8.25.2014

Letter to John Armstrong from Andrew Jackson

Head Quarters 7th. My Dist Town Mobile
Augt 25. 1814

Sir

           Enclosed I transmit you the translation of a letter which I received from the Governor of Pensacola on the 19th. Instant. I have not lost time in forwarding it for your consideration since I was enabled to procure its translation. I also enclose you a copy of my reply. How long will the government of the united States tamely submit to disgrace and open insult from Spain. It is alone by a manly dignified course of conduct that we insure respect from other nations and peace to our own. Temporising will not do. Captain Woodbine of the British Marines is now and has been for a considerable time in Pensacola, drilling and organizing hostile and fugitive creeks under the Eye of the Governor, exercising all his influence aided by immense presents to draw to his standard all the hostile as well as friendly Indians. To counteract these efforts and be prepared for any immergency in this quarter I have written to Colo McKee to prepare the minds of the Choctaws to meet me here. The Colonel reached me last evening. The Choctaws can be brought into the field if necessary. Yet to insure this funds must be furnished for the payment of supplies heretofore had--and the purchase of supplies which will hereafter be wanted--previous to their taking the field. To insure the friendship of the Choctaws a liberal policy must be persued and will ultimately be found ecoenomical by saving us from their combination with our enemies. It is necessary to continue Colo McKee as their agent until the clouds of war are dispersed. I regret to find from the want of funds in the quartermasters department (or some other unknown cause) the credit of the government has sunk very much--nothing can be obtained on credit, funds are indispensable. The credit of the government must be reinstated or active war and effective defence cannot be prosecuted.
         I beg leave to call your attention to the situation of Doctor Robt. Huston a S mate at this post, who offered his resignation to Colonel Bowyer some time since, Has been kept in suspence ever since and still retained on the rolls of the army without being permitted to engage in civil persuit or receiving his pay in the army. He is from information of Colo Sparks and other officers eminent in his profession, and of good moral character. He is now willing to remain in the service--and I must beg you will not accept his resignation or in case it has already been done that you will reinstate him.

                                                                                                                            August 27th.

        The enclosed copies marked No 1 and 2 were handed me at 5 PM and I was laid under the most solemn injunctions of secrecy that the names of the individuals should not be given on any account or the letter published for the present. The gentleman who gave them is of high respectability as well as the writer, and were shewn to me to prevent the country from conquest. He believes it will be conquered--hence the necessity of secrecy or his destruction is certain.
       The information of the British having landed a large force is corroborated by a Mr. Antoine Collin who left Pensacola yester day morning--and has Major Nicolls  passport with his seal to protect him from the Indians--and consequently no doubt can be entertained of the facts. I have taken every means in my power to prepare for defence. Mobile point I hope by to morrow will be able to protect the pass to New Orleans, and prevent the enemy from cutting off all our supplies. Should this fail our only dependence will be Tennessee.
       I have directed the agents of the different Indian tribes to enroll every warrior in their nation and put them under pay. I have also directed large supplies to be forwarded to the Garrisons on the Coosa river--that in case our communication should be cut off from New Orleans by water we can be supplied down the Alabama. I have called into service the whole force from Tennessee Louissiana and M Territory. I must have funds I must again repeat or operations in the field will cease. It is a melancholly fact that I have not a dollar in the Quarter masters department to purchase and Express Horse nor can the Quarter master procure one on credit, and the mail arrives here only once a month. To remedy this I have ordered a chain of express mails to be established from this to the Chickasaw agency to intersect the Orleans mail there--and all communications will be addressed to me at that place.
         I am advised by a letter from Governor Claiborne that the militia of New Orleans have shewed a spirit of disaffection and reluctance to take the field--and fears are entertained that Spanish or British agents have been at work there.
        I can but regret that permission had not been given by the government to have seized on Pensacola, had this been done the american Eagle would now have soared above the fangs of the British Lyon.
        We must now trust to the Justice of our cause and the bravery of our citizens--and I hope for success. But my present means are so feble with a sickly climate to combat in addition to out other enemies--without the means of transportation that I am compelled to summon up all my fortitude to support me, and will only add that you must afford me the means or you cannot expect me to conquer. I have not even a Brigadier within in District. In haste I have the honor to be very respectfully yr. mo obedt. Servt

                                                                                    Andrew Jackson
                                                                                    Major Genl Comdg.

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