David, Goliath, and You
We live in Jackson County, Tennessee. Many places across the country are named for Andrew Jackson, but Jackson County, Tennessee, was named for Jackson in 1801, long before he became President and long before he became famous for leading American soldiers to victory at the Battle of New Orleans. Of the twenty-three U.S. counties named Jackson, only Jackson County, Georgia, has had Jackson’s name longer than we have.
Though he hadn’t become President or won that great battle, when Jackson County, Tennessee, took his name, Andrew Jackson had already served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. In 1801 he was serving as a judge in Tennessee.
We honor Jackson in many ways around here. Here is his bust on the grounds of the Jackson County courthouse.
I love peace and am by no means a war hawk. Frankly, I don’t know what I would do if I were ever asked by my country to fight, but when Andrew Jackson came through Jackson County to get men to help him stop the British at New Orleans, many joined them including a grandfather (I don’t remember how many greats) of the lady who sits behind us each Sunday at church.
When we discussed Andrew Jackson and the Battle of New Orleans at the Jackson County Historical Society this past Monday, one of the members said that when his ancestor joined up, his wife went along with him to New Orleans!
After the battle, General Jackson’s wife Rachel traveled to New Orleans to join in the celebration after the victory. But after the celebrating, Jackson personally made sure that his troops got home, traveling with them through Mississippi and into Tennessee on the Natchez Trace, an old Native American trail.
However, the Jackson Countian mentioned above stayed in the Army and his wife stayed with the Army (perhaps as a cook or laundress; civilian women did that back then). They traveled with American troops all the way to Canada before returning to Jackson County.
Much of downtown Gainesboro, which is the county seat of Jackson County, is on the National Register of Historic Places. These homes on Cox Avenue are in the historic district.
These houses have been here a long time, but I don’t think any of them were here when Jackson came through. The town didn’t get its name Gainesborough, as it was spelled then, until after the War of 1812. It was named for General Edmund Pendleton Gaines, who fought with Jackson in New Orleans.
I can’t really know how those men felt as they marched to New Orleans. I do know that just a few months before, the British had burned the U.S. Capitol and the White House. Americans were afraid the British army was going to march into New Orleans and then head north to take the Louisiana Purchase which the U.S. had bought from France only a decade before. These men believed they needed to fight for their country. So they left home and did it.
When the battle began, Jackson commanded some 2,000 troops, including many brand new recruits; the British had some 8,000 well-trained soldiers. Talk about your David and Goliath encounter. When the battle was over, the total number of British casualties, including missing, wounded, and dead, numbered over 2,000. The number of American casualties was 70-something. The victory was a David and Goliath kind of thing, too.
Americans were wild for Andrew Jackson. I don’t know if they literally danced in the streets, but they certainly danced other places. Thirteen years later they elected him to be their President.
Do you ever feel like a David going against a Goliath? God hasn’t told us who He wanted to win the Battle of New Orleans. However, He has told us that He is for us and that we can face anything that comes our way.
If God is for us, who is against us?