[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.