On Monday, January 5, 2015, at approximately 8:30 the First Regiment of East Tennessee Militia left Elizabethton, Tennessee, headed for New Orleans. We stopped by Horseshoe Bend National Military Park and Fort Mims; both are in Alabama. We arrived in New Orleans Tuesday around 1 pm, where we promptly began sitting up camp after our site was shown to us. Our home for the next five days was where the American troops had camped 200 years before, just behind Line Jackson. On Wednesday morning , everyone headed toward the downtown area where some headed to the National WWII Museum while others headed to the French Quarter.
Thursday was a big day at the park with it being the actual anniversary of the battle. The National Park Service had ceremonies, dignitaries, and speakers on site. With many people present and park service activities done for the day, we went into action, talking and telling people about the role of the East Tennessee Militia during the War of 1812 and life in the backwoods.
Friday, January 9th, was a school day with over two-thousand school kids at the park watching demonstrations and asking questions. Some of us had the opportunity to go the grand opening of the exhibit “From Dirty Shirts to Buccaneers” at the Cabildo Museum. What a day!
On Saturday, we continued to demonstrate more 18th – early 19th century living skills and talked to the public. We were well received by the people of New Orleans, and they seemed interested in what we had to say. Many found it hard to believe that we had come all the way from East Tennessee.
We had the honor of participating in the flag ceremonies each day. Once again. we were the largest group camped at the event. I believe everyone had a good time and enjoyed the trip in spite of the cold weather and wind.
Sunday, January 11, was the day to pack and leave for home. As fast as we set up, we tore down and readied to leave the park by 9:30. Home and showers were 720 miles away.
It was not all peaches and ice cream; we had our share of problems and upsets, but we overcame them all with a smile on our faces and songs in our hearts and arrived safely back home. (ed. Note.: I bet they were singing “In 1815, 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 in a town in New Orleans…..”.
PICTURES SAY A THOUSAND WORDS /COURTESY OF DOUG WALSH
Yeah, 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 that the hounds couldn’t catch ’em
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.**
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 we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.
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’ on
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.