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Borgne, Lake, battle on.

The revelations made by Jean Lafitte (q. v.) caused everybody to be vigilant at New Orleans. Early in December, 1812. Com D. T. Patterson, in command of the naval station there, was warned, by a letter from Pensacola, of a powerful British land and naval armament in the Gulf. He immediately sent Lieut. Thomas Ap Catesby Jones with five gunboats,. a tender, and a despatch-boat, to watch for the enemy. Jones sent Lieutenant McKeever with two gunboats to the entrance of Mobile Bay for intelligence. McKeever discovered the British fleet on Dec. 10. and hastened back with the news. In the afternoon of the same day the fleet appeared near the entrance to Lake Borgne, and Jones hastened with his flotilla towards Pass Christian, where he anchored, and waited the approach of the invaders to dispute their passage into the lake. He was discovered by the astonished Britons on the 13th, when Admiral Cochrane, in command of the leet, gave orders for a change in the plan of operations against New Orleans. It would not do to attempt to land troops while the waters of the lake were patrolled by American gunboats. A flotilla of about sixty barges was prepared, the most of them carrying a carronade in the bow, and an ample number of armed volunteers from the fleet were sent, under the command to Captain Lockyer, to capture or destroy the American vessels. Perceiving his danger, Jones, in obedience to orders, proceeded with his flotilla towards the Rigolets, between Lakes Borgne and Pontchartrain. Calm and currents prevented his passing a channel, and he anchored at two in the morning of the 14th. Jones's fla-ship was a little schooner of 80 tons. The total number of men in his squadron was 182, and of guns twenty-three. At daylight the British barges, containing 1,200 men, bore down upon Jones's little squadron. They had six oars on each side, and formed in a long, straight line. Jones reserved his fire until the invaders were within close ritle range. Then McKeever hurled a 32-pound ball over the water and a shower of grapeshot, which broke the British line and made great confusion. But the invaders pushed forward, and at half-past 11 o'clock the engagement became general and desperate. At one time Jones's schooner was attacked by fifteen barges. The British captured the tender Alligator early in the contest and finally, by the force of overwhelming numbers, they gained a victory. which gave them undisputed command of Lake Borgne. The triumph cost them about 300 men killed and wounded. The Americans lost six men killed and thirty-five wounded. Among the latter were Lieutenants Jones, McKeever, Parker, and Speddon. The British commander, Locker, was severely wounded: so, also, was Lieutenant Pratt, the officer who, under the direction of Admiral Cockburn, [379] set fire to the public buildings in Washington, D. C. Several of the British barges were shattered and sunk. the lighter transports, filled with troops, immediately entered Lake Borgne. Ship after ship got aground, until at length the troops were all placed in small boats and conveyed about 30 miles to Pea Island, at the mouth of the Pearl River, where General Keane organized his forces for future action.

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