Jackson Kills Dickinson

Jackson Kills Dickinson

May 30, 1806 - In one of American history's most infamous duels, future-president Andrew Jackson shot Charles Dickinson dead on this day.

Both men were wealthy land owners in Tennessee, but that's about the only thing they had in common. Jackson and Dickinson could never see eye to eye, and time after time they bickered over horse races, politics and women.

It all came to a head over some unsavory words that Dickinson spoke about Jackson's wife, Rachel. Turns out that she had not technically divorced her first husband at the time she married Jackson, and Dickinson seized on this and labeled her a bigamist. Jackson called for a duel and Dickinson eagerly accepted. Turns out Dickinson was an excellent marksman with 26 kills in previous duels.

When the day came, Jackson and Dickinson met across the border in Kentucky - where duels were still legal. Standing 24 feet apart, Dickinson fired the first shot. He aimed for Jackson's heart, but his bullet missed the mark and lodged in the skinny man's ribs. Wounded but still standing, Jackson pulled the trigger but his gun didn't fire. Old Hickory's gun was literally half-cocked. Jackson recocked the weapon, then took careful aim at his nemesis. He fired the shot and blew a giant hole in Dickinson's abdomen. He would die quickly.

Jackson won the duel but paid a price. The dead man's bullet would stay in Jackson's chest for the remainder of his life. It caused him considerable pain and impacted his health for the next 39 years.

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