Saturday, January 08, 2005

On this day in military 1815

On this day in military history….in 1815. The Americans, under Andrew Jackson, defeat the British at the Battle of New Orleans. The War of 1812 was ended on 24 December 1814 with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, but due to the slowness of news, the signing of the treaty had not reached the British and American forces at New Orleans. The battle was fought at the Chalmette plantation outside of New Orleans. The British forces were marching on New Orleans and the Americans took up blocking positions with the Mississippi river on the right and an impassable swamp on the left, thereby forcing the British to assault their positions from the front. There was a canal that stretched across the American front and behind this canal, the Americans had built mud walls and were well dug in. The British would be required to stand out in the open and fire at the Americans who would be behind fortifications that the British could not assault without the aid of ladders.

To the casual observer, a frontal assault on the American position would be a disaster, so in proper British fashion, the commander, General Parkenham ordered a frontal assault. Not only did the British assault the American positions without the aid of ladders to scale the American defenses, but during the battle, the 93rd British Highlanders decided that it would be advantageous to assault diagonally across the battlefield, thereby exposing themselves to flanking fire. The ensuing battle cost the British 700 dead and 2000 wounded or taken prisoner to only 13 dead and 58 wounded for the Americans. The British also lost many generals, including General Parkenham who was mortally wounded during the battle and the idiot general, General Keane, who ordered the 93rd Highlanders to assault across the battlefield, was also killed.


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