US President fought 103 duels to defend his wife’s honor

ralph-eleaser-whiteside-earl-andrew-jackson-4Jackson met Rachel after her first husband, Colonel Lewis Robards, left her to get a divorce. They fell in love and quickly married.

Robards returned two years later without ever having obtained a divorce. Rachel quickly divorced her first husband and then legally married Jackson. This remained a sore point for Jackson who deeply resented attacks on his wife’s honor.

Jackson fought 103 duels, many nominally over his wife’s honor. Charles Dickinson, the only man Jackson ever killed in a duel, had been goaded into angering Jackson by Jackson’s political opponents. Nominally fought over a horse-racing debt and an insult to his wife on May 30, 1806, Dickinson shot Jackson in the ribs before Jackson returned the fatal shot. The bullet that struck Jackson was so close to his heart that it could never be safely removed. Jackson was wounded so often during these frequent duels that some said he “rattled like a bag of marbles.” He was in a considerable amount of pain for the rest of his life as a result of his ‘battle wounds’ and periodically coughed up blood.

Jackson had been wounded so frequently in duels that it was said he “rattled like a bag of marbles.” At times he would cough up blood, and he experienced considerable pain from his wounds for the rest of his life.

Rachel died of an unknown cause two months prior to Jackson taking office as president. Jackson blamed John Quincy Adams for Rachel’s death because the marital scandal was brought up in the election of 1828. He felt that this had hastened her death and never forgave Adams for it.