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Expeditions of Fowler and James to Santa Fe, 1821

When Pike returned from his western expedition and related his experiences in Santa Fe and other places among the Spaniards, his accounts excited great interest in the east, which resulted in further exploits. In 1812, an expedition was undertaken1 by Robert McKnight, James Baird, Samuel Chambers, Peter Baum, Benjamin Shrive, Alfred Allen, Michael McDonald, William Mines, and Thomas Cook, all citizens of Missouri Territory; they were arrested by the Spaniards, charged with being in Spanish territory without a passport, and thrown into the calabazos of Chihuahua, where they were kept for nine years. In 1821, two of them escaped, and coming down Canadian and Arkansas rivers met Hugh Glenn, owner of a trading house at the mouth of the Verdigris, and told him of the wonders of Santa Fe. Inspired by the accounts of these travelers, Glenn engaged in an enterprise with Major Jacob Fowler and Captain Pryor for an expedition from the Verdigris to Santa Fe.2 The members of the McKnight party who had escaped from the Spaniards, continued their journey to Saint Louis, where they repeated their romantic tale to John McKnight, a brother of Robert McKnight who was still a prisoner with the Spaniards, and to others. As a result of their account, McKnight and General Thomas James organized an expedition to go from Saint Louis to Santa Fe. James’s purpose was to trade with the Indians, and John McKnight went to see his brother and procure his release, if possible. The two expeditions got under way the same summer, and both went by way of the Arkansas as high as the Verdigris, which at that...

The Battle of New Orleans

Once more the Creoles sang the “Marseillaise.” The invaders hovering along the marshy shores of Lake Borgne were fourteen thousand strong. Sir Edward Packenham, brother-in-law to the Duke of Wellington, and a gallant captain, was destined to lead them. Gibbs, Lambert, and Kean were his generals of division. As to Jackson, thirty-seven hundred Tennesseeans under Generals Coffee and Carroll, had, when it was near Christmas, given him a total of but six thousand men. Yet confidence, animation, concord, and even gaiety, filled the hearts of the mercurial people. “The citizens,” says the eye-witness, Latour, “were preparing for battle as cheerfully as for a party of pleasure. The streets resounded with ‘Yankee Doodle,’ ‘La Marseillaise,’ ‘Le Chant du Depart,’ and other martial airs. The fair sex presented themselves at the windows and balconies to applaud the troops going through their evolutions, and to encourage their husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers to protect them from their enemies.” That enemy, reconnoitring on Lake Borgne, soon found in the marshes of its extreme western end the month of a navigable stream, the Bayou Bienvenue. This water flowed into the lake directly from the west — the direction of New Orleans, close behind whose lower suburb it had its beginning in a dense cypress swamp. Within, its mouth it was over a hundred yards wide, and more than six feet deep. As they ascended its waters, everywhere, as far as the eye could reach, stretched only the unbroken quaking prairie. But soon they found and bribed a village of Spanish and Italian fishermen, and under their guidance explored the whole region. By turning into...

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