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JACKSON'S PREPARATIONS CONFLICTS.
ward Packingham, a brother-in-law of the Duke of Wel- CHAP. lington, Gibbs, Keene, and Lambert. Three days later, after a severe contest, they captured the entire American 1814. flotilla on Lake Borgne.
The Louisiana militia were immediately called out, but they were ill supplied with arms. Some months previous, Jackson, anticipating this very emergency, had urged upon the War Department at Washington to send a supply of arms from the arsenal at Pittsburg. The government agent, unwilling to pay the usual freight on the only steamboat then running to New Orleans, shipped the arms on board keel boats. Thus twenty-five cents on a hundred pounds of freight were saved by the government, and Jackson received the muskets after the battle !
General Coffee had reached Baton Rouge, at which place he received orders to hasten with all speed to the scene of action. With eight hundred of his best mounted men—all unerring marksmen, armed with rifles and tomahawks-he made the extraordinary march of one hundred and fifty miles in two days. Thus, by similar exertions, in the space of a fortnight, Jackson had five thousand men, four-fifths of whom were militia. Other difficulties Dec presented themselves. Owing to the want of co-operation on the part of the legislature, and the necessities of the times, he proclaimed martial law.
The enemy landed two thousand light armed troops, under General Keene. Jackson marched to meet them with the regulars, and Coffee's men dismounted. Soon after dark the battle began; the enemy were driven from one point to another, till finally they found protection Deo.
23. behind a levee. Good service was done in this conflict by the armed schooner Carolina, which ran in near the shore, and with her guns swept their ranks. This successful repulse of the invaders greatly encouraged the Ameri
The next day Jackson took a position on solid ground
CHAP. nearly a mile in breadth ; the river protecting one flank,
and a swamp the other. Though strongly reinforced, tho 1815. British made no attempt the following day to retrieve
what they had lost, being deterred by the reports of prisoners, who greatly exaggerated the strength of Jackson's force. This delay was profitably occupied in strengthening the defences ; bales of cotton were used as a rampart, and the ditch was extended to the swamp. Five days after the enemy advanced and drove in the American outposts, and when within half a mile of the ramparts opened with artillery and Congreve rockets. Yet Jackson replied with so much vigor, with his five heavy guns, that after a cannonade of seven hours the enemy withdrew, having suffered considerable loss.
Within three days after this repulse, they made Jan. another attack with much heavier artillery. Their move1.
ments were concealed by a dense fog, and the intimation of their approach was given only by their cannon balls crashing through the American camp, but Jackson had so strengthened his works, that the British—their guns dismounted and silenced-were again compelled to retire ; but it was to make preparations for a grand assault.
Presently twenty-two hundred Kentucky riflemen Jan. arrived ; of whom unfortunately one-half were without
arms, and could not be supplied. These Jackson placed to throw up a second line of intrenchments in the rear of the first line.
When prepared, the British moved to the assault, under the cover of a battery of six eighteen-pounders,
which had been erected the previous night. The main Jan. column was led by Packenham in person, intending to
storm the centre, one column moved along the river and carried a redoubt, another, led by Gibbs and Keene, advanced along the edge of the swamp.
As the advancing columns came within range, the American artillery opened upon them with deadly effect,
BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS.
yet they filled up their ranks and moved steadily on. CHAP. Presently they reached the range of the Kentucky and Tennessee rifles, which poured in a continuous stream of 1815. unerring bullets. The heads of the columns faltered. While endeavoring to rally them, Packenham fell; Keene and Gibbs were both wounded, the latter mortally. The command then devolved on General Lambert, who made two more unsuccessful attempts to storm the works, but was forced to retire, leaving on the field two thousand men killed and wounded. Jackson had taken the precaution to send General Morgan across the river to throw up intrenchments directly opposite his own.
The night previous to the battle, Packenham sent a detachment under Colonel Thornton, who drove Morgan from his position, but when the main body was defeated he took to his boats and hastily retreated.
In this battle the Americans lost seven men killed and as many wounded.
Taking every precaution to guard against surprise, Lambert gradually fell back to the first landing place, and then, in the course of twenty days, re-embarked.
Thus virtually ended the war of 1812. battles well fought on land, were those directed by new men called into active service by the war itself. The victories at Lundy's Lane and New Orleans were gained by soldiers who had been trained but a short time, but they were under commanders in whom they had implicit confidence.
Though these successful events were transpiring in that distant region, yet on the Atlantic coast, and at Washington, it was the gloomiest period of the war. Affairs were almost desperate. The treasury exhausted, the national credit gone, the terrible law of conscription, like an ominous cloud hanging over the people, civil discord seemingly ready to spring up between the States ;
CHAP. the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia yet subject to XLV.
the marauding expeditions of the infamous Cockburn, 1815. while the inhabitants were crying in vain to the General
Government for assistance. Nothing favorable had yet been heard from the commissioners of peace at Ghent, nor even from New Orleans. It was known that a very large force of British veterans was in the vicinity of that place, and that Jackson was very ill-prepared to meet them.
As a gleam of sunshine in intense darkness, a rumor, by way of Canada, proclaimed that peace had been concluded ; at the same time came another from the southwest that the enemy had been defeated. While all were tremblingly anxious for the truth of these rumors, late of a Saturday night, a British sloop-of-war, the Favorite,
commissioned for the purpose, arrived at New York, Feb. bringing the treaty of peace, already ratified by the British government.
The cry of PEACE! PEACE! ran through the city. As if by one impulse the houses were illuminated, and the citizens, without distinction of party, thronged the streets to congratulate each other. In the midst of their own rejoicings they did not forget their brethren who were yet ignorant of the welcome news, and messengers were sent in every direction. In thirty-two hours, the express with the tidings reached Boston. There the excitement was almost unbounded. The people assembled in crowds to hear the news, which had so unexpectedly brought relief to their distresses. The bells rang their merriest peal, and the schools received a holiday. Flags and streamers were soon displayed on the vessels which had lain so long idle at the wharf. Before night, carpenters and riggers were at work, sailors were engaged, cargoes were passing on board ; Boston was herself again in commercial activity. The reception of the news was followed by similar rejoicings all along the coast, and throughout the country. To add still more to the happiness, as well as the gratification of the nation, in a
THANKSGIVINGS-THE FRIGATE PRESIDENT CAPTURED.
few days was confirmed the rumor of the total defeat of CHAP. the British before New Orleans.
The Senate unanimously ratified the treaty within 1815. thirty hours after it was laid before them. The President speedily issued a proclamation, announcing the fact, that once more peace reigned throughout the land. A day for Feb.
18. thanksgiving to Almighty God for the blessing, was observed by the nation.
The treaty provided for the mutual restoration of all places taken during the war; also for determining the northern boundary, and other matters of minor importance were amicably arranged. But not a word was said on the impressment question, for the settlement of which the war had ostensibly been continued after the first two months. Both parties seem to have been heartily tired of fighting ; though Great Britain wished to restrain what she thought an alarming grasping spirit in the New Republic, as evidenced in the acquisition of Louisiana and the attempts on Canada.
A few days after the ratification of the treaty, the President recommended to Congress the passage of a law to guard against incidents which, during the periods of war in Europe, might tend to interrupt peace, enjoining that “ American vessels be navigated exclusively by American seamen, either natives or such as are already naturalized," thus endeavoring to gain by legislation what could not be obtained by war. Yet one object had been secured-we hear no more of the impressment of American seamen.
Previous to the announcement of peace, the commanders of some of the national vessels determined to evade the blockading enemy and escape to sea. Commodore De- Jan.
15. catur, on board the frigate President, commanding the sloops Hornet and Peacock to follow, attempted to evade the blockade of the port of New York. Passing out in the night, after being unfortunately aground for some