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JACKSON, Andrew (1767-1845), President. Autograph letter signed ("Andrew Jackson  Major General Commanding"), to Colonel Andrew Hynes (Jackson's former aide-de-camp), "Head quarters 7th  M[ilitary] District," Mobile [Alabama], 18 September 1814.  1 full page, 4to, integral address leaf. Fine condition.
JACKSON, Andrew (1767-1845), President. Autograph letter signed ("Andrew Jackson Major General Commanding"), to Colonel Andrew Hynes (Jackson's former aide-de-camp), "Head quarters 7th M[ilitary] District," Mobile [Alabama], 18 September 1814. 1 full page, 4to, integral address leaf. Fine condition.

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JACKSON, Andrew (1767-1845), President. Autograph letter signed ("Andrew Jackson Major General Commanding"), to Colonel Andrew Hynes (Jackson's former aide-de-camp), "Head quarters 7th M[ilitary] District," Mobile [Alabama], 18 September 1814. 1 full page, 4to, integral address leaf. Fine condition.

JACKSON, BEGINNING HIS CAMPAIGN TO TAKE FLORIDA, ANNOUNCES A "GLORIOUS VICTORY" OVER THE BRITISH AND PROPOSES TO "INSTANTLY STRIKE THE LION IN HIS DEN" AT PENSACOLA

Writing to his former aide, now Adjutant General of Tennessee, Jackson reports a signal victory: "I enclose you the general order of the 15th instant [not present] which gives you in detail, the glorious victory obtained by Major Lawrence and his little Spartan band, over the combined attack by land and water of the British. Indians and Spaniards. Major Lawrence, his officers, & men have filled my highest hopes - they have immortalized themselves, they are covered with glory."

Jackson also sends various papers issued by or relating to Lt. Col. Edward Nicholls, the British commander in Florida and Captain William H. Percy, British Naval Commander in the Gulf: "I also enclose you copies of Col. Nicholls proclamation & orders and Sir William Henry Percy. Col. Nicholls lost an eye in the...engagement, & Sir William H. a ship, from which it is fair to presume we will not be troubled again with their proclamations or orders. I send these to you for publication, begging you to have an appropriate preface to them."

"Had I a competent [sufficient] force I would instantly strike the Lyon [Lion] in his den. Hurry on the troops and all will be well." In a brief postcript, he adds: "The fort was near surrounded; and when the flag staff was shot away...the land force attempted a charge. On seeing it again raised, they backed out...."

The British officer, Colonel Nicholls, arrived at Pensacola with a small squadron of warships and seized and manned Forts Barancas and St. Michael. He appealed for local enlistments, and drafted a proclamation that his force proposed to liberate the inhabitants of East Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee from American tyranny. He recruited a considerable force of Red Sticks and Seminole Indians, whom he armed, and offered them a reward of two dollars for every American scalp, whether of man, woman or child. Jackson immediately perceived the threat to East Florida and the entire gulf area. He ordered Col. William Lawrence with artillery but a small force of 130 men to take over the abandoned Fort Bowyer, at Mobile Point. This became the focus of a combined British land and naval force attack on 15 September, in which American artillery fire played a critical role. One British vessel, the Hermes, Commodore Percy's flagship, was raked by American shells, severely damaged, grounded and destroyed, while the land army of Indians and British regulars took heavy casualties and were unable to storm the fort. Abandoning the assault, the remaining British ships put to sea.

It was the scale and severity of the British attack which convinced Jackson that the British planned to invade by way of Mobile and Pensacola; he concluded that Spanish-held Pensacola itself had to be assaulted and taken. Although he entirely lacked the authority to invade Florida, he proceeded to mount an expedition which succeeded in taking Pensacola in a daring assault a few weeks after this letter. The Pensacola and Fort Mobile offensives described here were preludes to Jackson's dramatic defense of New Orleans against a far more formidable British force in December 1814 and January 1815. But the shattering defeat at Fort Bowyer was a severe blow to Britain's invasion scheme: Robert Remini terms the defeat "catastrophic for British plans" (The Battle of New Orleans, p.20).
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