Everyone knows about the American Revolutionary War. It was a bloody war, in which both sides fought over taxes, control and more. But not as many know about the War of 1812, in which America battled the United Kingdom and its allies. Many battles took place during this war, but none quite compared to the Battle of New Orleans. It was one of the most successful American battles in our history.
On December 23, a vanguard of 1,800 British soldiers encroached upon New Orleans, capturing the Villeré Plantation. Soon, Andrew Jackson received word from an escapee of the takeover about the British army’s camp location. That evening, Jackson led over 2,000 men and attacked the British from the north. This was just the first battle, in which 24 Americans and 46 British were killed. Jackson soon pulled out of the battle and his army fell back to the Rodriguez Canal. This skirmish was technically a win for the British, but the battle wasn’t over yet.
Tensions continued to rise for the next 2 weeks, until January 8th, 1815 when the British marched against Jackson’s line of defense. They attacked in the dark and fog of the early morning, but as they reached the defenders, the fog began to lift and exposed them. From this moment on, it was a losing battle for the British. By the end of the fight, only 70 Americans had died, but almost 2,000 British soldiers had died. Seeing no victory at the end of the tunnel, the British soon withdrew and the final battle of the War of 1812 concluded. Andrew Jackson, with the help of Jean Lafitte, had won.
Spirits on the Battlefield
The thousands of men that died during the Battle of New Orleans fell upon the grounds of the historical city and never left. Some say they still see the spirits of British soldiers wandering the battlefield, lost and searching. Unfortunately, the men that fought this battle did so in vain. The Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812, had been signed one day after the vanguard of 1,800 British soldiers arrived in New Orleans. If it hadn’t been for the technology of those days, the message may have reached them in time to prevent the unnecessary losses. Next time you’re on a ghost tour, take a listen. If you’re lucky, you may just hear the musket shots of the Battle of New Orleans, or spot the wandering spirits of soldiers lost long ago.