Thomas Jefferson Papers

William Cocke to Thomas Jefferson, 15 May 1813

From William Cocke

Rutledge Grainger County 15th May 1813

Dear sir

Your much esteemd favour of the 17th of april Containing the fullest evidence that you still Recollect and appriceate my best endeavours to serve my Country has been Received with all that heart felt satisfaction which true friendship inspire. I may truly be calld the trenk of the times except that nothing Can ever change my Determination for a moment to be of all the service in my power to my Country: I hear with the greatest pleasure that Mr John Randlph has lost his election and that our mutual friend Mr Epps Succeeds him numerous as my Days are my hart still pants for Glory and two of my sons one the majour Genl of East Tennessee and a nother Capt of a troop of horse accompanied me to East Florida where I had the pleasure1 to see them both in the Ranks as Volunteer Citizen soldiers and to be an eye witness that they did their duty in the hour of danger the most Romantick accounts of ancient shevalry does little surpass the Valor exhibited in the Lochway towns by my Gallant Comrades in that most dangerous & fortunate interprise they will be always dear as my children to me my Loss of Mrs Cocke and the shamefull Surrender of Genl Hull determined me to take an active part & once more to march to meet the enimys of my Country this Determination2 I expreessed in a charge at sparta and may be seen in a paper published at Nashville Calld the whig I have proven my sincerity by my actions Toreys still hate me and most of the Federallists dispise me yet I still Glory in being what you know me to be and although I am Giting old I injoy Good health and a desire still to be usefull Yours most sinceerly

Wm Cocke

RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 27 May 1813 and so recorded in SJL.

In calling himself the trenk of the times, Cocke recalled Baron Frederic Trenck (1726–94), a Prussian soldier and adventurer whose life included a love affair with the sister of the Prussian king Frederick II, numerous imprisonments, and ultimately execution at the behest of the French revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre. Trenck’s autobiography was first published in German in 1787 and later translated into French and English. While he was in Paris, TJ purchased the French translation, La vie de Frederic, Baron de Trenck, 3 vols. (Paris, 1788; TJ’s 1789 Book Catalog [MHi], 6). The lochway towns were East Florida Seminole Indian settlements in the Alachua country west of the Saint Johns River. In September 1812 a group of Georgia militia volunteers under the command of Colonel Daniel Newnan raided these villages (Stagg, Borderlines in Borderlands description begins John C. A. Stagg, Borderlines in Borderlands: James Madison and the Spanish-American Frontier, 1776–1821, 2009 description ends , 126–9; Henry M. Brackenridge, History of the Late War between the United States and Great-Britain [Baltimore, 1816], 95–6).

1Manuscript: “pleasue.”

2Manuscript: “Detemination.”

Index Entries

  • books; autobiographical search
  • Cocke, John Alexander search
  • Cocke, Sarah Maclin (William Cocke’s wife) search
  • Cocke, William; and E. Fla. campaign search
  • Cocke, William; family of search
  • Cocke, William; health of search
  • Cocke, William; letters from search
  • Detroit, Mich. Territory; W. Hull’s surrender at search
  • East Florida; and War of1812 search
  • Eppes, John Wayles (TJ’s son-in-law); election of search
  • Hull, William; and surrender of Northwest Army search
  • Indians; Seminole search
  • La vie de Frederic, Baron de Trenck (Trenck) search
  • Nashville, Tenn.; Nashville Whig search
  • Nashville Whig search
  • Newnan, Daniel; E. Fla. campaign of search
  • newspapers; Nashville Whig search
  • Randolph, John (of Roanoke); electoral defeat of search
  • Seminole Indians search
  • Trenck, Frederic, Baron; La vie de Frederic, Baron de Trenck search
  • Trenck, Frederic, Baron; mentioned search
  • War of1812; and East Florida search