Photos and movies from the Chalmette Battlefield Jan 9, 2009
Photos-click to enlarge
The Chalmette Monument, started in 1840, finished 1908
The British army loots New Orleans 1815
What if Jackson had been defeated and lost the Battle of New Orleans ? He told one officer he would have burned the city and taken a position north of New Orleans and stopped all shipping to the city. After the battle of the 28th, committee of the Legislature to ask what course he intended to take in case he were compelled to retreat..'If,' replied the General, 'I thought the hair of my head could divine what I should do, forthwith I would cut it off! Go back with this answer; say to your honorable body that if disaster does overtake me and the fate of war drives me from my line to the city, they may expect to have a very warm session !'
As mentioned before, After taking New Orleans, the British planned to head up the Mississippi Valley to join troops coming down from Canada . Perhaps a new British colony could be established in Louisiana or New Orleans at least could be detached to the empire, giving the British a stranglehold on the Mississippi. The price of peace could have been ceding the Louisiana Purchase territory to the British, setting up a Louisiana "India."
There are a great number of ' what ifs ' for the British operations in the Gulf Coast. What if Pakenham had attacked immediately after discovering Jackson holding a parade for his troops when the fog lifted on Jan 1st ? What if Cochrane had not been delayed two weeks waiting for Lloyd's squadron to arrive at Negril Bay and arrive off New Orleans before Jackson had arrived ? What if the British were able to take Mobile and march along the coast as Jackson expected ? If this had happened, the British could have recruited many Creeks, who until recently had been fighting the U.S. in the Creek War, and were still bitter over ceding 23 million acres of their land at the Treaty of Fort Jackson. Such an army, marching along, gathering Indians,and forcing towns and plantations to swear allegiance to the empire along the way would have been hard force to stop. Such a force of Indians may have been able to mitigate the Indian style warfare Jackson certainly would have employed against the British in their march to New Orleans.
If the British had been able to take New Orleans and had the Louisiana Territory ceded to them as a condition of peace and Napoleon had not returned to power, what would have been the result ? Would the Creoles of New Orleans and the surrounding area revolted or just accepted it as another ruler, which had happened more than a few times already ? The British probably would have banished the American population, and fortified New Orleans and the river to the coast and able to collect huge revenues . American expansion west of the Mississippi could have been stopped and British armed Indian tribes would have made American settlement of the western lands it did hold much more difficult. This almost certainly would have led to another war between Britain and the U.S. at some point, if America itself didn't break apart after such a disaster . Britain would have been in a position to encourage sectionalism and succession in America to further weaken it as a threat. There certainly wouldn't have been the optimistic Era of Good Feeling which followed Jackson's victory. California could have been easily seized from the Spanish and the resulting gold discovery there would have brought in many colonist. Driving the British out would have become the biggest issue, not slavery, perhaps resulting in the Civil War not occurring . With no Civil War occurring and the western part of America under British control, America would have become less industrialized and the black population of the American south probably would have been enslaved longer. The longer the British were able to hold on to their lands, the harder it would become to drive them out. America probably not have been powerful enough to be a factor by the time world wars started breaking out in Europe.
Open daily 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Closed December 25 and Mardi Gras (February 16 in 2010) Major construction and restoration including a new visitor center is underway. The address is (504) 281-0510 8606 W St Bernard Hwy (First Street) Chalmette, LA 70043 The park is in an industrial area and will be on your right if you are driving from New Orleans. Map of the park location.
George Gleig firsthand account of the battle by a British soldier
written by Major Arsène Lacarrière Latour,the Principle engineer of the 7th military district and prepared maps of the Gulf Coast region and served as Jackson's served as General Andrew Jackson's chief of engineering.
A History of Louisana: Vol 3
Alcee Fortier 1904
wikipedia Battle of New Orleans entry
by Zachary F. Smith
free admission and often has re-enactments
wikipedia War of 1812 entry
Robert V. Remini 1999
by Captain Bobbie L. Ragsdale
Winston Groom 2006
Other historical websites
War between France and the UK over the New World
History and info on Grand Isle, Louisiana
France vs Prussia 1870-1
history of Mexico
The war between Spain and America over Cuba, 1898
What would have happened if...?
history of the Ottoman Empire
Civil war in Qing China 1850-60s
history of the empires in Persia (Iran)
war over Korea between China and Japan 1894-5
history of the DDR
war between Vietnam and China 1979