On the 203rd anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, there's an incredible story coming from the FBI about the recovery of a rifle that was used during the original fight.
That rifle was stolen 35 years ago from a local museum and ended up in the hands of a private collector. That is, until special agents recently tracked it down. It's a reminder of a piece of New Orleans' past that historians say many people have forgotten.
On this day, more than two hundred years ago, a group of ragtag soldiers defended New Orleans from the British. The battle took place on a field in Chalmette and marked a turning point for the U.S.
"American history begins to change world history," Ron Merrill, Chalmette Battlefield Park Ranger, said.
Volunteers at the Chalmette Battle field say visitors are often unaware of the field's significance.
"It doesn't have the prominence it once did," volunteer Darren Nunez said.
Monday a piece of this history was returned home and volunteers hope it will inspire a new generation to appreciate their own backyard. FBI agents, with the help of the Louisiana State Police, recovered the rifle. It's the only rifle in existence that can be traced back to the Chalmette Battlefield.
"As a result of their dedication and perseverance, a significant part of New Orleans history has been recovered and placed back on display to the visitors of this museum," FBI Special Agent Eric Rommal said.
The rifle was owned by William Ross, who defended New Orleans during the War of 1812. His grandson donated the rifle to the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum in 1894 where it remained until it was stolen in 1983. Now, the historic rifle has been returned to the museum and historians say a piece of the past will live on.
"It's local history. It's our history," Nunez said.