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The Treaty of Ghent
Octagon House

"Octagon House, Washington, D.C., where Jackson was entertained Nov. 15, 1815," 1937
Bernhardt Wall Collection

After British troops burned the White House in 1814, Octagon House was used as a temporary executive mansion by President Madison. It was there that he signed the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

While the British and Americans clashed on the plains of Chalmette, representatives from the United States and Great Britain were in Ghent, Belgium, hammering out a treaty that would end the conflict. Impressment of American seamen, one of the main motives for war, stopped after Napoleon's defeat in the spring of 1814, as did the restrictions on American shipping. Britain's chief demand was the creation of an Indian "buffer state" which they hoped would stem the tide of American expansion. The U.S. delegates, Henry Clay among them, flatly refused such a stipulation.

In the end, the nations agreed to a status quo ante bellum, or a restoration of the borders of each nation as they existed before the war. The treaty was signed on December 24, 1814, and ratified by British Parliament on December 30th (six days before the Battle of New Orleans was fought). However, it took six weeks for a copy of the treaty to arrive in the United States, where the U.S. Senate ratified it on February 16, 1815. President James Madison signed the treaty the next day, officially ending the war.

Henry Clay

Henry Clay
Tennessee Historical Society Picture Collection


Henry Clay

Kentuckian Henry Clay was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1811 and was the leader of the War Hawk faction. In 1814 Clay served as part of the peace commission that negotiated the Treaty of Ghent to end the War of 1812. After the war Clay served in the U.S. Senate, helped found the Whig Party to oppose President Andrew Jackson, and served as Secretary of State under President John Quincy Adams. Clay was a dominant figure in antebellum politics and the architect of compromises that delayed the onset of the Civil War.


List of sick and wounded

List of sick, lame, and fatigued soldiers, Bogue Chitto, Louisiana, March 26, 1815
Lawrence Family Papers

The men were under the care of Dr. William Pitt Lawrence, Surgeon, 3rd Regiment, Tennessee Militia, on their return from the Battle of New Orleans. Lawrence practiced medicine and farmed, first in Carthage, and later in McMinnville and Nashville. He served as surgeon with the 3rd Regiment of Tennessee Militia from 1813 to 1815.

St. Louis Cathedral

"Cathedral St. Louis, New Orleans, where General Jackson was crowned with laurel, January 21, 1815," 1937
Bernhardt Wall Collection

U.S. Generals

Engraving depicting Jackson's return to Nashville after the Battle of New Orleans
Library Photograph Collection