Lot 11: Andrew Jackson
War-dated ALS, three pages on two adjoining sheets, 7.75 x 9.75, December 13, 1813. Letter to Governor Willie Blount of Tennessee, written from Fort Strother during the Creek War. In part: “I wrote you last evening, advising you that from the discontents prevailing amongst the Volunteer infantry, arising from an idea that their time has expired on the 10th from a disposition displayed of mutiny on the 9th and as advised by Genl. Hall, that both officers and men had come to a final determination not to march forward or cross the Coosa River again—finding from other orders of Genl. Pinckney—from information rec’d here of the Georgia army being beaten by the Indians—and in consequence of their rumored victory, they are concentrating their forces about forty five miles from Talladega—all combined to make it necessary for me to move forward—and to save my own feelings from a scene that would follow from an act of disobedience of my order and them from the disgrace that would attach itself to such an act—and having rc’d no answer from you to my several letters…I have determined to permit them to march to Nashville, for orders from you or the President of the United States—and do hope and request that you will discharge them first directing the muster master to muster them out of service—I do not conceive I have any authority to discharge them—I am doubtful whether Genl. Pinckney has or any power except that of the President of the United States—but you being the agent of the President of the United States who organized them I hope you will conceive yourself authorized to dismiss or discharge them and I have a hope you will reverse this power, this corps was the first pride of my life, they have deserved well, and I had a hope would have been the last troops on earth that would have asked to go home so long as an enemy was in front—but privation has brought on discontents, from which mutiny has sprung—and patriotism has fled—I therefore have a desire that they may be discharged and mustered out of service by your order—I shall move forward as soon as practicable the Volunteers will march today, and I will have a quiet camp for a few days—when I can turn my whole thoughts to the chastisement of the enemy….I hope there still remains sufficient numbers of patriots, to chastise the Creeks, and to carry on the campaign. Shall it be said, that the boosted patriotism of Tennessee is a mere phantom, that only visits at home—shall it be said that a glorious career shall be abandoned for want of men—shall it be recorded that the brave the patriotic Tennesseans, turn…when they are ordered to march…It shall not, it must not—I have therefore to request that you will hold in readiness, a sufficient number, to fill up the deficiency that maybe occasioned by the discharge of the troops now in service until the campaign is completed and advise me of the length of service of the militia…I was impressed from the Secretary of War’s letter, that he views the whole as detached militia under the act of Congress—or he would not believe that the detached militia with me might answer the requisition that might be made on you by Genl. Flournoy—but to you I look for information on this subject, and request that it may reach me in a few days.” Jackson pens a lengthy postscript concerning the troop strength of Genl. Cocke’s and Genl. Roberts’s brigades, as well as the expiration dates of the soldiers’ terms. Addressed on the reverse of the second integral page in Jackson’s hand. In very good condition, with archival tape reinforcement and small areas of paper loss along intersecting folds, two old small labels reinforcing the hinge, and a small area of seal-related paper loss affecting several words of the postscript.A year earlier, Tennessee Governor Willie Blount raised a force of 1,500 volunteers for the ‘Natchez Expedition’ under General Andrew Jackson’s command to be mustered into service on December 10, 1812, with an enlistment term of one year. Jackson and his men arrived in Natchez in February 1813, only to be told by Secretary of War John Armstrong that their services were no longer needed. Enraged, Jackson himself financed their return to Tennessee; it was due to his steadfast commitment to his soldiers during their march home that he earned the famous sobriquet ‘Old Hickory.’ Jackson’s men were recalled into service with the onset of the Creek War in September, bolstered by a larger group of volunteers on three-month enlistments. Despite significant Tennessean victories at Tallushatchee and Talladega in November 1813, things came to a head in December when the near entirety of Jackson’s army was due for discharge. General John Cocke’s East Tennessee troops came to support Jackson’s men, but Cocke’s forces faced the same deficiencies. With numbers dwindling—Jackson had barely over one hundred men by January 1814—Jackson’s request for a sufficient force was finally met when nine hundred draftees arrived on January 14, and he was up to full strength by the end of February. It was with this group that Jackson faced the fiercest fighting of the Creek War, culminating in a decisive victory in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on March 27, 1814, effectively ending the conflict. Featuring excellent content from the field of battle, this letter reveals the qualities of Jackson’s leadership that made him an able military commander and, later, a successful politician.
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