of Louisiana Literature
An Epick Poem in Commemoration of Andrew Jackson's Victory on the Eighth of January, 1815.
GEN. JACKSON’S VICTORY
Now when the States with soul-abhorrence saw
Britain’s design to wage a Vandal war —
That spoils and rapine fill’d her heart with joy —
That all her thoughts were loosen’d to destroy, —
One voice from Florida to Maine was heard,
To rise in panoply and draw the sword —
Grace, Hampton, Norfolk, Baltimore — of late,
Urg’d their uniting with unbroken weight,
To guard their cities smiling on the sea,
From the rude grasp of spoiling Royalty. 10
On Heights of Dorchester, where Washington
Planted his flag, Boston from tyrants won,
The proud Bostonians elevate a fort,
And islands fortify to guard their port.
Portland is quicken’d with an equal flame —
And Portsmouth rises to preserve her name.
A lofty bearing nerves the city York —
And Philadelphia labours at the work.
Richmond, Savannah, Charleston, all and each,
Combine to bear th’ invasion from the beach — 20
One hand, one heart, one ardour fires the whole,
United, bound — each wedded to each soul.
Now to Orleans, emporium of the west,
Jackson repairs with thunder on his breast.
To Carolina South, his birth was given —
There the bold chief inhal’d the air of heaven.
Proud in his youth, he heard the martial beat.
And kindled at the sound with glowing heat —
Join’d the Star-banner in its waving high,
Tearing the promise of his Liberty.
When the hard struggle of the fight was done,
He trac’d the compass of the western sun —
Where the broad Cumberland with downward sweep,
Majestick rolls to wed Ohio’s deep,
The youthful hero found his second home,
Where, taught of Science, learned he become.
Fair Tennessee, endow’d with equal right,
Knowing his mind was equal to his might —
From Nashville, eagle — built on Rock-tower Height,
Sent him her statesman to the Hall of fame, 40
Where, with the People he enlarg’d his name.
When in the present war the Nation rose,
Th’ unhallow’d acts of Britain to oppose,
He snatch’d his father’s weapon from its place,
And took large vengeance of the savage race.
A foe more skill’d in battle — not more brave,
Demands his valour and his wisdom grave.
Though tall his stature, with proportion slim,
Yet a strong nerve inspirits every limb —
High-arch’d his forehead curves — his visage spare — 50
His whitening locks his growing years declare
To be in autumn, ripe with wisdom’s fruit —
To plan the fight, and then the fight dispute.
His eye shows openness and seems to speak,
But nothing’s there that shows a woman’s freak.
His will chains every nerve — none durst betray
The secret feeling he would hide from day —
But when he wills, his every look takes fire
And flames to view the hidden soul’s desire.
The City, long foreboding in despair, 60
Rise and salute him with reviving air.
Glad, they submissive bow to his command,
Secure beneath the shadow of his hand.
Two other warriors with the hero came,
Than whom more brave ne’er kindled into flame —
Carrol and Coffee. Rude their sun-burnt men,
In simple garb of foresters are seen —
But mark — they know with death the bead to sight,
And draw the centre of the heart in fight.
Kentucky, bleeding with her bosom bare, 70
Scath’d in the field — yet nothing of despair
Palsies her strength — her warriors with Adair,
Adown th’ Ohio stream impatient glide,
To mix the blood of tyrants with the tide —
The heart — cold massacre of Raisin wakes
Avenging passion till their bosom shakes,
Stirring a spirit righteous in the cause,
To keep inviolate their equal laws.
Rough in their arms the Louisianians rise,
Fix’d or to die, or grave their enemies. 80
Their brothers from the north with joy they hail,
Saviours — to guard them with defensive steel.
While thus the Patriots crowd to Jackson’s power,
The foe for lack of spoil assails Fort Bower.
Four ships cast anchor and let loose the balls —
Pouring a storm of thunder at the walls.
Six full battalions land upon the beach,
With weapons bar’d to enter through the breach —
But Lawrence from the fort soon scours the land —
Three bleeding vessels scatter from the strand. 90
The broken Hermes drifts upon the shore,
Where soon her standard is made wet with gore.
Warren and Packenham, with feelings cast,
Groan’d, when they learnt that death had fann’d the blast —
Now cover’d with chagrin, their look was sad —
And now, their features scowl’d with anger mad.
While thus their passions cool’d, then flam’d with heat,
Lo, in full prospect Cochrane show’d his fleet —
Days three times seven from Petapsco’s mouth,
He’d sail’d inglorious to the waters south. 100
Warren, delighted when the ships he spied,
A tier of cannon thunder’d o’er the tide.
But Cochrane, humbled by the late defeat,
Unanswering, mov’d his heavy-sailing fleet.
As run the sand two hours from risen day,
He dropp’d his biting anchors in the clay.
The royal chiefs conven’d his ship on board,
To learn th’ important triumphs of his sword.
Warren with smiles of pleasure in his look,
Rich in his confidence, enquiring spoke: 110
“Most noble Cochrane — rank’d in high repute,
Why answer’d did you not my grand salute?
So late departed from the conquer’d shore,
Your navy must be fill’d with Baltimore.
“You seem not well! You’ve
bled with wounds I fear —
Or is too warm the southern climate here?”
Cochrane paus’d deep — then answer’d: “Yes, I feel
Wounds more corroding than the biting steel.
My fame is wither’d — broken is my host!
Defeating slaughter turn’d us from the coast. 120
Full many a Briton has return’d to dross,
With whom in death-robes is the noble Ross!
Two thousand slumber in unwaking rest —
The dead will show we done our effort best.”
As when a band of robbers grim unite
To plunder travellers, aided by the night —
The more they gain, more avaricious they —
At length, they stop them in the open day —
Imbolden’d — with impunity they steal,
Till the hard griping of the law they feel, 130
Then they turn pale and tremble with their fear —
So they, the Britons, in their looks appear.
The first is Packenham to gain his tongue —
He speaks with lightness, though his heart feels stung:
“Away these heavy thoughts — this feeling low —
Shame that we cower and knuckle to the blow —
True worth, by rising from defeat, we’ll show.
Our sighs are vain — they magnify the loss —
To die in war was honourable to Ross —
’Tis woman’s weakness to bemoan their fate — 140
But now ’tis ours, Orleans to Demonstrate.
Here every wish that gratifies the soul,
Will yield us luxury for all our dole.
Am not I Governor of the City made?
And each, who wills it, shall have civil grade.
A star of honour on each breast shall glow —
Yea, every chieftain shall my bounty know.
“We’ve learnt experience by the late defeat,
No more in parts to separate our fleet.
Instant, with shallow vessels we’ll prepare 150
A proud descent upon the coast to bear:
“With your division, Keene, proceed before —
Three thousand strong and fortify the shore.
Brook, Thornton, Gubbon — rocketteers with Lane,
Will land and aid you to intrench the plain.
Cochrane, to you I give the honour’d post,
To sail the first and bear them on the coast.
Soon, I in person shall augment your powers —
The Mississippi and her floods are ours!
“’Twas long determin’d in the council grand, 160
(When war was rumour’d,) to invade the strand,
And seize Orleans — that all the Union West
Should be subjected to the king’s behest.
“No difference what we loose, or what th’ expense,
On, — we must move — dash opposition hence —
Orleans once conquer’d, half the States are ours —
More valu’d prize ne’er rous’d the royal powers!
This city gain’d, — our losses on the sea,
Will in the splendour be dissolv’d away —
And all disasters sufter’d on the land, 170
Will be defac’d like characters in sand.
“Time denies us more. Cochrane, Keene, depart,
And bear the line with conquest on your heart.
Warren will soon conduct upon your rear,
Lambert, reserv’d, of tested character.”
With rivetted attention they receiv’d
The word — and think the victory achiev’d —
Cochrane and Keene upon the wave advance —
And soon their flickering standards wanton dance
On Ponchartrain. At dawn they make the strand, 180
And spread their terrors o’er the smiling land.
Keene places Gubbon on the sylvan road,
Twelve furlongs distance, whence the river flow’d —
The left, with Thornton, rests upon the bank —
Pulse beating high the Patriots to disrank.
When Carrol, Coffee, had with Jackson join’d —
Of three five hundreds was their strength combin’d.
Jackson had plann’d defence in judgment style,
From Mississippi to the swamp, a mile —
And jealous scouts had plac’d around to spy 190
The first approaches of the enemy.
Hindes, station’d on the borders of the lake,
Each fibre thrilling for his country’s sake,
Beheld their woven wings like rack of clouds,
Which half the firmament cerulean shrouds.
Breathless he kenn’d them till they made the beach,
And stood paraded in their martial reach —
Then, fleet to Jackson, urgent on his horse,
He leap’d his way — arriv’d — describ’d the force:
“The foe hath landed at Bienvenu! 200
I judg’d four thousand as they pass’d in view.
Steady I mark’d their movements on the shore,
Till thus they halted, confident of power.
Their left upon the margin of the flood —
Their right defended by the cypress wood.”
A word from Jackson answers for reply —
And presently his chiefs he orders nigh —
Carroll and Coffee, Doquien and MacRee,
And Pierce, and Savory — Ross of Tennessee —
Dyer and Gibson — valiant Lauderdale — 210
Planche, and others, never known to fail.
Henley and Tompson, Patterson, the brave —
Three mariners of fame to rule the wave,
With Louisiana and the Caroline,
Among the group with naval emblems shine.
These in due order standing, Jackson, now,
Reveal’d his purpose to attack the foe:
“Lo, the invaders tread upon the shore,
Thousands, as three to one in pride of power:
But energy will make their thousands bend, 220
And, to far distant years, our names descend.
Cloth’d with the night we’ll storm upon their camp —
Appal their purposes — their ardour damp.
“Carroll, on road Gentilly, you’ll proceed,
And stand reserv’d, whilst I perfect the deed,
Striking surprize. Pierce, Coffee, and the rest,
Will use their arms. The sun below the west,
Has dipt his charriot wheels. In twilight gleam,
Prepare your warriors for no nightly dream.
“Henley and Patterson, in Caroline, 230
Descend and anchor opposite the line.
Their left they’ve plac’d for safety on the bank —
You’ll break the charm by opening on their flank.
Your thunders rolling on the ear of night,
Will be the signal for the rushing fight.
In Louisiana, Tompson, move at seven —
“No more — Attend minute th’ instructions given.”
As Jackson clos’d the order, Carrol wheel’d —
The other chiefs paraded on the field.
The naval heroes to their ships repair’d, 240
And down the current on their purpose far’d.
As day retir’d, Jackson proceeded slow,
To be in readiness to strike the blow.
Soon in the twilight are the Albions seen,
Doubtful — he halts his column on the green.
Lone he advances on his close-train’d horse,
And reconnoitres the invading force.
Back to the cube with loosen’d rein he bounds,
And this commandment to the brave resounds:
“Coffee, to left, and Lauderdale, withdraw, 250
Full opposite their right to push the war,
Whilst with the dexter, at the time, shall I
Strike — and the foe give privilege to die.
“This is the time for Tennessee to show,
That when she rises, tyrant blood must flow!
You’ve met the desperate savage in array —
The same unbending of your souls display.
Yea — prove the same — that Britons too must yield,
When bent on death you meet them in the field.
Should we this night give back — this signal night — 260
The torch of Freedom is depriv’d of light!
A single nerve relaxing of its weight,
Will give the city to unsparing fate.
None will relax! I know what thoughts ye feel —
The net-work fibres of your hearts are steel!
“Soon with Kentucky sage Adair will come,
And then we’ll give the enemy his doom —
Yea, bid a proud defiance to the foe,
Should all the strength of Britain urge the blow!
Keen by their watch — fires let your rifles aim — 270
Plunge with the steel, when once the ball shall flame.
“Why wrestle with your souls? Of words, no more —
Enough — I’ve seen you in the battle pour!
“Ye long, — impatient long, to hear the sound
To rush, and crush their life upon the ground.
“I will no more. Coffee, advance your line,
Ready to serve for death! The Caroline,
Will soon their funeral speak! — then chafe with ire
Life’s vital cisterns — wake the flinty fire!”
The patriot warriors stood above the earth, 280
What time his soul in eloquence pour’d forth.
Coffee, in silence passes to the road,
And Jackson, solemn, where the river flow’d.
They hark impatient — every sense awake,
To hear the cannon from the waters break.
Meantime the Albions at their ease appear’d.
And nothing they of brewing darkness fear’d.
Keene pass’d along the lines with lofty tread,
And as he pass’d, these promises he made:
“This night indulge the merry-making
feast — 290
But when young day shall waken in the east,
Be ready for the move! An early hour
Will find the city kneeling to our power.
Yes — ere that Jackson shall have time to form,
To meet the rising of our thunder storm:
Rumour reports their general bears that name —
Plum’d in renown — a momentary fame,
By fighting wild — men — now — but now he’ll find,
That we are fatal by superior mind —
Hence, when we kindle in our terror soon 300
We’ll cast his laurels to the waning moon.
Yea, ere the strength of Packenham shall land,
Orleans resigns! the Eagle flaps the sand.
The deed will live till earth with age shall rot,
And make each name immortal” ————
Lo, the shot
Thunders from the ship! — Blazing from the flood,
The fury comes and covers them with blood!
Coffee, in rage, rolls slaughtering on their right —
Jackson, a whirlwind, blasts them in his might:
Thus hungry wolves in absence of the day, 310
Invade a field to make its lambs their prey —
They stop and listen to the watch-dog’s cry,
Baying the moon till she forsakes the sky: —
At midnight, — silence muffles up their tongue,
The wolves creep tender with soft ease along,
Fearing to wake the motion of a straw —
A grass — a leaf — and disappoint their maw
By starting up the mastiff sleeping still,
Ere that sweet blood had satisfied their will.
While thus in feast of thought, lo, panthers nigh, 320
Crouch on their rear with keen sagacity,
Bent on their life — they leap the leap of death —
Each fangs a wolf loud screaming in his teeth.
The wolves not grappled by the panthers dread,
Bound from the earth and think themselves are dead:
So fares the enemy — in dire surprise,
They shriek out, “Death!” and by that sound arise!
Gubbon gives way from Coffee’s flint-struck fires —
Back on the centre wildly he retires.
A truant ball strikes Lauderdale below
The curling ear, while mingled with the foe.
Between the neck and jaw the ruin flies,
Mangling the art’ries — brief the warrior dies.
As falls a poplar flourishing in height —
So sunk the chief and darken’d into night.
Not unreveng’d his blood: Through Gubbon’s back,
Swift as he flew the direful attack,
Death tore its way — his bosom’s engine rent —
Fractur’d the sixth rib as it outward went.
The Albion shudders with convulsions strong — 340
Sunk to deep night upon the plains along.
Inward he bleeds — but soon with foaming large,
The lungs the current of his life discharge
Frothing from his mouth. Cramp’d, his fingers dent
Deep in his palms — and brief his life is spent.
Now to the river Coffee feels his path,
The foe consuming in his waken’d wrath.
Fierce on their rear he drives the blade of death —
Jackson in front impetuous spends their breath.
Confus’d in wild commotion of the fray, 350
Floating in blood their ranks are roll’d away.
Mad Jackson, Coffee, in their strength unite,
And dire pursue them through the shades of night.
Meantime Fredonia on the wall serene,
With eyes, pure wash’d in heaven, beheld the scene.
To Fame this charge she gave: “Illustrious Maid —
Descend and veil the field in misty shade.
Eclipse the burning stars — that not entire,
The Albion host upon the field expire.
That Jackson, born the nation to unite, 360
May gain the honour of a closing fight.”
Fame momentary dropp’d her wing from heaven —
And roll’d the mist as were instructions given,
Then rose elastick on the spring of fire,
And gain’d the height more rapid than desire.
The stars are smother’d in their orbits dark,
Shielding the royals from the Freedom mark.
Jackson, his foe unable to discern,
Proclaims th’ unwelcome order to return:
“Warriors! the sudden darkness of the night 370
Restrains our will to farther urge the fight.
Hence, wheel and camp upon their ground. This
Thickening the stars, hath sav’d them from their doom —
Had but the stars shone forth, they’d press’d the heath —
Not one in arms would fled the gripe of death.
Close darkness covers them. Man can no more,
Than act his utmost in the favour’d hour.”
As when the north commands the storms to cease —
They hear, — and hush their savage broils in peace:
So at the voice of Jackson through the plain, 380
Their tempest blood is stay’d. They seek amain
The conquer’d field, where Keene had chose his camp,
Waiting with smiling heart to mark the lamp,
That burns for day — to rise and guide his course,
To bend the city to his royal force;
But now, the ground the sons of hunters hold,
Till morn shall streak the heavens with lines of gold.
At length the hours slow wind the night away —
On ocean’s brim appears th’ approaching day. —
The Jackson band when they the sign discern, 390
With waving banners to their lines return.
They pile their sanguine arms, and, nerv’d with heat,
Labour to make their infant works complete.
But Tompson’s ship, and Patterson’s remain,
Where they in night the royal ranks had slain.
Meantime th’ invading band with Thornton, Keene,
(Save what were dying and what dead were seen,)
Rejoin’d their foes — for Keene was not subdu’d —
He takes his former station on the flood,
Where Jackson late with his battalions rose 400
To fence the land against ingressing foes.
The Louisiana now, and Caroline,
With brass well pointed open on the line.
For three revolving suns and glasses seven,
Raking the field the sheeted fires are driven.
At length the foe a ball-proof battery raise,
From whence, effective, they dance the blaze.
With scorching globes the Caroline takes flame,
While adverse winds confine her on the stream.
Soon Patterson perceives his ship must burn, 410
And bids his mates with Tompson to return —
They leap into the boats — the loss repine,
And to the element the ship resign.
Scarce had they join’d the Louisianian crew,
Than loose in heaven, the burning vessel blew —
The Albions shout the ruins to the sky,
Fill’d with proud thoughts of future victory.
But Tompson, ranging every gun aside,
Still’d them with death, while shoutingly they cried.
When twelve explosions from the ship were driven,
Large to the western gales, the sheets were given, 421
Which, without wavering, to the compass blew,
And bore the vessel to the breast-lines, new —
Where, on the river, in her strength she lies.
The name of Jackson to eternalize.
What time the sun in zenith glory shone.
And fill’d with golden light the western zone,
Warren, Sir Edward, landed on the shore —
Never such numbers on the sail before —
Gibbs, Lambert, character’d with warriors great, 430
To rule the columns of o’erwhelming weight.
As leaves, innumerous, quiver on the trees —
As swarming multitudes of clustering bees —
As stars in heaven, as sands upon the shore.
So seem th’ invaders from the deep to pour.
Gibbs, in the centre, on the right of Keene,
Marshals his host, who oft the field had seen;
On right of Gibbs, Lambert extends his band,
Than whom, more brave, ne’er trod a foreign land.
Proud in the centre of the crimson lines, 440
The tent of Packingham with splendour shines,
At head of which, a flag-staff mates the skies.
Bearing the Cross to speak to distant eyes.
Now come to Packingham, defeated Keene
Saluted, and commenced with solemn mien:
“Brother of Wellington! my heart gives back —
I know not why, — but sad was the attack —
Yea, thou must hearken, though what I recite,
Should damp thy bosom with the drops of night.
“Scarce had I fix’d my line upon the shore, 450
Giving instructions for the morning hour —
When lo, the enemy, a sudden flood,
Drove in and drew the richest of our blood.
I rallied — fought — but soon my strength gave way —
Such desperate passion urg’d them in the fray.
“The first alarm was thunder mix’d with flame,
From a dark vessel hid upon the stream.
This day, with heated globes, from yonder mound,
We cast her broken through the void profound —
Gibbon expir’d — and with him. hundreds four, 460
While twice that number sprinkled earth with gore.
“Six thousand warriours must have form’d their strength,
To strike such numbers lifeless at their length.
This Jackson seems an eagle on the wing —
Yea, he defies the standards of the king.
We each must watch the movements of his eye,
Or not this host will yield us victory.
He now with art is labouring to defend
The pass, — through which the city we must bend.
“And now would I in confidence propose 470
To move upon them and with bayonet close.
Early, at dawn, ere they their works complete,
I’d charge upon them, and their lines defeat.
Sustain my legions with proportion might,
I’ll mount the ramparts and their prospects blight.”
Thus Packingham: “With pride of heart, I hear,
Though struck with sudden death in night severe.
Your soul is rous’d to wipe away the stain,
And the past glory of your arms maintain.
Strengthen your veterans. — In the blaze of day, 480
Teach them to die, when we commence the fray.
And should your effort need increase of power,
Gibbs will advance — his name, a bulwark tower.
“Let Jackson, or ten thousand Jacksons join.
The whole must kneel, when men like you combine.
Turn, bend your strength against their dexter wing,
Bearing in front the standard of the king!”
His thoughts were full of conquest. Keene obeys —
Numbers his host, and one by one surveys,
Sees each is furnish’d for the enterprise, 490
To storm at Jackson, when the day should rise.
At every step, he feels his impulse large —
And whispers to himself: “Now mine’s the charge!”
So, thus a stately bull, subdu’d in fight.
Stung with reproaches, meditates at night
His absent enemy — he braves the flood,
Hardening his strength to do the work of blood —
He paws the earth — he grinds his pointed horns
On flinty rocks — and drives through wounding thorns.
He bellows to the blast — he snuffs the wind, 500
And stands and triumphs in his mighty mind:
Such were the feelings in the breast of Keene,
As with his passion, he inflam’d his men.
While this transpir’d, the patriotick band
Incessant labour’d to defend the land.
Plauche, and Daquin, and Lacoste retain,
With Ross, the right position of the plain.
Carroll’s division in the centre stand —
And Coffee on the left maintains the land.
Patterson, Cowley, late of Caroline, 510
And Cormac, fair in youth, their strength combine,
Th’ unfinished batteries on the right to form
To show a bold resistance in the storm.
And now, the starry eyes of heaven burn clear,
Looking with melting love from sphere to sphere.
Clouds swim loose — floating on the breath of night,
Touch’d with the silver of the moon’s soft light.
Like angel spirits, when they sail around
To bear some message with delicious sound,
Sweet-breathing to the stars. But now, behold, 520
Like breath they vanish from the star of gold —
The last, but loveliest of the train of night, —
Soft it approaches with delicious light,
Trembling and flushing through the cedars green,
Like some fair maid half willing to be seen.
Soon as the star of morning gilds the skies,
Kcene’s crowded columns for the combat rise.
Slow, as in martial pomp they press the road,
The herald bombs with fiery trains explode.
Ready for war, his ship had Tompson sprung — 530
Sublime his cannon speak with death’s deaf tongue!
Yet pause they not, though ranks on ranks are broke —
Not death disturbs them by his voice, or look!
From bulwarks half complete the Patriots aim,
And strike the enemy with solid flame.
Gibbs marks the conflict — rushes to the scene,
A full division to support of Keene.
And now firm-wedg’d the boast of England stand,
Though hundreds fall and eat the bloody sand.
The line of Jackson burns like heaven on fire — 540
Albion’s like Hecla, when its flames aspire.
Clark, Churchill, Shannonhouse, Bray, Clinton, Knight,
And other names, fall blasted in the fight.
Lo, Henderson, the pride of Carroll’s force,
Is stopp’d amid the glory of his course.
An envious bullet fasten’d on his eyes,
Whose flash was lightning to his enemies.
As some tall ash, which oft had brav’d the blast,
Rent by a whirlwind, is destroy’d at last —
Its branches bent awry — its verdure fled — 550
So on the cold earth lies the warrior’s head.
For hours twice three and seven, the Albions strive
To force the battle and the Patriots drive —
But so exhausting is the Jackson fire,
Through walks of blood disaster’d they retire.
But Packenham, who frequent death had seen,
Is not discourag’d by defeat of Keene —
It only rous’d his myriads to display
A greater courage at the next essay.
He gives instructions to his chiefs around, 560
Ready to hearken and obey the sound:
“For two succeeding days we’ll mound the earth,
But on the next we’ll move for conquest forth.
And when we strike, we’ll strike the blow unknown,
When half their eagle watchfulness has flown.
“During the night preceding of the fray,
Gibbs, Thornton, secret with pioneers away,
And, near their right position, batteries raise,
Prepared at signal to elance the blaze.
Lambert, whose bosom’s fountain in the storm 570
Chafes like the Clyde when swell’d in wildest form,
Lead your battalions to the left extreme,
And let your fires the highest heavens inflame.
Thus at the moment we their flanks shall down —
And then, triumphant, we approach the town!”
This order having pass’d, they file away,
And every part implicitly obey:
For two succeeding suns they mound the heath,
To guard the sudden breaking in of death.
But in the darkness of the third deep night, 580
Thornton and Gibbs raise bulwarks on the right,
And as the morn the face of ocean streaks
With purple light, their new-made thunder breaks.
Lambert, his squadrons urges with a press
To humble Coffee into littleness.
While this was done, no time the Patriots lost.
To make secure against the kingly host,
Their labours of defence. With joy they hear,
Kentucky hastening to relieve them near.
Lo, at the signal, when the blast begun, 590
Instant each heart was melted into one!
Coffee at Lambert pours a fiery stream,
Yet firm he stands, and wakes the battle’s flame.
At length so wide, so withering is his loss —
Full many a silver life is turn’d to dross.
He reels, gives way — breaks — scatters o’er the field —
And forth the works of Gibbs and Thornton yield.
And Patterson’s, and Cowley’s cannon soon,
Sweep them away before the time of noon.
The pride of Albion in the dust is low, 600
To be thus handled by their western foe —
Men, late from managing the simple plough.
Yet Packingham reveal’d no look dismay’d —
His columns squar’d, he this exclaiming, said:
“Erect your souls beyond these trials past!
By slow approaches, they’ll resign at last.
Something to warm this icy feeling, now.
Will soon remove this dampness from the brow.
Ere long, we’ll find them, careless of their guard —
Then ample will the day our toils reward. 610
Disaster, frequent, in the end is best.
Where the soul scorns to be by fate depress’d.
Our loss will make them vain of their success,
And cause them soon to lose their watchfulness.
Perchance they now may laugh upon our power,
By which, we’ll conquer in a happy hour.
“Hence, for the time, defensive we’ll remain,
And, when unlook’d for, burst upon the plain.”
The columns heard, and to their tents repair’d,
And tliere, oblivious, on their luxuries far’d — 620
The palsy of their hearts remove with wine,
Steeping their troubles in a bath divine.
The bold Kentuckians, marshall’d by Adair,
Land at the city — presently repair
To join with Louisiana, Tennessee,
On death determin’d, or their soils to free
From tread of hostile feet.
When Jackson saw
His brother chief made venerable in war,
He plied the left sharp rowel to his horse,
And met — saluted, and began discourse: 630
“Glad beats my bosom with a sacred glow,
To see a man who oft hath seen a foe.
Thy days of youth were spent in arms with me,
Against the sires of this same enemy.
“Thrice have we met —
thrice foil’d their veteran band —
But mark how vast their gathering o’er the land!
Thy sage experience and thy valiant power,
I need, momentous, at this trying hour.
You’ve fought with Shelby, long renown’d in fame.
And caught the manner of his conquering flame.640
“In your defensive line we place our trust.
To guard the soil and bow their heads to dust.
The whole made strong with solid batteries eight,
To mount twice six of heavy-casted weight.
“You, with Kentucky, will the centre hold,
Supporting Carroll, noted for the bold.”
Jackson concluded. And Adair replied:
“My heart delicious throbs with holy tide.
To have the honour to unite with thee,
Whose name will brighten to eternity! 650
“Thy plan defensive is a theme of praise —
Thine every act decisively displays
A soul that burns to live! ’Tis true, I’ve seen
Some little service, when my days were green, —
And had the honour in the present fight,
To war with Shelby for my country’s right.
What little I’ve acquir’d I’ll free impart —
But all thy plans display a perfect art.
Nothing I see to strengthen or amend —
But when complete, secure will they defend 660
The passage from the foe — and lift on high
The eagle — wing of heaven — born Liberty!”
His plume-clad head each to the other bent,
And wheel’d diverse. Adair, with bold intent,
Carroll makes strong — while Jackson through the line
Gives action to the whole — the whole combine
Their labours to perfect — half reeking toil
Through night’s close darkness — half upon the soil,
Their arms beside them, in pavilions rest —
Courage imparting slumber to their breast. 670
During six suns the Albion powers remain
Behind their ramparts listless on the plain —
But on the seventh, fiend Cockburn makes the shore —
Marines five thousand, constitute his power.
Instant the tent of Packenham he seeks,
And, without pausing, to the general speaks,
While Gibbs and Lane, and Thornton, Lambert,Keene,
In their full robes on either hand are seen.
“Briton’s proud Chief! the glory of her throne —
Second in fame to Wellington alone! 680
Hearing disasters had befel your host,
With sorted names I’ve landed on the coast —
Five thousand large in number from the fleet,
To aid your strength the city to defeat.
“I’d not be thought to sway you in command,
Or plan th’ attack to fight upon the land —
But then, a hint remote in season said,
Will not unfrequent help the wisest head.
“I find there’s nothing brings our strength to bear,
As some temptations to salute the fair. 690
By that, at Hampton I the fight acquir’d —
Maddening the blood as though the heart were fir’d.
Beauty and Booty — were the words I chose —
And soon they scatter’d from the field our foes.
“Twice from their lines your veteran powers have fled,
And once, surpris’d in darkness, join’d the dead.
Except that something of the kind be done.
Too soon we cannot from the shores be gone.
If, when you fail’d, their works were incomplete,
What prospect, marshall’d now, your strength to meet?
But let this promise to the troops be made, 701
And at thy feet their standards will be laid.
“We are impatient to behold your Grace,
Install’d the royal Governor of the place,
That we on Charleston may our weapons turn,
And that proud city into ashes burn.”
Cockburn concluded. Packenham replies,
A flush’d excitement quickening in his eyes:
“Terror of ocean! Death upon the tide!
Your thoughts match mine — complete they coincide.
Yes — something must be done. Your plan I’ll try, 711
Soon as new day shall glimmer in the sky.
“Gibbs, in the centre let your name shine forth —
Keene, with the right wing desolate the earth.
Lambert, reserv’d your warriors will remain,
To move, when I shall bid you to the plain.
“Reckless of death must we exert our might,
And blind the Stars in ever-during night!”
His tongue spoke confidence. They file away,
To nerve their columns for the dreadful day. 720
They fix fascines and ladders through the night.
And shells, and rockets, to begin the fight.
Scarce the faint glimmer of the morn was seen,
Casting a doubtful light upon the green.
When Packenham rode forth with feelings proud,
So deep his columns: — Thus with accents loud:
“Firm is the English oak! None — none of earth,
This day obstructs us in our moving forth!
Behold, this day the strife of strifes we end —
Freedom in dust beneath our steel shall bend! 730
Move to the battle with an iron tread,
Should heaven’s artillery burst upon our head!
The man who fights this fight will honour gain —
Till time shall die his memory will remain!
Nor honour’s wreath alone shall deck your brow,
When once ye triumph o’er yon breasted foe;
Let Beauty, Booty, in the city there,
Lighten your souls to strike them in despair.
What spirit — giving charms! — what glorious boon!
Inviting, yielding, in reclining swoon! 740
Spoils, honours, raptures! these — ah, these are yours,
When once ye pass the chain of Jackson’s powers!
How sweet, how tempting is the fruit! — how fair!
Do not your souls seem leaping to be there?
Wind, wind your heart-chords to the tenor strain.
And ye shall be there and the harvest gain.
“The strength is ours to conquer as we go —
Silent at first, but ere you strike the blow.
Shout to the heavens! then, strong with thunder, charge — 749
Booty and Beauty! England and Saint George!”
As heaving clouds roll heavy from the north,
So deep and dreadful move the myriads forth,
Fix’d in their purpose never to return,
Should smiting heaven against their madness burn.
While these events were passing in their lines,
The Jackson army — (finish’d their designs,)
Stood breasted for the storm. Lo, now, in night —
(The same the foe was mustering for the fight,)
Just as day’s harbinger reveals her light,
They hear a bustle in the Albion camp 760
Of neighing horses, and the heavy tramp
Of feet innumerous. Every eye and ear
Is bent with sharpen’d nerve to see, to hear —
Their blood like lightning hurries through their veins,
To learn the tumult gathering on the plains.
As hungry panthers pant to seize their prey,
So pant the Patriots for the closing fray.
Jackson, his soul’s sublimity as fire,
Visits the ranks — flaming their passion higher —
To this, to that, to every part he hies,770
Planning the death of all his enemies.
Now as the morn with doubtful ray appears,
His soul leaps forward to their listening ears:
“Fathers of virgin beauty! Deathless band!
Patriots — defenders of your native land!
The hour hath come your hearts’ best blood to prove —
Deep o’er the plains their swarming thousands move!
Dark-stain’d with acts of infamy they come.
To strike back Freedom from her bosom’d home!
Ruin — spoliations — murky deeds of night — 780
The torch of fire — cold massacres delight!
No beam of honour shines upon their breast —
A cloud of pestilence to blight the West!
Hope withers at their touch — Mercy retires,
Weeping — all the bless’d virtues man desires!
Destruction’s emissaries — suckers of blood —
Their deeds make hell cry out in horrid mood!
Heaven gives them to our deaths! Yes, now’s their doom —
A retribution for their crimes hath come!
Worth, Honour, Justice, Liberty, and Fame — 790
Yea, all on earth that hath a sacred name —
Will aid our efforts this eternal hour,
To hurl defiance on the slaving power!
“Keep lock’d in silence till close sight be given —
Then bare your bosoms! — let your souls reach heaven!”
Lo, while the pouring of his soul went on,
They stood like rocks cemented into one.
They seem’d at times to mount above the spheres,
As though divinity had touch’d their ears!
While rapt in thought, lo. Victory in sight, 800
Descends — in likeness of an eagle’s flight.
Her ivory beak a written scroll contains,
Which smooth unfurls as sails she o’er the plains.
The letters edg’d with gold these words display:
Thy land, Columbia! never shall decay!
Lost in admiring, the defenders stand,
And softly whisper: “God protects the land!”
Now all is silence on the battle heath —
No word, no whisper — solemn, hush’d as death,
The Britons heavy move with darkness slow — 810
Deepening and vast convulsions on their brow!
Behold, the signal given! — a shout resounds
Tearing the centre of creation’s bounds —
Thousands on thousands dreadful join in one,
As though the circle of old Time were done!
So when th’ Infernal with a serpent art,
Struck death’s cold arrow through the human heart,
With smiles to please a ghost — from Eden’s bowers,
He went and gave the triumph to his powers —
His subjects heard — At once the strength of hell — 820
Millions on millions shouted horrible —
Causing the universe of death to shake,
And all the damn’d convulsively to quake:
Like this the shoutings from the host rebound —
The cheek of heaven assaulting with the sound.
The shouting done, they drive along with ire —
Instant the line of Jackson is on fire!
Yet still they press in terrors clad severe —
The mouths of brass peal dreadful through the sphere.
Pale death pursues the sound! still fierce they come,
Reckless of death, which crowds them to the tomb. 831
Balls, rockets stream, shells burst, — mortars explode —
Thunders mix thunders, shaking heaven’s abode:
Thus when creation in crude silence dwelt,
No cheering light, no heat ethereal felt —
Thes un yet travelling in its orbit dark —
When lo, th’ Eternal with a hollow spark,
Touch’d it on fire! A wilderness of flame
Leap’d into life, and fill’d the boundless frame —
Flash’d through the universe. Deep, with a sound 840
Jarring creation from her depths profound,
Thunder’d the conflagrating world. To view the scene,
E’en Spirits crown’d with heaven shrunk back with fearful mien:
So for the given space the scene was grand, —
Like ridge of rocks Columbian warriors stand,
And fill the plains with fire! — Big thunders roll —
The earth seems, loosen’d from its fastenings whole!
Death finds his riot: Packenham, Gibbs, Keene —
A thousand others of their proudest men,
Lie wrapp’d in gore! The vulgar load the plain, 850
Causing the Earth to utter shrieks of pain.
The Mississippi swell’d with curdling blood.
Thickens: — So vast the battle’s magnitude.
It bursts its banks! Thirteen mad lightnings ply —
Thirteen red thunders break along the sky!
The few that dare to live — the remnant few,
Fly from the carnage with their souls struck through —
A whirlwind tempest sweeps them from the shore,
A past the ocean to be heard no more!
The turbulence subsides. Clouds break
What scenes of wonder to the sight unfold!
Star-rob’d, Fredonia and her train descend —
What streams of gold upon their paths attend!
Fame, eagle Vict’ry, Independence, Peace,
Compose the circle touch’d with sunbeam grace.
They break in numbers — Hark!
“Columbia — live!
This day to thee eternity we give!
Yea, let the tyrants of the world combine,
Thy Stars shall burn with vital beams divine!
Never this motto — never let it die —
Virtue, bless’d Freedom; — Union, proud Liberty! 871
Emmons, Richard. An Epick Poem in Commemoration of Gen. Andrew Jackson’s
Victory on the Eighth of January, 1815. Boston: W. Emmons, 1827.
Internet Archive. 2 May 2008. Web. 17 May 2013.
archive.org/ details/ epick poem incomme 00emmo>.
Text prepared by
- Whitney Johnson
- Bruce R. Magee
- Stuart Murray
- Andrew Price
Anthology of Louisiana Literature