Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Cocke to Thomas Jefferson, 24 February 1813

From William Cocke

24th February 1813

My Dear Old & ever admired friend

I am now in Camp in East Florida and have the exquesate pleasure to Announce to you the termination of a glorious Campaign against the Seminolea Indians the East Tennessee Volunteers have done them Selves much honor they have faught bravely & we have Injoyed the pleasure to See Our enemy driven from their amboscades hamocks & Marshes in every direction we Killd I believe about twenty or thirty of the bravesst of them the Rest we put to flight we took Seven Prisoners about five hundred head of Cattle & horses about fifteen hundred bushels of Corn and burnt three hundred & Eighty Six Houses our loss was one man Killd & five wounded none Mortal the man we losst was Lieutinet John M Smith a young man of Great worth he faught bravely & Died Gloriously we are now on Our Return to Tennessee Should you incline to wright me a line it will at all times Give me Great pleasure to hear from you and Such of my friends as may incline to Correspond with me yours most Sincearly

Wm Cocke

Direct to Rutledge

RC (DLC); dateline adjacent to signature; endorsed by TJ as a letter from William Cocke “(of Tenissee)” received 19 Mar. 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

William Cocke (1748–1828), frontier public official, was a native of Amelia County who studied law before moving about 1773 to land near the present Virginia-Tennessee border. He served in the militia during Lord Dunmore’s War and moved to the Kentucky region by 1775, when he sat in the House of Delegates of the short-lived colony of Transylvania. Cocke represented Washington County in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1777–78, where he became acquainted with TJ. In 1778 he briefly represented Washington County, North Carolina (later Tennessee), in the state House of Commons, but he was removed due to his conflicting position as county clerk. Cocke represented the same county in the North Carolina Senate, 1782–84. During the ensuing four years he was a leader in the ultimately futile effort to found a new state called Franklin. Cocke represented Hawkins County, North Carolina (later Tennessee), in the House of Commons in 1788 and sat for Person County in the North Carolina Senate, 1793–94. He was also active in the Southwest Territory, where he practiced law and served as territorial attorney for Washington district, 1791–94, served in the territorial legislature, and was a delegate to the convention that established the state of Tennessee, which he represented in the United States Senate, 1796–97 and 1799–1805. Cocke lost Tennessee gubernatorial races in 1807 and 1809. In the latter year state lawmakers appointed him to a circuit court judgeship, but after impeachment they removed him from that position in 1812. Cocke then volunteered for the East Florida campaign, returned to Tennessee to serve as a state legislator, and won praise from Andrew Jackson for his valor during the Creek War, 1813–14. He was briefly federal agent to the Chickasaw Indians, with his headquarters in Columbus, Mississippi, and he served in that state’s legislature in 1822 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; Robert M. McBride and Dan M. Robison, Biographical Directory of the Tennessee General Assembly [1975–89], 1:153–4; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends , 127; Jackson, Papers description begins Sam B. Smith, Harold D. Moser, Daniel Feller, and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 1980– , 7 vols. description ends ; PTJ description begins Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1950– , 34 vols. description ends , 2:93–5, 8:508, 29:169–70; John L. Cheney Jr., North Carolina Government, 1585–1979 [1981]; Terr. Papers description begins Clarence E. Carter and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States, 1934–75, 28 vols. description ends , 4:437, 442, 459; Acts passed at the first session of the General Assembly of the Territory ... South of the River Ohio [Knoxville, 1794], 89–91; Walter T. Durham, Before Tennessee: The Southwest Territory, 1790–1796 [1990]; Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Tennessee [1796 sess.], 15–6; Journal of the Senate ... of the State of Tennessee [1811 sess.], 187–93, 198; Cocke to TJ, 28 Jan. 1814, 10 May 1825; ASP description begins American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, 1832–61, 38 vols. description ends , Indian Affairs, 2:106–7).

Index Entries

  • Cocke, William; and E. Fla. campaign search
  • Cocke, William; identified search
  • Cocke, William; letters from search
  • East Florida; and War of1812 search
  • Indians; Seminole search
  • Seminole Indians search
  • Smith, John M. search
  • Tennessee; volunteers from search