Thursday, April 18, 2019

Former Slave Jordan B. Noble’s Battle of New Orleans Commemorative Banner and Historic Snare Drum and Offered in May 4 Americana Auction

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Eric Bradley, Director, Public Relations

Former Slave Jordan B. Noble’s Battle of New Orleans Commemorative Banner and Historic Snare Drum and Offered in May 4 Americana Auction

New Orleans resident’s rare war drum offered at Heritage Auctions

DALLAS, Texas (April 15, 2019) – On January 8, 1815, a teenage slave named Jordan Bankston Noble beat the call to arms and stood shoulder to shoulder with U.S. troops determined to drive back the British Army during the Battle of New Orleans.
Despite his age, Noble, just 14 years old, already had plenty of experience as a drummer in the War of 1812 under Major General Andrew Jackson’s 7th Regiment; his skills also had played a crucial role in a December 1814 surprise attack against the British.
More than 180 years later, Noble’s personally owned circa 1830 snare drum, which he used to keep soldiers marching in step during Second Seminole War of 1836, and two additional wars, and a prized Battle of New Orleans presentation banner, come to auction May 4 in Heritage Auctions’ Americana & Political Auction in Dallas and on
“Without a doubt, Jordan Noble’s life is a fascinating story of courage and perseverance,” said Tom Slater, an expert and director of Historical Americana at Heritage. “Despite serving his country, after the war, two of Noble's commanders took ownership of him and his mother. It was through their efforts that Jordan became a free man and a celebrated historic figure in New Orleans.”
Born a slave in Georgia in 1800, Noble was raised by his mother before he was sold to New Orleans resident John Noble in 1812 who likewise fought at the battle in Jackson’s 7th Regiment Louisiana Volunteer Infantry.
Because of his extreme patriotism, after the War of 1812, Noble continued his military career as a drummer during the Second Seminole War of 1836, the Mexican War (under Zachary Taylor) and the Civil War. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he raised a company of freed African Americans (the “Louisiana Native Guards”) to provide security and defense for the city of New Orleans. 

The drum offered at auction on May 4 is the one he played from his time in the Seminole Wars to the end of his life in 1890. It is the very same one Noble was seen with at the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition/New Orleans World’s Fair (1884). After his death, the drum was publically exhibited at the Colonial Museum in New Orleans (1903) and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition/St. Louis World's Fair (1904), before being loaned to the Louisiana State Museum for more than a century and being on permanent display for the majority of that time.

The exceptionally important military snare drum features a Federal eagle and shield on a standard military blue background. The maker’s label is inscribed in ink at the top "JB Noble." Although some of the paint is worn and chipped, the graphic eagle remains vivid and is surrounded by 24 stars (one chipped away) representing the 24 states admitted between 1821 and 1836.

Noble’s commitment to this country ran deep. Among his most prized possessions was a 42-inch by 45-inch blue silk banner that, according to tradition, was made by the women of New Orleans and presented to Andrew Jackson to honor and commemorate his victory at the Battle of New Orleans. It is decorated with two horizontal ribbons within a wreath inscribed “Andrew Jackson” and “1814 and 1815.” It is encased with a printed testimonial to Noble, dated April 27, 1880, signed by two former governors, three generals and a commodore.

Noble’s widow sold the banner (and drum) sometime before 1903 to Gaspar Cusachs, who loaned it to the Louisiana State Museum. The banner has been publically exhibited at the Colonial Museum in New Orleans (1903), the Louisiana Purchase Exposition/St. Louis World's Fair (1904), the Louisiana State Museum (1909) and the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge (2006-2016).

Noble became known as the “The Drummer Boy of Chalmette” and was fondly called "Old Jordan" in his later years. He was often seen and heard playing the snare drum currently offered at auction, and would timelessly recreate the famous drumbeat that was heard on the fields of Chalmette during the Battle of New Orleans, along with the many other military beats he performed throughout his service to this country.

Old Jordan became such a fixture of New Orleans’ culture, the local newspaper, The Daily Picayune, honored him and told the story of his life in an article published June 21, 1890, the day after his death.

Heritage Auctions’ auction session featuring Jordan B. Noble’s personally owned snare drum and his prized Battle of New Orleans presentation banner begins at 11 a.m. CT, May 4 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas with live bidding available worldwide through
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
The Internet’s most popular auction-house website,, has over one million registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of four million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.
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