December 18 1814: Jackson’s Address To The “Men of Color”

On December 18 1814, General Andrew Jackson’s held a review of troops in the square in New Orleans.The residents of New Orleans watched anxiously, and cheered as Jackson read a speech, which was translated into French by his Aide-de-Camp Edward Livingston. The speech is a notable for the appeal to “free” African American men to join in the defence of New Orleans.  

Soldiers : From the shores of Mobile I collected you to arms. I invited you to share the perils and to divide the glory of your white countrymen. I expected much from you, for I was not uninformed of those qualities which must render you so formidable to an invading foe. I knew that you could endure hunger and thirst, and all the hardships of war. I knew that you loved the land of your nativity, and that, like ourselves, you had to defend all that is most dear to man. But you surpass my hopes. I have found in you, united to these qualities, that noble enthusiasm which impels to great deeds.

 Soldiers : The President of the United States shall be informed of your conduct on the present occasion, and the voice of the representatives of the American nation shall applaud your valor, as your general now praises your ardor. The enemy is near: his “sails cover the lakes:” but the brave are united, and if he finds us contending among ourselves, it will be for the prize of valor and fame, its noblest reward.

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