A Narrative Of The Life Of David Crockett, Of The State Of Tennessee Quotes

David Crockett

"Be Always Sure You're Right–then Go Ahead!"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: A. S. Colyar, in Life and Times of Andrew Jackson (1904), tells of a Captain Moore who was troubled with insubordination among his men and who decided to ask General Jackson's advice as to what he should do. David Crockett, a member of the company, went along "to see what the old general says." Having heard the facts, Jackson reportedly said: "Don't you make any orders on your men without maturing them, and then you execute them, no matter what it costs; and that is all I have to say." On their return, when Crockett was asked what Jackson had said, he simplified it: "The old General told the captain to be sure he was right, and then go ahead." J. A. Shackford, in David Crockett: The Man and the Legend (1956), casts doubt on this story. He states (p. 296 n. 11), however, that in 1831 on a bill of sale by Crockett to his brother-in-law George Patton a motto appears: "Be allways sure you are right then Go, ahead." The spelling and punctuation are improved in the motto as Crockett used it on the title page of his autobiography three years later. During a visit to Philadelphia in 1834 Crockett was given a watchchain seal engraved with the motto:

"Be always sure you're right–then go ahead!"