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    British soldiers line up at the bicentenial of the Battle of New Orleans
    British soldiers line up at the bicentenial of the Battle of New Orleans

    This past weekend in Louisiana, the final battle of the War of 1812, The Battle of New Orlens, was celebrated by living history reenactors from the U.S., Canada, and Great Britain.  The Battle of New Orleans was fought in Chalmette, Louisiana.

    On June 18, 1812, President Madison signed a declaration of war due to British agitation including blockading American ships, impressing Americans into serving in the British navy in the fight against Napoleon, and inciting Native Americans against the citizens of the U.S.  After winning many battles, the British entered Washington D.C. and burned down much of the city, including the U.S. Capital building, the President’s Mansion,  and the Library of Congress and all its books.  This was in retaliation for the destruction of private property on the north shore of Lake Erie.

    In November 1814 the British fleet in the Gulf of Mexico, led by General Edward Pakenham and reinforced by ships and troops who had been in the war against Napoleon, set sail for New Orleans.  They invited pirate captain Jean LaFitte to join them and guide them through the difficult waters to New Orleans.  Instead he stalled them and sided with the Americans, providing his knowledge, men, and weapons to defend the city of New Orleans.

    Being warned of the attack, Lousiana Govern Claiborne sent word to General Andrew Jackson.  General Jackson and his men arrived in New Orleans on December 2nd, 2015.  In December, General Jackson’s men fought to delay General Pakenham’s advance and built an earth wall at a point where the land land was blocked on one side by swamp and on the other by the Mississippi in Chalmette between the British and American forces.  Meanwhile British troops continued to arrive until they numbered around 11,000 men, more than double the men under General Jackson.

    On the eighth of January, 1815, General Pakenham implemented a rather clever plan, using ladders to scale the wall in the early morning fog.  Unfortunately, the fog had cleared along the wall leaving the forces in plain view of the American troops on the wall.  Additionally, when the men arrived at the wall, due to an oversight in planning, they had no ladders to scale it.  General Pakenham and his second in command were fatally wounded in the battle and, although he ordered his third in command, General Lambert, to fight on, the British retreated after his death with over 2,000 men lost in the battle.  Ironically, the Treaty of Ghent ending the war of 1812 was signed December 24, 1814, two weeks before the Battle of New Orleans.

    The reenactors of the battle set up camp, provided military and civilian demonstrations of the of the era to thousands of visitors in addition to staging multiple battles over the weekend.

    For more images from the reenactment check out the author’s photo album.

    For more about John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagram, Youtube, and Facebook.  Be sure to let him know your thoughts on his articles!



  • Civil unrest over takes a quiet village at Charlton Park, Michigan

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    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    Today, July 19, 2014, the Civil War returned to Charlton Park in Hastings, Michigan.  The annual Civil War muster is set in beautiful Charlton park where 18th century buildings have been moved and it provides a beautiful, historically accurate village for the Civil War reenactors to stage battles and demonstrations of Civil War tactics, strategies, and medicine.

    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    Today the scenario involved a quiet, southern village whose peace was interupted by an invasion of Yankees.  Canons roared and rifles flared causing the peaceful villagers to flee in terror as the troops came marching in from the east and the cavalry rode in from the west to face them off in the initial confrotation.  More troops marched in from both sides and the town square became a battle ground.

    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    Many soldiers fell today from the vicious fighting but at the end both sides rose again to fight tomorrow as another day in a Civil War Valhalla.  After the northern soldiers marched and rode past the cheering crowd the troops from Dixie formed rank and fired a volley and then charged the crowd to give them the feel of the battle.  Fortunately they stopped at the road and didn’t continue to the relief of the spectators.

    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    After the battle there was a demonstration of field medicine with the Dr. performing an amputation of one of the soldiers legs for the viewing pleasure of the audience.  Dr. J. J. Bandit, aka “The Butcher”, explained the medical theory of the time.  They believed that infection was a part of the healing process.  The thick, white pus was a sign a wound would heal properly.  Alternately, the thin, green issue was a sign that a would would likely result in the the soldiers death.  Fortunately, in this case, the soldier’s leg grew back in time for another demonstration.

    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    At the moment the Gas & Steam Barn Dance is just starting.  At 9 p.m. there is an evening lantern walk where the tours will be starting from the barn dance and will procede through different stations in the village where those in the tour will witness the comanders discussing tactics for tomorrows battles and will visit the injured and dying in the infirmery.

    2014 © by Janice Graczyk
    2014 © by Janice Graczyk

    The show will return tomorrow at 9 a.m. with the opening of suttlers row for all to shop for antiques, reproductions, and lots of high quality, hand made goods.  If you are in the Southern Michigan area head on over for the Civil War Reenactment in Hastings or stop by the Olde World Village and visit as the BlackRock Medieval Summerfest continues their show and drop by and visit with The Weird Review‘s very own Lillian Fox as she puts in a presence at another, otherwhen.

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