9.30.2014

Letter to William Charles Cole Claiborne from Andrew Jackson

Head Quarters, 7th Mily District. Mobile,
Septr. 30th. 1814.

Sir,

         Your several letters by Col.Fortier and the schooner Genl. Pike, have come safely to hand. The encomium bestowed on your Aid de Camp was merited; his genteel exterior and general information, independent of your recommendation, rendered him a welcome visitant at Head Quarters.
         I am much pleased to learn that the Louisianians have become sensible of the importance of the contest in which we find ourselves engaged, to their local interests. As far as the law permits me will I go hand in hand with you, in drawing forth the energies of your member of the Union. I particularly approve the call upon the mounted men of Feliciana. As to the Corps to be raised in New Orleans, I will guarantee the promises made to them by you, and steps will be taken to furnish the necessary supplies.
        Permit me to express my extreme regret and astonishment, that those wretches, the refugees from Barataria and its dependencies, should find an asylum in your city; that they should even be permitted to remain in it, without being strictly scrutinized under your existing vagrant laws. Should not your consultations with the City Council and Parish Jury have already eventuated in some provisions on this head, let me beg you, immediately, to cause them to be arrested and detained, until further advice. Unlesss some precautions of this nature are used, you rest in a fatal security, you will have to lament your country ravaged, and your city reduced to ashed by these incendiaries.
       I am much at a loss with regard to the topography of the west bank of the Mississippi. You will therefore, if you please, procure, and transmit as early as possible, a correct chart of the country including Opelousas, Atakapas, Barataria and the Balize. I am credibly informed that Lafon's Map is very inaccurate in these particular points. Therefore forbid a reference to his authority.
      Until this desireable information is obtained, together with an exact sounding of the shores of Grand Isle, Grand Terre, Cheniere Caminada, La Temple, &c. it is morally impossible for me to form a correct estimate of the force requisite for, or the impropriety of occupying that point. Indeed, under my present impressions, the position would serve as for little more than a bait for the enemy. A vast length of time would be consumed in erecting works, and should the enemy advance before those works should be completed, the troops would have no other means,--than a speedy, disgraceful retreat. Disgraceful, because in occupying the ground they had thrown the gauntlet.
     However, sir, I await, further, more minute details of that particular section of the state, until when I suspend and further comment on your suggestions.
     You were very correct in enforcing the propriety of drawing more extensively from your own resources. The example has been given by the neighboring Territory and our sister states. Unless we stretch our own hands in self defence, in vain do we look for the aid of a stranger.
    The Quarter Mr. Genl. Col. Piatt, has full instructions and ample powers to furnish the articles of supply within his department, under your requisitions, countersigned by Leiut. Col. MacRea; and to him a refer you, to satisfy the demands of your militia and volunteer force. With respect, & By Command of Majr. Genl. Jackson (too unwell to sign)

                                                                           Thos. Gales, Aid de Camp.

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