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image of an old cannon on the front left of the image facing away from the cameran with a large tree to the right taking up most of the image
Battle of New Orleans site, Chalmette, Louisiana. Carol Highsmith Collection.

The Bicentennial of a Big Battle in New Orleans and the End of a War

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This is not a business post, but I am from New Orleans and wanted to acknowledge the bicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans and the end of the War of 1812. While the Battle of New Orleans was fought after the December 24, 1814 signing of the Treaty of Ghent that officially ended the war, January 8, 1815, is considered an important date in New Orleans history. The story of how Andrew Jackson and his men along with local citizens and the pirates led by Jean Lafitte, beat British forces has become part of the local lore.

There is much in collections of the Library of Congress related to the war and to the battle itself. The Manuscript Division has the papers of James Monroe, James Madison, and Andrew Jackson, as well as some of the papers of David Banister Morgan, commander of the Louisiana and Mississippi militia under General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. The Prints & Photographs Division has selected a number of images relating to the war which includes a number of images related to New Orleans and the Digital Reference Section has created a web guide on the war.

Mississippi River is off to the left the Cypress Swamps to the left with the property boundaries drawn in the middle with troops mostly around Jacksons Link in the middle with Macarty's plantation above
Troop alignments. Battle of New Orleans, Jan. 8th 1814. 1820.

There are a number of books on the topic, including one written in 1817, History of the American War of 1812, from the commencement, until the final termination thereof on the memorable eight of January, 1815, at New Orleans, and Theodore Roosevelt’s The Naval War of 1812. I was surprised to see a number of speeches and sermons – both pro and con – including an oration delivered on the 14th anniversary of the battle of New Orleans. Even more tantalizing was a British eyewitness account and a diary about the events in New Orleans. Centennial celebrations in 1915 meant commemorative material was published, including books like The Story of the Battle of New Orleans and Congress’ Celebration of the Treaty of Ghent.

Drawing shows British troops on the left American troops on the right with three figures on horses in the middle in front of an American flag
Battle of New Orleans and defeat of the British under the command of Sir Edward Packenham.

News sources are important and the Library’s collections include many of these both in microform and through subscription databases. One interesting resource, the Library’s Chronicling America project has digitized newspapers and is still helpful even though coverage doesn’t begin until 1836. The Ogden Standard published an article about the battle in New Orleans, while the Pacific Commercial Advertiser wrote about Andrew Jackson’s leadership in New Orleans. There were also articles, including Oliver Hazard Perry and the Battle of Lake Erie, the burning of Washington and the Capitol, and Francis Scott Key writing the Star Spangled Banner. (There are also several blog posts written by Library staff on this such as those on the Library’s main blog, Now See Hear!, and In the Muse).

To find more you can search our home page for digital items or search our catalog for books, manuscript collections, and other non-digital material.

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