JACKSON, Andrew. Two autograph letters signed (''Andrew Jackson'') as Major General, to Colonel Andrew Hynes, ''Head quarters 7 M. District,'' Mobile, [Alabama], 6:00 and 9:00 A.M., 17 September 1814. Together 2 pages, folio (12 5/8 x 7¾ in.) and 4to (7 7/8 x 6¼ in.), with integral address leaves, browned.
JACKSON, Andrew. Two autograph letters signed ("Andrew Jackson") as Major General, to Colonel Andrew Hynes, "Head quarters 7 M. District," Mobile, [Alabama], 6:00 and 9:00 A.M., 17 September 1814. Together 2 pages, folio (12 5/8 x 7¾ in.) and 4to (7 7/8 x 6¼ in.), with integral address leaves, browned.
JACKSON PASSES ON FIRST REPORTS OF THE AMERICAN VICTORY AT MOBILE
In the immediate aftermath of the American success in repelling a combined land and naval attack by the British on Fort Bowyer in Mobile Bay, Jackson reports on the battle. Jackson had been promoted to Major General in August of 1814 and, after skirmishing with Indians in Florida, deployed his small force to oppose any British invasion of the South. Realizing that a likely point of attack would be at Mobile Bay, Jackson detached 160 men under Major William Lawrence to repair Fort Bowyer and ready it for defense. On September 12, The British attacked with 225 marines and Indians supported by four warships mounting 78 cannon.
On the morning of September 17, Jackson was still uncertain about the outcome of the battle. At 6 A.M., he informs Tennessee's Adjutant General that "a combined British and Spanish force, with 500 or 600 hundred Indians made an attack by land & water on Fort Bowyer in Mobile Point, the battle was tremendous, and continued untill about 12 oclock at night when a...vast explosion took place." He continues: "a reenforcement that I had attempted to throw into the fort got within five miles by water, the British vessels having got possession of the channel, the reenforcement could not get in, and were in full view of the engagement, untill the firing closed...Several who also was witness to the scene, believe the explosion was blowing up of the largest vessel, that lay a breast of the Fort." (This was accurate: the crippled British warship Hermes had been abandoned and set afire by her crew; the explosion of her main magazine was heard by Jackson 30 miles upriver.) Jackson is uncertain of the outcome: "Whether the Fort is or is not taken is doubtfull. I have sent a detachment down to reenforce the fort if not taken and several dispatch vessels neither of whom has returned." He urgently appeals for reinforcements: "Push on the troops from Tennessee with all possible haste as I have no disposable force to do anything with...I want as many volunteer horsemen as can be speedily raised...had I one thousand horsemen here I could soon put an end to Spanish & indian depredations on land and drive the British from the shores. Without this the country here is endangered & the indian force will daily increase."
By 9 A.M., Jackson had confirmed the Fort's successful defense, and rejoices: "I stop the mail to state the glorious news, that Fort Bowyer is safe, the British and allies severely drubbed--one officer hurt & four men killed & five wounded on our side--the other side cut to pieces...The admiral ship Blown up, and a Brig sunk--not more than 30 of the crews saved."
The defeat at Mobile thwarted British plans to move into the interior and enlist additional Indian allies; Jackson biographer Robert Remini terms the defeat "catastrophic for British plans" (Remini, The Battle of New Orleans, p.20). A month later, Jackson was ordered to New Orleans to repel another, more substantial phase of the British assault.