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History's Happenings for January 8

The Battle of New Orleans
1815

Andrew Jackson

The War of 1812 had been underway for over two years, with the British holding the cards for most of that time. When in the autumn of 1814 British troops entered the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. government sent General Andrew Jackson to the defense of the critical American port of New Orleans. He arrived December 1st at the head of some 6,000 American troops, mostly irregulars.

Later that month fifty ships of the British fleet entered the Gulf and landed 2,000 British regulars to the east, their strategy being to capture both New Orleans and control of the lower Mississippi valley. They struggled across the swamps and set up post just below the city on the banks of the Mississippi. They were gradually reinforced to a total strength exceeding 8,000.

Following a couple of weeks of skirmishing, on January 8, 1815, the British attacked the Americans behind Jackson's hastily erected but effective fortifications. The battle was decisive, and over in just a half hour. Jackson lost 76 men, compared to British losses of over 2,000. The British retired from the theater, discouraged and ready to sail for home.

None too soon, as the Treaty of Ghent had been signed two weeks before making the battle, unfortunately, irrelevant.

There's another story to New Orleans. Jackson had first been ordered to the city, by the governor of his home state of Tennessee, in 1813. He led his detachment of Tennesseans as far as Natchez, Mississippi before receiving an order to halt and disband his army. He refused, and led the detachment home personally -- for which his appreciative men labeled him "tough as hickory". And "Old Hickory" became an American legend.

11th Amendment Ratified
1798

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Wilson Outlines His 14-Point Peace Plan
1918

President Woodrow Wilson

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Birth of Elvis Presley
1935

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LBJ Declares War On Poverty
1964

President Lyndon. B. Johnson

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Ma Bell Agrees to Break-Up
1982

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