Thomas Jefferson Papers

Arsène Lacarrière Latour to Thomas Jefferson, 18 October 1815

From Arsène Lacarrière Latour

Philadelphia October the 18th 1815


Permit me to Enclose you the Prospectus of an historical Memoir of the War in West florida and Louisiana, which I have written and which is now in the Press—

I have the honor to be with great respect,


Your most obedient and Most humble Servant

A. Lacarriere Latour

RC (MoSHi: TJC-BC); at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqre late president of the United States”; endorsed by TJ as received 25 Oct. 1815 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Proposals, for Publishing by Subscription, The History of the War in Louisiana & West Florida; describing the author as the “principal engineer in the late seventh military district,” whose book has been translated by Henry P. Nugent; summarizing the work as comprising “every event of importance” that occurred in Louisiana and West Florida from 1 Sept. 1814 to the close of the War of 1812; describing each of the nine plates, consisting of a portrait of Andrew Jackson and maps and diagrams of military actions, to be included in the quarto atlas accompanying the single octavo volume of the work; advertising a price of $5 for subscribers and $6 for nonsubscribers; and concluding with a blank subscription list (undated broadside in MoSHi: TJC-BC).

Géraud Calixte Jean Baptiste Arsène Lacarrière Latour (1778–1837), architect and engineer, was born in Aurillac, France, where he apprenticed with a local architect beginning in 1799. He continued his studies in architecture and engineering at the Académie des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1801. The following year Latour departed for Saint Domingue in an unsuccessful attempt to lay claim to property that was part of his wife’s dowry. He served briefly in the French army’s Corps of Engineers before fleeing from Saint Domingue to the United States by 1804. The following year Latour was in New York City, working first as a trader and then as an architect. Early in 1806 he was in Louisiana, where he created a plan for the city of Baton Rouge, worked as a surveyor, and eventually started an architecture firm in New Orleans. In 1812 Latour became a United States citizen. After his business failed in 1813, he became a military engineer for Andrew Jackson in 1814 and made important contributions to the American victory at the Battle of New Orleans. Latour embarked with Jean Lafitte on a surveying and mapping expedition of the Southwest in 1816 as an agent of Spain, but he turned down an offer to serve as Spanish consul at New Orleans. From 1818 to 1834 he worked as an architect in Havana. Latour subsequently returned to France, where he died (Latour, Historical Memoir of the War in West Florida and Louisiana in 1814–15. With an Atlas. Expanded Edition, ed. Gene A. Smith [1999], ix–xlii; George W. Cullum, Campaigns of the War of 1812–15 … with Brief Biographies of the American Engineers [1879], 309–41; LNHiC: Latour Archive; New-York Evening Post, 8 Aug. 1805; Hispanic American Historical Review 18 [1938]: 221–7; Thomas L. Hodges and Charlotte Hodges, “Jean Lafitte and Major L. Latour in Arkansas Territory,” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 7 [1948]: 237–56; Jackson, Papers description begins Sam B. Smith, Harold D. Moser, Daniel Feller, and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 1980– , 8 vols. description ends , vol. 3).

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  • books; on War of1812 search
  • Latour, Géraud Calixte Jean Baptiste Arsène Lacarrière; identified search
  • Latour, Géraud Calixte Jean Baptiste Arsène Lacarrière; letter from search
  • Latour, Géraud Calixte Jean Baptiste Arsène Lacarrière; Proposals, for Publishing by Subscription, The History of the War in Louisiana & West Florida search
  • Louisiana (state); and War of1812 search
  • Proposals, for Publishing by Subscription, The History of the War in Louisiana & West Florida (Latour) search
  • War of1812; histories of search
  • West Florida; and War of1812 search