HERMITAGE – Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage commemorated the 204th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans with complimentary admission for all ages for the only free day of the year at the presidential home.
The keynote speaker for the day’s annual wreath-laying ceremony was Marine Corps retired Lt. Gen. John Castellaw, former chief of staff of the U.S. Central Command at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and current board member for the American Security Project.
On the foggy morning of Jan. 8, 1815, at a place that has come to be known as Chalmette Battlefield just downriver from New Orleans, Gen. Andrew Jackson led a ragtag army of Americans to a stunning victory over the highly trained British forces at the Battle of New Orleans. It was the final major battle in the War of 1812.
The battle lasted fewer than 30 minutes, and the result changed America while it stunned the world. By the time the smoke had cleared, the British had sustained 2,000 killed, wounded, missing or captured. Jackson’s own losses were 71. It was the most lopsided defeat ever suffered by a British army.
The battle changed how both Americans and Europeans thought about the United States’ experiment in self-government, branded Jackson as an American military hero and served as the springboard for Jackson’s eventual election to the U.S. presidency in 1828. Each Jan. 8, the Hermitage commemorates the anniversary of the American victory with public programs for children and adults and offers free admission to the public.
Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage: Home of the People’s President is one of the largest, most well-preserved and most visited presidential homes in the United States. Opened to the public in 1889, the Hermitage is one of America’s first presidential museums. The Hermitage is currently a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with 27 historic buildings, including Jackson’s mansion and tomb, restored slave cabins, a church and gardens. In recent years, new interpretive initiatives and educational programs such as the history of slavery have enhanced the experience of 228,157 annual visitors. For more information, visit thehermitage.com.