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A history of the battle of new orleans

His force soon grew into a 4,500-strong patchwork of army regulars, frontier militiamen, free blacks, New Orleans aristocrats and Choctaw tribesmen.

After some hesitation, Old Hickory even accepted the help of Jean Lafitte, a dashing pirate who ran a smuggling and privateering empire out of nearby Barataria Bay.

The two sides first came to blows on December 23, when Jackson launched a daring nighttime attack on British forces bivouacked nine miles south of New Orleans. Jackson then fell back to Rodriguez Canal, a ten-foot-wide millrace located near Chalmette Plantation off the Mississippi River. Using local slave labor, he widened the canal into a defensive trench and used the excess dirt to build a seven-foot-tall earthen rampart buttressed with timber.

A small force was charged with crossing to the west bank of the Mississippi and seizing an American battery. Once in possession of the guns, they were to turn them on the Americans and catch Jackson in a punishing crossfire.

Battle of New Orleans

At the same time, a larger contingent of some 5,000 men would charge forward in two columns and crush the main American line at the Rodriguez Canal. Pakenham put his plan to action at daybreak on January 8.

At the sound of a Congreve rocket whistling overhead, the red-coated throngs let out a cheer and began an advance toward the American line. With their commander lost, his men made a frantic retreat, only to be cut down in a hail of musket balls and grapeshot.

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The situation on the other side of the line proved even more calamitous. Pakenham had counted on moving under the cover of morning mist, but the fog had risen with the sun, giving American rifle and artillerymen clear sightlines.

The Battle of New Orleans

Cannon fire soon began slashing gaping holes in the British line, sending men and equipment flying. As the British troops continued the advance, their ranks were riddled with musket shot.

Let us finish the business today! Red-coated soldiers fell in waves with each American volley, many with multiple wounds.

  1. Lambert asked Jackson for a truce to gather the dead and to treat the wounded.
  2. Having fought three smaller engagements on 23 and 28 December and New Year's Day 1815, the battle they had anticipated for three weeks had finally arrived. They would stand ready to either follow the assault of a light infantry battalion and infantry regiment attacking the bastion that blocked the levy road on the extreme American right or exploit a breach made by Gibbs' men.
  3. The two sides first came to blows on December 23, when Jackson launched a daring nighttime attack on British forces bivouacked nine miles south of New Orleans.

His men had bravely stood their ground amid the chaos of the American deluge, but a unit carrying ladders and wood fascines needed to scale Line Jackson was lagging behind. Pakenham took it upon himself to lead the outfit to the front, but in the meantime, his main formation was cut to ribbons by rifle and cannon fire. American troops quickly took aim and unleashed a maelstrom of fire that felled more than half the unit, including its leader.

Around that same time, Pakenham and his entourage were laced by a blast of grapeshot.

  1. The battle itself was fought just outside New Orleans, on the Chalmette Plantation, where the Americans split into two defensive positions. Jackson, who would later ride his newfound celebrity all the way to the White House , was no doubt among them.
  2. Called Line Jackson, the entrenchment faced the open fields of nearby plantations as it stretched one thousand yards from the river along the Rodriguez Canal and then five hundred more into the Cypress Swamp. With their commander lost, his men made a frantic retreat, only to be cut down in a hail of musket balls and grapeshot.
  3. John Lambert's 1,700-man brigade constituted Pakenham's reserve behind the artillery, ready to advance on New Orleans once the main attack had ruptured the American defenses. William Thornton to cross the river and attack the American positions on the west bank first.
  4. Lambert then withdrew all troops from the western bank. After a number of smaller-scale skirmishes between the forces, the Americans waited for a full-blown British attack.
  5. An officer he sent to assess the situation on the west bank reported that although Thornton's force had driven Morgan's troops back to their main defense on Line Boisgervais, they needed reinforcements to either continue the attack or hold what they had taken. On the west bank, Brig.

The British commander perished minutes later. With the majority of their officers out of commission, the British attack descended into bedlam. A few valiant troops tried to climb the parapets by hand, only to withdraw when they found they had no support.

By the time the British seized the American artillery position, they could see the day was already lost. At Line Jackson, the British were retreating in droves, leaving behind a carpet of crumpled bodies.

  • David Morgan was in charge of about 1,000 troops and 16 cannons;
  • Jackson took command of the eastern bank, with some 4,000 troops and eight batteries lined behind a parapet that stretched along the Rodriguez Canal;
  • As they moved into range, the British took heavy fire and quickly lost Pakenham to a fatal wound;
  • Jackson, who would later ride his newfound celebrity all the way to the White House , was no doubt among them;
  • On the morning of January 8, Pakenham commanded approximately 8,000 British troops to move forward and break through the American defensive lines.

Some were laughing, some crying…there was every variety of sight and sound. After an abortive naval attack on nearby Fort St. Philip, the British boarded their ships and sailed back into the Gulf of Mexico. Newspapers in the beleaguered city of WashingtonD.

The Battle of New Orleans

The festivities only continued the following month, as news of the Treaty of Ghent reached American shores. When Congress ratified the agreement on February 16, 1815, the War of 1812 came to an official end. The conflict is now considered to have concluded in a stalemate, but at the time, the victory at New Orleans had elevated national pride to such a level that many Americans chalked it up as a win. Jackson, who would later ride his newfound celebrity all the way to the White Housewas no doubt among them.