Cover image for The Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of New Orleans
Remini, Robert V. (Robert Vincent), 1921-2013.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Viking, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiv, 226 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E356.N5 R46 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E356.N5 R46 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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The Battle of New Orleans was the climactic battle of America's "forgotten war" of 1812. Andrew Jackson led his ragtag corps of soldiers against 8,000 disciplined invading British regulars in a battle that delivered the British a humiliating military defeat. The victory solidified America's independence and marked the beginning of Jackson's rise to national prominence. Hailed as "terrifically readable" by the Chicago Sun Times, The Battle of New Orleans is popular American history at its best, bringing to life a landmark battle that helped define the character of the United States.

Author Notes

Robert V. Remini, professor emeritus of history & the humanities at the University of Illinois at Chicago, won the National Book Award for his three-volume biography of Andrew Jackson. He is the author of numerous books on American history, including "The Battle of New Orleans" & biographies of Henry Clay & Daniel Webster.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Booklist Review

Respected as the definitive biographer of Jackson, Clay, and Webster (works that nevertheless present a daunting heft), Remini here decisively turns toward producing a popular work. Vividly ornamented by his portrayal of the polyglot populace of New Orleans, Remini's account handles equally expressively the blood-and-guts events of the battles there in 1814^-15. Had the Americans been defeated, the British might well have been emboldened to renege on the peace treaty just signed but as yet unreported to the combatants. As it was, victory sealed American independence and ensured continental expansion, its critical but often overlooked significance. Remini tracks the British strategy that brought battle-hardened forces, released by the (first) fall of Napoleon to the Gulf Coast. Adroit defense at Mobile Bay by Jackson and his Tennessee backwoodsmen, freshly blooded in the ghastly Creek War, deflected the British to their Plan B: take New Orleans. Its surrounding swamps, bayous, and brackish lakes were ideal for defense--if only Jackson could rally the city from despondency. Remini engagingly details Jackson's exertions to enlist pirates, Creoles, free blacks, women, and prelates in what was literally a last-ditch defense. Culminating in the battle action and dreadful butcher's bill presented after the bollixed-up British attack, Remini's panorama is a top-notch rendition from a practiced historical hand. --Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

As the alpha wolf of Jackson scholars and a master of historical narrative, Remini (whose three-volume biography, Andrew Jackson, won a National Book Award and was reissued last year) is the perfect writer to recount how Old Hickory, leading a motley crew of fighters, decisively repelled the British attack on New Orleans in January 1815. Remini's impeccable scholarship and lively pen produce what undoubtedly will become the standard account of the 1814-1815 military operations around New Orleans. In addition to some regular army units, Jackson used backwoodsmen from Tennessee and Kentucky, free blacks, Creoles and others from the local militia, Indian allies and pirates led by Jean Lafitte. Such a roster did not appear to stack up favorably against the British, who boasted thousands of veterans of the Napoleonic wars. But the British, despite their experience, committed many key blunders throughout the campaign, the most important of which was underestimating American resolve. Remini paints the background of the campaign, including battles with the pro-British Creek Indians, Jackson's invasion of Spanish Florida and the importance of the fabled Baratarian pirates led by Lafitte. As he brings the exciting story to life, Remini cogently argues that New Orleans was America's first important military victory, that it provided the impetus for the young nation to believe in itself and, just as importantly, convinced Europe that the United States was not a fleeting historical anomaly. Maps not seen by PW. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The Battle of New Orleans was concluded after American and British representatives signed the treaty at Ghent in Belgium that ended the War of 1812. News of the treaty did not reach the combatants in New Orleans until American forces, led by Gen. Andrew Jackson, had won a decisive victory over British forces commanded by Gen. Edward Michael Pakenham. Remini (history, emeritus, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago), winner of the National Book Award for his biography of Jackson, has written a well-documented and highly readable narrative history of the battle and the events leading up to it. He argues that although the battle did not directly influence the terms of the Treaty of Ghent, it nonetheless was "one of the great turning points in American history." It made Jackson a national hero and paved the way for his election as president; it also produced a surge of nationalist sentiment and renewed the American public's faith in the superiority of its military and governmental institutions. Highly recommended for history collections in academic and public libraries.√ĄThomas H. Ferrell, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

-An excellent account of the most decisive battle in the War of 1812. After the terrible defeats in New York and Washington, DC, the fate of the new nation was in great peril. Not only was this battle the turning point in keeping the British from dividing the young country into conquerable pieces but it also served as the major event that united the states. Remini systematically draws together the facts, details, and background of the conflict and describes the actions and decisions of both sides that ultimately decided the battle. His descriptions of the generals and the fighting men capture both the individuality of the soldiers and the unique personality traits that became such important factors in deciding the outcome. For example, Major General Sir Edward Michael Parkham's impatience and egotism clearly marked the attitude of the British troops and are significant factors in the defeat, just as Andrew Jackson's logistical abilities and control gave him the upper hand. In addition, Remini brings up the many additional elements that played important parts in the British defeat, with luck being mentioned several times. Readers are introduced to the Lafitte brothers, pirates and guerilla fighters, and others who shaped this battle that determined the fate of a young nation.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The War of 1812 may seem a "forgotten conflict," as Donald R. Hickey argues in The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict (CH, May'90), but the great American victory at the Battle of New Orleans, achieved a fortnight after the Peace of Ghent ended hostilities, lives on in history, legend, and song. Major General Andrew Jackson commanded the diverse forces that won the day, and Jackson, like the battle, survives in history and lore. Old Hickory's foremost biographer, Robert Remini (see his Andrew Jackson, v.1, 1977; v.2, CH, Nov'81; v.3, CH, Oct'84) brings the general and battle together in a finely written, judicious work, the loving result of a half-century association between Remini and the illustrious Tennessee soldier. Remini is scrupulously fair in his assessment of the leading actors, Jackson included, and his admiration for the British is evident. Mild criticisms of The Battle of New Orleans include overstating the victory's significance and repetition of the myth that southern and western congressmen (the "War Hawks") forced President James Madison to seek a declaration of war. With maps, illustrations, chronology, endnotes, and bibliographical essay, Remini's book should appeal to a large audience. All levels. C. L. Egan; University of Houston

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Chronologyp. xiii
Chapter 1 The War in the Southp. 5
Chapter 2 New Orleansp. 25
Chapter 3 The Invasion Beginsp. 52
Chapter 4 The Night Attackp. 74
Chapter 5 The Artillery Duelp. 99
Chapter 6 Final Preparationsp. 119
Chapter 7 The Eighth of Januaryp. 136
Chapter 8 The Final Assaultp. 169
Chapter 9 "Who Would Not Be an American?"p. 184
Notesp. 201
Bibliographyp. 217
Indexp. 221