Letter – Thomas Jackson, 22 July 1863

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Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his fiancée Lucy Reavis of Gainesville, AL from Meridian, MS. Jackson writes that he recently arrived at Morton, the headquarters of the army. He hinted to the Chief Commissary that he would be better suited in Demopolis, AL, but this request was denied. Jackson opines that at least in Meridian, he is closer to Reavis. He has heard rumors that the Union army is about to evacuate Jackson and may move to Mobile, AL. Jackson mentions that General William J. Hardee is currently with General Joe Johnston, and that a deserter was recently executed in Morton. Jackson gives a brief anecdote about General Johnston’s humor preceding the fall of Vicksburg. He hopes that they will soon know more about Ulysses S. Grant’s plans.


-Page 1-

No. 2

Meridian, Miss.

July 22. 1863.

My dear Lucy,

I am arrived, without adventure, at Morton – Hd. Qrs of the Army – the day after leaving home, and my good fortune, and an old sign, which formerly invited the hungry voyageur to break his fast, led me to a private dwelling where I accomplished an excellent dinner before finding out my mistake – Mutual explanations, and a hearty laugh from a jolly, fat old dame settled the score – Soon after I reported to the Chief Commissary, & found I was the very man he wanted, for I had scarcely introduced myself before he desired me, for “Gods sake” to proceed to this place, assume “large powers” and put affairs to right here – I gently hinted that Demopolis would suit me better, but as he told me he had ordered an officer of my rank there not long since, I did not care to press the point – Meridian is by no means an inviting place, but I shall be constantly occupied, & still better, shall be near you & consequently, comparatively happy.

There is but little news – the Army encamped somewhere between Morton & Forrest Station

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last night – the Hdqrs, are still, however at the former place – The Yankees advanced to Brandon, where they did much mischief, & then moved back & recrossed Pearl river.

It is rumored, they are about to evacuate Jackson (which I do not believe) & design moving on Mobile by some other route. In consequence of this retrograde movement of our enemies, the order for the removal of the telegraph, transportation &c &c offices from Morton to Forrest Station, was countermanded last night.

If any one is acquainted with the commanding General’s plans, he is very careful to keep his knowledge of these very close – I saw nobody who ever pretended to know any thing about them. Hardee is with the Genl. I did not get to see either of them – A deserter was executed yesterday at Morton – he was a Georgian – didnt learn his name – Such examples of discipline are sad, sad necessities in armies, & it is to be hoped they will inspire our troops (who aught to be patriotic) with a wholesome dread of similar crimes. I heard a story related of Genl Johnston’s method of communicating his intentions to anxious inquiries – the circumstance occurred before the fall of Vicksburg –

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An old gentleman called on him and commenced to ask a series of questions, as to when he was going to attack Grant, how many men had &c &c, and when the old gentleman had finished or exhausted himself, the Genl very quietly asked him if he knew any body who had butter to sell.

I shall be very much occupied here during the next week or two, but you need not be surprised to see me at one of the barbecues – I intend asking for a Captain in the subsistence Dept. to assist me, for I shall hace as much as I can do to attend to the duties of the Dėpôt, especially, since all the supplies from Columbus, Miss are coming here – I think you are all quite safe at Gainesville, thought raiders from above are to be apprehended. A few days now will develop Grant’s plans, & consequently Genl Johnston’s. And now my own dear gently Lucy I must close this desultory letter with the assurance of my fondest most devoted & constant love – Oh! my dearest love I wouldn’t accept a star out of the firmament for a tythe of my love – Every day I thank God for so sweet a maiden’s love. Give my love to all yr family, especially to yr mother & dear Miss Mattie, kiss the latter for me – I write in a great hurry as I have a

-Page 4-

report to make to Hdqrs today & but a short time to make it in – I have not had a moments rest since leaving home, & have slept but little except on the cars – I have lost sight of the disagreeableness of Meridian, or rather it all disappears, since I am so near you.

Goodbye my own dear darling Lucy, for a short time, & believe me

Ever affectionately yours & yrs only

Thos K Jackson

Miss Lucy Reavis

Gainesville

Alabama


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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