Louisiana Institute of Higher Education
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"They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em: An Analysis of the Exfiltration Operation that followed the Battle at Chalmette (January 8th through February 12th, 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. 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 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ﾊJanuary 8thwhen 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 popular triumphalist 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 50th 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).