The Real Last Battle Of The Battle Of 1812

by Daniel Russ on October 14, 2010

The Surrender Of Fort Bowyer

The Surrender of Fort Bowyer

There was a series of battles that took place after the Battle of New Orleans that fall into that category of skirmishes fought without the knowledge of treaties. One of our readers was kind enough to point out that the actual last battle of the Battle of New Orleans occurred at the mouth of the Bay of Mobile at Fort Boyer. Fort Boyer was a robust fortification that sat on a small sand bar bordering the Bay and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. The obvious importance of this strategic location was not lost on either of the belligerents. Andrew Jackson, as many others who occupied Fort Boyer once felt, the fortification was so hard to reach that it was invulnerable. Jackson once quipped, “ten thousand men cannot take it.” By water, ten thousand men could not take the fort. By land it turns out that just 1400 men could take it.

Commander William Percy had best the British during the First Battle of Fort Boyer. The British brought up four warships to within yards of the fort and began a bombardment that lasted hours. The mortars and 32 pounders, 24 pounders and 12 pounders gave as good as they got. After a fruitless engagement, the British withdrew with 32 dead, 40 wounded a damaged sloop, and to add insult to injury, the HMS Hermes ran aground and Percy scuttled it with flame. The defenders only suffered 4 dead and 4 wounded.

Royal Grenadier Not Unlike The Fusiliers Sent To Attack Fort Bowyer

The second battle was a whole other story. On February 12th, British General John Lampert attacked again with 1400 men including mercenary Spaniards. He brought to bear a variety of 18 pounder cannons, 6 pounders, and mortars and rockets. Under withering fire the British patiently set siege works and on February 12 began a bombardment of the over 300 men in Fort Boyer. After a few hours William Percy surrendered the fort. He had lost one man and the rest were taken prisoner.

A few days later, as reinforcements were arriving, the news about the Treaty of Ghent arrived and the British returned home.

It took at best three weeks to go on way over the North Atlantic between the the colonies and Britain. And this figure does not take into account the cost and time to get news over land as well. The fact is the Treaty of Ghent had not been ratified at the time it was signed, but Britain was a monarchy and what King George III said became law.

My guess is that the cost in sterling and in lives just wasn’t worth it to British. At some point, all Empires grow tied of their own excursions.

Alabama and Fort Bowyer

King George III once said:

“I can never suppose this country so far lost to all ideas of self-importance as to be willing to grant America independence; if that could ever be adopted I shall despair of this country being ever preserved from a state of inferiority and consequently falling into a very low class among the European States.”

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