Poetry for New Orleans -The Retreat of the English
–From the New-Orleans Gazette, here reprinted by the Essex Register, April 5, 1815
The English mustered mighty strong,
And bro’t their choicest troops along
And thought it but a little song,
To take our town of Orleans.
From Plymouth and the Chesapeake,
From Portsmouth too, and Cork, so sleek
All came to take a Christmas freak
In our gay town of Orleans.
See Cochrane, who is stiled Sir Knight,
And Gordon too, that naval wight,
And Packenham all full of fight,
To have a dash at Orleans.
With Gibbs, and Keane, and Lambert too,
And others who kept out of view,
Making, in all, a pretty crew,
To take our town of Orleans.
To Isle au Chat their fleet first steer’d,
Where near a hundred sail appear’d
And, from their numbers many fear’d
Th’impending fate of Orleans.
They entered Bayou Bienvenu,
Where there were traitors not a few,
To help them on and bring them thro’
To this our town of Orleans.
They to the Levee quickly come,
And made, as tho’ they were at home–
Indeed, they were but eight miles from
The very town of Orleans.
The news at last to Jackson came;
His mighty soul was in a flame,
He swore an oath, I dare not name,
He’d save the town of Orleans.
The town was in a mighty rout:
He ordered all the forces out;
His troops so steady and so stout,
To fight and bleed for Orleans.
Then Jackson, not to risk the town,
Reined for a while his spirit down,
And trenches dug, and raised a mound,
To save the town of Orleans.
The English grown twelve thousand strong,
The twenty-eighth again came on,
And tho’t our lines would soon belong
To them, as well as Orleans.
Repuls’d;–on New Year’s next they came,
But on that day were serv’d the same,
And met a loss, they do not name,
From those who fought for Orleans.
But ’twas the Eighth they tried their might,
And brought their army all in fight
And swore our men would at the sight,
All fly towards New-Orleans.
That morning’s sun did rise in blood:
For all our men right valiant stood,
As every honest Yankee should
Against the foes of Orleans.
The muskets and the cannons roar;
Our men most dreadful vollies pour;
A rolling fire, unkown before,
Upon the foes of Orleans.
Sir Edward led the eager crew,
And pointing to the town in view,
Gave them the sack and pillage too,
If they would get to Orleans.
But see! his threatening spirit’s fled–
And Gibbs too lies among the dead,
With many more, who boasting said,
They’d dine that day at Orleans.
Such carnage ne’er was known before,
More than three thousand stain our shore,
And some assert a thousand more
Of the proud foes of Orleans.
Soldiers! you’ve had no vulgar game!
Wellington’s troops here yield their fame,
Invincibles was once their name,
But this they’ve lost near Orleans.
A bloodless victory, on our side,
May well increase our general’s pride;
For see–the field is only dyed
With English blood near Orleans.
Aboard, and sick of Yankee sport,
They’re dressing up a long report
To suit their Gracious Sovereign’s court,
Of their great feats near Orleans.
Here’s to the Eighth! a brilliant day!
‘Tis pride t’have been in that affray,
Which drove these Englishmen away
From this our town of Orleans.
The proud, but disappointed foe,
Is now well taught our worth to know,
And all they ask, is but to go
Far———-far away from Orleans.
See how these heroes scour the plain!
Their boats can scarce their haste refrain,
So anxious now their fleet to gain,
And get away from Orleans.
Here’s to the gallant General! who
Has saved our town and country too!
A braver man the world ne’er knew,
Than he who fought for Orleans.
Brave sons of Tennessee! a toast!
Of you, your country well may boast:
She cannot find a braver host
‘Mong those who fought for Orleans.
About the Author
Mary Bowden is a researcher working at the Texas Collections Deposit Library at the University of Texas. A little-known but invaluable treasure of U.S. history and the history of American journalism is archived in the collection of bound United States’ Newspapers at the University of Texas at Austin. The collection began more than a century ago and has been stored in recent years in the Texas Collections Deposit Library on the campus of the University of Texas. The sizeable archive is currently in the early stages of being digitized before being moved to a more climate-controlled environment at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus of the University, on the north side of Austin.