Page images
PDF
EPUB

296

CAPTURE OF THE FLOTILLA.

Tie fortifications were strengthened, and every man who could bear arms was required to take a part in the military operations on which the safety of all depended.

Fort St. Philip, which guarded the passage of the river at Detour la Plaquemine was strengthened and placed under the command of Major Overton. An extensive line af works was erected four miles below the city, on the cast bank of the Mississippi, the right resting on the river, and the left reaching to an impenetrable cypress swamp. A ditch which had been dug for agricultural objects, between the river and the swamp, was now made use of for an important military purpose. On its northern bank entrenchments were thrown up, and large quantities of Cotton bales were so arranged as to protect the troops eiñectually from the enemy's fire. These works were weil mounted with artillery. Opposite this position, on the west bank of the river, General Morgan with a body of militia was stationed, and near him Commodore Patterson with the crews and guns of part of his squadron; enfilading the approach of the enemy against the principal works. A detachment was stationed above the town to guard the

pass of the Bayou St. John. These dispositions having been made for the defence of the city, the approach of the enemy was firmly awaited.

To clear the way for the transportation of their troops by boats, the British first sent forward forty launches filled with men, who attacked, and after a desperate resistance, captured and destroyed, the American fotilla stationed on Lakes Borgne and Pontchartrain, consisting of five gun-boats and a small sloop and schooner. Having thus obtained possession of the lakes, on the 22d of December a detachment was sent from their rendezvous, at Ship Island, to the Bayou Bienvenue, and having effected a landing unobserved, were marching towards the city. General Jackson having been apprised of their approach, marched out and attacked them on the night of the 23d. In this action the British lost 500 in killed, wounded, and missing. They retreated, and entrenched themselves at Bienvenue, four miles from the American camp: The armed schooners Caroline and Louisiana, dropped down the river from the city, and opened a fire on the British lines. On the 27th, the Caroline got aground, and was

What preparations were made for the desence of the city at Fort SL Philip ?-On the east bank of the Mississippi ?-On the west bank ?Above the city?—Relate the affair of the gun-boats - The action of the

23d of December

[merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][subsumed]

set on fire and destroyed by the hot shot of the enemy. 'The Louisiana succeeded in getting out of the reach of wheir batteries.

On the 28th the British advanced within half a mile of the American lines, and opened a fire of shells and rockets, but were repulsed by the artillery. On the night of the 31st, they came within 600 yards of the works, erected three batteries, and opened a heavy fire. Under cover of these batteries they attempted three times to storm the works, but were repulsed, and their batteries being silenced they returned to their former position.

The final assault was reserved for the 8th of January To ensure its success it was deemed necessary to order a simultaneous attack to be made on the main works, and on the position of General Morgan and Commodore Pat terson west of the river. Colonel Thornton was detached for the latter service, with 500 men, and soon effected a landing. Colonel Davis, with 300 Kentucky militia, being ordered to the water's edge to oppose them, was soon put to flight, and the Louisiana militia, under General Morgan, also fled, deserting their batteries. Commodore Patterson's battery being thus left unsupported, his crews were obliged to yield to a superior force; but the resistance which they were able to make, detained the British until the contest on the other side of the river was nearly over

While these operations were going forward on the west bank of the river, the decisive action was fought on the

What took place on the 27th ?-On the 28th ?-On the 31st ?–What was the plan of operations for the 8th ?-What was the British plad of attack ?-How did they succeed on the west bank ?

298

BATTI.E. OF NEW ORLEANS.

opposite side. At daybreak on the 8th, the main body of the British, under General Packenham, advanced from their encampment to storm the American lines. A bat tery which they had erected the evening before, within 800 yards, opened a fire to protect their advance. They came on in two columns, the left column along the lever against the American right, and the right column advan cing to the swamp for the purpose of turning General Jackson's left. When they had approached within 300 yards of the lines, forty pieces of artillery from the American works, opened upon them a destructive fire of

grape shot and musket balls, and mowed them down by hun. dreds, while the riflemen taking deliberate aim, made nearly every shot take effect. Through this destructive fire the British left column rushed on with their fascines and scaling ladders, and carried the advanced bastion of the American right; but being unsupported, and assailed by the battery planted in the rear, and a regiment of riflemen brought up for the purpose, they were driven from the ground with immense loss of lives. The right column of the British having attempted to pass into the swamp for the purpose of turning the American left, were prevented from effecting their object by the nature of the ground, and being exposed to the fire from the batteries, were compelled to retire. The assault continued an hour and a quarter, during which the British were exposed to the destructive fire from the American artillery and musketry, while the breast-works of cotton bales, which no balls could penetrate, afforded a perfect protection to their opponents. General Packenham was mortally wounded; General Gibbs, the second in command, also received a mortal wound; and General Keane, the third in command, was wounded so severely as to be incapable of performing his duties of commander.

At 8 o'clock the British retreated to their works. The militia were anxious to pursue them, but General Jackson prudently determined not to risk the loss of the city by 60 rash a proceeding. Of the troops which the British had brought into the field, 700 were killed, 1400 wounded, and 500 captured, making a total loss of 2600. The Americans lost 6 killed and 7 wounded. Of General Morgan's detachment on the west bank, and of a party

Describe the opening of the main battle of the 8th of January.—The operations on Jackson's right ?-On his left!--- How long did the assaul: ast ?-Who fall ?- What was the resuit ?-The loss on each side ?

[blocks in formation]

sent on a sortie on the British lines, 49 were killed, and 178 wounded.

The British kept up the appearance of renewing the attack, and on the 9th commenced a bombardment of Fort St. Philip, which was continued till the 17th, and sustained by Major Overton and his garrison with but trifling loss. This, however, was merely a feint to cover their final retreat, which took place on the 16th of January under the direction of General Lambert.

While the whole country was electrified with we news of tuis important victory, intelligence was received from Eurype of the conclusion of a treaty of peace by the commissioners assembled at Ghent. The treaty had been signed on the 24th of December, and ratified by the Prince Regent of England on the 27th. It was received in the United States on the 11th, and ratified on the 17th of February by the President and senate. The pacification of Europe in 1814 had removed all the real grounds of war between Great Britain and the United States, by rendering the interruption of American commerce and the impressment of seamen unnecessary for promoting the objects of the British government. The conquests on both sides were restored; and provisions were made for settling the boundaries between the United States and Canada, which have ever since been a subject of negotiation.

A treaty to regulate the commerce between the two ountries was signed at London on the 3d of July, and ratified by the President on the 22d of December.

The Algerines having taken the opportunity, afforded by the war with Great Britain, to make depredations on American commerce, war was declared against them in March, 1815, and a squadron under the command of Commodore Bainbridge was sent out to chastise them. The squadron in the Mediterranean under Commodore Decatur, after capturing some of their ships, appeared before Algiers and speedily compelled the Dey to sign a reaty relinquishing all future claims for tribute from the United States. On the arrival of Commodore Bainbridge, arrangements were made with the regencies of Tunis and Tripoli which afforded security to the American commerce from the depredations of Barbary cruisers.

How long did the British remain aster the battle of the 8th ?-What intelligence came from Europe!--When was the treaty ratified ?-What were some of its provisions!-- When was a commercial treaty signed ?-What is said of the Algerines?--When was war declared against them?

-How was the affair terminated ?

300

OCCUPATION OF FLORIDA.

President Madison's second term of office being abou: 10 expire, an election was held in the autumn of 1816, which gave the first office in the nation to James Monroe, and that of vice-president to Daniel D. Tompkins, of New York.

CHAPTER XL.

ADMINISTRATION OF JAMES MONROE.

The change of administration made no apparent diffo rence in the policy of government. Its attention was chiefly directed to the south. The Union was not considered complete without the acquisition of Florida. Spain, against whom almost all her trans-Atlantic possessions were in full revolt, kept but a feeble hold of these countries. The government of the United States endea. voured to obtain them in exchange for pecuniary claims; and not to aların the pride of Spain, preserved a strict neutrality between the mother country and her revolted colonies.

Spain, however, hesitated to render up what remained to her of Florida. Some adventurers from the insurgent colonies, in the mean time, took possession of Amelia Island, off their eastern coast, and seemed determined to convert it into a strong hold for bucaniering, for carrying on a commerce in slaves, and for tampering with the Indians. The American government drove out the occupants and destroyed their establishment.

In the following year, 1818, an occasion was presented for taking possession of the main land of Florida. The Seminole Indians, within the Spanish territory, having made hostile incursions on the neighbouring states, General Jackson, commanding the forces of the south, was ordered to reduce them, but not to enter Florida excej t lit pursuit of an enemy.

In addition to the regular force under his command, he raised an army of volunteers, and pursued the Indians into Florida. Two Englishmen, Arbuthnot and Ambris

Who succeeded president Madison ?-What territory did the United States wish to acquire ?-What island was taken possession of ?-For hal reason :- Who captured it ?-What Indians showed hostility Who was ordered to chastise them ?-How did he execute the commia

yion ?

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »