Major General Edward Pakenham

When the news of Maj. Gen. Robert Ross's death reached England in October of 1814, a replacement commander for the New Orleans campaign had to be found. Though he was opposed to the war with the United States, Pakenham accepted command of the British North American army and left almost immediately for Jamaica where he was to rendezvous with more British forces before moving on to the Gulf Coast. Heavy winds delayed Pakenham's crossing and he reached Jamaica only after Vice Admiral Cochrane had already departed for New Orleans to commence operations.

Pakenham finally made it to the British advance camp, seven miles below New Orleans at the Villere Plantation, on 25 December 1814. He was able to bring forward large pieces of British artillery over difficult terrain, but the operation was plagued by bitter weather and other difficulties.

Pakenham planned to mount a two-pronged attack on the Americans positioned on both sides of the Mississippi River. But Pakenham failed to hold back his assault on Jackson's line until Col. Thornton had taken the American guns on the West bank. This artillery from the west bank raked the troops on the eastern shore. In an attempt to rally his men who had begun to retreat, Pakenham rode close to the enemy line shouting encouragement. He was knocked from his horse by a cannonball, but quickly got back up on an aide's horse. He was then struck twice by bullets; once in the chest, and again in the throat.

He was brought to the rear where he issued his final order which was to throw in the reserve forces under Maj. Gen. John Lambert. Within minutes Pakenham expired.