Few events in American history have captured the popular imagination and found representation in such diverse forms of expression as has the Battle of New Orleans. General Andrew Jackson's defeat of the British forces below New Orleans in January of 1815 established once and for all that Louisiana would remain an American possession. The battle and the personalities involved have remained favorite subjects for generations of historians, storytellers, and artists. The Historic New Orleans Collection is particularly fortunate to have been entrusted with the world's foremost assembly of original documents, artworks, rare books and memorabilia relating to the Battle of New Orleans.
Battle of New Orleans
1856: oil on canvas
Dennis M. Carter, painter
The Williams Research Center of The Historic New Orleans Collection offers an unparalleled wealth of research materials relating to the Battle of New Orleans and the War of 1812 in the South, including personal and official records. Original documents and artworks, rare books, prints, and pamphlets, as well as maps and plans, collectively tell the story of one of the greatest military upsets of all time. The conflict had been a particular interest of The Collection's founder, General L. Kemper Williams, who began collecting Battle memorabilia in the 1930s. After his death in 1971, The Collection continued to build on its impressive holdings, most recently with the acquisitions of the extensive William C. Cook War of 1812 in the South Collection, and the Arsène Lacarriere Latour Archive. These important collections, listed in the manuscripts section below, are now available to researchers and interested members of the public at the Williams Research Center in New Orleans.
This research pathfinder is designed to be a starting point for research on the Battle of New Orleans at the Williams Research Center. It is your guide to the diverse materials available for study. Simply click on any of the three broad categories to see detailed lists and descriptions. Specific terms within these lists can be searched by using the "Find" command in your browser's Edit menu (or use key command Control + F).
Click on these links to find materials and descriptions:
Highlights in our Collections
Researchers and military history enthusiasts will find many rare and unique items and documents at The Historic New Orleans Collection. In particular, the recently acquired William C. Cook War of 1812 in the South Collection contains a wealth of original documents, artworks, and rare prints, including the largest extant collection of so-called "Coffin Broadsides" that vilified Jackson during his 1828 presidential campaign for his execution of six militia men for desertion in 1815. The Arsène Lacarriere Latour Archive consists of important notes and copied correspondence used by Latour as he wrote the first historical account of the West Florida war, published in 1816. There are many other document collections that provide eyewitness accounts of the Battle of New Orleans. Finally, numerous maps and artworks document the war visually, providing a beautiful--and sometimes terrible--glimpse of the events of December 1814-January 1815.
Additional resources can be found in our searchable online catalogue.
Recent Exhibitions on the Battle
In 2005, an exhibition titled The Terrible & the Brave: The Battles for New Orleans, 1814-15 was featured at The Collection's museum at 533 Royal St. The short video documentary by filmmaker Walter Williams featured in the exhibition is now available in streaming format here.
Battle of New Orleans Timeline
Other Repositories with War of 1812 Research Collections
Documents concerning the Battle of New Orleans and the broader War of 1812 can be found in a number of libraries, archives, and museums in the United States and abroad. Click on the links below to get more information on these repositories and their collections. The Williams Research Center does have some microfilm from selected repositories.
Online Research Resources
A number of Internet reference sites contain information on the Battle of New Orleans and the War of 1812. Some examples are below. Please note that The Historic New Orleans Collection cannot certify the accuracy of these sites, and users should check information obtained against reliable published authorities.
Research pathfinder compiled and edited by Jason Wiese, Assistant Director, Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection
Last update: 09.13.13