Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New Orleans (part 3 and last)

Location: Bayou Segnette State Park (El. ?); Westwego, Louisiana

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 cell phone
(click pictures to enlarge)

As I'm writing this post, the TV is on as the local channels are reporting on tornadoes that are touching down around this area. So far, there have been 6 or more that have caused property damage, injuries and at least one death. Thoughts and prayers to those who have suffered losses. 

Tomorrow is moving day so this will be the last post from this area. One of the places I wanted to see was the location of The Battle of New Orleans. Everyone, of a certain age, is familiar with the battle from the number one hit song by Johnny Horton back in the late 50's and early 60's. It was the number one song of 1959. I was only 3 years of age at the time, but for some reason, I know every word of the song. The song is only about half accurate since the "cannons didn't melt down", the head of alligators were not filled with cannonballs, their behinds weren't powered and they didn't lose their minds when the power was touched off. But it was a good song. :)
There was a street party and parade
as I passed through the Lower Ninth
Ward neighborhood. 

Some of the places from Katrina

Entrance to the battlefield

The Battle of New Orleans was actually fought nearer the town of Chalmette which is on the east bank of the river and about 10 miles south of New Orleans. You have to go through the Lower Ninth Ward to get to Chalmette. If that name sounds familiar, it may be because it was one of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Katrina. It's been 10 years since Katrina but there are still scars from that disaster throughout the area but more so in the Lower Ninth Ward.

The ramparts where the Americans

The field that the British had to cross
except back then it was a recently
harvested cane field.

Looking along the canal that was
deepened and widened to be used
in making the rampart on the left.

Again, looking along the rampart
and canal
I won't get into a lot about the reasons for the War of 1812 but remember, it had only been about 30 years prior to it that we won our independence from the British. This war was like part two. One of the things the British tried to do was capture New Orleans. If they were able to do so, then they would have controlled the entire Mississippi River trade traffic. That would have prevented the westward expansion of America because if America had not been in control of New Orleans, then the Louisiana Purchase would never have occurred. The battle was very pivotal to the outcome of the war and to our country. It is surprising that its importance is not taught in the schools more. Maybe it needs a fancy name instead of just a date. 
This gives and idea how close the
river is to the battle field. I'm standing
on the river levee by the battlefield.
Notice the size of the trees that have
washed up from previous floods.

Looking back towards the battlefield.
The house was built a few decades
after the battle, but is somewhat
from the era.
Notice the watertight gate in the
flood wall. Kind of neat. 

The Riverboat Natchez was making
her tour rounds while I was on the

Nice old live oaks. That is the area
where General Jackson's HQ was
located. Wouldn't you know it, the
General is in the shade while the
soldiers are in the sun. :)

One of the interesting things about the battle was the lopsided win by us. The British started out with 10,000 battle hardened men who had just defeated Napoleon in Europe. They were up against 5,000 Americans made up of regular army, local militia, volunteers and pirates. That's right, pirates. Specifically, Jean Lafitte's pirates. He had been approached by the British to join their side but chose the Americans instead. The pirates manned most of the cannons during the battle and some sources say some of the cannons came directly off of the pirate ships. Of course, Jean Lafitte didn't do anything for free. In this case he bargained for pardons for he and several of his men. General Andrew Jackson, who was in military charge of New Orleans after the battle, granted those pardons. 

The British didn't sail up the Mississippi River to get to the battlefield. Instead, they made an amphibious landing (like D-day?) with 10,000 men on the banks of Lake Borgne and then marched overland about 6 miles to the edge of the Mississippi River. It was their intention to follow the river into New Orleans. General Jackson, and his 5,000 men stood in the way. Jackson widened an existing canal that ran from the river on the west to a swamp on the east. The mud and dirt dug from the canal was used to build a shoulder high rampart strong enough to survive a hit by the British cannons. While the Americans hunkered down behind the rampart, the British were forced to march through an open field of recently harvested sugar cane. It was a slaughter. 2,000 dead and wounded on the British side and only 20 on the American side. That wasn't a typo, only 20 on the American side. 
This would have been from the British lines looking towards the American.

One of the tragic stories from the battle was about the 93rd Highlanders. These were cracker-jack, hard-ass soldiers that had been fighting around the world for the British. They were originally placed near the river but during the battle was ordered to march diagonally across the battle field to aid in the fight near the swamp. This was a stupid order because to cross the field they would have to pass in front of the British artillery which would have to stop firing until they passed. To compound the stupidity, the officer in charge of the Highlanders order them to "halt", probably with the intention of following up with another order to "kneel and fire" or something similar. But, before he could give the second order, he was shot in the head and immediately killed. Without another order, the well trained and disciplined Highlanders just stood there, with their weapons on their shoulders, as the Americans continued to shoot into them. Finally, another officer came up and took charge, but by then it was much too late for the majority of the Highlanders.

The battle lasted about 2 hours until finally the British retreated and the Americans had won the day with the war ending shortly afterwards.

The flag on the stone by the roots is
the only one I saw with a flag. 

That is the battlefield in the distance
and Freedom in the parking lot
on the other side of the fence.

Planted live oaks provide a nice,
peaceful location.

A nice picture of the 'road to infinity'

I was surprised to find a National Cemetery right next to the battlefield. It wasn't established for The Battle of New Orleans. It was established in 1864 for Union troops from battles around the Gulf area. There are 16,000 people buried there and it is now closed to any new burials although there are a few spouses and soldiers that have sites yet to be filled. There is one soldier buried in the cemetery that fought in the Battle of New Orleans but he didn't die in the battle, instead he died in route back to his home in Tennessee after the war was over. 

This is the second National Cemetery that I've accidentally found. The other was at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Along with Arlington National Cemetery, all three have a certain kind of peaceful aura surrounding them. 

Tomorrow is moving day and I'll being heading to Baton Rouge. The Engineering Conference I will be attending begins this Sunday, the 28th. It will be a short tow, so I will probably wait until around noon to pull out so the predicted high winds behind the front that is passing through will have time to calm down.
This is the reason I don't like big cities because they usually mean big traffic jams.

I had to get at least one picture of the Superdome
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.


  1. A tornado hit a campground in Convent, LA killing 2 people and destroying many campers. The pictures are bad.

    When I was in high school in Shreveport we lived about a mile from Johnny Horton's house. I never met him but we all knew where he lived. The story was that he had several boats named after his songs. I don't know where he performed but I'm sure I was too young to get in. I just wish I could have gone to the Louisiana Hayride.

  2. Great post, and excellent history lesson. I love old battlefields and old cemeteries myself, and the people that fought and died there should never be forgotten.

  3. Such interesting information. Glad you have avoided the bad weather. If you have time when in Baton Rogue go see the Capitol. The old one is very interesting.