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American Age of Discovery, Colonization, Revolution, & Expansion Military history of North America. .

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  #31  
Old 15 Apr 12, 20:41
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Originally Posted by Massena View Post
That being the case, then we have no argument, do we?

If no US infantry was rifle armed at New Orleans, the result would have been the same-artillery and musket fire inflicted the overwhelming number of British casualties.

Sincerely,
M
No, I believe there would be alot fewer British officer casualties at New Orleans. The actual number is unknowable, as would be the effect of them continuing to take an active role in the battle.
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Old 15 Apr 12, 21:08
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Originally Posted by johnbryan View Post
No, I believe there would be alot fewer British officer casualties at New Orleans. The actual number is unknowable, as would be the effect of them continuing to take an active role in the battle.
There were only some 11 cannon, mortars and howitzers of various calibers, mounted in eight batteries, of which only 10 were safe to fire, located all along Jackson's 1-k long line. Such small numbers of artillery alone could not hope to inflict the horrendous casualties that were suffered by the British at New Orleans. Nearly every British Officer of any rank on the battlefield was either killed or became a casualty.

A report by an officer in the British Camp, watching the battle from the balcony of a house remarked after the entire Amercan line erupted in flame. He said ".. the entire 44th Regiment was literally swept from the face of the earth."

The reports I read said that Packenham was hit in the knee by cannister fire, but the killing shot was a single musket ball that later lodged in his spine. Packenham himself was earlier shocked at the intensity of the American musket and riflefire when he said to his 2 IC. "That's terrific fire, Lambert!!"

I already commented on the Kentucky sharp shooter, Morgan Ballard who brought down Major John Anthony Whitaker by deliberately shooting him through the head with his rifle. Following the battle, a number of riflemen tried to take credit for Whitaker's death. Ballard settled the matter by saying "If he is not shot both through the ear and temple, then he is not mine."
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  #33  
Old 15 Apr 12, 21:28
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What were the numbers of British officers that were either killed or wounded at New Orleans?

And what percentage of the whole did that constitute.

And, yes, the artillery could have caused very heavy casualties with the numbers employed. The gunners would have been loading and firing as fast as they could and the guns would be firing above their rated sustained rate of fire.

And you're forgetting that the rifle-armed troops were not engaged long and that the greater majority of the British were facing artillery and musket armed troops.

You're also beginning to repeat yourself, especially about artillery. I suggest reading Robin Reilly's book on New Orleans, which is the best source available. Latour's book, from which I quoted and is a primary source, also emphasizes the artillery and musket fire and differentiates the latter from rifle fire.

You're counting too much on traditional American myth and legend, and not on all the available evidence. In short, the discussion is now becoming circular.

Sincerely,
M
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  #34  
Old 16 Apr 12, 20:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Massena View Post
What were the numbers of British officers that were either killed or wounded at New Orleans?

And what percentage of the whole did that constitute.

And, yes, the artillery could have caused very heavy casualties with the numbers employed. The gunners would have been loading and firing as fast as they could and the guns would be firing above their rated sustained rate of fire.

And you're forgetting that the rifle-armed troops were not engaged long and that the greater majority of the British were facing artillery and musket armed troops.

You're also beginning to repeat yourself, especially about artillery. I suggest reading Robin Reilly's book on New Orleans, which is the best source available. Latour's book, from which I quoted and is a primary source, also emphasizes the artillery and musket fire and differentiates the latter from rifle fire.

You're counting too much on traditional American myth and legend, and not on all the available evidence. In short, the discussion is now becoming circular.

Sincerely,
M
Jackson’s Victory

Copy of a letter from his excellency Gov. Claiborne to his excellency Gov. Shelby, dated: New Orleans, Jan. 9, 1815.

Since I last wrote you nothing important occurred until yesterday the 8th inst. At the dawn of day, the enemy advanced in columns to the attack of our lines, protected by an incessant fire from all his batteries—his primary efforts were directed against both our flanks—the right supported by the river, and the left by the Cypress Swamp. This evinced an ardour which nothing could have overcome, but the steady and well directed fire of our brave troops.

At the commencement of the firing, I repaired to the scene of action, and arrived there before the battle was ended. The officers—the regulars, the Kentucky and Tennessee and Louisiana militia, seemed to me to be alike cool and determined—The fire of the Kentucky and Tennessee forces on the left was particularly fatal to the enemy—They soon strewed the field in front with the dead and dying. The battle continued with vigour for near two hours, when the enemy retired from the contest.

I cannot, with any kind of certainty, state their loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners: It is however estimated at from 12 to 1500—among the killed are a Col. Raney, a Maj. Pringle and many other officers—Among the prisoners, I have seen 15 or 16 officers, most of whom are wounded.

It is a matter of equal joy and wonder that in a conflict so long, so glorious to us, and so fatal to the enemy, our loss is astonishingly small—It is not believed to exceed in killed and wounded 25 or 30, among whom I have not heard of one officer.

The entrenchments protected our men from the fire of the enemy, and altho’ their batteries poured forth a shower of shells, balls and rockets, they did very little injury, for most part overshooting the lines, and falling harmless in the field behind.

The commanding Gen. Jackson will give to government the particulars of a day no less honourable to him, than profitable to his country—He will do justice to his brave army, and his distinguished brothers in arms, Gens. Carroll, Thomas, Adair, and Coffee and many others whose merits he can justly appreciate.

The victory of the American arms would have been complete, and Louisiana probably delivered at once from an invading foe, but for the momentary success of the British on the opposite or west side of the Mississippi.

Batteries had been erected there to annoy the enemy’s lines, and under the brave Commodore Patterson, had gloriously contributed to our success. They were protected by a detachment of the Kentucky and Louisiana militia under Brig. Gen. Morgan of this State.

Pending the attack on our lines, a part of the enemy, the force of which is not correctly ascertained, but is supposed to be inconsiderable, crossed the river and owing to some cause, not yet accounted for, our troops speedily gave way and the brave Commodore was compelled to spike and abandon his cannon. Gen. Morgan is understood to be cool and collected, and to have made many efforts to rally his men. Gen. Jackson was prompt in reinforcing him, so as to check the enemy’s advance, and we hope today to hear of our batteries being reoccupied.

I am, &c.,

Wm. C. C. Claiborne.

P.S. Since writing the above I have had the pleasure to learn that the enemy has abandoned our batteries on the opposite shore, and recrossed the river; he has also suffered more in the action of the 8th than I at first imagined. Their commander, Lieut. Gen. Pakenham, is said to have been killed, and his second in command, Maj. Gen. Keane, badly wounded.

I believe you are not giving credit where credit is due, while consistantly undercutting or labeling as "myth" the marksmanship of the men along Jackson's line. The vast majority of Jackson's Kentucky and Tennesse troops were crack shots, with either a rifle or smooth bore musket. Many of them lived in a howling wilderness full of Indians and large, predatory animals. They had to be crack shots, for if they missed with the first shot, an Indian or bear would insure there would never be a second. Many of them had earlier in the war, fought alongside Jackson in the Creek Wars in Alabama. I suggest you read Carter's excellent book. "Blaze of Glory" for further proof.
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  #35  
Old 16 Apr 12, 21:08
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You're missing the point. the greater majority of the infantry in line on 8 January were armed with the musket. And it was artillery and musket fire that caused the greater majority of the British casualties.

The overwhelming majority of the rifle-armed infantry were on the far left of Jackson's line and were not engaged for very long during the fighting. Therefore, the greater majority of the British casualties were not caused by rifle fire.

I cannot put it any plainer to you, along with the references that have also been given and shown to you. The killers were artillery and the musket, not the rifle. If you cannot understand that, then I cannot help you. And if the overwhelming majority of British casualties were caused by artillery and musket fire, so were the overwhelming majority of the British officer casualties.

Nothing that you have shown demonstrates otherwise.

Sincerely,
M
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  #36  
Old 16 Apr 12, 21:14
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Re: British officer casualties at The Battle of New Orleans.


In only 25 minutes, the British Army had lost all three of its active field generals, seven colonels and 75 other officers—that is, practically its whole officer corps. General Pakenham was dead, cut down by American rifle fire. By now the entire British Army was in irredeemable disarray. A soldier from Kentucky wrote, "When the smoke had cleared and we could obtain a fair view of the field, it looked at first glance like a sea of blood. It was not blood itself, but the red coats in which the British soldiers were dressed. The field was entirely covered in prostrate bodies."

Even Jackson was flabbergasted by the sight. "I never had so grand and awful an idea of the resurrection as on that day," he later wrote, as scores of redcoats rose up like dim purgatorial souls with their hands in the air and began walking toward the American lines. "After the smoke of the battle had cleared off somewhat, I saw in the distance more than five hundred Britons emerging from the heaps of their dead comrades, all over the plain, rising up, and...coming forward and surrendering as prisoners of war to our soldiers." These men, Jackson concluded, had fallen at the first fire and then hidden themselves behind the bodies of their slain brethren. By midmorning, most of the firing had ceased.


Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/histor...#ixzz1sFvNxiOV
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Old 18 Apr 12, 10:55
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Do you know how many British officers were on the field?

How do you know that Packenham was killed by a rifleman? Was there an autopsy?

Do you or do you not understand that the rifle armed American troops were not engaged long and could not have inflicted most of the casualties including officer casualties?

I really don't understand why you are continuing with this line as I believed that you agreed that the American riflemen were not only not engaged long, but not against the main British attack?

This is already getting a little old, so perhaps you can actually state what your premise is so that we can finish this thread?

Sincerely,
M
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Old 18 Apr 12, 13:20
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wishful thinking ?
historical fabrication that becomes more of a truth than is possible,?

then again, is it possible there is more truth to either side of the argument than can be proven.

Last edited by KICK; 18 Apr 12 at 13:24..
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Old 18 Apr 12, 18:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Massena View Post
Do you know how many British officers were on the field?

How do you know that Packenham was killed by a rifleman? Was there an autopsy?

Do you or do you not understand that the rifle armed American troops were not engaged long and could not have inflicted most of the casualties including officer casualties?

I really don't understand why you are continuing with this line as I believed that you agreed that the American riflemen were not only not engaged long, but not against the main British attack?

This is already getting a little old, so perhaps you can actually state what your premise is so that we can finish this thread?

Sincerely,
M
What part of the British losing 3 Generals, 7 Colonels and 75 other Brigade Officers killed or wounded in action in 25 minutes don't you understand? Hmm. I think the statement is pretty self-explanatory. Something killed or wounded all those British Officers and I don't think it was food poisoning nor the plague. My guess is that many of them were slain by canister shot from US Artillery, while the rest were killed by deliberately aimed rifle and smooth bore musket fire. British General Keane was shot in the groin, but the musket ball did not break through the stretch pants he wore and was carried deep into his groin. Surgeons were able to carefully remove the musketball by gently pulling on the material around the wound. It's safe to say the wound was from a smooth bore musket, because if the ball had been from a rifle, the much higher muzzle velocity involved would have sent the ball right through him.
I never said American Riflemen were not engaged long, nor did I ever say they were not used against the main British attack. Many of Caroll's, Adair's and some of Coffee's Kentucky and Tennesse troops in the center of the line were rifle equipped and took their turn on the firing step of the parapet along with their smooth bore musket armed brother soldiers. I gave a number of first person accounts that bore this out, one of them telling how British Major John Anthony Whitaker was deliberately shot down by American Rifleman, Morgan Ballard. Given the well known American penchant for picking out and killing British Officers with deliberately aimed gunfire, I'd say this was just another fine example of this tactic, either at close or long range.

In addition, Beal's Rifles were at the far right end of Line Jackson. They and the US 7th Infantry were instrumental in throwing back the British assault on the advanced outer redoubt there and killing Colonel Rennie. What I did say was that riflemen equated themselves as well as their musket armed fellow soldiers during the Battle of New Orleans. I would say that had there been no riflemen at New Orleans, there would have been alot fewer British Officer casualties; how many fewer and how it would have affected the course of the battle is impossible to say.
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Old 18 Apr 12, 22:19
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'My guess is that many of them were slain by canister shot from US Artillery, while the rest were killed by deliberately aimed rifle and smooth bore musket fire.'

OK, then we have no argument, as I have said before. By the way, did you think that the troops would not deliberately aim their weapons?

'I never said American Riflemen were not engaged long, nor did I ever say they were not used against the main British attack.'

No you didn't, and I never said that you did. That point was brought out by me and supported with evidence.

'Many of Caroll's, Adair's and some of Coffee's Kentucky and Tennesse troops in the center of the line were rifle equipped...'

No, that is incorrect and you have had that explained to you already.
Most of the Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee militia were musket armed. Coffee's riflemen were on the far left of the American position-they were 'not heavily engaged.'

'In addition, Beal's Rifles were at the far right end of Line Jackson. They and the US 7th Infantry were instrumental in throwing back the British assault on the advanced outer redoubt there and killing Colonel Rennie.'

And the 7th Infantry were musket-armed. And the rifle-armed troops with the 7th infantry engaged within musket range
.
'What I did say was that riflemen equated themselves as well as their musket armed fellow soldiers during the Battle of New Orleans.'

That has never been an issue.

'I would say that had there been no riflemen at New Orleans, there would have been alot fewer British Officer casualties; how many fewer and how it would have affected the course of the battle is impossible to say.'

That is an inaccurate assumption as the greater majority of the British casualties, including the officer casualties, were caused by artillery and musket fire. Except for the artillery casualties, most of the others were caused by close-in firing, not long range. The 93d for example was shot down on the other side of the ditch in front of the American position-musket range.

The bottom line is that I don't believe we have an issue here and why this thread is continuing. The big killers were artillery and the musket, not the rifle.

Again, I would suggest taking a look at Latour's memoir of the campaign, Reilly's The British at the Gates, John Elting's Amateurs, To Arms! and Adams The War of 1812.

Sincerely,
M
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Old 18 Apr 12, 23:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Massena View Post
'My guess is that many of them were slain by canister shot from US Artillery, while the rest were killed by deliberately aimed rifle and smooth bore musket fire.'

OK, then we have no argument, as I have said before. By the way, did you think that the troops would not deliberately aim their weapons?
As a matter of fact, it was a common practice for musket men of the day to fire enmass without aiming. If you've ever live-fired a Brown Bess or Charleville musket of the day, you soon see why.

'I never said American Riflemen were not engaged long, nor did I ever say they were not used against the main British attack.'

No you didn't, and I never said that you did. That point was brought out by me and supported with evidence.
You most certainly did. Go back a few postings and read your own words. RE: Evidence. Nope, not enough evidence that I've seen so far.

'Many of Caroll's, Adair's and some of Coffee's Kentucky and Tennesse troops in the center of the line were rifle equipped...'

No, that is incorrect and you have had that explained to you already.
Most of the Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee militia were musket armed. Coffee's riflemen were on the far left of the American position-they were 'not heavily engaged.'

And I posted a first person account of how a number of Coffee's men joined Carroll's and Adair's men to the west of Coffee's original position. Prove to me that many of Caroll's, Adair's and Coffee's troops were NOT armed with rifles. IIRC, the vast majority of Coffee's men were businessmen and well to do members of his area of Tennesse and more able to afford the cost of owning a rifle. Many of the first levies of men from Kentucky who came to New Orleans even moreso, as the state had been settled years before, during the Rev. War, well before the first white settlements in Tennesse were ever established..

'In addition, Beal's Rifles were at the far right end of Line Jackson. They and the US 7th Infantry were instrumental in throwing back the British assault on the advanced outer redoubt there and killing Colonel Rennie.'

And the 7th Infantry were musket-armed. And the rifle-armed troops with the 7th infantry engaged within musket range
As did Beal's Rifles. Wow! US Army companies of both rifle and musket men fighting alongside Beal's Rifles! Imagine that?
.
'What I did say was that riflemen equated themselves as well as their musket armed fellow soldiers during the Battle of New Orleans.'

That has never been an issue.

'I would say that had there been no riflemen at New Orleans, there would have been alot fewer British Officer casualties; how many fewer and how it would have affected the course of the battle is impossible to say.'

That is an inaccurate assumption as the greater majority of the British casualties, including the officer casualties, were caused by artillery and musket fire. Except for the artillery casualties, most of the others were caused by close-in firing, not long range. The 93d for example was shot down on the other side of the ditch in front of the American position-musket range.

Not at all. It is every bit as valid as the revisionist history that seeks to disprove the first person accounts of the battle. There simply is no way of knowing either way. However, the penchant for US troops to deliberately mark and shoot British Officers is well known and historically supported, going back to the Revolutionary War. I've read accounts that the 93rd Highlanders stopped about a hundred yards from the American line, after Colonel Dale was killed, before he could give a command of movement execution to his regiment.

The bottom line is that I don't believe we have an issue here and why this thread is continuing. The big killers were artillery and the musket, not the rifle.

Again, I would suggest taking a look at Latour's memoir of the campaign, Reilly's The British at the Gates, John Elting's Amateurs, To Arms! and Adams The War of 1812.
I've read "Amateurs to Arms" and aside of a short paragraph or two, I still see no evidence that his findings are true, as he gives no proof to his findings. Just alot of revisionist history to me, considering all of the eye witness accounts of the day.


Sincerely,
M
Looks like we'll have to agree to disagree, because the jury is still out on the subject and probably will be so forevermore.
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Old 19 Apr 12, 00:11
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Supposedly General Pakenham was shot down by a Free Man of Color in the New Orleans Militia. There were two such Free Black Battalions formed (really two oversized Companies, Daquin's and Lacoste's). At the distance from the fortified line it was probably a rifled musket. Like the Irishman at Saratoga, this Black marksman was feted for his deed.

Many of the Militia units that showed up were without arms, or were without ammo. Most of the Kentuckians showed up in the middle of Winter without Winter coats! the Lady's of New Orleans got together and sewed a number of blankets into coats for these men. These Kentuckians were then called "Dirty Shirts"..

The Americans on the West Bank were routed because they were unarmed! Jackson put them there in hopes of keeping them out of the fight. If this assault had not fell so far behind schedule, his line in Chalmette would have been fired upon by the artillery placed on the West Bank, directed by its new owners!

Any Militia unit would have a mix of rifles and smooth bore muskets. The men supplied their own weapons!

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Old 19 Apr 12, 14:02
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'Prove to me that many of Caroll's, Adair's and Coffee's troops were NOT armed with rifles.'

First, you cannot prove a negative. That's a fallacy in logic.

If you believe them to have been armed with rifles, you have to support that contention with evidence. I've already shown where John Elting says no. It's your contention that they were-where's your evidence?

And you can also check in Latour, Adams, and Reilly's books, which, apparently, you haven't read yet.

Sincerely,
M
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Old 19 Apr 12, 14:03
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'Any Militia unit would have a mix of rifles and smooth bore muskets. The men supplied their own weapons!'

Evidence? Most militia units would have a mix of firearms, but not necessarily a mix of muskets and rifles.

Sincerely,
M
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Old 19 Apr 12, 14:47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Massena View Post
[I]Evidence? Most militia units would have a mix of firearms, but not necessarily a mix of muskets and rifles.

Sincerely,
M
Every description I have read of the American Militia of the War of 1812 has described them as having to supply their own firearms. This ranges from the odd shotgun and blunderbuss to smoothbore muskets to rifled muskets. The Kentucky Rifle was said to be popular in the frontier areas. There was not a large arsenal system in place to supply them. One of the reasons so many Arsenals were built before the Civil War was because so many Militia would show up without firearms.

Now do YOU have evidence that the various Militias were armed in a different manner?

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