War of 1812 - 25,000 - The Bill for the Battle of New Orleans
Involving Two of Britain's Pre-Eminent Army Generals

Item Ref:  BSL - 1815 Pay Warrant


An Extremely Fine Pay Warrant for 25,000 Sterling - to be paid in Spanish Dollars - ordered "By His Excellency Major General Sir John Lambert K.B. Commanding His Majesty's Forces on the Coast of America ... at Dauphin Island".  A month following the Battle of New Orleans the Commanding General of the British Forces is left to pick up the pieces and pay the butcher's bill. Dated 19th February 1815. Signed by the legendary Major H.G. Smith - later Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Smith, baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, bart, G.C.B.

Major General Sir John Lambert, K.B.
(1772-1847) and
Lt. General Sir
Harry Smith, baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, bart, G.C.B. (1788-1860)

Historical Note

In Chalmette, just south of New Orleans on January 9th 1815 was the final and decisive Battle of the War of 1812 . British Forces were led by the Earl of Pakenham. The results were lopsided with 2,000 British casualties to 21 Americans. Lord Pakenham was killed in the action and his second in command (Keane) was grievously wounded. This resulted in command devolving to his third in command, Major General Sir John Lambert - who was also seriously wounded in the battle.  Lambert sent his Military Secretary, then Major Harry Smith, to negotiate a truce with Andrew Jackson, and then ordered the retreat and was left to pay for the military venture. Here is his Pay Warrant for 25,000 Sterling to be paid in Spanish Dollars a month after the fight. The exchange rate was 4 shilling 8 pence to the dollar. Tragically the War had already ended with the Signing of the Treaty of Ghent in December 1814 but news had not yet reached this part of America.

Sir John Lambert became ensign in the first foot-guards in 1791, was raised to lieutenant in October 1793,  to Captain in May 1801, to colonel in July 1810 and made a Major-General in June of 1813. He was present at the sieges of Valenciennes and Dunkirk, fought in the Irish rebellion, the expedition to Walcheren and with Wellington in the Peninsular Campaigns and later at Waterloo. He accompanied Sir Edward Pakenham's expedition to New Orleans, Louisiana, as third in command, and in the battle of 8 January, 1815, was severely wounded.

Document reads:

By His Excellency Major General Sir John Lambert, K.B.
 Commanding His Majesty's Forces serving on the Coast of America.

In Pursuance of the Sixth Article of your Instructions you are hereby authorized and
 directed to receive from the Deputy Commissary General the Sum of Twenty Five
Thousand Pounds Sterling in Spanish Dollars at 4s/8d each,
for the Ordinary Services of the Forces under my Command.

Given under my hand at Dauphin Island this 19th February 1815

[Signed] HG Smith Military Secretary

Document Specifications:  Document (folded as shown) measures approximately 8" wide x 12" tall (200mm x 325mm). It is in Extremely Fine condition and consists of a single sheet of heavy batonne laid paper watermarked "C. Wilmott 1812" with Royal Crest that has been folded to form four pages.  Writing is on one page as shown and there is docketing information on another.  There are three letter folds and no tears or thins.  A small tape residue stain on docketing side.  The Warrant is signed on Lambert's behalf by his Military Secretary, H.G. Smith, who went on to become Lieutenant General Sir Harry Smith, baronet of Aliwal on the Sutlej, G.C.B. and a Legendary General in British Military History. Dated 19th February 1815.

For a fascinating look at love and war visit the AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SIR HARRY SMITH, BART, G.C.B. located at:

 Offered by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd. .................................  $ SOLD

End of Item - BSL - 1815 Pay Warrant

Tel: 573-335-7720

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