One Warfare Correspondent’s Hasty Account of the Battle of New Orleans

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In 1815 James Morgan Bradford might effectively have change into the primary fashionable struggle correspondent when he despatched a firsthand account of the Battle of New Orleans to The Time Piece, the tiny newspaper he had established 4 years earlier in St. Francisville, Louisiana. Bradford was born in Virginia in 1777 however grew up in Frankfort, Kentucky, the place his father printed a newspaper. Shortly after the Louisiana Buy in 1803, Bradford moved to New Orleans, the place he purchased a printing plant and started publishing the Orleans Gazette. In 1805 he grew to become the Louisiana Territory’s official printer, however his strident requires using army pressure to liberate “the wretched topics of despotic Spain” introduced him into direct political battle with the territory’s governor, who revoked his contract in 1809. At that time Bradford bought his curiosity within the Gazette and moved to St. Francisville, the place he took up the examine of legislation, based The Time Piece (the city’s first newspaper), and was admitted to the Louisiana Bar.

In January 1815, because the British—unaware that the Treaty of Ghent had formally ended the Warfare of 1812 on December 24, 1814—turned their sights on New Orleans, Bradford joined a Louisiana unit, Captain Jedediah Smith’s “Feliciana Troop of Horse,” to defend the port metropolis towards an enemy assault. U.S. Military forces beneath the command of Brevet Main Basic Andrew Jackson scored a powerful victory within the Battle of New Orleans, making Jackson a nationwide hero.

After the struggle Bradford determined to dedicate all his time to the follow of legislation. He misplaced his bid for a seat within the U.S. Home of Representatives in 1822 and ran once more, unsuccessfully, in 1834. He died in 1837 of stab wounds acquired throughout a quarrel. Bradford’s account of the Battle of New Orleans was printed in an additional version of The Time Piece on January 17, 1815, beneath the headline nice victory. (Among the punctuation within the annotated model that follows has been modernized for readability.)

After my letter of the sixth [Bradford’s previous dispatch], each factor remained tranquil till the eighth. On the morning of that day, between day mild and solar rise, the enemy made an assault on our works. He superior in three columns—his proper on the sting of the swamp, flanked by the woods, which was his strongest effort, directed towards our left, and the place our line of riflemen commenced—His left on the levee, directed towards our proper. The left and centre columns halted at about 400 paces distance, besides about 100 males, who superior beneath cowl of the levee, and have been mistaken for our personal piquets, till they received possession of our bastions, in entrance of the intense proper of our breast work.

As quickly as they entered the bastion, three officers rushed upon our breast work, one in every of whom having reached the highest, referred to as out to the Yankee Rascals to stop firing, and flourishing his sword, cried “the enemy’s works are ours.” The phrases had not time to chill upon his lips, when he fell together with his comrades, lifeless in our ditch. Not a person who entered our bastion was permitted to return & inform the story of their determined carnage—all perished, penetrated with innumerable wounds.

As this a part of the column reached our proper, Capt. [Enoch] Humphrey opened upon the halted columns a most harmful fireplace, from 4 12 pounders. Essentially the most determined assault was that on our left. This column was suffered to advance to our ditch, when three 24 pounders opened upon it with grape and cannister, and each fireplace minimize a lane by means of the advancing column. After the primary discharge of cannon our musketry opened, say from a couple of thousand arms. By no means did I hear such a roar of small arms. The motion continued between 40 and 50 minutes, when the enemy retired. Thrice did he advance, and thrice did he retire, mowed down by the irresist[i]ble impact of our fireplace.

The fitting column of the enemy was [led], as we’re induced to consider from the reviews of prisoners, by the Proper Honb. Edward Pakenham, Lieut. Gen. and commander in chief. He was killed, as was one other Basic, and Maj. [John] Kean is severely wounded. All of the prisoners concur in saying they by no means witnessed such an motion. Those that have been at Talavera, Badajo[z], and St. Sebastians [three battles of the Peninsula War] acknowledge that they suffered not half as severely in proportion to our pressure, as on the dreadful eighth. You could estimate the consequence after this fashion—losses of the enemy 600 killed, 1,000 wounded, & 400 prisoners—whole 2,000—800 stand of arms taken, in an motion of fifty minutes—while our losses was not exceeding 15: 5 killed and ten wounded.

After detailing this wonderful results of the battle of the eighth, at our line, I really feel indescribable ache, in detailing the problem on the other financial institution of the Mississippi. On the evening of the seventh, the enemy succeeded in getting a few of his barges into the river, and crossed over about 900 males. [Brigadier] Gen. [David] Morgan with about 600 state troops, and 400 Kentuckians was posted there, the place was additionally erected a battery of 12 and 24 pounders, and a howit[zer], taken from Lord [Charles] Cornwallis at Yorktown. The Gen., apprised of the state of affairs of the enemy, despatched about 100 males beneath Maj. [Charles] Tessier of Baton Rouge to oppose his touchdown. The Maj., supposing, or effecting to suppose, that the enemy’s object was an assault on fort St. Leon, on the English Flip, returned, & suffered him to land with out molestation.

Within the morning of the eighth, the enemy superior, and made an assault on Gen. Morgan, simultaneous with that on Gen. [Andrew] Jackson. Capt. [T. W.] Scott of Feliciana, and one or two different firms, from New Orleans, sustained the shock with nice coolness. Our artillery gave the foe a spirited fireplace, and halted his advance for a second, however our proper beneath Maj. Tessier having given away with out firing a gun, and falling again upon the Kentuckians, threw them into confusion. The enemy returned to the cost, and our males on the battery having spiked their weapons, retired. The results of this affair was two killed and one wounded on our half, with the lack of the howit[zer]—and that of the enemy, we are saying 8, as six graves and two unburied our bodies have been found and we took two prisoners. The enemy retreated with nice precipitation. I’ve no hesitation saying that had Maj. Tessier’s command behaved with that firmness that grew to become our character, the defeat would have been as sign to the enemy on the west, as on east financial institution of the river.

A most terrible cannonade started on the evening of the tenth, and continued till a late hour final evening, at fort St. Philip (Plaquemine). On the eleventh, an categorical reached Gen. Jackson, that on the tenth at 10 o’clock P. M. the enemy commenced the assault, main in ships, gunboats, bomb vessels, barges, &c innumerable. About sundown final night, two explosions occurred within the route of St. Philip, presupposed to be the enemy’s vessels. Of the consequence we can not give any account—however we really feel nice confidence that it’s favorable to our arms.

I really feel singular pleasure in informing you that our companions have but suffered nothing, though we have been as close to the motion of the eighth as doable. Of our fellow residents and acquaintance, the businesses of Capts. Lewis Davis and Isaac Johnson have been on the breast work on the eighth, and supported by their braveness, the excessive character our parish has so justly acquired.

I have to shut—for as I write, I’m knowledgeable our squadron is engaged with the enemy’s piquet, and I have to hasten to hitch them. MHQ

This text seems within the Winter 2020 situation (Vol. 33, No. 2) of MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Army Historical past with the headline: Traditional Dispatches | Nice Victory!

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