During the closing days of December, 1814, several small skirmishes took place between the two enemies. On January 8, 1815, the greatest battle began--the Battle of New Orleans. The Americans were outnumbered more than two to one. The British had 12,000 soldiers while America had around 5,000 men. Industriously, the Americans constructed a crude entrenchment of earth and logs along the Rodriguez Canal, which was a dry ditch. The British troops, under General Pakenham, the brother-in-law of Wellington, were over-confident of their ability. After all, they had just defeated Napoleon, the greatest military genius the world had ever seen, and here they were fighting backwoodsmen and farmers. God humbles the plans of the proud! When the English advanced, the Americans began a devastating fire of musketry. General Jackson's army was made up of men from Kentucky, Tennessee, volunteers from New Orleans, and the pirates from Barataria. The men from Kentucky were known as excellent marksmen and sharpshooters. Despite the heavy fire, the English kept advancing. Keeping up a determined discharge of bullets the Americans went about their bloody work. At last the fatal blow came to the British when General Pakenham was shot down while trying to rally his men. The English retreated. It had been a hard and grueling day for the Americans but a devastating day for the British. Suffering few losses, the Americans had 8 killed and 13 wounded while the English had over 2,000 killed or wounded including many officers. The British were defeated. The fighting ended. America won! God brought about a great victory!

Although the battle had no effect on the outcome of the war, it was definitely not a useless encounter. The victory at the Battle of New Orleans gained America the respect of other countries and gave the United States a strong sense of national pride. Up to that point individuals still saw themselves as citizens of their respective states, but with the conclusion of the war the people professed a firm dedication to the union and found delight in being Americans. They truly became the United States of America. Sadly the people did not give God the glory for their triumph as the Founding Fathers had done. Andrew Jackson was one of the few who saw that it was God who had brought about the victories. God is still God whether we acknowledge His power or deny it. May we be a people who see the miracles God has preformed through the pages of history and give Him the glory due His name!

Study Questions & Follow up Research
- Although the War of 1812 is not a very well known war it is very interesting to study. A good resource that recounts the war is From Sea to Shining Sea by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. Read the chapters "Don't give up the ship" and "The Dawn's Early Light."

  • What caused the War of 1812? How long did the war last? Who was president at the time of the war?
  • On a map find: New Orleans, Barataria, and Jamaica.
  • What is the difference between a pirate and a privateer?
  • Read a biography about Andrew Jackson.
  • Some topics for study could be: British's practice of impressing American sailors, The Burning of Washington, Francis Scott Key and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, and History of Louisiana (consider that it had only been a part of the United States since the Louisiana Purchase). An encyclopedia would be a good resource to learn about these topics.
  • Pretend you are a soldier with Andrew Jackson in New Orleans. Write a letter home telling about the battle.

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Amy Puetz, a homeschool graduate, loves history, sewing, and working as a computer graphic artist for her company A to Z Designs. She is also the author of the exciting book Costumes with Character.  Visit her website at a2zdesigns.vcn.com. She makes her home in Wright, Wyoming.

This article was originally published in the Jul/Aug '05 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more information, visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com. To request a free sample copy, visit http://homeschoolenrichment.com/magazine/request-sample-issue.html