Action Report: Historic Battle of New Orleans uniforms in need of repair

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wwltv.com

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 11 at 8:01 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

CHALMETTE, La. -- State Museum leaders say there are few artifacts left from the Battle of New Orleans. Among the most prized are four-uniform coats from that era.

But this is the one they worry about most. The red and blue wool coat with the silver buttons and stripes is two hundred years old.

"When I put it on the form, it took me a day to put it up. It took me a full day's work to get it up. It is very delicate, it is very fragile,” said Wayne Phillips, state museum curator.

Lt. Colonel William Hamilton was commander of the Third U-S Infantry Regiment when he wore it.

"He did not fight in the Battle of New Orleans, but we know that he was present in Louisiana in 1814 and 1815, so we can only imagine what kind of conditions he saw actually at war against the British,” said Phillips.

Hamilton would run for Governor, but the deteriorating uniform is now uniquely important.

"This is the only example of this particular model of uniform known in any museum or any private collection anywhere,” said Phillips.

The museum is planning a special exhibit in 2015 for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. But this tattered uniform needs to be restored, a painstaking process.

"Every one of these tiny little insect holes will have to be patched, using thread that is the consistence of a human hair,” said Phillips.

But the State Museum is going to need a lot of help to get this uniform in the proper shape for the Battle of New Orleans Bicentennial Exhibit. And it is going to be a very expensive process.

"The conservation treatment will cost $35,000, and we are putting out an appeal right now to the general public. Anybody? Anybody?” said Wayne Phillips, state museum curator.

They're asking you to help save a piece of our history for future generations.

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