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Title:[Letter] 1840 Jul. 28, Hermitage [to] Fr. P. Blair Esq[ui]re / Andrew Jackson : a machine readable transcription of an image
Author:Jackson, Andrew

This work is the property of the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. For all other use contact the Tennessee State Library and Archives, 403 Seventh Avenue North, Nashville, TN 37243-0312. (615) 741-2764.

Date: July 28, 1840
Extent: 12p
Summary:This document is a letter written by Andrew Jackson to Fr. P. Blair on July 28, 1840. In the letter, Jackson defends Blair and General Jessup against allegations made by General Scott. General Scott alleged that Blair and General Jessup recalled him from military duty in Florida, when in fact it was Jackson. General Scott had been ordered to Florida to look for Indian warriors and to prevent a war with the Creeks. Instead of following orders to go directly to Florida, taking eight days worth of supplies on the soldiers' backs, Scott took three weeks waiting for wagons to take the supplies to Florida. Several of the soldiers were killed in an attack while waiting for the wagons, and Scott became ill. General Jessup was sent to fight the now explosive war with the Creeks and Scott went to where Jessup's soldiers were and attempted to take command of them. Because of this action, as well as not arming his troops for six weeks on the frontier, Jackson recalled General Scott from his command duties. Jackson also mentions political events in the letter, such as the pass of the Independent Treasury bill and the next Presidential election.
Collection:Sir Emil Hurja Collection

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Hermitage July 28th 1840
My dear Sir,

I have recd. [received] your letter of the 12th instant, and rejoice with the whole democracy of the union on the final passage of the Independent Treasury bill — It is a death blow to the Tides [added: hard] ciderites [siderites] — The republican members of Congress deserve well of their country — they fought the battle well, & [added: like heroes] conquered.

Our political horrison [horizon] brightens and I have no fears but republicanism will succeed in November next & Van Buren will be elected [added: by a large majority] — and The exposure of the frauds committee in the New Jersey case and that of Ingersol & Naylor in Pensylvania [Pennsylvania] , will prevent the reiteration of them, next fall — these frauds & corruptions has opened the eyes of the people & all will be awake [added: & vigilent [vigilant]] to prevent [unclear] [added: a repition [repetition]] of them at the polls— all honest men must unite in preserving the purity of elections— all must be vigilent [vigilant] [added: hereafter] to prevent frauds at the polls. I have duly

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your referrence [reference] to the attack upon you & Genl [General] Jessup thro [through] the instrument of Genl [General] W. Scott in the House— I have waited before answering your letter to see it, but the Globe containing it has not reached me, I therefore take up my pen to reply to your letter that part that relates to Genl [General] Scott , I send that [added: part so that] it can be seperated [separated] from this and used as an extract of this letter — you will see to bring the case fairly out I have [added: had] to take a review of Genl [General] Scott Florida campaign which owing to his delay at the depo [depot] of provision [added: for weeks] [unclear: scouting ] for waggons [wagons] to Baltimore &c&c [et cetera et cetera], contrary to my admonition to him the evening that he left Washing [Washington] to take command in the South — instead of finding out where the Indian women were, & having two company of spies woodsmen & lead [led] by gallant officers [added: & taking his eight day rations on their backs] he planned a campaign, on a magnificent scale, in three colums [columns] to march from three differrent [different] points to meet in the centre [center] of the wilderness — ? for what? to surround an owl, for he knew not where the body of the Indian women were — They all got lost & never found each other until they met at Tampa bay where the campaign ended in entire failure.

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You inform me in your [added: letter] of the 12th [added: instant] that Genl [General] Scott through his [added: supple tool], friend Mr Biddle in Congress; is treating Genl [General] Jessup most basely — you say you are told that on yesterday he attacked Jessup most bitterly — that one of the charges heaped upon [added: him] was, that I had recalled Genl [General] Scott in consequence of your interferrence [interference], and ask me for the facts of the case [added: I answer] you are charged falsly [falsely] — and if this case is fully brought out Genl [General] Scott will have reason to exclaim — Save me from my friends. In giving you a proper state [of of] the facts alluded to, I must go back to Genl [General] Scotts campaign in Florida to bring to your view how it happened that Genl [General] Jessup was ordered to proceed to the South and take the command of the Georgia & Alabama Troops called for, to put down the Sudden rising and war with the Creeks — and I [added: must] refer to the files of the War department, if I err in my recollection

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these will correct me as I write from memory. From the mismanagement & desasters [disasters] that had ocurred [occurred] in Florida the Executive was determined to put this punie [puny] war [added: down] in Florida — Genl [General] Scott with all the disposable regular force, and the [added: requisitions] Georgia & South Carolina militia were ordered on this service — Genl [General] Scott cloathed [clothed] with full powers to call for all necessary supplies for his army for prompt & efficient movement — The regular force with supplies had been ordered to Florida to form a depo [depot] at the most advanced & eligable [eligible] point on which to concentrate the militia ordered into service. The evening of the night that Genl [General] Scott left Washington , I had an interview with the Genl [General] [added: in the presence of Major Donelson ] at which I suggested to him the propriety of ordering the officer [added: in command] in advance to procure at all hazzard [hazard] & expence [expense] a knowledge of where the Indian women were — to have two good spy companies organised [organized] led by gallant men, good woodsmen & [added: well] acquainted with Indian cunning & treachery — [added: for the Genl [General]] to pass thro [through] South Carolina & Georgia, hasten on the militia to the Depo [Depot] of provisions have them mustered into service and having procured the information where the Indian women were, to take eight days rations on their backs; and by

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[added: sheet 2nd] by a forced march reach the deposit of the women & children, where he would be sure to find all the warriors, and where by one blow he could put an end to the war. I admonished him against the attempt of entering the wields, & swamps of Florida with waggons [wagons] that if he did he never could find an Indian — But by taking eight days rations on each soldiers back, which with economy, & killing a beef when the came across cattle, the men would not suffer much in thirteen days march, ordering the supplies to follow him — referring the Genl [General] to the attempt of Genl [General] Gains & Genl [General] Glasscock to take baggage waggons [wagons] with the Georgia militia on the Seminole Campaign — had Genl [General] Scott adopted these suggestions he would have put an end to the war in less than three months, for at that very period powel had all his women and children in the Withlecouckey hammocks. Have for the Genl [General] profitted [profited] by these admonitions of mine his communications on file in the war office will show — When he reached the depo [depot] of provisions with

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the militia, he waited there several weeks awaiting the arrival of waggons [wagons] & there planned his campaign of three grand colums [columns] to meet in the center, to surround what — the Indians, no, for as far as any official document has come to my view Genl [General] Scott had no positive information where the Indian women & children were — he knew where powel & his warriors were as they had checked the march of that Genl [General] [added: Gains] at Withlecoocky [Withlecouckey], & made him fortify & defend himself for some days until relieved by Genl [General] Clinch & 600 men — Genl [General] Scott at length took the field with his three columns, — they got lost, never met until they united at Tampa bay without finding an Indian except those who lay in ambush, — fired on Genl [General] Scotts collumn [column], killing & wounding some ten or twelve men — The summer ad having advanced the sickly season coming easy [added: on] the Genl [General] abandoned the campaign & he returned to St. Augustine sick, & from there made his report to the Secretary of War — (See it)

The Secretary of War was instructed by me, the campaign being over to permit the Genl [General] [added: being sick] to return to New York , to

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to regain his health. About this time the creek War broke out — a dispute arose between the Georgia Genl [General] and the Genl [General] commanding the Alabama militia who had a right to the command of the united forces of the two states — To put down this contention between the two Genls [Generals] and Genl [General] Scott having reported himself sick and having leave to return to New York to repair his health, Genl [General] Jessup was ordered to proceed to the South and assume the command of the Georgia & Alabama troops & crush the War in is bud. Genl [General] Jessup promptly obeyed this order proceeded to the South to take the command, and on his way to Columbus Georgia , Genl [General] Scott who had not left St. Augustine hearing of the hostility of the Creeks, passed to Georgia, met Genl [General] Jessup, assumed the command & order Genl [General] Jessup to pass thro [through] the Indian country to where the Alabama troops were encamped & assume the command of them — Jessup found the Alabamians ready for active operations & of sufficient force

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to quell the enemy — and Genl [General] Patterson having obtained positive information where the hostile chief with his warriors were concealed in a swamp — well knowing the Indian character that if he was not surprised in his hiding place & captured or destroyed — [added: he would evade pursuit by separating into small parties] [added: and annoy the whole Georgia & Alabama borders] insisted upon Genl [General] Jessup forthwith to lead them to the attack of the hostile chief who was in striking distance of their encampment, and from whence daily, parties sallied forth upon the frontier & was murdering, their wives & children, burning and destroying. The Genl [General] could not allay the order of the brave Genl [General] Paterson [Patterson] & his brave followers, under such circumstances as these — Jessup ordered the line of march for the hostile chiefs hiding place, got within six miles of his camp met an order from Jessup [added: Scott] to halt & await his further orders [added: Genl [General] Scott not being ready to take field] of course Genl [General] Jessup obeyed, but Genl [General] Paterson [Patterson] declared that he should not — [added: that] by obeying the order of Genl [General] Scott the hostile chief with his warriors would make their

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escape, prolong the war as in Florida — that he then by a prompt & silent movement he could reach capture & destroy him — therefore he would take upon himself the responsibility — did so, and that night — surprised the chief captured him & the whole concentrated enemy [added: warriors] and put an end to the war.

Refer to the documents on file — you will there find that Genl [General] Scott had been with the militia on the frontier for about six weeks without arms in their hands instead of marching the men to the arsnel [arsenal] & arming them there [added: They were] marching to the frontier exausting [exhausting] their supplies & keeping those who had arms to guard & protect the unarmed Soldier, and because he Genl [General] Scott was not in a situation to operate & finding Jessup with the Alabamians in motion to attack the hostile chief & his warriors orders him to halt until he [added: Genl [General] Scott] is ready to cooperate & before that [added: time] the hostile chief would have removed himself & that campain [campaign] would have failed like the Genls [Generals] in

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Florida — Before you shew [show] me the letter of Genl [General] Jessup to you, it appeared that Genl [General] Scott had communicated & so had, perhaps Genl [General] Jessup, [added: these facts to the Secretary of War] but the Secretary had not shewn [shown] the letters to me — On your producing to me the letter of Genl [General] Jessup, I forthwith sent it to the secretary of war, and requested him to report to me all communications he had received on that subject — The Secretary of war came to my office [added: whilst you were there] & brought the letters and observed that the reason why he had not reported the letters to me, that he knew from Genl [General] Scotts [added: failure in Florida and] late ineficiency [inefficiency] I would have [added: forthwith] recalled him — your had no agency in this matter except shewing [showing] me Genl [General] Jessups letter & inquiring into the facts — I had heard with surprise that after Genl [General] Scotts entire failure in Florida reporting himself sick at St. Augustine, having leave to repair to N. York [New York] for the benefit of his health, and without [added: giving] information [added: to the] Department, hearing that Jessup was ordered [added: to that command] for the reason given, to repair to the South & [added: to] assume the command of the Troops ordered against the creeks, that Genl [General] Scott should proceed from St. Augustine

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to Georgia intercept Jessup & assume the command, & instead of marching the men to the arsenel [arsenal] & arming them that he had them concentrated at Columbia Georgia without arms within 25 & 30 miles of where the Indians were daily murdering and plundering our Citizens displayed such inefficency [inefficiency] that I should have recalled him from the command but when I heard that Genl [General] Jessup was when in six miles of the enemy [added: was] ordered [added: by Genl [General] Scott] to halt, & not to advance until further orders & until he was [added: ready to move] having been several weeks at Columbus , I determined forthwith to recall him as too inefficent [inefficient] to wield an army against Indians— therefore the charge that you or Genl [General] Jessup had any thing do with the recall of Genl [General] Scott is unjust & groundless — it was the facts reported to me, that assured me that Genl [General] Scott had not promptness & energy enough to succeed in an Indian war.

Andrew Jackson Junr [Junior] is quite sick & has been for some time my little family wish me in kind regard to you & yours —

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I remain your friend
Andrew Jackson
Fr. P. Blair Esqr. [Esquire]
[added: P. S. [Post Script] your letter was put on file in the war office, & was very improperly brought into view by the [added: Genl [General] Scotts] court [added: of inquiry] for which I gave them a very modest reprimand — as that court had nothing to do with you [unclear] Genl [General] Jessup — he nor his military proceedings was not before them in any way. Had Jessup & Scott been before that court, how could it excuse Genl [General] Scott for his delay of six weeks on the frontier with men without arms, — and could any military court excused him or justified his order to Jessup to halt when he was in sufficient force to destroy the enemy & within six miles — The order ought to have broke Scott, or at least deeply censured him, when it appears by his letter to Jessup that he will [added: would] not be ready to [added: move] under three days — in that time there would have been [added: this Crek [Creek]] chief & warriors — perhaps in Florida — at any rate where Genl [General] Scott could not have found him with his train of baggage waggons [wagons] — A. J. [Andrew Jackson]]

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