|General Jean Humbert of France|
General Humbert made his name fighting for Napoleon Bonaparte in Ireland. He made an ill-fated attempt to land at Bantry Bay in Ireland in 1796. Bad weather and a powerful British Royal Navy prevented his invasion. In the Irish uprising in 1798 (often called "The Year of the French" in Ireland), Humbert successfully landed and fought alongside Irish rebels against the British who then controlled Ireland.
General Humbert had a small force of 1,100 men, a few light cannon, muskets with bayonets, gun powder, and other supplies. As he marched, Irish locals joined his army eager to rebel against the oppressive British. He defeated a larger British force at the Battle of Castlebar in Ireland and declared Irish independence -- the Republic of Connacht. He was defeated, however, at the Battle of Ballinamuck by a vastly larger British army and taken prisoner. The British commander at that battle was none-other-than Lord Charles Cornwallis, who had surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown in the American Revolutionary War.
Among the British forces fighting against Humbert and the Irish was an English officer who was born in Ireland, who was the brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington. His name was Edward Pakenham.
As time passed, after Humbert was released in a prisoner exchange, war against the British continued. This time the battlefield was near New Orleans, Louisiana; and England's enemy was not France but the United States. After his distinguished service with Wellington in the Peninsular War against the French in Spain, Pakenham was chosen to lead a large British invasion force to capture New Orleans. This was to be the final and most decisive battle of the War of 1812.
The battle actually occurred after a peace treaty had been decided, but the combatants did not know this. And although it was called The Battle of New Orleans, it actually occurred about four miles downriver from the city at the Chalmette Plantation on a cut sugarcane field between the Mississippi River levee and the cypress swamp -- with more fighting across the river on the West Bank.
General Humbert had traveled to the city because of its French connections. Possibly because of his friendship with Jean Lafitte, he decided to lend his hand to fight the British once again. General Andrew Jackson had Humbert serve with the American army on the West Bank across the river from Line Jackson.
Although he did not play a major part in the Battle of New Orleans, he was nevertheless in harm's way and served honorably, winning the thanks of General Andrew Jackson. Edward Pakenham, Humbert's English enemy from his days in Ireland and again at New Orleans, was killed on the Chalmette battlefield. Humbert died in 1823 and was buried in New Orleans in St. Louis Cemetery Number 1.
For more information, see
Also see an Irish song book called "Blain na Bhfrancach: Songs of 1798 The Year of the French" by Duchas, 1982. The book has Irish songs of the period and brief historical information. It discusses Humbert and New Orleans.
The drawing of General Humbert above is from Wikimedia Commons and in public domain.