The Treaty of Ghent and conquest of Mobile

“Our flag was display’d within their works”: The Treaty of Ghent and conquest of Mobile

Smith, Gene A

The Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812 without declaring a winner or loser and without addressing the issues that caused the war between the United States and Great Britain. The agreement simply brought an ignominious end to two and a half years of American embarrassments, which included the British burning of the United States capital. Although the treaty mandated a status quo ante bellum-a return to the state of affairs that existed before the war– the important conquest of the Spanish city of Mobile by the United States Army and Navy remained intact. Moreover, the victory exposed Spanish weaknesses along the Gulf and convincingly demonstrated the ease by which the United States could acquire the Florida colonies, especially if Britain provided no assistance to her ally, Spain.1

Located in the Spanish colony of West Florida, Mobile had a colorful history. The city-La Mobile or Old Mobile-began as a French fort established in 1702 on the Mobile River at Twenty-Seven Mile Bluff. But an awful flood in the spring of 1711, combined with a devastating hurricane and the English destruction of Port Dauphin on Massacre (Dauphin) Island in October 1711, prompted the French to evacuate both Twenty-Seven Mile Bluff and Dauphin Island and to build Mobile-a combined fort, town, and port located at the mouth of the Mobile River. Over the next fifty years Mobile became the center of French colonial efforts along the Gulf Coast, but it never emerged as the bustling city or port its founders anticipated. When France and Spain surrendered to Britain at the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763, the southern half of Alabama, including Mobile, became part of British West Florida; the British colony stretched from the Apalachicola to the Mississippi River. During the American Revolution, Governor Bernardo de Galvez of Louisiana conquered Mobile for Spain, and the Treaty of Paris in 1783 formalized the acquisition. After the peace the United States held all lands east of the Mississippi River except for Spanish East and West Florida, which included Mobile. Thus by 1800 the city had changed hands twice, successively under the control of French, British, and Spanish authorities.2

Another twist to the Mobile drama occurred on October 1, 1800, when Spain ceded control of Louisiana to France under the terms of the Treaty of San Ildefonso. This agreement underscored the uncertainty of colonial arrangements in the Gulf region by anticipating that Louisiana would become the French breadbasket for Napoleon Bonaparte’s planned western empire. The cession threatened American navigation of the Mississippi River as well as the security of the United States. France, Thomas Jefferson acknowledged, had been “our natural friend, . . . one [with] which we never could have an occasion of difference.” But despite the bonds of friendship and the historic ties that linked the two, he realized that “there is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural and habitual enemy.” “It is New Orleans,” he professed, and by 1803 France had gained control over the Crescent City.3 If France retained possession of Louisiana, Jefferson predicted that “this speck which now appears as an almost invisible point in the horizon, [will become] the embryo of a tornado which will burst on the countries on both sides of the Atlantic.”4

The United States and France averted the tornado of war in 1803 when Jefferson’s administration acquired New Orleans with the Louisiana Purchase. Although that transaction settled the question of control of the Mississippi River, the status of West Florida, and thus Mobile, remained ambiguous. The eastern boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase had been left unclear, creating doubt and confusion. But James Monroe, who had helped negotiate the Purchase, was not at all confused by the provisions of the treaty. In fact, he insisted that the deal included Mobile as well as West Florida. Robert R. Livingston, who had also participated in the negotiations with France, concurred with Monroe and argued that the United States should take possession of West Florida as a part of the Louisiana Purchase.5

Although the status of West Florida remained in question, Congress took steps to prove conclusively that it belonged to the United States as a part of the Louisiana Purchase. At Jefferson’s behest Congress passed the Mobile Act in February 1804, which gave the United States legal control over part of the region. The act proclaimed the annexation of all navigable rivers and streams within the United States that flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. It also created a separate customs district at Fort Stoddert (near present-day Mt. Vernon), twenty-five miles north of Mobile and just above the thirty-first parallel, to collect duties.6

The Marques de Casa Yrujo, the Spanish minister to the United States, protested the American claim under the Mobile Act. Jefferson’s proclamation of May 20, 1804, which asserted that the Mobile revenue district only included those waters within United States boundaries, momentarily mollified the Spanish minister’s protest. Yet the statement also offered conclusive evidence that the American government watched West Florida and Mobile attentively. In 1803 Jefferson had been willing to risk war for the right to use the Mississippi River, but a year later he was reluctant to take such risks for West Florida. Perhaps his belief that American settlers would eventually seize West Florida lands convinced him that war was unnecessary. Regardless, this unusual situation, in which the United States claimed the Mobile area and Spain occupied West Florida, continued until 1810.7

Jefferson’s expectations that the United States would assume control over Gulf lands began to materialize in late September 1810 when a group of armed Americans commanded by Philemon Thomas captured the dilapidated Spanish West Florida fort at Baton Rouge. After their conquest the Americans called a convention of delegates representing the region and issued a Declaration of Independence for West Florida. The convention subsequently delivered a copy of the document to Gov. David Holmes of the Mississippi Territory and Gov. William C. C. Claiborne of the Orleans Territory, insisting that they forward it to the government in Washington. They also requested annexation into the United States and protection against Spanish retribution.8

President James Madison was in a quandary. He wanted to annex Baton Rouge immediately but knew that he could not use military forces for such a venture without congressional approval, and that body would not meet until early December 1810. Moreover, military occupation of Spanish territory would incur the wrath of not only Spain but perhaps even England and France. Yet Madison feared that if the government did not aid West Florida, there would “be danger of its passing into the hands of a third and dangerous party.” Britain, the president had written to Jefferson, had a “propensity to fish in troubled waters,” and Madison realized that the moment would be lost should the United States not cast her line.9

Rumors of the impending arrival of Spanish troops from Cuba or Veracruz, combined with fabricated accounts of a British landing at Pensacola and stories of American adventurers seizing additional Spanish territory, forced Madison to take action before Congress convened. On October 27, 1810, he instructed American officials to take possession of West Florida as a rightful part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. The United States, the president declared, had not previously exercised its title to the territory, not because of any doubts of its legitimacy but because of “events over which [the country] had no control.” He announced that the time had finally arrived: “The tranquility and security of our adjoining territories are endangered,” and the country’s revenue and commercial laws as well as slave importation statutes were being violated. Although Madison made no reference to the American-led revolution in his message, he did admit that “a crisis has at length arrived subversive of the order of things under the Spanish authorities”; if the United States did not act immediately it “may lead to events ultimately contravening the views of both parties.”10

Consequently, Madison instructed Governor Claiborne to take possession of the territory for the United States. The message also directed the inhabitants to obey the laws, maintain order, and cherish the harmony and protection of their life, property, and religion. Thus by executive order the president incorporated Spanish Baton Rouge into the American territory of Orleans. The American claim of 1810 included all of West Florida except the city of Mobile, which remained in Spanish hands.11

Tensions between Spanish forces and Americans in the region heightened considerably in the following months. Before the end of 1810 Lt. Daniel Dexter of the U.S. Navy had accompanied a troop transport bound for Fort Stoddert on the Mobile River. Apparently the West Florida revolutionaries involved with the Baton Rouge seizure had made overtures concerning the conquest of Mobile, and Fort Stoddert needed additional troops to prevent an unwanted uprising. But Spanish forces near Mobile at Fort Charlotte controlled the river’s mouth, making the American fort virtually inaccessible.12

In early January 1811 the American flotilla, laden with troops and supplies, anchored near the Spanish stronghold at Mobile. But Francisco Collell, commander of the Spanish bastion, refused to allow the Americans to pass or disembark. Almost a month elapsed before Collell allowed the troops to land and march overland to Fort Stoddert. But before the affair had been settled an unsubstantiated rumor circulated that four Spanish frigates had landed troops in nearby Pensacola to regain the lands that Spain had lost. The rumor proved false and the two nations averted a diplomatic crisis.13

In early June 1811 the navy sent a thirteen-ship expedition (eleven gunboats, the brig Viper, and a storeship) commanded by Lt. Joseph Bainbridge to ensure safe passage of military supplies to Fort Stoddert. Relations between the United States and Spain along the Gulf coast had worsened as Collell steadfastly refused to allow the passage of supplies north to Fort Stoddert. Capt. John Shaw, commander of the New Orleans naval station, responded by dispatching Bainbridge’s squadron to deliver the supplies-by force if necessary.14

The gunboats arrived in Mobile Bay on July 2, 1811, and it appeared for a time that Collell would not acquiesce. As he moved his vessels into position, Bainbridge learned that the Viper’s draft prevented his flagship from crossing the sandbar that commanded the harbor. Bainbridge then transferred his pennant from the Viper to gunboat No. 25 and informed Collell that he intended to execute his orders. Three days later Bainbridge ordered six of his gunboats to anchor about five hundred yards off Fort Charlotte with their guns ready for action. Meanwhile, gunboat No. 25 proceeded up river, followed by the sloop Alligator (gunboat No. 166), which towed the storeship. The Spanish did not fire on the American convoy as it moved upriver toward Fort Stoddert. Episodes such as these characterized the tense state of affairs along the Gulf.15

On April 14, 1812, four days after the United States welcomed Louisiana’s entrance into the Union, Congress incorporated Mobile and its surrounding area into the Mississippi Territory. Congress probably did not intend to change Mobile’s status at that time because by the spring of 1812 war with England appeared a distinct possibility. More than likely the government believed that the admission of Louisiana would strengthen the American position along the Gulf Coast. Still, the Republican, expansionist-minded Congress did not want to relinquish its title to Mobile, a claim that could be traced to the Louisiana Purchase. But at the same time any attempt to include the territory in the state of Louisiana would force the United States government to take a stand on the annexation of West Florida. Perhaps those congressmen interested in the Gulf Coast believed that attaching Mobile to another territory, such as the Mississippi Territory, would not necessarily change the status quo.16

David Holmes, the aggressive Republican frontier governor of the Mississippi Territory, was not officially informed of any change in Mobile’s status, nor was he immediately given information concerning the area. In fact, he did not discover that the Mobile district had been added to his Mississippi Territory until weeks later, when he read a newspaper account that reported the congressional action. Once Holmes learned of the change, he began organizing the region as part of his domain. He appointed officials, including a sheriff for Mobile County, to control the territory. He also divided the county into militia districts and established a city government for Mobile. Although he took these steps on his own authority, he did not try to enforce his decrees in the Spanish-occupied city.17

Americans had acquired Baton Rouge in 1810 and had laid claim to Mobile since 1804. Nevertheless Spanish forces still controlled Mobile when war erupted between the United States and Great Britain in 1812. By the end of the summer of 1812, Governor Holmes’s aggressive actions in the Mobile District had created a dangerous and unusual situation. The United States and Britain were at war, and Holmes’s unsanctioned reorganizations threatened a conflict with Spain as well. Moreover, about two hundred yards south of Mobile was the Spanish stronghold of Fort Charlotte, “a regular square of 120 yards front, built of brick, with four Bastions, Ditch, Coverway, and Pallisades [sic].” Although Fort Charlotte was in a serious state of disrepair, it nevertheless contained a garrison of about 130 men. And although this force certainly was not strong enough to expel Americans from the territory, it still provided a source of friction and potential trouble. Accordingly, the United States government made no official effort to seize the Spanish fort or city, nor did the Spanish interfere with American military forces in the area.18

This strange coexistence lasted until the following spring. On February 12, 1813, the United States Congress, meeting in secret session, finally provided President Madison the authority to seize all of West Florida, including Mobile. Four days later Secretary of War John Armstrong sent a copy of the act to Gen.James Wilkinson at New Orleans and ordered him to seize Fort Charlotte and the surrounding territory east to the Perdido River. When Wilkinson received his orders in mid-March, he began preparations to bring Mobile under the Stars and Stripes.19

Wilkinson had commanded army forces at New Orleans since July 1812, but there had been much discord between the general and Capt. John Shaw of the navy. At the beginning of the War of 1812 Wilkinson preempted control over Shaw and his naval forces. An angry Shaw protested vigorously, preferring a cooperative rather than a subordinate relationship. The discord over rank and the treatment that each branch of the service received created rancor between army and navy forces in New Orleans. The dispute was not amicably settled until Secretary of the Navy William Jones arranged a cooperative agreement between Wilkinson and Shaw. Unfortunately, the settlement came only after Wilkinson, as overall military commander, had squandered scant navy resources, frustrating the navy’s ability to operate along the Gulf Coast. Nevertheless, there was one benefit gained from Wilkinson’s control of the navy. He had used the navy to survey the defensive possibilities of the region and had concluded that Mobile and Pensacola should be taken in order to defend adequately New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Armstrong’s February 1813 order to conquer Fort Charlotte allowed Wilkinson to fulfill his objectives.20

During the last two weeks of March 1813 Wilkinson hastily assembled a force of about eight hundred men, including both infantry and artillery, and sent them via water to Pass Christian, seventy-five miles west of Mobile. The general also requested that Captain Shaw provide gunboat escorts for his fourteen transports. Wilkinson’s plan was to use the gunboats to occupy Mobile Bay and disrupt the city’s communications with Spanish Pensacola. Finally, Wilkinson directed Col. John Bowyer, stationed at Fort Stoddert, to move four hundred troops into a position to assist in the attack.21

Wilkinson experienced a series of delays and did not depart New Orleans until March 29. He traveled by sea aboard the Alligator, but stormy waters tossed the vessel so badly that the general transferred to a barge. The barge proved even worse! As it neared Pass Christian it sank, taking down most of Wilkinson’s personal baggage. The general and several of his associates avoided drowning by clinging to the barge’s keel for some time before being rescued by Spanish fishermen. This helping hand, viewed from hindsight, is ironic because the fishermen towed the barge ashore and righted it, thereby allowing the general and his associates to proceed against the fishermen’s countrymen. A constant head wind posed another problem because it delayed the arrival of Shaw’s escorts and hindered communication between Wilkinson and advance forces near Mobile. Nevertheless, by April 8 Shaw had arrived at Pass Christian with his gunboats, and the expedition sailed for Fort Charlotte.22

After a hard three-day voyage, the American force arrived off Dauphin Island late in the evening of April 11. Although blustery weather had delayed Wilkinson and Shaw’s advance, it did not hinder the planned amphibious assault. In the early morning hours of April 12, Shaw’s five gunboats (Nos. 5, 22, 65, 156, and 163) provided cover and support as six hundred of Wilkinson’s men went ashore three miles south of Fort Charlotte and marched in column toward their objective. Colonel Bowyer’s men arrived by sunrise and moved their five artillery pieces into advantageous positions north of the Spanish fort. Meanwhile, a company of American volunteers from Mobile joined the U.S. cause and helped cut off Spanish communications with Pensacola. When Wilkinson’s force surrounded Fort Charlotte, the Spanish commander, Capt. Cayetano Perez, recognized that he was under siege. Over the next three days Perez watched his situation deteriorate as Wilkinson made final preparations for a land assault. Meanwhile, Shaw’s gunboats remained anchored in a line-ahead formation about two hundred yards off the fort, preventing escape or reinforcement by water.23

Captain Perez was in a helpless position-his garrison now numbered about eighty hungry and dispirited men. Fort Charlotte could not withstand a sustained assault because Perez had but few guns and limited powder and shot. The governor of West Florida, Mauricio Zuniga, had not aided Fort Charlotte. He had withdrawn men from Mobile the previous winter to bolster the defenses of the more important city of Pensacola to the east. Even so, the governor could still only muster sixty regulars and some 120 black troops from Cuba for the defense of Pensacola. Furthermore, the Spanish had only 280 soldiers in all of West Florida. Zuniga had anticipated five hundred additional Cuban troops and the support of the Creek Indians, but neither arrived in time to prevent the loss of Mobile.24

As Wilkinson prepared for his attack, he sent dispatches to the townspeople admonishing them to refrain from aiding the Spanish soldiers. He also informed Perez that the Americans came not as enemies but rather “to relieve the brave garrison which you so worthily command, from the occupancy of a post within the legitimate limits of the United States.” Wilkinson’s “friendly” offer was an insult to the loyal Spanish commander, who issued a formal protest against the arrogant American’s actions. But the protest was nothing more than bluster and an attempt to forestall the inevitable because Perez knew he had no alternative other than to surrender. On April 13 Wilkinson and Perez met and signed the formal articles of surrender, turning Fort Charlotte and Mobile over to the United States. Two days later Shaw’s gunboats evacuated Spanish forces to Pensacola with their personal weapons and equipment. All Spanish cannon and munitions remained within the fort. Captain Shaw later recalled that at five o’clock on the evening of April 15– amid formal salutes from the fort’s cannon and American gunboats-“our Flag was display’d within their Works.” Mobile had been incorporated into the United States “without any fighting or disturbance [and] everything has remained quiet since.”25

The capture of Mobile stands as a model of cooperation between the U.S. Army and Navy, despite the animosity that previously existed between Wilkinson and Shaw. It represented the United States’ most successful joint military operation during the War of 1812. In fact, in no other engagement did the country gain so much with so little effort. Although Wilkinson and Shaw could boast of the “Invasion of the [city] & its tame surrender,” they had not triumphed over the British but rather over an inferior Spanish force not at war with the United States. Nevertheless, the action gave the United States unquestioned control over Florida west of the Perdido River and demonstrated the ease by which Spain could be expelled from the Gulf Coast, including perhaps even East Florida.26

After the battle Wilkinson chose to move the city’s primary defense from Fort Charlotte thirty miles south to Mobile Point, a four-mile-wide sandy peninsula that commanded the entrance to Mobile Bay. Capt. Rueben Chamberlain oversaw construction of a new fort until June 1813, when Gen. Thomas Flournoy ordered Col. John Bowyer to finish the bastion, which subsequently carried Bowyer’s name. Reinforced with cannon from nearby Fort Charlotte, the position served as Mobile’s primary defense until early July 1814 when Flournoy ordered it to be evacuated. Less than one month later, however, Gen. Andrew Jackson, learning that British forces intended to attack Mobile, sent Maj. William Lawrence with 160 men to reoccupy the position. Over the next month Lawrence and his men added wooden batteries and acquired additional guns while preparing for an attack.27

A British force arrived off Mobile Point on September 12, 1814. Over the next two days Capt. Sir William H. Percy of the Royal Navy and Maj. Edward Nicholls of the Royal Marines amassed four ships carrying seventy-eight cannon and six hundred men and a land force of seventy-two marines and 180 Indians. Percy chose to postpone the attack while British representatives unsuccessfully negotiated with Jean Laffite and his Baratarian pirates for their support. The opening salvos of the British attack occurred on September 14, when Nicholls’s land force moved within eight hundred yards of Fort Bowyer and commenced firing. The Americans responded and drove the British troops back. The following day Nicholls’s soldiers approached Bowyer again, only to deplete their ammunition before retreating.28

On September 15, as Nicholls made his landward approach, Percy’s ships conducted a simultaneous seaward attack. At 4:30 in the afternoon, the British flotilla anchored in a broadside position and began firing on Fort Bowyer. A lucky American shot cut the bow spring line of Percy’s flagship, the H.M.S. Hermes, and the current turned her bow abreast of the fort, where for twenty minutes she suffered a devastating fire. The Hermes, disabled, ran aground in shoal waters before Percy decided to abandon and destroy her to prevent an American capture. The remainder of British forces retreated to Pensacola. The British officially reported their casualties as twenty-seven killed, forty-five wounded, and the destruction of one ship, whereas American losses were but four killed and five wounded. American forces had held the fort against a spirited British attack.29

The last battle for Mobile began one month after the British defeat at New Orleans and after the Treaty of Ghent had officially ended the conflict. On January 28, 1815, British forces again landed on Dauphin Island off Mobile Bay and began preparing for another attack against Fort Bowyer. British warships arrived off the island nine days later. Even though Andrew Jackson had anticipated a British attack against New Orleans before the end of 1814, he had also understood the strategic importance of Mobile and Fort Bowyer. In November Jackson had increased the fort’s complement to almost four hundred men. Yet even with increased strength, Lawrence reported his position as precarious because of the lack of protection from a landward approach.30

On the morning of February 8 about fourteen hundred British soldiers disembarked three miles east of Fort Bowyer. British Maj. Gen. John Lambert and his staff quickly surveyed the situation and concluded that an infantry assault would be useless whereas artillery could effectively reduce the bastion. During that evening and throughout the next two days British forces faced heavy American artillery fire while trying to position their cannons. By the morning of February 11 the British had emplaced their artillery and were ready for their assault.31

Before beginning an attack General Lambert sent Brevet Maj. Harry Smith to Lawrence, under a flag of truce, to offer terms of surrender. Lawrence realized that Fort Bowyer– without casemates to protect the wounded or the powder magazine and lacking landward ramparts-could not be held without a great cost of lives. Facing these circumstances, Lawrence reluctantly accepted British terms and surrendered on February 11, 1815, two days before news of the Treaty of Ghent reached the Gulf coast. Even though the British had taken Fort Bowyer, the city of Mobile was spared an attack because the war had ended.32

Historian Henry Adams, who ably chronicled the period, remarked that the American capture and retention of Mobile was “the only permanent gain of territory made during the war.” Moreover, it was “effected without bloodshed, [and has] attracted less attention than it deserved.” The acquisition has been obscured by Jackson’s notable victory at New Orleans as well as the less-than-successful Treaty of Ghent that concluded the war.33

The United States had purchased Louisiana in 1803 from Napoleon, who had pressured Spain to relinquish the territory; the legality of the transaction remained questionable, especially in British and Spanish eyes. During the War of 1812 United States forces conquered and retained Mobile while American settlers strengthened their hold on other West Florida lands. Although the United States benefitted greatly from Spanish weaknesses, in both cases questions over ownership remained. The American victory at New Orleans, however, erased all doubts about who possessed, controlled, and owned Louisiana and the Purchase. Likewise, the easy conquest of Mobile removed all misgivings about the American acquisition of that part of West Florida. In neither case did the Treaty of Ghent and its status quo ante bellum provisions apply. Although the United States did not have an acknowledged title to either Louisiana or Mobile before the War of 1812, the American government was unwilling to return either possession to Britain or her ally Spain after the war.34

By 1815 Britain, who had been anxious to end the conflict, was ill-disposed to continue fighting a war with the United States over treaty violations or the question of Spanish territory. In effect, the Treaty of Ghent became nothing more than an immediate means to stop the fighting. Outstanding claims by both sides remained open for future negotiations, but the two countries never again addressed the issue of American Gulf Coast expansion. Formerly Spanish-owned lands, including Mobile, remained under the Stars and Stripes after the war, despite protests from Madrid. Status quo ante bellum, then, did not truly describe the peace arrangements because the state of affairs along the Gulf Coast appeared very different from the situation in 1812. After the War of 1812 the American flag flew unquestionably over former Spanish positions in Louisiana, Mobile, and throughout Florida west of the Perdido River. The ease by which Americans hoisted their flag above Mobile during the War of 1812 further revealed that Spain was far too weak to maintain anything but de jure control over the Gulf Coast. Without Britain enforcing the Treaty of Ghent or supporting Spanish claims against the United States, it was only a matter of time before the Stars and Stripes would be comfortably “display’d” over the entire Florida peninsula.35

1 Donald R. Hickey, The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict (Urbana, Ill., 1989), 1-3.

2 Elizabeth Barrett Gould, From Fort to Port: An Architectural History of Mobile, Alabama, 17111918 (Tuscaloosa, 1988), 4-21; William Warren Rogers et al., Alabama: The History oJa Deep South State (Tuscaloosa, 1994), 2S37; Albert James Pickett, History of Alabama, and Incidentally of Georgia and Mississippi, from the Earliest Period (Charleston, 1851), 1:208.

s Jefferson to Robert R. Livingston, April 18, 1802, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. H. A. Washington (Washington, D.C., 1853), 4:431-34.

4Jefferson to M. Dupont de Nemours, April 25, 1802, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 4:436; Marshall Smelser, The Democratic Republic, 1801-1815 (New York, 1968), 84-87. 5 Dumas Malone, Jefferson the President: First Term, 1801-1805 (Boston, 1970), 287; “Extract from Mr. Livingston letter to Mr. Pinckney,” c. May-June 1803, and Monroe to Robert R. Livingston, May 23-June 7, 1803 (letter not sent), both in James Monroe Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Monroe and Livingston thought that the United States could assume control over the region as part of the Purchase because France made no public statement about the boundaries of Louisiana and West Florida during the transfer.

6 Henry Adams, History of the United States During the Administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (1889; reprint, New York, 1986), 1:479.

7 Malone, Jefferson the President, 342-47; Jefferson’s Proclamation of May 20, 1804, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897, ed. James D. Richardson, (Washington, D.C., 1896-99), 1:357. For a more complete exposition on the beliefs of Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe regarding the Gulf Coast see Frank Lawrence Owsley Jr. and Gene A. Smith, Filibusters and Expansionists: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny, 1800-1821 (Tuscaloosa, 1997), 16-31.

8 Adams, History of the United States, 2:21415; Joseph Burkholder Smith, The Plot to Steal Florida: James Madison’s Phony War (New York, 1983), 64; James A. Padgett, ed., “Official Records of the West Florida Revolution and Republic, Louisiana Historical Quarterly 21 (July 1938): 719-27; Stanley Clisby Arthur, The Story of the West Florida Rebellion (St. Francisville, La., 1935), 103-15; Wanjohi Waciuma, Intervention in Spanish Floridas, 1801-1813: A Study in Jeffersonian Foreign Policy (Boston, 1976), 160-61. 9 Madison to Jefferson, October 19, 1810, quoted in Irving Brant,James Madison: The President, 18091812 (New York, 1956), 182-84; Arthur, West Florida Rebellion, 130-35.

10 Brant, James Madison, 184-86; James Madison, “Proclamation by the President of the United States,” October 27, 1810, Richardson, Messages of the Presidents, 2:465-66. 1 Richardson, Messages of the Presidents, 2:465-66; Brant, James Madison, 186; Philip Coolidge Brooks, Diplomacy and the Borderlands: The Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819 (Berkeley, Calif., 1939), 36. Madison’s role in the entire affair is well chronicled in J. C. A. Stagg et al., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (Charlottesville, Va., 1992), 2:305-20.

12 Spencer C. Tucker, The Jeffersonian Gunboat Navy (Columbia, S.C., 1993), 93-94; Isaac Joslin Cox, The West Florida Controversy, 1798-1813: A Study in American Diplomacy (1918; reprint, Gloucester, Mass., 1967), 464-86.

ls Thomas Cushing to Robert Porter, December 1, 1810, Raymond and Roger Weill Collection, The Historic New Orleans Collection, New Orleans, La.; Robert Smith to David Holmes, December 21, 1810, Robert Smith Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; John Shaw to the Secretary of the Navy, January 25, February 1, 8, 1811, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy: Captains’ Letters, 1805-61, 1866-85 (microcopy), Reel 40, M125, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, Record Group 45, National Archives, Washington, D.C. (hereafter cited as M125, Captains’ Letters); Tucker, Jeffersonian Gunboat Navy, 93-95.

14 Shaw to Bainbridge,June 6, 1811, Letters Received by the Secretary of the Navy: Miscellaneous Letters, 1801-84, (microcopy), Reel 22, M124, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, Record Group 45, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Shaw to Secretary of the Navy,June 22, 1811, M125, Captains’ Letters; Cox, The West Florida Controversy, 1798-1813, 584-85.

15 The Courier of Louisiana, July 10, 1811; Shaw to the Secretary of the Navy, July 26, 1811, M125, Captains’ Letters; Cox, West Florida Controversy, 588-90; W. C. C. Claiborne to the Secretary of the Navy, July 9, 1811, Official Letter Books of W. C. C. Claiborne, 1801-1816, ed. Dunbar Rowland (Jackson, Miss., 1917), 5:298-300.

ts Adams, History of the United States, 2:45S57.

17Julius W. Pratt, Expansionists of 1812 (1925; reprint, Gloucester, Mass., 1957), 75-76; Frank L. Owsley Jr., Struggle for the Gulf Border-lands: The Creek War and the Battle of New Orleans, 1812-1815 (Gainesville, Fla., 1981), 21.

ls Brady to Harry Toulmin, October 2,1812, Toulmin to James Wilkinson, October 6, 1812, Toulmin to Cayetano Perez, October 5, 1812, Perez to Toulmin, October 5, 1812, all enclosures in Wilkinson to Secretary of War William Eustis, October 6, 1812, and Secretary of War John Armstrong to Wilkinson, February 16, 1813, May 27, 1813, Letters Received by the Secretary of War, Registered Series,1801-1870 (microcopy), Reel 58, M221, Records of the Office of the Secretary of War, Record Group 107 (hereafter cited as M221, Letters Received Secretary of War); Rob W. Ord, “Memoranda Respecting Mobile,” Louisiana Historical Quarterly 44 (July-October 1961): 132-33.

Armstrong to Wilkinson, February 16,1813, in James Wilkinson, Memoirs of My Own Times (Philadelphia, 1816), 3:339.

20 Tucker, Jeffersonian Gunboat Navy, 155-57; Report from John Ballinger to Wilkinson, November 3, 1812, Rosemonde E. and Emile Kuntz Collection, Tulane University Archives, New Orleans; James Ripley Jacobs, Tarnished Warrior: Major-General James Wilkinson (New York, 1938), 280-81; Wilkinson to Shaw, August 7, 1812, “Naval Operations around New Orleans,” 1812-15, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, Record Group 45, National Archives, Washington, D.C. 21 Diego Morphy to Captain General of Cuba, March 29, 1813, Papeles Procentes de Cuba, Legajos 1836, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain; James Wilkinson to John Armstrong, April 3, 1813, M221, Letters Received Secretary of War; James Innerarity to John Forbes, April 24, 1813, “General Wilkinson’s Occupation of Mobile, April, 1813,” Florida Historical Quarterly 11 (October 1932): 88-90.

22 Benson J. Lossing, The Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812 (New York, 1869), 741;James Wilkinson to John Armstrong, April 3,1813, M221, Letters Received Secretary of War; Shaw to the Secretary of the Navy, April 19, 1813, M125, Captains’ Letters. 23 Wilkinson to Armstrong, April 3, 1813, M221, Letters Received Secretary of War; Shaw to the Secretary of the Navy, April 19, 1813, M125, Captains’ Letters; Cox, West Florida Controversy, 617-18; Jacobs, Tarnished Warrior, 280-81.

24 Cox, West Florida Controversy, 612-15.

25 Wilkinson to Cayetano Perez, April 12, 1813, in H. S. Halbert and T. H. Ball, The Creek War of 1813 and 1815, ed. Frank Lawrence Owsley Jr. (1895; reprint, Tuscaloosa, 1995), 87; Articles of Capitulation for Mobile, enclosures in Mauricio Zuniga to Juan Ruiz Apodaca, May 2, 1813, Papeles Procentes de Cuba, Legajos 1794, Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Spain; James Innerarity to John Forbes, April 24, 1813, “Wilkinson’s Occupation of Mobile,” 88-90.

26 James Innerarity to John Forbes, April 24, 1813, “Wilkinson’s Occupation of Mobile,’ 88-89.

27 Lossing, Pictorial Field-Book, 741-42; Cox, West Florida Controversy, 620. 28 A. Lacarriere Latour, Historical Memoir of the War in West Florida and Louisiana in 1814-15 (1816; reprint, Gainesville, Fla., 1964), 33-35.

29 Ibid., 35-41.

30 William S. Coker, `The Last Battle of the War of 1812: New Orleans. No, Fort Bowyer!” Alabama Historical Quarterly 43 (Spring 1981): 54-55. 31 Ibid., 55-58.

32 Ibid., 5960.

33 Adams, History of the United States, 2:121S19.

34 Latour, Historical Memoir, 45-52. In November 1814 Andrew Jackson captured Pensacola from the Spanish, but he evacuated that city upon hearing that British forces intended to attack New Orleans. In this instance Spain occupied Pensacola at the end of the war and thus maintained control; Henry Bunbury to John Barrow, September 7, 1815, Foreign Record Office 5/140, Public Record Office, Kew, Great Britain (PRO); Edward Nicholls to Alexander Cochrane, March 1, 1816, and Robert Spencer to Cochrane, February 17, 1816, and Cochrane to Earl of Bathurst, March 12, 1816, all in War Office 1/144, PRO. Article IX of the Treaty of Ghent promised to restore lost Indian lands to the tribes allied with Britain during the conflict, but after the war it too was ignored by the United States and not enforced by Great Britain.

35 James A. Carr, “The Battle of New Orleans and the Treaty of Ghent,” Diplomatic History 3 (Summer 1979): 281; Wilbur Devereux Jones, ed., “A British View of the War of 1812 and the Peace Negotiations,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 45 (December 1958): 485-87.

Gene A. Smith is Associate Professor of History at Texas Christian University. Brief portions of this essay appeared previously in Frank Lawrence Owsley Jr. and Gene A. Smith, Filibusters and Expansionists: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny, 1800-1821 (Tuscaloosa, 1997. 89. 91.

Copyright University of Alabama Press Jan 1999

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