BATTLE KISS
 
An Epic of

the battle of new orleans

Cover Art © 2011 Dana De Noux
BATTLE KISS
An epic novel of 320,000 words

An historically accurate novel of the battle and life in and around New Orleans in the days and nights preceding and following the monumental event. It is a saga of love and war, of battlefield heroes, of young men and young women in love – a tale of spies and privateers, ladies and rogues, patriots and traitors, sudden passion and sudden violence as the battle unfolds in stages until the cataclysm of January 8, 1815, when a rag-tag army of Creoles, free-men of color, pirates, American backwoodsmen, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Attakapas braves, fortified by a limited number of U.S. Army regulars and Marines and led by a general whose only experience was fighting insurgent Creeks, stands between New Orleans and a battle-hardened British army led by one of the Duke of Wellington’s finest field commanders and hero of the Peninsula War against Napoleon – Major General Sir Edward Pakenham. Fourteen thousand British combatants attack four thousand Americans standing audaciously behind the Rodriguez Canal.
Centered around two Creole families (one of French descent, the other Spanish), BATTLE KISS chronicles the tumultuous events preceding the battle as frantic citizens argue over surrendering New Orleans to the British in order to save the city from destruction. They are pitted against the rock-hard determination of General Andrew Jackson and the Americans who would burn the city rather than let the British have her.
The story is also told from the British side as three brothers - one an army captain on the staff of General Pakenham, another the Royal Navy’s fleet captain, another a spy living and working in New Orleans - hope to be re-united in a conquered city.
During this turbulent time, two young women recognize their growing affection for several young men caught in the battle, young men vying for their love yet willing to sacrifice their lives for their new country. The story climaxes at the battle where rivals for the affections of the women stand side-by-side on that foggy January morning as the British come across the cane fields of the Chalmette Plantation at the quick-step, bayonets raised, drums beating, bagpipes wailing.
It was an incredible sight, like a tidal wave of red, before the American cannons and Kentucky long rifles opened fire. Who will die? Who will live?
1815
On the morning of January 8, 1815, the United States and Great Britain met as enemies on a battlefield for the last time.
This is the story of some who were there.
Love and
War
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Here is the opening scene of the novel. If you like it, you may want to read on …
BATTLE KISS
Sunday, January 8, 1815

Rodriguez Canal, 5:55 a.m.
The wail of bagpipes echoes through the cold fog and silences the men at the earthen rampart behind the Rodriguez Canal. The high-pitched tune bounces off the cypress swamp at the left of the battle line. It is a lively tune that becomes mournful with the echoing.
Gérard turns to Poul and says, “Chilling, isn’t it?”
“It’s supposed to be,” a gravely voice speaks behind them and the friends turn to see General Jackson on his white horse. Wrapped in a black cape, the general stares intently across the battlefield, his craggy face looking fierce, like a bird of prey, reminding Gérard of a bald eagle with his mane of grayish-white hair.
“The pipes are supposed to strike terror in the heart of the enemy,” adds the general as his horse takes a quick side-step. The general reins it. “When our cannon and rifles open up, we’ll give them a taste of American terror.” The general spurs his horse and marches down the line.
Gérard and Poul turn back to the fog, pointing their rifles, waiting for the inevitable advance of the redcoats. The fog seems deeper as if the clouds are aground. It slithers and billows in a frosty breeze. A movement in the fog draws their aim but someone shouts, “It’s our pickets!” Men in blue uniforms scramble into the unfinished redoubt next to where Gérard and Poul are wedged into the line with the other riflemen and regulars of the 7th US Infantry.
“They’ll advance steady to seventy-five yards,” says Tom Beale, commander of the New Orleans Volunteer Riflemen stationed near the end of the line near the swirling Mississippi River. “They’ll fire a volley then charge with bayonet. Use your rifles. From three hundred yards to seventy-five yards. That’s your killing zone.”
A rocket blazes a trail into the gray sky to their left and explodes in a silver-blue shower. Distant drums beat a steady march and the fog lifts in the freshening breeze revealing the British army dressed in straight, fine lines. On the left side of the American line, next to the cypress swamp, appears an amazing magnitude, a column sixty men wide and so long Gérard cannot see the end. It resembles an approaching tidal wave. The British advance in their bright red coats, fearsome veterans who own the ground they tread across. Directly in front of Gérard and Poul another column approaches, not as wide, but just as long, the British moving crisply over the stubble of recently-cut sugar cane, covered with the morning’s frost.
Poul’s hands shake and he hopes no one notices. He thinks of Lucia, hoping the kiss she’d given him was from genuine affection and not from the fear instilled by the approaching battle. She’d kissed Gérard too.
Gérard’s arms and neck ache from the tension and from the cold and his thoughts also run to Lucia, to her dark brown eyes and the way her lips quivered before they kissed his lips, softly and full of passion. She’d hesitated, not wanting to let go of his lapel so he could rush to the battle line. He could not bear to look back at her.
It has come to this. Best friends standing side-by-side, facing death together and both hearts yearning for the same woman. Gérard holds his breath, waiting for the first shot and remembers the morning he first saw Lucia –
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