- Jul 30, 2018
Before heading to the CWT muster in Vicksburg in October, I went to New Orleans for a couple of days. In preparation, I of course looked up what Civil War sites I could visit in the Crescent City. One place that came up in my research was Jackson Square in the French Quarter, especially the equestrian monument of Andrew Jackson.
The statue itself has nothing to do with the Civil War – Andrew Jackson victoriously led the American troops in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, and to honor his deeds, a statue of Jackson was erected in 1856.
However, an inscription can be found on the statue’s pedestal that was added during the Civil War: The Union must and shall be preserved. Major General Benjamin Butler had had it inscribed when he occupied New Orleans in 1862. It was a reference to a toast made by Andrew Jackson during the nullification crisis in 1830 at a state dinner when Jackson served as the 7th President of the United States. His toast was: "Our Federal Union: It must be preserved!" To which Jackson’s Vice President, John C. Calhoun, responded with, "The union; next to our liberty the most dear; may we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the states and distributing equally the benefit and burden of the union." Jackson’s toast was important as he hadn’t given any indication until that point what he thought about nullification.
What I find especially interesting is that Jackson’s toast was inscribed on the base of an identical equestrian statue which was erected in 1853 in Washington D.C. It makes me wonder why it was left out in the New Orleans statue when it was cast from the same model three years later. Does anyone know why or have theories?
- A Bloodless Victory: The Battle of New Orleans in History and Memory by Joseph F. Stoltz III