War of 1812: "They threw themselves on his protection"

Cropped view of an engraving recolored in light greyscale tones shows General Jackson on a horse with American soldiers fighting the British in the background.

In March 1815 after American and British officers knew about the Treaty of Ghent which ended the War of 1812. The following correspondence passed between the Louisiana governor and a British general, regarding the status of formerly enslaved people who had sought refuge in the British camp. Ultimately, the British refused to return the formerly enslaved people to the Louisianans and instead took them to Trinidad—a British colonial island at the time—and gave them land grants in appreciation for their service to the British during the Battle of New Orleans.


To Genl. Lambert.

New Orleans 25th March 1815------


I have the honor to introduce to your excellency and to recommend to your friendly attention, Colonel Michael Fortier and Mr. Chevalier de la Croix, two distinguished citizens of this State. ---------

These Gentlemen at the solicitation, and in behalf of the owners of the negro Slaves, who are understood to have followed the English Army to Dauphine Island, have repaired to your head quarters for the purpose of receiving and providing the means of sending back to their masters such of the negro slaves aforesaid, as in conformity to the first article of the Treaty of Peace between the United States and Great Britain, Your Excellency shall deem property to decline carrying away.----------

A Copy of the Treaty as officially transmitted to me by the Secretary of State for the United States, is herewith enclosed. --------- It happily terminated the War between our two Countries and lays the foundation of an honorable Peace. ---------- A Peace alike interesting to our two nations and which our respective rulers, may I trust Cherish and perpetuate.—

I have the honor to be Sir,

Your humble Servant

Signed/William C.C. Claiborne

[To] His Excellency, Major General Lambert or the officer Commanding the English Army on Dauphine Island.------



Dauphine Island March 30th 1815


In the absence of Major General Lambert, and being left in Command of the Troops here, I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's letter of 25" Instant introducing to me, Colonel Michael Fortier, and M" Le Chevalier de la Croix, two citizens of the State of Louisiana.---------

I should feel happy, in rendering any assistance to those Gentlemen, to enable them to execute the object of their mission, but agreeable to the determination of Major General Lambert before he went away, all those slaves who were not willing, and who objected to return to their former Masters, have been embarked for the Island of Bermuda, to be sent from thence to Trinida. The Major General did every thing in his power, to induce the whole of the slaves you deserted from New Orleans to return, but he did not feel himself authorized to resort to force, to oblige them to do so, as they threw themselves on his protection, which they were entitled to, having served with the British Army and which they did voluntarily and without compulsion.-------

I have the honor to remain, Sir,

Your most obedient Servant,

Signed/ John Power----

Major General Commanding



Official Letter Books of W.C.C. Claiborne, 1801-1816, Volume 6, pages 352-354.


Related Battles

Louisiana | January 8, 1815
Result: United States Victory
Estimated Casualties
United States
United Kingdom