December 20th 1814
I have the honor to enclose you a Return in part of the Militia of the state of Louisiana . You would sooner have received it, but for causes which I could not controul. The enclosure (A) is a Return of the regular Militia, at present within the city, and Evirons of New Orleans, their numbers have been diminished by several Detachments, heretofore ordered into the service of the United States, and by two or three companies recently raised, I learn, under your authority, and of which description are the Detachments under Mr. Ogden, & Mr. Jacques Villere.
The enclosure (B) will shew you the strength of the several Rifle, Marine, & veteran corps, of Chevauxs Troops of Cavalry and of the fire Company. The Rifle Company is an Independant Corps; organized under a particular Law, which accords to it peculiar privileges, and among these, is the one of being immediately under the orders of the Governor of the state. The Marines have recently been raised and consist for the most part of transient Persons. They have been organized by me into Battalion, and fully officered; They were inspected on this morning, and are anxious to be put on duty. The veterans are men exempt by law from militia service, or incapable by age or bodily Infirmities of active Duty. Chevau's Cavalry is an Independent Company, entitled by law to peculiar privileges, one of which is to be more immediately under the orders of the Governor. The fire company is composed of Fathers of families, entitled by law to exemption from ordinary militia duty; but who at the Present crisis, have made a voluntary tender of service, within the city.
The enclosure (C) will shew the strength of a volunteer Battalion of free men of colour, which I have recently organized and officered. They have been inspected, and are armed with good musket Cartridge Boxes & Bayonets Belts have not been furnished them, nor have I any at my disposition. This Battalion is Solicitous to be put in activity, & if you think proper, to make me the vehicle of conveying your wishes, it shall be ordered to any Point you shall designate.
I have not accurate information as to the Present Condition of the Battalion of uniform militia, (Plauche's command) at Present under your immediate orders; It has late been much added to by Recruits from the Regular militia, and indeed the practise of leaving one company to join another, has of late become so common, that to prevent the total destruction of some corps, and much derangment, to others I have deemed it proper to forbid it, in General Militia orders.
The Return of the Battalion of Chosen Men of Colour, ordered to the Chef Menteur, has been mislaid; another will Soon be furnished me, and a copy shall be forwarded to you, on Tomorrow if desired; But I take it for granted that the strength of this corps, you are fully informed.
As Regards the militia of the state generally, I cannot give you full information; But I have ordered the adjutant General to prepare a general abstract from the returns last received, & which shall be transmitted to you. I am Sir with the Greatest Respect your most obt Servt.
William C. C. Claiborne