“In 1814 we took a little trip,
along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans,
and we fought the bloody British at a town called New Orleans.”
So go the words of Americana singer Johnny Horton in his 1950s hit about one of America’s most famous military victories and one that helped to catapult a very controversial Andrew Jackson ultimately into the White House. Much has been written and celebrated about the tough as nails Scots Irish, Jackson was one, who marched down from Tennessee and other backwoods spots to wreak havoc on the British army at Chalmette battlefield. Little is known about those ancestors of today’s Scottish American families who fought and died just outside New Orleans on the British side.
Indeed, most of those in the King’s army who died in that battle 200 years ago have never been found and we do not know today what the eventual mode of rest was. British officers were disemboweled, embalmed and shipped back to Britain in rum barrels. The British government is pursuing a monument to the royal soldiers who fought at New Orleans as none currently exists. Americans lost were well under 100. British casualties numbered 2000.
Many of the casualties were Scots of the 93rd Sutherland. Many had been pressed and were certainly not fighting for the King voluntarily. Some who returned to Scotland following the War of 1812 found homes and families had been cleared from the land. It is time to learn their stories as well.