Thursday, July 18, 2013

Col John Young of Battle of New Orleans, Grandfather of Sumner Resident

Among the dead that rest at the Sumner Cemetery is the granddaughter of a soldier  who fought at the Battle of New Orleans.   Elizabeth Dunphy, wife of William, a Sumner Grocer, was born in KY but the family had moved to Sumner shortly before 1880.
3es7852.JPGIn her possession were two letters and a set of discharge papers for her grandfather John Young which she allowed the Sumner Press to print May 21, 1891. The first letter is to Hannah, John's wife of one year, ( and Elizabeth's grandmother) written on Dec 4, 1814 while John was enroute to New Orleans.  The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on Dec 24,1814 but news was so slow in reaching the United States that the military clashes between the British and the Americans continued.  On Jan 8, 1815 the Battle of New Orleans was fought with General Andrew Jackson being the victor. The second letter written by John Young was again to his wife  and after this battle.   (Note that he begs her to have a few acres of oats planted and do as much gardening as she wishes.)


Sumner Press
May 21st 1891

Old Time Letters
Some Interesting Letters from a Soldier under Gen. Jackson at New Orleans

Having been favored by Mrs. William Dunphy, of this city with a reading of some letters written by her grandfather John Young, under General Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans, we, with her publish them as well as his discharge. We doubt not they will prove interesting to the readers of the Press, especially the old soldiers, who will see that the boys of '61 were not the first to grumble.

December 4, 1814
Dear Wife,

I gladly embrace this opportunity to inform you that I am very well and hearty and have a good appetite for rations. I have not been sick one minute. I hope that these lines will find you, as well as all our relations, in the same state of health.

We lay at the same place, where Brother William left us, two days and then sailed down to the mouth of Singuin and there we were joined by 300 troops. We landed there the 26th, the 27th was Capt. Higdon's birthday and he gave an elegant dinner to the officers, on the 28th we sailed and went day and night, the 29th we landed in Shawneetown, the 30th in the evening we started from there and landed at the mouth of the Cumberland on 2nd of December.

We have not drawn any money or camp ‘equippage’, which causes the men to murmur very much and a great many of them swear they will not go one step except they draw camp equipage. The men are very disorderly and at this place are joined by 900 troops, they are not ready to start but say they will be ready to start tomorrow. The 27th of November the Tennessee troops, 3000 in number, started from the mouth of the Cumberland River, they were all equipped agreeable to law which makes the Kentuckians very mad to think that they have the preference. I am afraid the worst has not yet come, the officers are very industrious to reconcile them, for my part I have persuaded a great many to go on, by telling them I would go on to Orleans and if they did not equip us there that I would positively not go an inch farther. The men appear very fond of me.

The campaign is not so disagreeable as I thought it would be, only disorderly men are very disagreeable to me. I am very well satisfied that I have to go this time for it is generally supposed that we will not have anything to do only go to Orleans and guard the town, for Jackson has taken Pensacola for a certainty.

I want you to rest as contented as you possibly can for I am well and hope to the hands of a good Providence I shall see you again and we can live together a number of years in peace and happiness. I shall write every opportunity, the first chance will be at Natchez. I have nothing more particular, I must subscribe myself your real and affectionate husband,
John Young
To Hannah Young

P. S.   Jesse McLaughlin is well and wants me to write, he is determined to go as far as I do, he will be glad to see his wife and family; he also wishes you to send Jim word as soon as you can conveniently, rest are all well.
J. Y.

January 19, 1815
Dear wife,

I gladly embrace this opportunity to write you that I am well and have been well ever since I left home only three or four days after the battle, I believe it was fatigue I underwent, but at this time I am well and hope these few lines may find you in the same health, and all the rest of our relations.

We are stationed about 4 miles below New Orleans. We landed the fourth, and the eighth day in the morning about daybreak we had a battle that lasted two hours but we made them retreat back with a loss of 2600 men killed, wounded or taken prisoners; our loss was only six killed and seven wounded. I know not where we will be taken, not a bit better than you do.

The reason I never wrote before, I never had a chance. I meant to write the first opportunity. I am well contented as could be expected; I want you to content yourself. I wish you would get someone to put a few acres of oats in and pay them for it, and as for gardening you may do as much of it as you please, for I hope through the hands of Providence I shall come home to you again.

I want you to write to me as quick as you can for I want to hear from you. You may write two letters and direct one of them to New Orleans and the other to Natchez. Send them both at one time; direct into Capt Higdon's Company, Kentucky Militia, and don't pay the postage, I believe that I am respected by the people generally. I must subscribe myself for your real, affectionate and ever loving husband.
John Young

P. S. Jeff McLaughlin has been a little sick three or four days but at this time he is well, he wants his neighbors not to let his wife and family suffer for anything, he will pay them for it. He wants his brother William to save him 100 pounds of sugar and the old man to save him a drink of cider. Every man in the company is well.
J. Y.

A copy of discharge:
 I certify that John Young, an Ensign in Captain Higdon's Company of Infantry belonging to the 15th Regiment Kentucky Detached Militia has faithfully performed a tour of duty of six months, in said Company, and is therefore honorably discharged.
Given under my hand at Hatzel, Jennings County Kentucky, the 26th day of May 1815.
Leonard P Higdon,
Capt. 15th Regiment
Kentucky Detached Militia