Letter – Thomas Jackson, 1863


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Letter of Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his fiancée Lucy Reavis of Gainesville, AL. The letter is undated but likely circa August 1863. Jackson had recently mentioned to other officers that he desired peaches. Reavis somehow heard the message, and supplied Jackson with a dozen. He mentions sending a basket to Reavis’ mother, as a show of his appreciation for her motherly attitude towards him. Jackson mentions that the train had run off the track above Macon, and that he recently met with Colonel Rosser, Captain Neville, Captain Williams, and “Bill” O. Winston. He remarks on the recent marriage of a friend, and he hopes that he and Reavis will soon be able to follow suit. Jackson writes that he expects to go to Mobile, Alabama, soon, and may even get a chance to briefly visit Reavis in the next few weeks.

-Page 1-

Your sweet little note of Wednesday, my dearest Lucy, was indeed a surprise, but one of such an agreeable character that my nervous system would have little difficulty in recovering from similar ones daily – However, ma chere amie – (you perceive I have a penchant for the cant language) had the least suspicion crossed my ming that you not only would be made acquainted with my message to Maj Barret, Jim Hart, or Capt Williams for a dozen peaches, but actually desired to gather them, my knowledge of your readiness, to oblige, & your goodness, would at once have led me to anticipate the happiness which awaited me at the Junction – Although it

-Page 2-

was too dark for me to read when it was handed to me by Mr Kelly, I nevertheless, experienced a most exquisite, tender joy as, with jealous care, I clasped it to my heart ’till the opening dawn should disclose those charming sentences which my Lucy, alone know how to pen –

I thank you for the peaches – they were delicious & I greatly enjoyed them – but oh my love! I thank you ten thousand times for the sweetest of precious little notes – I often wonder if there be a greater enjoyment on earth than is derived from the perusal of the unaffected, unpremeditated thoughts of the absent whom we love – whom we adore – I know not, but often fancy my heart could scarce contain a greater joy than that with

-Page 3-

which your sweet letters fill my very being – As I gaze upon your well known characters, a thousand tender images impress themselves upon my senses – I behold my gentle Lucy occupied in writing to me – All her features – her thoughtful brow – her smiling eye – her graceful attitude – are in harmony with her pleasing thoughts & the agreeable task upon which she is occupied – But this is a little hurried note, Knox is watching for it – I send your mothers baskets by him, & I do hope she will receive them safe & sound – Tell her she will know some day that my expressions of thankfulness for all her motherly kindness to me, are not idle terms forgotten as soon as uttered –

It was one o’clock before we reached the Junction last night

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the train had run off the track above Macon – I was glad to meet there Col. Rosser, Capt Neville Capt Williams & “Bill” O. Winston – I hope the order to take up the rails on our little road may be countermanded, & I think it will be if the subject is properly & forcibly represented – “Bill O told me of Miss Colgins marriage

I think she & the Dr have set us a fine example, dont you? & one I think we ought to follow without unnecessary delay – I have something to tell you, but not space or time at present to do it in – its only a little “perhaps gossip” – I expect to go to Mobile in a day or two on business, when I return I will write you further,

I hope to have sufficient leisure in a few weeks to make you a flying visit – Do not fail to advise me if you leave Gainesville on any of yr contemplated visits

Devotedly & affectionately yrs


-Page 1, On Right-

much love to all your dear family

-Page 1, At Top & Down Spine-

Mr Barlow was not neglected nor treated badly by me – I not only sent him the strongest papers I could, but wrote to him frequently, & got an officer to enquire him out in Mobile – My letter & the papers – which I got colonel Rosser to countersign, must have miscarried & the officer could not find him in Mobile I wrote to him today I miss him, but he is not indispensable to me

Lucy Reavis (age 21 in 1863) was the daughter of prominent judge, Turner Reavis. She met her future husband Thomas K. Jackson while he was stationed in Gainesville AL. They married December 16, 1863. At least 30 known letters exchanged between them during the war years have survived. They had five children together. Lucy passed away in 1876 at just 33 years old. Thomas never remarried.

Thomas K. Jackson was born December 12, 1824 in SC. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in June 1844 and graduated with the class of 1848. He was appointed brevet 2nd lieutenant of the 4th U.S. Artillery, then transferred to the 5th U.S. Infantry, then the 8th U.S. Infantry. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1849. He served about 7 years on the Texas-Mexico frontier with James Longstreet, until he was assigned as an instructor of infantry tactics at West Point in 1857. In 1858 he rejoined the 8th in Texas. In 1861 he resigned from the U.S. Army and was made a captain in the Confederate Army. On September 26, 1861 he was announced as Chief Commissary of the Western Department under General Johnston. He was appointed major on November 11, 1861. He was captured at Fort Donelson in February of 1862 and imprisoned at Fort Warren. He was exchanged c. May and returned to duty as depot commissary in Gainesville, AL, where he met Lucy Reavis. They courted and were married December 16, 1863. Jackson was stationed at various sites throughout the remainder of the war. He was paroled at Gainesville on May 13, 1865 following General Richard Taylor’s surrender. He remained in Gainesville with Lucy to raise their family and work as a merchant and farmer.

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