Letter to Andrew Jackson from James Winchester

January 3, 1815


     This morning at 6 oClock I had the honor to receive your communiation from Mr McGurties plantation without date, with great interest I perused it. And am sorry to state that at this moment I am unadvised of the approach of either Major Genl McIntosh or Brigadier Genl Coulter; wearied am I with sending after them expresses to expediate their movements, about ten days ago I dispatched an officer to proceed on until he met one of those Generals and continue with him urgeing expedition. Is it not a damning sin that two armies should be jeopardized by the tardy movements of two others. this army was under armes good part of the night before last; more of less of enemy vessels have been seen from Mobile point allmost every day for more than two weeks past, a South wind and flood tide will bring them up in one night; pass for Bowyear under cover of thick fog or the darkness of the night; or small vessels and barges may enter this bay through the pass Heron far our of reach of the fort. I am taking every possble precausion  to prevent the landing of an enemy near this place without my knowledge and to dispute every inch of land with him.
     If Genl McIntosh or Coulter had arrived I could and would reinforce you as you require and if you had so ordered without the condition I would have obeyed as it would have been my duty to have done but it would have left me poor indeed Major Blue himself has not returned two days ago and had ordered Major Russell with about 500 men by the way of fort Jackson to which place I hasten an express having ordered the whole of Gel Coffees Brigade that are under my command to proceed by forced marches to the Mississippi and report to you; funds are placed in the hands of Mr Harry Cage Asst D. Q M Genl. to preceed this detachment and provide forage on the way, so that no delay may take place.
     I have thrown provisions and ammunition into Fort Bowyer and have drawn of the militia and replaced them with regular troops. Col Lawreence will defend it to the last extremity. still the enemy may pass it with all his force and  I expect will rather than pay the price it will cost him That Mobile is his second object I have no doubt let the invasion of New Orleans eventuate as it may.
     The time of service of Col Pipkins Regiment having expired and men gon home I have deemed it prudent to order down all the surplus force from the rear leaving only snug garrisons in the forts If ever Gen McIntosh arrives wtih his division; that part of your order which depended on that even shall be promptly carried into effect if you will signify to me your intention that I shall do so.
     This is an anxious moment for all here feeling as we do a deep interest in the fate of your army but when we consider the skill talents & vigilence of the hand that guides it and the bravery of the troops which compose it; we repose in full confidence of an honorable and victorous result Col [James] Lauderdale I most sincerely lament his untimely end.
     May he who holds the destinies of worlds in his hands preserve and keep you With unmingled esteem I have the honor to be you Obt Servant

J Winchester BG
Com E sec 7th m Dist

Courtesy of the Andrew Jackson Papers Project

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