Fort Williams April 2d. 1814
To the officers & soldiers who have lately returned from the expedition to the Tallapoosa
You have entitled yourselves to the gratitude of your general & of your country. The expedition from which you have just returned, has, by your good conduct, been rendered prosperous beyond any example in the history of our warfare. It has redeemed the character of Tennessee, & of that description of troops of which the greater part of the army was composed.
You have, in a few days, opened your way to the Tallapoosa, & destroyed a confederacy of the enemy, ferocious by nature, & grown insolent by the impunity with which they had so long, committed their depredations. Relying on their numbers—the
security of their situation—& the
assurances of their prophets, they derided our approach, & already exulted
in anticipation of the victory they hoped to obtain over us. They knew not what
brave men could effect, when they came to chastise an insolent foe. Barbarians,
they were ignorant of the influence of civilization & of government, over the
human powers. They hoped to frighten us by their yells & to oppose our
progress by fortifications of wood. Stupid mortals! their yells only designate
their number & their situation with the more certainty; & their walls
become a snare for their own destruction. So it must ever be when presumption
& ignorance contend against bravery & prudence.
The fiends of the Tallapoosa will, no longer murder our women & children, or disturb the quiet of our borders. Their midnight flambeaux will no more illumine their council-house, or shine upon the victim of their infernal orgies. They have disappeared from the face of the Earth. In their places, a new generation will arise who will know their duties better. The weapons of warfare will be exchanged for the utensils of husbandry, & the wilderness which now withers in sterility & seems to mourn the desolation which overspreads it, will blossom as the rose, & become the nursery of the arts. But other chastisements remain to be inflicted before this happy day can arise. How lamentable it is that the path to peace should lead through blood & over the carcases of the slain!! But it is in the dispensations of that providence which inflicts partial evil, to produce general good.
Our enemy are not sufficiently humbled since they do not sue for peace. A collection of their forces again await our approach & remain to be dispersed. Buried in ignorance & seduced by their prophets, they have the weakness to believe they shall still be able to maintain a stand against our arms. We must undeceive them. They must be made to atone for their obstinacy & their crimes by still farther suffering. The hopes which have so long deluded them, must be driven from their last refuge. They must be made to know that their prophets are impostors, & that our strength is mighty & will prevail. Then & not till then may we hope for a lasting & beneficial peace.
It is ordered by the commanding general that an extra ration be issued to the troops.
Harold D. Moser et al., eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, Volume III, 1814-1815 (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1991), 57-58.
|Andrew Jackson by Thomas Sully, 1845. National Gallery of Art.|
|Andrew Jackson with the Tennessee forces.|
Library of Congress.