War of 1812: "Address of General Jackson to the Soldiers and Citizens at New Orleans"

Cropped view of an engraving recolored in light greyscale tones shows General Jackson on a horse with American soldiers fighting the British in the background.

In February 1815, American General Andrew Jackson expressed suspicion when first hearing of the Treaty of Ghent from British sources, and he urged soldiers and New Orleans citizens to maintain an attitude of readiness until the treaty was confirmed. The Treaty of Ghent did end the War of 1812, and Jackson eventually received the confirmation he required.


Address of general Jackson to the Soldiers and Citizens at New Orleans.

Head-Quarters, 7th Military District, New Orleans, 19th February, 1815.

Fellow-Citizens and Soldiers,

The flag-vessel which was sent to the enemy's fleet has returned, and brings with it intelligence, extracted from a London paper, that on the 24th of December articles of peace were signed at Ghent, by the American commissioners and those of his Britannic majesty.

We must not be thrown into false security by hopes that may be delusive. It is by holding out such that an artful and insidious enemy too often seeks to accomplish what the utmost exertions of his strength will not enable him to effect. To place you off your guard and attack you by surprise, is the natural expedient of one who, having experienced the superiority of your arms, still hopes to overcome you by stratagem— Though young in the "trade" of war, it is not by such artifices that he will deceive us.

Peace, whenever it shall be re-established on fair and honourable terms, is an event in which both nations ought to rejoice; but whether the articles which are said to have signed for its restoration will be approved by those whose province it is to give to them their final confirmation is yet uncertain. Until they shall be ratified by the prince regent and the president of the United States, peace, though so much desired, may be still distant. When that shall be done, the happy intelligence will be publicly and speedily announce. In the mean time, every motive that can operate on men who love their country, and are determined not to lose it, calls upon us for increased vigilance and exertion.

If peace be near at hand, the days of our watchfulness, of our toils, and our privations, will be proportionably few; if it be distance, we shall at any rate hasten its arrival, by being constantly and every where prepared for war.

Whatever be the designs of the enemy, we must be ready to meet them. Should they have the temerity to assail us again, we will once more drive him ignominiously from our shore; if he places his hopes of success on stratagem, our watchfulness will disappointed him; if on an exertion of his strength, we have proved how successfully that can be resisted.

It is true fort Bowyer has fallen, but it must and will be speedily regained. We will expel the invader from every spot on our soil, and teach him, if he hopes for conquest, how vain it is to seek it in a land of freedom.




Andrew Jackson, February 19, 1815 - printed in Historical memoir of the war in West Florida and Louisiana in 1814-15, published in 1816.

Related Battles

Louisiana | January 8, 1815
Result: United States Victory
Estimated Casualties
United States
United Kingdom