Today on December 14th 1814, the Royal Navy defeats a hastily assembled squadron of American ships at the Battle of Lake Borgne.
The Battle of Lake Borgne took place during the War of 1812 in the southern theatre of the United States. The naval battle pitted the well-equipped British Navy against an outnumbered, hastily assembled group of U.S. gunboats. The British had suffered a number of losses in North America during the war and were now focused on invading New Orleans. British Admiral, Alexander Cochrane, arrived off the coast of Louisiana on December 9th and ordered his fleet to hunt out and destroy any American naval resistance.
The British armed 42 long boats with at least one 12 to 24 pounder carronade, as well as three gigs each mounting a long brass 12 pounder cannon. The American squadron had five Jeffersonian-class gunboats, two sloops-of-war (single gundeck ships), and one armed schooner. The British rowed for more than a day before eventually finding the American blockade. They divided into three squadrons (as seen in the picture) and advanced toward their enemy under fire. The engagement lasted only two hours. However, the Americans were still able to inflict considerable damage to the British boats before finally surrendering.
The British victory gave them full control over the surrounding lakes and seaways, providing a safe launch pad for assaulting their main target of New Orleans. While the American defeat at Lake Borgne caused widespread panic among the local population, it did provide Andrew Jackson with more time to prepare the city’s defenses. The main land assault of the Battle of New Orleans came to head a few weeks later on January 8, 1815. Jackson successfully mounted a brave defense against the far superior British Army and save the city from invasion.