Andrew Jackson finds his fellow travelers are in mortal danger. Does he risk his own life? Does he dither? Does he seek consensus? What to do? What to do?
A man of words and not of deeds
Is like a garden full of weeds.—Halliwell.
Andrew Jackson—Frontier Lawyer.
This it was to be a pioneer lawyer in Tennessee.
AT ANOTHER time, he reached Bean’s station, the rendezvous of a party with whom he was to cross the wilderness, on the evening after they had left. Determined to overtake them, he employed a guide well acquainted with Indian signs and stratagems, and travelled all night. Just before day, they came to the fires where the party had encamped the first part of the night. Following on, they soon discovered, by the trail in the road, that a party of Indians, about twenty-two in number, were in pursuit of their friends ahead.
They hastened forward rapidly, until they approached so near the Indians that the water, which the weight of their tread had pressed out of the rotten logs, was not yet dry. The guide now refused to proceed; but Jackson resolved to save his friends, or, at least, hazard his life in the attempt. Dividing provisions, he and his guide proceeded in opposite directions, Jackson cautiously advancing, and watching the tracks of the Indians.
At length he saw where they had turned off to the right, probably for the purpose of getting ahead of the party, and attacking them from ambush, or falling upon them in the night. The danger was imminent, and pressing on with increased speed, he overtook his friends before dark. Having crossed a stream which was very deep and partly frozen over, they had halted and kindled fires, at which they were drying their clothes and baggage.
Warned of their danger, they immediately resumed their march, and continued it without intermission, during the whole night and the next day. The sky was overcast with clouds, and in the evening it began to snow. While upon the route, they arrived at the log cabins of a party of hunters, and requested shelter and protection; but, contrary to their expectations, for such churlishness was unusual among men of their class, they were rudely refused.
The party were therefore compelled to bivouac in the forest. Jackson was wearied with his fatiguing march, and as he had not closed his eyes for two nights, he wrapped himself in his blanket, and laid down upon the ground, where he slept soundly. When he awoke in the morning, he found himself covered with six inches of snow.
The party resumed their march, and reached their destination in safety; but they afterwards learned that the hunters, who had refused them the hospitality of their cabins, had been murdered by the Indians.
—John S. Jenkins, Life of Gen. Andrew Jackson (1855).