The Battle of New Orleans: "But For a Piece of Wood"
The Battle of New Orleans marked a turning point in American history. The Treaty of Ghent had not been ratified prior to this last struggle in the War of 1812. More important, the victory at Chalmette on January 8th was only one battle in an extensive campaign to take the city. The British launched a series of assaults against Jackson's defenses over several months, any one of which might have resulted in the loss of New Orleans and possibly the repudiation of the Louisiana Purchase. More interesting, how was it possible that a major British expeditionary force composed of 14,500 solders, 3,500 sailors, and an armada numbering nearly 100 ships could have failed? The force thrown against Jackson defeated Napoleon in the Spanish Peninsula Campaign. Hearty veterans seasoned by years of combat fell in Chalmette. Despite numerous opportunities for victory over several months, Dame Victory withheld her smile allowing America to manifest its destiny.