Category Archives: News Features

Library Finds Document Signed by Andrew Jackson in Old Book

by Donald Gantz, Director of Special Collections and Archives

Editor’s note: Followers of news about libraries know that, from time to time, historical treasures are discovered in world’s great libraries, such as a medicinal recipe by Hippocrates uncovered last year. One of the treasures in Regent Library’s Special Collections has just such a story. The following article by Library Archivist Don Gantz was originally published in the February 2006 issue of Library Link. The article, written shortly after the manuscript’s discovery, is cautious about its authenticity. The letter has since been authenticated by Lee Shepard, retired Director of Manuscripts and Archives at the Virginia Historical Society.

Kathy Watson shows the letter fastened into the book she was cataloging.

Thanks to the alertness of Kathy Watson, cataloging assistant in the University Library, we have found what appears to be an 1813 arrest order signed by Major General Andrew Jackson. Jackson is famous for defeating the Creek Indians and the British at New Orleans during the War of 1812 and later for becoming the seventh president of the United States.

Kathy was cataloging books acquired from the William Tyndale College library when she found this document fastened between the blank fly leaves of Augustus Buell’s 1904 History of Andrew Jackson. This brief hand-written document orders the arrest of a Sergeant Baldrige and his detention by a special guard in the fort.

The document seems to have evidence of an official seal which secured it after it was folded several times. It had “Gen’l Order, Dec 9, 1813” written on the outside after the folds, and the outside was soiled from handling. It’s placement in the book likely served to preserve it.

Our conclusions about the authenticity of the document remain to be confirmed by having it examined by an expert on historical documents. Our best transcription so far of the hard-to-read hand-scrawled document is:

The adjutant general will immediately arrest Sergeant Baldrige of Capt. Thomas Williamson’s, Company 2 Regt. V- and place him under the provost guard within the Fort,- and warn Lt. Masons who commands the provost guard of this day to attend with his guard within the Fort.

Andrew Jackson
Major Genl
Headquarters, Fort
Strother Decbr 9th 1813

1813 Arrest Order signed by Major General Andrew Jackson

The date of the document, December 9, 1813, and the location, Fort Strother, Alabama suggest it is not a routine document reflecting a routine discipline problem. At this time Jackson was commander of the Tennessee militia and the Tennessee volunteers. Both groups had already attempted defection but had been dissuaded by Jackson’s heavy-handed intervention.

The volunteers, however, were determined to leave on the next day, December 10, 1813, when their one-year enlistment expired. Jackson was equally determined that they would stay until March 10 because they had been given three months at home during that period and he was demanding twelve months of actual service. There were military lawyers in the camp telling the volunteers they had the right to leave. Given Jackson’s iron will, a confrontation was inevitable.

On December 9 (the date of the arrest order), the volunteers’ intentions to leave became clear. But before they made their move, Jackson made his. He ordered the loyal militia to line up above the road to Tennessee and do whatever was necessary to prevent the volunteers’ departure. He ordered the mutinous volunteers to be brought out to parade on the west side of the fort. Jackson then ordered the loyal artillery gunners to aim their two fieldpieces on the volunteers. He mounted his horse, rode up and down the ranks, and exhorted them not to desert. Finally, to force a decisive response, Jackson told the artillery gunners to light their matches, one small step from firing. Jackson was also in the line of fire. He said, and demonstrated, if they chose to desert, it would be over his dead body.The volunteers decided they would stay until the expected reinforcements arrived. Jackson accepted their decision and the mass mutiny was prevented.

December 9, 1813 was an unforgettable day in the military career of Andrew Jackson. It was also the beginning of a series of serious setbacks. Three days later, December 12th, 1,500 reinforcements arrived and Jackson was obliged to keep his word and let the Tennessee volunteers return home. When they had just departed he learned that all the reinforcements’ terms of service would expire within a few weeks. He was eventually left with too few men to defend the fort, which was situated deep in enemy territory, let alone finish his campaign against the formidable Creek Indians.

This period of Jackson’s military career reads like a suspense thriller, and its events leave us itching to learn more about Sergeant Baldrige and why he was arrested on that fateful day, December 9, 1813.

Additional Reading

Buell, Augustus C. History of Andrew Jackson, Pioneer, Patriot, Soldier, Politician, President. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1904.

James, Marquis. Andrew Jackson, the Border Captain. Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1933.

Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Empire, 1767-1821. New York: Harper & Row, 1977.

Hone your Strategic Thinking this Summer

When two tigers fight, what is left is
one dead tiger and one wounded one.
-Chinese Proverb

Traditional Go equipment, made of natural materials like wood, slate, clamshell or white stone, adds to the beauty of the game.

Still looking for a rewarding summer project? Consider learning the ancient game of Go.

Go is a board game that originated in China over 2,500 years ago. Like chess, Go has always been valued as a tool for developing strategic thinking, but the mentalities required for success in the two games could hardly be more different.

Chess is a game of decisive battle. Each player strives to capture the opponent’s king by annihilating his capacity to resist. In contrast, the object of Go is to build and control more territory on the board. While chess tends to reward daring, Go rewards patience.

Unlike chess, which is concerned exclusively with the strategic mentality of warfare, Go is a closer metaphor of business or international relations.. Experience and judgement are essential, and greed is punished.

Go writer Peter Shotwell writes that “Japanese executives learned to look at the national and international corporate worlds as Go boards and designed many of their strategies accordingly…One should try to win, but that had to involve allowing the opponent to win something too, because all-out fights might destroy both competitors.”*

The Library has a good-quality beginning Go set in front of the reference desk. Learning this ancient and rich game will give you insight into the psychology and strategic thinking of countries like China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, where Go is part of the cultural heritage.

Intrigued? Check out this short tutorial on the rules:

https:youtu.begECcsSeRcNo

If you are interested in learning to play Go, contact Harold Henkel at harohen@regent.edu for suggestions on getting started.

______________________________

*Peter Shotwell, Go! More Than a Game, (Ruland, VT: Tuttle Publishing, 2003), xi.
http:library.regent.edurecord=b1545173~S0

Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/494762709037943549/

 

Book Discussion: The Chosen, by Chaim Potok

1st edition cover. Simon & Schuster, 1967

Few stories offer more warmth, wisdom, or generosity than this tale of two boys, their fathers, their friendship, and the chaotic times in which they live. In 1940s Brooklyn, New York, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, love, and the journey to adulthood. The intellectual and spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son and his own father, and between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty, and, ultimately, the power of love.

On Thursday, March 22 at 12:00, professor of philosophy Dr. Michael Palmer will lead a conversation about this classic coming-of-age novel in the Library Conference Room. Distance students and faculty are invited to join the discussion via Google Hangouts. Contact harohen@regent.edu for a link to the live discussion.

The Library has several copies of The Chosen available for-check-out, as well as DVD and streaming versions of the 1981 film adaptation.

The Library honors Black History Month

Dorothy Hargett, Head of Access Services

In honor of Black History Month, the Library has created three displays featuring both famous and little-known African American inventors. Black History Month has been celebrated in February since 1926 when Dr. Carter G. Woodson launched Negro History month to spotlight the contributions of people of African descent in the United States.

Some African American inventors are well known, such as George Washington Carver, the inventor of peanut butter; and Wally Amos, the founder of Famous Amos Cookies. However, there are also many inventions that we use every day, like the ice cream scoop, the potato chip, and the “Super Soaker” that you may not know were invented by African Americans.

  • Ice Cream Scoop – Alfred L. Cralle (1866–1920) was an African American businessman and inventor who is credited with inventing the ice cream scoop in 1897.
  • Potato Chip – George Crum (1822-1914) is widely credited with the invention of potato chips in 1853. Crum’s birth name was George Speck; he was born in New York in 1822 to Abraham and Catherine Speck. Abraham was African American, and Catherine was a Native American belonging to the Huron tribe.
  • Super Soaker – Lonnie Johnson (b. October 6, 1949) is an American inventor and engineer who holds more than 80 patents but is best known for inventing the Super Soaker water gun, which has ranked among the world’s 20 best-selling toys every year since its release in 1990.

According to Famous Black Inventors, there are many modern conveniences directly related to, or derivative of, the inventions of black inventors, including blood banks, the refrigerator, the electric trolley, clothes dryer, refrigerator, and lawn mower.

The Library displays recognize history-making trailblazers like Dr. Martin Luther King, Maya Angelou, and President Obama. Also featured are classic books and movies to read and watch as you celebrate Black History Month. Come by the Library soon.

A photo album of the displays for Black History Month can be viewed on the Library Facebook page.

Book Discussion: Renaissance, by Os Guinness

OG_ROn Friday, November 10, at 12:00, the Library Book Club will discuss Renaissance: The Power of the Gospel However Dark the Times, by author, scholar, and journalist, Os Guinness.
About Renaissance, author Rebecca Manley Pippert writes, “This is a profound, realistic and hopeful book that reminds us that even in the darkest times the power of the gospel can change the world…No other writer I know offers such a rich background of astute cultural analysis combined with a deep understanding of history. I finished this book feeling a deep sense of hope, which was fortified by his powerful prayers at the end of each chapter. If we heed the wisdom in this marvelous book, we could well become effective agents for Christ for such a time as this.”

The Library has several copies of Renaissance in print and e-book formats. A video of Dr. Guinness lecturing about his book at the Acton Institute is on YouTube.

Our discussion will take place in the Library Conference Room. Distance students and faculty are encouraged to join us live via Google Hangouts, Google’s free, easy-to-use videoconferencing software. Click here to request a link to the discussion.

For the complete 2017-2018 schedule of book discussions, see the Library Book Club webpage.