May 30

This Day in History

General Interest

May 30, 1806:

Andrew Jackson wins duel

In Logan County, Kentucky, future president Andrew Jackson participates in a duel, killing Charles Dickinson, a lawyer regarded as one of the best pistol shots in the area.

The proud and volatile Jackson, a former senator and representative of Tennessee, called for the duel after his wife Rachel was slandered as a bigamist by Dickinson, who was referring to a legal error in the divorce from her first husband in 1791. Jackson met his foe at Harrison's Mills on Red River in Logan, Kentucky, on May 30, 1806. In accordance with dueling custom, the two stood 24 feet apart, with pistols pointed downward. After the signal, Dickinson fired first, grazing Jackson's breastbone and breaking some of his ribs. However, Jackson, a former Tennessee militia leader, maintained his stance and fired back, fatally wounding his opponent.

It was one of several duels Jackson was said to have participated in during his lifetime, the majority of which were allegedly called in defense of his wife's honor. None of the other rumored duels were recorded, and whether he killed anyone else in this manner is not known. In 1829, Rachel died, and Jackson was elected the seventh president of the United States.

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