Want to save this letter now that you've found it?
It's easy - just create your own collection of letters after signing up for a free account.
MADAM, I had confidently hoped from the events of the last fourteen days to have announced to you in this letter the departure from our shores of the implacable foe, who, trusting to our supposed disunion and disaffection, has had the temerity to assail us at our very thresholds ; but although he still maintains a precarious foothold on our soil, be assured, madam, he speedily must abandon it, covered with disgrace.
Madam, the American army in Louisiana has gained immortal glory. It has made a defense against the most valiant and fortunate troops of Europe, excited to desperation by resistance, and staking its all of reputation on the die, unsurpassed in the annals of military warfare, its leader achieving in one hour the object of a whole campaign, the preservation of the state from conquest, and the overthrow of its invaders. The 8th of January will form an epoch in the history of the Republic. It was on the morning of that day the British, led on by Mr. Edward Packenham, attempted to storm our lines, and to force a way to the city at the point of the bayonet. Advancing in full confidence with this intent, and encouraged to it by their commander, his watchword "booty and beauty," they were suffered to approach within twenty yards of our batteries unmolested, at which moment a fire from our guns and our musketry opened on them with such irresistible force, they gave way at all points, flying in the utmost confusion, leaving the ground strewn with their dead and dying.
You may conceive, madam, what a spectacle of carnage must have met the eye, after the battle, when you learn that in killed, wounded, and missing, the loss of the enemy exceeded two thousand ; eight hundred being left dead ; their commander -in -chief killed ; Generals Gibbs and Keene severely wounded, and the flower of their army, the 4th and the 21st regiments, almost exterminated. On the other side of the river we were momentarily dispossessed of a battery by the enemy (the guns of which, however, we had time to spike), in consequence of a part of our troops being seized with a panic, in spite of the better countenance maintained by their comrades to the last, and the exhortations of their officers not to dishonor themselves. But it was attended with a further disaster, Colonel Thornton retreating almost immediately, badly wounded.
12 o clock. Intelligence has at this moment been received from General Jackson that the British have evacuated the country. The rear of their army completed the retreat to their shipping last night, leaving behind them many of their men, desperately wounded, besides several pieces of cannon. The city is in a ferment of delight. The country is saved, the enemy vanquished, and hardly a widow or an orphan whose tears damp the general joy. All is exultation and jubilee. What do we not owe a protecting Providence for this manifestation of his favor ! Permit me to offer you my congratulations on this auspicious termination of our trials and tribulations, and to assure you of the ever lasting respect of
Your obedient and admiring servant,
- New Orleans
- Memoirs and letters of Dolly Madison, wife of James Madison, President of the United States. 1886, Cutts, Lucia Beverly, digitized by archive.org