, a good train of artillery with every
requisite, seconded by the powerful aid of a numerous squadron of
ships. Be assured, your property, your laws, the tranquility and
peace of your country, will be guaranteed to you. Rest assured that
these brave Indians only burn with an ardent desire of satisfaction
for the wrongs they have suffered from the Americans, to join you in
liberating the southern province from their yoke, and drive them into
the limits formerly prescribed by my sovereign. The Indians have
pledged themselves not to injure the persons or properties of any but
enemies to their Spanish or English fathers. A flag, Spanish, French,
or British, over any door, will be a certain protection.
Inhabitants of Kentucky! You have too long borne with grievous
impositions. The whole brunt of the war has fallen on your brave
sons; be imposed on no longer; but either range yourselves under the
standard of your forefathers, or observe a strict neutrality. If you
comply, whatever provisions you send down will be paid for in
dollars, and the safety of the persons bringing it, as well as the
free navigation of the Mississippi, will be guaranteed to you.
Men of Kentucky! Let me call to your minds the conduct of those
factions which hurried you into this civil, unjust, and unnatural
war, at a time when Great Britain was straining every nerve in
defense of her own, and the liberties of the world. Europe is now
happy and free, and now hastens justly to avenge an unprovoked
insult. Accept of my offers; everything I have promised, I guarantee
to you, on the sacred honor of a British officer.
We might repeat such evidences of the purposes and plans of the
expedition to Louisiana. But we will close the subject with the
impressions of General Jackson himself.
In a contribution to the Philadelphia Times, of the 1st of November,
1898, Colonel A.C. Buell is authority for the following:
"It was related to me," says Colonel Buell, "by the late Governor
William Allen, of Ohio, when, as correspondent of the Missouri
Republican, I visited the venerable statesman at his home near
Chillicothe, in 1875. After an interview on the current political
situation, Governor Allen became reminiscent. A scrap-book beats the
best of memories in the world; so I will quote from my scrap-book the
exact text of this reminiscence. The Governor said:
"'Shortly after Arkansas was admitted into the Union, in 1836, I,
being a member of Congress, then called at the White House. General
Jackson--he always preferred to be called General, rather than Mr.
President--invited me to lunch with him. No sooner were we seated,
than he said: Mr. Allen, let us take a little drink to the new star
in the flag;--Arkansas! This ceremony being duly observed, the
General continued: Allen, if there had been disaster, instead of
victory, at New Orleans, there would never have been a State of
"'This, of course, interested me; and I asked: Why do you say that,
"'Then he answered that: If Pakenham had taken New Orleans, the
British would have claimed and held the whole of Louisiana Purchase.
"'But, I said, you know, General Jackson, that the Treaty of Ghent,
which had been signed fifteen days before the decisive battle,
provided for the restoration of all territory, places and
possessions, taken by either nation from the other, during the war,
with certain unimportant exceptions.
"'Yes, of course, Jackson replied, but the minutes of the conference
at Ghent, as kept by Mr. Gallatin, represent the British
commissioners as declaring in exact words: "We do not admit
Bonaparte's construction of the law of nations; we can not accept it
in relation to any subject-matter before us."
"'At that moment, pursued General Jackson, none of our commissioners
knew what the real meaning of those words was. When they were uttered
the British commissioners knew that Pakenham's expedition had been
decided on; our commissioners did not know it. Now, since I have been
Chief Magistrate, I have learned, from diplomatic sources of the most
unquestionable authority, that the British ministry did not intend
the Treaty of Ghent to apply to the Louisiana Purchase at all. The
whole corporation of them,--Pitt, the Duke of Portland, Grenville,
Perceval, Lord Liverpool, and Castlereagh, denied in toto the legal
right of Napoleon to sell Louisiana to us. They held, therefore, that
we had no right to that Territory. So you see, Allen, that the words
of Mr. Gouldburn, on behalf of the British commissioners, which I
have quoted to you from Albert Gallatin's minutes of the conference,
had a far deeper significance than our commissioners could penetrate.
These words were meant to lay the foundation for a claim on the
Louisiana Purchase, entirely external to the provisions of the Treaty
of Ghent. And in that way, the British government was signing a
treaty with one hand in front, whilst the other hand, behind its
back, was dispatching Pakenham's army to seize the fairest of our
"'You can also see, my dear Allen, said the old General, waxing
warmer, you can also see what an awful mess such a situation would
have been, if the British programme had been carried out in full. But
Providence willed otherwise. All the tangled web that the cunning of
English diplomacy could weave around our unsuspecting commissioners
at Ghent was torn to pieces, and soaked with British blood, in half
an hour, at New Orleans, by the never-missing rifles of my Tennessee
and Kentucky pioneers; and that ended it. British diplomacy could do
wonders; but it could not provide against such a contingency as that.
Now, Allen, you have the whole story; and know why Arkansas was saved
to the Union.'"
JUST LIKE JACKSON.
During the war of 1812-15, the officials of the English Government,
civil and military, distinguished themselves by their haughty arrogance
and insulting tone of superiority toward the American people; and were,
with revengeful malice, guilty of vandalism, spoliations, and cruelties,
which were a disgrace to civilization, not to speak of the massacres and
butcheries of thousands of women and children by the savage Indians,
whom they employed and paid to commit these crimes. Andrew Jackson soon
put an end to these English barbarisms wherever he commanded the
American armies. An incident, illustrative of his summary methods of
dealing with the insolence of his enemies in authority, occurred at
Pensacola. The English fleet and army had come in and quartered there in
the Spanish capital, with the approval and aid of the Spanish governor,
though Spain was at peace with the United States. The British assured
him that they would soon be in possession of Louisiana and the coast
country, and would fully protect the Spaniard as an ally and friend.
When Jackson marched his army to Pensacola, and sent in a message to the
governor to expel the British soldiers from the city and order their
fleet out of the harbor, the reply of the Spaniard was truckling to the
English in tone and evasive and insolent toward the American officer in
command. General Jackson replied in the following language:
Your Excellency has been candid enough to admit your having supplied
the Indians with arms. In addition to this, I have learned that a
British flag has been seen flying on one of your forts. All this is
done while you are pretending to be neutral. You can not be surprised
then; but on the contrary will provide a fort in your town for my
soldiers and Indians, should I take it into my head to pay you a
visit. In future, I beg you to withhold your insulting charges
against my government, for one more inclined to listen to slander
than I am; nor consider me any more as a diplomatic character, unless
so proclaimed to you from the mouths of my cannon.
The old hero meant all he said; for he marched upon the town, forced a
surrender, sent the British flying to their ships for safety, and
compelled the fleet to put to sea.
HUMILIATION OF ENGLAND.
No event in the modern history of her military operations brought a
deeper disappointment and a keener sense of humiliation to the English
Government, and to the nation, than did the disastrous failure of this
expedition, fitted out in haughty pride for the invasion and conquest of
Louisiana. The true story of the campaign and battles was in the main
suppressed by the Tory press, in the interest of the reigning dynasty
and to save the pride and prestige of a really great and imperial
people. A coincidence occurred to aid in diverting the mind of the
public from the contemplation of the deplorable event. On the 23d of
February, 1815, news of the defeat at New Orleans reached London. On the
same day arrived the intelligence of the escape of Napoleon from Elba,
and of his landing on the shores of France. Public attention was
diverted by the new sensation. The government press fostered the
illusion, and the horrors of New Orleans were not so fully known or
William Cobbett, the noted Liberal essayist and author, of England,
wrote of the event: "And this was all the people of the duped nation
ever heard of the matter. Bonaparte had landed from Elba, and the battle
of Waterloo soon succeeded. Both the Government and the people were glad
to forget all about this unmerciful beating in America. This battle of
New Orleans broke the heart of European despotism. The man who won it
did, in that one act, more for the good and the honor of the human race
than ever was done by any other man."
The author, discussing the incidents and issues of this remarkable
campaign, in the light of the vast superiority in both military and
naval forces of the British over the Americans, their more thorough
equipment, and their veteran discipline under the best-trained officers
in the world, put the inquiry: "How can we account for the repeated
reverses, and the final over-whelming defeat and expulsion from the
country, of such a vast and formidable armament by an inferior body of
raw recruits, suddenly improvised for defense from the militia of the
country, and but poorly armed and equipped?" "Providence!" was the
reply; nothing less than Providence could have baffled and beaten such
a powerful foe, bent on conquest and spoliation for a wicked purpose,
with a wicked spirit, and in a wicked cause. England's boastful pride
and intolerant and cruel insolence toward her American kindred was
humbled at last. The God of battle had once again in time punished a
strong nation for its stubborn crimes, and given victory to the
oppressed. Providence was with Jackson and his militia!
DEATH OF LORD PAKENHAM.
Pakenham died the death of the brave soldier, the heroic Briton, and the
beloved commander. His wounds were mortal, and he was at once borne back
to headquarters unconscious and dying. No last words came down to us
through the grief-stricken aids who ministered to him in his last hour.
The British accounts of his wounding and death-scenes are conflicting
and unsatisfactory. Judge Walker, in his work, "Jackson and New
Orleans," after much research, says that Pakenham was wounded first
while attempting to rally the Forty-fourth Regiment, whose chief
officer, Colonel Mullins, had failed to lead it to a second attack,
after the first repulse by the Tennessee and Kentucky infantry. A
musket-ball broke his right arm, and another killed his horse. His aid,
Captain McDougall, assisted him to mount his own horse, a creole pony,
and led him forward by the bridle-rein, the General's wounded arm
hanging helpless at his side. Pakenham continued in front, and to
encourage his men. As the Ninety-third Highlanders came up, he raised
his hat in his left hand, waved it in the air with enthusiasm, and
"Hurrah! Hurrah! brave Highlanders!"
A discharge of grape-shot almost annihilated the group. One shot passed
through the General's thigh, and at the same time through the body of
the pony, and both went down, never to rise again. As the aid raised him
once again in his arms, the chief received a third and fatal wound in
the groin. He was borne back then, near to his headquarters, and placed
under a large oak tree, where, beyond the surgeon's skill, he shortly
breathed his last.
BRITISH SOLDIERS WON LAURELS IN EUROPEAN WARS.
From English authorities we learn that there were in the English army,
under Pakenham, regiments that had won laurels at Martinique, Badajoz,
Salamanca, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, and Toulouse. The English chronicler,
Cooke, says of some of these veterans, who touched, on their way to
America from the coasts of France, the shore of Old England for a few
days, that "scraps from our colors, or other little souvenirs, were
craved for with outstretched hands, to find a resting place in the fair
bosoms of the ladies of Devonshire."
Others again were but recently transported from the fiery ordeals of
Corunna, Busaco, and Ciudad Rodrigo, says the same author. England never
sent forth from her borders a braver or better-disciplined body of
soldiers, as was proven in every trial of campaign and battle of the
invasion of Louisiana. No other troops in the world could have behaved
with more sturdy gallantry or fought with superior courage. Their defeat
was destiny. Providence and General Jackson did it!
GENERAL ANDREW JACKSON.
Andrew Jackson was born in the Waxhaw settlement on the 15th of March,
1767, so near the border of North and South Carolina as to leave it a
question of contention as to which State may claim the honor of his
nativity. His father, Andrew Jackson, came over from Carrickfergus, on
the north coast of Ireland, in 1765. His mother was Elizabeth
Hutchinson. The father died before the birth of Andrew. His birthplace
was a rude log cabin of the border. His education was limited to the
elementary studies of the country schools of his day. At the age of
fourteen he entered the colonial army, and, young as he was, displayed
the same spirit of patriotic courage and indomitable will that made him
famous. Two elder brothers had entered the army before him, and both
gave their lives a sacrifice to the cause of liberty. The mother died
soon, of grief and the hardships of war. Young Andrew was taken
prisoner, and roughly treated by his captors. He was nearly starved in
prison at Camden. While thus confined, an English officer insolently
ordered him one day to black his boots. Jackson indignantly refused, for
which offense the brutal officer beat him over his head with his sword,
inflicting injuries which caused suffering in after life. This incident
is related to have greatly intensified Jackson's hatred of the English
throughout his life. An orphan, and alone in the world, when the War of
the Revolution was over he was apprenticed to learn the saddler's trade.
At eighteen he began the study of law, in the office of McCoy, in
In 1788, Jackson was appointed public prosecutor for western North
Carolina, now Tennessee. He removed and located at Nashville, and very
soon was engaged in an active and remunerative practice. In 1796, he sat
as a delegate in the convention at Knoxville, to frame a constitution
for Tennessee, admitted into the Union as a State in that year. He was
the first representative in Congress of the new State. But one year
afterward, he was elected a senator of the United States Congress. In
1798, he resigned his seat in the Senate to accept an appointment as
judge of the Supreme Court of his State, which office he held for six
years. He engaged repeatedly in personal rencounters and duels, and in
the latter received wounds that caused him great physical suffering
Since 1801, he had been commander of the Tennessee militia. On the
declaration of war against England, Jackson offered his services, with
twenty-five hundred troops, to the Government for the defense of the
country. He was ordered to Natchez with two thousand men to operate
against any movement of the enemy on New Orleans. No enemy appearing on
the coast, he was ordered by Secretary Armstrong, of the War Department,
to disband his army. This foolish order Jackson disobeyed, and very
properly led his men back to Tennessee before dismissing them. His
famous campaign against the great Creek nation, in 1814, and his
repeated victories over these savage allies of England, breaking their
power and compelling peace; his Gulf Coast campaign and battles around
New Orleans, crushing the British army and driving it from the country;
his successful career as President of the United States, are well known
in the history of our nation, and distinguish him as one of the ablest
and most forceful characters our country has ever produced. He died at
the Hermitage, full of honors and renown, on the 8th of June, 1845,
having lived a patriot citizen, an able military chieftain, and a great
leader in the civic affairs of State and nation.
ISAAC SHELBY, GOVERNOR OF KENTUCKY.
Fortunate was it for Kentucky and for the nation that Isaac Shelby
directed the military affairs of the Commonwealth during the period of
the second war with England. This famous pioneer of the famous pioneers
of Kentucky was born in Maryland, on the 11th of December, 1750, near
Hagerstown. Early in life he was employed as a land surveyor. On the
threatened invasion of Virginia by the federated army of the Northwest
tribes under the celebrated chief, Cornstalk, he was lieutenant of a
company in the command of his father, General Evan Shelby, and gained
distinction for gallant services in the great victory won at Point
Pleasant on the 10th of October, 1774, which forced the Indians to sue
for peace. He visited Kentucky in 1775, with the vanguard of pioneer
explorers, and marked the lands which afterward, in 1780, he returned
and secured by entry and upon which he settled with his family after the
When he removed from Maryland, he settled near the borderline of
Virginia and North Carolina, then not well defined. Believing his
residence on Virginia soil, he was elected to the Virginia Legislature
in 1779. But the survey of the boundary line determined him a citizen
of North Carolina, and as such he was officially known after until his
final removal to Kentucky. In the gloomiest period of the War for
Independence, in the southern colonies, after the defeat at Camden and
the surrender of Charleston, Shelby became famous as a border leader of
what seemed the forlorn hope of the colonists, and for his frequent
victories over the enemy. With Colonels Sevier and Clarke, he led his
command to the attack and capture of a strong fort in the Cherokee
country, which had, garrisoned by British, Tories, and Indians, greatly
harassed the settlers in west North Carolina. Soon after, in August,
1780, he inflicted a loss of several hundred by an attack on the British
at Musgrove's Mill, South Carolina, and escaped with little loss of his
own men. But his greatest victory, and one of the most decisive of the
war, was won at King's Mountain. Joining forces with Colonels Sevier and
Campbell, a bold attack was planned and made on the notorious General
Ferguson, encamped on King's Mountain. Without artillery, these
frontiersmen, with their flint-lock rifles, boldly attacked Ferguson's
veterans, advancing on the enemy up the mountain side, and keeping up
the fight until Ferguson and nearly four hundred of his men were slain,
and over seven hundred made prisoners.
[Illustration: ISAAC SHELBY.
First and Sixth Governor of Kentucky.]
After the close of the war, in the winter of 1782-3, General Shelby
removed to Kentucky and settled in Lincoln County, where he remained
through life at his elegant home and upon his ample estate, the model
citizen and patriot. His civic and military fame preceded him, for many
of his soldiers of the Revolution were his emigrant neighbors. When
Kentucky took the initial steps toward Statehood in the Union, Shelby
was a member of the convention of 1787-8, and also of the convention to
frame the first constitution, of 1792. By unanimous consent, he became
the first Governor of the Commonwealth, in 1792, and was inaugurated as
Governor at Lexington on the first of June. On the sixth of June, in
courtly style, the Governor appeared in person in presence of the
legislators, in joint assembly, and read to the august body his first
message, formally delivering to the Speakers of each House a copy in
manuscript, and then retired in dignified state, when the Speakers each
adjourned the members to their respective halls. This was in imitation
of the custom of the British monarchs, followed by the colonial
governors in America, and by Washington himself in his first inaugural
So much had Governor Shelby established himself in the esteem and
confidence of the people, that with unanimity he was elected a second
time to serve as Governor in the critical period of 1812, when a second
war with England became a certainty. His indomitable and patriotic zeal
counted no costs and reckoned at no sacrifice to punish the invaders and
drive them from our soil during the three years of hostilities. In this
time, under his several calls, over twenty thousand volunteers were sent
to the Army of the Northwest under Harrison, from Kentucky. By these
mainly, the shameful surrender of Hull, at Detroit, was retrieved, the
victory of the Thames won, and the British and their Indian allies
driven from the borders, from Detroit to Buffalo, for the remainder of
the war. At the battle of the Thames, won by Kentuckians, Governor
Shelby led the three thousand volunteers whom he had called out for this
campaign, in person, though in his sixty-fourth year of age. On his
return to the capital of his State, when a last requisition was made by
the Secretary of War, in 1814, thousands of volunteers answered his call
for troops to reinforce the army of General Jackson in the Southwest, of
whom three regiments, of twenty-two hundred men, were accepted and sent
to New Orleans. Governor Shelby notified the Government at Washington
that, if ten thousand soldiers were needed to repel the enemy and drive
him from our soil in the Southwest, Kentucky was ready to supply them on
Peace once again reigned when his second term as Governor ended. He
retired to his country home, where he spent the evening of his life,
honored and esteemed by a grateful and devoted constituency of
citizenship as few men were. He died at his home on the 26th of July,
1826, in the ripeness of years and of honors.
GENERAL JOHN ADAIR.
John Adair was born in Chester County, S.C., in 1759, and was the son of
Baron William Adair, of Scotland, whose wife was a Moore. After
remaining some years in South Carolina, Baron Adair returned to
Scotland. The son became a soldier in the Revolutionary War when quite a
youth, and served with gallantry in the colonial army. He was made
prisoner, and was treated with repeated cruelties by the enemy. He was a
member of the convention which ratified the Constitution of the United
States. He removed to Kentucky in 1787, and settled in Mercer County. He
took an active and prominent part in the Indian border wars, having been
appointed major by General Wilkinson. He was in many frays with the
savages, in one of which, after several repulses of a body of Indians
largely outnumbering his own forces, he was defeated by Chief Little
Turtle, though he brought off his men after inflicting more serious
losses on the enemy than his own. This was near Fort St. Clair, in Ohio.
In 1793, General Scott appointed him a lieutenant-colonel. He
represented Mercer County in the Legislature several times, and was once
Speaker of the House.
Adair's name became involved with Aaron Burr's in the military movements
in Kentucky and the Southwest which have become known in history as
"Burr's Conspiracy," as did the names of Andrew Jackson and other
prominent men of this country, of unquestioned loyalty to our nation.
Burr's designs, with all the lights thrown upon the question, have
remained a mystery to this day. If he contemplated ultimate treason, he
did not fully disclose it to many who were disposed to sympathize with
and to lend aid to what they were persuaded was a legitimate expedition
to wrest from Spanish rule territory in dispute, or which "manifest
destiny" determined should come under the rule of the United States as
against the aggressions of Spain or England. Burr undoubtedly misled
many good and patriotic men, who abandoned his fortunes when the
intimations of treasonable designs were charged against him, which
brought him to trial.
In 1805, when John Breckinridge resigned his seat in the United States
Senate to become attorney-general under Jefferson, Adair was elected to
fill the unexpired term. He entered the military service again, and at
the battle of Thames River acted as volunteer aid to Governor Shelby.
For gallant conduct on this occasion he was made a brigadier-general in
1814. He took a leading part in recruiting the volunteer troops for the
reinforcement of Jackson's army at New Orleans, and in their
transportation down the river. General Thomas, in chief command of
these, being prostrated with illness, the command fell upon General
Adair. He displayed courage and military skill in the disposition of his
troops, and especially in the final contest on the eighth of January,
under difficulties that were seriously embarrassing.
In 1820, he was elected governor of Kentucky, and held this office when
the great questions of relief, and Old Court and New Court, began to
disturb the peace and tranquility of the Commonwealth. In 1831, he was
elected a member of Congress, and in the national house served on the
Committee on Military Affairs. He died on the 19th of May, 1840, and was
buried in the State cemetery at Frankfort, where a monument, erected at
the cost of the State, with proper inscription, stands over his grave. A
fine oil portrait of him hangs on the wall of the capitol, at
COLONEL GABRIEL SLAUGHTER.
Who commanded a regiment of Kentucky troops in the battle of New
Orleans, was a native of Virginia, but immigrated to Kentucky in pioneer
days and settled in Mercer County, about four miles east of Harrodsburg,
on the turnpike road leading to Lexington. Though a man of ability, and
much esteemed, he seems to have lived in the retirement of private life
until the maturity of middle age. He early became a member of the
Baptist church, in which he led a consistent and zealous life, taking a
prominent part as a layman in the promotion of the interests of religion
and of the denomination with whom he fraternized. His character and
worth made him prominent among the brotherhood. He often represented his
church as its messenger, and was usually called to preside as moderator
over the associations within the jurisdictions of which he lived. His
hospitality was of that warm and generous kind which was characteristic
of pioneer days. His ample and comfortable country mansion, situated
upon a much-frequented highway, came to be known far and wide as the
Under the call of Governor Shelby, in 1814, he enlisted a regiment of
volunteers for the army of the Southwest from Mercer County and the
counties adjacent, which was one of three regiments accepted for this
service. The gallant and distinguished part taken at New Orleans, in the
great battle of the eighth of January, by Colonel Slaughter and his
regiment, has been set forth in the pages of this book. No troops
engaged on the American side on that day did more fatal execution upon
the enemy's rank and file than did these. Every man of the regiment was
in rifle-range, and all did deadly work.
Though courteous and gentle in manner, Colonel Slaughter was possessed
of invincible firmness and independence when occasion required or a
sense of duty urged. An incident illustrates. General Jackson, who held
him in high esteem, appointed him to preside over a court-martial. The
decision did not meet with the favor of the chief, and he ordered a
reconsideration and reversal of proceedings. Colonel Slaughter declined
to comply, saying: "I know my duty, and have performed it." Jackson's
esteem was not lessened by the manliness of the answer.
His gallantry at New Orleans brought the name of Colonel Slaughter
prominently to political notice, and the next year, 1816, he was
nominated and elected lieutenant-governor, on the ticket with George
Madison for governor. Madison was not destined to wear the civic honors
which an ardent constituency had woven to crown him. He died in
October, a few months after the election. Slaughter succeeded him, and
was duly installed as governor. An active opposition party made an open
issue of the question as to whether the lieutenant-governor was eligible
to become governor by succession, under the Constitution, or that a
successor should be chosen at an election to be called by act of the
Legislature. There had been no precedent to this date. The question was
fiercely agitated, in and out of the legislative halls, during two years
of the executive term, before a subsidence of partisan feeling ended the
contest. Governor Slaughter held firmly to his convictions of
constitutional right, came safely through the angry waves of opposition,
and served out his term of four years with credit to himself and the
Commonwealth. The question was settled by this precedent, no more to be
raised, that, under the constitutional provisions then in force, the
lieutenant-governor should succeed to the office of governor upon the
"death, resignation, or refusal to qualify" of the governor-elect.
[Illustration: GABRIEL SLAUGHTER,
Eleventh Governor of Kentucky.]
On the expiration of his term Governor Slaughter retired to his country
home, and resumed his occupation as a farmer, leading a quiet and useful
citizen life until the end. He died at his home in 1830, aged
KENTUCKY'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE WAR OF 1812-15.
It is worthy of mention to the credit of Kentucky that, with a
population of four hundred thousand, she furnished for the nation's
defense, during the three years of war with England and the savages who
allied with her, forty regiments of volunteer militia, besides a number
of battalions and companies, over twenty-four thousand men in all, from
1812 to 1815. Excepting a small force of volunteers from the then
Territory of Ohio, and a few regulars, her troops made up the entire
body of the army of General Harrison in the Northwest campaign, ending
with the decisive and crushing victory at the battle of Thames River,
over the combined army of British under General Proctor, and Indians
under Tecumseh. That battle was fought and won by the impetuous charges
of the Kentuckians, under Colonel Richard M. Johnson, against the
Indians, and his brother, Colonel James Johnson, against the British,
before the forces in the rear, mainly Kentuckians also, could be brought
into action. Before Commodore Perry met the English fleet on Lake Erie,
he called for one hundred riflemen from Harrison's army to perch upon
the masts and rigging of his ships, as sharpshooters, to pick off the
seamen and gunners from the enemy's decks. One hundred Kentuckians
volunteered in this perilous service, and others vied with them the
honors of the place, though all were landsmen and strangers to the sea.
The British commodore made a similar call on Proctor's men and
Tecumseh's Indians, but none cared to confront the dangers of such a
service. The fleets coming to close quarters, the deadly fire of the
riflemen in the rigging helped to strew the decks of the enemy's ships
with dead and wounded, and to silence the guns by shooting down the
LIST OF KENTUCKIANS IN THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS
ROLL OF FIELD AND STAFF, MITCHUSSON'S REGIMENT OF KENTUCKY DETACHED
MILITIA, WAR OF 1812, COMMANDED BY LIEUTENANT-COLONEL WILLIAM
WILLIAM MITCHUSSON, Lieut.-colonel.
SAMUEL PARKER, Lieutenant-colonel.
REUBEN HARRISON, Major.
THOMPSON CRENSHAW, Major.
JOSIAH RAMSEY, Adjutant.
CHRISTOPHER G. HONTS, Quartermaster.
WILLIAM PRINCE, Paymaster.
JOHN C. PENTECOST, Surgeon.
STEPHEN C. DORRIS, Surgeon's Mate.
ISAAC CALDWELL, Sergeant-major.
MOSES THOMPSON, Quartermaster-sergt.
JOHNSON LOUGHLIN, Fife Major.
CAPTAIN THOMAS GRIFFIN'S COMPANY
THOMAS GRIFFIN, Captain.
BOSWELL PULLIAM, Lieutenant.
ALLEN HAYS, Ensign.
DAVENPORT VENABLE, Sergeant.
TERENCE KIRBY, Sergeant.
SIMEON ACTON, Sergeant.
SAMUEL SPILMAN, Sergeant.
WILLIAM BAIRD, Corporal.
JOHN O'NEAL, Corporal.
JONATHAN EWBANK, Corporal.
ALEXANDER CHAMBERS, Corporal.
JAMES C. PULLIAM, Drummer.
JOSEPH RIGHT, Fifer.
CAPTAIN ROBERT SMITH'S COMPANY
ROBERT SMITH, Captain.
MORTON A. RUCKER, Lieutenant.
ASA TURNER, Ensign.
THOMAS KILGORE, Sergeant.
PETER CASH, Sergeant.
DANIEL POWELL, Sergeant.
JOHN PETERS, Sergeant.
WILLIAM SANDEFEW, Sergeant.
CHRISTOPHER HARDESTY, Corporal.
CHARLES W. BROWN, Corporal.
JAMES MILLER, Corporal.
JAMES BRUNTS, Corporal.
SAMUEL SKINNER, Drummer.
Crabtree, John F.,
Gillum, William H.,
Read, James R.,
Scott, James W.,
CAPTAIN THOMAS STERRETT'S COMPANY
THOMAS STERRETT, Captain.
JOHN AUSTIN, Lieutenant.
HENRY MINES, Ensign.
JOHN BREWER, Sergeant.
NATHAN YOUNG, Sergeant.
JAMES B. REVILL, Sergeant.
NICHOLAS KING, Sergeant.
DAVID C. FEELDING, Sergeant.
THOMAS BRIDGES, Corporal.
NATHAN JOHNSON, Corporal.
STEPHEN WADE, Corporal.
JOHN COSTILOW, Drummer.
BENJAMIN TEMPLER, Fifer.
Cunningham, Brackett C.,
Hay, James S.,
Kimble, William S.,
Lawrence, James H.,
McClammon, James W.,
McClammon, John S.,
Roundtree, Kelly B.,
Wood, Mark D.,
CAPTAIN SAMUEL F. MALONE'S COMPANY
SAMUEL F. MALONE, Captain.
ELIAS BUTTON, Lieutenant.
DENNIS COCHRAN, Ensign.
MATTHEW SIMON, Sergeant.
CORNELIUS MANLEY, Sergeant.
JAMES MCALISTER, Sergeant.
ROBERT T. ANDERSON, Sergeant.
ABNER WELLS, Corporal.
HEZEKIAH LARD, Corporal.
JAMES GASH, Corporal.
JAMES BLACK, Corporal.
JESSE PULLIAM, Drummer.
JAMES ROBERTSON, Fifer.
Harris, John L.,
McKinney, Charles W.,
CAPTAIN JOHN C. DODD'S COMPANY
JOHN C. DODD, Captain.
WILLIAM HARRALL, Lieutenant.
BERT MOORE, Ensign.
ROGER FILLEY, Sergeant.
JORDAN MCVAY, Sergeant.
HIRAM PRUNELL, Sergeant.
WILLIAM PERKINS, Sergeant.
WILLIAM STORY, Sergeant.
BENJAMIN D. CERBY, Corporal.
MAHALA INGRAM, Corporal.
JOHN SULLIVAN, Corporal.
ROBERT RICHEY, Corporal.
FLEMING CASTLEBERG, Drummer.
WILLIAM LAUGHLIN, Fifer.
Davidson, Alexander B.,
Jenkins, Arthur B.,
Jenkins, Whitenell W.,
McNabb, John W.,
Philips, Samuel S.,
Washington, Thomas C.
CAPTAIN EDWARD WILBURN'S COMPANY
EDWARD WILBURN, Captain.
JOHN M. CABINESS, Lieutenant.
JAMES BARRING, Ensign.
CHARLES LEWIS, Sergeant.
CHARLES LONG, Sergeant.
HOPKINS BOND, Sergeant.
JAMES WHITE, Sergeant.
JAMES YOUNG, Corporal.
JOHN WILLIAMS, Corporal.
WILLIAM BRISTOE, Corporal.
JOSEPH HOOPER, Corporal.
ANDREW TURPIN, Drummer.
Bedford, John C.,
CAPTAIN ROBERT PAXTON'S COMPANY
ROBERT PAXTON, Captain.
DANIEL ZIBB, Lieutenant.
WILLIAM RHEA, Ensign.
WILLIAM P. MONTGOMERY, Sergeant.
CAMPBELL GILMORE, Sergeant.
ISHAM READY, Sergeant.
ALEXANDER BROWNLEE, Sergeant.
JAMES ARMES, Sergeant.
ARCHIBALD RHEA, Corporal.
ASHBY JONES, Corporal.
WILLIAM HOGAN, Corporal.
ANTHONY DAVIS, Corporal.
ALLEN MILLER, Rt. W.M.
Hays, James I.,
Hays, Andrew E.,
Montgomery, Robert M.,
McMillan, Joseph M.,
Ormes, Elly, jr.,
White, John D.,
White, John C.,
CAPTAIN JAMES ROBISON'S COMPANY
JAMES ROBISON, Captain.
LUKE NICHOLAS, Lieutenant.
GEORGE NEGLEY, Ensign.
THOMAS ARMSTRONG, Sergeant.
LILY SULLIVAN, Sergeant.
SAMUEL ELISON, Sergeant.
JAMES ALEXANDER, Sergeant.
KARR HICKS, Sergeant.
DUNCAN CAMPBELL, Corporal.
EDWARD ROBISON, Corporal.
AARON STALLINGS, Corporal.
ROBERT WILLIAMS, Corporal.
GEORGE LACEY, Fifer.
Barnes, Thomas B.,
Byle, John H.,
Coleman, Robert M.,
Savage, William M.,
CAPTAIN ALMY McLEAN'S COMPANY
ALMY MCLEAN, Captain.
EPHRAIM M. BRANK, Lieutenant.
WILLIAM ALEXANDER, Lieutenant.
ISAAC DAVIS, Ensign.
JOHN STULL, Sergeant.
HENRY NUSELL, Sergeant.
ENOCH METCALF, Sergeant.
JORDAN O'BRIEN, Sergeant.
JAMES LANGLEY, Corporal.
MOSES MATTHEWS, Corporal.
EDWARD H. TARRANTS, Corporal.
GEORGE HILL, Corporal.
ABNER B.C. DILLINGHAM, Fifer.
Anderson, John, jr.,
Ferguson, John K.,
Kennedy, George F.,
Sunn, John F.,
CAPTAIN ROBERT PATTERSON'S COMPANY
ROBERT PATTERSON, Captain.
JOHN HENRY, Lieutenant.
JAMES PORTER, Ensign.
ALLEN CARTER, Sergeant.
GEORGE T. ASHBURN, Sergeant.
GRAVES GUNN, Sergeant.
FRANCIS PORTER, Sergeant.
GEORGE HICKMAN, Corporal.
ALLEN KUYKENDALL, Corporal.
WILLIAM BAILEY, Corporal.
ROBERT HENRY, Corporal.
Barrett, Enoch D.,
Farmer, Gray B.,
Henderson, Carnes D.,
McFarland, William D.,
ROLL OF FIELD AND STAFF, SLAUGHTER'S REGIMENT, KENTUCKY DETACHED
MILITIA, WAR OF 1812, COMMANDED BY LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GABRIEL
GABRIEL SLAUGHTER, Lieutenant-colonel.
LANTY ARMSTRONG, First Major.
WILLIAM WAKEFIELD, Second Major.
SAMUEL MACOUN, Lieutenant.
WILLIAM RODES, Lieutenant.
ROGER THOMPSON, Lieutenant.
HORATIO GAITHER, Surgeon.
ROBERT H.C. PEARSON, S. Mate.
GEORGE C. BERRY, S. Mate.
THOMAS CURRY, Sergeant-major.
STROTHER H. GAINES, Quartermaster-sergeant.
JOHN THOMPSON, Assistant Quarterm'r.
THOMAS WITHER, Fife Major.
ABNER DECKER, Drum Major.
CAPTAIN GEORGE McAFEE'S COMPANY
GEORGE MCAFEE, Captain.
WILLIAM BOHAN, Lieutenant.
JOHN M. JORDAN, Ensign.
JOHN LEWIS, Orderly Sergeant.
JULIUS RUCKER, Sergeant.
JAMES PIERSON, Sergeant.
SAMUEL R. TROUER, Sergeant.
JOHN COCHRAN, Sergeant.
ANDERSON POWERS, Corporal.
DANIEL BOHAN, Corporal.
DANIEL HAY, Corporal.
THOMAS ROBARDS, Corporal.
Bradshaw, James L.,
Knox, George C.,
Sally, Rany S.,
Thompson, George P.,
Thomas, Edmund G.,
Wilson, John H.,
Wells, John, sr.,
Wells, John, jr.,
CAPTAIN JOHN EVANS' COMPANY
JOHN EVANS, Captain.
JOHN CUPPINHEIFER, Lieutenant.
ROBERT GILMORE, Ensign.
AARON BARROW, Sergeant.
THOMAS GALLIWAY, Sergeant.
JOSEPH HEDRICK, Sergeant.
GEORGE DUNCAN, Sergeant.
JOHN EVANS, Corporal.
JOHN BURKE, Corporal.
WILLIAM MCCULLOUGH, Corporal.
THOMAS NICHOLS, Corporal.
Hedrick, Jacob, jr.,
Hedrick, Jacob, sr.,
James, Daniel F.,
CAPTAIN LEONARD P. HIGDON'S COMPANY
LEONARD P. HIGDON, Captain.
DAVID HUSTON, Lieutenant.
JOHN YOUNG, Ensign.
SAMUEL HANDLEY, Orderly Sergeant.
WILLIAM BAILEY, First Sergeant.
BARTON HAWLEY, Second Sergeant.
FRANCIS HAGAN, Third Sergeant.
JAMES W. TYLER, Fourth Sergeant.
ISAAC ANDERSON, Corporal.
JAMES MCDANIEL, Corporal.
HENRY HOLTZCLAW, Corporal.
NATHANIEL HARRIS, Corporal.
DeMorgan, Reuben N.,
CAPTAIN JONATHAN OWSLEY'S COMPANY
JONATHAN OWSLEY, Captain.
LOFTIS COOK, Lieutenant.
STEPHEN LYONS, Ensign.
SAMUEL P. MAGILL, Sergeant.
HENRY SHARP, Sergeant.
JOHN LOGAN, Sergeant.
JOHN GILBREATH, Sergeant.
JOHN WOOD, Sergeant.
WILLIAM FORSYTHE, Corporal.
ROBERT BRYANT, Corporal.
JOHN HUFF, Corporal.
THOMAS SCOTT, Corporal.
Berry, Labon S.,
Harvey, James W.,
Ross, Thomas J.,
CAPTAIN JOHN FARMER'S COMPANY
JOHN FARMER, Captain.
WILLOUGHBY ASHBY, Lieutenant.
JOHN FIGG, Ensign.
JESSE KEETH, First Sergeant.
DAVID WELLER, First Sergeant.
ISAAC CHAMBERS, First Sergeant.
ISAAC HOUSTON, Second Sergeant.
OWEN R. GRIFFITH, Third Sergeant.
CORCELIUS WOODS, Fourth Sergeant.
SAMUEL HEFFLER, First Corporal.
BARNARD BRIDWELL, Second Corporal.
GEORGE WELLER, Third Corporal.
Glass, James H.,
CAPTAIN ADAM VICKERY'S COMPANY
ADAM VICKERY, Captain.
JOHN GARNER, Lieutenant.
JOHN BARROW, Ensign.
HIRAM GREGORY, Sergeant.
THOMAS BROWN, Sergeant.
MOSES BARNES, Sergeant.
ALEXANDER BROWN, Sergeant.
HARMAN ELROD, Sergeant.
WILLIAM HURT, Corporal.
GEORGE DODSON, Corporal.
THOMAS RYON, Corporal.
LAPSLY HALL, Corporal.
Craig, John H.,
Sallee, William I.,
CAPTAIN WILLIAM WOOD'S COMPANY
WILLIAM WOOD, Captain.
PETER OATMAN, Lieutenant.
THOMAS BROWN, Ensign.
HENRY ROBINSON, Sergeant.
ABSALOM RICE, Sergeant.
GEORGE HERRING, Sergeant.
ISAAC THERMAN, Sergeant.
THOMAS JONES, Sergeant.
JOHN MCKINSEY, Corporal.
JOHN ALLEN, Corporal.
SIMON MOBELY, Corporal.
JOHN BOURNE, Corporal.
Boadly, Peter D.,
Naylor, George T.,
CAPTAIN WILLIAM WADE'S COMPANY
WILLIAM WADE, Captain.
JOHN RIFFE, Lieutenant.
MATHEW COFFEE, Ensign.
DAVID JOHNSON, Sergeant.
JOSHUA MOORE, Sergeant.
JOHN D. THURMOND, Sergeant.
JOHN SPEARS, Sergeant.
JOHN SHANNON, Sergeant.
WILLIAM JONES, Corporal.
JOHN ESTIS, Corporal.
STARLING COULTER, Corporal.
JACOB CUNNINGHAM, Corporal.
(Obinion or) Albanion, Geo.
Lee, Joseph P.,
Pankey, John B.,
Reed, Little B.,
Wright, Bennett C.,
CAPTAIN EDWARD BERRY'S COMPANY
EDWARD BERRY, Captain.
DAVID RODMAN, Lieutenant.
THOMAS MCINTIRE, Ensign.
STEPHEN THOMPSON, Sergeant.
GEORGE ELLIOTT, Sergeant.
STARLING THOMPSON, Sergeant.
CHARLES FOWLER, Sergeant.
JOHN AUSTIN, Sergeant.
ANDREW POWEL, Sergeant.
JOEL NELSON, Sergeant.
PHILIP RICHARDSON, Sergeant.
JOHN MCCLURE, Sergeant.
Bennett, George W.,
Watham, James H.,
White, Thomas L.,
CAPTAIN WILLIAM PHILIPS' COMPANY
WILLIAM PHILIPS, Captain.
GODHART SMACK, Lieutenant.
JOHN LUDWICK, Ensign.
ASA R. HILL, Sergeant.
JOSEPH ABEL, Sergeant.
WILLIAM MCENERY, Sergeant.
CHARLES COLTER, Sergeant.
HENRY COWAN, Sergeant.
ROBERT ROCHESTER, Corporal.
JOHN GRAYHAM, Corporal.
JOHN MOBLEY, Corporal.
ROBERT BRUMFIELD, Corporal.
THOMAS HILL, Musician.
WILLIAM VANOY, Musician.
Botains, William, sr.,
Botains, William, jr.,
Gains, Strother H.,
Lyons, Charles W.,
Lockman, John B.,
ROLL OF FIELD AND STAFF, DAVIS'S REGIMENT, KENTUCKY DETACHED
MILITIA, WAR OF 1812, COMMANDED BY LIEUTENANT-COLONEL PRESLEY GRAY
PRESLEY GRAY, Lieutenant-colonel.
JOHN DAVIS, Major.
JAMES JOHNSON, Major.
WILLIAM WALKER, Major.
ZEBA HOLT, Major.
S.C. STEPHENS, Adjutant.
GEORGE P. MILLER, Paymaster.
ZACHARIAH TERRYHEL, Quartermaster.
ALLEN A. HAMILTON, Surgeon.
HENRY WINSLOW, Surgeon's Mate.
WILLIAM W. FORD, Sergeant-major.
SAMUEL STEWART, S. Mate.
WILLIAM VANCLEVE, Drum Major.
JOHN CURRY, Fife Major.
SAMUEL GRAY, Quartermaster-sergeant.
SAMUEL BLACKWELL, Quartermaster-sergeant.
CAPTAIN ROBERT THRUSTON'S COMPANY
ROBERT THRUSTON, Captain.
HENRY GRESHAM, Lieutenant.
JOHN D. GOTT, Ensign.
SAMUEL S. GREEN, Sergeant.
DANIEL RAGSDALE, Sergeant.
JOHN S. SIMPSON, Sergeant.
AARON COLLETT, Sergeant.
GEORGE RUNGER, Corporal.
ADAM GILLILAND, Corporal.
ISAAC HILL, Corporal.
DAVID RICHEY, Corporal.
JOHN CURRY, Fifer.
THOMAS CURRY, Drummer.
Barnett, Philip E.,
Cottonham, John D.,
Weems, James S.,
Washburn, Samuel S.
CAPTAIN THOMAS JOYES' COMPANY
THOMAS JOYES, Captain.
ANDREW PORTTORFF, Lieutenant.
SAMUEL EARICKSON, Ensign.
JOHN HADLEY, Sergeant.
WILLIAM SALE, Sergeant.
JOHN BOOKER, Sergeant.
JOHN W. BAINBRIDGE, Sergeant.
JOHN RAY, Corporal.
JOHN O. HANLON, Corporal.
WILLIAM DUERSON, Corporal.
ABNER C. YOUNG, Corporal.
Ames, Robert B.,
Carlton, Francis D.,
Hilliard, Anson G.,
Meddis, John, (Waiter)
Pearson, George R.,
CAPTAIN WILLIAM WALKER'S COMPANY
WILLIAM WALKER, Captain.
JOHN SMITH, Lieutenant.
JOHN WEBB, Ensign.
JOHN HARVEY, Sergeant.
JOHN H. GIBBS, Sergeant.
JOEL HARDIN, Sergeant.
ELIJAH YORK, Sergeant.
Caffrey, Thomas M.,
Dowddle, Thomas J.,
Sally, Oliver P.,
CAPTAIN JOSEPH FUNK'S COMPANY
JOSEPH FUNK, Captain.
THOMAS TODD, Lieutenant.
MARTIN ADAMS, Ensign.
WILLIAM WALLACE, Sergeant.
ISAAC CARR, Sergeant.
JAMES AUSTIN, Sergeant.
JOSEPH WILLHORT, Sergeant.
FREDERICK MASON, Corporal.
JAMES PREWITT, Corporal.
JOHN YOUNG, Corporal.
THOMAS BATEMAN, Corporal.
WILLIAM TETER, Corporal.
Campbell, George B.,
Crow, Andrew D.,
Hendricks, James F.,
Spalding, George W.,
CAPTAIN ZIBA HOLT'S COMPANY
ZIBA HOLT, Captain.
JOHN MONTGOMERY, Lieutenant.
ADAM MOWNY, Ensign.
WYAT COLEMAN, Sergeant.
WILLIAM STEWART, Sergeant.
HENRY BLUNT, Sergeant.
JOHN HOLODY, Sergeant.
THOMAS SUBLETT, Corporal.
JOSEPH PEW, Corporal.
NATHAN CHALFRANT, Corporal.
MARK WILLIAMS, Corporal.
JEREMIAH STOWERS, Fifer.
Colvin, James M.,
CAPTAIN WILLIAM GANAWAY'S COMPANY
WILLIAM GANAWAY, Captain.
JULIUS C. JACKSON, Lieutenant.
JOHN FIELD, Ensign.
JOHN CLEVER, Sergeant.
PETER BODINE, Sergeant.
SAMUEL C. MYERS, Sergeant.
HENRY LEACH, Sergeant.
SAMUEL KELLY, Corporal.
JOHN TRAVIS, Corporal.
JOHN COHEN, Corporal.
BENJAMIN THOMAS, Corporal.
Duff, William M.,
Kelly, George W.,
Wakeland, William R.,
CAPTAIN JACOB PEACOCK'S COMPANY
JACOB PEACOCK, Captain.
BENJAMIN HENSON, Lieutenant.
JOHN KELLY, Ensign.
JOSEPH SWEARING, Sergeant.
JESSE BURCH, Sergeant.
BENJAMIN COLLINS, Sergeant.
JOHN SHIRKILIFFE, Sergeant.
WILLIAM TODD, Corporal.
LEVI RIDGWAY, Corporal.
JOSEPH RUDD, Corporal.
WALTER SMITH, Corporal.
CHARLES WILSON, Corporal.
Greenwell, John B.,
Tonque, John B.,
Waters, Hezekiah B.,
CAPTAIN ZACHARIAH TERRELL'S COMPANY
ZACHARIAH TERRELL, Captain.
DAVID ADAMS, Lieutenant.
JAMES PERRY, Ensign.
JAMES VANCE, First Sergeant.
JOSHUA RUTLEDGE, Second Sergeant.
JOHN BUCHANNON, Third Sergeant.
ISAAC HURD, Fourth Sergeant.
JACOB COOPERIDER, Corporal.
PETER POLLY, Corporal.
GILBERT FLANKINS, Corporal.
THOMAS FRAZIER, Corporal.
ELIJAH SUMMERS, Corporal.
JESSE ISAACS, Musician.
Hollis, John P.,
Hogan, Isaac C.,
CAPTAIN AARON HART'S COMPANY
AARON HART, Captain.
MOSES HART, Lieutenant.
NATHAN TUCKER, Ensign.
ARTHUR MCGAUGHEY, First Sergeant.
GEORGE SISS, Second Sergeant.
JOHN COLLINS, Third Sergeant.
JOHN BURRISS, Fourth Sergeant,
WILLIAM HUDDLESTON, Corporal.
WILLIAM WATKINS, Corporal.
DANIEL GREENWAIT, Corporal.
JAMES LINVILLE, Corporal.
DAVID WADDLE, Corporal.
Alexander, David B.,
Adair, General John, borrows guns for Kentucky troops, 73, 77, 98
Adair, General John, commands Kentucky troops, 71
Adair, General John, Legislature votes thanks, 141
Adair, General John, rupture with Jackson, 111, 118
Adair, General John, sketch of his life, 168
American forces in night battle, 23, 51
American losses in Louisiana campaign, 123
Appendix, roster of Kentucky Militia, three regiments, 177, 202
Armstrong, Major, regiment Kentucky Militia, 187
Army, British, with great armada, 2
Army, Jackson's, strange medley, 31
Arnaud, Major, retreat on 8th, 100, 110
Baker, Colonel, battle of 8th, 73
Barataria, resort of Lafitte pirates, 19
Baratarians loyal to Americans, 21
Baratarians offer services to Jackson, 30
Battle at night, December 23d, 41
Battle, by assault, at Pensacola, 16
Battle in Mobile Bay, 15
Battle, January 8th, east bank, 76
Battle, January 8th, west bank, 99
Battle of December 28th, artillery duel, 53
Battle of Fort St. Philip, fleet repulsed, 125
Battle of gunboats with barge fleet, 27
Battle of January 1st, British in force repulsed, 56
Battle, second, in Mobile Bay, 132
Beale, Captain, in battle of 8th, 81
Beale, Captain, New Orleans Rifles, 31, 72
Beer, William, Librarian, v
Bienvenue, Bayou, British invade at, 35
British army, covert retreat, 121, 126
British camp on Villere plantation, 38
British capture Fort Bowyer, Mobile Bay, 132
British designs to capture New Orleans and hold Louisiana, 146
British forces engaged in battle, January 8th, 76, 85
British forces engaged on west bank, January 8th, 93
British invade by Bayou Bienvenue, 38
British losses in battle of the 8th, 84
British losses in Louisiana campaign, 122
British mistakes, 50, 90, 101
British soldiers' laurels in European wars, 158
Butler, Adjutant-general, losses in battle of 8th, 84
Carroll, General, commands Tennessee troops, 71, 77
Carroll, General, Legislature votes thanks, 141
Carroll, General, president Court of Inquiry, 109
Chalmette plantation battle line, 53
Claiborne, Governor, and Committee of Safety, 22, 40
Claiborne, Governor, closes halls of Legislature, 139
Cobbett, William, on battle of New Orleans, 156
Cochrane, Admiral, British, 1, 41, 90
Coffee, General, Legislature votes thanks, 141
Coffee, General, Tennessee Riflemen, 43, 71, 80
Colored troops, Major Daquin's battalion, 31
Colored troops, Major Lacoste's battalion, 31
Cotton bales not used for breastworks, 59
Court-martial called, 109
Creek Indians, defeated, sue for peace, 12
Daquin, Major, battle of 8th, 72
Davis, Colonel, of Kentucky militia, 100, 110
Davis, Colonel, regiment Kentucky militia, 196
Declouet, Colonel, Louisiana troops, 46, 110, 137
Disloyal utterances give alarm, 33, 136
Disorder and chaos at New Orleans, 25
Dragoons, Mississippi, Major Hinds', 40
Duncan, Captain, reports disloyalty, 137
Durrett, R.T., Library, iii
England employs entire army and navy against America on fall of
English views of campaign, 47, 60
Entrenched line, Jackson's, on January 8th, 69
Fishermen spies favor British, 37
Fleet, English, anchors off Ship Island, 24
Fleet, English Armada, sixty sail, 1
Fortified posts around New Orleans, 30
Fort Mims massacre, 11
Gaither, Doctor Horatio, surgeon Kentucky regiment, 187
Ghent, negotiations for peace put off, 7
Gibbs, General, killed in battle of 8th, 84
Gleig, Captain, English historian, 47, 60
Gleig, Captain, on battle of the 8th, 85
Gleig, Captain, on conquest of Louisiana, 148
Gleig, Captain, on the retreat of the British, 126
Gray, Colonel Presley, regiment Kentucky militia, 194
Guichard, Honorable Magloire, 46, 137
Hall, Judge, fines Jackson, 145
Hall, Judge, suppressed by Jackson, 144
Hamilton, Doctor Allen A., surgeon Kentucky regiment, 196
Harrison, Major Reuben, regiment Kentucky militia, 179
Henly, Captain, post opposite New Orleans, 55
Hill, Major, British, on cause of defeat, 88
Hinds, Major, Legislature votes thanks, 141
Hinds, Major, of Mississippi troops, 40, 75
Invasion of Louisiana, British designs, 4
Jackson appointed to command Federal army, 9
Jackson assaults and captures Pensacola, 17
Jackson attacks British at night on landing, 40
Jackson, battle on west bank, 98-121
Jackson closes Federal court, exiles judge, 144
Jackson declares martial law, 32
Jackson defeats British at Mobile Bay, 15
Jackson fortifies at Rodrique Canal, 54
Jackson, General Andrew, destroys Creek Nation, 11
Jackson marches to Mobile, then to New Orleans, 22
Jackson on British conquest of Louisiana, 157
Jackson orders suppression of Legislature, 135
Jackson, sketch of his life, 160
Jackson's alignment on January 8th, 70-76
Jackson's report to Secretary of War, 123
Johnson, Major James, regiment Kentucky militia, 196
Jones, Lieutenant, in gunboat battle, 28
Keene, General, British, 41, 80, 83
Kentucky troops, battle on west bank, 100, 110
Kentucky troops in battle of January 8th, 74
Kentucky troops, Louisiana women and men, noble conduct to, 67
Kentucky troops; neglect of government; bad condition, 64-68
Kentucky troops, reports libelous and sensational, 104
Kentucky troops, volunteer militia in War 1812-15, 174
King, Major, British, killed, 83
Labitat, General, closes legislative halls, 139
Lacoste, Major, battle of 8th, 72
Lafitte, Captain Jean, and his pirates, 18
Lafitte, Captain Jean, British overtures, 20
Lafitte, Captain Jean, reveals all to Jackson, 21
Lambert, General, succeeds Pakenham, 83, 92
La tour, Major, author "Memoirs of War," 25
Latour, Major, comments, 94, 120
Latour, Major Lacarriere, chief engineer, 2
Lauderdale, Colonel, of Mississippi troops, 47
Lawrence, Colonel William, again defends Mobile, 132
Lawrence, Colonel William, defends Mobile, 16
Legislature, complimentary resolutions, 141
Legislature, Louisiana, suppressed by Jackson, 135
Legislature orders Committee of Inquiry, 137
Legislature report exonerates members, 140
Lockyer, Captain of English barge fleet, 29
Loillier, Honorable, sent beyond Jackson's lines, 144
Louisiana troops; Plauche's battalion, Beale's Rifles, Daquin's colored
battalion, Lacoste's colored battalion, Baratarians, General Morgan's
Marequez, Governor of Florida, aids British, 14
Marequez, Jackson's letter to, 154
Marequez surrenders Pensacola to Jackson, 17
Martial law at New Orleans, 32
McRae, Colonel, of Seventh Regulars, 40
Military operations, Northern and Middle States, 7
Mississippi troops 40, 75
Mitchusson, Colonel William, regiment Kentucky militia, 179
Mobile, British squadron repulsed at, 15
Mobile, headquarters of Jackson, 12
Morgan, General, at English Turn, 44, 52, 89
Morgan, General, command on west bank, 97, 103, 110
Mullins, Colonel, British, blamed for disaster, 88
Nichols, Colonel, address to Louisianians and Kentuckians, 15
Nichols, Colonel, British, camp at Pensacola, 14
Nichols, Colonel, on conquest of Louisiana, 149
Nichols, Colonel, sends emissaries to Lafitte, the pirate, 20
Ovations to Jackson, 145
Pakenham, death of, was heroic, 83, 157
Pakenham, Lord, Commander-in-chief, 3
Pakenham, with Generals Gibbs, Keene, and Lambert, assumes command;
arrives December 25th, 56
Parker, Lieutenant-colonel, regiment Kentucky militia, 179
Patterson, battery on west bank, 55, 76, 105
Patterson, Commodore, battle of 23d, 42
Peace, news of, arrives, 133
Peire, Major, United States Regulars, 17, 51, 72
Pensacola assaulted and captured by Jackson, 16
Pensacola, capital Spanish Florida, 12
Pensacola made Indian recruiting camp by British, 14
Pentecost, Dr. John C., surgeon Kentucky regiment, 179
Plauche, Major, uniformed men, 34, 72
Providence and battle of New Orleans, 156
Rence, Colonel, British, killed, 80, 83
Rodrique Canal, Jackson's line, 52
Ross, Colonel, American, 42, 72
Seymour, Judge, William H., Latour's letter to, 119
Shelby, Governor, sketch of his life, 163
Ship Carolina burned with hot shot, 52
Ship Louisiana, destructive flanking fire, 54
Ship Louisiana saved, 52
Slaughter, Colonel, regiment Kentucky militia, 187
Slaughter, Colonel, sketch of his life, 171
Spies at Fisherman's Village, 35
Sugar hogsheads, British used on redoubts, 59
Tennessee troops in battle of January 8th, 75
Tennessee troops, more arrive, 64
Thomas, General, disabled with illness, 65
Thornton, Colonel, battalion on west bank, 100
Thornton, Colonel, British, 38
Villere, General, plantation, British camp, 38
Villere, Major, daring escape, 38
Wakefield, Major, regiment Kentucky militia, 187
Walker, Major, William, regiment Kentucky militia, 196
War Department, incapacity of, 5
Wells, Honorable Levi, debarred from Legislature, 139
West bank, military blunders, 97
West bank of river, defenses begun, 54
West bank, Patterson erects battery on, 55
Young, Colonel, of Louisiana militia, 75
End of Project Gutenberg's The Battle of New Orleans, by Zachary F. Smith
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