Letter from Andrew Jackson to William Charles Cole Claiborne

Head Quarters 7h. M. District
January 18h. 1815

     When you solicited my permission to pass to the right bank of the Mississippi; it was as you expressed & as I understood it, to encourage the troops, & eradicate the seeds of discontent that had taken place.
     I am sorry to find, from your letter of this date, that you have overrated, or not sufficiently exerted, your influence; and that your presence there has failed to produce the effects which were expected and desired.
     As to the Arms, you must be sensible Sir, that the proportion in the hands of the troops on the right is equal to that on the left bank, and that it is the duty of the commander of both stations to make the most of the resources in their power, and not to give way to such desponding Sentiments as are contained in your letter.
     I am however the less surprised at the expression of those sentiments, since I have been informed of the purport of your conversation with General Carrick to day, relative to his command; The stile of which was altogether different from what ought to have been expected from one whose duty so strongly inculcated the recommendation of union, and the suppression of all jealousies relative to rank.
     I must not close my letter without remaking on the wonderful difference which appears between the statement you have made, relative to the force & equipments on the other side of the river, & that made by General Morgan on the 17h. Instant. The General represent the aggregate of men to be 1463: and computes the effective force at 1356. there being 170 without arms. 
     To what am I to ascribe this sudden reduction of force under your own inspection and Government? Can it be possible that you have been so incautious as to use to the Officers of that corps language similar to that you used to General Carrick; and must I ascribe to that cause, in any degree, the unhappy deficiency of which you complain.
     This sir is not a time for complaint, or equivocation. A moment which requires, so imperiously, the strictest performance of duties, must be fooled by another in which an Explanation will be demanded for every failure. If the Chief Magistrate of the State shall be unable to render a satisfactory one, he neither will nor ought to derive any apology, or support from the dignity of his Station. I am respectfully Yr. Obt. Servt.

Andrew Jackson
Majr. General Comd'g

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