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General Jackson Captures Pensacola
by William P. Meyers

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Andrew Jackson would grow up to be a President of the United States of America and the founder of the Democratic Party. Along the way he would murder many of his fellow men and live a life of depravity unmatched, so far as we know, by any other American President.

Continued from Horseshoe Bend and Jackson's Land Grab

The British had actually already won the War of 1812 by August 1814. They had defeated Napoleon Bonaparte and his French armies in Europe. Washington D.C. was burned. American diplomats were in Ghent, Belgium, trying to get a reasonable peace deal from the British Empire. At the same time, General Andrew Jackson was determined to invade Florida, a Spanish possession, while the British thought they could take the City of New Orleans to serve as a port for the lands west of the Mississippi River that they were demanding at Ghent.

Jackson's goal was to take Pensacola, Florida; American slavers and land speculators coveted Florida and western Florida in particular. First, however, Jackson saw that Mobile, Alabama was fortified. He thought that the British would land at Mobile, then march overland to attack New Orleans. Four British war ships, the Sophie, Hermes, Carron, and Childers, commanded by William H. Percy, did attack Fort Boyer, where the Americans were led by Major Lawrence. During the battle, on September 13, 1814, Andrew Jackson was descending the river towards the fort in a skiff, and turned tail to run back to Mobile. But despite an intense bombardment, the little fort remained in American hands and its gunners disabled the Hermes to the point that the British blew it up to avoid its capture.

On October 25th Andrew Jackson led his troops out of Mobile to attack the British and Spanish at Pensacola, Florida. The morning of November 7th the American troops stormed the town. The British fought poorly, the Americans fought well and quickly captured the town. The British then decided to abandon the nearby Fort Barrancas. It was an important battle. The Indian allies of the British assembled in Florida felt abandoned and quit the war. The American troops now felt they had not so much to fear from British regulars. Jackson, however, did not linger. He marched again for Mobile. In Ghent, the diplomats sipped their tea and the negotiations to end the war stalled.

Next: The Battle of New Orleans

Main source: The Life of Andrew Jackson by Marquis James, Bobbs-Merrill company, 1938.

Learn more: President Andrew Jackson main page

U.S. Presidents main page

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