The Battle of New Orleans Dawn Graziano and Pat Smith – Monroe Township Grade: Elementary New Jersey Social Studies Content Standards

Download 97.01 Kb.
Size97.01 Kb.
The Battle of New Orleans

Dawn Graziano and Pat Smith – Monroe Township
Grade: Elementary
New Jersey Social Studies Content Standards: 6.2, 6.4
Lesson Summary:

In this lesson, students will gain an understanding of historical perspective by considering the points-of-view of different participants of the Battle of New Orleans. When posed with the task of determining whether Andrew Jackson deserves to have a statue erected honoring his victory, the students will assume the perspective of an historical point-of-view and contribute to a classroom review board who will determine if the honor is due Jackson based upon the evidence.

Suggested Time Frame: Three 40-minute class periods

Students will be able to:

  • Identify the key factors contributing to the victory of the Battle of New Orleans.

  • Explain how information and experiences ma be interpreted by people from different points-of-view.

  • Use knowledge of facts and concepts drawn from history, along with methods of historical inquiry, to inform decision-making about action-taking and on public issues.

  • work independently and cooperatively to accomplish goals.

War of 1812

Historical Contrasts

United States of America

Essential Historical


Great Britain


1. What is the structure of the government?


  • Republicans in Congress

  • President Madison

2. Who or what group/s are the major players?

  • Parliament

  • Prince George (as Prince Regent)

3. What documents, values, attitudes or beliefs define these major players?

  • Glorious Revolution

Historical Background:
In 1803 the United States acquired the Louisiana Territory from France which gave them major control of the Mississippi River. Located just 100 miles from the north of the river, New Orleans was perfectly situated on the Gulf of Mexico. The government recognized the trading power this area might become as New Orleans grew. New Orleans was cut off from the rest of the United States by Spain’s territories. The United States, in its quest for expansion, wanted to gain control of the Spanish territories and thus gain full control of the area from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic coast.
Americans feared that since Spain was allied with Britain in its war with Napoleon, the Spanish might allow the British into its territories in order to gain access to the south. Since most of the available money and resources were being sent to the northern part of the country, New Orleans and the rest of the south were left relatively defenseless. Britain, also, recognized the importance of New Orleans to the United States; however, because of depleted resources from the fighting in Europe in years leading up to the War of 1812, Britain could not spare the military and naval resources to take over the Gulf coast. Instead, Britain sent representatives to ally themselves with the Creek Nation, which occupied a large amount of land north of the Gulf of Mexico. Britain also attempted to forge alliances with a large population of black slaves living in the Louisiana and Mississippi Territories.
In 1814 the United States was near defeat because the British, at this point, had defeated Napoleon, and began to send these trained troops to North America. Part of their battle strategy was to attack along the Hudson River to separate New England from the union, attack in Chesapeake Bay to create a diversion, and attack New Orleans to block the Mississippi. American response to the attack in the Chesapeake was ineffective and the British succeeded in burning the new U.S. capital.
By late 1814 the British turned their attention to New Orleans. British Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane sent more than 50 ships to bring troops from Jamaica, led by Sir Edward Pakenham, to New Orleans.
Major General Andrew Jackson (“Old Hickory”) arrived in New Orleans and began preparations to defend New Orleans against the British attack. Jackson immediately ordered that all waterways from the lakes leading to the Mississippi River be blocked. Jackson recruited black slaves and drafted Natives into the militia. Additionally, Jackson formed an alliance with Jean Lafitte , known for his piracy in the Caribbean Coast and in the Atlantic.
Sir Edward Pakenham landed along the southern part of the Mississippi River. Through three major assaults, the Americans were able to hold their ground behind their defenses, firing upon the British Infantry which was out in the open. By the end of the battle, the British had about 700 dead compared to 13 Americans.
What led to the defeat of a highly superior British army? A variety of factors have been suggested: Jackson’s strategic planning as a general, the pirates’ red shirts confusing the British, tactical blunders by the British, lack of communication within the British ranks, and the weather.
The American victory at New Orleans, ironically, occurred after the war was officially over on December 24, 1814 with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. Still, the victory was important since it gave Americans the sense that they had won the war and promoted confidence in the young country. Additionally, it escalated Jackson from military hero to political figure.
Key Terms:

  • Embargo

  • Expansionism

  • Battle of New Orleans

Do Now: Have students brainstorm monuments they have visited and identify who was being honored and why.
Critical Thinking Questions:

  1. Was the victory of the Battle of New Orleans the result of Jackson’s abilities as a leader or the result of luck, or British blunder?

  2. How might history have been changed if the British had secured control of the port of New Orleans?

Anticipatory Set:

  • Prepare the class for the activity by posing the following question: Should the town of Andrewville, TN., erect a statue of Andrew Jackson, honoring him as a great leader in battle for his role in the Battle of New Orleans?


Day One:

  1. Share with class the necessary material from the Historical Background. Review any key terms they may not be familiar with.

  2. Explain to the students that in order to make an informed decision, it is important to listen to different points-of-view. When considering historical events, we need to rely on clues left to us through primary source documents that include testimonials, journal entries, letters, newspaper articles, etc. Explain that they will be adopting a particular perspective to make a case for or against the erection of a statue of Andrew Jackson.

  3. Have students count off by 4 to form four groups.

  4. Distribute envelopes with the perspectives and directed questions. Each group will receive one of four perspectives. The students will use various sources of information to gather facts and information to support their point-of-view.

  5. Allow students to use remaining class time to review materials, understand the perspective.

Day Two:

  1. Review directions and objectives for the day with students.

  2. Direct students to continue to gather information while the teacher rotates from group to group and checks on progress.

  3. Students will use the information collected to create note cards supporting their perspective to be used during oral presentation on following day.

  4. With approximately ten minutes left to class period, have students stop.

  5. Explain that during the next class they will be presenting their interpretation of the perspective they have been researching by participating in an inner/outer circle style debate.

Day Three:

  1. Students have been previously arranged into four groups of equal size. Students in Group 1 should be seated in a circle facing out, away from the circle. Students in Group 2 will be seated in a circle facing Group 1. Groups 3 and 4 will gather around the perimeter of the circle, facing the circle.

  2. Students in inner circle (Group 1) will have 5 minutes to discuss their perspective. During that time, students in group 2 will listen carefully. Groups 3 and 4 will be taking notes on key points presented. At the end of 5 minutes students rotate as follows: Group 1 moves to the position previously occupied by Group 2. Group 2 moves to outermost circle with Group 3 and Group 4 moves to inner circle. The inner circle will have 5 minutes to present their perspective and continue in this way until each student has orally presented their position.

  3. At end of inner-outer circle discussion, reform as a class and allow students time to review their notes and to orally share their current opinion.

  4. Closure: Repeat the original question to class: Does Andrew Jackson deserve to have a monument erected in his honor as a result of his role in the Battle of New Orleans? Have class vote by show of hands and tally totals.

Extension Activities:

  • Reminding students of Francis Scott Key’s being inspired during the Battle of Balitmore, ask them to imagine being a similar spectator during the Battle of New Orleans and have them write the lyrics to a patriotic song.

  • Create a clay sculpture of what the monument to Andrew Jackson might look like.


  • Teacher will complete the Discussion Assessment Chart.

Suggested Homework:

  • Have students write a summary paragraph of how effective the discussion was to either changing their position or keeping their original point of view.


The Creek confederacy was an alliance of First Nations of the northern and eastern parts of the Mississippi Territory who shared many cultural characteristics. This confederacy included the Lower Creeks to the east (in present day Georgia) and the Upper Creeks to the west, as well as some tribes of the Choctaw Nation. Like the First Nations of the northwest, the Creeks were under heavy pressure from the escalating white encroachment on their homelands. Ultimately, it would be the Creeks' divergent approaches to dealing with this pressure that would cause a division in the confederacy lead to the Creek civil war that erupted in 1813.

The seeds of conflict had been sown in the years leading up to the Creek war. In addition to certain linguistic and ethnic differences with the Upper Creeks, the Lower Creeks had a longer history of contact with white settlers and had slowly begun to incorporate white practices, such as farming and claiming private property, into their lifestyle. The Upper Creeks were disturbed by what they took to be passive acculturation of their cousins. A renewed sense of identity and a call for a return to traditional ways grew out of a religious revival that swept the Upper Creek regions in 1811. Though they were weary about a possible British alliance in 1812, they were receptive to Tecumseh's notion of a traditionally-based native confederacy that would stretch from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, sealing off the westward expansion of the U.S.

The Lower Creeks and Choctaws thought it best to remain neutral and not aggravate the U.S. government by attacking white settlers for fear that retribution would be harsh. But the Upper Creeks had decided to take a stand and strike against the U.S. expansionists. In the spring of 1812 the Upper Creek campaign began, and the first white settlers were killed. This group of four thousand or so Creeks became known as the Red Sticks. The name is derived from the Creek tradition of using a bundle of sticks to count down the days until an event occurs; if the sticks are dyed red, that event is war.

This action led to a gathering of the Creek National Council which was dominated by the influential chiefs of the Lower Creeks. It was decided that an example must be set in order to stop the Red Sticks, or at least to distance the Lower Creeks from the killing of whites. A prominent Red Stick chief called Little Warrior was executed. For the Red Sticks, this act of fratricide only confirmed the Red Sticks belief that the Lower Creeks were succumbing to the influence of the white mentality.

The American declaration of war in June of 1812 heightened tensions within the Creek confederacy. Though both Britain and its Spanish ally in West Florida attempted to lure them into an alliance, the Red Stick Creeks initially maintained their distance from the white man's war. But in the summer of 1813 the internal crisis deepened when the Red Sticks retaliated for Little Warrior's death against the Creek town of Tuckabatchee, signaling the start of a nine-month long civil war.


Defiant Red Stick Creeks and escaped slaves, Spanish outposts in Florida and the West, nearby British bases in the Caribbean, the French-speaking Louisiana Territory and its Baratarian pirates - the South was a fascinatingly diverse area during the War of 1812. For the United States this unstable situation presented several problems. New Orleans was the only strong American presence in a region essentially cut off from the rest of the country by tenuous overland links and an effective British naval blockade. Despite this, the British didn’t feel strong enough to launch a large scale campaign in the South until late in 1814. This ended with the unequivocal U.S. victory at New Orleans, the last major confrontation of the war. Stories of this battle have ensured the South continues to occupy a central role in the myth of the war.

George Gleig

Confusion on the Battlefield at New Orleans

Gleig makes special mention of the American artillerymen and their part in the stonewalling of the British advance. The American’s effective use of artillery, along with steady support from the volunteer riflemen, clinched the U.S. victory.

"But that danger was indeed near, they were quickly taught; for scarcely had the head of the column passed the houses, when a deadly fire was opened from both the battery and the shipping. That the Americans are excellent marksmen, as well with artillery as with rifles, we have had frequent cause to acknowledge; but, perhaps, on no occasion did they assert their claim to the title of good artillerymen more effectually than on the present. Scarce a ball passed over, or fell short of its mark, but all striking full into the midst of our ranks, occasioned terrible havoc.

"The shrieks of the wounded, therefore, the crash of firelocks, and the fall of such as were killed, caused at first some little confusion; and what added to the panic, was, that from the houses beside which we stood bright flames suddenly burst out. The Americans, expecting this attack, had filled them with combustibles for the purpose; and directing against them one or two guns, loaded with red-hot shot, in an instant set them on fire. The scene was altogether very sublime. A tremendous cannonade mowed down our ranks, and deafened us with its roar; whilst two large chateaux and their out-buildings almost scorched us with the flames, and blinded us with the smoke which they emitted."

The importance of the Battle of New Orleans in American history

The headlines that you see in the newspapers when word of this thing reaches are just...they're trying to figure out how to put enough exclamation points, and the whole country just erupts with pride.

It's hard to overestimate the importance of the battle in American history. It secured the Louisiana Purchase. In terms of American nationalism, it gave people a sense - you know, the outcome of this battle and the outcome of the war has been called a second American Revolution, a kind of a feeling of having decisively defeated the former Mother country. It set the stage for the march across the continent and what became Manifest Destiny - the notion that somehow America was destined to extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It propelled [General Andrew] Jackson into politics. You know, General Washington was our first President. General Eisenhower was a President. Jackson is another one of our notable military figures who goes on to capture the White House. In newspapers throughout the country, as late as the 1840's, you'll see...particularly at Democratic Party events...there'll be toasts that are offered to the 8th of January. It became sort of like the 4th of July in terms of American nationhood, I suppose, until it was eclipsed by other wars. Certainly, you don't see that kind of celebration after the Civil War, for example, because I think the perspective changed.

Name _______________________________________________
Battle of New Orleans – Notes for Discussion
Directions: Answer the following question to prepare for your discussion.
1. Describe in detail what is important about your point of view. ________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________
2. Describe in detail what you want people to know about your point of view. ______ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________
3. Describe in detail what you want the outcome to be. _________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________
4. Describe in detail what you are going to do or say in order to win over the opposition. _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________
5. What will your opening statement be? _______________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
6. What will be your closing statement? ______________________________________
________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

7. Generate a list of important facts. __________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

Andrew Jackson, American

Cochrane's Campaign: The British Approach New Orleans

In early summer of 1814, the British decided that they would strike New Orleans, but not until December when cooler weather replaced the stifling heat. Major General Robert Ross would lead the combined land and naval force after he and Vice Admiral Cochrane warmed up the troops with assaults along America’s east coast in August.

The first part of the British New Orleans offensive was straightforward enough. Some of Ross’ troops would proceed down to the Gulf of Mexico in the summer to assess the American defenses, secure support from disaffected portions of the population and generally stir up as much trouble as possible while keeping the Americans guessing at British intentions. If possible, they were to retake the Spanish West Florida fort of Mobile which had fallen into American hands the previous spring.

Meanwhile, Cochrane would proceed with a portion of the naval force to Jamaica in order to prepare the men for the December campaign. He would rendez-vous there with Major General John Keane who was busy supplementing his 93rd Highlanders from the Cape of Good Hope with newly formed West Indian regiments from Jamaica and Guadaloupe. An additional 2200 regulars under Major General John Lambert would sail from England to meet them in time for November 20, the scheduled start date for the operation.

In mid-August, the British made their presence known in the Gulf of Mexico when a small force of Royal Marines landed at the capital of Spanish Florida, Pensacola. Tucked away in a secure bay, the spot was perhaps the best natural port in the Gulf, and would would be an ideal launching pad from which to seize Mobile and then New Orleans.

The British occupied the village declaring it a safe haven for all those who were at odds with the United States - Red Sticks, fugitive slaves, pirates. The Spanish, who had tried to remain neutral in this war, were not at all comfortable with this development. But since they had no way to outfit the Red Stick Creeks, who became very helpful in protecting Spanish territory, they were dependent on Britain to provide them with the necessary supplies. The British soon began arming and training these Natives at this new operations base on the south coast.

Unfortunately, this British force of regulars, Natives and naval destroyers failed in their attempt to take Fort Bowyer at Mobile in mid-September. Jackson made the securing of that fort a priority when he wrapped up his Red Stick campaign, outfitting it with new batteries and more guns. This small British force was proving to be inadequate at making inroads into the American south.

Always eager to drive further into Spanish territory, the British presence at Pensacola provided Andrew Jackson with a legitimate reason to attack and capture that long-coveted village. A large American force approached Pensacola unnoticed in early November catching the 200 British and 500 Spanish soldiers off guard.

After only a brief resistance, the British escaped to their ships leaving the Spanish to deal with the wrath of Jackson. Their destroyers managed to blow up a few important defensive buildings before they shipped out, but they had lost their key position. They could only wait for Cochrane to appear on the horizon with more reinforcements and a better plan.

George Cockburn, British

British Perspective

Discussion Assessment Chart

Student’s Name

Addresses key issues

Speaks persuasively and to the point

Listens well, doesn’t dominate, is active

Good eye contact

Proper behavior

Overall grade






























Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page