Letter to William Charles Cole Claiborne from Andrew Jackson

Head quarters 7 M. District New Orleans
Decr. 10h. 1814


           I last night returned from exploring the right and left bank of the river Mississippi down to Fort St. Philips, which I find capable of complete defence, against an invading foe, provided the necessary batteries were erected--I was furnished by the committee of defence with a copy of their report made to your Legislature, and being accompanied by Commodore Patterson, Messers. Latour & Tatum as engineers, I have concluded what points at or near Fort St. Philips as well as at and near the English Turn ought to be immediately occupied by batteries & men, for the Safety of New Orleans, and the settlements on the banks of the Mississippi. I have to appeal through you to the Patriotism of the Legislature of the State, for such aid as will enable me to have those works completed, in the Shortest possible time--It will require considerable labour to erect the various Batteries contemplated, and this Labour in a great measure must at this rainy season be performed by your Slaves--
          I have determined to have a strong battery erected, on the ground where Fort Bourbon stood. This from the estimate of Mr. Latour will with all the aid I can give with my troops, take one hundred negroes ten days--A strong battery I have also determined to have erected on the left bank of the Mississippi about a mile above Fort St. Philips, and above where Fort Bourbon Stood, so as not only to form a cross fire, but to concentrate the whole fire of the three batteries on any enemy that may attempt to force a passage. There is the key to the defence of the Mississippi and New Orleans, there the enemy must be halted or seriously crippled, so that our auxilliary defence higher up the river may be able to destroy them--This latter battery is all important, and will take one hundred negroes for Ten days, to place it in a State of defence, The works will have to be commenced in water. The Old intrenchments on the right bank of the River on Mr. Forestalls plantation is well calculated to meet an enemy on land, with light Troops and flying artilery, and ought to be placed in the best state of preparation for this purpose--But the permanent defence must be at the English Turn, and at the point of Terre aux Beouf--On the right and left Bank of the lower defence the works are progressing.
          The upper Battery will be commenced as soon as the Legislature will afford the necessary labourers--and I will give it every aid that the means in my power will afford--The necessary Guns with their Carriages will be furnished, I have the promise of the hearty cooperation of Commodore Patterson and a loan of all the heavy Ordnance that can be spared from the immediate use of the Navy--When I view the vast interest that the state of Louissianna has at stake & the Patriotism which influenced the report of your committee of defence, I cannot believe there will be a dissenting voice in your Assembly, in voting the necessary means for spedily completeing the works contemplated, which will give perfect security against the approach of an enemy, up the Mississippi--The other points embraced in the report of your Committee of defence will claim my earliest attention--And be immediately visited by me. But not a moment it to be lost in perfecting the defence of the Mississippi. With vigor, energy, and expedetion, all is safe, delay may loose all.
        You will therefore please to obtain the sence of the Legislature how far they will aid in erecting the works for the defence of the State, and I trust it will be ample, with the conduct of New York before them, on a Similar occasion--Should I be disappointed in the laudable feelings, that I am induced to beleive prevades your whole Legislature, it is necessary that I should know it, that I may employ what means I have in my power for the best defence of this Section of the District that is intrusted for my care. In the mean time I have to request, that you will arrange the fifty Militia, of the late requisition from the city of Orleans and have them ready to march by the morning of the 12h. Inst. I have the honor to be with Sentiments of respect yr. Excellencies Mo. Obt. Sert.

                                                                                             Andw. Jackson
                                                                                             Majr. Genl. Comdg.

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