James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William C. C. Claiborne, 14 May 1804 (Abstract)

§ From William C. C. Claiborne

14 May 1804, New Orleans. “On this morning, I received the enclosed letter from the Commandant of the District of Ouachitas1 and returned the answer of which the paper marked B is a copy.2

“You will have discovered, that some time had elapsed after the delivery of Louisiana to the United States, before the posts of Nachitoches and Ouachitas were taken possession of by our troops; This delay arose from an unwillingness to reduce our force in this city, until the greater part of the Spanish troops had been withdrawn, and the long voyage, which the detachment had to perform, previous to their reaching the posts aforesaid.”

RC and enclosures (DNA: RG 59, TP, Orleans, vol. 4); letterbook copy and letterbook copy of second enclosure (Ms-Ar: Claiborne Executive Journal, vol. 13). RC 1 p.; in a clerk’s hand, signed by Claiborne; docketed by Wagner as received 27 June. For enclosures, see nn.

1Claiborne enclosed Joseph Bowmar’s 15 Apr. 1804 letter (2 pp.; docketed by Wagner; printed in Carter, Territorial Papers, Orleans, 9:223–24) announcing the U.S. takeover on 15 Apr. of the post and district of Ouachitas, along with the archives and public papers. Bowmar estimated the population of the district at 150 heads of families and noted that a village of about one hundred Choctaw Indians was located “eight or nine leagues from this place.”

2Claiborne enclosed a copy of his letter to Bowmar, 14 May 1804 (2 pp.; docketed by Wagner; printed in Rowland, Claiborne Letter Books, 2:147–48), cautioning Bowmar to see that friendly relations with the Indians were maintained.

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