GENERAL JOHN COFFEE: born in Virginia, on June 2, 1772, and died on July 7, 1833
In April, 1798 he and his mother settled along the Cumberland River. He married Mary Donelson in 1809, who was a niece of Andrew Jackson’s wife. He and Andrew Jackson were in the mercantile business together for awhile but this was not financially successful and Coffee then withdrew and devoted himself to surveying.
John was with Natchez Expedition of General Jackson in 1812 where he commanded the cavalry of six hundred and seventy men.
Captain John Donelson had given Mary a farm on Stone’s River in Rutherford county where they lived . They went to Alabama, near Florence, in 1819.
Andrew Jackson wrote the epitaph for Coffee’s tombstone.
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF
GENERAL JOHN COFFEE
Who departed this life
7th day of July, 1833,
Aged 61 years.
“As a husband, parent and friend, he was affectionate, tender, and sincere. He was a brave, prompt, and skillful general; a distinguished and sagacious patriot; an unpretending, just and honest man. To complete his character, religion mingled with these virtues her serene and gentle influence, and gave him that solid distinction among men which detraction cannot sully, nor the grave conceal. Death could not do more than to remove so excellent a being from the theater he so much adorned in this world, to the bosom of God who created him, and who alone has the power to reward the immortal spirit with exhaustless bliss.”
FROM REGIMENTAL HISTORIES OF TENNESSEE UNITS DURING THE WAR OF 1812
By the Tennessee State Library and Archives:
COLONEL JOHN ALCORN
DESIGNATION: 2nd Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Riflemen
DATES: September 1813 – December 1813
MEN MOSTLY FROM: Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, and Wilson Counties (Winston’s company from Madison
CAPTAINS: John Baskerville, Richard Boyd, Thomas Bradley, John Byrne, Robert Jetton, William Locke, Alexander
McKeen, Frederick Stump, Daniel Ross, John Winston
Colonel John Coffee commanded this regiment until the end of October 1813, when Coffee was promoted to Brigadier General. John Alcorn took over as colonel and the unit was incorporated with Colonel Newton Cannon’s Mounted Riflemen to form the Second Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Riflemen. The Second Regiment, along with Colonel Robert Dyer’s First Regiment of Volunteer Mounted Gunmen, formed the brigade under John Coffee. Muster rolls reveal that the regiment went by various designations besides volunteer mounted riflemen: volunteer cavalry; mounted militia; or mounted gunmen.
Many of the men from this unit were with Andrew Jackson on the expedition to Natchez (December 1812 – April 1813) and, consequently, felt their one-year’s enlistment expired in December 1813. Jackson insisted that the time not spent in the field did not apply to the terms of enlistment. Hence, a dispute broke out between the troops and Jackson late in 1813. Most of thetroops did leave by the end of that year, despite Jackson’s strenuous efforts to keep them.
The regiment participated in the battles at Tallushatchee and Talladega (3 November and 9 November 1813) and muster rolls show that practically all of the companies sustained casualties, the most being in Captain John Byrne’s company. The regiment’s line of march took them from Fayetteville (where the regiment was mustered in), through Huntsville, Fort Deposit, Fort Strother, to the battles, and back the reverse way.