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"The conduct of that officer and of those who acted under him, merits, I think, great praise. They nailed their own colors to the standard, and placed those of the enemy underneath them, determined never to surrender the fort."
FORT St. PHILIP, January 19th, 1815.
On the 1st of the present month, I received the information that the enemy intended passing this fort, to co-operate with their land forces, in the subjugation of Louisiana, and the destruction of New Orleans. To effect this with more facility, they were first with their heavy bomb vessels to bombard this place into compliance. On the grounds of this information, I turned my attention to the security of my command. I erected small magazines in different parts of the garrison, that if one blew up I could resort to another; built covers for my men to secure them from the explosion of the shells, and removed the combustible matter without the works. Early in the day of the 8th instant, I was advised of their approach, and on the 9th, at a quarter past 10 A. M. hove in sight two bomb vessels, one sloop, one brig and one schooner; they anchored two and one quarter miles below. At half past 11 and at half past 12, they advanced two barges apparently for the purpose of sounding within one and a half miles of the fort; at this moment, I ordered my water battery, under the command of lieutenant Cunningham, of the navy, to open upon them: its well directed shot caused a precipitate retreat. At half past 5 o'clock P. M. the enemy's bomb vessels opened their fire from four sea mortars, two of 13 inches, two of 10, and to my great mortification I found they were without the effective range of my shot, as many subsequent experiments proved; they continued their fire with little intermission, during the 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th. I occasionally opened my batteries on them with great vivacity, particularly when they showed a disposition to change their position.
On the 17th, in the evening, our heavy mortar was said to be in readiness. I ordered that excellent officer, captain Wolstoncraft, of the artillerists, who previously had charge of it, to open a fire, which was done with great effect, as the enemy from that motion became disordered, and at day light, on the 18th, commenced their retreat, after having thrown upwards of a thousand heavy shells, pesides shells from howitzers, round shot and grape, which he discharged from boats under cover of the night.
Our loss in this affair has been uncommonly small, owing entirely to the great pains that were taken by the different officers to keep their men under cover; as the enemy left scarcely ten feet of this garrison untouched.
The officers and soldiers through this whole affair, although nine days and nights under arms in the different batteries, the
consequent fatigue and loss of sleep, have manifested the greatest firmness and the most zealous warmth to be at the enemy. To distinguish individuals would be a delicate task, as merit was conspicuous every where. Lieutenant Cunningham, of the navy, who commanded my water battery, with his brave crew, evinced the most determined bravery and uncommon activity throughout, and in fact, sir, the only thing to be regretted is that the enemy was too timid to give us an opportunity of destroying him. I herewith enclose you a list of the killed and wounded. I am, sir, very respectfully,
Major general Jackson.
W. H. OVERTON.
2 and wounded 7 during the bombardment on fort St. Philip, commencing on the 9th and ending on the 18th Janary, 1815,
Of Major General Jackson on the 8th of January, 1815, to the troops on the right bank of the Mississippi.
While, by the blessing of heaven, one of the most brilliant victories was obtained by the troops under my immediate command, no words can express the mortification I felt, at witnessing the scene exhibited on the opposite bank. I will spare your feelings and my own, nor enter into detail on the subject. To all who reflect, it must be a source of eternal regret, that a few moments' exertion of that courage you certainly possess, was alone wanting, to have rendered your success more complete than that of your fellow citizens in this camp. To what cause was the abandonment of your lines owing? To fear? No! You are the countrymen, the friends, the brothers of those who have secured to themselves, by their courage, the gratitude of their country; who have been prodigal of their blood in its defence, and who are strangers to any other fear than disgrace. To disaf. fection to our glorious cause? No! My countrymen, your general does justice to the pure sentiments by which you are inspired. How then could brave men, firm in the cause in which they are enrolled, neglect their first duty, and abandon the post committed to their care? The want of discipline, the want of order, a total disregard to obedience, and a spirit of insubordination, not less destructive than cowardice itself, are the causes that led to this disaster, and they must be eradicated, or I must cease to command. I desire to be distinctly understood, that every breach of orders,
* Commodore Patterson and general Morgan at the moment attributed the disaster to the flight of the Kentucky militia, which proved on investigation not to be the fact. Had all the circumstances, as they existed, been dis closed, they would not have been reproached by general Jackson,
all want of discipline, every inattention of duty, will be seriously and promptly punished; that the attentive officers, and good sol diers, may not be mentioned in the disgrace and danger, which the negligence of a few may produce. Soldiers! you want only the will, in order to emulate the glory of your fellow citizens on this bank of the river. You have the same motives for action; the same interest, the same country to protect; and you have an additional interest, from past events, to wipe off reproach, and show that you will not be inferior, in the day of trial, to any of your coun
But remember! without obedience, without order, without discipline, all your efforts are vain. The brave man, inattentive to his duty, is worth little more to his country than the coward who deserts her in the hour of danger. Private opinions, as to the competency of officers, must not be indulged, and still less expressed; it is impossible that the measures of those who command should satisfy all who are bound to obey; and one of the most dangerous faults in a soldier, is a disposition to criticise and blame the orders and characters of his superiors. Soldiers! I know that many of you have done your duty; and I trust, in future, I shall have no reason to make any exception. Officers! I have the fullest confidence that you will enforce obedience to your commands; but, above all, that by subordination in your different grades, you will set an example to your men ; and that, hereafter, he army of the right will yield to none, in the essential qualities which characterize good soldiers;-that they will earn their share of those honours and rewards, which their country will prepare for its deliverers.
Delivered to major general Andrew Jackson, by the reverend W. Dubourg, administrator apostolic of the diocese of Louisiana.
NEW ORLEANS, January 23d, 1815.
While the state of Louisiana, in the joyful transports of her gratitude, hails you as her deliverer, and the asserter of her menaced liberties: while grateful America, so lately wrapped up in anxious suspense, on the fate of this important city, is re-echoing from shore to shore your splendid achievements, and preparing to inscribe your name on her immortal rolls, among those of her Washingtons: while history, poetry, and the monumental arts, will vie in consigning to the latest posterity, a triumph perhaps unparalleled in their records: while thus raised, by universal acclamation, to the very pinnacle of fame, how easy had it been for
you, general, to forget the prime mover of your wonderful suc cesses, and to assume to yourself a praise, which must eventually return to that exalted source, whence every merit is derived. But better acquainted with the nature of true glory, and justly placing the summit of your ambition, in approving yourself the worthy instrument of Heaven's merciful designs, the first impulse of your religious heart was to acknowledge the signal interposition of providence your first step, a solemn display of your humble sense of his favours.
Still agitated at the remembrance of those dreadful agonies, from which we have been so miraculously rescued, it is our pride to acknowledge, that the Almighty has truly had the principal hand in our deliverance, and, to follow you, general, in attributing to his infinite goodness, the homage of our unfeigned gratitude. Let the infatuated votary of a blind chance deride our credulous simplicity; let the cold hearted atheist look for the explanation of important events, to the mere concatenation of human causes; to us, the whole universe is loud in proclaiming a Supreme Ruler, who, as he holds the hearts of man in his hands, holds also the thread of all contingent occurrences. "Whatever be his intermediate agents," says an illustrious prelate, " still on the secret orders of his all-ruling providence, depend the rise, and prosperity, as well as the decline and downfal of empires. From his lofty throne, he moves every scene below, now curbing, now let ting loose, the passions of men; now infusing his own wisdom into the leaders of nations; now confounding their boasted prudence, and spreading upon their councils a spirit of intoxication ; and thus executing his uncontrollable judgments on the sons of men, according to the dictates of his own unerring justice."
To him therefore, our most fervent thanks are due, for our un→ expected late rescue. It is him we intend to praise, when considering you, general, as the man of his right hand, whom he has taken pains to fit out for the important commission of our defence. We extol that fecundity of genius, by which, under the most discouraging distress, you created unforeseen resources, raised, as it were, from the ground, hosts of intrepid warriors, and pro vided every vulnerable point with ample means of defence. To him we trace that instinctive superiority of mind, which at once rallied around your universal confidence; impressed one irresistible movement to all the jarring elements of which this political machine is composed; aroused their slumbering spirits, and diffused through every rank the noble ardour which glowed in your own bosom. To him, in fine, we address our acknowledg ments for that consummate prudence, which defeated all the combinations of a sagacious enemy, entangled him in the very snares which he had spread for us, and succeeded in effecting his utter destruction, without exposing the lives of our citizens. Im mortal thanks be to his Supreme Majesty, for sending us such an instrument of his bountiful designs! A gift of that value is the
best token of the continuance of his protection-the most solid encouragement to sue for new favours. The first which it emboldens us humbly to supplicate, as nearest our throbbing hearts, is that you may long enjoy the honour of your grateful country; of which you will permit us to present you a pledge, in this wreath of laurel, the prize of victory, the symbol of immortality. The next is a speedy and honourable termination of the bloody contest, in which we are engaged. No one has so efficaciously laboured as you, general, for the acceleration of that blissful period: may we soon reap that sweetest fruit of your splendid and uninterrupted victories.
GENERAL JACKSON'S REPLY.
I receive, with gratitude and pleasure, the symbolical crown, which piety has prepared. I receive it in the name of the brave men who have so effectually seconded my exertions; they will deserve the laurels which their country will bestow. For myself, to have been instrumental in the deliverance of such a country, is the greatest blessing that Heaven could confer. That it has been effected with so little loss-that so few should cloud the smiles of our triumph, and not a cypress leaf be interwoven in the wreath which you present, is a source of the most exquisite plea
I thank you, reverend sir, most sincerely, for the prayers which you offer up for my happiness. May those your patriotism dictates, for our beloved country, be first heard; and may mine for your individual prosperity, as well as that of the congregation committed to your care, be favourably received-the prosperity, wealth, and happiness of this city, will then be commensurate with the courage and other qualities of its inhabitants.
NEW ORLEANS, March 20th, 1815.
I have the honour, agreeably to your request, to state to your excellency, in writing, the substance of a conversation that occurred between quarter master Perrie of the British army, and myself, on the 11th instant, on board his Britannic majesty's ship Herald. Quarter master Perrie observed, that the commanding officers of the British forces were daily in the receipt of every information from New Orleans, which they might require, in aid of their operations, for the completion of the objects of the expedition; that they were perfectly acquainted with the situation of every part of our forces, the manner in which the same was situated, the number of our fortifications, their strength, position, &c. As to the battery on the left bank of the Mississippi, he described its situation, its distance from the main post, and