Description

    Jackson Prepares for the Battle of New Orleans

    [Battle of New Orleans]. Andrew Jackson Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages with integral address leaf, 8" x 9.75", Mobile [Alabama], September 26, 1814. Having been commissioned a major general in May 1814 for his gallantry and leadership during the Battle of Horseshow Bend two months earlier, Jackson headed to Mobile where he successfully defended the city at the First Battle of Fort Bowyer (September 14-16, 1814). Their defeat at Mobile convinced the British that an invasion of New Orleans might be more successful.

    Unbeknownst to the American army in the south, the British had moved against the cities of Baltimore, Maryland, and the nation's capital, Washington, D.C, a few months before. Successful, the British force under Maj. Gen. Robert Ross occupied the capital and burned both the White House and the Capitol Building. Jackson, writing to his former aide-de-camp and current adjutant general for Tennessee, Col. Andrew Haynes, had just received the news of the destruction in Washington and intelligence that the British may be moving on New Orleans. He writes, in full:

    "I have this moment, recd. the news that the capitol is Burnt. Was it not for the national disgrace I am glad of it. It will untie america, and warn the rulers of our nation, to prepare for defence before it is too late. and leave canvassing for the executive chair, out of view when our nation is invaded and requires all her ennergy [sic] to defend it. Hit will teach them, not to count their pence but prepare the means, to save our country. It will learn the warn the heads of departments, to listen to information, transmitted, that ought to put them on there [sic] guard, and prepare for energetic defense before the enemy reaches the interior, the capital. I have been writing for instructions for three months. I have long since gave information of the intended invasion of the South. The combination, forming and under all these circumstances, ordered to discharge the Militia, at a time when when [sic] every information foretold an intended invasion, an intended [illegible] of the Indians to [illegible] I hope I have checked the rising hostility of the Indians in this quarter, and if I am only half supported I will put down the war here verry [sic] shortly. I shall have I hope at least 2000 indians in the field, against the 10th...and I hope by that time to see the brave Tennesseans, flocking to the Standard of their country determined, to maintain their Liberty or die nobly in the last ditch. the drubbing we gave the english on the 15th instant at Mobile Point was in true american stile [sic], and had they Troops defended the capital, with the same spirit that the brave [Major William] Lawrence defended Fort Bowyer, the capital would have been defended -and saved. Let it not be said that the Tardiness of the troops from Tennessee occasioned, the loss of Mobile and New Orleans, - send them on by forced marches, and I will let you hear before peace, some small retaliation for our disgrace."

    Shortly thereafter, Old Hickory marched to New Orleans and took over the defense of the city. The British army launched an invasion of the city on January 8, 1815, and Jackson whipped them soundly, making him a national hero. Just as reports of the burning of Washington reached him weeks after the fact, news of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent two weeks earlier had reached neither the British invasion force nor the Americans defending the city. It was not until February that news reached Louisiana that the war was over.

    Toned with some small holes scattered about causing some loss of text. Ink bleed-through from the verso is evident in places. Spots of staining along the right edge. Chipping at the upper right corner, near a small bit of tape, and lower edge. Damage to the address leaf from where wax seal was placed and slight tearing from opening.

    Provenance: Forbes Collection, 2002.




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    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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