Andrew Jackson's Uniform Coat

Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Sources
Date Posted: 12/15/2010

Blue wool uniform coat, gold-colored buttons on jacket front and sleeves. Epaulettes and gold trim at neck and cuffs.

This coat adheres to the 1813 uniform regulations; single-breasted, of dark blue wool, four buttons placed lengthwise on the sleeves and skirts. A gold star is embroidered on each turnback; gold embroidery adorns the collar and cuffs. Epaulets are bullion and gold lace with cloth strap and gold lace, mounted on board.

Andrew Jackson wore this uniform coat at the Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815; it was also worn by Jackson when he sat for his portrait by artist Ralph E. W. Early, about 1815. Jackson's uniform coat was presented to the National Institution in 1845 by General Thomas H. Bradley on behalf of the citizens of the State of Tennessee. General Bradley requested that the coat be placed "by the side of the one worn by the father of our common country, General George Washington." In 1883, both coats and other artifacts held at the National Institution were transferred to the National Museum.

General Jackson's plans to defend New Orleans were almost thwarted by the British capture of five American gunboats in Lake Borgne in December 1814. In the next major battle during the night of December 23rd, United States and British forces fought on land on the Villeré and adjacent plantations below the city, ending in a stalemate that threw the British off balance and battered their morale.

On December 24, in the city of Ghent, Belgium, the United States and British commissioners met to sign a peace treaty to end the War of 1812. Even as they were meeting, the battle raged on around New Orleans. A major American victory came on New Year's Day, with British casualties outnumbering those on the United States side by more than two to one.

On January 8, 1815, a date marked as the official victory over Britain, two British generals were killed in battle, with a third severely wounded. Britain suffered over 2,000 casualties in the decisive battle, whereas Jackson lost only 71 men. The British forces withdrew, sailing out to sea for good.

Measurements: overall: 44 x 12 in.; 111.76 x 30.48 cm Date Made: ca 1813

Use this Investigation Sheet to guide students through describing the object and analyzing its meaning.

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