R. Thomas.

The glory of America: comprising memoirs of the lives and glorious exploits of some of the most distinguished officers, engaged in the revolutionary and late wars with Great Britain: among which are Andrew Jackson, Richard M. Johnson, Stephen Decatur .. (Volume 2) online

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Online LibraryR. ThomasThe glory of America: comprising memoirs of the lives and glorious exploits of some of the most distinguished officers, engaged in the revolutionary and late wars with Great Britain: among which are Andrew Jackson, Richard M. Johnson, Stephen Decatur .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 52)
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Andrew Jackson,
Richard BE. Johnson,
Stephen Decatur,
William H. Allen,
John C. Aylwln,
William Burrows,
E. W. Ripley,
William Carroll,
John Rodgers,
Winfield Scott,
George Croghan,
Henry Dearborn,
Jacob Jones,
Joseph Warren,
Daniel Morgan,
John Barney,
John Manly,
Charles Lee,
Nicholas Biddle,
Hugh Mercer,

David Porter,
Zebnlon M. Pike,
Leonard Covington,
John Clirystie.
James Lawrence,
William Bainbridge,
Thomas Macdonough,
Jacob Brown,
James Biddle,
Lewis Warrington,
Alexander Macomb,
Oliver Hazard Perry,
Isaac Hull,
Richard Montgomery,
Baron de Kalb,
William Heath,
Anthony Wayne,
Nathaniel Greene, and
Thomas Trnxton,









Andrew Jackson, ..-.-.-7

Richard Mentor Johnson, - - - 145

Stephen Decatur, - - - - - - - 19,

David Porter, ...-_ - 223

Zebulon Montgomery Pike, - - - 268

Leonard Covington, - - - 283

John Chrystie, - - - - 285

William Henry Allen, - - - 286

John Ccshing Aylwin, - - - -. 297

William Burrows, - - - - 301

James Lawrence, - - - - 307

Kleazer Wheelock Ripley, - - - 318

William Bainbridge, - - - - 333

Thomas Macdonough, - - - 360

William Carroll, - - - - 36S

Jacob Brown, - - - - 374

Joan Rodgers, - - - - 335

James Biddle, - - - - 391

Winfield Scott, - - - - 397

Lewis Warrington, - - - - 409

(! rouge Croghan, - - - - 413

Hksry H. Dearborn, - - - 420

Alexander Macomb, - - - - 432

Oliveii Hazard Perry, - - - 449

Jacob Jones, - ...-.. 458

I IA< 1 1 ill, - - -~- - - - - 465

Joseph Warren, - - - - 470

i v 1 . 11 a hd Montgomery, - - - 474

Daniel Morgan, - ....._ 478

J ni\- Harry, - - - - 484

J (v .Manlv, - - - - 4S7

BabOX 1)e Kalb, •-..... 489

William Heath, - - - - 494

■OUT Wayne, - - - - 518

' 'm \ui es Lee, »•••-... 527

NaTHAMIEL (Jhkene, - - - - 551

\i. holaj Biddle, - - - 560

Thomai Teoxtoit, - - - - 566

Mi-mi Mi:ik m, - - -... o7p


If, among readers, as some very shrewdly imagine, the
greater part would willingly dispense with a preface, the
fact is certain, that whatever may be their wishes, or,
mayhap, their caprices, few authors or editors are willing
to dispense with this preliminary to a book. My own plea
— if plea be required — is necessity, a necessity growing
out of the circumstances under which the work was per-
formed ; the writing of which is more for the edification
of the reader, than to please the fancy of the editor.

Few, if any, who are not experimentally taught the
lesson, have any adequate conception of the difficulties
under which an editor labours, in compiling a work con-
sisting of biographical sketches of various individuals,
residing, or acting, in different sections of an extensive
country, with few of whom he can be personally acquaint-
ed. If every Johnson has not a Boswell, neither has
every Washington a Marshall and a Weems, nor every
revolution a Thacher. But still biographers must toil,
and the public will read ; and till writers shall be endued
with the power of ubiquity, and the gift of annihilating
both time and space, errors will unavoidably occur in
their works ; the captious will cavil ; and the ill natured,
who perhaps can hardly pen a sentence of good English,
will be furnished with abundant matter on which to verr
their harmless venom.

In preparing the following pages for publication, three
points have been constantly in view: 1st. To obtain »U


the information relative to the different subjects, which
was within reach ; to compare and digest which has cost
much labour and care. 2dly. To search for truth; —
and, 3dly, To choose the best language in which to con-
vey the information thus obtained.

The materials are principally gathered from the cur-
rent publications of the day, which are sometimes too
loosely written — at others, penned with evident partiality
or prejudice, and occasionally so embellished with altilo-
quence, or garnished with superlatives, as to appear rather
as the work of an exuberant imagination, than like a re
lation of substantial and indisputable facts. Amidst these
various difficulties, more than human ken is requisite to
guide the inquiring mind to the fount of truth. If, on
this, or any other point, mistakes shall be discovered, the
editor claims the meed furnished by the poet —

" Who does the best his circumstance allows,
Does well, acts nobly ; angels could no more."

In the present enlightened age, perhaps an error in the
use of language will be the least likely to escape censure
— albeit, the most classical scholars often use the very
rudiments of literature with the carelessness of sciolists.
To these censures, should they pass on this work, the
editor will certainly not plead ignorance. Confident of
possessing the power to write correctly, and to thread the
sense of the worst penned paragraphs — if sense they con-
tain — in case of failure on this point, he will plead guilty.
But, if the re-construction of whole paragraphs, which
were too ill-constructed for emendation, and numerous
marginal corrections, are any proof of good intention, and
industry, the reasons for fault-finding on this score, will
be " few and far between."


One error relative to the facts as stated in the account
of the capture of the President, has escaped in the pro-
gress of the work, which is here corrected. The Peacock
and Hornet did not accompany the President, though
their appointed rendezvous was at the same place. Other
similar mistakes may probably have occurred, the impor-
tance of which, even if they should be detected, is of little
consequence to the reader. A knowledge of the principal
facts is all which the nature of the case requires. On a
trial before a court martial, the case would assume a dif-
ferent aspect.

Perhaps a better opportunity will not offer to remark
on the general tendency of the martial spirit engendered
by a state of warfare. We have seen its effects so far as
e affairs of honour" are concerned. That duels which
occur in the service are mostly the offspring of an over-
weening pride — jealousy of compeers in the race of glory
— is equally obvious, as that the desire of distinction, per-
haps, makes as many heroes as the love of country. So
far as this principle animates to mortal combat, in so far
does it detract from the merit supposed to actuate those
who dare the "cannon's mouth" in defence of their
country. That the power over life and limb, which is,
perhaps unavoidably, connected with naval and military
command, tends to sow the seeds of despotism — that those
who find themselves invested with this power, often for-
get right — we have all seen, and thousands have felt it
as a curse. That the compulsion to submit to that disci-
pline which sinks the citizen into the mere soldier, is un-
friendly to the development of the mental energies, and
fatal to that self-respect which is uniformly accompanied
by the higher virtues, is obvious at the first blush. To
say nothing of the other " thousand ills" of which war is


the cause, are not these considerations sufficient to call
into action all the resources of human genius, all the
better principles of humane and intelligent beings, for its
extinction ?

Little appropriate as some of these remarks may seem
to be for an introduction to tales of blood-stained weapons,
and ensanguined fields, they may not, perhaps, be the
less pertinent and useful. Inquiry on every topic connect-
ed with man's happiness and interests is travelling with
accelerated velocity, "the schoolmaster is" emphatically
" abroad," and man seems lately to have arisen from the
torpor of ages, the mental charnel house, to a new and
hitherto unknown state of intellectual activity. May we
not hope that the prophecy shall yet be literally fulfilled,
that nation shall not rise against nation, nor ever more
practise the art of human butchery 1





In whatever sphere of life a man has become con-
spicuous, whether in the department of literature, of art,
or of science — whether he shines in the cabinet, or in the
field — the curiosity natural to our species is excited, to in-
quire into his origin, and the circumstances connected
with his juvenile years. This desire is laudable — it
ought to be gratified ; — but more particularly so when the
subject of biography has arisen from apparent obscurity ;
nay, from a state of orphanage, to the highest honours
which freemen can bestow. We have said this pro-
pensity is natural and laudable, and so far as information
is within our power, it shall be gratified.

The father of the subject of the present memoir emi-
grated from Ireland, with his wife and two elder sons,
in the year 1765. He settled in South Carolina, about
forty-five miles from Camden, where Andrew was born,
March 15, 1767. While yet a child, his father died, in
consequence of which his two elder brothers received
merely a common school education, because of their small
patrimony: the youngest, Andrew, was placed at an aca-
demy at the Waxsaw meeting-house, under the care of a
Mr. Humphries, where he received the rudiments of a
liberal education, his mother designing him for the minis-
terial office. The revolution, which ended in the eman-
cipation of his country from British thraldom, h vni^


begun, his studies were interrupted by the ravages of a
ruthless enemy, who made an incursion into that quarter
of his native state. Consequently, with his brother Robert,
by his mother's permission, he joined the American army
at fourteen years of age. His eldest brother had pre-
viously pursued the same course, and died of heat and
fatigue at the battle of Stono.

The superiority of the British, in numbers and disci-
pline, caused the Americans to retire into North Carolina,
from which they returned to South Carolina in small
parties, after they had learned that the British, under
Cornwallis, had crossed the Yadkin. Lord Rawdon was
then in possession of Camden, and had desolated the sur-
rounding country.

In the attack upon the Waxsaw settlers after their re-
turn, a party of the British, under a Major Coffin, captured
the two young Jacksons. While prisoners, both were
severely wounded with swords by two British officers, for
refusing to perform menial services required of them.
The wound of Andrew was in his left hand, that of his
brother on his head, which terminated his existence
shortly after their exchange, which took place a few days
before the memorable battle of Camden. Worn down
with grief and affliction, his mother expired shortly after,
near Charleston, leaving Andrew an unprotected orphan,
then confined to a bed of sickness, which had nearly closed
his sorrows and his life.

After his recovery, he did not again join the army, but
expended without restraint a part of his patrimony before
reflection had warned him of the consequences. Finding,
however, that his exertions alone were to waft him through
1 1 1 < • 1 1 1 1 ii 1 1 1 1 nous sea of life, he returned to his studies at New
Acquisition, near Hill's iron works, under a Mr. M'Culloch.
Here he completed his academic course as far as the
place in which he lived, and his limited means, would
permit. Having relinquished all thoughts of the clerical
profession, in 1784, at the age of eighteen, he repaired to
Salisbury, North Carolina, and studied law under Spruce
M'Kay, Esq., and afterwards under Colonel John Stokes.
In the winter of 1786, he was licensed to plead at the bar,


and remained at Salisbury until 1788, when he accom-
panied Judge M'Nahy to the state of Tennessee. Although
it was his intention to return, he was so well pleased with
the place, that he determined to make Nashville his future
residence. Here the road to preferment was open and
plain, and his industry and application to business, soon
paved the way for his future elevation. He was several
years attorney for the district wherein he resided. The
frontiers of Tennessee were much indebted to his energy
and patriotism for defence against the remorseless depre-
dations of the savages. When that section of the United
States was about to be admitted a separate member of
the federative body, in 1796, he was chosen a member of
the Convention for the formation of the State Consti-
tution. The same year he was elected one of the Re-
presentatives in Congress from Tennessee, and in the
following year the Legislature of that state appointed him
one of its members in the Senate of the United States.
This situation he resigned in 1799. He succeeded Major-
Gen eral Conway in the command of the militia of that
state, which formed but one division. He retained his
commission of Major-General of militia, until May, 1814,
when he was appointed to the same rank in the army of
the United States. Immediately after he resigned his seat
in the Senate of the United States, he was appointed to a
seat on the bench of the Supreme Court of the state of
Tennessee. This he likewise held but a short time, and
retired to a handsome farm about ten miles from Nash-
ville, on Cumberland river.

The clouds which had hovered over the political hori-
zon of America for some years, at last burst furiously into
a tornado, and War was declared by the American Go-
vernment against Great Britain, on the 18th of June, 1812,
in order to avenge itself of the manifold injuries heaped
upon its citizens from a spirit of commercial jealousy by
the British crown, during its long and unjustifiable con-
test with France. His military talents unfolded themselves
in the various occasions he had to inflict chastisement on
the tawny sons of the forest for disturbing the repose of
the frontier settlements.


Congress having passed two laws in the year 1812,
authorizing the President of the United States to accept
the services of fifty thousand volunteers, General Jackson
addressed the militia of his division on the subject, and
twenty-five hundred, with himself at their head, tendered
their services to their country.

This offer being accepted, in November of the same
year, he was directed to descend the Mississippi with this
force, for the defence of the lower country, which ap-
peared to be menaced.

The troops accordingly met at Nashville on the 10th of
December, ready to proceed to the place of destination.
The weather was at that time severe, and the ground
covered with snow. However, they began to descend the
Ohio on the 7th of January, and having reached the
Mississippi, they descended to Natchez, where his orders
directed him to halt and wait for farther instructions.
He encamped his troops on a healthy spot, two miles from
Washington, Mississippi territory. Here he received an
order from the War Department, dated January 5th, di-
recting him to dismiss them, in consequence of the
cessation of the cause which called for their services in
that quarter, and directing him to deliver to General
Wilkinson, the United States' commanding officer in that
section, all the public property in his possession. At this
time he had one hundred and fifty men on his sick list,
fifty-six of whom were confined to their beds. This, with
the low state in which many were placed with regard to
their finances, and the promise he had made their relations
to act the father to them, determined him not to obey so im-
politic and so unjust an order, as that which had emanated
from the Secretary at War, the author of " the Newburgh
Letters," so- famed as the stickler for " soldiers' rights," ot
which determination he made the War Department duly

An attempt was made at this time to enlist men from
his corps for the regular army, which he totally prohibited,
determining to carry with him such of the United States'
property as was necessary for the return of his forces to
their original place of rendezvous prior to their discharge.


His resolve to disobey his instructions from the War
Department respecting the discharge of his men at that
distance from their homes, he communicated to his field
officers, whom he had convoked for the purpose ; and not-
withstanding their assent, three of his Colonels, Martin,
Allcorn, and Bradley, with some platoon officers, veiled
with the mantle of night, retired into conclave, the result
of whose deliberations was, a recommendation to him of an
immediate discharge of his troops in compliance with his
orders. This duplicity of conduct he treated with the in-
dignation he conceived it merited.

When once taken, his resolution was as unalterable as
the laws of the Medes and Persians. Notwithstanding the
remonstrative letter of General Wilkinson, General Jack-
son ordered the quarter-master to furnish the means neces-
sary to convey the sick and baggage of his army back to
Tennessee. Seeming to comply, the quarter-master pro-
cured eleven wagons, but on the day allotted for the troops
to commence their return march, he came forward and
discharged them all, in order to defeat the General's in-
tention, by which it was judged the regular army might
procure a multitude of recruits. General Jackson, how-
ever, seized upon the wagons ere they left his encampment,
and thus frustrated a design the quarter-master had in
view ; of which disappointment the latter informed Gene-
ral Wilkinson by express.

He arrived with his troops at Nashville, in May follow-
ing, when he disbanded them according to order, with the
exception of place and time, and advised the President of
the United States of the course he had pursued, and his
reasons therefor. On the march he deprived himself of
the comforts allotted his rank for the benefit of the sick.

Their repose was but of short duration. The Creek In-
dians between the Chatahoochee and Tombigbee rivers
began to manifest strong symptoms of a hostile conduct
towards their white neighbours in the United States, and
this was by no means allayed by the conduct of the North-
ern tribes, who, at the instigation of Great Britain, were
preparing to " let slip the dogs of war" on the frontier set-
tlements of the United States.


At this time appeared among the Shawanees, an impos-
tor, calling himself " the Prophet,'' who, at the instigation
of British agents, urged the various tribes to lift the toma-
hawk, and no longer smoke the calumet of peace. The
brother of this villain, named Tecumseh, was sent to the
Southern Indians to excite a like hostile temper. To effect
these objects every artifice which duplicity and cunning
could suggest was resorted to, and the success of these
machinations was evinced in the manifold cruelties exer-
cised on those whom the fortune of war threw into their
way. On the decrepitude of old age or the imbecility of
infancy, alike did the savages display their hellish refine-
ments in torture and death. At first these intiigues were
veiled in secrecy ; and the garb of deceit was first thrown
aside at Fort Mimms, on the 30th of August, when the sa
vages having provided themselves with arms and ammu-
nition from the Spaniards at Pensacola, slaughtered in the
most cruel and ferocious manner nearly three hundred
men, women, and children, who had fled thither for safety,
seventeen only escaping to bear the doleful tale to the
United States.

The news of the massacre at Fort Mimms electrified, as
it were, the whole state of Tennessee to avenge their mur-
dered brethren. The Legislature of that state enacted a
law, authorizing the State Executive to call into actual
service three thousand five hundred militia, for the purpose
of carrying devastation and the sword into the heart of the
Creek country, and appropriated $300,000 for their equip-
ment and support. The Creeks were divided into two
parties; the war party prevailed, and the other looked to
the United States for protection. The war party had ga-
thered a formidable body, and were directing their course
towards the frontiers of Tennessee, when the governor of
that state issued his order to General Jackson to call out
i ii a iK-diatcly two thousand militia, to rendezvous at Fay-
etuwille. Jackson, at this time, was confined in conse-
quence of a fractured arm received in a duel a short time

Notwithstanding this, he with alacrity obeyed the call.
H ordered Colonel Coffee with his cavalry, five hundred


strong, and mounted riflemen, to proceed with all speed to
Huntsville, in order to cover the frontier until the infantry
could come up with them. A part of this latter force was
composed of the volunteers who had descended the Mis-
sissippi with Jackson the preceding season. The 4th of
October was the time appointed for their assemblage.

The General had not sufficiently recovered from his
wound when the day for assemblage arrived. He conse-
quently addressed them on the subject of the campaign
through the medium of his aid, Major Reid.

His first care was the establishment of strict and whole-
some regulations in camp, which he caused to be rigidly

The greatest obstacles he encountered in this campaign
proceeded from the contractor's department, the direction
of which he was obliged to change more than once.

The friendly Creeks acted in unison, and served as spies
in conveying information regarding the situation of the
war party. The Ten Islands seemed to be their place of
rendezvous, and to this place was the march of the army
directed. They had reached almost to the Coosa river,
and as yet, the East Tennessee troops had not formed a
junction. On the march, the 28th October, twenty-nine
prisoners of both sexes, and all ages, were brought into
camp, from Littafuchee, a town on the head of Canoe
Creek, which empties into the Coosa, by a detachment of
two hundred cavalry, under Colonel Dyer, despatched for
the purpose. Failures of contracts continued to obstruct
the march of the army.

In the beginning of November, General Jackson learn-
ed from some prisoners and negroes, that the enemy were
posted in force at Tallushatchee, distant about thirteen
* miles, on the south banks of the Coosa. General Coffee,
with a body of nine hundred men, was sent to dislodge
them. This service he completely effected, having killed
one hundred and eighty-six, and taken eighty-four women
and children prisoners, with the loss of five killed and
forty-one wounded. His dead being buried, and his
wounded taken care of, he joined the main army the same



General Jackson took the necessary steps to create a
depot at the Ten Islands, on the north side of the Coosa
supported by strong picketing and a chain of block-houses.
He then designed to descend the Coosa to its confluence
with the Tallapoosa, near which he was informed the sa-
vages were in force. The army exerted their strength in
hastening the execution of the General's design, and the
works were dignified with the name of " Fort Strother."
On the 7th of December, in the evening, he was advised
of a hostile force collected about thirty miles below, which
meditated an attack on Talladega, in which the friendly
Indians were shut, momently expecting an assault.

Notwithstanding the disappointment he experienced
from the jealous conduct of General Cocke, who was of
equal grade with himself, General Jackson moved his
force judiciously to attack the enemy, in their then position,
before they attempted an assault upon the friendly Creeks,
or by a circuitous movement, could steal upon his en-
campment at Fort Strother. Arrived in the vicinity of
Taliadega, every disposition of force was made to ensure
victory. The attack began. The savage foe was routed,
and victory was complete. The enemy numbered one
thousand and eighty, of whom two hundred and ninety-
nine were left dead on the field ; many were killed in the
flight, and few escaped unhurt. Not less than six hun-
dred were left useless, while the Americans lost but fifteen
killed and eighty wounded, several of whom afterwards

To detail the difficulties General Jackson had to en-
counter in providing sustenance for his troops, in quelling

Online LibraryR. ThomasThe glory of America: comprising memoirs of the lives and glorious exploits of some of the most distinguished officers, engaged in the revolutionary and late wars with Great Britain: among which are Andrew Jackson, Richard M. Johnson, Stephen Decatur .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 52)