Page images
PDF

gade. Colonel Thornton states, that he derived the greatest benefit from his activity, zeal, and judgment. I regret to have to add that he was very severely -wounded and had his leg amputated in the course of the night.

The indefatigable zeal and intelligence displayed by Lieutetenants Peddie and Evans, of the Quarter-Master-General's department, entitle them to the most favourable consideration.

Assistant Commissary General Wemyss's arrangements were satisfactory, and Deputy Inspector Thompson claims my best acknowledgments, for the care and attention shown the wounded: the whole of whom were collected, dressed, and comfortably lodged, before two in the morning.

Major Mills, of the 14th light dragoons, accompanied me on shore; from him, Captain l'crssc, my aide-de-camp, and the Hon. Lieut. Curzon, naval aide-decamp, I received every assistance.

Trusting that the steps I pursued while in command, will meet your approbation,

I have the honour to be, &c. (Signed) John Keane, Maj.-Gen. Major General the hon. Sir

E.Pakenham,K.B.&c.

Redoubt, on the right Bank of the
Mississippi, Jan. 8, 1815.

Sir,—I lose no time in reporting to you the success of the troops ■which you were yesterday pleased to place under my orders, with the view of attacking the enemy's redoubt and position on this side of the river.

It is within your own knowledge, that the difficulty had been

found so extremely great of dragging the boats through the canal, which had been lately cut with so much labour to the Mississippi, that, notwithstanding every possible exertion for the purpose, we were unable to proceed across the river until eight hours after the time appointed, and even then, with only a third part of the force which you had allotted for the service.

The current was so strong, and the difficulty, in consequence, of keeping the boats together so great, that we only reached this side of the river at day break, and by the time the troops were disembarked, which was effected without any molestation from the enemy, I perceived by the flashes of the guns, that your attack had already commenced.

This circumstance made me extremely anxious to move forward, to prevent the destructive enfilading fire, which would of course be opened on your columns from the enemy's batteries on this side; and I proceeded with the greatest possible expedition, strengthened and secured on my right flank by three gun boats, under Captain Roberts, of the navy, whose zeal and exertions on this occasion were as unremitted as his arrangements in embarking the troops, and in keeping the boats together in crossing the river, were excellent.

The enemy made no opposition to our advance, until we reached a picquet, posted behind a bridge, at about 500 paces from the house in the Orange-grove, and secured by a small work, apparently just thrown up.

This picq uet was very soon forced and driven in by a division of the

L 9, 85th fioth regiment, under Captain Schaw, of that regiment, forming the advanced guard, and whose mode of attack for the purpose was prompt and judicious to a degree.

Upon my arrival at the Orangegrove, I had an opportunity of reconnoitring, at about seven hundred yards, the enemy's position; which I found to be a very formidable redoubt on the bank of the river, with the right flank secured by on entrenchment extending back to a thick wood, and its line protected by an incessant fire of grape. Under such circumstances it seemed to me "to afford the best prospect of success, to endeavour to turn his right at the wood; and I accordingly detached two divisions of the 85th, under Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Gubbins, to effect that object, which he accomplished with his usual zeal and judgment, with one hundred sailors, under Captain Money, of the Royal Navy, who I am sorry to say, was severely wounded, but whose conduct was particularly distinguished on the occasion, threatened the enemy's left, supported by the division of the 85th regiment, under Captain Schaw.

When these divisions had gained their proper position, I deployed the column composed of two divisions of the 85th regiment, under Major Deshon, whose conduct I cannot sufficiently commend, and about 100 men of the royal marines, under Major Adair, also deserving of much commendation, and moved forward in line, to the attack of the centre of the intrenchment. ^

At first the enemy, confident in his own security, shewed a good countenan.^e, and kept up a heavy

fire; but the determination of the troops which I had the honour to command to overcome all difficulties, compelled him to a rapid and disorderly flight, leaving in onr possession his redoubts, batteries, and position, with sixteen pieces of ordnance, and the colours of the New Orleans regiment. of militia.

Of the ordnance taken, I enclose the specific return of Major Mitehell, of the royal artillery, who accompanied and afforded me much assistance, by his able direction* of the firing of some rockets, it not having been found practicable in the first instance to bring over the artillery attached to his command.

I shall have the honour of sending you a return of the casualties that have occurred, as soon aa it is possible to collect them; but I atn happy to say they are extremely inconsiderable, when the strength of the position, and the number of the enemy are considered, which our prisoners (about 30in number) agree in stating from 1500 to 9,000 men, commanded by General Morgan.

I should be extremely wanting both injustice and in gratitude were 1 not to request your particular notice of the officers whose names I have mentioned, as well as of Major Blanchard, of the royal engineers, and Lieutenant Peddie of the 27th regiment, Deputy Assistant Quarter Master General. whose zeal and intelligence I found of the greatest service.

The wounded men are meeting with every degree of attention and humanity from the medical arrangements of Staff Surgeon Baxter.

The

The enemy's camp is supplied with a great abundance of provisions, and a very large store of all sorts of ammunition.

On moving to the attack, I received a wound, which shortly after my reaching the redoubt, occasioned me such pain and stiffness, that I have been obliged to give over the command of the troops on this side to Lieut. Col. Gubbins, of the 85th light infantry; but as he has obtained some reinforcement, since the attack, of bailors and marines, and has taken the best precautions to cover and secure his position, 1 will be answerable, from my knowledge of his judgment and experience, that he will retain it, until your pleaMire and further orders shall be communicated to him. ] have, &t. (Signed)

W. Thohston, Colonel, Lieut-tdl. 85th Regt. To Major-General the Hon.

Sir E. M. Pakenham,

K. B. &c.

/fit Majesty's ship Tonnant, off Chomdeleur's Island, Jtm.28, 1815. My Lord,—After maturely deliberating on the situation of this army, after the command had un? fortunately devolved upon me, on •he 8th instant, and duly considering what probability now remained of carrying on wjth success, on the same plan, an attack against New Orleans, it appeared to me that it ought not to be per-, listed in. ] immediately communicated to Vice Admiral Sir A, Cochrane, that I did not think it would be prudent to make any further attempt at present, and

that I recommended re-embarking the army as soon as possible, with a view to carry into effect the other objects of the force employed upon this coast: from the 9th instant, it was determined that the army should retreat, and I have the satisfaction of informing your Lordship, that it was effected on the night of the 18th instant, and ground was taken up on the morning of the 19th, on both sides of theBayonc, or creek, which the troops had entered on their disembarkation, fourteen miles from their position before the enemy's line, covering New Orleans, on the left bank of the Mississippi, and one mile from the entrance into Lac Borgne. The army remained in bivouac Until the 27th instant, when the whole were re-embarked.

In stating the circumstances of this retreat to your Lordship, I shall confidently trust that you will see, that good order and discipline ever existed in this army, and that zeal for the service and attention was ever conspicuous in officers of all ranks. Your Lordship is already acquainted with the position the army occupied, its advanced post close up to the enemy's line, and the greater part of the army were exposed to the fire of his batteries, which was unremitting day and night since the 1st of January, when the position in advance was taken up. The retreat was effected without being harassed in any degree by the enemy, All the sick and wounded (with the exception of eighty whom it was considered dangerous to remove), field artillery, ammunition, hospital and other stores of every description, which had been landed

en

on a very large scale, -were brought away, and nothing fell into the enemy's hands excepting six iron eighteen pounders, mounted on sea carriages, and two carronades which were in position oh the left bank of the Mississippi: to bring them off at the moment the army was retiring was impossible, and • to have done it previously would have exposed the whole force to any fire the enemy might haVe sent down the river. These batteries were of course destroyed, and the guns rendered perfectly unserviceable. Only four men were reported absent next morning, and these, 1 suppose, must have been left behind, and have fallen into the hands of the enemy; but when it is considered the troops were in perfect ignorance of the movement, until a fixed hour during the night, that the battalions were drawn off in succession, and that the picquets did not move off till half past three o'clock in the morning, and that the whole had to retire through the most difficult new made road, cut in miirshy ground, impassable for a horse, and where, in many places, the men could only go in single files, and that the absence of men might be accounted for in so many ways, it would be rather a matter of surprise the number was so few.

An exchange of prisoners has been effected with the enemy upon very fair terms, and their attention to the brave prisoners, and wounded, that have fallen into their hands, has been kind and humane, I have every reason to believe.

However unsuccessful the termination of the late service the army and navy have been employed

upon has turned out, it would he injustice not to point out how much praise is due to their exertions, ever since the 13th of December, when the army began to move from the ships; the fatigue of disembarking and bringing up artillery and supplies from such a distance has been incessant: and I must add, that owing to the exertions of the navy, the army has never wanted provisions. The labour and fatigue of the seamen and soldiers were particularly conspicuous on the night of the 7 th instant, when fifty bo-.ts weredragged through a canal into the Mississippi, in which there were only eighteen inches of water; and I am confident that Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, who suggested the possibility of this operation, will be equally ready to admit this, as well as the hearty cooperation of the troops on all occasions.

From what has come under my own observation since I joined this army, and from official reports that have been made to me, I beg to call your Lordship's attention to individuals, who from their station have rendered themselves peculiarly conspicuous. Major Forrest, at the head of the Quarter-mastergeneral's department, I cannot say too much of. Lieut. Evans and Peddie of the same, have been remarkable for their exertions and indefatigability: Sir John Tylden, who has acted in the field as Assistant Adjutant General with me (Lieut.-Col. Stovin having been wounded on the 23d ult. though doing well, not as yet being permitted to take active service) has been very useful. On the night of the 7th, previous to the attack,

Hear Rear Admiral Malcolm reports the great assistance he received from him in forwarding the boats into the Mississippi. Captain Wood of the 4th regiment, Deputy Assistant Adjutant General, has filled that situation since the first disembarkation of the troops with zeal and attention.

During the action of the 8th instant, the command of the 2d brigade devolved upon Lieutenant Colonel Brooke, 4 th regiment; that of the 3d upon Colonel Hamilton, 5th West India regiment; and the reserve upon Colonel Blakeney, royal fusiliers ;—to all these officers i feel much indebted for their services. • Lieutenant Colonel Dickson, royal artillery, has diplayed his usual abilities and assiduity; he reports to me his general satis faction w ith all the officers under his command, especially Major Munro, senior officer of the royal artillery, previous to his arrival, and of the officers commanding companies.

Lieutenant Colonel Burgoyne, royal engineers, afforded me every assistance that could be expected from his known talents and experience: that service lost a very valuable and much esteemed officer Lieutenant Wright, who was killed when reconnoitring on the evening of the 31st ultimo.

Lieutenant Colonel Merin, of the 43d, and Lieutenant Colonel Gubbins, 85th regiments, field officers of the picquets on the 18th, .have great credit for the manner in which they withdrew the out-posts on the morning of the 10th, under the direction of Colonel Blakeney, royal fusiliers.

I request in a particular manner to express how much this army is

indebted to the attention and diligence of Mr. Robb, Deputy Inspector of Hospitals: he met the embarrassments of crowded hospitals, and their immediate removal, with such excellent ar-' raagements, that the wounded were all brought off with every favourable cirsumstance, except such cases as would have rendered their removal dangerous.

Captain Sir Thomas Troubridge, royal navy, who commanded a battalion of seamen, and who was attached to act with the troops, rendered the greatest service by his exertions in whatever way they were required; Col. Dickson, royal artillery,particularly mentions how much he was indebted to him.

The conduct of the two squadrons of the 14th light dragoons, latterly under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Haker, previously of Major Mills, has been the admiration of every one, by the cheerfulness with which they have performed all descriptions of service. I must also mention the exertions of the royal staff corps under Major Todd, so reported by the Deputy Quarter Master General.

Permit me to add the obligations I am under to my personal staff, Lieutenant the hon. Edward Curzon, of the royal navy, who was selected as naval aide-de-camp to the commanding officer of the troops on their first disembarkation, each of whom have expressed the satisfaction they had in his appointment, to which I confidently add my own.

Major Smith, of the 95th regiment, now acting as Military Secretary, is so well known for his zeal and talents, that I can with

truth

« PreviousContinue »