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Battle of New Orleans 2015 — Attacking the Old Myths – Video

From contributor Timothy Pickles

It has often been said in the past that New Orleans gets left behind when it comes to national celebrations, and particularly the War of 1812. The impression gained by most of the official festivities is that the British defeated the American army at Bladensburg, captured Washington DC, burned the White House and then turned their attention to Baltimore where everything turned around.

Battle of New Orleans 2015 — Attacking the Old Myths – Video

Major General Robert Ross, the British commander was killed at North Point, the British army foiled in its land attack, and the Royal Navy likewise its naval bombardment while Francis Scot Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner. Then the British sailed away and the war ended. Oh, of course there was the battle at New Orleans where the British, who had yet to learn ‘modern’ warfare and the use of the rifle, were soundly thrashed and sent packing for good in a single battle.

Except of course that last sentence is complete rubbish!

The war wasn’t over until February when the US Congress finally ratified the treaty, and even then the Louisiana Purchase was illegal so it wasn’t covered by the treaty. The British had the most up to date army in the world and the ONLY regular rifle regiment at the battle (as opposed to volunteers) was British.

These are just a very few of the myths that wait to be exploded next January 2015 when the Louisiana Living History Foundation presents it’s grand re-creation of the five major land battles of the month long New Orleans Campaign.

We will be presenting the view from both sides so that spectators will at last get an idea of the thinking of both the US and British troops. And the battles will be presented as lavish live action re-creations by some of the best living historians from the US, Canada and the UK.

  • Friday the 9th of January will see the night battle fought December 23rd, 1814 just after the British had landed and were attacked by Jackson who had declared “they shall not sleep on our soil!”
  • Saturday the 10th will see the Reconnaissance in Force, where Pakenham first tested the mettle of the Americans, the Artillery Dual where each side tried to knock out the others guns. And finally the British victory on the West bank where Colonel Thornton sweaped all before him and drove the Americas 2 miles upriver before realizing that the main battle on the other bank had been lost.
  • Sunday the 11th we will present the battle everyone knows of, the devastating defeat of the British by Andrew Jackson, though, unlike the movie versions, there will be no singing pirates or Jean Lafitte!

The films we present here are recruiting tools sent out to living historians across the globe to encourage them to come either as US or British supporters. And as a very small example of things to come, we present a brief overview of the events at this year’s 199th anniversary celebrations, including a very scaled down version of the night battle presented on our new Battlefield Park.

This video is for the recruitment of US re-enactors.

This video is for the recruitment of British re-enactors.

If you care to participate in these re-eanctments please go to this page New Orleans 1815 and click on the Battle page which will bring you to the contact emails for the coordinators.

Timothy Pickles is an author, film and TV producer for the History Channel, historical advisor on numerous Hollywood films, and coordinator for historical events.  Originally from Yorkshire, England, he now lives and works in New Orleans.


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3 Responses

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  1. Pam Grunewald Keyes says

    Ahem. General Andrew Jackson and his troops would not have won the Battle of New Orleans without the vital gun flints provided by Jean Laffite and the Baratarians. See my blog post on HIstoria Obscura at

  2. Richard Bienvenu says

    The comment about Lafitte in the post was referring to Hollywood depictions of the pirate and his men, glamorized and stretching credulity.

  3. Pam Grunewald Keyes says

    Hi Richard, are you by any chance related to the late Lionel Bienvenu, who was a historian at Chalmette Battlefield? He was a good friend of mine.

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