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Historians: Battle of New Orleans crucial for US

By CAIN BURDEAU

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans are on tap for next week, and new historical research is revealing how pivotal the victory was.

A big discovery has come from British records. A researcher recently went to London and found a set of secret orders given to Gen. Edward Pakenham, the commander of the British invasion of the Gulf Coast. The orders directed him to fight on and capture New Orleans regardless of any peace deal with the Americans.

Ronald Drez, a military historian who uncovered the papers, says this should put to rest notions that battle was unimportant because it happened days after a peace treaty to end the War of 1812 was signed.

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