|Fig.1: Andrew Jackson failed to check his text messages to see if the war was over.|
|Fig.2: War is hell.|
Also, the United States was just licking their chops to continue expanding after buying the Louisiana Territory from Napoleon on a Blue Light Special, and saw the opportunity to snatch Canada away from the British. The only practical advantage that I see from this is that the USA would eventually win more gold metals in the Winter Olympics with Canadian talent in hockey, curling, and icicle fencing (that's a sport, right?), but really, what's the point to that? Finally, Americans were looking to boost their pride by re-declaring their independence and kicking some British butt once more. If anything, this is the most credible reason to pick a fight (can't have the hood thinking you're weak), but is it really worth starting a War of 1812 over? Many congressmen thought so, and it's was because of their innate desire to fight the British, as well as their diet of small game easily scooped up using their talons, that they were designated as Warhawks. The Warhawks eventually got their way: President James Madison issued a declaration of war on June 18, 1812, and then led a pep rally shortly thereafter to pump up the nation.
|Fig.3: Move along, nothing to see here...|
But now let us go to 1814 and take a little trip along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip. The Americans knew the British would attempt to attack the southern coast, so they hastily prepared a defense force on the South's largest port and party hotspot: New Orleans. And I mean hastily. The army consisted of everything from farmers, shoemakers, African-American freedmen, pirates, local tribesmen, and even a one-eyed Albino midget chocolatier or two. Even their commander, Andrew Jackson, was constantly ill and not as spry as a military leader should be; he wasn't even able to do that thing where you hop and clap your feet together twice in midair, which has been basic training for all officers for centuries. On the other hand, their adversaries were crack British troops that had been hardened in Europe fighting against Napoleon, led by the young and capable officer Edward Pakenham, who could do one-armed pushups like nobody's business. It was pretty much a matchup between the New York Yankees and the Idaho Falls Chukars.
|Fig.4: The delegates for the Treaty of Ghent may have |
believed that the combating armies would magically
disappear with the stroke of a pen. Wacky wig-wearing
The big battle finally took place on January 8, 1815. The Brits planned to use a newly dug canal to bring their navy into the fray, but unfortunately they only had sporks to dig with, and it collapsed rather quickly. This put all of the pressure on the infantry to break through the American defenses and capture the city, and Jackson was banking on that. Regiment after regiment of British troops attempted to march through the American earthworks at Chalmette Plantation, but Jackson perfected the system of rotating fire, where one soldier would shoot, and another would tap in and take his place while he ducked down to reload (and possibly sneak in a quick Sudoku). A French engineer in the American army would write of a "constant rolling fire, whose tremendous noise resembled rattling peals of thunder," while a Louisiana-born private would write something similar just as eloquently: "Dat dun wat alotta noise!"
|Fig.5: This painting was done by engineer Jean Hyacinthe de Laclotte based on his memory of the battle. Looks like somebody should have dropped his degree in engineering and gone for something a little more practical and lucrative like art!|
And so the War of 1812 ended fittingly: with a battle that didn't need to be fought. Sure, you can argue that because the British Parliament and American Senate didn't ratify the Treaty of Ghent until after the Battle of New Orleans that the war wasn't technically over, but what are you, some sort of War of 1812 fanatic? Do you people even exist? Go get lives already! Do something more fulfilling, like make bricks at Colonial Williamsburg! My goodness, even the Cola Wars have more relevance than the War of 1812! I'm starting to feel an aneurysm coming on now, so I'm going to soothe my brain and think about more meaningful conflicts, like the War of the Austrian Succession. Yeah...much better...