Originally Posted by Grandstander
Good find....I've read several histories of the war and do not recall Fort Bower mentioned in any of them.
Fort Bowyer, if mentioned at all, is usually just a footnote in the overall New Orleans campaign. The original British plan was to take Mobile in order to cut off New Orleans trade. They were then going to move inland to Natchez and cut New Orleans off from the north, isolating the garrison. Fort Bowyer was the only thing that stood in the way. The British first attacked it with a small party in September 1814. The attack consisted of a small detachment of Royal Marines supported by some Spanish locals and Indians. The land force only had one howitzer and they were supported by a few sloops of the Royal Navy. The Americans only had around 120 men, but they held the fort and managed to sink one of the British ships when it ran aground.
Do to the failure at Fort Bowyer the British decided instead to make a direct assault on New Orleans. In the meantime Jackson reinforced Fort Bowyer bringing the garrison to around 370 men and greatly expanded the artillery there. After the British attacked New Orleans and were defeated, they regrouped and again planned an assault on Fort Bowyer based on their original plan.
This time the landing force was much more significant and supported by a much larger flotilla, including a 74-gun 3rd rate ship-of-the-line. The fort's weakness was its landward defenses and the British exploited this and forced the surrender. The American forces in the area then regrouped in Mobile to begin preparing for the eventual British attack there. Two days after the fort fell a British ship arrived in Mobile Bay carrying news of the treaty, so no further action was taken.
Originally Posted by cpg35223
Yeah, that article surprised me, too. I guess the classification of 'major' is somewhat in question. But American histories of the conflict don't seem to want it to end with an American surrender.
Pretty much, lol. The actions were part of the New Orleans campaign and the battles at Fort Bowyer were rather insignificant overall. Though, the first battle was important, at least in terms of it being the reason the Battle of New Orleans happened at all.