Camp at M'Carty's, 4 miles below New Orleans.
Dec 31, 1814.
The Major-General commanding has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the joint resolution of both houses of the hon. the legislature of the state of Louisiana, now in session, dated the 30th inst. and communicated to him by a joint committee of both houses, to which the general gives the following answer.
That just after the engagement between the British and American armies had commenced on the 28th inst. when the enemy was advancing, and it was every instant expected they would storm our lines; as the general was riding rapidly from right to left of his line--he was accosted by Mr. Duncan, one of his volunteer aids, who had just returned from New Orleans; observing him to be apparently agitated, the general stopped, supposing him the beater of some information of the enemy's movements, asked what was the matter. He replied that he was the bearer of a message from governor Claiborne, that the assembly were about to give up the country to the enemy. Being asked it he had any letter from the governor, he answered in the negative. He was then interrogated as to the person from whom he received the intelligence, he said it was from a militia colonel; the general enquired where this colonel was, that he ought to be apprehended, and if the information was not true, he ought to be shot, but that he the general, did not believe it. To this Mr. Duncan replied, that the colonel had returned to New Orleans, and had requested him, Mr. Duncan, to deliver the above message.
The general was in the act of pushing forward along the line, when Mr. Duncan called after him and said, "the governor expects orders what to do." The general replied that he did not believe the intelligence; but to desire the governor to make strict enquiry into the subject; and if true, to blow them up. The general pursued his way, and Mr. Duncan returned to the city. After the action Mr. Duncan returned, and on the general's stating to him the impropriety of delivering such a message publicly in the presence of the troops, as well as the improbability of the fact, he excused himself by the great importance of the intelligence, and then, for the first time, the general heard the name of the Colonel Declouet, as Mr. Duncan's author.
The above statement the general gives as a substantial one of the matter referred to in the resolutions of the senate and house of representatives; and to this he adds, that he gave no order to the governor to interfere with the legislature, except as above stated.
Maj. Gen. comdg.