The last major American battle in the War of 1812, the Battle of New Orleans (December 14, 1814 – January 18, 1815) has been considered by some historians to be the birth of the Age of Jackson. The American forces included militia fighters, frontiersmen, slaves, Native Americans, and even pirates, led by future president Andrew Jackson. The British forces they faced were roughly 14,450 in number, an army three times the size of the American forces (just 4,732). Yet, despite the odds, Jackson’s forces prevailed and won the day. The victory turned Jackson into a national icon and helped set him on a course to the White House.
But why did the United States and the British clash in the first place? How did the Battle of New Orleans come to be fought, and why did it matter so much? Who were these men, and how did they become involved? How did Jackson’s army win despite the size of the British army? After the battle, how did Jackson become a popular figure? And what does it mean for Americans today?
To help me answer these questions, I have enlisted Joseph F. Stoltz III.
Joseph F. Stoltz III is a historian at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon where he oversees the library’s digital humanities initiatives. He received his Ph.D. in History from Texas Christian University and previously was the Rowan Post-doctoral fellow in the Department of History at the United States Military Academy. His first book is A Bloodless Victory: the Battle of New Orleans in History and Memory (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017).