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The news lifted him at once from his bed. With his arm in a sling, the wounded bones just beginning to heal, and needing to be fairly lifted to his horse, he took hold of the situation with extraordinary energy, and soon had a force in the field, with orders to rendezvous at Fayetteville, on the Alabama border. Here he joined them, weak from his wounds, scarce able to sit on his horse, but resolute as a Titan. After much marching and fighting, on the 27th of March, 1814, he attacked the Indians in their well-fortified stronghold on the Tallapoosa River, where a desperate battle took place, the savages being defeated so utterly that hardly a man of them escaped. The blow was a terrible one and forced the warriors to beg for peace. Jackson's prompt energy and quick success showed the people that in him they had a soldier of marked ability, and in May he was made a major-general in the army of the United States.
Throughout the whole campaign he had suffered terribly from his wounds, often undergoing agony, and leading his men like a pale and haggard spectre, only kept in the saddle by his indomitable energy. By the later months of the year he had fairly well recovered, and his services were demanded in the most momentous event of his life. The British had determined to try and take New Orleans and Jackson was ordered to collect an army and defend that city.
The British expedition was a formidable one. It consisted of sixty ships, carrying a thousand cannon, manned by nearly nine thousand sailors and marines while it transported ten thousand veteran soldiers from the Napoleonic wars. Jackson's army consisted of little more than four thousand men, raw as troops, but many of them skilled marksmen of the frontier. New Orleans at that time contained about twenty thousand people, and many of these were made use of in the defence. Jackson himself was still feeble, but his old resolute will kept him in the field.
The British landed on the roth of December, 1814, and marched from Lake Borgne toward the city, coming on slowly and cautiously, and not reaching the city front until the 23d. The delay gave Jackson time to throw up a line of intrenchments, in which he freely used the cotton bales from the city warehouses. The British used sugar hogsheads from the plantation storehouses for the same purpose.
Several fierce encounters took place and it was soon found that cotton bales and sugar hogsheads could not stand against cannon. They were replaced with earth. Pakenham, the British commander, made his first vigorous attack on the 28th, eight thousand veterans marching against the less than three thousand militia then behind Jackson's works. The British advanced with rolling drums and resolute men, but they were facing riflemen who knew how to make every shot tell, and the redcoats were hurled back like the shattered ranks at Bunker Hill.
Other assaults were made, the final one on January 8. It was a terrible scene. The British fought like heroes, but it was impossible to face the storm of bullets and cannon balls that rent their ranks. brief time it was all over, the British had lost their commander and twenty-six hundred men in killed, wounded and prisoners. Jackson's whole loss was the surprisingly small one of eight killed and thirteen wounded. Not long afterwards the news reached 'America that a treaty of peace had been signed at
Ghent before the battle took place, though a month and more passed before news of it was received.
This great victory made “Old Hickory" famous. Never had there been a more brilliant and decisive one, and till the day of his death General Andrew Jackson was one of the most popular men in the United States. He was still kept in command, and when the Seminole Indians of Florida made attacks on the frontier, he invaded that country, quelled the Indians, attacked a Spanish post, and hung two Englishmen whom he suspected of stirring up the savages. Jackson was sharply criticised for his arbitrary acts, and the affair nearly led to a war with Spain. But Congress and the President sustained the general, and soon afterwards the difficulty was settled by Spain ceding Florida to the United States.
From this time on, as may well be imagined, there was no place in the country too good for Andrew Jackson, the most admired hero of the war with England.
He was made governor of Florida. Then Tennessee a second time elected him United States senator. In 1824 he was a candidate for President and received the largest electoral vote, though, not having a majority over all, he was not elected. In 1828 the people made sure that their favorite should be placed in the Presidential chair.
Jackson was made by nature for a general, not for a President. His obstinacy was unconquerable, and though he doubtless meant well he did things which were not to the advantage of the country. His temper often overruled his judgment. But when his native State of South Carolina took steps towards seceding from the Union, Jackson stood firmly by the Government and put a quick stop to the secession movement. On the other hand, he ruined the Bank of the United States and brought a business panic upon the country. And he introduced a system of selecting office-holders on the basis of party activity, not of merit, which it took many years to get rid of.
But with all his faults as a statesman the people admired and loved Jackson. They elected him a second time in 1832, and in 1836 they put in the Presidential chair Martin Van Buren, the man of his choice.
In 1837 he retired to the Hermitage, his home near Nashville, still one of the most popular men in the country. But he had suffered a terrible loss eight years before in the death of his beloved wife, a shock from which he never recovered. Her death made him a changed man, subdued in spirit and seldom using his old profanity, except when roused to anger. He suffered from sickness severely in his later years, but bore his pains with manly fortitude, never complaining. He died June 8, 1845, and was buried by the side of his deeply-loved wife.
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON, THE HERO
VIRGINIA has well been called “The Mother of Presidents," for seven of the occupants of the White House, more than one-fourth of the total number, were born in that State. Among these was William Henry Harrison, who, though he was elected from Ohio, was born on the banks of the James River, Virginia, on the 9th of February, 1773. The Harrison family is one that has played a leading part in American public life, having given two Presidents to the Republic, while one member of the family was in that noble band of patriots who signed the Declaration of Independence.
This was Benjamin Harrison, father of the man with whom we are now concerned. A burly, goodnatured fellow was Benjamin Harrison, and when his friend John Hancock, a very small and very modest man, was elected president of the Congress, Harrison picked him up bodily and carried him to the chairman's seat, saying as he set him down, “Gentlemen, we will show Mother Britain how much we care for her, by making our president a Massachusetts man whom she has refused to pardon by a public proclamation."
William Henry, the son of this jovial giant, received a good education, and after his father's death went to Philadelphia to study medicine. His studies there soon came to an end. Born with a love of adventure, and learning that an army was being raised by General St. Clair to fight the Indians of the North