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The Cotton Bag Fort
October 2, 2002
A African American Designs The Cotton Bag Fort: When Andrew Jackson assembled his force at New Orleans, his soldiers, many of whom were African American slaves, were outnumbered by the British forces ten to one. Faced with this disadvantage, Jackson consulted with men as to what was the best defense. According to, The Narrative of James Roberts, there was in Jackson's army an African American soldier named Pompey, who gave Jackson the first idea about the cotton bag fort, and superintended the construction of it. We engaged in making it, and it was completed in the latter part of the second day. The cotton bags were so placed as to leave port holes for three muskets to point through each. It would be from behind that makeshift cotton bag fort that Jackson's outnumbered forces would mow down the onrushing British soldiers like grass before the scythe, and achieve the initial destruction of the center of the British army.
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