Lossing's Field Book of the War of 1812, Chapter XLII - Civil Affairs in 1814 - Operations in the Gulf Region.






A Peace Faction. – Boston the Centre of illicit Trade. – The Government as a Borrower. – The Weakness of the Government a Reason for rejoicing. – The public Credit assailed. – Conduct of Boston Bankers. – Effects of the Conspiracy against the public Credit. – Cabinet Changes. – New financial Measures proposed. – Revival of the public Credit. – Measures for increasing the Army. – Peace apparently remote. – Discontents in New England. – A Convention called at Hartford. – Composition of the Convention. – Its proposed Work. – Signatures of the Members of the Hartford Convention. – Proposed Amendments to the Constitution. – Adjournment of the Hartford Convention. – Suspicions respecting its Work. – The Substance of that Work. – Sketches of the Members of the Hartford Convention. – General Jackson recalled into active Service. – His Vigilance. – Hostile Movements at Pensacola. – Outlaws at Barataria Bay. – Their Leader. – Invitation to join the British Navy. – A Leader of Smugglers turns Patriot. – Jackson perceives Mischief. – Mobile and its Defenses. – Fort Bowyer garrisoned and strengthened. – A British Squadron threatens it. – Preparations for Attack. – Attack on Fort Bowyer. – The British repulsed. – Effect of the Repulse. – Reception of the British at Pensacola. – Jackson marches on that Place. – Violation of a Flag of Truce. – The Americans in Pensacola. – Flight of the British and Indians. – New Orleans aroused. – The Weakness of New Orleans. – Jackson’s Arrival hailed with Joy. – Approach of the Invaders. – The British deceived. – Preparations to receive the Invaders. – The British prepare for a Fight on Lake Borgne. – Battle of Barges and Gun-boats. – Capture of the American Flotilla. – Preparations to attack New Orleans. – Jackson’s Preparations for Defense. – A grand Review. – Disposition of Troops. – Temper of the People. – The British approach the Mississippi. – They capture a Picket-guard. – The British at Villeré’s. – Jackson warned of Danger. – The Response to his Call for Troops. – Jackson moves against the Invaders. – Their Camp broken up by the Carolina. – American Troops hasten to the Scene. – The British Alarmed and Confused. – A Night Battle. – The British fall back to shelter. – Strength of the Combatants. – Sir De Lacy Evans. – The Americans Withdraw. – A Skirmish on Jumonville’s Plantation. – A Memento of the Battle.


"Brave sons of the West, the blood in your veins

At danger’s approach waited not for persuaders;
You rushed from your mountains, your hills, and your plains,
And followed your streams to repel the invaders."


Let us now take a glance at some prominent civil affairs during the year 1814, before proceeding to consider the great and decisive military events in the vicinity of New Orleans with which the war on the land closed.

From the beginning of the contest., as we have seen, there was an active and influential body in the Federal party known as the Peace Faction, many of whom were selfish and unpatriotic politicians, and who, by their endeavors to thwart the government in its efforts to provide means for carrying on the war, brought discredit upon the great and patriotic party to which they belonged, and deeply injured their country. These politicians were chiefly confined to New England, whose commercial interests had been ruined by the war, and Boston was their head-quarters. Embargo acts had closed all American ports against the legal admission of goods from abroad, and these could only be obtained through contraband trade. Such trade was carried on extensively at the New England capital, where, as we have seen, the magistrates were not zealous in the maintenance of the restrictive laws. Smuggling became almost respectable in the eyes of many because of its prevalence, 1 and foreign goods, shut out from other sea-ports, found their way there. Many valuable British prizes were taken into that port, and upon Boston the merchants of other cities became dependent for a supply of foreign goods. For these they paid partly in bills of the banks of the Middle and Southern States, and partly in their own promissory notes. By this means Boston became a financial autocrat, having in its hands despotic power to control the money affairs of the country. This fact suggested to the leaders of the Peace Faction in New England a scheme for crippling the government financially, and thereby compelling it to abandon the struggle with Great Britain with dishonor. They were quick to act upon the suggestion and to put the scheme into operation.

From the beginning of the war the government was compelled to ask for loans, and the Peace Faction made such persistent opposition, for the purpose of embarrassing the administration, that in every case a bonus was paid for all sums borrowed. In January, 1813, a loan of $16,000,000 was authorized. It was obtained principally from individuals at the rate of $88 for a certificate of stock for $100, by which lenders received $2,100,377 as a bonus on that small loan. In August the same year a further loan of $7,500,000 was authorized; and in March, 1814, a loan of $25,000,000 was authorized. This was the darkest hour of the war, and then it was that the Peace Faction at political meetings, through the press, and even from the pulpit, cast every obstacle in the way of the government. That opposition now assumed the form of virtual treason. The government was weak and in great need, and its internal enemies knew it, and in proportion to its wants they became bolder and more outspoken. Their denunciations of the government, and those who dared to lend it a helping hand, were violent and effective. By inflammatory and threatening publications and personal menaces, they intimidated many capitalists. 2 The result was, that only $11,400,000 of the proposed loan were raised in the spring of 1814, and this by paying a bonus of $2,852,000, terms so disastrous that only one more attempt was made to borrow money during the war, the deficiency being made up by the issue of treasury notes to the amount of $18,452,000. Over this failure of the government these unpatriotic men rejoiced. One of them, writing from Boston in February, 1815, said, exultingly, "This day $20,000 six per cent. stock was put up at auction, $5000 of which only was sold for want of bidders, and that at forty per cent, under par. As for the former war loan, it would be considered little short of an insult to offer it in the market, it being a very serious question who is to father the child in case of national difficulties." The last expression referred to the hopes of the conspirators that a dissolution of the Union would be brought about by the body known in history as the Hartford Convention, which had adjourned, to meet again if necessary – a body of men inspired by motives and actions too lofty to be comprehended by the vulgar politicians who were the leaders of the Peace Faction of that day.

But these machinations failed to produce the full effect desired. Patriotic men in New England of the Opposition party subscribed to the loan; and in the Middle States they did so openly and liberally, to the disgust of the Peace Faction, who now resorted to a more reprehensible scheme for embarrassing the government. We have observed that, for reasons named, Boston became the centre of financial power. These men determined to use that power to embarrass the administration, and they did it in this wise: The banks in the Middle and Southern States were the principal subscribers to the loan, and measures were adopted to drain them of their specie, and thus produce an utter inability to pay their subscriptions. Some of the Boston banks became parties to the scheme. The notes of those in New York and cities farther south held by these banks were transmitted to them, with demands for specie, and at the same time drafts were drawn on the New York banks for the balances due the Boston corporations, to the amount, in the course of a few months, of about $8,000,000. The New York bankers were compelled to draw largely on those of Philadelphia, and the latter on those of Baltimore, and so on. A panic was created. No one could predict the result. Confidence was shaken. Wagons were seen, loaded with specie, leaving bank doors with the precious freight, going from city to city, to find its way finally into the vaults of those of Massachusetts. 3 The banks thus drained were compelled to curtail their discounts. Commercial derangement and bankruptcies ensued. Subscribers to the loan were unable to comply with their promises, and, so uncertain was the future to the minds of many who intended to subscribe, that they hesitated. The effect of the conspiracy against the public credit was potent and ruinous, and for a while it was thought impossible for the government to sustain its army and navy. The banks out of New England were compelled to suspend specie payments, and the effect upon the paper currency of the country was most disastrous. 4

Nor was this all. To make the blow against the public credit still more effectual, the conspirators made arrangements with agents of the government authorities of Lower Canada whereby a very large amount of British government bills, drawn on Quebec, were transmitted to New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, and offered on such advantageous terms to capitalists as induced them to purchase. 5 By this means an immense amount of gold was transmitted to Canada, placed beyond the reach of the government of the United States, and put into the hands of the enemy, to give succor to the war they were waging against the independence of the republic. Had the conspirators fully succeeded, the national armies must have been disbanded, and the country reduced to a dependency of Great Britain.

It was during the despondency incident to the gloomy aspect of financial affairs, the capture of Washington and the destruction of the public buildings and archives, the utter prostration of business, the certainty that a very large British force would be speedily sent to our shores, and the neglect and discourtesy with which the British government had treated the American ministers sent to Europe to negotiate a treaty of peace, that a convention of representatives of the Opposition party in New England, to consider public affairs, was conceived, not by the factious politicians we have just noticed, but by thoughtful and earnest patriots of the Federal party.

After the invasion of Washington there were some changes in President Madison’s Cabinet. Mr. Monroe continued in the office of Secretary of State, and was Acting Secretary of War after the close of September, 1814, when Mr. Armstrong had resigned. 6

George W. Campbell, of Tennessee, the Secretary of the Treasury, was succeeded by Alexander J. Dallas – a man of courage, energy, and decision – early in October [October 6, 1814.]. The new secretary entered upon his duties with a determination to revive the public credit, if possible, and he did it. The prospect was unpromising. Campbell’s report of the condition of the Treasury immediately preceding his resignation was a deplorable picture of the national finances. So great was the general distrust that, when an attempt was made to borrow $6,000,000 [August, 1814.] there were not bids for one half the amount; and so great were the government needs, that, in order to procure $2,500,000, the secretary had been compelled to issue stock to the amount of $4,266,000. There were $8,000,000 treasury notes outstanding, one half of which would fall due the next year. The entire amount to be paid within the fiscal year was not less than $25,000,000, while the new revenues, already provided for, including new taxes, could not be expected to produce above $8,000,000, owing to the total destruction of commerce. Yet Dallas was not dismayed, nor even discouraged. He proposed methods which startled Congress and the people. The crisis demanded immediate and effective measures, so he proposed new and increased taxes; and, as a means for furnishing a circulating medium and immediate resources in the way of loans, he recommended the establishment of a national bank, the government to be a large and controlling stockholder, and the bank to be compelled to loan to the government $30,000,000. 7 Congress considered the propositions favorably; and such was the confidence which the character and immediate acts of Dallas inspired, that the loan vainly attempted to be made in August was favorably negotiated in October and treasury notes, which then "none but necessitous creditors, or contractors in distress, or commissaries, quartermasters, and navy agents, acting as it were officially, seemed willing to accept," were, early in January following, sold at par, with the interest added.

Mr. Monroe, as acting Secretary of War, proposed vigorous measures for giving strength to the army. Volunteering had ceased, and he proposed to raise, by conscription or draft, sufficient men to make the existing army number nearly sixty-three thousand, and to provide forty thousand men as a regular force, to be locally employed in the defense of the frontiers and the sea-coast. Bills for this purpose were introduced in Congress [October 27, 1814.]; and this and other war measures were more favorably received than usual, because of the waning prospects of peace with Great Britain excepting on terms humiliating to the United States. Negotiations for peace were then in progress at Ghent, in Belgium; but the unfair demands and denials of Great Britain, through her commissioners, gave very little promise of satisfactory results. That haughty power would not consent to make peace excepting on very humiliating terms for the Americans; and yet there were those who could not value national independence, nor comprehend their duty to posterity, who thought that peace would be cheaply purchased even on such terms. While the Legislature of New York called them "extravagant and disgraceful," and that of Virginia spoke of those terms as "arrogant and insulting," the New England Legislatures had no word of condemnation.

The proposition to raise a large force by conscription brought matters to a crisis in New England. In some of the other states the matter of local defenses had been left almost wholly to the discretion of the respective governors. But the President, made suspicious of the loyalty of New England because of the injurious action of the Peace Faction, insisted upon the exclusive control of all military movements there. Because the Massachusetts militia had not been placed under General Dearborn’s orders, the Secretary of State, in an official letter to Governor Strong, refused to pay the expenses of defending Massachusetts from the common enemy. Similar action for similar cause had occurred in the case of Connecticut, and a clamor was instantly raised that New England was abandoned to the enemy by the National Government. A joint committee of the Massachusetts Legislature made a report on the state of public affairs, which contained a covert threat of independent action on the part of the people of that section, saying that, in the position in which that state stood, no choice was left it between submission to the enemy, which was not to be thought of, and the appropriation to her own defense of those revenues derived from the people, but which the General Government had hitherto thought proper to expend elsewhere. The committee recommended a conference of sympathizing states to consider the propriety of adopting "some mode of defense suited to the circumstances and exigencies of those states," and to consult upon a radical reform in the National Constitution.

The administration minority protested against this action, and denounced it as a disguised movement to prepare the way for a dissolution of the Union. Their protest was of no avail. The report of the committee was adopted by a vote of three to one, and the Legislature addressed a circular letter to the governors of the other New England States, inviting the appointment of delegates, to meet in Convention at an early day, it said, "to deliberate upon the dangers to which the states in the eastern section of the Union are exposed by the course of the war, and which there is too much reason to believe will thicken round them in its progress; and to devise, if practicable, means of security and defense which may be consistent with the preservation of their resources from total ruin, and adapted to their local situation, mutual relations and habits, and not repugnant to their obligations as members of the Union." They also proposed a consideration of some amendments to the Constitution on the subject of slave representation, that might secure to the New England States equal advantages with others.

The proposition of the Massachusetts Legislature was acceded to, and on Thursday morning, the 15th of December, 1814, a Convention, composed of twenty-six delegates, representing Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont, assembled at Hartford, in Connecticut, then a town of four thousand inhabitants, and organized by the appointment of George Cabot, of Boston, as president of that body, and Theodore Dwight as secretary. 8

The sessions of the Convention continued three weeks, and were held with closed doors. The movement had created much alarm at the seat of government, especially because at about that time the Legislature of Massachusetts appropriated a million dollars toward the support of ten thousand men to relieve the militia in service, and to be, like that militia, exclusively under state control.

All sorts of wild rumors and suggestions were put afloat, and the government found it convenient to have Major (afterward General) T. S. Jesup at Hartford, with his regiment, at the opening of the Convention, nominally for the purpose of recruiting for the regular army, but really under instructions, no doubt, to watch the movements of the supposed traitorous conclave.

On the second day of the session, a committee, appointed for the purpose, submitted a series of topics proper for the consideration of the Convention, which were as follows: "The powers claimed by the Executive of the United States, to determine conclusively in respect to calling out the militia of the states into the service of the United States; and the dividing of the United States into military districts, with an officer of the army in each thereof, with discretionary authority from the executive of the United States to call for the militia, to be under the command of such officer. The refusal of the executive of the United States to supply or pay the militia of certain states, called out for their defense, on the grounds of their not having been called out under the authority of the United States, or not having been, by the Executive of the state, put under the command of the commander over the military district. The failure of the government of the United States to supply and pay the militia of the states, by them admitted to have been in the United States service. The report of the Secretary of War to Congress on filling the ranks of the army, together with a bill or act on that subject. A bill before Congress providing for classifying and drafting the militia. The expenditure of the revenue of the nation in offensive operations on the neighboring provinces of the enemy. The failure of the government of the United States to provide for the common defense, and the consequent obligations, necessity, and burdens devolved on the separate states to defend themselves, together with the mode, and the ways and means in their power for accomplishing the object." Such was the work which the Convention, at the outset, proposed for itself.

On the 20th of December a committee was appointed to "report a general project of such measures" as might be proper for the Convention to adopt; and, four days afterward, they adopted a report that it would be expedient for the Convention to prepare a general statement of the unconstitutional attempts of the executive government of the United States to infringe upon the rights of the individual states in regard to the military, etc.; and to recommend to the Legislatures of the states the adoption of the most effectual and decisive measures to protect the militia and the states from the usurpations contained in those proceedings. Also to prepare a statement concerning the general subject of state defenses, and a recommendation that an application be made to the national government for an arrangement with the states by which they would be allowed to retain a portion of the taxes levied by Congress, to be devoted to the expenses of self-defense, et cetera. They also proposed amendments to the Constitution. 9


The labors of the Hartford Convention ended on the 4th of January, 1815 {original text has "1816".}, with a report and resolutions, signed by the delegates present, to be laid before the Legislatures of the respective states represented in the Convention. The report and resolutions were adopted as expressions of the sentiments of the Convention. 10 On the following morning [January 5, 1815.], at nine o’clock, after prayer by the Rev. Dr. Strong, the Convention adjourned, but with the impression on the part of the members that circumstances might compel it to reassemble. For that reason the seal of secrecy was not removed from the proceedings. This gave wide scope for conjecture concerning them, some declaring that they were patriotic, and others that they were treasonable in the extreme. Because the members of that Convention were of the political party to which the Peace Faction belonged, they incurred much odium.

They and the party became the target at which the shafts of sharpest wit, as well as bitter denunciations, were hurled; and at the next election in Massachusetts, the administration, or Democratic party, issued a hand-bill, with a wood-cut indicative of the character of the opposing parties, a copy of which, on a reduced scale, is given in the annexed cut. He who will take pains to inquire, without prejudice, will be satisfied that the twenty-six eminent men who composed the Hartford Convention were as wise, as loyal, and as patriotic as the average of the legislators and politicians of that day or since. They represented New England during a season of great trial. 11

While the country was agitated by the political events just recorded, and the people were despondent because of the seeming remoteness of peace and the gloomy aspect of public affairs in general, other events of great importance, and having a most powerful influence in the direction of peace, were occurring on the southwestern borders of the republic. Let us consider them.

We have seen how the Creek Indians in Alabama were led into war, and thereby to the ruin of their nation, by white enemies of the republic and the influence of Tecumtha, the Indian ally of the British; 12 and we left General Jackson [April, 1814.], who had been the chief instrument in the destruction of that nation, resting at "The Hermitage," his mansion and estate, a few miles from Nashville, in Tennessee.


From that pleasant retreat he was soon recalled to active duty, having been appointed a major general in the army of the United States [April.], and commander of the Seventh Military District, with his head-quarters at Mobile, which post the Americans had taken possession of as early as April, 1812, 14 when the Spaniards retired to Pensacola. Jackson was instructed to stop on his way to Mobile to make a definitive treaty with the remnant of the Creek nation, which he did at Fort Jackson 15 on the 14th of August [1814.]. Jackson’s vigilance was sleepless. It was in marked contrast with the slumbering apathy or indifference at the War Department. He was promptly informed of what was occurring not only in his own department, but in the whole region around him, for he had trusty spies, pale and dusky, every where. He had observed with indignation and alarm that the authorities at Pensacola, with usual Spanish duplicity, while professing neutrality, were in practical alliance with the British and Indians. Of this the government was promptly informed; but Jackson received no responses to his warnings. He continued to receive evidences of gathering danger at Pensacola, and finally, late in August, the mask of Spanish neutrality was removed. Nine British ships of war then lay at anchor in the harbor there. Marines were landed from them and allowed to encamp on the shore. Their commander, Lieutenant Colonel Edward Nichols, was made a welcome guest of the Spanish governor, and the British flag was unfurled over one of the forts. Indian runners were sent on swift errands among the neighboring Creek and Seminole Indians to invite them to Pensacola, there to be enrolled in the service of the British crown. The response to their call was the speedy gathering of almost a thousand savages at that Spanish post, where they received arms and ammunition in abundance from the British officers. Then went forth a general order from Nichols to his soldiers, followed soon afterward by a proclamation to the inhabitants of Louisiana and Kentucky, both of which revealed hostile intentions. To his troops Nichols spoke of their being called upon "to perform long and tedious marches through wildernesses, swamps, and water-courses," and he exhorted them to conciliate their Indian allies, and to "never give them just cause for offense." In his proclamations he addressed the most inflammatory appeals to the prejudices of the French and the discontents of the Kentuckians, which a seeming neglect by their government and the arts of politicians had engendered. 16 In fact, Nichols, with a strange imprudence, seemed to take particular pains to proclaim that the land and naval forces at Pensacola were only the van of far more formidable ones composing an expedition for the seizure of New Orleans and the subjugation of Louisiana.

There was another revelation of impending danger made to the Americans at this time, and this, with the proceedings at Pensacola, aroused the people of the Southwest, and the civil and military authorities, to the greatest vigilance and speedy preparations to meet an invasion. This was an attempt on the part of the British to obtain the aid of a community of outlaws on the borders of the Gulf. These were privateersmen and smugglers, whose head-quarters were on a low island called Grand Terre, six miles in length and one and a half in breadth, which lies at the entrance to Barataria Lake or Bay, from the Gulf of Mexico, little less than sixty miles southwest from New Orleans in a direct line. From that island there is a water communication for small vessels through lakes and bayous to within a mile of the Mississippi River, just above New Orleans. Toward the Gulf is a fine beach, and to it inhabitants of the "Crescent City" resort during the heats of the summer months. The bay forms a sheltered harbor, in which the privateers of the Baratarians (as the smugglers were called) and those associated with them lay securely from the besom of the "Norther" that sweeps occasionally over the Gulf, and also from the cannon of ships of war, for the bay was inaccessible to such ponderous and bulky craft as were then used. The community of marauders there formed a regularly organized association, at the head of which was Jean Lafitte, a shrewd Frenchman and blacksmith from Bordeaux, and late resident of New Orleans. He had caused a battery of heavy guns to be pointed seaward for the protection of his company; and there might be seen at all times shrewd and cautious men from New Orleans, having "honorable mention" in that community, purchasing at cheap rates for profitable sales the rich booty of the sea-robbers, and thereby laying broadly the foundations of the fortunes of many a wealthy family living in the Southwest when the Civil War broke out in 1861. Lafitte became known in history, romance, and song as the "Pirate of the Gulf," of whom Byron erroneously said he

"Left a corsair’s name to other times,
Linked with one virtue and a thousand crimes."

He was not a corsair in the meaning of the law of nations; and his crimes, such as they were, were not against humanity, but were violations of the revenue and neutrality laws of the United States. "I may have evaded the payment of duties at the custom-house, but I have never ceased to be a good citizen," said Lafitte, on one occasion; and then, with the usual plea of a culprit, he added, "All the offenses I have ever committed have been forced upon me by certain vices in the laws."

The fact that the United States government had, by legal proceedings, made the Baratarians outlaws, and, as a natural consequence, it was supposed, the bitter enemies of that government, caused the British to seek an alliance with them, not doubting that it would gladly be afforded. Accordingly, on the 1st of September [1814.], the British sloop of war Sophia, Captain Lockyer, sailed from Pensacola with dispatches for Jean Lafitte, among which was an invitation from Lieutenant Colonel Nichols, already mentioned, inviting that leader and his band to enter the British service, and a letter from Captain W. H. Percy, a son of Lord Beverly, the commander of the British squadron at Pensacola, in which Lafitte’s fears were appealed to. 17 Lafitte took the offered documents, and was assured by Lockyer that his vessels and men would be received into the honorable service of the Royal Navy. These documents Lafitte sent to William C. C. Claiborne, then governor of Louisiana, with a letter, saying, "Though proscribed in my adopted country, I will never miss an occasion of serving her, or of proving that she has never ceased to be near to me." 18


Before these revelations were made, Jackson’s sagacity and forecast, when considering rumors and positive information that reached him from time to time, had made him suspicious that such hostile movements were in preparation; and, while a handful of men were trampling upon the national capital, he was planning a scheme for crushing at one blow the triple alliance of British, Spanish, and Indians at Pensacola, and ending the war in the Southwest. Now, with positive testimony of danger before him (copies of the documents furnished by Lafitte having been sent to him), he resolved to act promptly, without the advice or sanction of his government. 19 He squarely accused Manrequez, the Spanish governor at Pensacola, with bad faith, when a spicy correspondence ensued. This Jackson ended by saying to the governor, "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 a diplomatic character unless so proclaimed from the mouth of my cannon." Then he sent his adjutant general, Colonel Robert Butler, into Tennessee to beat up for volunteers, with a determination to give tangible shape to the threat contained in the last clause of his letter. In a very short time no less than two thousand of the sturdy young men of Tennessee were ready for the field.


Meanwhile, hostilities had actually commenced in that quarter. When Jackson reached Mobile, late in August, he was satisfied that an attempt would be made to seize that post as soon as the great expedition of which he had rumors should be prepared to move. Mobile was then only a little village of wooden houses, with not a thousand inhabitants, with no defenses against artillery, and scarcely sufficient to withstand an attack from the rifles of Indians. At the entrance to Mobile Bay, thirty miles from the village, was Fort Bowyer (now Fort Morgan), occupying the extremity of a narrow sand cape on the eastern side of that entrance, and commanding the entire channel between it and Dauphin Island. It was a small work, semicircular in form toward the channel, and of redan shape on the land side. It was weak, being without bomb-proofs, and mounting only twenty guns, and all but two of these were 12-pounders and less. And yet this was the chief defense of Mobile; for, the enemy once inside of the bay, there would be no hope for holding the post with the troops then at hand. So, when Jackson perceived, early in September, that a speedy movement against Mobile from Pensacola was probable, he threw into Fort Bowyer one hundred and thirty of the Second regular infantry, under Major William Lawrence, one of the most gallant officers in the service. At the same time, he sent orders for Colonel Butler to call out the enrolled Tennessee Volunteers, and have them led immediately to Mobile.

Major Lawrence made vigorous preparations to resist the enemy by strengthening the fort as much as possible, and providing against attacks upon it from cannon that might be planted upon sand-hills near, which commanded it. These preparations were not completed when, on the morning of the 12th of September, Lieutenant Colonel Nichols appeared on the peninsula, in rear of the fort, with one hundred and thirty marines and six hundred Indians, the latter led by Captain Woodbine, who had been attempting to drill them at Pensacola. Toward evening four British vessels of war hove in sight, and anchored within six miles of Mobile Point. These were the Hermes, 22; Sophia, 18; Caron, 20; and Anaconda, 18, the whole under Captain Percy, the commander of the squadron of nine vessels in Pensacola Bay, already mentioned, of which these were a part. In the presence of these formidable forces, the little garrison slept upon their arms that night.

On the following morning Nichols reconnoitred the fort from behind the sand-hills in its rear, and, dragging a howitzer to a sheltered position within seven hundred yards of the work, threw some shells and a solid shot upon it without much effect. Responses from Major Lawrence were equally harmless; but when, later in the day, Percy’s men attempted to cast up intrenchments, Lawrence’s guns quickly dispersed them. Meanwhile several light boats, engaged in sounding the channel nearest the fort, were dispersed in the same way.

The succeeding day [September 14.] was similarly employed; but early on the morning of the 15th it was evident to the garrison that an assault was about to be made from land and water. The forenoon wore away, while a stiff breeze was blowing, and when it slackened to a slight one from the southeast, toward noon, the ships stood out to sea, They tacked at two o’clock, and bearing down upon the fort in order of "line ahead," the Hermes (Percy’s flag-ship) leading, took position for attack. The Hermes and Sophia lay nearly abreast the northwest face of the fort, while the Caron and Anaconda were more distant. Lawrence then called a council of officers, when it was determined to resist to the last, and not to surrender, if finally compelled to, unless upon the conditions that officers and privates should retain their arms and private property, be protected from the savages, and be treated as prisoners of war. This being their resolution, the words "Don’t give up the fort" were adopted as the signal for the day. 21

The Hermes drew nearer the fort, and when within range of its guns the two 24-pounders were opened upon her without much effect. She made a faint reply, and anchored within musket range of the work, while the other three vessels formed in battle line under a heavy fire. It was now half past four in the afternoon. The four vessels simultaneously opened fire, and the engagement became general and fierce, for broadside after broadside was fired upon the fort by the ships, while the circular battery was working fearfully upon the assailants. Meanwhile Captain Woodbine opened fire from a howitzer and a 12-pounder from behind a sand dune seven hundred yards from the opposite side of the fort. The battle raged until half past five, when the flag of the Hermes was shot away, and Lawrence ceased firing to ascertain whether she had surrendered. This humane act was followed by a broadside from the Caron, and the fight was renewed with redoubled vigor. Very soon the cable of the Hermes was severed by a shot, and she floated away with the current, her head toward the fort, and her decks swept of men and every thing else by a raking fire. Then the flag-staff of the fort was shot away and the ensign fell, when the ships, contrary to the humane example of the garrison, redoubled their fire. At the same time, Woodbine, supposing the garrison had surrendered, approached with his Indians, when they were driven back in great terror by a storm of grape-shot. Both sailors and marines found the garrison in full vigor, and only a few minutes after the flag fell it was seen floating over the fort at the end of a sponge-staff to which Major Lawrence had nailed it. The attacking vessels, battered and in peril, soon withdrew, excepting the helpless Hermes, which grounded upon a sandbank, when Percy fired and abandoned her. At almost midnight the magazine of the Hermes exploded. So ended, in a repulse of the British, the attack on Fort Bowyer, upon which ninety-two pieces of artillery had been brought to bear, and over thirteen hundred men had been arrayed against a garrison of one hundred and thirty. The latter lost only eight men, one half of whom were killed. The assailants lost two hundred and thirty-two men, of whom the unusual proportion of one hundred and sixty-two were killed.

The result of the strife at Mobile Point was very mortifying to the British. It was wholly unexpected. Percy had declared that he should allow the garrison only twenty minutes to capitulate. That garrison – that handful of men – had beaten off his ships and his co-operating land force with ease. The repulse was fatal to the prestige of the British name among the Indians, and a large portion of them deserted their allies and sought safety from the wrath of Jackson, whom they feared, by concealment in the interior of their broad country. The result was most gratifying to the Americans, and gave an impetus to volunteering for the defense of New Orleans. Jackson wrote a commendatory letter to Major Lawrence, and that officer received one also from Edward Livingston, chairman of the Defense Committee of New Orleans, assuring him of the joy and gratitude felt by the inhabitants of that city when they heard of his gallant defense of Fort Bowyer. At the same time it was resolved to present to Major Lawrence an elegant sword in the name of the citizens of New Orleans. 22

When the discomfited British returned to Pensacola they were publicly received as friends and allies. This circumstance, the attack on Fort Bowyer, and the revelations just made concerning an attempt by the British to engage a band of outlaws to assist them in an attempt to capture New Orleans, which we shall consider presently, kindled the hottest indignation in the minds of Jackson and the inhabitants of the Southwest. The general issued [September 21, 1814.] a fiery proclamation to the inhabitants of Louisiana as a counterblast to that of Nichols, in which he set forth the conduct of the British and the perfidy of the Spaniards, calling them to arouse in defense of their threatened country. He also put forth an address on the same day to the free colored people of Louisiana, inviting them to unite with the rest of their fellow-citizens in defending their common country from invaders. The people were already much excited by the threatening aspect of affairs, and these appeals aroused them to vigorous action.

Jackson had determined to march on Pensacola as soon as the Tennessee Volunteers should arrive, and break up that rendezvous of the enemies of the republic. The time for such movement was looked for with great impatience. It was even weeks remote, for it was the beginning of November before Jackson had his forces on hand for the purpose. These were assembled at Fort Montgomery, due north from Pensacola, four thousand strong, 23 and marched for the doomed fort on the 3d [November.], some Mississippi dragoons in advance. The whole army encamped within two miles of Pensacola on the evening of the 6th, when Jackson sent Major Pierre with a flag of truce to the governor, with an assurance that the expedition was not to make war upon a neutral power, nor to injure the town, but to deprive the enemies of the republic of a place of refuge. He was instructed, also, to demand the surrender of the forts. But when the flag approached it was fired upon by a 12-pounder at Fort St. Michael, which was garrisoned by the British, and over which the Spanish and British flags had been conjointly waving until the day before. When Pierre reported these facts, Jackson sent a Spanish prisoner, whom he had captured on the way, to the governor, with a message demanding an explanation. Manrequez denied all knowledge of the outrage, and gave an assurance that if another flag should be sent it would be respected. Pierre went again at midnight, and submitted to the governor a proposal from Jackson that American garrisons should be admitted into Forts St. Michael and Barancas until the Spanish government could procure a sufficient force to enable it to maintain its neutrality against violations of it by the British, who had possessed themselves of the fortresses, notwithstanding the alleged remonstrances and protests of the Spanish governor; also that the American troops should be withdrawn as soon as such a respectable force should arrive.

Jackson’s proposition was rejected by the governor after consultation with his chief officers. The consequence was, that, before dawn, troops were marching upon Pensacola, three thousand in number, 24 for Jackson had resolved to have no farther parley with the authorities. They took a direction, under the mask of some mounted men, to avoid the fire of Fort St. Michael and the ships in the harbor. Their course lay along the beach, toward the east part of the town, but the sand was so heavy that they could not drag the cannon through it. Then the centre of the column was ordered to charge into the town. This was gallantly done, and in the principal street they were met by a two-gun battery, which opened upon them with balls and grape-shot, while a shower of musketry was poured upon them from the gardens and houses. Captain Laval and his company charged the battery and captured it, when the frightened governor appeared with a white flag, and made promises to comply with any terms Jackson might propose if he would spare the town. An instant surrender of all the forts was demanded and promised, and after some delay this was done. But Fort Barancas, six miles distant, and commanding the harbor, in which the British ships lay (the most important of all the fortifications), was yet in the hands of the enemy. This Jackson determined to march suddenly upon the next morning, and, seizing it, turn its guns on the British ships, and capture or greatly injure them before they could escape. But before morning the fort was abandoned and blown up, and the British squadron had left the port, bearing away Lieutenant Colonel Nichols, Captain Woodbine, and a considerable number of Indians, with the Spanish commandant of the fort, and its garrison of about four hundred men,

Jackson suspected that the British, who had so suddenly left Pensacola, had returned to make another attempt against Mobile while he was absent, so he immediately withdrew, and hastened with his troops in the same direction by way of Fort Montgomery, leaving Manrequez indignant because of the flight of his British friends, and the Indians deeply impressed with a feeling that it would be very imprudent to again defy the wrath of Andrew Jackson. That leader had, by this expedition, accomplished three important results, namely, the expulsion of the British from Pensacola; the scattering of the Indians through the forests, alarmed and dejected; and the punishment of the Spaniards for much perfidy. He was denounced by the Opposition, and was not fully sustained by his government, in thus invading the territory of a neutral without orders; but the people of the West and South, and the Democratic newspapers, applauded his act, which the circumstances of the case seemed to justify.

Jackson reached Mobile on the 11th of November [1814.], where he found messages urging him to hasten to the defense of New Orleans. The revelations made by Lafitte had not been accepted as true by the government officials; but the people believed them, and held a large meeting, in consequence, at the St. Louis Exchange, in New Orleans, on the 16th of September. They were eloquently addressed by the late Edward Livingston, then a leading citizen of Louisiana, who urged the inhabitants to make immediate preparations to repel the contemplated invasion. They appointed a Committee of Safety, 25 composed of the most distinguished citizens of New Orleans, with Livingston as chairman, who sent forth a stirring address to the people. Governor Claiborne, who, like Livingston, believed the statements of Lafitte, sent copies of the British papers to General Jackson, then at Mobile. Then it was that the latter issued his vigorous counter-proclamation, and proceeded to the prosecution of measures for breaking up the nest of enemies at Pensacola, as just recorded.


Jackson departed for New Orleans on the 21st of November, and arrived there on the 2d of December, making his head-quarters at what is now 86 (formerly 104) Royal Street (see engraving on next page). He found the city utterly defenseless, and the councils of the people distracted by petty factions. The patriotic Governor Claiborne had called the Legislature together as early as the 5th of October. The members were divided into several factions, and there was neither union, nor harmony, nor confidence to be found. The people, alarmed and distrustful, complained of the Legislature; that body, in turn, complained of the governor; and Claiborne complained of both the Legislature and the people. Money and credit were equally wanting, and arms and ammunition were very scarce. There was no effective naval force in the adjacent waters; and only two small militia regiments, and a weak battalion of uniformed volunteers, commanded by Major Plauché, a gallant Creole, constituted the military force of the city. 26


The storehouses were filled with valuable merchandise, and it would be natural for the owners to prefer the surrender of the city at once to a seemingly invincible foe, to incurring the risk of the destruction of their property by a resistance that should invite a fiery bombardment. In every aspect the situation was most gloomy when Jackson arrived, worn down with sickness, fatigue, and anxiety. His advent was hailed with great joy by the citizens, for he was regarded as a host in himself; and the cry of "Jackson’s come! Jackson’s come!" went like an electric spark in eager words from lip to lip, giving hope to the desponding, courage to the timid, and confidence to the patriotic.

Jackson did not rest for a moment. He organized the feeble military force in the city; took measures for obstructing the large bayous, whose waters formed convenient communications between the Mississippi near New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico, and proceeded to inspect and strengthen the fortifications in the vicinity and to erect new ones. Fort St. Philip, below the city, was the object of his special care, for on that he mainly relied for preventing the passage of the river by the vessels of the invaders.

The expected enemy soon appeared. The army that captured Washington and was repulsed at Baltimore had left the Chesapeake toward the middle of October, three thousand strong, and sailed away for the West Indies in the fleets of Admirals Cochrane and Malcolm. These were soon joined by over four thousand troops under General Keane, a gallant young Irish officer, who had sailed from Plymouth in September. The combined forces were assembled in Negril Bay, Jamaica, and in over fifty vessels of all sizes more than seven thousand land troops were borne across the Gulf of Mexico in the direction of New Orleans. They left Negril Bay on the 26th of November, and first saw the northern shore of the Gulf off the Chandeleur Islands, between the mouth of the Mississippi and Lake Borgne, in the midst of a furious storm, on the 9th of December. Music, dancing, theatrical performances, and hilarity of every kind had been indulged in during the passage of the Gulf, for every man felt confident that an easy conquest of Louisiana awaited them. The wives of many officers accompanied them, and were filled with the most delightful anticipations of pleasure in the beautiful New World before them.

The British supposed the Americans to be profoundly ignorant of their expedition. They anchored the fleet in the deep channel between Ship and Cat Islands, near the entrance to Lake Borgne, and prepared small vessels for the transportation of troops over the shallow waters of that region with great expedition, hoping to surprise and capture New Orleans before their presence should be fairly suspected. They were disappointed. The revelations of Lafitte had made officers and people vigilant; and early in December, Commander Daniel T. Patterson, 27 then commanding the naval station at New Orleans, was warned by a letter from Pensacola of the approach of a powerful British land and naval armament. That vigilant officer immediately sent out five gun-boats, a tender, and a dispatch-boat toward the passes of Mariana and Christian, as scouts to watch for the enemy. They were commanded by Lieutenant (late Commodore) Thomas Ap Catesby Jones, who sent two gun-boats, under the respective commands of Lieutenant M‘Keever and Sailing-master Ulrick, to Dauphin Island, at the entrance to Mobile Bay, to catch the first intelligence of the foe. They discovered the great fleet on the 10th of December, and hastened to report the fact to Lieutenant Jones. Patterson had ordered that officer to take such position as would enable him, in the event of the enemy making their way into Lake Borgne, to cut off their barges and prevent the landing of troops. If Jones should be hard pressed, he was to fall back to the mud fort of Petites Coquilles, near the mouth of the Rigolets, between Lakes Borgne and Pontchartrain, and shelter his vessels under its guns.

When, on the afternoon of the 10th, the fog that succeeded the storm had cleared away, and the British fleet were in full view, Jones made for the Pass Christian with his little flotilla, where he anchored, and waited the approach of the invaders. He was discovered by the enemy on the 13th, much to their astonishment. It was evident that the Americans were acquainted with the intentions of the British, and had made preparations to meet them. Cochrane immediately gave orders for a change in the plan of operations. It would not do to attempt the landing of troops while American gun-boats were patrolling the waters of Lake Borgne. So he prepared a flotilla of almost sixty barges, the most of them carrying a carronade in the bow and an ample number of armed volunteers from the fleet, and sent them, in command of Captain Lockyer, to capture or destroy the American vessels. These were observed by Jones at four o’clock in the afternoon, when, in obedience to orders, he proceeded with his flotilla toward the Rigolets. A calm, and adverse water currents would not allow him to pass the channel between Point Clear of the main and Malheureux Island, and there he anchored at two o’clock on the morning of the 14th. Jones’s flagship was a little sloop of eighty tons, and the other vessels of his tiny squadron were commanded respectively by Sailing-masters Ferris and Ulrick, and Lieutenants M‘Keever and Speddon. The total number of men was one hundred and eighty-two, and of guns twenty-three.

With a cool morning breeze, the British barges, containing twelve hundred men, bore down upon Jones’s flotilla, while the tender, Alligator, was in the distance, vainly endeavoring to join the Americans. The barges, with six oars on each side, formed a long, straight line, and in that order swept rapidly forward, while Jones reserved his fire until they were within close range. Then M‘Keever hurled a 32-pound ball over the water, and a shower of grape-shot, which broke the British line and made great confusion. But the invaders pushed forward, and at half past eleven o’clock the engagement became general and desperate. At one time Jones’s boat was attacked by no less than fifteen barges. The Alligator was captured early, and, by the force of overwhelming numbers, the British, after a combat of almost an hour, gained a complete victory. It was at the cost of several of their barges, that were shattered and sunk, and about three hundred men killed and wounded. The Americans lost only six men killed and thirty-five wounded. Among the latter were Lieutenants Jones, M‘Keever, Parker, and Speddon. The British commander (Lockyer) was severely wounded; so also was Lieutenant Pratt, who, under the direction of Cockburn, had fired the national buildings of Washington City a little more than a hundred days before.

The capture of the American gun-boats gave the British complete control of Lake Borgne, and the lighter transports, filled with troops, immediately entered it. Ship after ship got aground, until at length the troops were all placed in small boats and conveyed about thirty miles to the Isle des Pois (or Pea Island), at the mouth of the Pearl River, and that desert spot was made the place of general rendezvous. There they landed between the 16th and 20th of December, and there General Keane organized his army for future operations.

Cochrane had been informed by some former Spanish residents of New Orleans that at the northwestern extremity of Lake Borgne there was a bayou (Bienvenu) navigable for large barges to within a short distance of the Mississippi River, just below New Orleans. He sent a party to explore it. They followed this bayou, and a canal across Villeré’s plantation, to a point half a mile from the Mississippi and nine miles below the city, and, hastening back, reported that the transportation of troops through that bayou was feasible. Vigorous measures were immediately adopted for an advance upon New Orleans, where the British troops were assured that wealth and ease awaited them. They were encouraged by ex-officials of the old Spanish government of Louisiana, who went to the British camp from New Orleans and represented Jackson as an ignorant tyrant, detested by the people, and void of any efficient means for defending the city.

Jackson was informed of the capture of the American gun-boats early on the 15th, when returning from a tour of observation in the direction of the River Chef Menteur, northeastward of the city. He at once perceived the importance of securing the passage of the Chef Menteur Road, that crosses the plain of Gentilly in that direction from the city to the strait between Lakes Borgne and Pontchartrain, and he ordered Major Lacoste, with his militia battalion of colored men and the dragoons of Feliciana, to proceed at once with two pieces of artillery, take post at the confluence of Bayou Sauvage and the River Chef Menteur, guard the road, cast up a redoubt at its terminus, and watch and oppose the enemy. He also proceeded to fortify and strengthen every point of approach to the city; sent messengers to Generals Coffee, Carroll, and Thomas, urging them to hasten to New Orleans with their commands as quickly as possible, and forwarded a dispatch to General Winchester, in command at Mobile, directing him to be on the alert.


Then he appointed the 18th of December for a grand review of all the remaining troops in New Orleans, in front of the old Cathedral of St. Louis, in the Place d’Armes (now Jackson Square), one of the yet remaining relics of the Spanish dominion in Louisiana. It was a memorable day in New Orleans. The whole population were out to witness the spectacle. The impending danger was great, while the military force was small and weak. Strength and resolution were communicated to it by stirring sentences from the lips of Jackson, and a thrilling and eloquent appeal which was read by his aid-de-camp, Edward Livingston. 29 The enthusiasm of the soldiers and citizens was intense; and Jackson, taking advantage of that state of public feeling, silenced the distracting voices of faction by declaring martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.


When the review was over, Major Plauché was sent with his battalion to the Bayou St. John, northward of the city; and at its mouth, on Lake Pontchartrain, Major Hughes was in command of Fort St. John. The Baratarians, on the urgent solicitation of their chief, Lafitte, were accepted as volunteers, mustered into the ranks, and drilled to the performance of important services, under the command of Captains Dominique You, Beluche, Songis, Lagaud, and Colson, at Forts Petites Coquilles, St. Philip, and St. John. The people cheerfully submitted to martial law; and, in the languages of England, France, and Spain, the streets were made to resound with "Yankee Doodle," the "Marseillaise hymn," and the "Chant du Depart." The women were as enthusiastic as the men, and at windows, on balconies, in the streets, and public squares, they applauded the passing soldiers by waving of scarfs and handkerchiefs and uttering cheering words. Martial music was continually heard, and New Orleans appeared more like a military camp than a quiet mart of commerce. Business was mostly suspended, and the Legislature passed a law for prolonging the term of payment on all contracts until the first of the ensuing May. Military rule was complete. Able-bodied men of every age, color, and nationality, excepting British, were pressed into the service; suspicious persons were sent out of the city, and no one was allowed to pass the chain of sentinels around it without a proper official permission.

While these preparations for the reception of the invaders were in progress, the British were making unceasing efforts to press forward and take New Orleans by surprise. They had determined to make use of the Bayou Bienvenu and Villeré’s Canal for the purpose; but with all their exertions, and after pressing the captured gun-boats into the service, they could not muster vessels enough fitted to navigate that bayou to carry more than one third of the army. Keane felt so confident of success, even with a small part of his force, that he could not brook farther delay; and on the morning of the 22d of December – a rainy, chilly, cheerless morning – a flotilla filled with troops set out, the advance, comprising eighteen hundred men, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Thornton, who had been wounded at Bladensburg. These were accompanied by General Keane and his staff and other important officers, and were followed by the remainder. Admiral Cochrane was in a schooner, at a proper distance to watch and direct the squadron. All day and all night they were out upon the lake in open boats. A clear sky and biting frost came at sunset, and the wet clothing of the soldiers was stiffened into iciness by the cold night air. Their discomforts ended in a measure at dawn, when they reached the Fisherman’s Village (inhabited by Spaniards and Portuguese, who were spies and traitors), at the mouth of the Bayou Bienvenu. They were only twelve miles from New Orleans, and not a soul in that city suspected their approach.


Yet there were vigilant eyes, wide open, watching the invaders. At the head of the Bayou Bienvenu was the plantation of General Villeré, the commander of the first division of Louisiana militia. Jackson had instructed his son, Major Gabriel Villeré, to watch that bayou with a competent picket-guard. He did so, faithfully; but when the British landed at Fisherman’s Village they captured the most of them. It proved to be a fortunate circumstance, for these men so magnified the number of Jackson’s troops, and the strength of the defenses around New Orleans, that they moved cautiously, and failed to surprise the vigilant hero in the city. They moved slowly up the bayou; but when they reached Villeré’s Canal the active Thornton pushed forward with a detachment, surrounded the mansion of the plantation, which is in sight of the Mississippi, and succeeded in capturing Major Villeré. He soon escaped, fled to the house of his neighbor, the gallant Colonel De la Ronde, and in a boat they hastened across the Mississippi. There, at the stables of M. De la Croix, one of the Committee of Public Safety of New Orleans, they procured fleet horses, and with that gentleman rode swiftly up the levee on the right bank of the river, and crossed again at New Orleans to warn Jackson of the approach of the foe. Augustus Rousseau, an active young Creole, who had been sent by Captain Ducros, was already there. He had reached Jackson’s head-quarters in Royal Street with the startling intelligence at about one o’clock, and a few minutes afterward Major Villeré and his party entered. "Gentlemen," said Jackson to the officers and citizens around him, "the British are below; we must fight them to-night!" He then ordered three discharges of cannon to give the alarm, and sent marching orders to several of the military commanders.

Jackson’s call upon Coffee, Carroll, and others had been quickly responded to. Coffee came speedily over the long and tedious route from Fort Jackson, on the Alabama River, to Baton Rouge, and was now encamped, with his brigade of mounted riflemen, on Avart’s plantation, five miles above New Orleans. The active young Carroll, who had left Nashville in November with Tennessee militia, arrived in flat-boats and barges at about the same time, and brought into camp a regiment of young, brave, well-armed, but inexperienced soldiers, expert in the use of the rifle, and eager for battle. They landed on the 22d of December, and were hailed by Jackson with great joy. A troop of horse, under the dashing young Hinds, raised in Louisiana, came at about the same time.

When, in the afternoon of the 23d, Jackson issued his marching orders, Coffee’s brigade was five miles above the city; Plauché’s battalion was at Bayou St. John, two miles distant; the Louisiana militia and half of Lacoste’s colored battalion were three miles off, on the Gentilly Road; and the regulars (Forty-fourth) under Colonel Ross, with Colonel M‘Rea’s artillery, a little more than eight hundred strong, were at Fort St. Charles, on the site of the present United States Branch Mint in New Orleans, and in the city barracks. Within an hour after Jackson was informed that the invaders were on the direct road to the city, along the river, and only nine miles distant, these troops were all in motion under special orders. Carroll and his Tennesseeans were dispatched to the upper branch of the Bayou Bienvenu; farther up the Gentilly Road Governor Claiborne was stationed with the Louisiana militia; and Coffee’s brigade, Plauché’s and D’Aquin’s battalions, Hinds’s dragoons, the New Orleans Rifles, under Captain Beale, and a few Choctaw Indians, commanded by Captain Jugeat, were ordered to rendezvous at Montreuil’s plantation, and hasten to Canal Rodriguez, six miles below the city, and there prepare to advance upon the foe. Commodore Patterson was directed to proceed down the Mississippi to the flank of the British at Villeré’s with such armed vessels as might be in readiness. Such was the scanty force with which Jackson proceeded to fight a foe of unknown numbers and strength.

While Jackson was assembling his troops, the invaders were making ready to march on New Orleans that night and take it by surprise. They sent forward a negro to distribute a proclamation, signed by General Keane and Admiral Cochrane, printed in French and Spanish, which read thus:

"Louisianians! remain quietly in your homes; your slaves shall be preserved to you, and your property respected. We make war only against Americans."

The British were bivouacked on the highest part of Villeré’s plantation, at the side of the levee and on the plain; and in the court between Villeré’s house (in which Keane and some of his officers made their head-quarters) and his sugar-works 31 they had mounted several cannon. They were in fine spirits. Full one half of the invading troops had been brought to the banks of the Mississippi, only nine miles from New Orleans, without firing a gun after capturing Jones’s flotilla, and they believed their near approach to be wholly unknown, and not even suspected, in the city. They were soon undeceived.

At seven o’clock in the evening, the schooner Carolina, the only vessel in readiness at New Orleans, commanded by Captain Henley, dropped down the river, and anchored off Villeré’s, within musket-shot distance of the centre of the British camp. At half past seven she opened a tremendous fire from her batteries, and in the course of ten minutes killed or wounded at least a hundred men. The British extinguished their campfires, and poured upon the Carolina a shower of bullets and Congreve rockets, but with no serious effect. In less than half an hour the schooner drove the enemy from their camp, and produced great confusion among them.


The American troops in the mean time, startled by the concerted signal of the Carolina’s cannonade, were moving on, guided by Colonel De la Ronde, who was a volunteer with Beale’s riflemen, and Major Villeré, who accompanied the commander-in-chief. The right, under Jackson, was composed of the regulars, Plauché’s and D’Aquin’s brigades, M‘Rea’s artillery, and some marines, and moved down the road along the levee; while the left, under Coffee, composed of his brigade, Hinds’s dragoons, and Beale’s rifles, skirted the edge of a cypress swamp for the purpose of endeavoring to cut off the communications of the invaders with Lake Borgne. Such was the simple plan of the battle, on the part of the Americans, on the night of the 23d of December, 1814.

The alarm and confusion in the British camp, caused by the attack of the Carolina, had scarcely been checked when they were startled by the crack of musketry in the direction of their outposts. Keane now gave full credence to the tales of his prisoners about the large number of troops – "more than twelve thousand" – in New Orleans, and gave the dashing Thornton full liberty to do as he liked. Thornton at once led a detachment, composed of the Eighty-fifth and Ninety-fifth Regiments, to the support of the pickets, and directed the Fourth, five hundred strong, to take post on Villeré’s Canal, near head-quarters, to keep open the communication with Lake Borgne. Thornton and his detachment were soon met by a resolute column under the immediate command of Jackson. He had made the Canal Rodriguez, which connected the Mississippi with the cypress swamp, his base of operations. He advanced with about fifteen hundred men and two pieces of artillery, perfectly covered with the gloom of night. Lieutenant M‘Clelland, at the head of a company of the Seventh, filing through De Ia Ronde’s gate, advanced to the boundary of Lacoste’s plantation, where, under the direction of Colonel Piatt, the quartermaster general, he encountered and attacked the British pickets, who were posted in a ditch behind a fence, and drove them back. These were speedily re-enforced, and a brisk engagement ensued, in which Piatt received a wound, and M‘Clelland and a sergeant were killed.

In the mean time the artillerists advanced up the Levee Road with the marines, when the British made a desperate attempt to seize their guns. There was a fierce struggle. Jackson saw it, and hastening to the spot, in the midst of a shower of bullets, he shouted, "Save the guns, my boys, at any sacrifice!" They did so, when the Seventh Regiment, commanded by Major Pierre, advanced, and, being joined by the Forty-fourth, the engagement became general between them and Thornton’s detachment. Plauché and D’Aquin soon joined their comrades, and the tide of success turned in favor of the Americans. The British, hard pressed, fell sullenly back to their original line unmolested, for the prudent Ross, commanding the regulars, would not allow a pursuit. Had it been permitted, it would have resulted, as was afterward discovered, most disastrously for the invaders. This conflict occurred not far from De la Ronde’s garden.


General Coffee in the mean time had advanced to the back of De la Ronde’s plantation, where his riflemen were dismounted, and their horses placed in charge of a hundred men at the canal that separated De la Ronde’s from Lacoste’s farm, the latter now the property of D. and E. Villeré. The ground was too much cut up with ditches to allow successful cavalry movements, and Major Hinds and his men remained at one of them, near the middle of Lacoste’s. Coffee’s division extended its front as much as possible, and moved in silence, while Beale and his riflemen stole around the enemy’s extreme left, on Villeré’s plantation, and by a sudden movement penetrated almost to the very heart of the British camp, killing several, and making others prisoners. By a blunder, made in consequence of the darkness, a number of Beale’s men were captured. In the mean time, Thornton, with the Eighty-fifth, fell heavily on Coffee’s line, and for some time a battle raged fiercely, not in regular order, but in detachments, squads, and often duels. In the darkness friends fought each other, supposing each to be a foe. The Tennesseeans and British riflemen were almost equally expert as sharp-shooters; but the short weapons of the English were not so efficient as the long ones of the American backwoodsmen. The Tennesseeans also used long knives and tomahawks vigorously. At last the British fell back, and took shelter behind the levee, more willing to incur the danger of shots from the Carolina than bullets from the rifles of the Tennesseeans. 32

During the engagement the second division of the British arrived from Bayou Bienvenu, and were in the thickest of the fight with Coffee for a while; but the fear of being cut off from communication with the lake and their ships made the enemy too cautious and timid to achieve what their superior numbers qualified them to perform. They kept within the lines of their camp, and by concentration presented a strong front. Jackson perceived that in the darkness, intensified by a fog that suddenly appeared, he could not follow up his victory with safety, so he led the right division back to the main entrance to De la Ronde’s plantation, while Coffee encamped near De la Ronde’s garden. 33

It was about half past nine when the conflict ceased, and at half past eleven, when all was becoming quiet in the respective camps, musket-firing was heard in the direction of Jumonville’s plantation, below Villeré’s. It was caused by the advance of some Louisiana drafted militia, stationed at a sharp bend of the Mississippi called the English Turn, under General David Morgan, who had insisted upon being led against the enemy when they heard the guns of the Carolina early in the evening. They met some British pickets at Jumonville’s, exchanged shots with them, encamped there for the night, and at dawn returned to their post at the English Turn.



1 One of the most eminent members of the Federal party (Harrison Gray Otis) charged the administration and the war with the authorship of that "monstrous depreciation of morals" and "execrable course of smuggling and fraud," and said that a class of citizens, "encouraged by the just odium against the war, sneer at the restraints of conscience, laugh at perjury, mock at legal restraints, and acquire ill-gotten wealth at the expense of public morals, and of the more sober, conscientious part of the community."

2 "Will Federalists subscribe to the loan? Will they lend money to our national rulers?" a leading Boston paper significantly asked. "It is impossible, first, because of the principle, and, secondly, because of principal and interest. If they lend money now, they make themselves parties to the violation of the Constitution, the cruelly oppressive measures in relation to commerce, and to all the crimes which have occurred in the field and in the cabinet. . . . Any Federalist who lends money to the government will be called infamous!" The people were then adroitly warned that money loaned to the government would not be safe. "How, where, and when," asked this disloyal newspaper, "are the government to get money to pay interest?" Then, in language almost the same as that of a distinguished leader of a Peace Faction of our day, a threat of future repudiation was thrown out, to create distrust in the government securities. "Who can tell," said the writer above alluded to, "whether future rulers may think the debt contracted under such circumstances, and by men who lend money to help out measures which they have loudly and constantly condemned, ought to be paid?"

Another newspaper said of the Boston merchants: "They will lend the government money to retrace their steps, but none to persevere in their present course. Let every highwayman find his own pistols." And a doctor of divinity shouted from the pulpit at Byfield: "If the rich men continue to furnish money, war will continue till the mountains are melted with blood – till every field in America is white with the bones of the people;" while another said, "Let no man who wishes to continue the war by active means, by vote or lending money, dare to prostrate himself at the altar on the fast-day, for such are actually as much partakers in the war as the soldier who thrusts his bayonet, and the judgment of God will await them."

These extracts give but a faint idea of the violence of the leaders of that faction. Many capitalists were intimidated, and were afraid to negotiate for the loan openly, a fact which brokers at that time have placed on record. Gilbert and Dean advertised that the "names of all subscribers shall be known only to the undersigned." Another made it known that "the name of every applicant shall, at his request, be known only to the subscriber." Another assured the people that he had made arrangements "for perfect secrecy in the transaction of his business."

These advertisements excited the venom of the Peace party exceedingly, and they poured abuse upon the subscribers and the government together. "Money," said one of the most prominent among them, with great bitterness, "is such a drug (the surest signs of the former prosperity and present insecurity of trade), that men, against their consciences, their honor, their duty, their professions and promises, are willing to lend it secretly to support the very measures which are both intended and calculated for their ruin." Another said, "How degraded must our government be, even in her own eyes, when they resort to such tricks to obtain money, which a common Jew broker would be ashamed of. They must be well acquainted with the fabric of the men who are to loan them money when they offer that if they will have the goodness to do it their names shall not be exposed to the world."

3 When, in deference to public opinion, the Boston bankers attempted to explain their movement in this matter, they made the specious plea of their right to the balances due them from other banks. This was not satisfactory. Matthew Carey, one of the ablest publicists of the day, says that the demand was made at a season of the year when freight on the specie, on account of the bad state of the roads, was from twenty to thirty per cent. more than it would have been had they waited a few weeks. That they could have waited without detriment to any interest is made manifest by the following statement of the condition of the banks in Massachusetts in January, 1814, just before the movement was made:



Notes in

Massachusetts Bank












New England









By this statement it appears that they had in their vaults about $250 in specie for every $100 of their notes in circulation: "a state of things," says Carey, "probably unparalleled in the history of banking from the days of the Lombards to the present time."

4 The injurious effects upon the paper currency of the country may be seen by the following price current, published on the 7th of February, 1815:


Below Par.

All the banks in New York State, Hudson and Orange excepted.

19 to 20 per cent.

Hudson Bank.

20 per cent.

Orange Bank.

24 per cent.

Philadelphia City Banks.

24 per cent.

Baltimore Banks.

30 per cent.

Treasury Notes.

24 to 25 per cent.

United States six per cents.

30 per cent.

5 These transactions with the public were made so boldly that advertisements like the following appeared in the Boston papers:

So great was the drain caused by the transmission of gold to Canada, and the demand for specie to pay for smuggled goods brought from Canada and Nova Scotia, that the specie in the Massachusetts banks was reduced in the course of six months nearly $3,500,000 – the amount being $5,468,604 on the 1st of July, 1814, and only $1,999,368 on the 1st of January, 1815.

6 John Armstrong was born at Carlisle, in Pennsylvania, on the 25th of November, 1758. He was a student at Princeton College when the old War for Independence broke out, when he joined the army, and soon became a member of the staff of General Mercer. He was afterward on the staff of General Gates, and was for a while adjutant general of the Southern Army under that leader. He remained with that officer until the close of the war. Young Armstrong was the author of the celebrated Newburg Addresses just at the close of hostilities. While their tendency was most dangerous to the public welfare, Washington bore testimony to the patriotic motives of the writer. Armstrong was Secretary of State of Pennsylvania. After marrying the sister of Chancellor Livingston, of New York, he settled on the Hudson, in that State, near Red Hook, where he resided until his death on the 1st of April, 1833. He was United States senator in the year 1800, and in 1804 President Jefferson appointed him minister to France, where he performed his duties with ability. He was appointed brigadier general when the war broke out in 1812, and the following year he was called to the office of Secretary of War, which he reluctantly accepted. When he retired from that post he left public life forever.

7 Dallas’s proposition contemplated a national bank with a capital of $50,000,000, one tenth in specie and the remainder in government stocks; the government to subscribe two fifths of the capital, and to have the appointment of the president and a third of the directors, and power also to authorize the suspension of specie payments. A bill chartering a national bank was passed in 1815, but was vetoed by the President of the United States. Finally, in April, 1816, an act incorporating a national bank became a law. This was the famous United States Bank, whose existence terminated in 1836.

Alexander J. Dallas was born in the island of Jamaica in 1759. His father was a Scotchman, and an eminent physician there. This son was educated at Edinburg and Westminster. After the death of his father he settled in Philadelphia in 1783, and studied law. He was fond of literary pursuits, and at one time edited the Columbian Magazine. In 1801 President Jefferson appointed him United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In October, 1814, he was appointed Secretary of the Treasury, and in March, 1815, assumed the additional duties of Secretary of War. In November, 1816, he resigned, and returned to the practice of his profession. He died on the 16th of January, 1817.

8 The following are the names of the delegates: George Cabot, Nathan Dane, William Prescott, Harrison Gray Otis, Timothy Bigelow, Joshua Thomas, Samuel Sumner Wilde, Joseph Lyman, Stephen Longfellow, Jr., Daniel Waldo, Hodijah Baylies, and George Bliss, from Massachusetts; Chauncey Goodrich, John Treadwell, James Hillhouse, Zephaniah Swift, Nathaniel Smith, Calvin Goddard, and Roger Minot Sherman, from Connecticut; Daniel Lyman, Samuel Ward, Edward Manton, and Benjamin Hazard, from Rhode Island; Benjamin West, and Mills Olcott, from New Hampshire; and William Hall, Jr., from Vermont.

9 They proposed, by amendments to the Constitution, to accomplish the following results: 1. The restriction of the power of Congress to declare and make war. 2. A restraint of the exercise of unlimited power by Congress to make new states and admit them into the Union. 3. A restraint of the powers of Congress in laying embargoes and restrictions on commerce. 4. A stipulation that a President of the United States shall not be elected from the same state two consecutive terms. 5. That the same person shall not be elected President a second time. 6. That alterations be made concerning slave representation and taxation.

10 The report, moderate but firm, able in construction, and forcible though heretical in arguments and conclusions, was immediately published, and extensively circulated throughout the country. It was read with the greatest avidity. It disappointed the expectations of the radical Federalists and the suspicious Democrats. The few disunionists of New England found in it no promises of a separation, and the administration party perceived in it no signs of sedition or treason. It presented a concise view of the current and past policy of the government, and summed up the sentiments of the Convention in the following resolutions, which were recommended for adoption to the state Legislatures:

"Resolved, That it be and hereby is recommended to the Legislatures of the several states represented in this Convention to adopt all such measures as may be necessary effectually to protect the citizens of said states from the operation and effects of all acts which have been or may be passed by the Congress of the United States, which shall contain provisions subjecting the militia or other citizens to forcible drafts, conscriptions, or impressments not authorized by the Constitution of the United States.

"Resolved, That it be and hereby is recommended to the said Legislatures to authorize an immediate and earnest application to be made to the government of the United States, requesting their consent to some arrangement whereby the said states may, separately or in concert, be empowered to assume upon themselves the defense of their territory against the enemy; and a reasonable portion of the taxes collected within said states may be paid into the respective treasuries thereof, and appropriated to the payment of the balance due said states, and to the future defense of the same. The amount so paid into the said treasuries to be credited, and the disbursements made as aforesaid to be charged, to the United States.

"Resolved, That it be and it hereby is recommended to the Legislatures of the aforesaid states to pass laws (where it has not already been done) authorizing the governors or commanders-in-chief of their militia to make detachments of the same, or to form voluntary corps, as shall be most convenient and conformable to their Constitutions, and to cause the same to be well armed, equipped, and disciplined, and held in readiness for service; and, upon the request of the governor of either of the other states, to employ the whole of such detachments or corps, as well as the regular force of the state, or such part thereof as may be required, and can be spared consistently with the safety of the state, in assisting the state making such request, to repel any invasion thereof which shall be made or attempted by the public enemy."

There were other resolutions, but they referred to amendments of the Constitution already alluded to. The most that can be said against the resolutions just quoted is, that they abandon the doctrine of a consolidated nation formed by the ratification of the Constitution by the people, for which the Washingtonian Federalists so strenuously contended, and are deeply tinged with the fatal heresy of state supremacy, or, at least, state independence, which has produced fearful effects in our day.

11 The author is indebted to the kindness of Messrs. E. B. and E. C. Kellogg, of Hartford, Connecticut, for a careful copy of the signatures of the members of the Convention, printed on the opposite page, precisely as they are attached to the address and resolutions. The following brief notices of those members, compiled from sketches made by Mr. Dwight, the secretary of the Convention, will give the reader some idea of the dignity of that body:

George Cabot, the president of the Convention, was a descendant of one of the discoverers of the American continent of that name. He was a warm Whig during the Revolutionary struggle, and, soon after the adoption of the National Constitution, was chosen a senator in Congress by the Legislature of Massachusetts. He was a pure-hearted, lofty-minded citizen, a sound statesman, and a man beloved by all who knew him.

Nathan Dane was a lawyer of eminence, and was also a Whig in the days of the Revolution. He was a representative of Massachusetts in Congress during the Confederation, and was specially noticed for his services in procuring the insertion of a provision in the famous Ordinance of 1787, establishing territorial governments over the Territories northwest of the Ohio, which forever excluded slavery from those regions. He was universally esteemed for his wisdom and integrity.

William Prescott was a son of the distinguished Colonel Prescott, of the Revolution, who was conspicuous in the battle of Bunker Hill. He was an able lawyer, first in Salem, and then in Boston. He served with distinction in both branches of the Massachusetts Legislature.

Harrison Gray Otis was a native of Boston, and member of the family of that name distinguished in the Revolution. He was a lawyer by profession, and served the public in the Massachusetts Legislature and in the National Congress. He was an eloquent speaker, and as a public man, as well as a private citizen, he was very popular.

Timothy Bigelow was a lawyer, and for several years was speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Joshua Thomas was judge of Probate in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, and was a man of unblemished reputation in public and private life.

Joseph Lyman was a lawyer, and for several years held the office of sheriff of his county.

George Bliss was an eminent lawyer, and distinguished for his learning, industry, and integrity. He was several times a member of the Massachusetts Legislature.

Daniel Waldo was a resident of Worcester, where he established himself in early life as a merchant. He was a state senator, but would seldom consent to an election to office.

Samuel Sumner Wilde was a lawyer, and was raised to a seat on the bench of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts.

Hodijah Baylies was an officer in the Continental Army, in which position he served with reputation. He was for many years judge of Probate in the county in which he lived, and was distinguished for sound understanding, fine talents, and unimpeachable integrity.

Stephen Longfellow, Jr., was a lawyer of eminence in Portland, Maine, where he stood at the head of his profession. He was a representative in Congress.

Chauncey Goodrich was an eminent lawyer, and was for many years a member of the Legislature of Connecticut in both of its branches. He was also a member of both houses of Congress, and lieutenant governor of Connecticut. His reputation was very exalted as a pure statesman and useful citizen.

John Treadwell was in public stations in Connecticut a greater part of his life, where he was a member of both legislative branches of the government, was a long time a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and was both lieutenant governor and governor of the state. He was a Whig in the Revolution, and a politician of the Washington school.

James Hillhouse was a man of eminent ability, and widely known. He was a lawyer of celebrity, served as a member of the Legislature of Connecticut, and was for more than twenty years either a senator or representative in Congress. He fought bravely for his country in the old War for Independence, and was always active, energetic, and public-spirited.

Zephaniah Swift was a distinguished lawyer. He served as speaker of the Connecticut Assembly, and was a member of Congress, a judge, and for a number of years chief justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut.

Nathaniel Smith was an extraordinary man. He was a lawyer by profession, and for many years was considered as one of the most distinguished members of his profession in Connecticut. He was a member of Congress, and a judge of the Supreme Court of Connecticut. His whole life was marked by purity of morals and love of country.

Calvin Goddard was a native of Massachusetts, but studied and practiced law in Connecticut, and became a distinguished citizen of that state. He arose to great eminence in his profession, and was in Congress four years. He was repeatedly elected a member of the General Assembly, and was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of that state.

Roger Minot Sherman was another distinguished lawyer of Connecticut, and was for a long time connected with the government of that state. He was a man of highest reputation as the possessor of the qualities of a good citizen.

Daniel Lyman was a soldier of the Revolution, and rose to the rank of major in the Continental Army. After the peace he settled as a lawyer in Rhode Island, where he became distinguished for talents and integrity. He was chief justice of the Supreme Court of that state.

Samuel Ward was a son of Governor Ward, of Rhode Island, and at the age of eighteen years was a captain in the Continental Army. He was with Arnold in his expedition to Quebec in 1775. At that city he was made a prisoner. Before the close of the war he rose to the rank of colonel. He was elected a member of the Convention held at Annapolis, in Maryland, in 1786, which was the inception of the Convention which framed the National Constitution.

Benjamin Hazard was a native of Rhode Island, and a lawyer, in which profession he was eminent. He served for many years in the Legislature of his state.

Edward Manton was a native of Rhode Island, and rarely mingled in the political discussions of his day. He was a man of sterling worth in every relation in life.

Benjamin West was a native of New Hampshire, and a lawyer by profession, in which he had a good reputation.

Mills Olcott was a native of New Hampshire, and a son of Chief Justice Olcott, of that state. He was a lawyer by profession.

William Hall, Jr., was a native of Vermont. His business was that of a merchant, and he was frequently a member of the State Legislature. He was universally esteemed and respected by all good men.

12 See Chapter XXXIII.

13 This was the appearance of The Hermitage when the writer visited and sketched it in the spring of 1861.

14 See page 742.

15 See page 782.

16 The British counted largely upon the passive acquiescence, if not actual assistance, of the French and Spanish inhabitants of Louisiana, who had been opposed to the rule of the United States government, and also upon the aid of the slaves, whose freedom was to be proclaimed when the British should obtain a sure foothold on the borders of the Mississippi River or the Gulf of Mexico.

17 The package contained, besides these two letters, Nichols’s proclamation to the inhabitants of Louisiana, and a copy of Captain Percy’s orders to Captain Lockyer, in which the latter was directed, if successful in his mission, to "concert measures for the annoyance of the enemy, having an eye to the juncture of the small armed vessels" of the Baratarians with those of the British "for the capture of Mobile," etc.

18 Lafitte had amassed a large fortune by his lawless pursuits, and perceived the danger that menaced his trade, his possessions, and his liberty. Already his brother, who had been his chief agent in New Orleans, was in prison for his offenses, and the authorities of the United States were preparing to strike a withering blow at Barataria. Lafitte, willing to save himself and his possessions, and preferring to be called a patriot rather than a pirate, asked the British messengers to allow him a few days for consideration. When Lockyer departed Lafitte sent the documents up to New Orleans, as mentioned in the text.

19 An order was actually issued from the War Department authorizing Jackson to seize Pensacola, but it did not reach him until six months afterward, when the war had ceased.

20 This is from the portrait of General Jackson in the City Hall, New York, which was painted by order of the Common Council for the city by John Vanderlyn, in 1819, when Jackson was fifty-two years of age.

21 Latour says that the officers of the garrison took an oath not to recede from this determination in any case, nor on any pretext, and that in the event of the death of one of them all the others should adhere to it. – Historical Memoir of the War in West Florida and Louisiana, by Major A. La Carriere Latour.

22 William Lawrence was a native of Maryland. He entered the service as second lieutenant of infantry in June, 1801. He was adjutant in 1807, captain in 1810, major in April, 1814, and was breveted lieutenant colonel for his gallant services at Fort Bowyer. He was made full lieutenant colonel in 1818, and in 1824 was breveted colonel for ten years’ faithful services. He was made full colonel in 1828, and resigned in July, 1831.

23 These consisted of about one thousand regulars, composed of the Third, Thirty-ninth, and Forty-fourth Infantry, the Tennessee volunteers, and a battalion of volunteer dragoons from the Mississippi Territory.

24 The right of the column consisted of Tennessee Volunteers, under General Coffee; the centre, of the Thirty-third and Forty-fourth regulars, under Major Woodruff; and the left, of the Tennessee militia and Choctaw Indians, under Majors Blue and Kennedy, with a battalion of Mississippi dragoons commanded by Major Hinds.

25 This committee consisted of Edward Livingston, Pierre Foucher, Dussau de la Croix, Benjamin Morgan, George Ogden, Dominique Bouligny, J. A. Destrehan, John Blanque, and Augustine Macarté.

26 This battalion numbered three hundred and eighty-five men, and was composed of the companies named respectively Hulans, or foot dragoons, under Captain St. Genre; Francs, Captain Hudry; Louisiana Blues, Captain Maunsel White; and Chasseurs, Captain Guibert.


27 Daniel T. Patterson was born in the State of New York, and entered the navy as a midshipman in 1800, under Commodore Bainbridge, and was with that officer as a captive in Tripoli. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1807, and to master commandant in 1813. After his valuable services near New Orleans he was promoted to captain, in February, 1815. From 1828 to 1832 he served as navy commissioner, and from 1832 to 1835 commanded a squadron in the Mediterranean. He died while in command of the navy yard at Washington on the 15th of August, 1839, and was buried in the Congressional Burying-ground near that city, where a small, neat monument marks his grave.

28 This is from a sketch made by the author in April, 1861, from Jackson Square. The Government House is seen on the right.

29 Edward Livingston was born on the Livingston manor, on the Hudson, in 1764. He was graduated at Princeton College in 1781, and was admitted to the bar in 1785. He was elected to a seat in Congress in 1794, to which he was reelected until 1801, when President Jefferson appointed him United States District Attorney for New York. He made New Orleans his residence. He was the author of the penal code of Louisiana, adopted in 1824. He was again in Congress in 1823, and in the National Senate in 1829. He was appointed American minister to the French Court in 1833. He died at his residence in Duchess County, New York, on the 23d of May, 1837.

30 This is from a sketch made by the author in April, 1861. The buildings seen in the distance, beyond the avenue of trees, were the sugar-works of the plantation.

31 See note and picture on page 1029.

32 The loss of the Americans in the affair on the night of the 23d of December was twenty-four killed, one hundred and fifteen wounded, and seventy-four prisoners; in all, two hundred and thirteen. Among the killed was the brave Lieutenant Colonel Lauderdale, of Coffee’s brigade of mounted riflemen. The British loss was about four hundred men. According to the most careful estimates, the number of Americans engaged in the battle was about eighteen hundred, while that of the invaders, including the re-enforcements that came during the engagement, was about twenty-five hundred. The Carolina gave the Americans a great advantage, and made the effective power about equal to that of the foe.


One of the distinguished British officers wounded in this engagement, and who yet (1867) survives, was Sir De Lacy Evans. He was also wounded in the battle nearer New Orleans, which occurred a little more than a fortnight later. Sir De Lacy was born in Ireland in 1787. He entered the British Army in the East Indies as ensign, and served there from 1807 to 1810 in the war against Ameer Khan. He also served with distinction in Spain. In 1814 he became brevet lieutenant colonel of a West India regiment, and was with General Ross in the battle of Bladensburg, where he had two horses shot under him. He led the column into Washington City. He was active also in the movement on Baltimore. After his second wound before New Orleans he was sent home, and was afterward with Wellington at Quatre Bras. When the Crimean War broke out he was appointed lieutenant general, and commanded the second division of the British Army. He greatly distinguished himself in that war. For his services there he received the Grand Cross of the Bath, and Louis Napoleon made him grand officer of the Legion of Honor.

33 In the room of the Historical Society of Tennessee, in the Capitol at Nashville, may be seen an interesting memento of the battle on the night of the 23d of December, 1814. It is a tattered flag that was borne through that battle by a company from Shelbyville, Tennessee, commanded by Captain James Moore. It was presented to that company by the women of Bedford County. It is of silk, of the pattern of the national flag, on which was painted a gray eagle bearing a national shield, and a ribbon inscribed LIBERTY AND INDEPENDENCE. Its appearance when the writer made a sketch of it in the spring of 1861 is indicated in the picture below.



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