The Battle of New Orleans, the final battle of the War of 1812, took place January 8, 1814. American forces, led by future President Andrew Jackson, fought a much larger British opposition.

Illustration by Francisco Scacki, courtesy Library of Congree

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    On January 8, 1814, the United States military, under the leadership of General Andrew Jackson, claimed victory against British forces in the Battle of New Orleans. The treaty that ended the War of 1812, the Treaty of Ghent, had actually been signed a week earlier, but slow communications prevented combatants in Louisiana from knowing this.
     
    Although Jackson had driven British troops from the Gulf Coast cities of Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, he faced his greatest odds in New Orleans. The British had nearly 8,000 well-trained soldiers, sailors, and marines. Jackson had fewer than 5,000 troops—most of them volunteers. These volunteers included free blacks, Native Americans, and riflemen from rural areas of Tennessee and Kentucky. Jackson’s allies also included the famous pirate Jean Lafitte!
     
    Against the odds, Jackson and his inexperienced troops drove the British from New Orleans. Although the battle had no impact on the war, the victory was a boost to American morale. British and Canadian troops had won decisive victories in the war, including burning the White House just five months earlier. The Battle of New Orleans made Jackson the most popular politician in the country. He was elected president in 1829.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    battle Noun

    violent encounter during a conflict.

    claim Verb

    to state as the truth.

    combatant Noun

    person or group engaged in a conflict (combat).

    communication Noun

    sharing of information and ideas.

    decisive Adjective

    able to make decisions with certainty.

    elect Verb

    to choose by vote.

    free black Noun

    (1492-1865) African American who was not enslaved.

    Gulf Coast Noun

    land in the United States surrounding the Gulf of Mexico.

    inexperienced Adjective

    lacking a set of skills or knowledge.

    military Noun

    armed forces.

    morale Noun

    emotional or psychological condition of a person or group of people.

    Native American Noun

    person whose ancestors were native inhabitants of North or South America. Native American usually does not include Eskimo or Hawaiian people.

    pirate Noun

    thief who steals from ships or ships' crews while at sea.

    politician Noun

    person who serves as a representative of the citizens of a geographic area to the local, state, or national government.

    prevent Verb

    to keep something from happening.

    rifle Noun

    firearm, shot from the shoulder, with spiral grooves in the gun barrel that allow the bullet to twist on exit.

    rural area Noun

    regions with low population density and large amounts of undeveloped land. Also called "the country."

    Encyclopedic Entry: rural area
    soldier Noun

    person who serves in a military.

    treaty Noun

    official agreement between groups of people.

    troop Noun

    a soldier.

    White House adjective, noun

    official residence of the president of the United States, in Washington, D.C.