Tag Archives: Andrew Jackson

Pic of the Weekend: Jackson Square, New Orleans


The statute of General Andrew Jackson dominates Jackson Square, located in the French Quarter in New Orleans. The statue is framed by St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo, the old Governor’s Palace.
Tomorrow, January Bain visits the Author’s Desk. Rita Bay

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The Massacre at Fort Mims


Fort Mims Scene

      In 1813, Fort Mims which is located in Baldwin County, AL near Mobile was the site of one of the largest massacres by Native Americans in the United States.  On August 30, 1813, a force of about 700 Creeks destroyed Fort Mims  killing between 250 – 500 defenders and taking at least 100 captives, in the first major battle of the Creek War.   About 400 American settlers, US-allied Creeks, and African American slaves had taken refuge inside a stockade hastily erected on the plantation of Samuel Mims, a wealthy resident of the Tensaw District of the Mississippi Territory.

     Although Major Beasley, the commander, stated that he could “maintain the post against any number of Indians”, the stockade was poorly defended. At the time of the attack, the main gate was partially blocked open by drifting sand. The story is that, the gate was open “…when the officers all got drunk and were playing cards and left the gate open, and it rained and washed the sand in the gate so it could not be shut and Father left with Mother and the children, and the Indians killed all that stayed.”

     The attack occurred during the mid-day meal, when no American scouts were out. The force of 700 Red Sticks (named for the red wooden war clubs they carried), led by William Weatherford, and the prophet Paddy Walsh, rushed the fort and tomahawked Beasley, who was trying to close the blocked gate.  Half of the surprised, 100-man garrison of Mississippi Territorial Volunteers died with their commander, Major Daniel Beasley, in the first few minutes of battle. Captain Dixon Bailey, a Creek, and his 45 American and Creek militiamen repelled the Red Stick onslaught and for four hours successfully defended hundreds of civilians—white, mixed race, and Indian—huddled inside the flimsy, one-acre stockade. Only when the attackers set the fort’s buildings ablaze with burning arrows did resistance collapse.

     The warriors forced their way into the inner enclosure and, despite the attempts of William Weatherford, massacred most of the mixed-blood Creeks and white settlers. About five hundred people died, and the “Red Sticks” took 250 scalps. They spared the lives of most of the enslaved African Americans, to take them as their own slaves. About 36 people escaped, including Bailey, who was mortally wounded.

     After several days, parties arrived to make horrific discoveries.  The Creeks who attacked Fort Mims knew and even were kin to those who had sheltered in Fort Mims.  The deaths, nevertheless, were accompanied by scalping and mutilations. Many settlers had died in the burning buildings. Flies covered the area.  The men buried the dead in the potato fields outside the stockade, then left to spread the word of the massacre. 

     The Creek attack on Fort Mims, and particularly the killing of civilian men, women, and children at the end of the battle, outraged the U.S. public, thus prompting military action against the Creek Nation in what is now much of modern Alabama. The massacre of civilians, however, rallied American armies under the cry “Remember Fort Mims.” The massacre marked the transition from a civil war within the Creek tribe (Moscoge) to a war between the United States and the Red Stick warriors of the Upper Creek Nation.  The resultant Creek War culminated in a decisive victory for U.S. forces in the Battle of Burnt Corn on March 27, 1814, and the Creek Nation’s subsequent cession of over 20 million acres of land to the U.S. in the Treaty of Fort Jackson. Continuing outrage surrounding the Fort Mims Massacre contributed to the eventual forced removal of Creeks and other Indians from the Southeast in the 1830s.

Read More:  Massacre at Fort Mims by David Mason

Tomorrow:  Dolley Madison Saves the Day     Rita Bay

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Young Andrew Jackson Assaulted by Major Coffin

Jackson Attacked by Major Coffin


   An incident that occurred during Jackson’s imprisonment was the subject of an 1876 Currier & Ives lithograph. While imprisoned in Camden, South Carolina, Jackson was attacked by a British officer, Major Coffin, for refusing to clean his boots.  Coffin slashed Jackson with a sword, Jackson ducked and threw up a hand.  He was scarred on his left hand and forehead and developed a hatred for the British.  A biographer wrote: “It was cut to the bone, and a gash on his head left a white scar that Andrew Jackson carried through a long life that profited little to England or any Englishman.”

Tomorrow, a salute to the the only US President to own a US patent.  Rita Bay


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Orphan & Last Presidential Revolutionary War Veteran

Andrew Jackson

      Events in Andrew Jackson’s life caused him to hate the British. Jackson was born on March 15, 1767 along the North/Couth Carolina border, two years after his family had emigrated from Ireland. The red-headed, blue-eyed baby was born three weeks after his father died in an accident.

     Jackson was the last President who was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. He and his two older brothers served in the Revolutionary War.  His older brother Hugh died of heat exhaustion during the Battle of Stono Ferry in 1779.  Andrew who served as an orderly to Col. William Richardson and his brother Robert were captured and held prisoner by the British.  They almost starved to death in captivity.  While in prison, they contracted smallpox and Robert died a few days after they were released in April, 1781.  Once she was assured that her only living son would survive, Jackson’s mother volunteered as a nurse during a cholera outbreak on prison ships in Charleston Harbor.  Elizabeth herself died from cholera in November, 1781, leaving Andrew an orphan at 14. 

      Jackson moved west and worked at a saddler’s, taught school, and studied law.  He was admitted to the bar in 1787 at the age of 20 and began his career in law that eventually brought him into politics.  He became wealthy as a land speculator and planter and by 1804 had acquired the Hermitage.

     Jackson, though childless, was the father to many.  Jackson had two adopted sons, Andrew Jackson Jr, the son of Rachel’s brother Severn Donelson, and Lyncoya, a Creek Indian orphan adopted by Jackson after the Creek War.  The Jacksons also acted as guardians for eight other children including the two sons of Rachel’s brother, Rachel’s orphaned grand nephew, and the three orphaned children of Edward Butler, a family friend.


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Andrew Jackson’s Low-Tech Bullet Removal

 Low-Tech Bullet Removal     

     Jackson was shot in a gunfight which necessitated the removal of a bullet that had been lodged in his arm for almost 20 years.  During a September 1813 gunfight with the Benton brothers in downtown Nashville, Jackson was shot by a slug and a ball. The slug shattered his left shoulder and the ball embedded against his left humerus. Jackson bled profusely, soaking two mattresses after being moved to a room in the Nashville Inn. Every physician in town tried to stanch the flow of blood, and all but one recommended amputation of the left arm. Jackson refused.  “I’ll keep my arm” was the last thing he said before becoming unconscious. Both wounds were dressed with poultices. Jackson was utterly prostrate from the great loss of blood — it was three weeks before he could leave his bed.  Thirty-four days after the shooting, Jackson was commanding troops in the field

     By 1831, the bullet from the gunfight with Jesse Benton was migrating and causing periods of intense discomfort. In January 1832, Dr. Thomas Harris, chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine, was summoned to the White House to remove the bullet. “No anesthesia was available, of course, so Jackson simply bared his arm, gritted his jaws,… and said `Go ahead.’ The surgeon made an incision, squeezed the arm, and out popped [the bullet].”  Jackson’s health improved at once, which has led to speculation that the bullet was causing or contributing to lead poisoning, for which there is some evidence.

Tomorrow, an eyewitness account of one of Jackson’s duels.   Rita Bay


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Andrew Jackson’s Warning to his Fellow Americans

Andrew Jackson, a very popular President, delivered a warning to his fellow Americans at the end of his Farewell Address in 1837.

The Conclusion of Jackson’s Farewell Address      March 4, 1837 

    In presenting to you, my fellow citizens, these parting counsels, I have brought before you the leading principles upon which I endeavored to administer the Government in the high office with which you twice honored me. Knowing that the path of freedom is continually beset by enemies who often assume the disguise of friends, I have devoted the last hours of my public life to warn you of the danger. The progress of the United States under our free and happy institutions has surpassed the most sanguine hopes of the founders of the Republic. Our growth has been rapid beyond all former example, in numbers, in wealth, in knowledge, and all the useful arts which contribute to the comforts and convenience of man; and from the earliest ages of history to the present day, there never have been thirteen millions of people associated together in one political body who enjoyed so much freedom and happiness as the people of these United States. You have no longer any cause to fear danger from abroad; your strength and power are well known throughout the civilized world, as well as the high and gallant bearing of your sons. It is from within, among yourselves, from cupidity, from corruption, from disappointed ambition, and inordinate thirst for power, that factions will be formed and liberty endangered. It is against such designs, whatever disguise the actors may assume, that you have especially to guard yourselves. You have the highest of human trust committed to your care. Providence has showered on this favored land blessings without number and has chosen you as the guardian of freedom to preserve it for the benefit of the human race. May He who holds in his hands the destinies of nations make you worthy of the favors He has bestowed and enable you, with pure hearts and pure hands and sleepless vigilance, to guard and defend to the end of time the great charge he has committed to your keeping.

     My own race is nearly run; advanced age and failing health warn me that before long I must pass beyond the reach of human event and cease to feel the vicissitudes of human affairs. I thank God that my life has been spent in a land of liberty and that He has given me a heart to love my country with the affection of a son. And, filled with gratitude for your constant and unwavering kindness, I bid you a last and affectionate farewell.

Read the full text of Jackson’s Farewell Address at:  http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CAP/jackson/jack~1.htm

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Jackson & Daguerreotypes

      Numerous photographs of Andrew Jackson survive in the form of daguerreotypes.  Can’t say that he was the FIRST US president who was photographed because John Quincy Adams, the 6th US president, has that honor. 

      The daguerreotype was a photographic process available for public use in the late1830s.  Developed by Louis Daguerre together with Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, the image in a daguerreotype is formed by the amalgam, or alloy, of mercury and silver.  The image is formed on the surface of the silver plate that looks like a mirror.    

      Daguerreotype photography spread rapidly across the United States. In the early 1840s, the invention was introduced in a period of months to practitioners in the United States by Samuel Morse, the inventor of the telegraph code. A flourishing market in portraiture sprang up, predominantly the work of itinerant practitioners who traveled from town to town. For the first time in history, people could obtain an exact likeness of themselves or their loved ones for a modest cost, making portrait photographs extremely popular for the masses. 

Tomorrow, Jackson’s warning to Americans in his Farewell address


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Rita Bay’s Blog Launches February 1st

     Rita Bay’s Blog will feature daily posts on history and culture that you won’t read about in a history book.  The post titles–Sunday’s Storytellers, Monday’s Myths & Legends. Tuesday’s Gems, Wednesday’s Worthy Words, Thursday’s Risque Ripostes & Prurient Pics, Friday’s Medicine & Magic, and Saturday’s Seconds –tell part of the story.  This February, we salute the Presidents–Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln.  In March, we salute Americana.

     I’ll write about myths and legends and the people who tell them, the words and deeds that have changed the course of history or insulted or titillated nations, how people and cultures lived and loved and died, and how wars were waged and the weapons the warriors wielded.  Patriots and presidents, pirates and philsophers, Celtic warriors and Viking berserkers, kings and their mistresses, and druids and dragons will fill my pages.  Check out the February Salute to President’s page to review the posts scheduled for the month as we salute the Presidents.  Read about me on the About Rita page and about the daily posts on the About Rita’s Blog page. 

     As a romance writer, I’m working on a couple of novellas (Devil’s Angel, a paranormal Regency romance, and For Want of a Woman , a futuristic paranormal romance with steampunk elements) and editing my completed Georgian and Regency historicals.  Read excerpts of these and my other stories at ritabay.com.  Each Monday, I blog with the Sizzlers at Southern Sizzle Romance on Moonday’s Heroic Hunk in History. Check it out at http://southernsizzleromance.wordpress.com/.  Rita Bay

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