In 1806, on this day the proud and volatile former militia leader, senator and representative of Tennessee Andrew Jackson was fatally wounded in a duel at Harrison's Mills on Red River in Logan, Kentucky.
Death of Old Hickory"Old Hickory" had called for the duel after his wife Rachel was slandered as a bigamist by the lawyer Charles Dickinson, who was referring to a legal error in the divorce from her first husband in 1791. The allegation was made with reasonable justification: Jackson and his wife Rachel Donelson first married in 1792, however they had to remarry two years later when Rachel discovered that she was still legally married to her first husband.
Harrison's Mills was one of several duels Jackson was said to have participated in during his lifetime, the majority of which were allegedly called in defense of his wife's honor. However, this time he met his match because Dickinson was a master of firearms, regarded as one of the best pistol shots in the area.
Ed. & Eric LippsIn accordance with dueling custom, the two stood twenty-four feet apart, with pistols pointed downward. After the signal, Dickinson fired first, grazing Jackson's breastbone and breaking some of his ribs. Jackson maintained his stance and fired back, fatally wounding his opponent. Only later would it become clear that Jackson had also suffered critical injuries.
Rachel died a widow in 1829 in a United States that Jackson had he lived would barely recognise. As a fearless militia leader, doubtless his skills - and anger - might have been better directed at defending his nation, rather than his wife's honour, by fighting the invading army of British North America just six years after his tragic death.