Letter from Andrew Jackson to James Monroe

Head Quarters 7. M. District
New Orleans
25. Jan. 1815
     I advised you on the 20th that the enemy had two nights before, decamped & returned to his fltilla. No circumstances have since transpired to make it certain whether he intends to abandon his orginal purpose altogether or to exert his efforts for its accomplishment at some other point. I am persuaded however that the discomfiture he has met with has left him without the means of prosecuting it for the present with any hopes of success; But having manifested, by bringing with him all the preparations for the immediate establishment of colonial government, not only the facility with which he calculated on attaining his object, but the high value which he set upon it, it is not improbable that though disappointed in his hopes of easy success he may not have finally relinquished his intention.  The interval of his absence ought there fore to be industriously employed in providing the most effectual means against his possible return.  My opinion is that for the effectual defence of this District, should the enemy meditate a renewal of his attempts, not less than 5000 regular troops are necessary; & for permanent defence, that is the only description of troops upon which reliance can be placed. It is true, the militia who were sent hither from the country above, on the late emergency have approved themselves worthy the high confidence we had in them, & shewn indeed, that for such a purpose they are inferior to no troops in the in the world; but it is only for purposes thus temporary that they can be considered as valuable. The short periods of their engagements, not more than their habits of life by which when they have made one excursion or fought one battle, they are so strongly recalled to their familes & home render them a very unequal match, in continued warfare, for men who following arms as a profession, are scarcely entitled to merit for perseverance.
     The secrecy & expedition with which the enemy was enabled to approach us with so powerful a force, is also a proof that that by which his arrival or be subject to delay in its application.
     As composing a part of the force which may be necessary for the defence of this country I would beg leave to recommend 6 companies of Light artillery, & 1000 riflemen as peculiarly suitable; & permit me also to remark that an able engineer is greatly wanted here, & cannot be sent too soon.
     Officers are greatly wanted to complete the 3d. 7th. & 44th Regts which are very deficient.
     The innumerable bayous & outlets from the Lakes which had hitherto been so little known or regarded, gave to the enemy on his late incursion facilities <advantages> of which it will be my duty to deprive him hereafter; & when I shall have succeeded in that, the force which would otherwise be necessary for the defence of this country, will bear considerable diminution.
     I will further take the liberty to suggest that the Block ship, now lying on lake Ponchartrain in an unfinished state ought immediately to be completed; Why she has been thus left I am quite at a loss to conjecture, as she is peculiarly adapted to the defence of the lakes. What makes it the more remarkable is that the covering which has been provided for her has probably cost the government more than it would to have completed her.
     Col Haynes to whom this is entrusted will be enabled from the opportunities he has had, & his accuracy of observation to afford much useful information on the several points to which I have referred as well as on others relative to the situation & the proper defences of this country.


Letter from William Charles Cole Claiborne to Andrew Jackson

New Orleans Jany 22nd. 1815
     Your letter of this date has been received. I have forwarded Instructions to General McCausland "to transmit direct to you, a return of the whole strength of his present command, stating particularly the number of Riflemen, of Artillerists, Infantry and Indians," and to communicate also to you, "the position which the Light pieces now occupy; the advantages and disadvantages of the same, and to represent also in detail, the reasons which induced him to think a removal of two of these pieces to the fortified camp desireable."
     As regards the reinforcement of 250 men, of which you speak, it has not been ordered by me and the following explanation, will I presume, be satisfactory. At the very moment of receiving your Instructions to reinforce the Post at Chef Menteur, I sent Colonel Shaumburn (my aid) to carry the same into execution, & of which I informed you by Letter; But Shaumburg (to whose care the Letter was committed) was specially instructed to say to you, that General Vilere's command from which the reinforcements could alone be taken, were for the most part without arms. On Shaumburg's Return, he represented, "that in a conversation with you upon the subject, you had said to him, "that having found out the Villere's command were unarmed, and that they had four of five hundred Negroes to take care of, you had ordered the Dragoons & some mounted men to Chef Menteur." Hence Shaumburg concluded, and so stated to me, that no further reinforcement was then expected from me. But you desire, that a reinforcemtn of 250 men be now forwarded. I have in fact no Troops to call upon. General Morgan who commands on the opposite shore does not consider himself subject to my orders; Generals Vilere & [Stephen A.] Hopkin's command are immediately at your dispostion, the different Detachemtns of militia coming from the Interior, have in obedience to your orders been instructed by Major General [Philemon] Thomas to report themselves immediately to you, and the several uniform and volunteer Battalions remain under your command. Under these circumstances, I must ask you to pint out the corps from which the reinforcement to Chef Menteur is to be taken. I am Sir, respectfully your hble srvt

William C. C. Claiborne


Letter from John Lambert to Andrew Jackson

Jany. 20th. 1815.

     Mr. Celestin Chiapella the bearer of this, is a Person, whom, previous to the British Force making a movement on the night of the 18th. I had from some particular circumstances thought right to detain for a few days.  I shall send him back tomorrow and I have requested him to deliver, this, the object of which is to acquaint you that to my great surprise, I found on reaching my Head Quarters, that a considerable number of Slaves had assembled there under the idea of embarking with the army. Every pains has been taken to persuade them to remain peaceabley at home, Mr. Celestin has taken with him those that chose to return with him, & the remainder will be given to any proprietors that may claim them & sending a Person who may have influence with them as soon as possible, will be the readiest mode & I will add every facility to their being sent back. I have the Honor to be Sir Your Obedient Servant

John Lambert
M.G.   Commd.


Letter from Andrew Jackson to James Winchester

Head quarters 7th M District
Camp 4 miles below N Orleans
January 19th 1815

Dr. Genl
     From the affair of the 8th. to 12 oclock P M on the 18th I kept up a harrassing fire on the enemy when he precipitately retreated to his flotilla leaving Eighty wounded including two officers, and fourteen peaces of heave artillery, six Eighteen pounders on their carriages compleat-- The enemy on the morning of the 18th retreated from before Fort. St. Phillips after bombarding it for nine days with no other effect than killing one man & wounding seven-- throwing upwards of 1000 shells from a 13 1/2 Inch mortar-- Louisiana is now clear of an enemy, where he may attempt to strike, or whether he is able to strike at all is uncertain-- The Prisoner acknowledge a loss of upwards of 4000, the Flower of their army and all their valuable officers-- Lt. Genl Packingham, and Major Genl Gibbs are both dead-- Major General Kean is badly wounded-- Major Genl Lambart is said to have went crazy, and the British army now commanded by a Colo. Still we must be vigilent and on the alert-- My whole effectives with arms on the 8th instant did no amount to 4000 three thousand on the left bank engaged. My regular force 550 nearly two thirds of whom are not better than raw militia-- But with this force with vigilence I have defeated this Boasted army of Lord Wellingtons-- double my numbers at least--Should this crippled army attemp to vissit you on their passage home you will give a good account of them.  I think they are bound for Bermuda, there to await further orders-- and as soon as there defeat reaches gent-- we will have peace in my oppinion-- respectfully yours in haste,

Andrew Jackson

Letter from Andrew Jackson to James Monroe

Head Quarters 7. M. District
Camp 4 miles below Orleans
19. Jan. 1815

     Last night at 12 Oclk the enemy precipitately decamped & returned to his boats-- leaving behind him, under medical attendance, eighty of his wounded, including two officers-- fourteen pieces of his heavy artillery, & a quantity of shot, having destroyed much of his powder. Such was the situation of the ground which he abandoned, & of that through which he retired-- protected by Canals, redoubts, entrenchments & swamps on his Right, & the river on his Left that I could not, without encountering a risque, which my true policy did not seem to require or to authorise, attempt to annoy him much on his retreat.  We took only eight prisoners.
     Whether it is the purpose of the enemy to abandon the expedition altogether or renew his efforts at some other point, I do not pretend to determine with positiveness. In my own mind however there is but little doubt that his last exertions have been made in this quarter, at any rate for the present season; &by the next, I hope we shall be fully prepared for him. In this belief I am strengthened not only by the prodigious loss he has sustained at the position he has just quitted, but by the failure of his fleet to pass Ft. St. Phillip
     His loss, on this ground, since the debarkation of his troops, as stated by all the last prisoners & deserters, & as confirmed by many additional circumstances, must have exceeded four thousand; & was greater, in the action of the 8th. than was estimated, from the most correct data then in his possession, by the Inspector General, whose report has been forwarded you. I am more & more satisfied in the belief that had the arms destined for the use of this army reached us in time (& they have not reached us yet) the whole British army, in this quarter, would before now, have been captured or destroyed.   We succeeded, however, on that day, in getting from the enemy about 1000 stand, of various descriptions.
     Since the action of the 8th the enemy have been allowed very little respite--my artillery, from both sides of the river being constantly employed, til the night, & indeed until the hour of their retreat, in annoying them. No doubt they thought it quite time to quit a position on which so little rest could be found!
     I am advised by Major Overton who commands at Ft. St. Phillips, in a letter of the 18th, that the enemy having bombarded his Fort for 8 or 9 days from 13 inch mortars without effect, had, on the morning of that day, retired. I have little doubt that he would have been able to have sunk their vessels had they attempted to run by.
     Giving the proper weight to all theses considerations I believe you will not think me too sanguine in the belief that Louisiana is now clear of its enemy. I hope however, I need not assure you that wherever I command, such a believe shall never occasion any relaxation in the measures for resistance: I am but too sensible that the moment when the enemy is opposing us is not the most proper to provide them. I have the honor to be Sir with great respect Yr very Obt St

Andrew Jackson
Major Genl  comdg.

P.S. On the 18th. our prisoners, on shore, were delivered to us--an exchange having been previously agreed to. Those who are on board the fleet will be delivered at Petit Coquille-- after which I shall still have in my hands an excess of several hundred.


20th. Mr. Shields purser in the Navy, has today taken fifty four prisoners, among are 4 officers



Letter from Andrew Jackson to David Holmes

Head Quarters 7. M. District
Camp 4 miles below N. Orleans
18 Jan: 1815

     The repulse which the enemy met with on the 8th has, I believe, proved fatal to their hopes. Their loss on that day, was prodigious--exceeding according to their own accounts as well as to ours, 2600 Amongst their killed were genl Packingham the commander in chief, & Major general Gibbs who died the day after the action. Major general Kean was wounded, but still lives. Their army is, at present, conducted by Major general Lambert, who, if I mistake not, finds himself in a very great perplexity. To advance he cannot--to retreat is shameful. Reduced to this unhappy dilemma, I believe he is disposed to encounter disgrace rather than ruin, & will, as soon as his arrangements for this purpose effected, return to his shipping.  This, at any rate, is the design to which many symptoms seem to point.  Probably, when it is attempted to be put in execution I shall accompany him a short distance.
     If ever there was a occasion on which providence interfered, immediately, in the affairs of men it seems to have been on this.  What but such an interposition could have saved this country? Let us mingle our joys & our thanksgiving together.
     At a moment when my feelings are thus alive I should do violence to them if I did not hasten to offer you my thanks, as well for the good disposition you have manifested, as for the important services you have rendered. With the highest respect I have the honor to be Sir Yr. very Obt Sr.

Andrew Jackson
Major genl comdg. 

Letter from Andrew Jackson to William Charles Cole Claiborne

Head Quarters 7h. M. District
January 18h. 1815

     When you solicited my permission to pass to the right bank of the Mississippi; it was as you expressed & as I understood it, to encourage the troops, & eradicate the seeds of discontent that had taken place.
     I am sorry to find, from your letter of this date, that you have overrated, or not sufficiently exerted, your influence; and that your presence there has failed to produce the effects which were expected and desired.
     As to the Arms, you must be sensible Sir, that the proportion in the hands of the troops on the right is equal to that on the left bank, and that it is the duty of the commander of both stations to make the most of the resources in their power, and not to give way to such desponding Sentiments as are contained in your letter.
     I am however the less surprised at the expression of those sentiments, since I have been informed of the purport of your conversation with General Carrick to day, relative to his command; The stile of which was altogether different from what ought to have been expected from one whose duty so strongly inculcated the recommendation of union, and the suppression of all jealousies relative to rank.
     I must not close my letter without remaking on the wonderful difference which appears between the statement you have made, relative to the force & equipments on the other side of the river, & that made by General Morgan on the 17h. Instant. The General represent the aggregate of men to be 1463: and computes the effective force at 1356. there being 170 without arms. 
     To what am I to ascribe this sudden reduction of force under your own inspection and Government? Can it be possible that you have been so incautious as to use to the Officers of that corps language similar to that you used to General Carrick; and must I ascribe to that cause, in any degree, the unhappy deficiency of which you complain.
     This sir is not a time for complaint, or equivocation. A moment which requires, so imperiously, the strictest performance of duties, must be fooled by another in which an Explanation will be demanded for every failure. If the Chief Magistrate of the State shall be unable to render a satisfactory one, he neither will nor ought to derive any apology, or support from the dignity of his Station. I am respectfully Yr. Obt. Servt.

Andrew Jackson
Majr. General Comd'g


Agreement for Exchange of Prisoners between Edward Livingston and Andrew Jackson

Head Quarters 7th Military District
Jany. 17. 1815

     Provisional articles agreed on between Major Smith authorised by Major Genl Lambert and Edward Livingston aid de camp to Major Genl Jackson authorised by him for that purposed subject to the ratification of the respective commanders of the two armies Between the lines Jany 17. 1815.
     1.It being understood that Admiral Sr. Alexander Cochrane has sent or will immediately send the American prisoners as well of the Army as Navy now on board the british fleet to the mouth of the Rigolets It is agreed that a nominal & descriptive receipt shall be given for the same upon honor and that on the receipt of the said Prisoners a number of british prisoners equal in rank and number to those so sent to the Rigolets together with those confined in the british camp shall be sent to the Mouth of the River & be received by ships appointed for that purpose by the Admiral.
     2. At the same time all the prisoners now in the british Camp shall be sent to the American Lines and receipted for as above not to serve until an Equal number of English prisoners sahll be delivered
     3. Officers of Equal Rank shall be exchanged for Equal Rank & wounded for wounded as far as circumstances will permit

Edw Livingston
H G Smith

I approve and ratify the above arrangement

Andrew Jackson
Major Genl comdg

Letter from Andrew Jackson to William Charles Cole Claiborne

Head Quarters 7h. M. D.
January 17h. 1815

     Complaint has been made to me, by the Soldiery, on the right Bank of the River Mississippi; for the want of rations.
     That they have to go to N. Orleans; and the agent of the contractor has stated; that this arrangement has been entered into by you with the contractor. I have to ask you for an explanation of this thing-- And in the mean time State to you that the rations must be delivered by the contractor at the camp; And this I have ordered.
     To enable the Contractor to do this, if he requires it; the Commanding Officer of the troops on the right bank will have detained a small detachment for this service. But on no account must the Troops be permitted to leave the Camp.
     The Enemy is, from his Manovers is about to make a movement-- And all hands must be at their post. an enterprising, daring Officer, at Chef Menteur, with the reinforcement ordered, would reap brilliant laurels, Genl. Morgan with Col. Declouetts Regt. will beheld in readiness to move at a moments warning to the English Turn, or such other point, as the movement of the enemy, may make necessary. I am respectfully
Andrew Jackson
Majr. Genl. Comdg.


Letter from Capt. John Clavell to Admiral Cockburn re: maintaining embargo of Chesapeake Bay

January 16, 1815
His Majesty’s Ship Orlando at Georges Island in the Potowmac January 16th 1815
…I have a Tender up this River Havannah has one up the Rappahannock and Daundess (who is stationed from Point Lookout to Annapolis) has one up the Patuxent, and you may rely Sir that every exertion shall be used by myself and the Ships under my Orders for the Annoyance and Destruction of the Enemy's Trade in the Rivers within the Capes of the Chesapeake, or [nor] do I believe more than two has escaped Capture, both of which was discovered in the night and given chase to by Pandora and Saracen. The former chased one nearly two hundred miles and could not come up with her.
Saracen will sail in three or four days with the Transports and Prizes for Bermuda when I shall be quite at a loss for small vessels…
Everything goes on well at Tangier— Madagascar has not yet joined. I have had no communication with the Enemy except a Flag of Truce from Captain Gordon of the Constellation requesting that four School Boys taken in the Norfolk Packet may be liberated to which I acceded.
(Signed) John Clavell