Battle of New Orleans 1815

What was happening in 1815?

In 1815, America and Britain were fighting a war. The war had started in 1812 when British did a number of things which really angered America. For one, they forced 10,000 American sailors to fight on the side of Britain in the war against France.

This offended Americans because America had decided to stay neutral in the war. Britain also encouraged Native Americans to establish their strongholds in the American Midwest and stop the expansion of United States towards the West. These actions by the British angered people in the USA and war was declared in 1812.

Background of the Battle of New Orleans

Actually, representatives from the American and British governments had agreed to a peace treaty and signed it on December 24, 1814. But when the Battle of New Orleans took place in January, 1815, the American and British armies did not know that a treaty had been signed and so they continued the fight.

The British attacked New Orleans with the intent of taking control of the Louisiana Territory which America had purchased in 1804. If the British had succeeded, this would have been a serious blow to USA. So the American army, under Major General Andrew Jackson, decided to defend New Orleans at all costs.

When and where was the battle fought?

The Battle of New Orleans began on January 8 and continued until January 18, 1815. It was fought at the Chalmette Plantation which is located five miles from New Orleans.

Who were the leaders on both sides?

The American army was led by Major General Andrew Jackson. He would later serve as the 7th President of the United States of America. The British army was led by General Edward Pakenham and Admiral Alexander Cochrane.

The Fighting

General Andrew Jackson had established a line of defense against British attack. This was called the Jackson’s Line. Here, Americans positioned their guns and soldiers behind makeshift defenses. This Line proved very beneficial to the American army. The British army repeatedly advanced towards this Line and tried to overrun it but the American army stood its ground.

In the firing from Jackson’s Line, many important British officers were either killed or wounded in the attack. A few groups of soldiers in the British army were able to reach the Jackson’s Line but they were too few to hold their position and were either killed or had to retreat.

Finally, after the failure of repeated attacks, the British army retreated under heavy losses. The British army suffered nearly 700 deaths with around 1500 wounded. On the other hand, American army had suffered only 7 killed and 6 wounded.

Outcome and Aftermath

The battle was a resounding victory for the American army. The British army suffered heavy losses and had to retreat. After this fight, the British continued to fight in other nearby areas, hoping to somehow make it to New Orleans. But on January 18, 1815, General Lambert of the British army finally decided to withdraw. The defeat of the British army forced Britain to withdraw its forces from the Louisiana Territory. Soon after the battle, the news of the peace treaty reached both sides and the war came to an end.

Learn More about the Battle of New Orleans at Wikipedia

Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny