The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952 Page: 525
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mendably adequate to the thesis proposed. Edmund Pendleton
Gaines (1777-1849), it must be admitted, was permitted by cir-
cumstances to see most of the American military frontier during
the half century of his service. His range of activity was so wide
that a resume, however instructive, would serve to lengthen the
appraisal beyond due bounds. He had an uncanny knack of being
where excitement arose. He arrested Aaron Burr in 1807, defeated
a British army at Fort Erie in 1814, expelled Louis Aury from
Amelia Island in 1817, presided over the special court that con-
demned Arbuthnot and Ambrister in 1818, deferred the Black
Hawk War in 1831, fought against Osceola and the Seminoles in
1835, and maintained the "neutrality" of the United States dur-
ing the Texas Revolution of 1836.
The last thirty years of Gaines' career were embittered by his
feud with General Winfield Scott, his rival for military prefer-
ment. At length Scott emerged as the ranking general of the
army but the doughty and peppery Gaines carried on his share
of the verbal warfare with skill and address. Only once did their
paths actually cross in the field of martial deeds-in the Seminole
War-and from the fiasco there emerged an exchange of charges
and counter-charges which vexed the War Department and con-
tributed little to the fame of either soldier.
The student of Texas history will probably find chapter IX,
"Texas Independence (1836)," the most interesting portion of
the book. One gets the impression that Gaines never quite knew
what he was about during his tour of duty at Fort Jesup. From
his vantage point in Natchitoches he might have been better
informed concerning the happenings in East Texas. But someone
played on his credulity with tall tales of incipient Indian massa-
cres, and he seems to have anticipated having to duplicate the
role which Jackson had once played in Florida. It is a matter of
small consequence that James Gaines of Texas history (Silver
does not mention him at any time) was the general's brother,
but the long-time association of that turbulent frontiersman with
the Sabine area may have had something to do with the infor-
mation or misinformation that guided E. P. Gaines' interpreta-
tion of the situation in East Texas in the summer of 1836.
Undoubtedly Gaines deserves a biography though he was not
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952, periodical, 1952; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101139/m1/635/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.