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Jackson, Andrew (1767-1845) to William Rabun

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00782.11.01 Author/Creator: Jackson, Andrew (1767-1845) Place Written: Fort Gadsden, Florida Type: Letter signed Date: 7 May 1818 Pagination: 2 p. ; 25.1 x 20.2 cm.

Summary of Content: Asks that Rabun, governor of Georgia, arrest for murder Captain Obediah Wright. Wright had destroyed a Chehaw village and murdered several of its inhabitants, while many of its members were aiding him in his expedition against the Seminole Indians during the first Seminole War. Seal remnant in upper and lower left corners.

Background Information: Jackson served in the military again during the First Seminole War when he was ordered by President Monroe in December 1817 to lead a campaign in Georgia against the Seminole and ...Creek Indians. Jackson was also charged with preventing Spanish Florida from becoming a refuge for runaway slaves. While Chehaw men had fought in Florida, the Georgia state militia killed Chechaw villagers--an act condemned by Jackson in the following letter. Acting on reports of attacks on white settlers by other Creeks, the state militia, under Captain Obediah Wright, attacked and burned a Chehaw village, killing at least seven Indians. Captain Wright was eventually imprisoned for this attack, but later escaped and disappeared. See More

Full Transcript: the march lining Pensacola, 7 miles outside of Fort Gadsden
May 7th 1818
Sir,
I have this moment, received by express the letter of Genl. Glascock, a copy of which is enclosed, ...detailing the base, cowardly and inhuman attack on the old women and men of the Chehaw Villages, whilst the warriers of that village was with [us] fighting the battles of our country against the common enemy, and at a time too when undoubted testimony had been obtained and was in my possession and also, in the possession of General Glascock, of their innocence of the charge of killing Leigh & the other Georgian at Cedar Creek.
That a Governor of a state should assume the rights to make war against an Indian tribe in perfect peace with and under the protection of the United States; is assuming a responsibility, that I trust you will be able to excuse to the government of the United States, to which you will have to answer, and through which I had so recently passed, promising the aged that remained at home my protection and taking the warriers with me as the campaign is as unaccountable as strange - But it is still more strange that this could exist within the Free States a cowardly monster in human shape, that could violate the Sanctity of a flag when worn by any person, but mere particularly when in the hands of a supernatural Indian chief worn down with age - Such lease cowardice and murderous conduct as this mans action affords has not its paralel in history, and shall meet with its merited punishment.
You Sir as Governor of a State within my Military Division have no right to give a military order whilst I am in the field, and this being an open and violent infringement of the treaty with the creek Indians Capt. Wright must be prosecuted and punished for this outrageous murder, & I have ordered him to be arrested and confined in [2] irons until the pleasure of the President of the [Reunited] States is known upon the subject. If he has left Hartford before my order reaches him, I call upon you as Governor of Georgia to aid in carrying into effect my order for his arrest and confinement, which I trust will be afforded, and Capt. Wright brought to [condign] punishment for this unprecedented murder - It is strange that this hero had not followed the trail of the murder[struck: ous] of your citizens, it would have lead to Mickasooky, when we found the bleeding scalps of your citizens, but there might have been more danger in this; then, attacking a village containing a few superannated women and men, and a few young women without arms or protectors - This act will to the last ages fix a stain upon the character of Georgia -
I have the honor to be with
due respect. [Comander]
Andrew Jackson
Major Genl Comdg

His Excellency.}
William Rabun}
Gov. State of Georgia}
See More

People: Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845
Rabun, William, 1771-1819

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: American Indian HistoryWestward ExpansionPresidentGovernment and CivicsCriminals and OutlawsLawMassacreAtrocityMilitiaMilitary HistoryMilitary Law

Sub Era: Age of Jackson

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