New Orleans, Battle of
- (1815) Battle between the U.S. and Britain during the War of 1812.Late in 1814 a British fleet of more than 50 ships commanded by Gen. Edward Pakenham (1778–1815) sailed into the Gulf of Mexico and prepared to attack New Orleans. Gen. Andrew Jackson, commander of the U.S. Army of the Southwest, which consisted chiefly of militiamen and volunteers, fought the British regulars who stormed their position on Jan. 8, 1815. His troops were so effectively entrenched behind earthworks and the British troops so exposed that the fighting was brief, ending in a decisive U.S. victory, a British withdrawal, and the death of Gen. Pakenham. The battle was without military value, since the Treaty of Ghent ending the war had been signed in December, but the news had been slow to arrive. The victory nevertheless raised national morale, enhancing Jackson's reputation as a hero and preparing his way to the presidency.II(April 24–25, 1862) Naval action in the American Civil War.A Union squadron of 43 ships led by David Farragut entered the Mississippi River below New Orleans and breached the chain cables stretched across the river as a defense. The 3,000 Confederate troops under Mansfield Lovell withdrew northward and the city fell. The Union army under Benjamin Butler entered the city on May 1 and began an occupation that lasted until the end of the war. The loss of New Orleans was a major blow to the Confederacy.
* * *▪ American Civil War (April 24–25, 1862), naval action by Union forces seeking to capture the city during the American Civil War. A Union naval squadron of 43 ships under Admiral David G. Farragut (Farragut, David) entered the lower Mississippi near New Orleans and soon breached the heavy chain cables that were stretched across the river as a prime defense. Realizing that resistance was useless, Confederate General Mansfield Lovell withdrew his 3,000 troops northward, and the city fell on April 25. On May 1 General B.F. Butler (Butler, Benjamin F) led 15,000 Union troops into the city to take command for the remainder of the war. The permanent loss of New Orleans was considered one of the worst disasters suffered by the Confederacy in the western theatre of the war.▪ United States-United Kingdom (Jan. 8, 1815), U.S. victory against Great Britain in the War of 1812. In the autumn of 1814 a British fleet of more than 50 ships commanded by General Edward Pakenham sailed into the Gulf of Mexico and prepared to attack New Orleans, which is strategically located at the mouth of the Mississippi River. On December 1 General Andrew Jackson (Jackson, Andrew), commander of the U.S. Army of the Southwest, hastened to the defense of the city. Jackson's army of between 6,000 and 7,000 troops consisted chiefly of militiamen and volunteers from southern states. Because of slow communications, news of the peace treaty between Britain and the United States that had been signed at Ghent (Dec. 24, 1814) did not reach the United States in time to avert the battle, in which Jackson's troops fought against 7,500 British regulars who stormed their position on Jan. 8, 1815. So effective were the earthworks and the barricades of cotton bales with which the Americans had fortified their position that the fighting lasted only half an hour, ending in a decisive U.S. victory and a British withdrawal. British casualties numbered more than 2,000 (289 killed); American, only 71 (31 killed). News of the victory reached Washington, D.C., at the same time as that of the Treaty of Ghent and did much to raise the low morale of the capital. The Battle of New Orleans greatly enhanced the reputation of Jackson as a national hero.
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