How Many Duels Was Andrew Jackson Involved In?

Kean Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Andrew Jackson was known as a physically violent and short-tempered man who frequently resorted to combative solutions such as dueling to solve his problems, and as a result, there is no firm historical record on the exact number of duels this American president fought in his lifetime. However, there are a number of notorious dueling incidents that are part of the historical record, including a fatal fight in which Jackson killed a man named Charles Dickinson in 1806. Public slander against Jackson and his wife appears was likely the impetus for this fight, which left Jackson with a nonfatal gunshot wound to the chest and cost Dickinson his life.

Other dueling incidents involving President Jackson include a fight with a fellow lawyer named Waightstill Avery in response to a prank Jackson pulled in the courtroom. However, no one was injured in this fight; the two are said to have missed their target intentionally. Another dueling incident on the historical record has Jackson fighting a calamitous duel with a political rival named John Sevier in which a startled horse ran away with the pistols. Though various weapons, including swords, were drawn, the two fighters were talked down by their seconds, and the duel never actually took place.