Friday, May 6, 2016

How The Gator Lost His Mind

1815 painting of the Battle of New Orleans by Jean Hyacinthe de Laclotte of the Louisiana Militia based on his memories of the battle and sketches he made on the field. (Source)
Well, seeing as how Old Hickory will be coming off the twenty dollar bill in the not too distant future and seeing as how a certain song got stuck in my mind from way back in the day, I figured I'd give a tip of the hat to old General Jackson and the fellows who defeated the red coats back in 1815.
The Battle of New Orleans was an engagement fought between January 8 and January 18, 1815, constituting the final major and most one-sided battle of the War of 1812. American combatants, commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, prevented the British Army, Royal Marines and a large Royal Navy fleet, commanded by Admiral Alexander Cochrane and General Edward Pakenham, from seizing New Orleans as a strategic tool to end the war.

The Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814 (but was not ratified by the US Government until February 1815), and hostilities would continue without the involved parties knowing about the Treaty, until January 18 when all of the British forces had retreated, finally putting an end to the Battle of New Orleans. W
Many of those British troops engaged in the Battle of New Orleans were veterans of the Peninsular War in which Sir Arthur Wellesley (better known as the Duke of Wellington) defeated the French in a long bloody struggle lasting from 1808 to 1813. The Duke would miss those veterans in June of 1815 when he faced a certain French Emperor on the rolling terrain south of Brussels.

General Pakenham, a cavalryman and the Duke of Wellington's brother-in-law (his sister was the Duke's wife), was also a Peninsular veteran and saw a lot of combat against the French. He was killed in action at the Battle of New Orleans. Along with 284 of his men.

American casualties were 13 killed, 30 wounded, 19 missing for a total of 62 casualties. The British lost 285 killed, 1,265 wounded, 484 captured for a total of 2,034 casualties.

Now I'll admit to being a fan of Andrew Jackson, especially based on a story we were taught in grade school (back when one could be proud of our history).

(Source)

I remember that picture from one of my school books. Heavens-to-Betsy but such a sight would no doubt set the hearts of today's snowflakes all aflutter, sending them off to seek a "safe place." No, not the grade school kids, heck, they'd get a kick out of it. Nope, I'm talking about college students.
During the Revolutionary War, 14 year old Andrew Jackson and his older brother Robert were captured by British soldiers in the Battle of Hanging Rock. The officer in command ordered Jackson to clean his boots. Jackson refused. The officer raised his sword to strike a violent blow at the boy's head. Jackson ducked and threw up his left hand. "It was cut to the bone, and a gash on his head left a white scar that Andrew Jackson carried through a long life that profited little to England or any Englishman." (Source)
Now that song I was talking about, loved it as a kid and still do. They just don't make them like this anymore. (From the Ed Sullivan Show in 1959. I may have actually watched it live, my parents were big fans of the show. Big fans.)

Oh yes, apologies to all my British friends. It was a long time ago and I'm sure y'all fell back in good order. (Tsk, tsk, Tommy Atkins runs from no man.)





I will miss the General glaring at me from the 20, but I've seen the photo of Ms. Tubman they plan to replace Old Hickory with. I wouldn't want to piss her off either.

(Source)

General Andrew Jackson stands on the parapet of his makeshift defenses as his troops repulse attacking Highlanders, as imagined incorrectly by painter Edward Percy Moran in 1910. (Source)
My sources indicate that the Highlanders were clad in trousers that day.








28 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. The stuff that goes on in my head...

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  2. Cool stuff. Old Hickory was no slouch, and just being around a man of his character would melt a lot of today's snowflakes. As to the $20 bill, I have no particular problem with Ms Tubman appearing on coinage. I have a large problem with am "Administration" which arbitrarily changes icons of American life for ideological reasons. Banana Republics and dictatorships do those things, not us. Or so I fervently wish. Don't get me started on the naming of USN ships.

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    1. The misnaming of ships would require a post all its own. I doubt I could survive the writing of such a post as my blood pressure would no doubt go through the roof, and, and...

      Yeah, don't get us started on that topic.

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  3. I now live four miles from this battlefield and the adjacent national military cemetery. I just realized that I need to take Murphy and Belle there for a walk and photos. And when you come down this way, it'll be on the "must see" tour list.

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    1. As I was writing the post I was wondering if you had been there yet.

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  4. Funny, I knew exactly what the post was about, from the title alone. :) (Although, in the version my dad played for us on family vacations, the gator "blew" his mind)

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    1. I knew some would get it immediately. (The version I remember as a kid had "the gator blew his mind.")

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    2. That was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band version, which the one I always think of, too. Of course, after you sing it, you have to sing Buy For Me The Rain, and The House At Pooh Corner.

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  5. The one thing about ol' Andy, that I take from history, is he was one beligerent sonofabitch.
    BTW - Thanks a lot for the earworm.

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    1. He wasn't what you'd call a calm fellow.

      Oh snap, yeah the earworm thing, sorry about that. But I do like to share.

      :)

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  6. The thing that I like about Andrew Jackson is that he represents the very idea of what we think it means to be American. His "Move it, or get out of my way." attitude is what built this nation. He is, too often, judged by people who are looking through the lens of modern-day sensibilities and he was very much a man of his own time. He was no Virginia Gentleman or Boston Brahman . . . he was a man grown up in the rough and tumble world that was 19th century America. Our world would be a much different place had he never existed. Taking his picture off the twenty dollar bill will relegate his memory to the dust bin of history I fear.
    Just sayin'.

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    1. I wouldn't disagree with any of that.

      I don't like that Jackson is coming off the twenty either.

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    2. I think the plan is to put him on the reverse of the $20 - if you're so inclined, you can stow your bills backwards in your wallet. :)

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    3. >>Our world would be a much different place..."

      People forget that New Orleans was the key to the entire continent. It is not for nothing that New Orleans is/was called "the most fortified city in America." Does anyone think that if the British had won, seized New Orleans and gained access to/control of the entire inner continent they would have abided by that treaty? It would have been abrogated in a nano-second by virtue of the claimed "change of facts on the ground.' ergo, no Andy Jackson, no America. No America, No Harriet Tubman.

      Think about it....THAT's why my blood boils about his removal. The ignorance of this nation about the true significance of the battle of New Orleans is nothing less than astonishing. Rather it is usually taught to be an afterthought and meaningless battle/unnecessarily fought after the war was declared officially over, rather than one of the greatest victories in the history of nations..

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    4. It was indeed a great victory. New Orleans, due to its location, is one of the most key cities on the continent. If you control New Orleans, you control the Mississippi and then you control the interior. Jackson is one of my heroes. It's too damned bad how history is mistaught so that the special snowflakes can feel good about themselves.

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  7. When I was a kid, my dad had "The Battle of New Orleans" on a 45 record. My brother and I fell in love with the song. fast forward to last March, when I took my family to the Big Easy for the first time, I introduced the song to my boys as we walked along the river. My 12 year old now has it saved on his phone, along with a bunch of bag pipe music. Mission accomplished! Have a great weekend, Sarge!

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    1. Excellent!

      (That and the pipe music indicate that your 12 yo has very refined tastes in music!)

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    2. I'm not sure that I might have had that 45. As my Mother, not one to throw my stuff away, I may find it when I get home.

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  8. Loved that song as a young boy too, and have a connection to it. While stationed at Barksdale AFB in Bossier City, I rented an efficiency apartment from Miz Billie Jean Horton (previously Billie Jean Williams, widow of Hank Sr.) and became acquainted with Nina Horton, Johnnie's oldest daughter. She was a sweet lady but, like so many children of celebrities, fell into the party lifestyle. She had an abusive boyfriend and I had to hold a Mauser rifle on him one night, to encourage him to leave her alone. Very sad situation. Miz Billie Jean however, did NOT suffer a fool and no one wanted to be on her bad side.

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    1. Amazing story! Sometimes we get to brush shoulders with celebrities. Some are actually decent folks.

      Others? Well, you know...

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  9. Which brings to mind...

    https://youtu.be/ig6lHxsjOEk

    and

    https://youtu.be/5cs_es5DR8U

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)