Louisiana History

Lesson Ideas

1800 - 1850

The Battle of New Orleans

I enjoy adding a little spice to each lesson that I do and the story of the Battle of New Orleans is no different. After students read the chapter, answer as they say, a "kazillion" questions, I story-tell about Jean Lafitte and Sir Packenham, I drag out a ditto of the words to the old Johnny Horton version of The Battle of New Orleans (now on Sony Music cassette) and turn on the tape player. When that 'tinny' music starts the kids groan but strangely enough, many know the song. They begin to quietly sing along with the tape.

When the tape finishes, we discuss the differences between the song and the facts. By then they are interested in hearing it again. Now I have them hooked. I ask if anyone needs or wants extra creadit, most raise their hand. I tell them, "OK, go to the front of the room with your music...all of you. Everyone who wants extra credit." Most slowly go to the front.

Then I tell them, "I will play the song again and you must sing with the tape. For the extra credit, you MUST be singing. I have to hear you." I start the tape and "they begin to singin'". No one seems embarrassed because most of them are up front. I check for singers and give the extra credit.

The amazing part is that all day long I can hear them singing the song in the hallways and at lunch. I have even had them request the song at a school dance!

Lyrics to The Battle of New Orleans

written by Jimmy Driftwood
sung by Johnny Horton
(c) 1991 Sony Music Entertainment Inc.

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon an' we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British at the town of New Orleans.

We fired our guns an' the British kept a'comin'.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was awhile ago.
We fired once more an' they begin to runnin'
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We looked down the river an' we seed the British comin',
There must a'been a hundred of 'em beatin' on the drum.
They stepped so high an' they made their bugles ring,
We stood beside our cotton bales an'didn't say a thing.


Ole Hickory said we could take 'em by surprise,
If we didn't fire our muskets 'til we looked 'em in the eyes.
We held our fire 'til we seed their faces well,
Then we opened up our squirrel guns an' really gave 'em ...well!


Yeah, they ran through the briars an' they ran through the brambles
An' they ran through the bushes where the rabbits 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 an' we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls an' powdered his behind,
An' when they touched the powder off, the 'gator lost his mind.


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