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CHAPTER XXI. Expedition to New Orleans-British at Pensacola

and Barataria ---Trick played by the Baratarian commandant-Secret act of the American congress to take possession of West Florida-Possession taken of Mobile-Erection of Fort-Bouyer -Attack upon it by four British sloops of war

-Loss of the Hermes- Brief description of Louisiana and New Orleans-Arrival of the British fleet off Chandeleur island-Capture of five American gun-boats near Lake BorgneProclamation of martial law by general Jackson -Scheming flag of truce---Its object defeatedDisembarkation of the first division of British troops-Description of the ground of operations -Arrival of British advance at Villeré's-Ge. neral Wilkinson's strictures upon the route chosen by the British-Deception as to the strength of Petite Coquille fort-Accidental low estimate of the British force at Villere'sPrompt advance of major-general Jackson-U. S. schooner Carolina-Battle of the 23d of DecemberDestruction of the Carolina by hot shot_Escape of the U.S. ship Louisiana--Arrival of sir Edward Pakenham-Strength of the British forces-Proposed attack in the rear of New Orleans Its non-adoption-Description of general Jackson's lines of defence Demonstration of the 28th of December-Destructive fire of the Louisiana-American batteries on the opposite side of the river Arrival of ship-guns, and erection of battery by the British-Continued cannonade-Mutual rein

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forcements-General Morgan's lines on the opposite bank-British and American forces-Battle of the Sth of January-Fatal neglect to bring up the fascines and laddersDeath of major-generals Pakenham and Gibbs-Misbehaviour of two regiments-Gallant behaviour of a division of the left brigade— Repulse of the British-Strictures upon the attack, by American officers-Launching of the boats into the Mississippi-Successful attack upon the American intrenchments on the right bank-Fatal difference of opinion respecting the possibility of holding that position-Its immediate evacuation-Short suspension of hostilities-Bombardment of Fort St. Philip-Retreat of the British from before New Orleans--The total loss on both sides-American bombast-French general Humbert-Some particulars relative to general Jackson-His honorable conduct-Departure of the British feet-Surrender of FortBowyer without a shot's being fired at it— Treaty of peace

Canadian preparations for the ensuing campaign-Brief remarks on the treaty, and on the advantages which the Americans have gained

by the war. FROM the paragraphs that appeared in several of the London prints of May and June, 1814, there is no doubt that the conquest of Louisiana had been submitted to the British government,

a measure of no difficult attainment. It was thought, perhaps, that the Louisianians, consisting chiefly of French and Spaniards, were disaffected towards the goverament of the

as

United States, and would rather aid, than oppose the landing of a British army.

This hazardous, and, as it proved, fallacious conjecture, was suffered to over-balance all apprehension of danger from the thousands of armed inhabitants of the west and north-western territories, that could descend the Mississippi, and prevent any thing like a permanent occupation of the capital of Louisiana. There were not, it is true, any American 74s, or 60-gun frigates, building or lying blockaded at New Orleans; but those who suggested the expedition well knew that, as the cotton crops of Louisiana, and of the Mississippi territory, had been for some years in accumulation, the city-warehouses contained merchandize to an immense amount. Indeed, considering that New Orleans was the emporium of the annually increasing productions of a great portion of the western states, the enormous sum of 30000001. was, perhaps, not an over-estimate of what, in the event of even a temporary possession of that city, would have been shared by the captors.

Scarcely had the people of New Orleans read, in the pages of their newspapers,

admiral Cochrane's threatening letter and its reply, and been assured by their governor, that the British had expressed a determination" of wresting Loui. siana from the hands of the United States, and restoring it to Spain,” than accounts arrived,

that the British were exciting the Indians, and, by proclamations dated from Pensacola, in West Florida, endeavouring to persuade the inhabitants of Louisiana and Kentucky, to shake off their allegiance, and join the British standard. Almost at the same instant they received accounts that some British officers had been trying to gain over the Baratarian freebooters, upwards of 200 in number; not only as pilots for that intricate coast, but as active allies in the contemplated invasion. Mr. Laffite, the commandant, played a deep game with the British officers. He received, with seeming acquiescence, all their communications on the subject, and then forwarded them to the governor of Louisiana. He had, at that time, in the gaol of New Orleans, loaded with irons, a brother; whose liberation he, no doubt, hoped to effect. In short, Mr. Laffite not only betrayed the British, but offered the services of himself and his hardy band, in defending the important point of the state of which they had taken possession. These men fulfilled the pledge given by their commandant to governor Claiborne ; and, along with Mr. Laffite's brother, received, in the end, a full pardon from the president of the United States.

It is necessary.now to mention, that a secret law passed the congress of the United States, as early as the 12th of February, 1813, authorizing tue president “to occupy and hold all that tract of country, called West Florida, which ljes west of the Perdido, not now in the possession of the United States.” * On the 14th of March, the order to take possession reached major-general Wilkinson, then the commanding officer of the United States' troops within the territories of New Orleans and the Mississippi ; and, on the 15th of April, taking with him a strong naval and military force, the general possessed himself, without opposition, but not without remonstrance, of Fort-Charlotte, near the town of Mobile. General Wilkinsoon, soon afterwards, constructed a fort upon Mobilepoint, forming the extremity of a peninsula, which is joined to the continent by an isthmus, four miles wide, dividing tlie river and bay of Bonsecours from the bay of Perdido.

This fort, named Fort-Bowyer, mounted, in September, 1814, says an American editor, two 24, six 12, eight 9, and four 4-pounders; and contained a garrison of only 130 menit yet, when we took possession of Fort-Bowyer, in February, 1815, up to which date no. reinforcement of guns appears to have been sent to it, the fort mounted, exclusive of one long 24, and two 9-pounders outside, three 32, eight 24, six 12, five 9, and one 4-pounder; also one 8-inch mortar, and one 5-inch howitzer ; total

* Wilkinson's Mem. Vol. III.

p.

340. + Latour's War in Louisiana, p. 34.

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