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Battle Of New Orleans Essay

1428 words - 6 pages

The Battle of New Orleans took place January 8, 1815 as the last major battle of the War of 1812. Before any military confrontation occurs an idea is presented; this idea was presented to the British Admiralty by Admiral Sir John Borlase on November 18, 1812. Admiral Borlse's plan was intended to create a diversionary assault on New Orleans to reduce the Americans line on the Canadian Front.

Jackson suspected the impending arrival of a large British land-and-sea force, he did not know where on the Gulf Coast it was headed or what its major target would be.1 In the Fall of 1814 Jackson decided to take Spanish Pensacola; the British withdrew from the town instead of facing Jackson's ...view middle of the document...

New Orleans, surrounded by swampy lands, had at least seven possible approaches. This made defending the towns avenues of approach more difficult to defend. It was Colonel Arthur P. Hayne who recommended that Jackson's first line of defense should be at Fort St. Philip on the Mississippi River.1 Meanwhile the approaches from Lake Borne or Lake Pontchartrain was left to naval gunboats under the command of Commander Daniel Todd Patterson.1 The city of New Orleans defense was left in the hands of the militia units made up the citizens of New Orleans. With Jackson's regulars and militia units arriving from Tennessee and Kentucky; Jackson we beginning to face an ammunition shortage. This shortage was partially solved by Jackson's decision to accept the help of Jean Lafitte, an entrepreneur, pirate, privateer, and patriot, and the Baratarian pirates. Laffitte offered to defend Barataria as long as he received immunity from U.S prosecution; at first the U.S refused and even went as far as to destroy their base. However, Lafitte accepted Jackson's offer of clemency and formed their own units under Jackson's command.2 Lafitte and his men provided Jackson's army with much needed supplies and intelligence about possible British approaches.1 Besides supplying weapons, their willingness to fight under the United States flag seemed to win over French Louisianans to the cause.2

Admiral Cochran arrived at Chandler Island on December 8, 1814. While having the area scouted Cochrane decided to land his forces at Bayou Bienvenu. Prior, to making land fall Cochrane had to destroy Thomas ap Catesby Jones' gunboat fleet. Lieutenant Jones commanded a squadron of five gunboats with twenty on guns on Lake Borgne. His gunboats were defeated by the British by their barges with forty-two guns. 3 This American loss further complicated Jackson's defenses increasing the number of possible British approaches.

After the British victory, Cochrane began to land his forces at Bayou Bienvenu and sent his scouts to determine avenues of approach. Major General John Keane moved his landing force and established a headquarters at Villere Plantation.1 The British, unknowing General Jackson's forces, decided to wait for Pakenham's forces before attacking New Orleans. On December 23, 1814, General Jackson marched part of his force to Villere Plantation, with intentions of attacking the British before they were fully organized. The attack commenced at nightfall with Patterson firing into the British encampment. Due to low visibility Jackson's forces withdrew, although not a victory the attack did buy Jackson time to improve his defenses. General Jackson ordered his men to begin building defensive fortifications behind Rodriquez Canal. Two days later, December 25, General Pakenham arrives in Louisiana to take command of the British ground forces.

Over the next few days, General Pakenham attempts to advance his army, however he is stopped by American...

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