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Here is a preserve of a battle from the war of 1812. As you pull up into the park, you'll notice a handful of cannons, a huge monument, and a nice little visitor enter. The tour of the park is a very short one, there's a 1.5 mile road that loops the site of the battlefield. There are a few placards to read so you can understand the movements of the battle around the area.
Running along the eastern side of the park is the Chalmette National Cemetery. Though the cemetery was established in 1864, there are several war of 1812 veterans buried here. The Chalmette Monument is a large stone shaft, dedicated to the victory in New Orleans, and completed in the early 1900s.
The visitor center is a must see - there is much about the War of 1812 and the history of the importance of New Orleans (which at one point was the third largest city in the country.) Be sure to leave time to read through the displays here.
Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of New Orleans was fought on 8 January 1815 at Chalmette, nearly two weeks after the Treaty of Ghent was signed to end the War of 1812. The British forces--more than 11,000 in number under command of General Edward Pakenham--approached the city from the east through Lake Borgne. The ragtag American army, led by future President Andrew Jackson, consisted of just 4,000 Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana militia, as well as Jean Lafitte's Baratarian pirates, Choctaw Indians, and free black men. Like the Battle of Bunker Hill in the American Revolution, the British attacked a heavily fortified American position and suffered terrible losses. By most estimates the British suffered about 2,000 casualties then withdrew...the victorious Americans had just 71 killed, wounded or missing.
As a footnote in history, the British forces defeated at New Orleans were some of the same units involved in the great victory over Napoleon at Waterloo later that same year.
The Battlefield, located in Chalmette and part of the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park, is located just outside of New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward and is still closed after Hurricane Katrina (as of July 2006).
The 1812 Battle of New Orleans? or Chalmette?
The depression with the bridge over it was originally the Rodriguez Canal which was the trace of an early mill race that divided the Chalmette and Macarty plantations. Jackson's men built their mud rampart behind the canal. This is the only man-made feature dating back to that battle.
We took the paddlewheel boat called the Creole Queen to the Battlefield for $20 each. The captain told us about the things on the waterfront as we passed, and we could also have had lunch on board for another $7 each. Then we got to the Battle of New Orleans site. We were a little early because we had the current/tide with us.
This boat trip is fairly cheap because the main talk is given by the park ranger and he gives it for free to anyone who happens to be there at 2:45.
He explained that the battle was NOT unnecessary - that the Treaty of Ghent had been signed but would not go into effect until the Congress and Parliament had ratified it, so the orders to both Jackson and his opponent were to fight the battle. I supposed that if we had lost, parliament wouldn't have ratified it.
The boat blew the whistle that we had to be back aboard at 3:15 (he actually started whistling at 3:14) to leave at 3:20 because we'd be battling the current
For more pictures see Chalmette
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A House at the Chalmette Battlefield
The Chalmette Battlefield is located six miles southeast of New Orleans. It commemorates the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, in which the Americans won a decisive victory over the British. The Battlefield is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
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Take a river boat down the Mississippi River to the Chalmette Battlefield and Monument. The cornerstone of this monument was first laid in 1840, but it was not completed until 1908.
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