General John R. Coffee of Tennessee, first cousin and contemporary of General John E. Coffee of Georgia, was Andrew Jackson’s friend, business associate, in-law and comrade in arms.He was Jackson’s aide de camp during the war of 1812 and is generally thought to have planned the strategy that won the battle of New Orleans.
"The first war was begun by Tea –– the last one was ended by Coffee”
Toast, Tuscaloosa, 1826, from Washington Globe obituary.
General John Coffee (b. Virginia, 1772) married Mary Donelson (niece of Rachel [Mrs. Andrew] Jackson) in Nashville in 1809.In 1812 clerk of Rutherford Co. Court.Had farm on Stones River.Gen. USA 12/10/1812 to 6/20/1815.Natchez Exped. 1/5/1813; Creek Campaign 9/1813-4/1814; New Orleans 9/14-4/15; Tallahatchie, Horseshoe Bend, Night Battle 12/23/14.Wounded right side, Emuckfau.Daughter Mary b. 9/1812.Surveyor General of Northern Mississippi Territory.Founded Florence, Alabama where he died July 7, 1833.In D.C. (1833) for nullification crisis.
The Battle of New Orleans at Chalmette, January 8, 1815
from Grace King’s New Orleans:
And Coffee, with his ever-to-be-remembered brigade of “Dirty Shirts,” who after a march of eight-hundred miles answered Jackson’s message to hasten, by covering in two days the one-hundred-and-fifty miles from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.p. 220
After them Jackson’s companion in arms, the great Coffee, trotted at the head of his mounted gun-men, with their long hair and unshaved faces, in dingy woolen hunting shirts, copperas (sic) dyed trousers, coonskin caps, and leather belts stuck with hunting knives and tomahawks. “Foward at a gallop!” was Coffee’s order, after a word with General Jackson, and so they disappeared.p. 228
The most distinguished prisoner made by the Americans was Major Mitchell of the Ninety-fifth Rifles, and to his intense chagrin he was forced to yield his sword, not to regulars, but to Coffee’s uncourtly Tennesseans.p. 233
The other (division, on the left, was commanded) by Coffee, whose line extended so far in the swamp that his men stood in the water during the day and at night slept on floating logs made fast to trees; every man ‘half a horse and half an alligator,’ as the song says.p. 244
The following is from "Letters from Alabama 1817 – 1822" by Anne Royall (America’s first female journalist). Edited and annotated by Lucille Griffith.
Huntsville, January 1st, 1818.
GENERAL JOHN COFFEE Last evening I had the pleasure of seeing this renowned soldier and companion of General Jackson. This hero, of whom you have heard so much, is upwards of six feet in height, and proportionally made. Nor did I ever see so fine a figure. He is 35 or 36 years of age. His face is round and full, and features handsome. His complexion is ruddy, though sunburnt. His hair and eyes black, and a soft serenity diffuses his countenance. His hair is carelessly thrown to one side, in front, and displays one of the finest foreheads in nature – high, smoothe, and retreating. His countenance has much animation, while speaking, and his eyes sparkle; but the moment he ceases to speak, it resumes its wonted placidness, which is characteristic of the Tennesseans.
In General Coffee, I expected to see a stern, haughty, fierce, warrior. No such thing. You look in vain for the rapidity with which he marched and defeated the Indians at Tallashatches; nor could I trace in his countenance the swiftness of pursuit, and sudden defeat of the Indians again at Emucfau; much less his severe conflicts at the head of his gallant men at New Orleans. He is as mild as the dew drops; but deep in his soul you see very plain that deliberate, firm, cool and manly courage, which has covered him with glory, he must be a host when he is roused. All these Tennesseans are mild and gentle, except they are excited, which is hard to do, but when they are once raised, it is victory or death.General Coffee speaks very slow, and may weigh about 200 weight."
Methinks the lady was smitten.
Coffee, a hero of the War of 1812, was appointed surveyor general of northwest Alabama after the war. He lived in Florence for 15 years.
In March 1818, Coffee formed the Cypress Land Co. and began a survey for the city of Florence. Coffee created a 1,280-acre plantation north of Florence along present day Cox Creek Parkway. Coffee died July 6, 1833, after returning from a visit with President Andrew Jackson in Washington.
The plantation home no longer stands on the site. A house thought to have been built in the 1960s sits atop what some believe is the site of Coffee's former home. That location is not part of the development.
Hoffman said the area around the Coffee Cemetery will be so large that if the slave cemetery is nearby it will be preserved.
11 July 1846
Image 12, 13- July 11, 1846
(1) Paymaster in The Army- We are pleased to learn, that our worthy countyman, Major Andrew J COFFEE, has been appointed by the President, Paymaster in the Army. He is a son of our deceased townsman, Gen. John Coffee, who performed such distinguished and efficient service in the cause of his country during the last war with England. The appointment is a good one, and will give general satisfaction, for we are of the opinion that a more competent, or deserving gentleman could not have been selected. Major Coffee will leave here in a day or two for New Orleans, where he is directed to report himself to the Commanding Officer. He will, we presume, be sent at once to the Rio Grande.