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New Orleans After the Victory

After the British departed, Jackson redistributed his army and permitted some of the men to return to their homes in New Orleans. An enthusiastic Latin celebration of the victory followed. There were parades, a triumphal arch, and, as the climax of the celebration, a Te Deum at the cathedral, when the crowd outside joined in singing hymns of thanksgiving.

Even though Americans celebrated, their troubles were not over when the enemy left. The troops had long been exposed to every kind of weather, and now disease began to take a toll far heavier than the battle. Mrs. Jackson, arriving in February, wrote to a friend that nearly a thousand had thus died.

In those days, Jackson's task was not made easier by the rumors of peace that reached the city. Suspecting a ruse, he refused to believe anything until he had a fully confirmed official notice. He kept the militia under arms and New Orleans under martial law. The raising of the blockade boomed prices, and many of the citizen-soldiers were more anxious to speculate than to do irksome duty. Once the immediate danger was past, the Governor and the legislature resented Jackson's high-handed ways. Out of this situation grew a series of unpleasant incidents, culminating in a fine of $1,000 imposed on Jackson by a Federal judge for contempt of court. Jackson bore himself with dignity in the courtroom, and paid the fine. He quelled a popular demonstration in his favor, advising his friends to recognize the supremacy of the law.

At long last, indubitable news of peace came. Martial law was lifted on March 12, and Jackson began to release the troops.

Many of the fighters in Jackson's temporary army returned to their usual civilian ways. The Tennessee troops marched back over the Natchez Trace to their homes. General Carroll, their commander, later served six terms as Governor of his State. Others of Jackson's commanders were later prominent in civil life, including John Adair, who became Governor of Kentucky.

Some of the defenders, however, were adventurers with no civil occupation. Among these were the Baratarians. Because of their part in the battle, President Madison pardoned them for their early offenses, and they behaved for a while. Dominique You tried to be a New Orleans ward politician and died in poverty. Renato Beluche became an admiral in the Venezuelan Navy. Others returned to piracy and set up an "establishment" on Galveston Island. It was destroyed by the United States Navy after outrages had been committed by the pirates. Of Jean Lafitte's life after this incident, we can only say that he ". . . sailed away into the legendary realms from which he had come."


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Last Modified: Mon, Dec 2 2002 10:00:00 am PDT

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