The British soldiers marched steadily on, encouraged by the loud music of a little drummer boy perched up in a tree, but they were driven back again and again. The hot fire of the Americans slew Pakenham and many officers, and killed or wounded about a fifth of the British army, while the American loss was trifling. But had there been an Atlantic cable in those days, this battle of New Orleans (January, 1815) need never have been fought, for peace had been signed in Europe a few days before it took place. Henry Clay expected to go to England as ambassador, and when he heard how bravely our men had fought at New Orleans he joyfully cried: “Now I can go to England without mortification.”
The news of the treaty of Ghent (1814) reached Washington just nine days after the tidings of the victory at New Orleans. Although no mention was made of boarding ships, seizing sailors, or exciting the Indians, the war and treaty put an end to most of those things.