Weapons of the Battle of New Orleans

Muskets, Rifles and pistols



.75 calibre Brown Bess


The weapons employed by most soldiers in both armies were more or less the same,smoothbore muskets firing a ball, it was their use which decided the day. The average British infantryman man was armed with a.75 caliber Brown Bess or East India Pattern musket. It had an effective range of 100 yards . It could be fired  several times a minute by a veteran .It also had a foot and a half long bayonet, which British troops were masters in using. Americans troops, were more shy in its use . The Americans, however, were good with fighting with knives in close quarters. They learned this from fighting with the Indians. The British 95 Rifle Regiment was armed with Baker rifles , which had a range of up to 200 yards .The 95 was used for the most part in the battle as skirmishers .



video of a Brown Bess in action


1795 Springfield musket


The two regular American Army units used the  .69 caliber 1795 Springfield musket. A veteran could fire off three shots a minute.It had a 15 inch bayonet .The militia and volunteers were armed from everything to the latest model 1795 to hunting pieces, blunderbusses and French and Spanish weapons .A majority of the American rifles used were 'Kentucky' rifles, used by the 'dirty shirts' and made by hand .They were not designed for warfare, but for hunting and self protection .A good marksman could hit a man at 300 yards .



Battle of New Orleans, re-enactors demonstrate how to fire

 a rifle from the era of the Battle of New Orleans


.65 calibre British Light Dragoon pistol




 gun diagram with flint Battle of New Orleans

Flints were issued with ammunition, one flint lasting usually 20 rounds before becoming useless. there was a serious shortage of flints among the Americand till Lafitte provide a supply from his stores .


Guns, Mortars and Howitizers


Baratarian reenactors, drilling in French


There were three types of field artillery, guns, mortars and howitzers. Guns were mainly used for demolishing buildings and ships. They fired a solid iron ball or explosive. They were named for the wieght of the ball they fired, a six pounder gun would fire a six pond ball. Mortars were short weapons designed to throw an explosive shell in a high arc, mainly used for siege work.  The howitzer was an all purpose type of weapon, with a shorter barrel than the gun .They could fire shells, grape and canister .They were named for the size of the bore in inches . They could be elevated or fired flat .The Americans had 8 gun batteries at the Jackson line. The Jackson line stretched about 1000 yards from the river to the swamp. A battery held one to three




Video of Baratarian re-enactors firing a cannon, with French commands


Congreve Rockets


Congreve rockets fired at Fort McHenry

It was the Congreve rocket that were those in '...the rocket's red glare..' Two sizes of Congreves were used in New Orleans, 12 and 32 pounders. Congreves were used to great effect in the battle before Washington, causing the American force to flee. They were unpredictable weapons, which in some cases returned to where they had been fired from . By the time of the Battle of New Orleans, the Americans had learned that its bark was worse than its bite .



congreve rockets in action





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