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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Louisiana

 

Originally named by the French to honor King Louis XIV, Louisiana was admitted to the Union 30 April 1812 as the 18th State.

 

I

 

(Slp.: t. 341; lbp. 99'6"; b. 28'; dr. 14'; a. 16 long 24‑pdrs.)

 

The first Louisiana was built in New Orleans, La., in 1812 for merchant service on the Mississippi; purchased by the Navy in September of that year; and placed in service immediately with the small force defending New Orleans against British invasion.

 

Attached to the New Orleans station, unarmed and not fitted out through the first 2 years of war, Louisiana was made Commodore Daniel T. Patterson’s flagship in August 1814, received her guns, and along with schooner Carolina and a handful of gunboats, prepared to protect the city from attack by sea. The heaviest and most powerfully armed ship in Patterson’s small flotilla, the sloop served as a floating battery, stationed along the right bank of the Mississippi to cover any possible attack by land or sea.

 

By 23 December, the British Army was landing its forces only 9 miles below New Orleans, and Commodore Patterson ordered Louisiana and Carolina to sail downriver and attack, supporting General Jackson’s hastily assembled troops. Becalmed, the sloop was unable to sail, but the next day joined Carolina and for the 4 following days pounded the British on the flank, making their advance untenable and giving Jackson time to dig in. On the night of 27 December Carolina was hit by enemy fire and blew up, leaving Louisiana the only naval vessel at New Orleans.

 

The British moved forward on the 28th but Louisiana’s heavy battery forced them back. Though they retaliated with an incessant 7‑hour cannonade, the sloop was able to fire nearly 800 rounds at the enemy while suffering only one man wounded. Dropping downriver 30 December, Louisiana continued to punish the enemy with devastating flank fire. Meanwhile, the sloop’s inshore guns were brought ashore and placed in redoubts to bombard the enemy. As the English continued to press the attack, Louisiana supported General Jackson’s soldiers with accurate fire until by sunset, 8 January 1815, the British veterans were disastrously defeated in the last attack, and the valuable port of New Orleans remained American. General Jackson gave well‑earned tribute to the Navy’s key role in this great victory.

 

Louisiana was subsequently dismantled and laid up at New Orleans, and in 1821 was broken up.