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Written by Darrin Pierce, Internship student from Stirling University

Battle of New Orleans painting showcasing battlefield. Painting by Don Troiani

When Did it Start?

Britain and United States had been at war since 1812 but the Battle of New Orleans started on December 14, 1814 and ended on January 18, 1815. The Americans were commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson and the British were led by Admiral Alexander Cochrane and General Edward Pakenham. The battle took place on the grounds of Chalmette Plantation.

Change of Appearance

During this battle the regiment were ordered to wear tartan trews (trousers) in place of the usual kilts. But when the regiment got back from America the men returned to wearing kilts as part of the highland dress uniform. This was the only time in their history that the uniform of the 93rd were changed prior to amalgamation with the 91st.

December 23rd 1814

The evening the 93rd arrived was expected to be one of the longest nights within the battle. The men had to endure six tough nights packed into open boats with small rations so the men didn’t die of starvation. On top of that they were exposed to harsh conditions such as continuous rain, sleet and a bitter north wind. Upon arrival they moved up through swamp lands. Jackson declared martial law, the first in the United States history, then began recruiting whomever was available to guard the city. Jackson made the statement “those who are not for us are against us, and will be dealt with accordingly.” An advance guard had been surprised in a night attack by 1,200 British troops then Jackson quickly formed the militia on very short notice. The superior discipline and training by the British was starting to show by dawn while the Americans withdrew leaving behind 74 prisoners; the brigade stayed about nine miles south from New Orleans. The whole army of 6,600 men got into position on the north bank of the Mississippi River.

The Outcome

From December 25 1814 to January 26 1815, the British casualties for the campaign totaled 2,459. 386 killed, 1,521 wounded, and 552 missing. The American casualties were 333. 55 were killed, 185 wounded, and 93 missing. Many Americans believed that the powerful British soldiers were on their way and even Jackson himself thought there were 25,000 troops and was expecting the worst. The battle helped Jackson and played a role in him claiming the White House where he made the battle a celebrated holiday. Until 1861 this holiday was called “The Eighth” and Louisiana still commemorates Jackcon. The British forces withdrew completely from Louisiana after suffering a high number of casualties.

Unnecessary War?

Historians have mixed feelings about the war being unnecessary and claim that the conflicts between both sides could have been solved without war if they had communicated in a more effective matter. The Treaty of Ghent had already been signed two weeks earlier ending the war, but the news was slow to cross the pond and reach the respective sides on the field. There was tension building for many years between both Britain and America. These tensions were caused by the way the British were treating the American soldiers, befriending the Native Americans, and also the taxes and trade policies that were put in place. By January 1815 the war concluded but still none of the issues were solved.

 

 

 

Sources:

The Battle of New Orleans. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2017, from http://www.exploringoffthebeatenpath.com/Battlefields/NewOrleans/index.html

Winter 1814: Andrew Jackson declares martial law in New Orleans (U.S. National Park Service). (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2017, from https://www.nps.gov/articles/andrew-jackson-and-martial-law-in-new-orleans.htm

Battle of New Orleans. (2017, July 21). Retrieved July 24, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_New_Orleans

Themepark. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2017, from http://www.uen.org/themepark/liberty/warof1812.shtml

New Orleans. (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2017, from http://www.napoleonguide.com/battle_neworlea.htm

Treaty of Ghent (1814). (n.d.). Retrieved July 25, 2017, from http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=20

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