A School History of the United States eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 507 pages of information about A School History of the United States.

%270.  Baltimore attacked.%—­Once on the bay, the army was hurried on board the ships and carried to Baltimore, where for a day and a night they shelled Fort McHenry.[2] Failing to take it, and Ross having been killed, Cockburn reembarked and sailed away to Halifax.

[Footnote 2:  Francis S. Key, an American held prisoner on one of the British ships, composed the words of The Star-Spangled Banner while watching the bombardment.]

%271.  The Victory at New Orleans.%—­The army was taken to Jamaica in order that it might form part of one of the greatest war expeditions England had ever fitted out.  Fifty of the finest ships her navy could furnish, mounting 1000 guns and carrying on their decks 20,000 veteran soldiers and sailors, had been quietly assembled at Jamaica during the autumn of 1814, and in November sailed for New Orleans.

News of this intended attack had reached Madison, and he had given the duty of defending New Orleans to Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, one of the most extraordinary men our country has produced.  The British landed at the entrance of Lake Borgne in December, 1814, and hurried to the banks of the Mississippi.  But Jackson was more than a match for them.  Gathering such a force of fighting men as he could, he hastened from the city and with all possible speed threw up a line of rude earthworks, and waited to be attacked.  This line the British under General Pakenham attacked on January 8, 1815, and were twice driven back with frightful loss of life.  Never had such a defeat been inflicted on a British army.  The loss in killed, wounded, and missing was 2036 men.  Jackson lost seventy-one men.  Five British regiments which entered the battle 3000 strong reported 1750 men killed, wounded, and missing.[1]

[Footnote 1:  Adams’s History, Vol.  VIII., Chaps. 12-14; McMaster, Vol.  IV., pp. 182-190]

%272.  Peace.%—­For a month after this defeat the British lingered in their camp.  At last, in February, the army departed to attack a fort on Mobile Bay.  The fort was taken, and two days later the news of peace put an end to war.  The treaty was signed at Ghent in December, 1814; but it did not reach the United States till February, 1815.

In the treaty not a word was said about the impressment of our sailors, nor about the right of search, nor about the Orders in Council, nor about inciting the Indians to attack our frontier, all of which Madison had declared to be causes of the war.  Yet we gained much.  Our naval victories made us the equal of any maritime power, while at home the war did far more to arouse a national sentiment, consolidate the union, and make us a nation than any event which had yet occurred.


1.  The land war may be divided into: 

    A. War along the frontier. 
    B. War along the Atlantic coast. 
    C. War along the Gulf coast.

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A School History of the United States from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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