"Come, Packingham, and have a cup, Perhaps the last you will ever sup." The singer taunts the British soldiers coming to the battle of New Orleans


Belden observes that the fragment he lists as "A" of "The Hunters of Kentucky," and several lines of the last stanza of his "C" text, do not appear to be part of "The Hunters." (And I heartily agree, though Roud lumps them.) And they *do* appear to be the same song. Belden therefore speculates that they are fragments of some lost song.

He appears to be right. Indeed, the chorus of the "A" fragment ("Jackson, put the kettle on, Coffee, blow the fire strong, Carroll, hands the cups around, The strangers must have tea") makes it nearly certain that it was built around "Molly Put the Kettle On." Whether it was truly traditional must wait on other information.

Jackson is of course Andrew Jackson, and "Packingham" is Pakenham, the British commander. "Coffee" is not the drink but John Coffee, Jackson's second in command in the Creek War (for background, see "Andrew Jackson's Raid"); Carroll is William Carroll (1788-1844), Jackson's successor in command of the Tennessee militia and later governor of that state. - RBW

Historical references

  • Jan 8, 1815 - Battle of New Orleans. Although a peace had already been signed, word had not yet reached Louisiana, which Pakenham sought to invade. Andrew Jackson's backwoodsmen easily repulsed Pakenham's force; the British commander is killed in the battle.

Cross references


  1. Belden, pp. 298-299, "The Hunters of Kentucky" (1 text plus 2 fragments, 1 tune, but the "A" fragment and part of "C" is "Pakenham")
  2. Roud #2211
  3. BI, Beld298


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1905 (Belden)
Keywords: battle death soldier
Found in: US(So)