Saturday, January 8, 2011

We Took a Little Bacon and We Took a Little Beans

I was reminded yesterday that today is anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, in which American troops, including a sizable contingent of volunteers from Tennessee, under Major General Andrew Jackson handily defeated British troops under Major General Sir Edward Packenham. The British lost over 2,000 men in the engagement, while Jackson only lost 71 of his men.

Jackson could not know that a peace treaty, the Treaty of Ghent, had already been signed on Christmas Eve 1814 between the belligerents in what we now call the War of 1812, and his stunning victory over seasoned British troops finally made the British understand, "You better quit a-messin' with your cousin Uncle Sam." It also vaulted Tennessee's Jackson to national prominence and then the Presidency.

To commemorate the anniversary, when I woke up this morning I broke out my guitar and played the classic song by Jimmy Driftwood, and I have copied the lyrics below for the reader's enjoyment. Also, the Tennessean has a slideshow of Jackson's home, The Hermitage, in remembrance of the Battle of New Orleans.

Well, in eighteen and fourteen we took a little trip
along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans,
And we caught the bloody British near the town of New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.
Well, I see'd Mars Jackson walkin down the street
talkin' to a pirate by the name of Jean Lafitte
He gave Jean a drink that he brung from Tennessee
and the pirate said he'd help us drive the British in the sea.

The French said Andrew, you'd better run,
for Packingham's a comin' with a bullet in his gun.
Old Hickory said he didn't give a damn,
he's gonna whip the britches off of Colonel Packingham.
We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, we looked down the river and we see'd the British come,
and there must have been a hundred of 'em beatin' on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring
while we stood by our cotton bales and didn't say a thing.
Old Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise
if we didn't fire a musket til we looked 'em in the eyes.
We held our fire til we see'd their faces well,
then we opened up with squirrel guns and gave 'em hell.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, we fired our cannon til the barrel melted down,
so we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls and powdered his behind,
and when they tetched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.

We'll march back home but we'll never be content
till we make Old Hickory the people's President.
And every time we think about the bacon and the beans,
we'll think about the fun we had way down in New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin,
But there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast the hounds couldn't catch 'em
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
But there wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin'
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.