New Orleans - January 8, 1815
The American Battlefield Trust's map of the War of 1812 Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815
In a sweeping defeat of British forces, the Battle of New Orleans was a victory that would boost American nationalism after the War of 1812 and be forever enshrined in American memory.
In the winter of 1814 and 1815, British troops under General Edward Pakenham attempted to capture New Orleans and seize control of the Mississippi River. Opposing the British was the commander of the U.S. Seventh Military District, Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson. After two attempts to breach Jackson's line below the city failed, Pakenham decided to launch a major assault.
The British attack got underway before sunrise on the morning of January 8, 1815. On the British left, Keane's infantry penetrated an unfinished redoubt, only to be brought to a grinding halt in front of the New Orleans Rifles and the 7th U.S. Infantry. Maj. Gen. Samuel Gibbs's column advanced against the American left center where his ranks were decimated by Tennessee and Kentucky militia. Gibbs was mortally wounded in the attack. Attempting to rally his men, Pakenham rode forward with his staff, only to fall before an American volley. He was carried from the field and later succumbed to his wounds. Of the 3,000 men under Gibbs and Keane, 2,000 became casualties in less than thirty minutes. Devastated in front of Line Jackson, the remnants of the British force withdrew to beyond range of the American guns. Despite the limited success of Col. William Thornton's attack against the Marine Battery on the right bank, Pakenham's successor, Maj. Gen. John Lambert was unable to salvage the British effort and recalled Thornton's force. Unwilling to test Line Jackson again, Lambert began a slow withdrawal to reach the fleet on January 18.
The victory swiftly resounded with the ratificaiton of the Treaty of Ghent ending the war. Americans hailed Jackson as a hero and their own country as victorious in the war. His triumph set him on a road that ended in the White House thirteen years later. The battle gave birth to the Age of the Common Man and for the next half century, his victory on the Eighth of January was marked by celebrations across the United States.
Learn More: The Battle of New Orleans