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Causes leading to the British Failure at New Orleans, 1815.
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Author:  pud [ Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Causes leading to the British Failure at New Orleans, 1815.

Source: A History Of The War between Great Britain and the United States of America During The Years 1812, 1813 & 1814. G. Auchinleck. Arms and Armour Press and Pendragon House, Great Britain, 1972. p.p. 390-391. *(originally published in parts by The Toronto Globe between 1853 and 1855).

“ In order that the causes which led to the failure of the attack on New Orleans may be better understood we make a short extract from James’ description of the natural and artificial features of the country:-

"As the country around New Orleans possesses a very peculiar features, a slight digression may be necessary. The Bayou Bienvenu is the creek through which all the waters of a large basin, or swamp, about 80 miles in extent, bounded on the north by the Mississippi, on the west by New Orleans, on the Northwest, by Bayou Sauvage, or Chefmonteur, and on the east by Lake Borgne, into which it empties. It receives the streams of several other bayous, formed by the waters of the surrounding cypress swamps and prairies, as well as of innumerable little streams from a low grounds along the river. It is navigable for vessels of 100 tons, 12 miles from its mouth. Its breath is from 110 to 150 yards, and it has 6 feet water on the bar, at common tides, and 9 feet at spring tides. Its principal branch is that which is called Bayou Mazant, which runs toward the Southwest, and receives the waters of the canals of the plantations of Villere, Lacoste, and Laronde, upon which the British afterwards established their principal encampment. The level of the great basin, on the bank of the principal Bayou, is usually 12 feet below the banks of the Mississippi. The overflowing of the waters of all these bayous and canals, occasioned by the tide of the sea, or by the wins raising the waters in the Lake, forms, on all their banks, deposits of slime, which are continually raising them above the rest of the soil; so that the interval between two bayous is below the level of their banks, and the soil is generally covered with water and mud, in which aquatic plants, or large reeds, of the height of from six to eight feet, grow in abundance. It sometimes happens that the rains, or the filtrate it waters, collected in these intervals, or basins, not finding event, form what are called trembling prairies; which are at all times inpassable to men and domestic animals. The land in Lower Louisiana slopes in the inverse direction of the soil of other countries, being most elevated on the signs of the Rivers, and sinking as it receives from them. The Mississippi at New Orleans, periodically swells 14 or 15 feet; and is then from 3 to 4 feet above the level of its banks. To confine its waters within its bad, dikes or ramparts, called in Louisiana levees, have been raised on its banks, from the Highlands toward its mouth, a little above the level of the highest swells; without which precaution, the lands would be entirely overflowed, from four to five months in the year. The reader will now be better able to appreciate the difficulties of our troops and Seaman had to encounter in transporting themselves, their baggage, provisions, and artillery, to the scene of operations on the left bank of the Mississippi."

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