The Battle of New Orleans: Andrew Jackson and America's First Military Victory
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The Battle of New Orleans was the climactic battle of America's "forgotten war" of 1812. Andrew Jackson led his ragtag corps of soldiers against 8,000 disciplined invading British regulars in a battle that delivered the British a humiliating military defeat. The victory solidified America's independence and marked the beginning of Jackson's rise to national prominence. Hailed as "terrifically readable" by the Chicago Sun Times, The Battle of New Orleans is popular American history at its best, bringing to life a landmark battle that helped define the character of the United States.
by. When he appeared there was a sudden and deadly shot, and the sentinel fell to the ground. A rabbit hunter hardly ever missed when he drew a bead on a target. The dirty shirts then stripped the sentinel of any valuable equipment, especially his arms and accouterments. These were temporarily hidden from view. When it came time to relieve the sentinel the corporal of the guard found him lying dead on the ground. Another sentinel was immediately posted. Minutes later another shot rang out and the
and I’ll hang him to the highest tree in that swamp.”12 Mullens, the son of a nobleman, had obtained his commission and promotions by influence, not ability. He was hardly the man to lead the charge of the storming Irishmen. Gibbs’s column soon reached the American outposts. The frontiersmen, fully alert to the probability of the attack that morning, began firing their muskets. They gave ground, slowly at first, but as the British continued to advance they turned and ran as fast as they could.
with their swords.”40 Throughout the battle the aged men and women in New Orleans, in their own particular way, assisted the heroic efforts of their countrymen on the firing line by tending the wounded and offering up prayers and supplications to the Almighty to spare the city the horror of capture. Madame Devance Bienvenu, a wealthy widow living in Atakapas, who had sent her four sons to the battlefield, wrote Governor Claiborne and expressed her regret that she did not have any more sons to
spies was the main magazine in the fort. Here again was an instance of the enemy acting on information that was no longer true. The situation had changed when Overton decided to redistribute his ammunition in different parts of the garrison. It proved to be a very wise move. British accuracy that evening was extraordinary. Two bombs tore through the target and burst within it, killing one man and wounding another. Once more Overton decided to open up on the bomb-ships. Although he knew he could
And like so many of his countrymen, he spoke differently as well. Old Hickory did not talk or sound like an Englishman; the rhythm and accents of his speech were different. Nothing about him was European. With his victory at New Orleans, General Jackson became a hero such as the people of America had never enjoyed before. “Columbus had sailed,” wrote an early biographer; “Raleigh and the Puritans had planted; Franklin had lived; Washington fought; Jefferson written; . . . the population of the