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The Battle of New Orleans (1999)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0141001798, Paperback)The United States and Britain had already negotiated an end to the War of 1812 when their troops met on the Plains of Chalmette near New Orleans in 1815. Word of the peace had not yet reached that far west, so a group of professional British soldiers clashed with a rag-tag band of about 4,000 "frontiersmen, militiamen, regular soldiers, free men of color, Indians, pirates, and townspeople" along the banks of the Mississippi River. These were "citizen-soldiers" in the finest sense, writes Robert V. Remini, the acclaimed biographer of Andrew Jackson, and they were commanded by a man whose military experience had commenced only two years earlier. Yet the battle "was one of the great turning points in American history" because it "produced a President and an enduring belief in the military ability of free people to protect and preserve their society and their way of life." Remini may oversell the battle's importance, but not by much. His enthusiasm is the mark of a historian in love with his subject. The Battle of New Orleans (and the War of 1812 in general) has tended to suffer more from neglect than from too much attention. This concise book, full of workmanlike prose, is a fine introduction to what Remini calls "America's first military victory" (he downplays Saratoga and Yorktown as "simply surrenders, nothing more"). Military history buffs won't want to miss it. --John J. Miller
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:27 -0400)
"In 1815, Britain's crack troops, fresh from victories against Napoleon, were stunningly defeated near New Orleans by a ragtag army of citizen soldiers under the fledgling commander they dubbed "Old Hickory." It was this battle that first defined the United States as a military power to be reckoned with and an independent democracy here to stay."--BOOK JACKET."The Battle of New Orleans sets its scenes with an almost unbelievably colorful cast of characters, starting with the happenstance coalition of militiamen, regulars, untrained frontiersmen, free blacks, Indians, and townspeople. Swashbuckling privateer Jean Laffite talks his way out of possible imprisonment to lead the Barataria pirates into arms for the United States.The proud, reckless British general Pakenham - certain that it will be only a matter of days before America is reduced once more to colonial status - finds himself forced to ferry his miserable troops across a Louisiana lake in a Gulf storm, and then discovers to his gentlemanly dismay that agile Choctaw and Tennessee "dirty shirt" sharpshooters make a sport of picking off his sentries by night. The city's Creoles, somewhat suspicious of the enterprise and only recently American citizens, after all, draw the line at blacking out their street lamps.And finally, there is Jackson himself - tall, gaunt, shrewd, by turns gentle and furious, declaring, "I will smash them, so help me god!""--BOOK JACKET.
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