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The Battle of New Orleans
In 1815, the United States was still a brand new nation. Louisiana had only been admitted to the Union as a state in 1812. As fate would have it, one of the most dramatic military confrontations in the nation’s early years would take place right outside of New Orleans.
The Battle of New Orleans was one of the last major battles fought on US soil against a foreign invader. This battle was also the last time that American and British forces would ever fight as rivals rather than allies. Today, this hallowed ground is open to everyone, free of charge. To honor this critical period in U.S history, The National Park Service has conserved and sustained the site for generations to come.
What Was the Battle of New Orleans Fought Over?
The War of 1812 broke out over escalating tensions between the United States, Great Britain, and indigenous allies of both countries. These tensions were rooted in British efforts to restrict American trade and territorial expansion. The United States endured some costly defeats over the war, including the destruction of its new capital Washington D.C. However, the tides were turning in America’s favor by the end of 1814.
In December 1814, British and American commissioners signed a peace treaty, known as the Treaty of Ghent. The news traveled slowly though, and the British military was already in the process of trying to capture New Orleans. After weeks of assaults and skirmishes, a climactic battle took place on January 8, 1815.
General Andrew Jackson led a rag tag group of soldiers, pirates, mercenaries, free men of color, and Choctaw warriors against a significantly larger and more professional British deployment. This ensuing battle, which took place on today’s Chalmette Battlefield, resulted in a rout of British forces. Louisiana and New Orleans henceforth remained American territory.
The Significance of the Chalmette Battlefield
Today, the Chalmette Battlefield stands as a vivid reminder of New Orleans’ role in determining the fate of the nation. While the War of 1812 was already in the process of coming to a close when the Battle of New Orleans took place, the major American victory was a huge boost for the new nation’s morale, patriotism, and sense of identity. General Andrew Jackson, as the battle’s hero, became a national celebrity.
The US National Park Service now maintains the Chalmette Battlefield as a part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Visitors to the site can explore a reconstructed American rampart, take in the awe-inspiring 100-foot monument, and stroll through its outdoor displays of historic structures. The site is also home to Chalmette National Cemetery. Afternoon presentations on the Battle of New Orleans take place most days. There are no admission charges for visiting the grounds.
For More History, Book a New Orleans City Bus Tour
The Battle of New Orleans’ legacy doesn’t end at the site of the battle. General Jackson is remembered all over town, from Jackson Avenue in the Lower Garden District to the French Quarter’s world-famous Jackson Square. New Orleans bus tours are the most efficient and comfortable way to learn more about the incredible landmarks and neighborhoods that define the city today. New Orleans city bus tours allow you to kick back and take in the sights while a professional driver handles the logistics. Best of all, these tours are fully air conditioned! Book your New Orleans bus tour with Cajun Encounters today!