September 20th. 1814
We have as yet nothing official from Barataria, and what is of infinite more importance, we are stil in doubt as to the result of the attack on Mobille Point, altho' the most accredited private accounts, justify the pleasing belief, that the Enemy has been compelled to retire.
The News from the City of Washington is most afflicting; The Capital of the Union has fallen into the hands of the Enemy. The extent of the Injury done is not known; The public Buildings are all destroyed, but private property it is said was respected. This event will excite the deepest regret thro'out the United States; But it will surely call forth, the most immediate, Zealous and united efforts to repel the Invader: Louisiana has at this moment much to apprehend from Domestic Insurrection; We have every reason to beleive that the Enemy has been intriguing with our slaves, and from a variety of circumstances, we have much cause to suspect that they on their part, mediate mischief. I have directed every measure of precaution which prudence suggested, and am happy to find that the citizens are disposed Zealously to support me. Knowing how necessary a corps of cavalry would be in the case of Revolt among the slaves, and beleiving that at the Present moment, they would be particularly useful in acquiring and forwarding information I have, without awaiting the return of Colo Shaumburg, ordered the Feliciana Troops of Cavalry to repair immediately to new orleans, and I shall make on the Quarter Master General a requisition for all necessary supplies. I have also encouraged a number of Gentlemen of New Orleans to form a volunteer Corps of Cavalry, and with a promise, that whilst on duty they should be furnished with Forage for their Horses by the Public. I hope sir, these measures may meet your approbation and that you will direct, the Keeper of the Military stores to deliver on my receipt, for the use of these Corps (whilst in public service) such number of swords & Pistols as may be required
In my Letter of Yesterday, I mentioned that many of the fugitives from Barataria had reached the city. Among these are some St. Domingo negro's of the most desperate characters & probably no worse than most of their white associates. I attended a meeting of the mayor & city Council on this morning and strongly urged the necessity of adopting some strong measures of police and particularly as related to slaves, and the visits & Residence of strangers. The Mayor & council seemed fully impressed with the importance of the crisis, and will I hope act with promptitude and decision. The Bearer Colo. Michel Fortier, one of my aids de Camp, will have the honor to deliver you this letter, whom I beg leave to introduce to your acquaintance. He is a native of Louisiana well acquainted with its Interest and you may give credit to whatever representation he may make as to its present state. I am Sir, very Respectfully your obt. Servt.
William C. C. Claiborne