The Eighth of January

Click the link below to download the PDF of the sheet music.

The Eighth of January for two cellos

Sometimes called “The Battle of New Orleans,” this tune is about Andrew Jackson’s victory over British forces on the 8th of January 1815. This battle occurred after the war ended, but neither side had heard the news. The lyrics start with the line, “In 1814, we took a little trip,” referring to the time when Jackson left for New Orleans; both news and armies traveled slowly at that time.

This can be played alone or with two cellos. I intentionally kept the lower part very simple in order to use this with students and also to help drive the rhythm. If the student is not very advanced, s/he can play the bottom part, or even just the bottom note of the bottom part, while the teacher plays the top part. If more advanced students are playing, they can switch parts on the repeats. Alternatively, play each section in unison the first time and then split into the parts for the repeats.

I always find it helpful to know the lyrics to tunes I play. There are different versions, but here is one. Although some could (rightfully!) cry “Animal Cruelty!” *– students seem to love the verse about the alligator, particularly the phrase: “the ’gator lost his mind!”

With apologies to my wonderful British friends.

-B. Neece, 8 January 2020

*No alligators were harmed in the arranging of this tune.

The 8th of January

In eighteen fourteen, we took a little trip,
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip’.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans,
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kep’ a comin’;
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We looked down the river and we seed the British come,
And there must have been a hundred of ’em beating on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring –
We stood behind our cotton bales and didn’t say a thing.

We fired our guns and the British kep’ a comin’;
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Ole Hickory said we could take ’em by surprise
If we didn’t fire a muskets till we looked ’em in the eye.
We held our fire till we seed their faces well,
Then we opened up our squirrel guns and really gave ’em well . . .

We fired our guns and the British kep’ a comin’;
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles,
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ’em,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We fired our cannon till the barrel melted down,
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls and powdered his behind,
And when we touched the powder off, the ’gator lost his mind!

We fired our guns and the British kep’ a comin’;
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to running,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Yeah they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles,
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn’t catch ’em,
On down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.