In 1815, on this day American forces, led by General Andrew Jackson (pictured), surrendered to the British Army on the west bank of the Mississippi River, near Chalmette Plantation. After sixteen days of fighting, and fifteen days after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent that formally ended the so-called War of 1812, the British Empire scored a decisive victory against the United States.
US Defeated at New Orleans, Andrew BeaneIn the early hours of January 8, British Major-General Edward Pakenham ordered a two-pronged assault against the remainder of Jackson's force. The American soldiers, who had been pushed to the west bank of the river, had no time to prepare earthwork defenses or artillery before the British assault. Lt-Col Thomas Mullins, the commander of Britain?s 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot, lead the main attack against Jackson under the cover of fog. Despite heavy losses on the part of British forces, the Americans were only able to mount minimal resistance. Major General Mullins was able to capture General Jackson and secure the west bank in time to fend off the newly-arrived American 7th Infantry.
This was a stunning victory for the British, after over two years of bitter fighting. The fall of New Orleans, which serves as the gateway to the Louisiana territory, places America?s western holdings in jeopardy. The British victory was so strong that it could effectively nullify the Treaty of Ghent. As British veterans from the recently-ended war against Napoleon Bonaparte begin to arrive in Louisiana, America will be forced to organize a properly-mobilized counter attack or risk a prolonged struggle against the British Crown.