The Fictional History Thread

Welcome to this week’s History Thread! This week, our discussion question: Favorite works of historical fiction. Favorite can mean a number of things, eg. just personal enjoyment, degree of accuracy, something that shapes your view of specific events or people, etc. As usual though, don’t feel bound by the discussion topic.

Today’s image: It’s the 214th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, where Andrew Jackson defeated Edward Pakenham’s British forces in the final battle of the War of 1812. Pakenham, a veteran of the Peninsular War, had been dispatched to capture New Orleans the previous fall, and engaged Jackson in a war of maneuver culminating in the battle. Jackson, in true American fashion, whipped together a ragtag army of regular troops, militia, freed blacks, Indians and pirates to meet him. In true Jacksonian fashion, he declared martial law in New Orleans and ruled the city in an oppressive manner that earned resentment from the locals. The actual battle was extremely one-sided, with the Americans hunkering down behind defensive works and blasting the British as they marched through the fog; 70 Americans perished next to 2,000 British, including Pakenham itself.

In fact, the war was effectively over by that point, as British and American diplomats had signed the Treaty of Ghent several weeks earlier. America, having experienced the War of 1812 as mostly a disaster, embraced the chance to save face with a glorious victory, even if it meant very little. And Andrew Jackson was propelled into the national spotlight, which…insert your own snark/analysis here.