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New Orleans Under Threat
Departure of troops for New Orleans

"Departure of the Troops for New Orleans," 1848
Library Photograph Collection

After checking British advances in West Florida, Jackson made his way to New Orleans, where he anticipated the British would make a formidable assault. Arriving in the city on December 1, 1814, Jackson immediately set about fortifying the area and amassing his army. He called upon the Tennessee militia, now led by Major General William Carroll, and Brigadier General John Coffee's mounted volunteers. Also defending the city were the militias of Kentucky, the Mississippi territory, and Louisiana, including two battalions of free blacks. Elements of the 7th and 44th U.S. Infantry Regiments, sailors and marines, and a small group of Choctaw warriors further augmented Jackson's force. Jackson even made a deal with the infamous Baratarian pirate, Jean Lafitte, to furnish the Americans with ammunition and manpower in exchange for immunity. Jackson exhibited great leadership skills in pulling all these disparate elements together, particularly in an environment where most of the population spoke French and expressed anti-American sentiments. Jackson, through either fear or inspiration, convinced the dubious citizenry to follow his lead.

John Coffee

John Coffee
Tennessee Historical Society Picture Collection


John Coffee

When the war began, John Coffee raised a regiment of mounted riflemen. He later rose to command all of Jackson's mounted troops. Coffee was Andrew Jackson's friend, confidant, and most trusted subordinate. He even saved Jackson's life during a brawl with Thomas Hart Benton and Jesse Benton in a Nashville tavern in 1813. After the War of 1812, Coffee negotiated a land cession from the Choctaw and worked as a surveyor. Later, he was one of the earliest settlers in Florence, Alabama.


General Jackson Conferring with the Committee of Safety

"General Jackson Conferring with the Committee of Safety"
Library Photograph Collection

Committees of Public Safety organized in 1814 to encourage the citizens of New Orleans to defend their interests.

Fortifying New Orleans

"Fortifying New Orleans" by William Croome, ca. 1848
Library Photograph Collection

This engraving shows African American slaves constructing Line Jackson. Many slaves were used to construct fortifications around New Orleans in preparation for the battle. Both slaves and free blacks also helped man Line Jackson.

Tomb of Dominique You

Tomb of Dominique You in St. Louis Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana, ca. 1930s
Library Photograph Collection

Dominique You (1775-1830) was a pirate who fought with Jean Lafitte and other Gulf pirates during the Battle of New Orleans. He was also Lafitte's half-brother. General Jackson wrote that You's men served with "uncommon gallantry and skill."