Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Captain John Hudry & The Company Of Franks. 1814

John Hudry was a very patriotic man and had a strong love for his America. When he heard that the British were on the way to attack New Orleans, he organized a company of men in November of 1814, this company was made up of sixty French veterans and brave Louisiana’s, this croup of men would be known as the Franks. This company was made of proud men but poor men, few among them could provide their own uniforms, late alone any accoutrement, arms, or ammunition. Seeing this John Hudry now captain of the Franks went to the powers of Louisiana for their help but was refused, even though daily advices by the enemy told of a immediate attack on New Orleans, and were now plundering and laying waste to the cities of Chesapeake Bay.

In finding no help in Louisiana, he contracted for the uniforms and equipment from his own fortune. As no arms could be procured in town he got them from Barataria. He then went about gathering as many muskets as he could in New Orleans and in the near by neighborhoods. These muskets were old and many were without rods, bayonets, or locks, he had them refitted at any price, and paid from his fortune. He would support his comrades cheerfully from November to February again from his fortune, he had his company ready in one month to receive General Jackson.

On General Jackson arrival, He led them to that memorable affair of the December 23, were he routed five thousand British veterans with fourteen hundred men on the left
bank of the Mississippi. The general took afterwards his position, and in the evening of the 27th, he ordered the 24-pounder to be brought to the right of his line, which arrived after eight o’clock, amidst rain, frost, and a perfect obscurity. The cannon and materials were unloaded in the mud, but gunner could be found to put it in battery. The aide-de-camp, A. Pavezac, came to captain John Hudry late in the night, he told him that the general was certain to be attacked the next morning. Hudry then went and roused seventeen of his companions, the most of them being professed gunners, and before daylight the battery was ready.

The Next morning, the 28th, eight thousand red-coats appeared before us. They opened a brisk fire from a strong battery which they had established during the same night, with a shower of rockets, but our 24-pounder destroyed their redoubt, and they retreated. The general ordered a 12-pounder to be placed at the left of his line, but all the gunners were with Commodore Patterson on board the ship Louisiana. Therefore he sent to the piece his lieutenant with nine able artillerists. They established the battery, and on the morning of the 1st of January nine thousand British came again to storm our poor mud line, but the Franks leveled their second battery, and they withdrew.

On the 8th of January the enemy attacked everywhere; eleven hundred red-coats advanced along the woods in close columns, but the Franks discovered the general staff on horseback; they pointed a canister, and the whole bunch came to the ground. That army remained without a general, and, after some sharp struggles without command, they retreated, leaving the field covered with dead and wounded. Had not that extraordinary event happened New Orleans would have been a Moscow before noon.

In the following eighteen or nineteen years John Hudry took good care never to mention his services nor his sacrifices for the defense of his country. John Hudry was a true patriot and not a mercenary. But now he has the misfortune to be left with no fortune and is in bad health and old age has over taken him. Therefore it pained him to take his story before the Senators of Congress in the hopes that they would honor him with relief.

When John Hudry give his petition to Congress other men came forward to give evidence on his behalf. One of those was Jon. R. Grymes, who stated he had known John Hudry since 1812. That in 1814, he had raised and equipped a volunteer company for the defense of the country; and had applied to the governor of the State for the necessary arms and equipments; and that he was refused, that he did clothe, arm, and equip them at his own expense. Then on the arrival of the commander-in-chief, they were received into the service of the United States, and during the campaign of 1814 ‘15, he render the most important and signal service in defense of the country. He knew John Hudry to be a man of fortune, but has since become poor and in ill health. He also knew that all articles of equipment were at that period were extremely scarce and bore a most extravagant price.

Andrew Jackson, who was Major General commanding the 7th., Military District, in 1815, Had given a statement about John Hudry that year; He certify that Captain John Hudry, was born in Savoy, and on the eve of invasion, did raise in New Orleans a company of volunteers, called the Compagnie Franche, and was with his company in all the engagements fought with the English, and is entitled to the esteem of all the good citizens of the United States.

In the year of 1821, John Hudry had written a letter I believe to Andrew Jackson, it’s not all important in what was in the letter, but those of the Company Franks who signed it.

Jean ( John ) Hudry, Captain of the Company Franks.
CHERATON, Sergeant Major.
BERTEL, Captain.
HALLEY, Second Lieutenant.
BOMREMZE, Sergeant.

In 1833, Gerard C. Brandon of Wilkinson county, Mississippi, give a statement; that he had known Captain Jean Hudry for more than eleven years, and been intimately acquainted with him during the principal part of that period; that he had located himself on Percy’s creek, in this county, about the year 1820, and was a merchant, with a large stock of goods, but from the want of a knowledge of the people amongst whom he settled, and the laws of the country, and confiding too much in unworthy persons, he has been unjustly deprived of his property.

Another man by the name of Jacob Tourne came forward with a statement; that, in the years 1814 and 1815, during the invasion of Louisiana by the British troops, and for two or three months previous thereto, he was a sergeant in the company of Franks, of which John Hudry was captain; that nearly all the members of that company were poor men who were unable to uniform, arm, and equip themselves; that they received neither arms nor accoutrements from the State; that it is within his personal knowledge Captain Hudry furnished clothing for most, if not all his men, and sent to Barataria and procured eighty saber blades, and had them mounted in this city for the use of his company; that he furnished caps and cartridge-boxes and about sixty muskets for his men; that, according to the prices at that time, the saber blades were worth from six to eight dollars each, and that it was worth from four to six dollars to mount them; that the cartridge-boxes were worth four or five dollars each.
He further says that, for a month before the actual invasion, Captain Hudry’s house was the headquarters of his company; that while at the lines Captain Hudry sent his cart almost daily and brought to camp for his men supplies of vegetables and provisions at his own expense; that he must have expended between ten and thirteen thousand dollars upon his company during the invasion; that he was a most vigilant and valuable officer; that he was then rich, but is now poor, old and infirm, about sixty years old.

In 1833, all the evidence had been given and was taken to a Senate committee whereon in the year of 1835 a Bill was printed and taken to the floor of the Senate to be read. On January 21, 1835, Senator Benton, during the reading of the bill, was informed, by one or two gentlemen near him, of the unhappy termination, this morning, of the existence of Captain Hudry, by his own hand. Mr. Benton then rose and said that he was unaware, until that moment, of the melancholy decease of the gallant officer whose claims he had advocated. But he had just been informed by a Senator from Louisiana that Captain Hudry had, in a fit of despair, this morning, put an end to his existence; and the only duty now left him was to advocate the passage of the bill, in order that the heirs or representatives of the deceased might get what he was entitled to.

All the Senators agreed, but also agreed that the Bill would have be amended to read; “pay to the heirs and legal representatives of Captain Hudry.” The Senators also agreed that as a whole new Bill it should go back to committee for a third reading and was agreed to. The Bill wouldn’t see the Senate floor again till June 25, 1860, where it was read and passed on May 8, 1860. By 1860 the only heir left was a Marie Genand.
Although the Bill had passed the Senate it must not of passed the House, for in 1862, it was stated; That the Committee on Military Affairs and the Militia be discharged from the further consideration of the petition of Marie Genand, and that it be referred to the Committee on Claims. I found no record that another Bill came before the Senate or House.

The following is the Bill that passed the Senate.

June 25, 1860.

For the relief of the heirs or legal representatives of Jean Hudry.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he is hereby, authorized to pay to the heirs or legal representatives of Captain Jean Hudry, of the State of Louisiana, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of nine thousand seven hundred and five dollars, it being the amount of the account of the said Jean Hudry for uniform clothing, arms, and accoutrements furnished by him, in the year eighteen hundred and fourteen, to a company of the Louisiana legion, called the Franks, which company he raised and equipped previous to the invasion, and gallantly led into battle on the night of the twenty-third of December and the morning of the eighth of
Passed the Senate May 8, 1860.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Segelquist,

I am working on our emigrants's history and have been very interested by your blog about Hudry which informed me on lot of things I did not know.

I am French, from Savoy, and Hudry was born and has been living in a village nearby, called "Fessy - Rezier"(at this time, Savoy did not belonged to France but was a independant state).

I own a copy of the book written about his life, base on the letters he sent to his family (40 pages). If you are interested and if you read french or know somebody who does, I cant send you (freely) a copy of it: it is really interesting.

His house there remains: would you like a picture?

My mail is:

With my thanks and best regards.

Kate Duffour