James K. Polk

Executive Order [on the death of Andrew Jackson]

June 16, 1845

Andrew Jackson is no more. He departed this life on Sunday, the 8th instant, full of days and full of honors. His country deplores his loss, and will ever cherish his memory. Whilst a nation mourns it is proper that business should be suspended, at least for one day, in the Executive Departments, as a tribute of respect to the illustrious dead.

I accordingly direct that the Departments of State, the Treasury, War, the Navy, the Post-Office, the office of the Attorney-General, and the Executive Mansion be instantly put into mourning, and that they be closed during the whole day tomorrow.





Washington, June 16, 1845 .

The following general order of the President, received through the War Department, announces to the Army the death of the illustrious ex-President, General Andrew Jackson:

General Order.

WASHINGTON, June 16, 1845.

The President of the United States with heartfelt sorrow announces to the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps the death of Andrew Jackson. On the evening of Sunday, the 8th day of June, about 6 o'clock, he resigned his spirit to his Heavenly Father. The nation, while it learns with grief the death of its most illustrious citizen, finds solace in contemplating his venerable character and services. The Valley of the Mississippi beheld in him the bravest and wisest and most fortunate of its defenders; the country raised him to the highest trusts in military and in civil life with a confidence that never abated and an affection that followed him in undiminished vigor to retirement, watched over his latest hours, and pays its tribute at his grave. Wherever his lot was east he appeared among those around him first in natural endowments and resources, not less than first in authority and station. The power of his mind impressed itself on the policy of his country, and still lives, and will live forever in the memory of its people. Child of a forest region and a settler of the wilderness, his was a genius which, as it came to the guidance of affairs, instinctively attached itself to general principles, and inspired by the truth which his own heart revealed to him in singleness and simplicity, he found always a response in the breast of his countrymen. Crowned with glory in war, in his whole career as a statesman he showed himself the friend and lover of peace. With an American heart, whose throbs were all for republican freedom and his native land, he yet longed to promote the widest intercourse and most intimate commerce between the many nations of mankind. He was the servant of humanity. Of a vehement will, he was patient in council, deliberating long, hearing all things, yet in the moment of action deciding with rapidity. Of a noble nature and incapable of disguise, his thoughts lay open to all around him and won their confidence by his ingenuous frankness. His judgment was of that solidity that he ever tempered vigor with prudence. The flushings of anger could never cloud his faculties, but rather kindled and lighted them up, quickening their energy without disturbing their balance. In war his eye at a glance discerned his plans with unerring sagacity; in peace he proposed measures with an instinctive wisdom of which the inspirations were prophecy. In discipline stern, in a just resolution inflexible, he was full of the gentlest affections, ever ready to solace the distressed and to relieve the needy, faithful to his friends, fervid for his country. Indifferent to other rewards, he aspired throughout life to an honorable fame, and so loved his fellow-men that he longed to dwell in their affectionate remembrance. Heaven gave him length of days and he filled them with deeds of greatness. He was always happy--happy in his youth, which shared the achievement of our national independence; happy in his after years, which beheld the Valley of the West cover itself with the glory of free and ever-increasing States; happy in his age, which saw the people multiply from two to twenty millions and freedom and union make their pathway from the Atlantic to the Pacific; thrice happy in death, for while he believed the liberties of his country imperishable and was cheered by visions of its constant advancement, he departed from this life in a full hope of a blessed immortality through the merits and atonement of the Redeemer.

Officers of the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps will wear crape on the left arm and on their swords and the colors of the several regiments will be put in mourning for the period of six months. At the naval stations and the public vessels in commission the flags will be worn at half-mast for one week, and on the day after this order is received twenty-one minute guns will be fired, beginning at 12 o'clock.

At each military station the day after the reception of this order the national flag will be displayed at half-staff from sunrise to sunset, thirteen guns will be fired at daybreak, half-hour guns during the day, and at the close of the day a general salute. The troops will be paraded at 10 o'clock and this order read to them, on which the labors of the day will cease.

Let the virtues of the illustrious dead retain their influence, and when energy and courage are called to trial emulate his example.


Acting Secretary of War, and Secretary of the Navy.

By order:

R. JONES, Adjutant-General.

James K. Polk, Executive Order [on the death of Andrew Jackson] Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/200672

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