Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Jackson, Andrew (1767-1845) to John C. Calhoun

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04872 Author/Creator: Jackson, Andrew (1767-1845) Place Written: Nashville, Tennessee Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 26 June 1820 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 30.8 x 19.4 cm.

Summary of Content: General Jackson writing to Secretary of War Calhoun, attempting to mediate a dispute between General Daniel Bissell and the Ordnance Department. Jackson emphasizes the need to maintain a proper chain of command.

Full Transcript: [excerpt]
[2]…He alone is the competent Judge of the necessity; and he is liable to punishment for any infringement of the rule, when that necessity does not exist; and it ...is clear to me that the powers of the role had such cases [inserted: in] View, or else the exception is worse than useless.

[excerpt]
[2]…Experience and common sense forbids such a construction, and demands that he who is responsible for the command, should be permitted to determine when a necessity for his acting with efficiency exists. In my opinion this is the true construction to be given to the rule; and of such an interpretation cannot be given to it, the sooner it is expunged the better; for it is subversive of subordination and all military principles.
See More

People: Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845
Calhoun, John Caldwell, 1782-1850

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: PresidentMilitary HistoryGovernment and Civics

Sub Era: The First Age of Reform

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources