Though the War of 1812 was effectively over two weeks earlier with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, December 24, 1814, news had not yet reached New Orleans.
On January 8, 1815, in the last battle of the War of 1812, nearly 10,000 battle-hardened British soldiers advanced under cover of darkness and heavy fog, intending to surprise General Andrew Jackson’s Tennessee and Kentucky sharpshooters, aided by French pirate Jean Lafitte and his men.
As the British neared, the fog suddenly lifted and in just a half hour 2,042 British were killed or wounded, while there were only 13 Americans were killed.
Considered the greatest American land victory of the war, General Andrew Jackson wrote to Robert Hays, January 26, 1815, regarding the Battle of New Orleans:
“It appears that the unerring hand of Providence shielded my men from the shower of balls, bombs, and rockets, when every ball and bomb from our guns carried with them a mission of death.”
General Jackson told his aide-de-camp Major Davezac of his confidence before the Battle:
“I was sure of success, for I knew that God would not give me previsions of disaster, but signs of victory. He said this ditch can never be passed. It cannot be done.”
Andrew Jackson wrote to Secretary of War James Monroe, February 17, 1815:
“Heaven, to be sure, has interposed most wonderfully in our behalf, and I am filled with gratitude, when I look back to what we have escaped.”
The Treaty of Ghent was ratified by the U.S. Senate, February 16, 1815.
Ten days later, Napoleon escaped from the Island of Elba and all British troops had to be immediately returned to Europe.
For the next one hundred days, events in Europe cascaded toward the massive Battle of Waterloo.
President Madison proclaimed for the United States a National Day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God, March 4, 1815:
“No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events…distinguished by multiplied tokens of His benign interposition.”
Self-Educated American contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.
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