The Battle of New Orleans, fought on January 8, 1815, was the last significant battle of the War of 1812. Other events during the war include the Battle of Horseshoe Bend; the burning of Washington, D.C.; and the Battle of Fort McHenry (the inspiration for "The Star Spangled Banner"). Besides the smashing of the British army in only one-half hour, the Battle of New Orleans is probably most notable because the commanders did not know that the war was already over.
The British and their Native American allies had been moving south toward the Gulf of Mexico. The expectation was that they would head for New Orleans to capture it. General Andrew Jackson, assisted by the pirate Jean Lafitte, moved to the city and waited for the British army, led by General Edward Pakenham. The British suffered more than 2,000 casualties; the Americans had 71.
Unknown to Jackson due to slow communications, a peace treaty between Britain and the United States had been signed on December 24, 1814, in Belgium. This was the Treaty of Ghent, which finally ended the fighting between the British and the Americans.
Thus, the Battle of New Orleans became known as “the needless battle.”
The following resources are located in the Government Documents/Microforms Department:
- Index to War of 1812 Pension Application Files
- War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858, and Index
- Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers who Served during the War of 1812
- Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers who Served during the War of 1812