The melody is based on a well-known American fiddle tune "The 8th of January", which was the date of the Battle of New Orleans.Jimmy Driftwood, a school principal in Arkansas with a passion for history, set an account of the battle to this music in an attempt to get students interested in learning history. It seemed to work, and Driftwood became well known in the region for his historical songs. He was "discovered" in the late 1950s by Don Warden, and eventually was given a recording contract by RCA, for whom he recorded 12 songs in 1958, including "The Battle of New Orleans".
"The Battle of New Orleans" is a song written by Jimmy Driftwood. The song describes the 1815 Battle of New Orleans from the perspective of an American soldier; the song tells the tale of the battle with a light tone and provides a rather comical version of what actually happened at the battle. It has been recorded by many artists, but the singer most often associated with this song is Johnny Horton. His version scored number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959.
The Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815 and was the final major battle of the War of 1812. American forces, commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, defeated an invading British Army intent on seizing New Orleans and the vast territory the United States had acquired with the Louisiana Purchase. The Treaty of Ghent, having been signed on December 24, 1814, was ratified by the Prince Regent on December 30, 1814 and the United States Senate on February 16, 1815. Hostilities continued until late February when official dispatches announcing the peace reached the combatants in Louisiana, finally putting an end to the war. The Battle of New Orleans is widely regarded as the greatest American land victory of the war.