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LETTERS OF ANDREW JACKSON
An interesting series, all addressed to his wife, from 1803 to 1820, concerning the time of his expeditions against the Creek Indians, during which he hung Arbuthnot, to whom he merely alludes.
The letters in this collection are dated as follows:
REDSTONE OLD FORT 30 miles above Pittsburgh, May 26, 1803.
Details of his journey from Philadelphia, etc
"Mr. Coffee has just reached me and informs that owing to a delay of the Packetts on which our goods were shipped they did not reach Baltimore until the 20th. This will occasion a delay of at least ten days, as we cannot expect to leave Pittsburgh before the 8th of Juneand to reach the falls of Ohio the 14th or 15th. Human exertion may do much but cannot command the gods. I have made use of industry but still anxious as I am to reach home I must reconcile myself to delay and disappointment. The only consolation, that I have a good apartment, and I believe to a tittle your memorandum is complyed with except a carpett, which could not be had without more cash than I had. * I have a great deal that I wish to say, but finding that it would exceed the bounds of a letter I omit it untill I see you- I can only say and when I do say, it, it is only for your eye alone, that we will, I believe get the Wabash (?) If we do, my hope is that it will place me above the frowns or smiles of fortune. I have a hope that the negro wench that I bought at Holston has reached you. Accept the best wishes of a tender and affectionate Husband for your health and happiness."
HEADQUARTERS CAMP JACKSON. March 1, 1813.
The place from whence I now write is the place named in my last to you that I was about to move my troops to. My love, if you can enjoy health, and calm your mind, and our little Andrew be spared to us, and I to return and find you in health I shall be content and thankful for the blessing. I am sorry Sandy has turned out such a rascal as Col° Hays advises me I hope the overseer has done his duty and amply punished him. Col° Hays has stated that Mr. Watson will give five hundred dollars for him. I leave this entirely to yourself-it is a good price if the cash is paid in handWhat may be my future destination as yet I am unadvised-or how long we
may be detained here-from any advises as yet rec1 there is very little
HEADQUARTERS, CAMP JACKSON, March 21, 1813.
This will be handed you by my friend and aid de camp Major A. Haynes-to whom I refer you for news-I sent him on to make arrangement for the supply of my brave companions in arms, who have been led on from love of country into the tented fields and by the agent of government attempted to be sacrificed, by being dismissed from service eight hundred miles from home, deprived of every particle of public property, without pay or any means of transporting the sick—or supplies for the well, and this too as I believe with the base design to compel them from want to enlist into the regular Service of the United States* I led them into the field, I will at all hazard and risque lead them out, I will bring on the sick, or be with them. It never shall be said if they have been abandoned by the agents of the government they have been abandoned by their general.
CAMP BLOUNT, Octobr 11th, 1913. 6 oclock A. M.
I write in haste and in the bustle of a hasty movement, owing to an express recd from Col° Coffee this morning one o'clock-I refer you to Colo Hays for the news of the camp- My health is good and my arm mending fast, the little place on my shoulder gives me more pain than my arm-both I hope will soon be well-
CAMP COFFEE, October 13th, 1813.
-We marched thirty miles in eight hours & twenty minutes-and I am happy to say, that the alarm was unfounded, and I do believe that what is called the friendly Creeks are spies
Tell my sweet little Andrew that papa will soon be back—.
HEADQUARTERS, CAMP COFFEE, Octob 18, 1813.
-I hope Mr. Nolly has removed and you will no longer be pestered with his neglect or impertinenceI write you this in the
hurry of business preparing to move forward tomorrow at six o'clock in the morning- My spies are just in, and all the horrid news of their advancing in great force are untrue-and I must advance to find themWhen I halt at the next deposit for provisions I shall write to you I am sufficiently strong, I think to penetrate to Pensacolawith my fervent prayr for your health our little Andrew and all friends believe me to be y' affectionate husband.
HEADQUARTERS, TEN ISLANDS, COOSA RIVER, Nov 4 1813.
In the hurry of the movement I have but a moment to write you-I detached Genl. John Coffee with part of his Brigade of Cavalry and mounted men to destroy the Creek Townhe has executed this order in elegant stile, leaving dead on the field one hundred & seventy six, and taking eighty prisoners, forty prisoners was left on the ground many of them wounded, others to take care of them since writing the above Genl. Coffee reports one hundred eighty found dead, and there is no doubt but 200 was killed-.
LANDING, NOV 21st 1813.
-You may judge of my hurry when you see in mine of yesterday that I overlooked that part of your letter that relates to the distress of Mrs. Coffery; have a house put up for her on any part of the tract where she will be convenient to us & where you choose, or let her live in the house with us as you please. We can always raise a supply for her as well as ourselves.
HEADQUARTERS, FORT STROTHER
-My life has been a laborious one, but if I can be the instrument of laying the foundation of a lasting peace on our Southern frontier or be beneficial in its promotion, I shall be content.
HEADQUARTERS, FORT WILLIAM, April 6, 1814.
-I hope to terminate the war in a few days and as soon as this is done, if I am spared I shall ask permission to return home at once more to taste the sweets of domestic quiet and ease.
* * *
The weather has been fine & heaven has been kind to us beyond measure. When the arts & intrigues of designing men were bent to starve me & destroy my army by sowing the seeds of mutiny & sedition, he has thwarted all their designs & given me an army & eight days' rations that will carry me to the confluence of the two rivers from which point I will write you.
HEADQUARTERS, 7TH M. DISTRICT.
I flatter myself that we have given the British such an alarm in Pensacola that they will dread an approach on this quarter. They were in the Fort when we reached it, and fired on our flag, as it approached. As the Spanish officers state by the order of Col° Nicholls, who on the night of the 6th abandoned the Fort with his marines & left his friends the Spaniards to shift for themselves—on the 7th we stormed the town of Pensacola, entering it on the east side where we had Fort St. George on our right & seven British armed vessels on our left, with strong block houses defended with artillery & batteries in the streets in our front, the unshaken firmness of our columns marched forward without halting, bringing down all before them & soon silenced the batteries & musketry, etc.
HEADQUARTERS, 7TH M. DISTRICT
-Tomorrow morning I set out for New Orleans where I hope shortly to see you & my little son. Recollect to bring two bed-steads with you & your knife box with towels & table linnen
If possible have brought down for me one hundred bushels of corn & one hundred bushels of oats.
HUNTSVILLE, May 11, 1817.
-I was at the Bluff two days & nights, Major Hutchins deserves the meddle (sic). He has the finest prospect of a good crop I ever saw. His cotton far excells any crop I have seen & I think we may calculate on from eighty to ninety bales.
I have enjoyed only tolerable health since I left you, the trouble
with my bowells, which perhaps has kept me from a pain in my side & breast. I have been truly fortunate in not getting wet
P. S. Have a wife chosen for Major H. He is determined to marry-his life is too lonesome.
NASHVILLE, May 29th, '17.
-I leave this immediately after closing this & have to beg of you to reconcile my absence always recollecting that all seeing being who has so often shielded me from the shafts of death can preserve me from a sick bed, & when he commands, to yield up our existence, the summons must be obeyed. I have therefore thought it wrong to repine at the acts of the duty on any occasion. I have long, very long, looked forward to that moment when I could retire from the bustle of public life to private ease & domestic happiness.
FORT GADSDEN, March 26th, 1818. -the various incidents that has occurred would occupy more time & space than the limits of a letter will allow, time only permit me to say to you that scarcity of supplies from the commencement of our march, from the neglect of those who Genl Gains had charged with forwarding them, began to show itself, I had confidence in the exertions of Col° Gibson, who was charged with forwarding the supplies from N. Orleans; on these, altho far in advance, I depended, & I was determined to endeavour to reach them, trusting to the duty to aid my exertions and supply the means to allay hunger, and preserve the health of my troops, until I could meet them. Despatches arrived from the commanding officer of Ft. Scott, informing of the great scarcity there, and of his determination to abandon that post in a few days if supplies did not reach him, this occasioned Genl. Gains to set out for that post to reach it in time to prevent such a disgraceful catastrophy & which would have threw some difficulty on the way in prosecuting the campaign, he got shipwrecked descending the river, lost his assist. Adjt. Genl. & two soldiers drowned & found me six days after nearly exhausted with hunger and cold, having lost all his clothing & baggage, in the meantime I was endeavouring to push on the Georgia Brigade to cover & protect my supplies, etc.