2021 Virtual Battle of New Orleans

Reenactors loadmuskets wearing early 19th century apparel.
A reenactor participates in the virtual 2021 commemoration of the Battle of New Orleans.

NPS

The 2021 commemoration of the Battle of New Orleans was held virtually. On this page you will find five videos:

  • Virtual Battle of New Orleans 1/4: "Leading Up to the Battle"
  • Virtual Battle of New Orleans 2/4: “Camp Life"
  • Virtual Battle of New Orleans 3/4: “Life in the 1800s”
  • Virtual Battle of New Orleans 4/4: “Black Powder”
  • 2021 Virtual Wreath Laying Ceremony
 
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Duration:
10 minutes, 13 seconds

The Battle of New Orleans was one of the final conflicts of the War of 1812. But what led to the war? Who was involved and why were we fighting? Find out what the events were that led to the culmination on January 8th, 1815.

 
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Duration:
8 minutes, 42 seconds

Who were the soldiers in the Battle of New Orleans? Both on the British and American sides, we look at the hardships they both faced and how morale played a factor in the actual conflict.

 
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Duration:
7 minutes, 47 seconds

It wasn’t just the soldiers on the field who experienced hardship. We explore what life was like in rural Louisiana in the 1800s, and who came out to defend the area during the War of 1812.

 
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Duration:
11 minutes, 14 seconds

It’s finally time to engage in the events of January 8th, 1815. What were the key moments in the battle, and what tactics made each side successful, and unsuccessful? We’ll also look at the weapons of the time and demonstrate our reproduction cannons and muskets.

 
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Duration:
7 minutes, 47 seconds

Although we are separate in the way we commemorate the battle this year, the National Park Service, St. Bernard Parish, and the office of the Lt. Governor have provided remarks for a virtual wreath laying ceremony. A wreath is laid on behalf of all who normally attend the commemoration.

 
Men dressed as soldiers fire a cannon under a veil of Spanish moss.
Soldiers fire a cannon during a reenactment of the Battle of New Orleans.

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The Many Battles of
New Orleans


Although the Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814, the War of 1812 was not over. The treaty specifically stated that fighting between the United States and Britain would stop only when both governments ratified the treaty; and so, the battles in and around New Orleans continued through December and into 1815.

December 14, 1814. A British fleet of gunboats was met in Lake Borgne, east of New Orleans, by a small flotilla of American gunboats. Outnumbered and unable to maneuver freely due to light winds, the Americans were defeated. But this delayed the British invasion fleet, which gave General Andrew Jackson more time to prepare defenses in New Orleans.
The British force crossed the lake and proceeded up Bayou Bienvenue to higher ground close to the Mississippi River.


December 23, 1814. Jackson sent two ships, Louisiana and Carolina, downriver to bombard the British encampment, followed by a force by land. The British were caught by surprise, making them think that American forces were stronger than they had anticipated. The attack caused more delay, allowing Jackson to continue to reinforce the defenses.

January 1, 1815. The British began an artillery barrage aimed primarily at a plantation house that served as Jackson's headquarters. Few casualties and little damage were done to the Americans, who responded with artillery that damaged some British guns.

January 8, 1815. The climactic battle was launched in the morning; the British advanced in formation across the sugarcane fields of Chalmette Plantation. The Americans were in a fortified position behind a canal and an earthen rampart, supported by artillery. This artillery devastated the advancing British, killing senior officers including the commanding general, Sir Edward Packenham. With no senior officer to lead them, the British retired from the field. Meanwhile, another British force had crossed the Mississippi River and had overrun the American defenders on the west side of the river. Their plan to recross the river and attack the Americans from the rear was thwarted as the British forces on the east side at Chalmette had been defeated. A few skirmishes took place in the days following, but the victory was complete, the invaders had been defeated, and New Orleans was saved.

February 15, 1815. Congress ratified the Treaty of Ghent, officially ending the War of 1812.

 
British soldiers and American soldiers aim muskets at each other.  Each side is flying their flag.
Andrew Jackson leads the American troops during the Battle of New Orleans.

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Last updated: January 13, 2021

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