Jean Lafitte
Historic Resource Study (Chalmette Unit)
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High above the ground on which the Battle of New Orleans was fought stands an Egyptian obelisk 100 feet 2-1/2 inches tall whose purpose is to commemorate the soldiers who fought there during the waning days of the War of 1812. [1] Yet the monument itself is almost as storied as the men and event it memoralizes. The history of the monument began in 1839, twenty-four years after the Battle of New Orleans, when a group calling itself the Young Men's Jackson Committee was organized for the purpose of building a suitable Memorial to Andrew Jackson and his men. [2] Although the committee was founded under a very complex constitution and began to raise funds in support of its project, these efforts failed. [3] One year later, however, while preparing to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the battle, another formalized body invited the former war hero and president to join in the celebration of remembrance. General Jackson accepted the invitation and arrived in New Orleans aboard the steamer Vicksburg on January 8, 1840, amidst great fanfare. [4]

On the same day a large throng gathered at the battlefield to see the former president and witness his participation in the laying of the cornerstone for a planned memorial at the site. But confusion in making the arrangements prevailed, and much to the crowd's disappointment and the organizers' chagrin, Jackson did not appear at the battlefield. Consequently, local arrangers were assailed the following day in the press when it reported:

[the enormous crowd came in] steamboats, towboats, railroad cars, coaches, cabs, cabriolets, hacks, horses, wagons, sand carts, go carts, hand carts, drays, dugouts, in short every description of land carriage and water craft. There were big bugs in buggies, and little niggers on foot, in short all orders were there, marching in most admired disorder to the battlefield and like "him of France" when they got there they right-faced home again [because]... there was no Jackson and no cornerstone. [5]

Jackson finally appeared at the battlefield two days later on a dreary, cold, winter day; whether he ever actually took part in a ceremony to lay a cornerstone for a future commemorative monument is still a matter of debate. [6] According to New Orleans historian John Smith Kendall:

A day after the departure of General Jackson (he left on January 13) it was ascertained that the Battleground Committee had chartered a steamboat and that a piece of granite with the inscription "Eighth of January, 1815" cut upon it was put aboard and taken to the scene of General Jackson's victory.... The stone was then placed, fixed or laid in some spot, position or situation, we don't know which, or what, by three or four gentlemen, all there were on board. Whatever the object was, whether they were hoaxed themselves, or tried to hoax others, is more than we can say. Time will tell the story.

Kendall concluded that "there was no ceremony whatever in connection with the laying of the cornerstone of a monument intended to commemorate one of the greatest battles in history...." [7] To date, no evidence of the alleged cornerstone has been found at the battlefield site. Perhaps its existence has become confused with that of a cornerstone Jackson laid in the Place d' Armes on January 13, 1840, the day he left New Orleans. When Jackson died five years later, numerous tributes were given in New Orleans to memoralize him. Yet the local press carried no word of renewed plans for a commemorative monument at the battle site. [8]

At least one proposal for a monument was generated by Jackson's friend, Jesse Duncan Elliott, who shortly before Jackson's death recommended a memorial to the general's victory over the British in 1815. [9] It is not known if Elliott's plan proceeded after Jackson died.

Interest in erecting a suitable memorial did not diminish with the passing of General Jackson. In January, 1851, New Orleans Mayor A. D. Crossman convened a public meeting for the purpose of erecting such a memorial. [10] That forum gave birth to the Jackson Monument Association whose members besides the mayor included Governor Joseph Walker, Lieutenant Governor Jean Baptiste Plauche, and Louisiana Secretary of State Charles Gayarre, along with the recorders of the three municipalities, Joseph Genois, James H. Caldwell, and Pierre Seuzeneau. [11] The group decided to raise funds for two memorials—one in Jackson Square and the other at the battlefield site. [12]

During its first six months of existence the Association succeeded in raising only slightly more than $4,000. A subsequent appeal to the Legislature (Act of February 29, 1852), brought official recognition to the Association along with appropriations of $10,000 for an equestrian statue in Jackson Square and $5,000 for a battlefield monument. [13] On March 18, 1852, the legislature authorized the governor to purchase "from the owners of the land a tract one arpent square on the line of the intrenchments occupied by Jackson's men on January 2, 1815" as a suitable site for the battlefield monument. [14] Nearly three years elapsed, however, before the transaction was consummated when the state purchased from Pierre Bachelott a tract known as the Chalmette Plain on which to erect the Jackson Monument. The cost of the property was exactly $5,000. [15]

Following acquisition of the land on Chalmette Plain, the Association began the selection of an appropriate design for the memorial structure. The Association addressed the issue in its 1855 Annual Report to the Legislature:

The Association are of the opinion that in order to carry out in a proper manner the manifest design of the State, that a shaft or column of at least 120 feet in height should be erected on the Battle Field, so as to form a conspicuous point of attraction and elevation which could be discerned at a distance of many miles and thus strike the beholder and always bring to mind the great event that occurred on that memorable spot. [16]

The report also stated that an undertaking of such magnitude was far beyond the financial means of the Association and the members reminded the Legislature that a decision must be made as to what further committments the state would agree to make to see the matter brought to fruition. [17]

Although the precise site for the battlefield monument was not selected until October, 1855, in April of that year, the Association started its review of final design submissions. [18] A design submitted by the Cook Brothers, who operated the Bellville Iron Works in nearby Algiers, proposed a 75-foot-high bronzed cast-iron structure. This proposal was quickly rejected by the Association. [19] Another proposal, consisting of four different designs was submitted jointly by Newton Richards and John Stroud and Company, both local stone dealers. [20] The designs were drawn to scale on a single sheet. All were patterned after Egyptian obelisks. One shaft had a crenelated parapet. Another lacked the parapet, but stood 150 feet tall with steps at the base and an ornamental door on each side. The other two designs were similar, but proposed smaller monuments. [21]

Following much discussion, Association members formally adopted the submittal by Richards and Stroud and Company on May 30, 1855. [22] The winning plan called for a marble shaft 150 feet high, 16 feet 8 inches square at the base above the foundation, and 12 feet 6 inches square at the apex. [23] (Constructed dimensions at the base were revised to 14 feet 2 inches square). [24] Bids were subsequently requested and the only bidder, Richards and Stroud, was officially awarded the contract on August 30, 1855. [25] In accordance with the contract, payments for the prescribed work were to be scheduled as follows:

21. Ibid, pp. 16, 19. In Newton Richards's time (the early Victorian age) many architects designed buildings in classical Graeco-Roman, Gothic, and, occasionally, Egyptian styles. Of the three types, the Egyptian was better adapted to monuments than houses and Richards wisely chose the clean, spirelike obelisk as most suitable. Egyptian obelisks were usually of monolithic pieces of granite and their lofty, imposing appearance had so impressed later Europeans that they patiently removed them from Egypt and laboriously re-erected them in such cities as Rome, Paris, London and Istanbul.

1stWhen the excavation is made and the timber for the foundation laid$1,000
2ndWhen the brick work of the foundation is built from bottom six feet high3,900
3rdWhen the brick work of the foundation is built to its height, ready to commence the shaft upon3,900
4thWhen the shaft of the monument is built up to the height of at least fourteen feet, frontices, cornices, and stairway included5,000
5thFor the next two sections of fourteen feet in height, $4, 000 each8,000
6thFor the next six successive sections of fourteen feet in height, $4, 500 each27,000
7thWhen the last section, of sixteen feet in height which completes the work, and the doors, steps and everything is finished, the balance, viz...8,200

By early 1856 the foundation work was completed and awaited construction of the superstructure. According to the Association's official report to the Legislature, the first three construction milestones had been met by the contractor and the commensurate payments made by the Association. Unfortunately, however, progress on the project thereafter began to wane. As previously noted, the Association had been charged with erection of the equestrian statue of Jackson in Jackson Square as well as of the monument on Chalmette Plain. Work on both projects began with an available treasury of nearly $60,000. Total cost of the statue in Jackson Square was more than $33,000, and by the time work was to commence on the Chalmette monument's superstructure little more than $12,000 remained, a sum far less than that required to complete the specified work. [27]

Because Association reports to the Legislature ceased in 1856, [28] it is difficult to determine precisely what happened after that date. Work continued intermittently on the project as evidenced by accounts from the local press which provide some data about progress on the monument over the next several years. Soon after the statue in Jackson Square was finished the Daily Picayune noted that "Erection of the monumental obelisk on the Chalmette battle plains was being rapidly prosecuted; there was material on the ground for about sixty feet of the intended 150-foot shaft of white marble...." [29]

In 1857 the Legislature appropriated $15,000 more for the Chalmette monument, but by February, 1859, this, too, was almost gone. Reported the Daily Picayune:

With $3,100.00 available and $31,000.00 needed, Chalmette Battle Ground monument commissioners were suggesting that more ground was available than was required and that part be sold to pay for laying out the grounds and making enclosures. [30]

Nonetheless, after completion of the 1859 contract, no further work was accomplished on the project for a long time. Sketches of the monument made at least as late as 1873, show it as incompleted, topped off with a temporary wooden roof.

The lack of readily available funds to complete work on the monument was the most significant factor to the near demise of the project prior to the Civil War. A major reason for the dearth of funding support was that many of the Association's leaders died during this period and were not replaced. Governor Walker died in 1855, Chairman Crossman in 1854, and General Plauche in 1860; no one filled the vacancies to continue the lobbying efforts. [31] Furthermore, the outbreak of war and its concomitant hostilities doubtless stalled the project, as did the turmoil of twelve years of postwar reconstruction in the South. [32]

Thus, nearly fifty years after inception of the project only an "unfinished stump" stood on the Chalmette Plain as a painful reminder of the state's failure to complete it. [33] During that hiatus from activity, persons occasionally raised the issue to public consciousness. A Civil War soldier, Private Elisha Stockwell, noted the dilapidated condition of the unfinished monument and recorded his observations in his field diary:

We went into camp a little below New Orleans on General Jackson's old battlefield where the Battle of new Orleans was fought in the War of 1812. It had been used for truck gardening. It was a dead-level piece of land with ditches every few rods square for the water to settle away. It was, I should guess, fourteen feet lower than the Mississippi River. It rained several days while we were here, and the ditches were full of water for a week. We had our pup tents staked to the ground so had to lay on the ground....

There was a monument a little way from camp to commemorate the battle. It was built of brick. It was round, about twelve feet across at the ground, and I don't remember how high, but it was over one hundred feet [sic]. An iron stair inside wound to the top. It was a sightly place at the top. The monument wasn't finished, and there were a lot of bricks around there.

Some boys in another company got some of them and built a Dutch oven of them, using mud for mortar. [34]

Some twenty years later another visitor described the memorial:

Upon the site stands a monument of marble about sixty feet high, upon a brick foundation, fifteen feet wide at its base. An iron staircase winds around a circular brick column to the top. Small slits to admit light, but not convenient for purposes of observation, occur at intervals. The top is covered with warped boards, and some of the top stones are fallen. A general air of decay prevails about the structure. The approach appears to be through private grounds, but access is willingly given. [35]

And the January 18, 1891, edition of the Daily Picayune carried the following commentary on the "neglecte and forsaken Jackson Monument":

A grateful government and its people began its erection. There were imposing ceremonies. Distinguished men were present and eloquent speeches were declaimed. The popular heart was stirred to enthusiasm. A single but stately structure was begun. Then a busy people forgot and the monument stands a broken column, dank and ivy grown. Of all Louisiana's illustrious sons who assisted in the dedication, Judge Charles Cayarro [Gayarre] is the only survivor. His dimming vision rests upon the glories of the past and in that mediance of recollection the marble of the monument "searce half made up" in all unsulled. [36]

The seemingly ill-fated project provoked some complaint from the public. In August, 1890, a disgruntled visitor to the area vented his displeasure to the Times-Democrat:

Having recent occasion to accompany a party to the monument, I cannot refrain from an expression of disgust as a result of the trip. The approach from the river is through a narrow lane, so grown up in weeds and underbrush that even the narrow footpath is almost impassible for ladies by reason of this growth, reaching to eight or ten feet in height. The cultivated field, which formerly left a reasonable open space about the base of the monument, has been extended until its fences are now within twenty-five feet of same and the entire inclosure surrounding the monument is filled with weeds and rank vegetation eight or ten feet high, and without even footpaths by which the structure can be approached.

I believe the ground is public property, and have a recollection of reading that it is in charge of Tulane University, or some other similar public institution. Can you not, in the name of common decency invoked by the innate patriotism of every American, inaugurate some reform in existing conditions or, failing in this, wage such a war upon the negligent authorities who permit so flagrant an outrage as will result in a public sentiment sufficiently strong to force them to their duty to the country and this community?

The revenue derived from the lease of this property must be used for some purpose. At least a portion of it should be used for cutting down the weeds grown and otherwise making the place at least accessible if not presentable. Yours,


Even the state was embarassed by its role in the failure. In 1885 the Legislature passed legislation "agreeing to cede...the property to the federal government," with provision that it finish the remaining 45 feet within five years. [38] Yet the federal government took no immediate action, although it held local title to the grounds and monument between 1888 and 1893.

In 1893 the recently formed Louisiana Society United States Daughters 1776 and 1812, through the efforts of its president, Mrs. Mathilde A. Bailey, assumed a keen interest in the monument. [39] That initial interest, which soon became a crusade reaching not only to the state capitol but to the halls of Congress and to the White House, had stemmed from a letter that appeared in one of the New Orleans papers. [40] Writing of the event, the group's historian, Mrs. Edwin X. deVercus, remembered that

some time in the year 1893, a letter was published in one of the local newspapers, calling attention to the neglected condition of the Chalmette battle ground and the unfinished monument. It was then that the United States Daughters of 1776 and 1812 conceived the idea to take up this work as their special privilege, believing that this society should be the proper guardian of the battle ground upon which had raged one of the most valiant conflicts in American history. [41]

The Daughters began corresponding with Governor Murphy J. Foster about the matter. Governor Foster, along with state Senator Albert Estopinal and Louisiana Attorney General M.J. Cunningham, became initial champions of the Society's cause. On June 10, 1894, Senator Estopinal introduced a bill that would place the state's interest (which had reverted back from the federal government) into the hands of Mrs. Bailey and "her little band of seven patriotic women." [42] To make the transaction legal, the Daughters meantime became a duly chartered organization under the laws of the state of Louisiana. [43]

With successful passage of Senator Estopinal's bill, the state presented the new owners of the unfinished monument two appropriations of $1,000 each. Recorded Mrs. deVercus:

with this [money] and the meager revenue derived from the sale of pecans, wood and the rental of pastures [the Society] built a keeper's lodge, cleared and drained the grounds, placed an iron fence and gate across the front, repaired old fences and put up new ones where necessary, built a mound for the monument, replaced twenty-one iron steps inside and placed a temporary top until such time as they could complete the Chalmette Monument. [44]

After these repairs were made and the grounds were cleaned up, the Daughters' attention turned to raising the necessary funds to complete the unfinished work. The first fund raising proposal offered by Mrs. Bailey called for the Society to issue public bonds, redeemable on a yearly basis with funds derived from rental of portions of the 160 acres that surrounded the monument. While this idea originally met with great favor from the membership, it soon appeared untenable and after much discussion the Daughters decided not to follow through with it. [45]

Subsequent fund raising efforts initiated by the Daughters apparently were successful. In 1896 the Society commissioned the architectural firm of Faurot and Livaudias to prepare plans and specifications and to request bids for completion of the monument. [46] Consequently, three bids, ranging between $6,800 and $7,282 were received, prompting Livaudias to note that the funds were insufficient for the work to be done. [47] The Daughters minutes reflected that "the bids were not satisfactory" and were not accepted. [48] Once again it appeared that, despite some private donations, efforts of the Daughters to raise sufficient funds to ensure completion and perpetual care of the monument were doomed to fail.

In 1902, Mrs. John B. Richardson, who had succeeded Mrs. Bailey as Daughters president, followed up on a suggestion given her by the Honorable Robert Broussard, and prevailed upon Louisiana Legislator Clement Story to introduce a bill that would again cede the unfinished monument and surrounding grounds to the United States Government with renewed hopes that it might complete the monument and return ownership to the Society. [49] Over the next five years proponents of the effort, including Representative Adolph Meyer, labored faithfully until the last day of the congressional session in 1907, when Congress appropriated $25,000 to complete the monument. [50]

The catalyst for securing final congressional approval was a report prepared in 1906 by Alfred F. Theard, a civil engineer, who at the behest of the Daughters conducted a personal inspection of the structural condition of the unfinished monument. In later recounting this event, Theard wrote:

About three years ago, at the request of one of my personal friends and of the ladies who form the membership of the United States Daughters of 1776 and 1812, I made an investigation of the then existing conditions at the Chalmette Monument. I studied closely the conditions under which the work had been planned and partly executed, and thereafter submitted a written report covering the result of my investigation and making some suggestions as to the continuance of the work. These suggestions were submitted to and approved by these ladies. I never even suspected at the time that I was about to put myself in a peck of trouble.

What I had done was done because of my sympathy with those who were striving to make this monument a fitting tribute to the memory of the heroes of 1815, and I felt honored to have been called upon to help along this good cause. But the friendship of the gentleman who had spoken to me made him look upon my work as though through a magnifying glass, and he so impressed the ladies with the importance of my suggestions that my report was used as one of the documents to solicit federal aid and to support the strong case admirably presented to Congress by their association. Within fourteen months after the first investigation, I think in March, 1907, Congress appropriated the sum of $25,000 to cover the entire cost of the improvement recommended. The victory which was won proved the influence of the distinguished ladies who had helped this cause, had gone to Washington, appeared before the committee of Congress, and, by an eloquent appeal, obtained a favorable report and finally secured this appropriation which made the work possible. [51]

The legislation appropriating the funds also required the Secretary of War to appoint a three-member commission to oversee the selection of a suitable design to finish the monument. On completion, care of the structure and the surrounding grounds was to be entrusted to the Daughters. [52]

Shortly after passage of the legislation, Captain James F. McIndoe, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, was appointed superintendent of the project to complete the monument. [53] McIndoe immediately hired Theard as project Engineer, [54] and in early July Theard began a complete structural investigation of the unfinished monument. Theard's account of his work contains many particulars governing the early construction and completion of the monument and is quoted at length below:

[I] commenced a thorough investigation of the actual conditions at the monument. Considering it absolutely necessary from a professional standpoint, I had, at my own expense, excavations made, and exposed the entire west side of the foundations down to the bottom. I desired to ascertain the exact condition of these foundations before attempting to increase the load then carried. Of course I felt reasonably safe, because this unfinished shaft, built within a few hundred feet from the river, had withstood the fury of the elements for over fifty years,—quite a severe test, particularly for the parts exposed to the weather. And if any signs of settlement were apparent, they were so slight that they need not be considered....

The design selected [in 1855]..., while less elaborate and expensive than the most costly, was undoubtedly, in my opinion, the most appropriate and the most beautiful. It consisted of a plain shaft, 142 ft. high, resting on five steps, each 2 ft. high, and starting about 2 ft. 6 in. above the natural surface of the ground; the shaft to be 16 ft. 8 in. square at the base, and 12 ft. 6 in. at the top; the base of the shaft on the four faces to have corniced projections surmounted with sculptured emblems; one of these to serve as an entrance to a spiral stairway leading to a chamber at the top; the stair being lighted by small openings at regular intervals; both shaft and base to be faced with marble.

The work had been partly erected and a careful examination confirmed me in the belief that what was done had been done in accordance with the specifications annexed to the original contract, and with a view of the carrying out of the work as originally contemplated. Indeed, the foundations, as specified, were to consist of a double floor of 8-in. timbers laid transversely 54 ft. square; then a thickness of 20 ft. of brick work, 53 ft. square diminished by gradual offsets of 2 ft. 6 in. each, at every 2 ft. above the natural surface, to a square of 22 ft. at a point 3 in. below the marble facing of the shaft.

I copy the original specifications for this item:

A flooring of timber is to be laid in the bottom of the excavation to start the brickwork upon. It is to be 54 ft. square, formed of two courses of sound timbers, each to be 8 in. thick, one course to be laid transversely across the other and to be fastened at every alternate crossing, both courses, with tree nails of 1-1/2 in. diameter. The pieces of timber all to be straight, laid close together and thoroughly rammed down to a solid, even and level bearing and the joints, interstices if any, thoroughly filled with mortar in each course as it is laid. The cross timbers will be laid under the longitudinal timbers on one side and upon them on the opposite side of the foundation, so that the long timbers may all cross each other at all the four corners of the foundation. The timbers to an extent of 12 ft. square in the center of the floor are to be disconnected from the surrounding ones.

I have read this particular description because I wanted you to note the peculiar provision for any future movement or settlement by this independent platform, 12 ft. by 12 ft., in the center of the square area.

The shaft was 56 ft. 10 in. above the line at which, the top of the step would meet it; this step or base being, if completed, about 12 ft. 6 in. above the natural surface. From the natural level to this point, a mound extended around the base of the monument, with a diameter of about 185 ft. At the foot of the mound was a ditch which drained the entire plot. At the top of the shaft the very crude wooden cover (an ordinary flooring on five pieces of 4 in. by 12 in. laid crosswise) showed conclusively that neither the designer nor the Jackson Monument Association ever intended to leave the work at this point. The large mound which covered the entire base had been placed there, a few years before 1906, not to form part of the ultimate structure, but merely to serve as a protection for the uncompleted base, and no doubt accomplished its purpose.

I was pleased to find the foundations in a perfect condition. The timbers were in a remarkable state of preservation....

The first two or three courses of brick had been exposed to the weather for a long time before the mound was placed over them and the mortar was either entirely removed from the joints or crumpled into a soft powder, but when these three outside courses were removed the brickwork was in a perfect condition. The marble facing of the shaft was very much soiled from its long exposure to dust and rain. The visitors to the Chalmette Monument, perhaps through a desire of becoming famous by their close, very close, association with this monument, or probably through their craving for the slow destruction of all monuments,—these visitors, numbering hundreds of thousands, were responsible for the miserable condition of the interior of this historic shaft.

Using 108 lb. per cu. ft. of masonry, and 50 lb. per cu. ft. of timber, I figured that the foundations carried a load of nearly 2000 tons, or about 1350 lb. to the square foot, exlusive of the wedge of dirt which formed the mound. I estimated that I would add approximately not over 200 lb. per sq. ft. to the load, and I concluded this was perfectly safe under the conditions found. The total load actually carried is 4 375000 lb. or very nearly 1500 lb. per sq. ft. [55]

Based upon Theard's 1906 report and construction documents prepared subsequently, a construction contract was awarded to Captain Milton P. Doullut, who commenced work in January, 1908. [56]

As previously indicated, a major design concession had to be made in Theard's final recommendations when compared to Richards's earlier proposal. Theard had determined that while the height of the monument could be increased, it could not be increased to the 150 foot mark originally proposed in Richards's design. Theard's revised design called for a maximum height of approximately 100 feet, the result of which caused the somewhat shortened appearance of the completed monument. This "squattiness" results from the fact that a true obelisk incorporates a height of nine-to-ten times its width at the base. [57] By this formula, the Chalmette Monument should be 126-140 feet high (nine-to-ten times its approximate 14-foot width at the base) rather than its actual 100 feet 2-1/2 inches.

Doullut's contract called for completion of all specified work within one year. He subcontracted with Victor Huber, a monument contractor, to face the entire structure with marble. That subcontract proved no easy task to fulfill as the original marble quarry in Tuckahoe, New York, was no longer in operation. Fortunately, Tuckahoe marble had been used extensively in other building projects in the New Orleans area, and Huber was able to salvage enough to complete the work. White Georgia marble was used for building the original steps around the base and for lining the observatory. The contract also provided for the interior iron steps to be continued up to the observation level which was to contain twelve bronze grilled openings with glazed sashes. [58]

Doullut completed his work on the monument near the end of 1908 when it was accepted by the War Department. Shortly thereafter a bronze tablet was installed inside the monument bearing the following inscription:

Monument to the memory of the American soldiers who fell in the Battle of New Orleans at Chalmette, Louisiana, January 8th, 1815. Work begun in 1855 by Jackson Monument Association. Monument placed in custody of United States Daughters of 1776 and 1812 on June 14, 1894. Monument and grounds ceded unto the United States of America by the State of Louisiana on May 24, 1907.

Completed in 1908 under the provisions of an Act of Congress approved March 4th, 1907. [59]

Theard was obviously pleased with the monument's completion, a feeling he later shared with his engineering colleagues when he told them:

I will say that the work was done well, and, in my opinion, the monument, so far, is completed in a fit and appropriate way, and that it will forever be a credit, not only to those who have planned and designed it; not only to those who have generously contributed to its erection; not only to him in whose honor it was erected, the gallant and respected American, Andrew Jackson; not only to those who have lost their lives in the great battle which it commemorates; but that it will, as well, become the pride of these good ladies, who, by their indefatigable zeal, patriotism, devotion and respect for the achievements of their forefathers, succeeded in getting this great monument completed after it had been abandoned and nearly forgotten. [60]

Although the monument was at last completed, specific provisions to enhance the landscaping around it had not yet been made. This oversight concerned Theard, and he later suggested that, if sufficient land could be acquired, a 100 foot-wide roadway be contructed between the monument and the Chalmette National Cemetery. Should such a proposal be determined impossible, Theard further suggested that a road lined with stone walkways be built to connect the monument and the existing public road. [61]

Theard estimated that the overall construction cost for the monument was around $65,000. [62] Documented costs, not including the $5,000 for land acquisition, were as follows:

Paid to contractors to Feb. 20, 1856$9,161.00
Money remaining after completion of Jackson Square statue and used for Chalmette monument12,153.00
State appropriation of 185715,000.00

Federal appropriation of 1907 to complete monument25,000.00

Total Cost$61,314.00[63]

After seventy frustrating years the Chalmette monument, at long last, was finished with appropriate celebration. The March 17, 1909 Daily Picayune gave an account of the event:

Keys of the Chalmette Monument were presented yesterday afternoon to Mrs. Victor Meyer, President of the United States Daughters of 1776 and 1812 by Lieutenant Colonel [Lansing] Beach, United States Engineer, under whose supervision the final work of the completion of the monument by the United States Government has been made. Colonel Beach made a short address in which he complimented the patriotic women on their efforts to appropriately commemorate the heroes of Chalmette and he took much pleasure in handing to them the keys of the monument of which they are now the official custodians.

The little ceremony of yesterday places the United States Daughters of 1776-1812 in charge of the monument, whose maintenance they will be responsible for under the agreement.

The following letter was received by Mrs. Meyer from Secretary Wright of the War Department:

War Department
Washington, March 15, 1909.     

Madam: The act of Congress providing for the completion of the monument to the memory of the American soldiers who fell in the battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812 contains the following provision:

"That when said monument is completed the responsibility for maintaining the same and keeping the grounds surrounding it shall remain with the United States Daughters of 1776 and 1812, free of any expense or responsibility on the part of the Government of the United States."

Pursuant to the foregoing, I have the honor to inform you that the monument is now completed and hereby committed to the charge and keeping of the organization.

An acknowledgement of the receipt thereof is requested. Very respectfully.

Secretary of War.

Theard's concerns over the landscaping around the memorial went unheeded for some time. Completion of the monument, however, did not silence critics on this issue as witnessed by the following exchanges that appeared in the local press as late as 1911. [64]

"What is that, a lighthouse?" the tourist asked, gazing up at the imposing shaft erected by some one to mark the spot whereon Andrew Jackson won his victory over the British in 1815.

"I don't know." replied one who stood near. "Here on the door we see U.S. raised in a brass tablet. As I came up the walk from the levee I noticed several signs which ordered 'no trespass'.

"I'll take a shot at it anyway," said the man with the kodak. "Perhaps someone in New Orleans can tell me what it is."

Whoever makes his way afoot from the terminus of the Levee and Barracks car line at the plant of the American Sugar Refinery to the Chalmette field and monument does so at the cost of much walking and inconvenience.

First he sees a sign which says in effect: "This road is private property." Persons using it will be prosecuted. Forsaking the road he mounts the levee. He stumbles over half a dozen iron pipes, climbs several bridges and if he is lucky reaches the open levee after hardships.

Thinking he has won his freedom he proceeds down the levee until he comes to the Frisco terminals. The terminals consist of a "slip" [present Chalmette slip] which, it is said, will hold seven ships. The slip cuts across the levee. The problem is, how to get on the other side.

With difficulty the pedestrian has to make his way around the slip in order to reach his objective point on the lower side. He is compelled to walk on the top of massive concrete walls, about two and a half feet in width, making a circular detour, which brings him the distance of several squares out of the way before he strikes the river front again.

The shaft referred to is none other than the Chalmette monument, which was erected in the forties [sic] to mark the place where the great battle in which Jackson conquerred [sic] the British was fought. The shaft was originally erected by private subscriptions on land owned by the state of Louisiana. A number of years ago the control of the monument passed into the hands of the Daughters of 1776-1812....

The best access from New Orleans to the Chalmette monument by vehicle at the present time is the rear shell road, which one must take and travel down as far as Fazendeville Lane. Chance proceed in the direction of the river, leaving only, a short run up to the monument. This round-about way for autos or other vehicles was caused by the changing of the public highway several years ago from the front to the rear, owing to the construction of the Chalmette slip. The front public road is closed to traffic, under a St. Bernard police jury ordinance, from Friscoville avenue to a short distance below Port Chalmette, where the rear shell road again joins the public road along the river front. Pedestrians afoot are not molested in using the closed road, but they have many obstructions to contend with before reaching the monument.

New Orleans, Feb. 18, 1911.

Editor Picayune: The writer has long been impressed by the vast importance of the battle fought just ninety-six years ago on the field at Chalmette in defense not only of New Orleans, but of the entire country. Had the American army suffered defeat the city would have shared the fate of Badajos and Roderigo, and the barbarous scenes that accompanied the capture and sack of those cities, with the massacre of their garrisons, would inevitably have been re-enacted by the same men upon this fair shore, and it is more than likely that notwithstanding the recently enacted treaty, the British programme would have been carried out, comprehending as it did the reduction by their three fleets of all our coast cities, and the loosing of the Indian tribes upon the inhabitants of the interior. The immediate results of the enemy's defeat was the utter demoralization of the "Wellington Heroes," who had never before known defeat, the withdrawal of fleets and armies and the beginning of the withdrawal of all garrisons from the gulf to the Canadas, while England for the first time recognized the fact that the colonies had passed from her grasp forever and a new nation had been born into the world. Besides these facts, the battle itself was one of the deadliest and briefest recorded by history, with the fewest casualties upon the side of the victors.

These consideration[s] should serve to make the place notable to every particular, and it was with the expectation of finding a full record of the significant facts borne upon the monument and upon the surface of the place that the writer recently visited the place of combat. Instead of a broad, level and well-kept road leading direct to the monument, he found that after he left the street railway he had yet two miles to walk over a very indifferent road. Further on he found an immense sugar mill thrusting itself close across the way and prohibiting trespass under pains and penalties beyond a slip, or bay, leading inland from the river, designed no doubt for the convenience of trading and unloading boats, but compelling two tired pedestrians to walk an extra half mile to get around it and climb up and down several steep stairways to surmount certain buildings of the company. Arrived at the grounds, the pilgrim is confronted by sign-boards warning him not to trespass at his peril; but leaving him in doubt as what may be regarded as trespass. Once at the foot of the monument one finds it shapely, well constructed and of good material, but otherwise the most profoundly ignorant monument one has ever encountered. It knows nothing of the tremendous tragedy enacted under its shadow; it gives no excuse for its being. If the exterior remains anything it is only to him who has the key in the iron door that churlishly keeps out the inquirer not so provided. It is said that the monument stands on the spot where was planted our flag on the red day in history. But where was the battle line? Is yon shallow ditch all that remains of the famous Rodriguez Canal, or did it follow the line framed by those willows? Where stood the redoubt that was carried and held by the daring enemy for a brief period? Where was placed batteries No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3. Ah! one dimly remembers that No. 3 was manned by the red-shirted Baratarians who fought like their father, the devil, on that tremendous day. One also remembers that away to the left, placed partly to the swamp to prevent the enemy from turning our flank, was Coffey's [sic] hardy Tennesseans, standing in mud and water, but regarding it not, intent only upon doing their part in the action. One remembers, too, that over yonder the gallant Pakenhem, who tried to stop the barbarities of his men at Roderigo, fell mortally wounded, was carried to the rear and died not long afterwards, etc. But these are dim memories of the written record. Why does not this tall, voiceless statue, with its four faces for inscriptions, telling the story afresh upon the very spot where it was dramatized? Why are there no markers to show where the different bodies of riflemen and batterymen stood that day? Why do not the nearby barracks furnish daily guards to prevent defacement (some worthless ass has written his name at large on one of the facets) and to prevent trespass, assist the pilgrim and incidentally imbibe some of the aspirations of the place? Why is there not a good, broad road leading straight to the ground where the battle was fought, and where may stand the monument inscribed on all its sides with story that cannot be better taught than here. Is it the state or city government that is at fault? Respectively,

Crawfordsville, Ind.

And in response the Daughters wrote: [65]

It was with unbounded astonishment and intense annoyance that the U. S. D.'s 1776 and 1812 read the article of the Chalmette Monument contained in the Item of the 2d instant, an article unequalled for misstatements of facts, gross inaccuracies and lack of justice to those who deserve so well of Louisianians by having removed what the Item itself styles a standing reproach to the community, and which Gov. Foster, at the time, called "The disgrace of Louisiana."

The ladies who composed the society of the U. S. D. 1776 and 1812, in 1893 had their attention called to the desolate condition of the monument, commenced by private subscriptions, on land bought by the State for the purpose, by an indignant letter from the Rev. Mr. Mallard. The first president, of her own initiative, wended her way to the neglected spot and found, after hunting some time, a stout "pieux" fence, intended to keep out sentimental pilgrims, and keep in the droves of cattle that luxuriated in the rail grass.

A four-foot lane, hedged on either side by the "pieux" fence, was churned and trampled by the droves of cattle that daily found their way to pastures beyond. A thousand feet of this "via" dolorosa was by the help of the interstices of the "pieux" fence, at last ended, when to the left stood, in all its ignominy, the unfinished and abandoned "Chalmette Monument."

How depict the ruin of this splendidly planned shaft, destined by the progenitors to speak of the valor of the American troops, and which then was only eloquent of the sordid greed of those into whose hands it had fallen!

Roused by this terrible-condition, the first president laid the matter before her associates, with the result that the society petitioned the Governor and Legislature to put in their keeping the sad spot.

In order that this could be legally done, on April 17, 1894, the society was incorporated, and began its labor of love, the restoration of the monument.

Senator Estopinal, then dean of the State Senate, became the active sponsor for the society, and finally on June 16, notified the president that, by Act No. 6, the society had been put in possession.

The society has never appealed to the general public for funds, and has done all its work with rents from the pasturelands, donations from interested outsiders, among them D. H. Holmes and Mr. McLelland, and finally, by an appropriation of $1000, obtained by the first president from the Legislature, this sum being the first State funds ever intrusted to women....

Finally, Mrs. John H. Richardson, Mrs. Bailey's successor as president,... at the suggestion of Hon. Robert Broussard, induced Mr. Clem Story, in 1902, to introduce a bill ceding to the United States the monument and grounds, with the hope that eventually Congress might appropriate an amount sufficient to complete it.

Gen. Adolph Meyer and Senator Foster labored faithfully to that end, but without results, until the last day of the session of 1907, when Senator Foster succeeded in having the bill passed in the Senate, and at the eleventh hour Gen. Meyer rushed it through the House, the opposition to it having at the last moment, being withdrawn, this undoubtedly being due to the appearance of Mrs. W. O. Hart before the Libraries Committee. Gen. Meyer having succeeded in calling this committee in special session, in order to hear Mrs. Hart.

It would be useless to enter into the details of the work done, from the turning over of the first spadeful of earth by Mrs. Hart, president to the surrendering of the key of the completed shaft to Mrs. Victor Meyer, Mrs. Hart's successor to the presidency, by Col. Lansing H. Beach, the representative of the United States.

Now to the Item's other criticisms. The Society of the U. S. D.'s 1776 and 1812 cannot undertake to instruct all the ignoramuses who may find their way to the monument if they cannot decipher the inscription wrought over the iron gateway, leading into the grounds, "Chalmette Monument," nor supplement their historical knowledge, if those words convey no meaning.

The U. S. on the bronze doors of the monument are the sign manual of the United States, the only inscription allowed on the doors of all national monuments.

The warning to vehicles is put there for the especial purpose of preventing reckless drivers from plowing up the lawns and destroying the schillinger walks put down at much expense, by the society and not by the United States.

If those who complain that the doors are kept locked could appreciate the vandalism of the "visitors," the least of which was the breaking of the glass in the bronze doors, they surely would consider it a very little effort if their purpose was legitimate to ask and return the key to the portress.

As to the obstructed road leading to Chalmette, the society fails to see how it can be held responsible for the Frisco slips, or the St. Bernard police jury who gave the Frisco the power of obliterating the levee road and substituting the road at the back, and the society would thankfully hail a restoration of the old order of things.

Until then we hope that this short and, we trust satisfactory, expose of the position of the U. S. D.'s 1776 and 1812, will be considered in ample reply to the Item.

The nature and extent of any improvements in access to the monument, and the landscaping around it that might have been made as a result of these and similar laments is not fully known. Evidently, some improvements were made under the Daughters and others prepared to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, and to formally dedicate the monument six years after its completion. On January 9, 1915, The New Orleans Morning Star gave a vivid account of the previous day's grand celebration, attended by descendants of battle participants, representatives of the United States and British governments, and several thousand spectators:

Down on the historic Plains of Chalmette, on the very spot where the great Battle of New Orleans was fought one hundred years ago, there was unveiled on this Friday, January 8, the splendid monument that commemorates the events and which will tell to ages yet unborn how the "raw," but brave and patriotic American troops defeated the trained men, who had conquered Napoleon, and how with this victory, they laid the foundation for that century of peace which this Century celebration so forcefully emphasizes.

The dedication of the monument, whose erection commenced by the State of Louisiana over a half century ago, was [observed] through the earnest efforts of a patriotic organization of women, the daughters of 1776-1812, who formed the special event of the first day's program. It was one of the most impressive ceremonies ever witnessed by this city, and stirred with patriotic ardor the hearts of the thousands who witnessed it.

The day began with the firing of a salute of twenty-one guns from the head of Canal street at 8:20 o'clock Friday morning—the very hour when the last cannon shot was sent across the American ramparts in pursuit of the retreating British one hundred years ago. Immediately, after the reception of distinguished guests in the Mayor's parlors the special river steamers bearing the official guests of honor, members of the Louisiana Historical Society and the Daughters of 1776-1812 moved off the head of Canal street for the Battlefield of Chalmette. The steamer Hanover carried the official guests and the steamer Samson, the patriotic order of 1776-1812, composed only of lineal descendants of the heroes of the battles of 1776-1812.

A crowd, estimated at more than 14,000 persons, massed on the Chalmette field to witness the events. Every transportation medium—boat, train and street car—was taxed to the utmost capacity by the crowd, and there were hundreds left behind.

The Seventh Infantry's "Escort to the Colors" proved one of the most interesting events of the elaborate program at the battlefield.

January 8, 1815, following the retreat of the British, the "Fighting Seventh," which played a big part in the battle, went through the "Escort to the Colors" on the Chalmette field. Every year since this regiment has observed the ceremony on the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. The repetition of the beautiful service on the centennial of the battle, on the very spot where the Seventh Infantry won its greatest military honors, thrilled every man who took part or merely looked on.

The speakers and invited guests occupied a stand directly in front of the monument. School children of St. Bernard and New Orleans stood on the steps of the monument. To the left, in another stand, was the orchestra and the leaders of the school children's chorus. Patriotic airs were played or sung between each number of the program.

A thousand rifles flashed in the sunlight and came to position at port arms; a vast sea of humanity moved by one impulse uncovered heads in reverent homage; from a thousand youthful throats swelled the strains of "America." Three gunshots gave the signal, and the Stars and Stripes moved gracefully up the halyard to the summit of the stone obelisk that commemorates Andrew Jackson's victory over the British one hundred years ago.

The Chalmette Monument to this glorious achievement of American arms at last had been dedicated. A moment later, in token of recognition of the century of peace between English-speaking peoples, the British flag was raised on the monument.

The ceremonies began with the solemn invocation by the Rev. Geo. H. Cornelson, Jr.

Hon. Luther Hall, Governor of Louisiana, greeted the visitors in the name of the State in the following felicitous manner:

"This day, one hundred years ago, was fought the last battle between the United States of America and Great Britain. We are assembled on that battlefield, hallowed by the heroic blood of the brave men who fell in the memorable conflict, not to speak of the glories of war, but to commemorate the one hundred years of peace that has reigned uninterruptedly between these great nations. We are here to rejoice that a century has passed in peace between them and that the ties of friendship are growing stronger as time rolls on.

"It is not for me to dwell on the story, but to give salutation to all on this occasion. I extend to you, in the name of the State of Louisiana, most cordial greeting."

At the conclusion of his remarks the Governor introduced Hon. T.P. Thompson as the master of ceremonies.

Mr. Thompson, in turn, presented Mrs. M.H. Stem, of the United Daughters of 1776 and 1812, who delivered an address of welcome. She represented the descendants of the men who heard the last shot fired in anger between the English speaking nations.

Responding in the name of the President of the United States, Andrew J. Peters, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, gave expression to the official attitude of the country with regard to the celebration of the peace centenary. The Government of the United States, he told the English and Canadian delegates, joins with Louisiana in glorifying a century of uninterrupted peace. In the name of President [Woodrow] Wilson he expressed the wish that the peace with our English cousins may never be broken.

King George's special ambassador, Hon. H. T. Carew-Hunt, British Consul General at New Orleans, responded for his sovereign.

Medals in replica of the gold medals struck off by Congress in 1815 in recognition of the Treaty of Ghent, were presented by Gaspar Cusachs, president of the Louisiana Historical Society, to Mr. Peters and Mr. Carew-Hunt as the official representative of President and King.

After the medals were presented, the representatives of the heads of the two nations clasped hands, while the orchestra played "Hands Across the Seas."

J. Allison Swanson read a centennial poem by Rexford J. Lincoln, poet-laureate of the Louisiana Historical Society.

Judge Samuel M. Wilson, of Lexington, Ky, the orator of the day, next introduced, had for his subject "Andrew Jackson." Mr. Wilson made a deep impression.

Hon. William C. Dufour told the story of the part played by native-Louisianans in the Battle of New Orleans.

Mrs. William Gerry Slade, of New York, president general of the Daughters of 1812, spoke briefly upon the order.

An evergreen wreath was placed on Jackson's tomb [?] by the Ladies' Hermitage Association of Nashville, Tenn., represented by Miss Louise G. Lindsley and Mrs. C. Durris, past regents. A memorial urn, donated by Mrs. Martha Spotts Blakeman, was presented by Miss Ethelyn Richardson. The commemorative tablet to be placed on the monument by the Louisiana Historical Association was read by Mrs. Helen Pitkin Schertz.

The unveiling of the Chalmette Monument was the culminating ceremony of the afternoon.

Five daughters of soldiers who took part in the battle conducted the ceremony—Mrs. Virginia R. Fowler, Mrs. Elizabeth Reden Hackney, Mrs. Lelia Montan Harper, Mrs. Alexander Keene Richards and Mrs. Felicie Gayosa Tennent.

With the Seventh Regiment drawn up at "port arms," the school children and the orchestra rendering "America," and all heads reverently uncovered, the American flag of 1815 was hoisted to the top of the monument. A moment later the British flag of 1815 likewise was raised in token of the century of peace since the battle. The incident was an inspiring one.

Benediction by Rabbi Max Heller concluded the exercises from the platform, the program then being turned over to the Seventh [Infantry] Regiment, United States Army.

Drawn up in company front position beside the monument, more than 700 strong with the regimental band playing, the Seventh Regiment went through the beautiful ceremony of "Escort to the Colors." The band played "The Star-Spangled Banner," while the Stars and Stripes and the regimental flag were paraded before the men, the company commanders being massed beside Major H. E. Ely, regimental commander.

At the close of the escort, the adjutant of the regiment Read [sic] to the men that part of the regimental history pertaining to the Battle of New Orleans. Major Ely then addressed the men personally.

Each year the ceremony is carried through by the regiment on the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, but this year, being the centenary of the battle, and the scene the battlefield, the event was an extraordinary one for the regiment.

As the regiment was standing on the ground where it won its greatest glory, Major Ely opened his remarks with a description of the battlefield and pointed out the spot where the Seventh was stationed exactly one hundred years before.

"Our annual celebration of the Battle of New Orleans is not only for its commemoration, but to draw the attention of you members of the Fighting Seventh to the creditable performance in the past," said Major Ely, with a view to instilling into your minds that sense of duty, honor and courage the regiment expects of every man. "Your commander expects that when you are called upon in the future you will strive to cause these glorious incidents in the history of the Seventh to be equaled or even excelled."

The firing of a salute of one hundred guns, one for each year of the century, concluded the program. [66]

Unfortunately, however, the grand feeling of accomplishment that must have fallen over the Daughters on that day in 1915, did not last as long as they and their supporters no doubt expected that it would. Because nearly fifteen years later, in November, 1929, the Daughters reluctantly informed the Secretary of War that they could no longer afford to maintain the site. [67] Whether that decision reflected the economic state of the times or just the instability of the Daughters organization remains unclear. In any event, on December 12, 1929, Congressman James O'Connor introduced a bill calling for the establishment of the monument as a National Park under the jurisdiction of the War Department. [68] O'Connor's efforts proved successful and on June 2, 1930, Congress approved the following amendment to the Act of 1907:

To provide that hereafter the responsibility for maintaining the monument and keeping the grounds surrounding it shall rest with the government of the United States; and there is hereby authorized to be appropriated from time to time, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, such sums as may be necessary for such expenses. [69]

Thus, once again, as had so often occurred during the turbulent history of the monument, a celebration took place on the battleground to mark the momentous event. Tradition required the press to be present, and it responded with the following account of the proceedings:

The care and upkeep of Chalmette Monument has been transferred to the United States War Department.

Maintenance of the obelisk that stands on the site where American troops under Major-General Andrew Jackson withstood the attack of a superior force of picked British regulars under the leadership of General Edwin [sic] Pakenham, who was killed in the fight, is transferred to the government by an act signed June 4 by the president.

With fitting ceremonies at the base of the monument that rises to a height of 152 feet [sic], the United Daughters of 1776 and of 1812, who have had the custody of the war memorial for 36 years receiving it in 1894 as an unfinished attempt to mark one of Louisiana's most historic spots, will transfer their right of custody to the United States government.

And the ceremony will mark the final step in a long struggle to erect and care for a "monument to the memory of the American soldiers who fell in the battle of New Orleans at Chalmette, La., January 8, 1815."

The United States government now has the upkeep of Chalmette Monument and Chalmette National Cemetery, where two soldiers of the War of 1812 sleep their last sleep, and where 13,392 veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic are buried.

The monument and the two graves are fit reminders of the heroic defense of "Old Hickory," the brilliance of the American campaign being told in the list of casualties, British, 2137; American, 71.

Today the monument stands several hundred yards beyond the Orleans parish line, in St. Bernard parish, a fitting reminder of the valor of "Old Hickory" and his men.

A shell road leads from the highway to the 142-foot shaft, rising from a 10-foot base that is covered with marble ashlar. The white road circles the structure. Speading oaks strung with Spanish moss, flank its sides. The walls are broken with 12 grilled bronzed openings that from the ground look like slits.

Entrance is gained through a large bronze door. A spiral stairway leads to the observatory at the top of the structure. It is lined with panels of Georgia marble. On the tower wall is a plaque dedicating the memorial to the soldiers who fell at the Battle of New Orleans.

A peace broken only by the song of birds, and the whistle of a steamboat going down the Mississippi river, which is about 300 yards away, has followed the din of battle of 115 years ago. The heavy sweet scent of magnolia blossoms is wafted where the acrid odor of powder smoke once filled the air. But the memory of the smoke and the din will live with Chalmette monument. [70]

Three months later, on September 16, Secretary of War Patrick J. Hurley officially accepted custody of the monument from Mrs. Mary P. Tennent, Daughters president, and for the third time in its history custody of the Chalmette Monument was transferred to the government of the United States. [71] This time, however, unlike the transactions of 1885 and 1907, the agreement stipulated no reverter clause.

In June, 1931, the federal government awarded a contract in excess of $10,000 for improvement of the grounds around the monument. [72] On August 10, 1939, the Chalmette Monument was formally designated a National Historical Park and was subsequently tranferred to the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. [73] Forty years later, with the establishment of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, Chalmette National Historical Park was incorporated as a unit of the larger entity for administrative and management purposes.

Throughout its history the monument on the battlefield sparked a resurging local and regional interest in the patriotic aspects of Jackson's victory. For many years the Seventh U. S. Infantry sponsored festivities at the site. The anniversary of the battle was observed as a legal holiday in Louisiana. [74] The annual onsite observances varied over the years, often depending on weather conditions each January. Yet each was significant for instilling in the celebrants the meaning of Jackson's success and for contributing to feelings of regional and national pride. The January 18, 1891 edition of The Daily Picayune carried the following account of the seventy-sixth anniversary celebration:

On its recent anniversary bent and grizzled veterans in the garb of citizens, and youthful soldiers, yet untried, all the gaudy trappings of the parades of peace, marched through a drenching rain to do honor to the day. For a week before sunshine brightened the paths and avenues of the battlefield, and many pilgrimages were made to the shrine where the lads of Louisiana and the "hunters of Kentucky" withstood the charge of a gallant army. [75]

The most celebrated anniversary observance occurred in its centennial year when both President Woodrow Wilson and Admiral George Dewey were invited to attend events which included a three-day schedule and a reenactment of the battle. Wilson was unable to attend and sent assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew J. Peters to represent him. [76] The following schedule of events suggests how grandiose the annual celebrations had become by 1933:

The formal celebration of the victory will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday in Jackson square, the square through which General Jackson made his triumphal march. The ceremonies are under the auspices of the Chalmette chapter, Louisiana United States Daughters of 1812, of which Mrs. Howard H. Bull is president. Wreaths will be placed on General Jackson's monument in the square and a salute will be fired by the 156th infantry. Brigadier General Allison Owen will be master of ceremonies and Chief Justice Charles A. O'Neill will be the principal speaker. The police band will provide music. A reception will follow in the chapter's rooms, 619 St. Peter street.

An important speaker at the ceremonies will be Major-General Lytle Brown. The Rev. Nicholas Richtor, rector of the Mount Olivet Episcopal church, Algiers, will also speak. The invocation will also be given by the Very Rev. L. F. W. Lefvbre of St. Louis Cathedral. Mrs. H. H. Bull, president of the Chalmette chapter, Daughters of 1812, will preside.

At 2 p. m. Sunday Orleanians will gather on Chalmette field in St. Bernard, the scene of the famous battle, for the celebration sponsored by the New Orleans chapter of the Reserve Officers' association of the United States. During the ceremonies rose petals will be dropped on the battlefield from an American Airways airplane chartered by the Daughters of 1812.

The ceremonies will open with a parade of the various divisions of the Untied States Marines, the Army service and Reserve corps, veterans organizations and their auxiliaries from the St. Bernard highway entrance to the field to Chalmette monument where the speakers' program will take place. The national salute will be fired from the levee in front of the monument by a battery of the 141st Field Artillery, Louisiana National Guard.

Charles F. Buck, Jr. will be the principal speaker. Others on the speakers' program are Colonel Pierce T. Murphy, Auxiliary, U. S. A. chairman of the celebration; the Rev. Albert J. Biever, S. J. pastor of the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, who will give the invocation; Rabbi Louis Binstock of Temple Sinai, who will give the benediction, and Captain Charles L. Nourse, chaplain of the Reserve officers, who will lead a prayer in memoriam to the dead of both armies. A feature of the ceremonies will be the presentation at 3 p. m. of a replica of the flag of the original 13 colonies to the Chalmette chapter, Daughters of 1812, by the Reserve officers in recognition of the women's work.

A chorus of 200 children of the St. Bernard public schools will sing patriotic songs accompanied by the New Orleans Public Service, Inc. band. Field music will be furnished by the Veterans of Foreign Wars' drum and bugle corps. A detachment of Marines will fire a rifle salute and a Marine bugler will sound "taps" to close the ceremonies.

For the ceremonies at Chalmette the St. Claude bus will extend its services to the monument and a detail of 14 highway officers will attend the automobile traffic. Ample parking space will be provided.

The victory will be celebrated at 7 p. m. Sunday at a meeting of the Ladies' auxiliary to Deutsches Haus at the clubhouse, Cleveland avenue and Galvez street. Mrs. Idabel Giefers will deliver an address on the battle and patriotic music will be rendered by Mrs. F. G. Waile, Miss Claire Presas and Miss Almeta Watermeir.

The Louisiana Historical society [sic] will hold its annual banquet commemorating the battle at 8 p. m. Sunday at La Louisiane restaurant. State and city officials, members of the consular corps and other notables will attend, according to E. A. Parsons president. J. B. Donnes is in charge of reservations.

The part the Negro soldiers played in General Jackson's victory will be commemorated by New Orleans Negroes Sunday. The Negroes will place wreaths on Jackson's monument at 8 a. m. and at 8 p. m. exercises will be held at the Craig public school, St. Philip and North Villeré streets. George Doyle, chairman of the celebration, is a descendant of Captain Charles Fouoret, who was commissioned by Governor Claiborne and who commanded a company of "free men of color" under Jackson. There will be a number of speakers. [77]

Similar celebrations apparently continued through the 124th anniversary in 1939. [78] Thereafter the yearly observances declined, perhaps because the National Park Service had assumed control of the monument. On January 8, 1965, a celebration was held at the monument to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Battle of New Orleans. [79]

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