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A Tribute to defenders of New Orleans

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Josephine Favrot, January 15, 1815

Josepine Favrot praises the Tennessee militia and the women of Louisiana for their bravery. Text has been translated from the original version, in French.

A LOUISIANIAN SPEAKING FOR HER
WOMEN CONTEMPORARIES
When we believed our country was in danger of being invaded, we felt only the noble desire to increase the number of women who have distinguished themselves by noble deeds. Inspired by the sublime example they left us, as well as by the desire to aid our country's courageous defenders, we would have won our enemy's admiration by telling them we knew how to combine advantages people concede that we have: high spirits and courage which usually do not belong to such naturally weak and timid creatures. But when we saw complete security rapidly following a moment of turmoil and more soldiers coming from every direction than were needed to defeat an even more formidable force than the British army, we felt pity for enemies who were already enslaved. Today, when their defeat justifies our foreboding, being guided by compassion, we forgive their audacity. We can only lament the disastrous consequences of their presumptuousness. If the presumption of the English had been limitless until now, it is because they had never attempted to land in Louisiana; they were going to find the obstacle to their audacity on the banks of the Mississippi. Their temerity reached its climax on that occasion and demanded that efforts at last be made to hold it in check. What fate was in store for these unfortunates who, blinded by the pride instilled in them by some barbarous deeds, had had the impunity to extend them to our soil!

How did they not reject the fantastic hope of triumphing simultaneously over Louisiana courage, American patriotism, French intrepidity and the ability of our generals? Alas, they feel now that it would be just as easy for them to join our river's water to the Thames and they regret too late, no doubt, that after having surmounted so many obstacles, they went forth to sacrifice the elite of their troops at the gates of New Orleans. Orleans! This name alone was a bad omen for them, and if they had cast a glance toward the past, perhaps they would have dared recall a siege which memory has not forgotten. Finally, they were going to learn at their own cost that their arms would never be victorious in Louisiana. Intrepid warriors! In order to defend our country, you sacrificed without hesitation your dearest interests; you left your wives and your children; you tore yourselves away from the mothers or sisters of whom you were the only support; you risked with rapture your lives which are so precious to them; how flattering it is for us to call you our countrymen! And you, invincible Tennesseans who, suffering from hunger, fatigue, and the inclemency of the seasons, ran forth to the battlefield and swiftly spread dismay into the enemy's ranks like so many Achilles, accept the admiration that your heroism deserves. And you, illustrious and magnanimous Jackson, filled the adversary's soul with terror and the hearts of Louisiana women with gratitude. By the fear of risking the lives of their beloved ones and through your love of humanity, you softened the punishment that you could have inflicted upon the audacious English. How this moderation endears you to all hearts and renders pure the shining glory that surrounds you! On your brow, one will not see the glamour of laurels acquired through public desolation. The laurels victory will offer you by our hands will have been acclaimed a thousand times by voices which, thanks to you, retained a happy tone and will be able to express their admiration for you with a feeling of the deepest gratitude. Your name will forever be pronounced by us with veneration and Fame will publicize your sublime conduct everywhere. You will receive the tribute of praises so justly due to you. Flee, presumptuous English, flee quickly; it is your only recourse; but before withdrawing, in order to leave us a souvenir of your work, do not forget to follow Hercules' s example of erecting a column above your encampment and have engraved upon it this inscription: Non plus ultra. Being generous and compassionate, we do not wish for you to carry away to your misty clime the remembrance of the Louisiana countryside. May you discover springs which, like the Lethean waters, will have the ability to make you forget your misfortune.