Later From New Orleans


[Received at 10 o’clock last night.]
Extract of a letter from T. Johnson, esq. Post-Master at New-Orleans, dated December 17th
“The enemy’s vessels, about sixty sail, are at Ship Island, in the Bay of St. Louis. They approach the city by Lake Ponchartrain.-Our naval force on that lake consisted of five gun-boats and our small schooner; they were attacked by 38 of the enemy’s barges, and were carried after a severe action of an hour and thirty minutes. The enemy’s loss was great-thirteen of their barges were sunk. They are now masters of the lake. To oppose their march to the city, we have but two small forces; one at the mouth of the bayou St. John. If they effect a landing, a battle must decide the fate of the city. All here have full confidence in General Jackson, and calculate on a favorable result.
Our present force is 4000 regulars and militia. To this we may add, by Sunday, 2000 Tennessee troops under Gen. Coffee. The other force from Kentucky and Tennessee will not arrive in time. The fleet is the same you had in the Chesapeake, and is under Admiral Cochrane. Gen. Jackson has established the most perfect order and police. He is confident he can defend the place. The accounts of the enemy’s force are various. Our fate will be decided before you hear from me again.


Published in the Maryland Gazette-January 12, 1815.


Letter from John Coffee to Andrew Jackson

Camp at mouth of Sandy Creek,
four Oclock A.M. 17th. Decr. 1814

Dear Genl,

         Your orders through your Adjt. Genl. by express per Captain Gordon, was handed me, about eight Oclock last evening, one of my Regiments was absent 4 miles foraging (never as yet being able to procure that article here) my orders were sent immediately, and by exertion shall move my command this morning at sun rise, no time will be lost be me untill I reach New Orleans. I think we will reach you in four days, say by the evening of the 20th. Instant.
        My arms are in bad condition, and now I have no time to examine into their state, but I know we have from 2 to 4 hundred that are not good--if I could be furnished with muskets, and Cartridge Boxes to that amount I should be glad, it would be well to have the Boxes filled with cartridges before my arrival, all my powder has been destroyed by the rains on the march to this place, furnish us with the best rifle powder that can be had.
       My command are in fine spirits, and if we can reach you before Lord Hill arrives, we will give him a warm reception--
        Any supplies of arms and amunition that I am to receive from you, would be well to be forwarded to some point above Orleans, and recd. before we enter the town--
        I have dispatched an express to Genl. Carroll, have not heard of him since Col Hynes passed me--have also sent for Major Hyds Dragoons--every thing here is in motion.
        have two large Barges here, and my quarter master will some how or other, fill them with corn, say 2000, bushels and meet me at orleans--I have the honor to be with great respect your obt. Servt.
                                                                                             Jno. Coffee
                                                                                             Brigr. Genl.


Letter to James Winchester from Andrew Jackson

Head Quarters 7h. M. District New Orleans,
Decr: 16h. 1814

Dear General,

            I have the pleasure to acknowledge the rect. of your several letters of date the 8h. & 9h. Instant late last night, and have detained the bearer to day, to receive information form our Gun Boats, Said to be captured by the British On the 14h. instant, after a conflict of one hour and a half. It is reported by those who were in view, that they were attacked by thirty six Barges, that the conflict was dreadful, and that one half of the barges were sunk, before the Gun-Boats struck their Colours; but from contradictions in the relation I have a hope that some of them are still safe. If it should be true that they are all taken the communication from this to Mobile is entirely Closed, and you must immediately turn your attention for the supply of your army to the provision I have made by a requisition on Pope and Brahan of which I advised you in my last, and which will prevent your army from want--The transportation from Fort Jackson will be easy, and should the supply ordered not be sufficient, you will without delay make a requisition on Pope & Brahan, agents of Wood and Taylor for such number of rations as you may judge, will be sufficient for the supply of your Army--in short Sir, through that channel alone, can your Section of the country be supplied, or your troops fed, for the ballance of the War.
         I inclose you a letter from Capt. Brahan that will advise you of the exertions they are makeing to fill the requisition. The lakes in complete possession of the enemy will give me a large coast to watch & defend, and the difficulty of finding out their point of attack perplexing: but I trust with the smiles of heaven to be able to meet and defeat him at every point he may put his foot on land--in a few days I shall have the defence of the Mississippi complete. And I trust if Admiral Cochrane enters it he never will get out of it, unless as a prissoner--They may attempt to attack you at Mobile with the Gun Boats and Barges. Passing through pass Heron, and up the Bay, keep a good look out, and suffer them not to surprise you. They may endeavor to Cut of the Supplies from Mobile to Fort Bowyer; have a good supply of provision thrown into the Fort. I have carefully perused the Governor of Pensacola's letter, and have determined, to permit a small supply of provision to be sent for Pensacola.
       I will send it round to sea. I can not say whether the British will capture it, if they do; it must bring down on them the vengeance of the Spanish Government--and the small quantity cannot benefit them much. I fear you cannot under existing circumstances spare any from the wants of your Army, for the inhabitants of Pensacola; And if the British interrupt the supply I shall permit to be sent, They will I fear suffer. I have great need of regular troops here, and have called out the militia of Louissianna in mass. The Tennessee & Ky Troops have not yet reached me. I hope they will in a few days. I have ordered Genl. Coffee down by forced marches, & hope he will join me tomorrow.
        Forward on a report of the Strength of your army. Advise me where the East Tennessee and Georgia troops Are; The result of Majr. Blues expedition--And Guard well the communication between fort Jackson and your Army--Or your supplies may be cut off, which is your support and existance. Wishing you success & laurels I am very respectfully yr. Mo. Obt. Servt.

Letter to John Coffee from Andrew Jackson

Head quarters 7th. M. District Neworleans 
Decbr. 16th. 1814

Dr. Genl

            your letter of the 13th. instant is Just to hand I regret exceedingly the sufferings of you and your Brave followers, and send to you one thousand dollars pr express to bring you here--
            My letters have reached you, I hope the Tennessee and Kentuckey Troops, are heard of and will be here shortly--I need not say to you, to reach me by forced marches, it is enough to say, that [Lord Co]chrane is on our coast with about [eighty sa]il great & small, and report says has t[ake]n all our gun Boats in the lakes--I have still a hope it is not true--notwithstanding a naval officer reports that he saw the engagement & saw the gun Boats strike--
           I am astonished that the T. & Kentuckey Troops are not up--If heard from, please to dispatch an express, to them to proceed night and day untill the arive--and notify the commander of the Detachment of the regular Troops to proceed without delay to this place--In great haste I am yours sincerely

                                                                                             Andrew Jackson
                                                                                             Major Genl comdg.

General Orders to New Orleans Citizens

Head Quarters 7th. M District
Adjutant Generals office N. Orleans
16th. December 1814

General Orders.

        Major General Andrew Jackson commanding the 7th. U. States Military District declares the city and environs of New Orleans under strict martial law--and orders that in future the following rules be rigidly enforced. Viz--Every individual entering the city will report at the Adjutant General's office, and on failure to be arrested and held for examination--No person shall be permitted to leave the city without a permission in writing signed by the General or one of his Staff--No vessel, boat or other craft will be permitted to leave New Orleans or Bayou St. John without a passport in writing from the General (or one of his staff) or the commander of the naval forces of the United states on this station--The street lamps shall be extinguished at the hour of nine at night, after which period, persons of every description found in the streets, or not at their respective homes without permission in writing as aforesaid and not having the countersign shall be apprehended as spies and held for examination--The Dragoons and Hussars will be held in readiness to furnish patrols for the city and vicinity--The city guard will be furnished from the U.S. Inftry. an militia as will be specially required and posted under the direction of the proper officers--Brig General Morgan of the Louisiana Militia has been ordered into the service and will assume the command of said troops as under the requisition of the Sectry of War--Colo G T Ross and Lt Colo MacRea although on the recruiting service will consider themselves on duty in the line--The resignation of Thomas Gales Esqr is accepted to take effect this day and Augustus Davezac Esqr is hereby appointed Judge Advocate of the 7th. M. District vice Gales resigned subject to the approval of the proper authority--Mr Davezac will immediately receive from Mr. Gales all the documents relative to the court martial at present constituted, and will enter on his duties immediately--Colo G T Ross office of the day for to day and Lt Colo McRea for tomorrow--By  Command

Robert Butler
Adj General

Courtesy of the Andrew Jackson Papers Project


Message to New Orleans Citizens and Soldiers

HEAD-QUARTERS, 7th M. District, New Orleans,
December 15, 1814.

To the Citizens of New-Orleans,

          The Major- General commanding has with astonishment and regret learned that great consternation and alarm pervade your city.
          It is true the enemy is on our coast and threatens an invasion of our territory, but it is equally true, with union, energy, and the approbation of heaven, we will beat him at every point his temerity may induce him to set foot upon our soil The General with still greater astonishment, has heard that British emissaries have been permitted to propagate sediious reports amongst you, that the hreatened invasion is with a view of restoring the country to Spain from a supposition that some of you would be willing to return to your ancient government--believe not such incredible tales--your government is at peace with Spain--it is the vital enemy of your country, the common enemy of mankind, the highway robber of the world, that threatens you, and has sent his hirelings amongst you with this false report to put you off your guard, that you may fall an easy prey to him. Then look to your liberties, your property, the chastity of your wives and daughters. Take a retrospect of the conduct of the British army at Hampton and other places where it has entered our country--and every bosom which glows with patriotism and virtue, will be inspired with indignation and pant for the arrival of the hour when we shall meet and revenge these outrages against the laws of civilization and humanity.
         The general calls upon the inhabitants of the city, to trace this unfounded report to its source and bring the propagator to condign punishment. The rules and articles of war annex the punishment of death to any person holing secret correspondenc with the enemy creating false alarm or supplying him with provision, and the general announces his unalterable determination rigidly to execute the martial law in all cases which may come within his province.
          The safety of the district intrusted to the protection of the general must and will be maintained with the best blood of the country. and he is confident all good citizens will be found at their posts with their arms in their hands, determined to dispute every inch of ground with the enemy; that unanimity will pervade the country generally. But should the general be disappointed in this expectation he will separate our enemies from our friends. Those who are not for us are against us, and will be dealt with accordingly. By command,

                                                                                            Thomas L. Butler
                                                                                             Aid de Camp


Letter to Andrew Jackson from William Carroll

Head Quarters on board the transports Natchez
14th. December 1814


           We arrived here last night at 10 Oclock after a prosperous Voyage of 18 days from Nashville.
           I had expected to receive orders from you at this place pointing out our destination. But being disappointed I have despatched Colonel Hines to your Head Quarters in order to learn your pleasure in that subject. The Troops having been much fatigued by incessant duty require some relaxation and an opportunity of Washing their Cloathes Besides we have some sick, who will require every possible care and attention and in conformity with that design I shall establish a hospital and leave them here. A Keel Boat is in company with us or a little distance in our rear freighted with about 1400 stand of arms and amunition for the use of the Army; and a great number of my men, being badly armed, and many others not armed at all, I wish to ascertain if you will not permit me to furnish them from this boat. After remaining here one day or two at farthiest I shall fall down to Baton-rouge where I understand Genl. Coffee is stationed with his Brigade of mounted men, and where I will await the return of Colo Hines and your orders. I have the honor to be with Sentiments of esteem yr. Mo. Obt. Servt.

                                                                                                            Wm. Carroll
                                                                                                            Majr. Genl.
                                                                                                            Tennessee Troops


Admiral Cockburn orders continued total embargo on the Chesapeake Bay

December 13, 1814


You are hereby required and directed to take under your Orders His Majesty's Ships and Vessels named in the margin, and therewith to use every Effort and Exertion to maintain in the most strict and rigid manner possible the Blockade of the Chesapeake, and of all the Havens, Bays, Rivers, Creeks and Inlets therein situated; also to interrupt and to prevent (as far as may be possible,) the Communications by Water which the Enemy by means of small Vessels occasionally endeavors to renew and keep up between different Towns and Places in the Upper Parts of the said Bay.

…you are to understand that you are not to consider yourself at liberty to negotiate or carry into effect any Exchange for Prisoners of War, but that all you may make are to be sent into Port by each opportunity as they offer, for the purpose of being forwarded from thence to Europe (to prison). 

…You are to open any Official Letters which may be sent from the Enemy’s Shore directed for me, and you will send such immediate Answer to those which are not of consequence as they may seem to require, but should they contain requests or proposals of any Importance, or on Points which appear doubtful and on which you have not been Instructed, the Receipt of them is only to be acknowledged by you, with an Assurance of referring them to me with the least possible delay, which you will of Course do, when and in such manner as least inconvenient to the Service and the Importance of the circumstance may require.

 Given on board the Albion in the Chesapeake the 13th December 1814
(Signed) G Cockburn Rear Adml.


Letter to William Charles Cole Claiborne from Andrew Jackson

Head quarters 7 M. District New Orleans
Decr. 10h. 1814


           I last night returned from exploring the right and left bank of the river Mississippi down to Fort St. Philips, which I find capable of complete defence, against an invading foe, provided the necessary batteries were erected--I was furnished by the committee of defence with a copy of their report made to your Legislature, and being accompanied by Commodore Patterson, Messers. Latour & Tatum as engineers, I have concluded what points at or near Fort St. Philips as well as at and near the English Turn ought to be immediately occupied by batteries & men, for the Safety of New Orleans, and the settlements on the banks of the Mississippi. I have to appeal through you to the Patriotism of the Legislature of the State, for such aid as will enable me to have those works completed, in the Shortest possible time--It will require considerable labour to erect the various Batteries contemplated, and this Labour in a great measure must at this rainy season be performed by your Slaves--
          I have determined to have a strong battery erected, on the ground where Fort Bourbon stood. This from the estimate of Mr. Latour will with all the aid I can give with my troops, take one hundred negroes ten days--A strong battery I have also determined to have erected on the left bank of the Mississippi about a mile above Fort St. Philips, and above where Fort Bourbon Stood, so as not only to form a cross fire, but to concentrate the whole fire of the three batteries on any enemy that may attempt to force a passage. There is the key to the defence of the Mississippi and New Orleans, there the enemy must be halted or seriously crippled, so that our auxilliary defence higher up the river may be able to destroy them--This latter battery is all important, and will take one hundred negroes for Ten days, to place it in a State of defence, The works will have to be commenced in water. The Old intrenchments on the right bank of the River on Mr. Forestalls plantation is well calculated to meet an enemy on land, with light Troops and flying artilery, and ought to be placed in the best state of preparation for this purpose--But the permanent defence must be at the English Turn, and at the point of Terre aux Beouf--On the right and left Bank of the lower defence the works are progressing.
          The upper Battery will be commenced as soon as the Legislature will afford the necessary labourers--and I will give it every aid that the means in my power will afford--The necessary Guns with their Carriages will be furnished, I have the promise of the hearty cooperation of Commodore Patterson and a loan of all the heavy Ordnance that can be spared from the immediate use of the Navy--When I view the vast interest that the state of Louissianna has at stake & the Patriotism which influenced the report of your committee of defence, I cannot believe there will be a dissenting voice in your Assembly, in voting the necessary means for spedily completeing the works contemplated, which will give perfect security against the approach of an enemy, up the Mississippi--The other points embraced in the report of your Committee of defence will claim my earliest attention--And be immediately visited by me. But not a moment it to be lost in perfecting the defence of the Mississippi. With vigor, energy, and expedetion, all is safe, delay may loose all.
        You will therefore please to obtain the sence of the Legislature how far they will aid in erecting the works for the defence of the State, and I trust it will be ample, with the conduct of New York before them, on a Similar occasion--Should I be disappointed in the laudable feelings, that I am induced to beleive prevades your whole Legislature, it is necessary that I should know it, that I may employ what means I have in my power for the best defence of this Section of the District that is intrusted for my care. In the mean time I have to request, that you will arrange the fifty Militia, of the late requisition from the city of Orleans and have them ready to march by the morning of the 12h. Inst. I have the honor to be with Sentiments of respect yr. Excellencies Mo. Obt. Sert.

                                                                                             Andw. Jackson
                                                                                             Majr. Genl. Comdg.


British sail from Rappahannock

December 4, 1814

Tappahannock December 4th 6 O’clock PM


In two hours after my communication this morning the Enemy as suddenly & capriciously as the shift of wind which took place at that time turned about & made all Sail down the River.— His fleet consisting of fourteen craft including one large schooner & a Sloop heavily armed with all their Barges variously estimated from ten to twenty five all of which had ascended the River about 12 miles above this place, returned this morning about 10 'Clock and were out of sight standing down the River before 12 O’clock.—
We have intelligence of his passing Bowlers at an early hour this Evening and with the present wind unless he has anchored must have reached, nearly, the mouth of the River.—
This rapid & unlooked for movement has baffled all my schemes— I had anticipated from his bold & rapid ascent that he would have penetrated as high as the narrows of the River & there I had strong hopes of being able to make him feel us.—
I learn from an intelligent man of this place that the Expedition was commanded by Comdre. Barre & Coll. Malcomb— The number of troops landed here did not much, if any exceed 500 but it was evident they had other troops in Vessels from which they were not landed— Of the number landed here there were three companies, of about 50 each, of negroes in uniform and apparently well trained, commanded by white officers. — They were said to be Virginia & Maryland negroes, trained at Tangier Islands—
The above accounts are obtained from the only inhabitant of this place who remained while the Enemy
had possession of the Town. He is an intelligent & observant man— He got his information from (?) several Sentinels who were posted to protect his property from pillage, they differed in the number of troops employed in the expedition from 1800 to 2400—but they all agreed that the whole force in our waters was here, and that there aggregate loss from desertion since their arrival in the Chesapeake was about three hundred—
They further agreed in stating that the troops had been healthy & that but little loss had been sustained from sickness.—
Colo. Muse who has under his command below this about 600 men will give me the earliest information of the Enemies leaving the River or of their attempting to plunder below in which event I shall move down to his assistance—but if as I expect, they are really leaving the Rappahannock, as soon as I am informed of it, I shall take up the line of march for Camp Carters with my detachment and discharge Colo. Richie's Regt. and all the other local militia which has & are about to take the field—
The Artillery & Ammunition Asked for by my communication this morning you will of course  countermand I shall immediately do the same in regard to the additional force called from my Brigade—for even if the Enemy should ascend the River again, as suddenly as he has descended it, we have every reason to believe, that we could defeat any attempt on Fredericksburg if he dared to make it, by recalling to our aid the adjacent militia.
The plundering of the Enemy has been confined [to the] bay Shores and on of inconsiderable amount, & on a few plantations. Indeed his whole course has been marked with the most circumspect caution & evident alarm. He has never trusted himself on land a single night.—
An officer remarked here that their object was to harass the Militia—that they should beat about the Rivers for a week or two longer & then go into Winter Quarters—
There has been much wanton destruction of private property here—in breaking windows & furniture—and one deed of damnation has been performed which out does all their former atrocities—
The family Vault of the Ritchies was broken open and the Coffins searched— I have seen the shocking spectacle—
I have the honor to be etc.
J. H. Cocke B.C. Commanding