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Date:8/30/2014 7:17:44 PM
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Sam perches as he sharpens a cutlass with
a whetstone. Aye, come take ye perch. It's time fer preparin' fer war. As them Vikings would say " Today looks like a good day fer dyin'" Arrrggg!

It wasn't long those rumors of the British Fleet heading for New Orleans were now fact as the first British masts were sighted in the waters of Lake Borgne about mid-December. All unit commanders convened at Jackson's headquarters above Maspero's to review & finalize their battle plan. Commodore Patterson & all the others were surprised when Jean Lafitte entered wearing his leather cape & donning his rapier at his side. What was even more amazin' was how General Jackson doted on this "pirate" soliciting his advice on many subjects, including the strategic lay of the land & where to best set points of defense. Lafitte was afire, his powers of command very evident in that room.

Even with the arrival of the expected long rifles of Kentuckey, General Jackson's forces remained outnumbered. At the most he had 3800 militia, some townsmen, & Lafitte's corps, in all about 4600 men. Only one third of the amount of soldiers that were marching & sailing to attack them. The British were fighting machines comprised of the Royal North Britain Fusiliers, the Old Fighting Third, the Royal Highlanders & other noted British units which had fought under the Iron Duke of Wellington.

As couriers rode into New Orleans hourly, reporting the size of the Redcoat army & their ever-nearness, the city began to panic. Certain members of the government (not Claiborne) started screaming surrender, but Jackson wouldn't hear it. Sensing a growing hysteria, he installed martial law & established a curfew. When a judge protested, Jackson threw him out of town!

Recruiting officers continued to sign up volunteers throughout the hours; any manjack over the age of 15 came forward butchers, bakers, candle stick makers, the black slaves & freed men; laborers & gentlemen; John Blanque signed on, so did John Randolph Grymes & Mayor Girod & Governor Claiborne. Each man was given a spare of flints & gunpowder (now in abundance thanks to Lafitte). But, still the Americans were extremely undersized. Lafitte's privateers began to pour from the bayous, loaded for bear.

Activity began on December 23 with a lake battle between Patterson & the British ships. Patterson was forced to retreat. On the Villiere Plantation that same evening, Jackson's ragtag crew surprised & drove back a company of British regulars. Urging his men on, Jackson discovered the Baratarians to be excellent fighters & afraid of nothing.

Throughout the ensuing days & over the turn of the new year, Jackson dug in seven miles south of the city on the Plains of Chalmette, a narrow strip of land between the Mississippi River & the swamps, an area through which the enemy's regiments of foot soldiers would have to march to reach New Orleans.
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