A timely homecoming: Stolen Battle of New Orleans rifle returned to local museum on battle anniversary

NEW ORLEANS — On the 203rd anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, a rare piece of history has made its way home.

Officials from the FBI, Louisiana State Police and the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum (also known as the Civil War Museum) gathered at the downtown museum Monday afternoon to announce the recovery of a rifle that was used in the Battle of New Orleans and stolen from the Civil War Museum more than 35 years ago.

Agents who led the investigation said they still don’t know how the gun was lifted from the museum.

It was traded in 1982 in exchange for several other weapons. A private collector bought the stolen gun from a French Quarter antique shop.

An agent for the FBI’s stolen art team initiated an investigation into the stolen artifact. It was recovered in November 2017 and returned to the museum today.

According to the museum, the rifle belonged to William Ross, who helped the Americans defeat the British and forced British soldiers to completely withdraw from Louisiana.

In 1894, Ross’ grandson donated the rifle to the Louisiana Historical Association, which is now known as Confederate Memorial Hall.

It’s the only rifle that is fully documented and properly traced back to the Battle of New Orleans.

“A significant part of New Orleans history has been recovered and is now back on display for museum visitors,” officials said.

State Police Lt. J.B. Slaton noted that not only is the rifle a part of history, but the gun’s journey to the museum and to the French Quarter and eventually back to the museum is a piece of history in itself.

“This is truly amazing,” he said.