The Bloody Battle of New Orleans

By | January 8, 2021

[January 8, 2021]  Of the many American battles to study, the Battle of New Orleans ranks right up there with the best.  Lessons from the battle are many.  The battle was one of the last and the most bloody of the War of 1812.  This war was what many Americans saw as the “Second War of Independence.”1

By late 1814, the British had invaded the U.S., burned the White House, driven out the President, all in an attempt to bring the county back under British control.  The United Kingdom and its allies had a sound strategy, attacking three critical locations in America to bring it to heal.  Unfortunately, the Americans were better tactically and possessed superior fighting skills.

The hero of the War of 1812 was brevet Major General Andrew Jackson.2  By December 1814, the British were going to attack New Orleans as part of their three-pronged strategy.  But Jackson was having none of it.  He hated the British.  At age 12, Jackson was struck in the head with a British officer’s sword when Jackson refused to polish the officer’s boots.  During the Revolutionary War, Jackson was a prisoner of war.

When General Jackson heard about the British plan to take New Orleans, he rushed to its defense.  Picking up volunteers along the way, the American force became a ragtag group, a mixture of militia fighters, frontiersmen, slaves, Indians, smugglers, and even pirates.  His army expanded to a 4,500-strong patchwork.

At daybreak on January 8, British General Sir Edward Pakenham sent his nearly 8,000 seasoned troops in a complicated two-part frontal assault.  Immediately, things did not go well for the British.  The fog quickly disappeared, giving Jackson’s troops many British targets of opportunity.  Jackson was reported to say, “Give it to them, my boys!  Let us finish the business today!”  Old Hickory’s army caught the British exposed and crushed the attack within 30 minutes.

Before the battle, the Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814, between Great Britain and the United States.  The treaty restored relations between the two parties to status quo by restoring the prewar borders of June 1812.  It was to take effect the following February.  The battle for New Orleans was on.

While the war was considered a stalemate, the Battle of New Orleans was a clear victory.  The impact would be far lasting.  And lessons not forgotten.

For example, most American Indians had allied with the British but had been defeated, allowing a continued expansion westward.  It proved the power of the new United States by defeating the British in a major battle, just as Britain had defeated Napoleon and now a world power.  The victory by Jackson established him as a national hero and helped launch his political career that eventually vaulted him into the Presidency in 1828.

Read more about the life of Andrew Jackson in the many Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies.  If you only have time to read one, perhaps “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House” by Jon Meacham (2008).

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  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_1812
  2. The man is hated today by many leftists because he owned slaves and expanded his slave holdings throughout his lifetime. Historians agree that Jackson’s wealth is attributed to the fact he owned slaves.
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “The Bloody Battle of New Orleans

  1. Reel34 at Boston

    This is a good battle to study with the ideas of Sun Tzu in mind. “Know thy enemy and thyself and you will never lose a hundred battles.”

    Reply
  2. Dennis Mathes

    This was an interesting take on the lessons from the war. The one about the Amer. Indians being mostly on the side of the British (which lost) put the Indians in a bad situation.

    Reply
    1. Ralphie P. Newmann

      Very true. I highly recommend reading a bit more history else we look like dunderheads in kindergarten.

      Reply
  3. Willie Shrumburger

    Good job, good “battle” series. Well done! I support the recommendation of Mr. TJ Asper that perhaps you should consider some kind of document that lists all the battles. This would make for ease. I would also hope you update them, etc. Thanks so much, Gen. Satterfield. ❤

    Reply
      1. Lynn Pitts

        Yep, more series like this is okay with me. Looks at what we learned in such a short article. Oh, Happy New Year every one! It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

        Reply
  4. Mr. T.J. Asper

    Another good article. BOOM. Gen. S., please put together one of your electronic books someday that includes all these battles. Maybe not a full book but certainly a collection of them. I think it would make it easier for us to read them all in one place and gives new people in your readership a chance to catch up easily.

    Reply
      1. Mr. T.J. Asper

        Gen. S, thanks so much for the reply and your gracious leadership.

        Reply
  5. Pink Cloud

    Thanks Gen. Satterfield for another in your battle series. Please continue writing them. They all give me an opening to do more reading on them later.

    Reply
  6. Max Foster

    “While the war was considered a stalemate, the Battle of New Orleans was a clear victory. The impact would be far lasting. ” Gen. S. has given us an important point here. Most of the lessons from the War of 1812 are not mentioned at all – for reasons of space and time – but if we study the war a bit more, we will find out that the ramifications of the war were enormous and how we developed as a nation. Read, study, write, and think. That is what makes us better folks and better leaders.

    Reply
    1. Gil Johnson

      Well put, Max. Yep, too many of us are just too damn lazy intellectually to get into it. 😊

      Reply
  7. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    In reading other articles on the Battle of New Orleans, it has helped flush out much of the missing details here. For example, some have noted that the “peace treaty” had been signed well before the battle. But let’s not forget that the treaty had not been ratified by Congress, so technically it was not in effect. So, anyway, it turned out best for the US but poorly for the Brits.

    Reply
  8. Randy Goodman

    Great article. Once again, your series on battles – some famous some not – is very educational. It shows us what knowing the enemy and the ground and its importance.

    Reply
    1. Georgie B.

      True, lots to learn here. Once again, Gen. Satterfield has given us a peak into the importance of history and understanding WHAT IT MEANS for us. If our teachers would just get off the memorizing bit and actually talk about the meaning of and lessons learned from war, then we could get on with a better feel for humans are like.

      Reply
        1. Yusaf from Texas

          Thanks JT for again bringing up this older article from Gen. Satterfield’s collection. Missing the obvious … let’s be careful.

          Reply
  9. Forrest Gump

    Famous and very important battle as well as the War of 1812 yet we Americans study little about it. Just another example of our grossly failed educational system. Or, are we just dumb?

    Reply

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