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The War of 1812
A Cup of Old Hickory The Battle of New Orleans III



A Cup of Old Hickory The Battle of New Orleans III
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.22

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    buglers, determined, earsplitting, gibbs, hampered, ragtag, rough-hewn, standing, wavering, volley, upstart, imminent, hapless, encouraging, onward, bayonet
     content words:    Jean Lafitte, General Pakenham, Old Hickory, Then Jackson, Colonel Rennie, Quickly Pakenham, But General Lambert, General Jackson, On December, New Orleans


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A Cup of Old Hickory The Battle of New Orleans III
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     On January 8, a misty dawn ushered in the day. Suddenly, the screech of British rockets rent the air. Out of the thick fog, hot, hissing bits rained down on the Americans. Jackson circulated among his men. They were minutes away from battle. Had he prepared them well enough? Would they be able to hold out against more than 10,000 British troops?
 
2     Then he spied a group of his buccaneer soldiers. Jean Lafitte and his band of pirates were standing by their campfire nonchalantly brewing coffee. Neither the earsplitting missiles nor the imminent battle seemed to give them pause. One man handed Jackson a steaming cup. "It's hickory flavored, mon General," he said. He grinned and saluted. Jackson laughed. He was very glad that Lafitte's bandits were fighting for the U.S.
 
3     In the damp, wispy fog, the British forces were arrayed on the battle field. They were ready to march. General Pakenham waited impatiently. It was time to begin his charge. He checked on the force sent to seize the U.S. guns on the far bank of the river. What he saw was not encouraging. First mud and then strong currents had hampered the operation. Most of the men had ended up far downstream. They would have a long march to reach their goal. If the main British assault began on time, the guns would still be in U.S. hands.
 
4     The British general was determined. The attack would go on as planned. Surely his thousands of crack troops would have no problem disposing of these dusty American deer hunters. The great victory was his for the taking. He signaled the buglers. Forward!
 
5     Jackson's rough-hewn troops heard the British bugles ring out. Drums rapped out a rhythm. The march had begun. The eerie whine of bagpipes floated on the mist like the keening of a dying animal. The Americans positioned themselves behind their earth barrier. Long rifles and squirrel guns sprouted like deadly weeds from the top of the mud wall. As the mists lifted, the Americans saw the enemy advancing. The scene was almost dreamlike.

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