With both scholarship and wit, this is a vivid account of the final battle of the War of 1812 and the events leading to it. By late summer, 1814, the Americans, in spite of recent victories, were tired of the war, while the British, stung by their defeats, assembled a vast fleet in Jamaica for an attack on New Orleans. Opposing them was a scrambled American force under Andrew Jackson, a stubborn fighter who knew little strategy and had paid less attention to the defense of the city, wide open to capture. Later aware of his mistake, Jackson requisitioned all firearms in the city and all able-bodied men from pirates to slaves. Neither side knew that the war was officially over- a peace treaty had been signed. In the ""battle"", a series of artillery duels lasting more than two weeks, the Americans fought behind breastworks of cotton bales which caught fire, the British behind sugar barrels which burst open. At the end of the fighting, the disciplined British troops had lost 3000 men to American losses of 8 killed, 13 wounded.... Carefully annotated and immensely readable, this should find a comparable market to the earlier July 4, 1776 and Valley Forge.