9 Jan
2015
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We Fought the Bloody British in the Town of New Orleans

By: Chris C.

 

The War of 1812 provided many low points for our young republic. We had suffered multiple defeats including the embarrassing burning of our capitol. There was doubt that we would survive as an independent nation. Morale and patriotism were low throughout the states despite moments such as our victory at Fort McHenry. On December 24, 1814, we signed the Treaty of Ghent which was to end hostilities, and restore pre-war borders with the British. However, news of this cessation in hostilities did not reach New Orleans before one final showdown.

The British had been preparing to invade and seize New Orleans for weeks as this was an area of vital strategic importance on the Mississippi River. General Andrew Jackson realized the significance of holding the city and region. Consequently, he dug in with his army comprised of volunteer militia, army regulars, freed blacks, Indians, sailors, and pirates. Jackson was in command of approximately 4,500 men and it was an outfit as diverse as the nation itself. Following two weeks of move and counter move, the British planned a massive assault on the American earthworks. On January 8, 1815, the British preceded their attack with artillery and Congreve rockets in an attempt to weaken the defenses, and instill fear in Jackson’s men.  The Americans were unperturbed, and they stopped the onslaught of 7,500 British regulars. In the battle, lasting approximately a half hour, the Americans inflicted over 2,500 casualties and only suffered 71. New Orleans thus became the greatest American land victory of the war.

 

News of the victory reached the public concurrently with the news of the Treaty of Ghent. Consequently, many Americans mistakenly believed that the victory was the impetus for the peace. The victory caused a groundswell of pride and patriotism throughout our young republic. The Battle of New Orleans was seen as winning our independence from Britain a second time.  January 8th became a celebrated date for our country. Andrew Jackson became an instant celebrity as the “Hero of New Orleans,” and this fame would eventually propel him to the White House. The victory at New Orleans solidified our identity as an independent nation, and prompted unity across the country that hadn’t been seen since the Revolution. This week marks the  200th anniversary of the battle, we should remember the sacrifices made ensure our freedom, and exhibit pride and patriotism as our countrymen did on January 8, 1815.

DISCLAIMER: This post and the contents thereof are the views of only the author identified immediately above and do not necessarily represent the views of the New York Young Republican Club (the "NYYRC"), its officers or its members. The NYYRC expressly disclaims responsibility for the contents thereof and by its charter documents may not, and does not, endorse any candidate for any office, except in a general election.

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