Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Illustrious General Gaines

General Edmund Pendleton Gaines participated in many historic events:

The Devil's Backbone, The Story of the Natchez Trace, mentions (Lieutenant) Gaines: "Wilkinson's men went to work building the road--or at least widening and straightening the Trace, providing some fords, ferries, and bridges." "Lt. Edmund Pendleton Gaines, who was later to arrest Aaron Burr, was actively engaged in working on the road."

A letter from General Edmund P. Gaines at Fort Mitchell to General John Coffee at Ft. Strother dated 18 February 1816, both in Alabama, concerning the Treaty of Fort Jackson and the Choctaw and Cherokee nations, echoed his concerns.

It was no secret that General Gaines and General Winfield Scott did not see eye to eye. They were the two top brigadier generals, but because of their public feuding, President John Quincy Adams did not promote either one of them and chose Colonel Macomb instead. Did their rivalry play a part in the Second Seminole War? General Scott had ordered General Clinch not to assist General Gaines, but seeing that Gaines was surrounded by hostile Seminoles and had exhausted their supplies, Clinch disobeyed orders and went to rescue Gaines and his troops. There was a court inquiry where the influential General Scott was exonerated even though there was evidence against him.

Sam Houston wrote a letter on 29 August 1836, telling General Gaines, "You can save Texas!"

A description of an 83-year old General Gaines can be found here.

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