Thursday, January 08, 2015

Chalmette 200: The Battle of New Orleans, 1815-2015

Chalmette plantation: today's the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, fought at the very end of the "War of 1812," which might better have been named the War That Began in 1812. Or, Another Human Folly Played Out in North America.

After British, Canadians and First Nations (aka Indians) fended off an ill-conceived, half-assed American invasion of Canada earlier in the war, the British high command thought it would be fun to bag New Orleans for the Empire. On January 8, 1815, the "poor bloody infantry" charged with this task -- as "boots on the ground"  -- were ordered to launch a frontal assault against a fortified American defensive position that covered the approach to New Orleans, under the command of Andrew Jackson (who became a national hero.) 

This date, which also happens to be the birthday of Elvis (USA) and David Bowie (UK), became a national holiday in the USA after 1815 -- a big drinking day full of toasts and boasts. Besides July 4 -- Independence Day -- there wasn't much else to celebrate yet.   
At Chalmette/New Orleans, the British had about 10,000 troops, the Americans, half that number -- but behind a canal and barricades. The attackers, out in the open, lost some 2,000 casualties, including many officers, while the defenders lost maybe 300. 

Some of the surviving British soldiers made it through this nightmare only to die, about six months later, at the Battle of Waterloo. 

Today's Rune: The Self. 

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I've been to the plantation before but it's been a long time. I need to take Lana