Battle of New Orleans (1814-1815)

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The German Coast was well represented in the Battle of New Orleans.

Roster of Alexandre LaBranche’s Fifth Regiment
Roster of Alexandre LaBranche’s Fifth Regiment. Alexandre LaBranche, b. 1751; married Marie Jeanne Piseros; owner of large tracts of land in St. Charles Parish and several plantations; officer in the American Revolution; served in the Spanish Army; drafter, first state constitution; second lieutenant in the militia of German Coast; fought with Galvez against English in American Revolution; colonel, Fifth Regiment, County of German Coast Militia in Battle of New Orleans.

Colonel Alexandre LaBranche led the 568 men of the Fifth Regiment of the County of the German Coast, St. Charles and St. John the Baptist. To help strengthen forces, a group named “St. Charles Troop of Horse” led by Captain Rene Trudeau, a former lieutenant colonel in the 44th United States Regiment, was organized. Forty-one men were in service from December 14, 1814 until March 16, 1815. Corporal Nicholas Destrehan, Michel Fortier, Samuel McCutcheon, Jean Sarpy, and Francis and Pierre Trépagnier are some that assisted in the battle to keep the British from taking control of the Port of New Orleans and the mouth of the Mississippi River.

More than two weeks earlier the Treaty of Ghent had been signed, but had not yet been ratified by the United States. This, in effect, ended the war and confirmed American independence, but the news had not yet reached the southern front. This was the second and last time that America waged war against Great Britain.

Prior to and during the Battle of New Orleans, pirates Jean Lafitte (ca.1776–1823) and his brother Pierre were involved in smuggling goods and slaves in southeastern Louisiana. They were based on the Gulf of Mexico at Grand Terre and traveled by waterways to Lake Salvador into St. Charles Parish. The Lafittes established friendships along the German Coast. In 1815, seeking a pardon for past unlawful acts and preferring to side with America over Britain, the brothers reportedly took refuge at the east bank Alexandre LaBranche plantation in the St. Rose area, told those gathered of the impending British attack, and offered their services to assist. Jean and Pierre Lafitte honored their offer to help defend the city and were granted pardons. The Lafitte brothers played a major role in helping to save New Orleans.

Re-enactment of the Battle of New Orleans
Re-enactment of the Battle of New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Fay Walker Louque)

This text is copyright © material by Marilyn Richoux, Joan Becnel and Suzanne Friloux, from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana: A Pictorial History, 2010.

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