THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (December 28, 1814-January 3, 1815)

4GWAR

General Packenham’s Decision.

Major General Sir Edward Pakenham (Courtesy National Park Service) Major General Sir Edward Pakenham
(Courtesy National Park Service)

December 28

Three days after arriving in the swamps of Louisiana’s Mississippi Delta, British Major General Sir Edward Pakenhamcontemplates the mess his army is in.

When Pakenham arrives with 3,000 fresh troops at the British camp on Christmas Day, he is greeted with cheers and celebratory gunfire. But Pakenham also finds an army suffering from the winter cold and rains, in a soggy area with no tents between the river and a cypress swamp.

The Americans had surprised the British in their camp the night of the 23rd, killing, wounding and capturing more than 200 redcoats, before they were driven back to the American lines. The camp is continuously shelled by two American ships anchored in the Mississippi across from the British camp. Snipers pick off British sentries, even at night when European military conventions…

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