Primary Documents of the Battle of New Orleans 1815

Pakenham’s Orders

John R. Grodzinski
Below are four Letters from Earl Bathurst, to Major-General Sir Edward Pakenham, dated 24 October 1814, which provided direction for the expedition against New Orleans.

Downing Street 24th Octr 1814

M Genl

Sir T. Pakenham



In my instructions to Major General Ross of the 6th September, I explained the conduct which it would be fit to pursue, if the inhabitants of New Orleans and part adjacent should be disposed to take an open part against the Government of the United States, either with a view of establishing their own Independence, or of again placing themselves under the Spanish Government.

As you are not however authorized to enter into any Engagements on the part of Great Britain on this subject, it is not perhaps to be expected that the Inhabitants will be willing to take any active part against a Government to which on the Signature of a Peace between Great Britain and the United States, they might afterwards be obliged to submit, but it is probable that a general disposition may exist, peaceably to acquiesce in our Possession of the Country during the War.

You will give every encouragement to such a Disposition; and you will for that purpose cause the force under your command, to observer the strictest Discipline; to respect the Lives and the Property of all those inclined to a peaceable deportment and by no means to excite the Black Population to rise against their Masters. There is nothing so calculated to unite the Inhabitants against you as an attempt of this description, while the apprehension of your being obliged to resort to such a measure for your own protection may be made to act as an additional inducement with them to make no resistance to His Majesty’s Forces.

I have etc


About the author

John R. Grodzinski

John R. Grodzinski

Major John R. Grodzinski, CD, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of History/Département d'Histoire
The Royal Military College of Canada/
Collège militaire royal du Canada
PO Box 17000 Stn Forces
Kingston, Ontario
Canada K7K 7B4

Author of Defender of Canada: Sir George Prevost and the War of 1812, University of Oklahoma Press, 2013.