Alfred C. and Cordelia Arnold papers  1862-1865
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The John Peddie collection includes a signed letter from John Peddie to William Henry Clinton, written from a bivouac on the "banks of the Bayoue Catalan" and dated January 24, 1815. Peddie wrote of "the fate of our unfortunate Expedition," referring to operations surrounding the Battle of Lake Borgne and the Battle of New Orleans. He offered his opinions about the causes of the British failures. Peddie requested Clinton's aid in securing a promotion.

Peddie enclosed a manuscript map of "Genl Lambert's position on the River Mississip[p]i," signed by John Fox Burgoyne, and a 15-page copy of Charles Ramus Forrest's "Journal of the Movements of the Army acting in the Southern part of the North American Coast." Forrest's account describes events from November 25, 1814, through January 7, 1815. He remarked on Major General Keane's command in Negril, Jamaica, the movements of the British Fleet as they proceeded to the American coast, and subsequent military decisions, maneuvers, and engagements leading up to the Battle of New Orleans. Forrest provided details on difficulties faced by British troops, including unfavorable tides and geography, and described military encounters with American forces. He also noted work on the Villeré Canal and included copies of orders and memoranda concerning military preparation and actions. Forrest concluded by summarizing the circumstances that stymied the British efforts in New Orleans, including their distance from supplies; the "impossibility of gaining intelligence" from locals, prisoners, and African Americans; the bad "nature of the Soil"; Americans' ability to prepare in advance and establish a strong line of defense; and the unexpected local opposition to the British.

The letter and enclosures are part of the larger Henry Clinton papers, though they are housed separately.

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