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In whatever sphere of life a man has become conspicuous, whether in the department of literature, of art, or of science—whether he shines in the cabinet, or in the field—the curiosity natural to our species is excited, to inquire into his origin, and the circumstances connected with his juvenile years. This desire is laudable--it ought to be gratified;—but more particularly so when the subject of biography has arisen from apparent obscurity; nay, from a state of orphanage, to the highest honours which freemen can bestow. We have said this propensity is natural and laudable, and so far as information is within our power, it shall be gratified.
The father of the subject of the present memoir emigrated from Ireland, with his wife and two elder sons, in the year 1765. He settled in South Carolina, about forty-five miles from Camden, where ANDREW was born, March 15, 1767. While yet a child, his father died, in consequence of which his two elder brothers received merely a common school education, hecause of their small patrimony: the youngest, Andrew, was placed at an academy at the Waxsaw meeting-house, under the care of a Mr. Humphries, where he received the rudiments of a liberal education, his mother designing him for the ministerial office. The revolution, which ended in the emancipation of his country from British thraldom, having
begun, his studies were interrupted by the ravages of a ruthless enemy, who made an incursion into that quarter of his native state. Consequently, with his brother Robert, by his mother's permission, he joined the American army at fourteen years age.
His eldest brother had previously pursued the same course, and died of heat and fatigue at the battle of Stono.
The superiority of the British, in numbers and discipline, caused the Americans to retire into North Carolina, from which they returned to South Carolina in small parties, after they had learned that the British, under Cornwallis, had crossed the Yadkin. Lord Rawdon was then in possession of Camden, and had desolated the surrounding country.
In the attack upon the Waxsaw settlers after thcir return, a party of the British, under a Major Coffin, captured the two young Jacksons. While prisoners, both were severely wounded with swords by two British officers, for refusing to perform menial services required of them. The wound of Andrew was in his left hand, that of his brother on his head, which terminated his existence shortly after their exchange, which took place a few days before the memorable battle of Camden. Worn down with grief and affliction, his mother expired shortly after, near Charleston, leaving Andrew an unprotected orphan, then confined to a bed of sickness, which had nearly closed his sorrows and his life.
After his recovery, he did not again join the army, but expended without restraint a part of his patrimony before reflection had warned him of the consequences. Finding, however, that his exertions alone were to waft him through the tumultuous sea of life, he returned to his studies at New Acquisition, near Hill's iron works, under a Mr. M‘Culloch. Here he completed his academic course as far as the place in which he lived, and his limited means, would permit. Having relinquished all thoughts of the clerical profession, in 1784, at the age of eighteen, he repaired to Salisbury, North Carolina, and studied law under Spruce M-Kay, Esq., and afterwards under Colonel John Stokes. In the winter of 1786, he was licensed to plead at the bar, and remained at Salisbury until 1788, when he accompanied Judge M‘Nairy to the state of Tennessee. Although it was his intention to return, he was so well pleased with the place, that he determined to make Nashville his future residence. Here the road to preferment was open and plain, and his industry and application to business, soon paved the way for his future elevation. He was several
years attorney for the district wherein he resided. The Efrontiers of Tennessee were much indebted to his energy
and patriotism for defence against the remorse less depredations of the savages. When that-section of the United States was about to be admitted a separate member of the federative body, in 1796, he was chosen a member of the Convention for the formation of the State Constitution. The same year he was elected one of the Representatives in Congress from Tennessee, and in the following year the Legislature of that state appointed him one of its members in the Senate of the United States. This situation he resigned in 1799. He succeeded MajorGeneral Conway in the command of the militia of that state, which formed but one division. He retained his commission of Major-General of militia, until May, 1814, when he was appointed to the same rank in the army of the United States. Immediately after he resigned his seat
in the Senate of the United States, he was appointed to a e seat on the bench of the Supreme Court of the state of
Tennessee. This he likewise held but a short time, and retired to a handsome farm about ten miles from Nashville, on Cumberland river.
The clouds which had hovered over the political horizon of America for some years, at last burst furiously into a tornado, and war was declared by the American Government against Great Britain, on the 18th of June, 1812, in order to avenge itself of the manifold injuries heaped upon its citizens from a spirit of commercial jealousy by the British crown, during its long and unjustifiable contest with France. His military talents unfolded themselves in the various occasions he had to inflict chastisement on the tawny sons of the forest for disturbing the repose of the frontier settlements.
Congress having passed two laws in the year 1812, authorizing the President of the United States to accept the services of fifty thousand volunteers, General Jackson addressed the militia of his division on the subject, and twenty-five hundred, with himself at their head, tendered their services to their country.
This offer being accepted, in November of the same year, he was directed to descend the Mississippi with this force, for the defence of the lower country, which appeared to be menaced.
The troops accordingly met at Nashville on the 10th of December, ready to proceed to the place of destination. The weather was at that time severe, and the ground covered with snow. However, they began to descend the Ohio on the 7th of January, and having reached the Mississippi, they descended to Natchez, where his orders directed him to halt and wait for farther instructions. He encamped his troops on a healthy spot, two miles from Washington, Mississippi territory. Here he received an order from the War Department, dated January 5th, directing him to dismiss them, in consequence of the cessation of the cause which called for their services in that quarter, and directing him to deliver to General. Wilkinson, the United States' commanding officer in that section, all the public property in his possession. At this time he had one hundred and fifty men on his sick list, fifty-six of whom were confined to their beds. This, with the low state in which many were placed with regard to their finances, and the promise he had made their relations to act the father to them, determined him not to obey so impolitic and so unjust an order, as that which had emanated from the Secretary at War, the author of “the Newburgh Letters," so famed as the stickler for "soldiers' rights," of which determination he made the War Department duly acquainted.
An attempt was made at this time to enlist men from his corps for the regular army, which he totally prohibited, determining to carry with him such of the United States property as was necessary for the return of his forces to their original place of rendezvous prior to their discharge.