Jean Lafitte
Historic Resource Study (Chalmette Unit)
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This Historic Resource Study seeks to identify and evaluate those cultural resources most closely associated with the history of the Chalmette Unit, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park. With this document as a basis, the following projects are recommended to further enhance the historical record and to aid in the interpretation of the site to the public.

1. A study of the uniforms, equipment, and appearance of the different units that served at New Orleans in 1814-15. Although parts of this study might be included in the histories of individual units mentioned below, it is recommended that the data on uniforms and equipment be presented comprehensively in a separate study.

2. An intensive search for documentary information about the role of the Rodriguez House during the battles of 1814-15. Some pertinent material has surfaced recently, necessitating a concentrated effort to precisely ascertain the manner in which the house was used by the American forces.

3. Conduct research on the New Orleans campaign in British archives. Although copies of official British war records are available in the Library of Congress, other British repositories on the national and local levels should yield additional record sources concerning the campaign of 1814-15. It is likely that these repositories contain personal letters, journals, diaries, and maps that bear significantly on the military and naval history of the British expedition to America.

4. An in-depth study of the British and American artillery at New Orleans to precisely delineate the configuration of the opposing ordnance and batteries on the battlefield during the engagements of December 28, 1814; January 1, 1815; and January 8, 1815. This study should consider the American artillery component from a regional perspective to best determine the size, availability, and location of guns at Jackson's disposal throughout the campaign.

5. An intensive study of the action of January 8, 1815, on the west bank of the Mississippi. This action, while overshadowed by the battles occurring across the Mississippi, was nonetheless important to developments on the east bank. Indeed, had events gone as Pakenham intended, the west bank action might have proved the undoing of Jackson's position on the east bank. Sites on the west bank should be identified to ensure the accurate incorporation of those military movements in the interpretation of the Battle of New Orleans.

6. An in-depth treatment of the participation of Choctaw Indians in the New Orleans campaign. This should include an examination of the circumstances under which the Indians were recruited, a discussion of specific operations they took part in, along with a determination of any Government benefits that might have accrued to them for their service. It might also be useful to see what the modern Choctaws' oral traditions reveal of the martial services of their ancestors.

7. A detailed history of British and American naval operations during the New Orleans campaign, to include the role of the British supply vessels, navigation of the waters around New Orleans for a radius of 200 miles, and the British naval assault on Fort St. Philip, January 9-17, 1815.

8. Individual histories of the various units, British and American (regular, militia, and volunteer) that served in the New Orleans campaign of 1814-15.

9. Biographical studies of the several prominent leaders in the Battles of New Orleans. These individuals enjoyed careers preceding and, in some cases, following the battles; many officers made significant contributions to British and American military history in other quarters and for purposes of interpretation their entire lives should be treated. Such information will provide additional perspective into facets of human motivation that may have influenced decisions concerning the conduct of the various battles, thereby illuminating the record. Other than Andrew Jackson, whose life and military career are perhaps adequately documented, candidates for biographical treatment might include Generals Edward M. Pakenham, Samuel Gibbs, John Keane, John Coffee, William Carroll, and John Adair, and Commodore Daniel T. Patterson.

10. A study based on archival sources of land transfers in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries affecting the Rodriguez property.

11. A study of the plantations in the immediate vicinity of the battlefield, namely those of Macarty, Rodriguez, Chalmette, Bienvenue, de la Ronde, Lacoste, and Villeré. The land encompassed by these tracts figured more or less decisively in the engagements of December 23 and 28, 1814, and January 1 and 8, 1815. A detailed study would identify the historic scene and buildings that might have been appropriately utilized by the opposing forces and would contribute to a broader understanding of events in the area adjoining the park unit.

12. A study of the modern community of Fazendeville, which existed on the Chalmette plain until 1964. This study should employ both historical and sociological data to discuss the evolution of this all-black community on the battlefield, as well as to assess the economic and social conditions under which its inhabitants lived. It might also address any social and/or political pressures that contributed to the demise of Fazendeville in the 1960s.

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Last Updated: 05-Sep-2004