Saving New Orleans and Forging a Nation
On this day, January 8 in 1815, the melting pot of America defeated the most powerful army in the world at New Orleans.
Behind breast works that stretched from the Mississippi to marshland, 4,700 men consisting of 968 Army regulars; 58 Marines; 106 Navy Seaman; militia from Louisiana (1,060), Tennessee (1,352), and Kentucky (986), and Mississippi (150); 52 Choctaw warriors; as well as an unspecified force of pirates led by Jean Lafitte having come from Galveston Island, defended against an attacking force 8,000 British soldiers hardened in the Napoleonic wars. It is reported that around 900 of the 4,700 were black, both slave and free.
The Americans under General Andrew Jackson produced a stunning victory that produced losses of one quarter of their attacking force. The losses included 285 killed, among them most of the officer corps, including the commanding Major General Sir Edward Pakenham; 1,265 wounded; and 484 captured.
The battle was over in 25 minutes.
Americans only lost 13 killed, 30 wounded, and 19 missing or captured.
General Jackson and his men had done backbreaking, heroic work to get the artillery pieces to New Orleans from the interior across difficult terrain. They made all the difference in the battle.
Sadly, the battle occurred 18 days after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent that had ended the War of 1812. But the Americans did not know that at the time. They just knew that their way of life, and a major city, and their country was in dire danger, and they all pulled out all the stops to end the invasion.
New Orleans and the gateway to the middle of the continent was saved. And a national memory that became part of the fabric of America was created.
Tom Glass lives in Northwest Harris County. Click here to reach his email. He is also on Facebook as Tom G Glass. Find him on Parler at @TomGGlass. He leads a group called Texas Constitutional Enforcement which can be explored at its website or Facebook group. And given the recent Facebook censorship, there are now Texas Constitutional Enforcement groups on Texan owned and operated Freedom Lake and Blabbook, as well as MeWe and Wimkin.