Camp below N. Orleans
25 Decr. 1814
I am just advised by Mr. Brent, agent for the contractors, that boats descending the Mississippi with supplies for this army, have halted at Natchez, fearing to advance to N. Orleans--it is probable that others which are also descending the river under his order, may stop on the way, for the same reason. I must therefore entreat you to use the most effectual means in your power to oblige vessels of this description to hasten hither with all dispatch. This is a critical moment; in which a stopage of supplies may be attended with the most ruinous consequences. To provide effectually against such an evil I must also urge you to use your utmost exertions to induce, & even, if necessity require, to oblige all vessels, laden with provission-articles, whether under the order of the contractor or not, to descend to Orleans with all dispatch. Let the owners of them be assured that no injustice will be done to them, either in their persons or property.
Early on the morning of the 23d. the enemy landed on the bank of the Mississippi about 2 1/2 leagues below N. Orleans--having passed from Lake Borgne by means of a bayou, which, notwithstanding my express order in writing had been left unobstructed. What is equally extraordinary, I was not advised of his approach until evening, altho I had taken every precaution to receive the earliest intelligence of such an event. The moment I received the information, I put a part of Genl. Coffee's brigade & the 7th. & 44th. regts Inftry in motion; & attacked him at night in his first position. The result was highly honorable to our arms. He was repulsed at every point on which I attacked him. Genl. Coffee distinguished himself by his usual gallantry. Both armies have remained, since the action, near the battle-ground, making arrangements for something more decissive. The exact force of the enemy is not known. The prisoners we have taken represent it to be six thousand; & a considerable additional force, I hear has just arrived. My force, on the night of the attack, could not have exceeded a third of theirs. In a few days we shall probably measure strength again, when I hope to be able to sustain the honor of our arms & to secure the safety of this country. I am most respectfully Sir Yr. Obt St
Major Genl comdg
P.S. Again I must entreat you to send me all the force you can, & will all possible expedition