The Campains of the British Army at Washington and New Orleans
George Robert Gleig
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ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FOURTH EDITION.
The following Narrative contains, it is believed, the only connected and authentic account, which has yet been given, of the expedition directed against Washington and New Orleans, towards the close of the late American war. It has been compiled, not from memory alone, but from a journal kept by the author whilst engaged in the enterprise; and as the adventures of each day were faithfully noted down, as they occurred, and such remarks made upon passing events, as suggested themselves to his mind at the moment, the public may rely with confidence upon the general correctness of the details. The issues of the expedition were not, indeed, of the most gratifying nature, but it is hoped that a plain relation of the proceedings of those to whom it was intrusted, will not, on that account, prove uninteresting whilst nothing can be more evident, than that the portion of our history which it embraces ought not to be overlooked, because it is little conducive to the encouragement of national vanity. It was chiefly indeed upon this account, as well as with a view to redeem from an oblivion which they hardly merit, the actions and sufferings of a few brave men, that the Narrative now submitted to the public was written
was no hard matter to convert it into a tolerably regular fortress, which might serve the double purpose of a magazine for warlike stores, and a post of defence against the enemy. With this view the churchyard was surrounded by a row of stout palings, called in military phraseology, stockades, from certain openings in which the muzzles of half a dozen pieces of light artillery protruded. The walls of the edifice itself were, moreover, strengthened by an embankment of earth to the height of
wind and the thunder, the crash of falling buildings, and the tearing of roofs as they were stript from the walls, produced the most appalling effect I ever have, and probably ever shall, witness. The storm lasted for nearly two hours without intermission; during which time, many of the houses spared by us were blown down; and thirty of our men, besides several of the inhabitants, buried beneath their ruins. Our column was as completely dispersed as if it had received a total defeat; some of the
lofty turrets; and it will easily be believed, that none of these escaped our observation. The few books which we had brought to sea were all read, many of them twice and three times through; and there now remained nothing to amuse, except what the variety of the voyage could produce. But the shores of Cuba were quickly passed, and the old prospect of sea and sky again met the gaze. There was, however, one circumstance from which we experienced a considerable diminution of comfort. As soon as we
the shipping, the whole army remained quiet for the night. How long we were to continue in this state nobody appeared to know; not a whisper was circulated as to the time of advancing, nor a surmise ventured respecting the next step likely to be taken. In our guides, to whose rumours we had before listened with avidity, no further confidence was reposed. It was quite evident, either that they had purposely deceived us, or that their information was gathered from a most imperfect source; and
the former never could have passed our battery, nor been of further annoyance to us; whereas, the schooner being burnt, the ship was only removed out of the reach of danger, and posted where she could be infinitely more advantageous to her friends, and detrimental to her enemies. This in itself was a grave error, which beyond all doubt contributed, in some degree, to our repulse on the 29th of December. The third error, and one which continued to exert its influence throughout the whole