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New Orleans, Battle of

NEW ORLEANS, BATTLE OF

NEW ORLEANS, BATTLE OF (8 January 1815). The United States declared war on Great Britain in June


1812, but the contest did not threaten Louisiana until 1814, when Napoleon Bonaparte's abdication freed England to concentrate on the American war. In the autumn of 1814 a British fleet of more than fifty vessels, carrying 7,500 soldiers under Sir Edward Packenham, appeared in the Gulf of Mexico and prepared to attack New Orleans, the key to the entire Mississippi Valley. Gen. Andrew Jackson, who commanded the American army in the Southwest, reached New Orleans on 1 December 1814 to begin preparing the city's defenses.

The superior British navy defeated the small American fleet on Lake Borgne, southwest of the Mississippi River's mouth; landed troops on its border; and marched them across the swamps to the river's banks, a few miles below New Orleans. Jackson had assembled more than 6,000 troops, mainly Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana militia, with a few regulars. After a few preliminary skirmishes, the British attempted to overrun the American position with a full-scale offensive on the morning of 8 January 1815. The American defense held firm. The British were completely repulsed, losing more than 2,000 men, of whom 289 were killed, including Packenham and most of the other higher officers. The Americans lost only seventy-one men, of whom thirteen were killed.

The British soon retired to their ships and departed. New Orleans and the Mississippi Valley were saved from invasion. Coming two weeks after the peace treaty was signed that ended the war, the battle had no effect upon the peace terms; but it did bolster the political fortunes of Andrew Jackson, the "hero of New Orleans."

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brooks, Charles B. The Siege of New Orleans. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1961.

Brown, Wilburt S. The Amphibious Campaign for West Florida and Louisiana, 1814–1815. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1969.

Remini, Robert V. Life of Andrew Jackson. New York: Perennial Classics, [1988] 2001.

Tregle, Joseph George. Louisiana in the Age of Jackson. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1999.

WalterPrichard/a. r.

See alsoGhent, Treaty of ; Mexico, Gulf of ; Mississippi River ; New Orleans ; War of 1812 .

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New Orleans, Battle of

New Orleans, Battle of (1815).This encounter concluded the War of 1812 against the British. Approximately 5,300 British regulars under Maj. Gen. Sir Edward Pakenham, accompanied by naval forces under Vice Adm. Sir Alexander Cochrane, attacked New Orleans to relieve American military pressure on Canada and improve Great Britain's position in peace negotiations. Major Gen. Andrew Jackson opposed them with a force of about 4,700 drawn from the U.S. Army, the free colored population of New Orleans, the militias of Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee, and the pirates of Barataria.

Three lesser engagements preceded the battle. On 23 December 1814, Jackson attempted to drive the British off, and on 28 December and New Year's Day, Pakenham probed Jackson's defenses with a reconnaissance in force and an artillery attack. On 8 January 1815, Pakenham assaulted Jackson's line on the east bank of the Mississippi, making a secondary attack on his position on the west bank. The latter succeeded, but the main attack failed as Jackson's artillery fired grapeshot and canister shot into the advancing British line. British losses amounted to 2,400 casualties and prisoners; the Americans lost about 70 men.

Since the Treaty of Ghent, ending the war, had been signed on 24 December 1814, the battle's impact was symbolic, but nevertheless significant. It reinforced the legend of the volunteer American citizen‐soldier, made Jackson a national hero, and contributed eventually to his election as president in 1828.
[See also Army, U.S.: 1783–1865; Militia and National Guard.]

Bibliography

Charles B. Brooks , The Siege of New Orleans, 1961.
Wilburt S. Brown , The Amphibious Campaign for West Florida and Louisiana, 1814–1815: A Critical Review of Strategy and Tactics at New Orleans, 1969.

J. C. A. Stagg

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"New Orleans, Battle of." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"New Orleans, Battle of." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/new-orleans-battle-0

New Orleans, battle of

New Orleans, battle of, 1815. This battle was unusual in taking place after the War of 1812 was over. This conflict with the United States over disputes about maritime searches was a most unwelcome distraction to Britain during its struggle against Napoleonic France. Peace negotiations began at Ghent in the autumn of 1814, but an expedition against New Orleans had already been planned, partly to humiliate the Americans, partly in the hope of prize money. There was no element of surprise, the troops were soon bogged down in swamps, and the defence was conducted by Andrew Jackson, later president of the USA. The main assault on 8 January 1815 failed. British dead included the army commander Sir Edward Pakenham and, with wounded, totalled 3,000. News arrived the following month that peace had been signed in December 1814.

J. A. Cannon

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"New Orleans, battle of." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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New Orleans, Battle of

New Orleans, Battle of (January 5, 1815) Last engagement in the War of 1812. It took place two weeks after the Treaty of Ghent was signed because news of the treaty had not reached New Orleans. The Americans under General Andrew Jackson won the battle with only 71 killed, while the British lost 2500 lives.

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