Louisiana Institute of Higher Education
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em: An Analysis of the Exfiltration Operation that followed the Battle at Chalmette (January 8 through February 12, 1815)
A prevailing discourse has existed for nearly two centuries now that imagines the U.S. victory over British forces on the plain of Chalmette on January 8, 1815 as thorough and climactic. Often in strident and bombastic tones, "The Battle of New Orleans" is remembered as an engagement that decisively swept the enemy from the field of battle. This has been especially true in the popular memorialization of the battle, which evolved into a hyperbolized narrative during the latter half of the 19th Century which has remained ever since. But the reality is that, following the battle of January 8th, the British successfully executed a complicated exfiltration operation that withdrew their fighting force in tact from the plain of Chalmette, through the cypress swamps and bayous to the east, and on to Lake Borgne and ultimately the transports waiting in Mississippi Sound. That same force then carried out successful amphibious landings on Dauphin Island and at Mobile Point in (what is now) Alabama, followed by a siege operation that resulted in the capitulation of the U.S. garrison of Fort Bowyer on February 12, 1815. This presentation examines the aftermath of the battle of January 8th when the British assault force successfully extricated itself from the field of battle, continued fighting, and produced one final victory for king and country. It also questions the accuracy of the triumphalist popular narrative that takes the January 8th battle out of the context of the overall Gulf of Mexico campaign and greatly exaggerates the circumstances of what was actually an orderly and disciplined British withdrawal.
Martin K. A. Morgan is an author/historian who specializes in American and military history. He holds a BA in history from the University of Alabama (1991), an MA in history from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (1996), and is currently a history doctoral candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He is the author of Down To Earth: The 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment in Normandy (Schiffer, 2004) and The Americans on D--‐Day: A Photographic History of the Normandy Invasion (Zenith Press, 2014), and he contributes frequently to World War II Quarterly and The American Rifleman. He has also contributed to other publications such as Aviation History, World War II, World War II History, Armchair General, the Garand Collector’s Association Journal, 39/45 (France) and After the Battle (England).
In addition to publishing, for 10 years now Martin has also appeared regularly on television programs relating to historical subjects on Discovery, National Geographic, History, H2, The Weather Channel, Syfy, the Outdoor Channel, and The Military Channel. These programs range in subject from D--‐Day to Pearl Harbor to how whiskey, Christmas, and chocolate changed history. With a background as a park ranger and a museum professional, his experience in public history paved the way for the publishing and broadcasting work he does today. Since 2002, he has been leading battlefield tours around the world, especially in Europe.