Letter – Thomas Jackson, 27 August 1863


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Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his fiancée Lucy Reavis of Gainesville, AL, from Enterprise, MS. Jackson informs Reavis that her family arrived safely in Lauderdale, and updates her on both his family and her own. He describes a dream he had featuring Reavis. He writes how Reavis’ mother made arrangements for some of their family members to be added to Jackson’s “military family,” and how much he needs them. Jackson inquires about a recent trip she took to see friends. He writes that there had been preaching in General Maxey’s Brigade the day before, followed by a parade and music.

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No 5

Enterprise Miss.

Aug, 27, 1863.

My dear Lucy,

Yr Mother & family arrived safely at Lauderdale where we found Jimmy with a celerity carriage waiting for them, The young folks were in buoyant spirits along the road & quite as happy as the day is long. Yr sister & cousin seemed vastly taken with a youthful soldier from Pleasant Ridge, who came with us on the cars, & Mattie desired me to ask if his name was Smith or Jones, & how he spelt it – much to her consternation I [missing] what she said [missing] was mightily amused – [missing] named either Smith or Jones, but turned out to be a Mr McGowan, with whose family in South Carolina I am very well acquainted – The young ladies & the soldier exchanged apples & peaches & the cars continued to roll on much as usual – Yr Mother was otherwise interested in another young soldier who bought a melon at Ramsey’s Station, & took him to task for using “bad words” by way of emphasis to his expressions of satisfaction at the moderate price.

I found numerous letters & dispatches awaiting my arrival here, & among them Yr Mother’s little note, one page of which sparkled with my darling’s merry, sweet thoughts – I am so happy dear

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Lucy, that although separated from you by many, many weary miles, I am not deprived of the compensating privilege of interchanging thoughts with you. I also found a letter from my Sister Mattie who sends her love to you, & says that, if you possess only half the endearing qualities which I ascribe to you, I am a lucky fellow, & that she feels very grateful to you for taking compassion upon her bachelor brother & loving him for himself alone, & hopes now to see more of him – and that she is prepared to love you as she does me, which she declares is with no stinted tide but strong and deep as [any] sister felt for [missing] brother, Poor Mattie is greatly distressed [just now] – Willie her only child, though under age is eager for the war, & she has at last with an aching heart consented to give him to his country.

Tuesday was a delightful day here, cloudy, cool & exhilerating – I was so glad to think what a fine day you most probably had for yr little journey – My Thoughts were with you all the day, and were animated with cheerfulness to think how happy you were in the near prospect of once more embracing yr charming young friend.

I dreamed of you last night – I thought I entered a large room in my usual blundering way & found it filled with ladies & gentlemen sitting around a bright fire –

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some of the gentelmen made room for me, I did not recognize any one, tho’ it seems I expected to see you, but did not discern you until your sweet voice fell upon my ear & I caught a glance of your dear smiling eyes – You sat by yr friend Miss Minge – How changed you were! You looked so odd, & my amazement was so great that I awoke immediately – Your hair had been cut off short & brushed so cunningly, & you looked so coquettish, that no one would have taken you for that dear gently Lucy Reavis whom every body loves – I was overjoyed that it was only all a dream.

[missing] to yr Mother [missing]-sday, & have [been] making arrangements to [missing] my family [missing] the addition of Yr Uncle & Jim Hart, both of whom I need very much & will have them detailed to report to me as soon as they send me certificates that they are unable to perform field service, which I presume they will have no difficulty in doing – I have got at last a pretty comfortable house, very convenient, & shall go to house keeping without delay.

Miss Mittie & Nannie promised to write to me from Kemper, & I am impatient to know what their active brains will send me – they were so merry & so happy – You

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were pleased at Col. Thornton’s – we you not? Tell me all about them, & especially how you liked Miss Butler’s singing – for I am curious to know yr opinion upon it.

There was preaching in Maxey’s Brigade yesterday afternoon, after which, dress parades of the Regiments & music by the Bands – All the youth & beauty of Enterprise was in attendance, but the smoke & dust, which were dense, were not pleasant [???] on such an occasion, not very favorable to all the blushes & blooms I saw – I was introduced to [Mrs. Maxey] – she didn’t look [much] like a [General’s] wife, nor, indeed, does he look much like a General – I knew him when we called him “Old Whitey” & such reminiscences are fatal to the awe which rising greatness ordinarily inspires.

Do not forget what I asked you when you think of returning home – I shall be more thatn happy to escort you – I believe the train arrives at Meridian at 6 p.m. so you will have to wait there until 4 a.m. but this is not certain – I’m going to M. in a few day, will find out all about it & let you know – in the meantime, may the perpetual smiles of Heaven be yours-

Affectionately & truly entirely yours

Thos K Jackson

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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