—Panel #7 Mississippi Riverwalk —
Mile 90.2 AHP
Word of the treaty signed in December 1814, was slow to reach the countryside south of New Orleans, LA. Before dawn on January 8, 1815, General Andrew Jackson's American troops were waiting for a British attack. Commanded by General Sir Edward Pakenham, British forces were considerably larger, but Jackson's motley crew had them in check for nearly two weeks of a skirmish. Pakenham's forces, which had recently been reinforced, were marching toward New Orleans on a narrow corridor between the river and a swamp. Jackson placed his army across the British line of march on the Chalmette Plantation. They could not dig in, since water lay 8 inches below the ground, so the defensive line consisted of sugar barrels and a few cotton bales. Behind the blockage waited Jackson's 6.000 unusual troops: a number of Army Regulars, several local militias, Tennessee and Kentucky volunteers, two battalions of freed blacks, some Choctaw Indians, and a band of pirates led by Jean Lafitte.
As dawn broke, the British attacked. Their first wave advanced staunchly into withering American long rifle and cannon fire. Pakenham and his second in command were quickly killed. As the survivors retreated, out of the morning mist came the kilted 93rd Highlanders, marching in formation to the sound of bagpipes. Of the 925 who went forward only 130 returned. When the battle ended, the British had suffered more than 2,000 casualties and they left America soil ten days later.
The earlier treaty had technically ended the War of 1812, but its terms allowed each country to keep the territory it held at the end of hostilities. This victory ensured that Louisiana remained part of the United States.
New to the treaty and the battle victory reached Washington, D. C. At the same time, greatly raising the nation 's sagging morale. The Battle of New Orleans made Andrew Jackson a national hero.
Photo Credit: American Canon at War of 1812 Battlefield at Chalmette, Louisiana/Jean Lafitte National Park & Preserve - Louisiana Office of Tourism