In the War of 1812 Negroes were used in both the land and naval forces. The achievements of the Negro in the Revolutionary War and the lack of troops left no room for debate as to the utility of Negro troops in this second encounter. Commander Nathaniel Shaler praised the heroism of black tars on his armed schooner, and Perry praised their heroism on Lake Erie. New York passed an act authorizing the raising of two regiments of Negro troops October 24, 1814, and 2,000 men of color were enlisted and sent to the army at Brackett's Harbor. The most notable service was performed by Negro troops under Major General Andrew Jackson at New Orleans. Jackson commanded the Eighth Military District with headquarters at Mobile, Alabama. He issued an appeal to the free Negro inhabitants, confessing a mistaken policy in heretofore depriving them of participation in the "glorious struggle for national rights in which our country is engaged." He promised the same bounty in money and land as to white soldiers, and that while he would select white commissioned officers for them, non-commissioned officers would be chosen from their ranks.

On Sunday, December 18, 1814, just before the Battle of New Orleans, General Jackson reviewed his Negro contingent and delivered to them an address which is such a remarkable statement that it demands full quotation here:

"To the men of color: - Soldiers! From the shores of Mobile I collected you to arms; I invited you to share in the perils and to divide the glory of your white countrymen. I expected much from you, for I was not uninformed of those qualities which must render you so formidable to an invading foe. I knew that you could endure hunger and thirst and all the hardships of war.

I knew that you loved the land of your nativity, and that, like ourselves, you had to defend all that is most dear to man. But you surpass my hopes. I have found in you, united to these qualities, that noble enthusiasm which impels to great deeds.

"Soldiers! The President of the United States shall be informed of your conduct on the present occasion, and the voice of the representatives of the American nation shall applaud your valor as your general now praises your ardor. The enemy is near. His sails cover the lakes. But the brave are united; and if he finds us contending among ourselves, it will be for the prize of valor and fame, its noblest reward".