What really happened at the Battle of New Orleans?Jul 29th, 2013 | By Candace Griffin | Category: Top Story
Ron Chapman, longtime history teacher at Nunez Community College, has just penned a book—The Battle of New Orleans: But for a Piece of Wood— that aims to explain how the Battle of New Orleans was really won.
He started researching the topic of the Battle of New Orleans when putting together a class lecture. Soon, he became interested in all of the twists and turns that took place throughout the story, and before he knew it, Chapman’s class lecture turned into a 10 year, nearly 400 page labor of love that shows the full account of events that took place during the Battle of New Orleans.
“Many people think it was just one glorious defeat over the British, but it was actually a series of battles that lead to the Americans’ victory,” said Chapman. When explaining how the Battle could be won by the Americans, who had half as many soldiers as the British, Chapman compares the upset to a badly played Saints game.
“The other side had so many mishaps and miscommunications, that it’s fair to say the Americans didn’t really win the Battle— the British lost it,” said Chapman.
One of these mishaps, which also gave the book its namesake, involved Colonel Thornton of the British Army, neglecting to throw a piece of wood into the river to check the current. The Colonel was supposed to sale to the Westbank of the river and attack the Americans at the same time that General Pakenham was attacking them on the Eastbank, but his failure to check the river conditions caused him to arrive late and further downstream than was intended—this double sided ambush failed miserably.
“The fact that the British lost this battle is fascinating when you really think about the effect it had,” said Chapman. “The future of the United States was basically determined right here in Chalmette.”
This, and many other interesting facts about the Battle of New Orleans can be found in Chapman’s book, which has been completed but not published. In order to self-publish, he has created a Kickstarter page which allows people put forward donations to help fund the publication. Contributors that donate $25 or more will receive a copy of the book by October. Chapman has already reached the halfway mark of his $5,000 goal, but must collect the other half by September 10. If you would like to add a donation please visit www.kickstarter. com and type “Battle of New Orleans” into the search bar.