January 8, 2013
US ARMY UPSET THE BRITISH AT NEW ORLEANS 198 YEARS AGO TODAY
New Orleans, Louisiana (JFK+50) 198 years ago today, on January 8, 1815, an outnumbered American army led by Major General Andrew Jackson of Tennessee repelled the attack of British redcoats 5 miles South of New Orleans at Chalmette Plantation.
When the sun came up that morning, the United States treasury was near bankruptcy, the national capital had come under attack a few months before, with the President’s House & Capitol Building being set afire, & the young nation’s army was now under attack in New Orleans.
In a battle that lasted less than an hour, however, American fortunes took a quick turn for the better.
The British army under General Edward Pakenham, who was killed in the battle, surrendered after having lost almost 300 dead.
More than 1200 of the King’s soldiers were wounded while the Americans counted but 13 of their own dead, 39 wounded & 19 missing.
Ironically, the battle proved unnecessary as a peace treaty had been signed in Ghent, Belgium 2 weeks earlier ending the War of 1812 but news of the peace settlement had not yet reached America.
An American soldier described the end of the Battle of New Orleans this way:
“When the smoke…cleared…we (had) a fair view of the field, it looked, at 1st glance, like a sea of blood.
It was not blood…but the red coats in which the British soldiers were dressed.
Before (us) the field was entirely covered with prostrate bodies.”
“The Battle of New Orleans”
In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Col. Jackson
down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon
and we took a little beans,
And we fought the bloody British
in the town of New Orleans.
We looked down the river
and we seen the British come
There must have been a hundred
of them beatin’ on the drums
They stepped so high and
they made their bugles ring
We stood beside our cotton bales
and didn’t say a thing.
Ole Hickory said we could take
’em by surprise
If we didn’t fire our muskets
’til we looked them in the eyes
We held our fire ’til
we seen their faces well
Then we opened up our
squirrel guns and
really gave ’em…well….
Lyrics by Jimmy Driftwood
Vocals by Johnny Horton