Letter written by Lucy Reavis to her fiancé, Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., from Norwood, AL. Reavis mentions that it took some time for Jackson’s last letter to reach her, possibly due to the 12-year-old postmaster at Fannsdale. She requests a photograph of Jackson, and recites a fantastically bad pun from her travels. Several generals are in town, including Hardee, Breckenridge, and Pemberton, whose name “was never mentioned without execrations.” She mentions seeing the defenses at Demopolis, the death and burial of a family friend, as well as her time at church. Though she has met several young men and soldiers, she promises that she will remain faithful to Jackson.
Norwood September 3d/63
I was so glad my dear Major, to hear from you, yesterday, that I must answer your letter immediately – It is strange that it should have taken so long to some, only a few miles – But the fault may have been with the post Master at Fannsdale, who is a little boy of 12 years of age I believe – It has been so long since I left home, that I have forgotten many things I had to say to you – but must try to remember – Tuesday morning was very cool, even disagreeably so, but it was much better both for us and the ponies, we stopped at Mrs Gould’s to dinner as we intended and passed a couple of hours very pleasantly, although both Captain G- and one of his little daughters were quite sick – Mrs Goodey looked so sad. I wonder if she did love that old man – He left a very peculiar will – Altho’ so immensely rich, he left his wife only $50000 in money & six servants. To his adopted
Son, $40000 & six servants – and all of his property besides, which amount to two or three hundred thousand, to be given to an asylum in South Carolina, provided no minister is allowed to have any thing to do with the institution – Isn’t that too bad? He was a Unitarian – Poor fellows! About Sun. set, we reached the place which so surprises all visitors & were cordially received by Misses Innes & Butler – And now I must tell you that I was exceedingly disappointed in the beauty of the former – Uncle John said she was a model, a perfect Venus – and you were scarcely less warm thought her features so regular & delicate. She has a very ugly mouth I think & can not compare in beauty to Kate but I admire her character more. I think she is lovely – There were three Missourians there, from the Camp at Demopolis, and it was beautiful to see, how she addressed herself to them, trying to put them at their ease, and make them forget that they were strangers – Then too she is more anxious to do something for all of her guests than Kate & Butler – In fact she is sweet as can be, and
I admire her very much, but like Kate the best, She is so good tempered, & full of fun & mischief – I saw more of her too – We were in the same room, all the time & talked until 12 every night – Whenever I was still a moment, she would say in the most comforting, soothing way – “Don’t you be blue, the Major is well” – She wanted me to tell her all about our affairs & asked me if she might not be one of the Attendants One thing I did not like; I heard her asking Mr Dobb, if we were not engaged & when we were to marry – He told her it was certainly to be, tho’ no day or special time had been appointed – He is very wise, Isn’t he? Capt: Carpenter was there the night we arrived, looked very well & natural, raved about you just as usual – said he should write you the following day – He is still devoted to you & says although he is so nicely fixed, he would gladly resign to be the least of your clerks. He says, he is not in love with Rosa Lightfoot, but the Thorntons say he is – I asked Kate if she thought he would be successful, she said no – but that he would not be rejected, while we was such a convenience-
They are constantly receiving articles from their home at Pass Christian & Capt: C – being at D- receives & forwards them – I sang for Butler & then she sang for me – I was delighted with her voice – The upper notes are splendid, and if she practiced a good-deal, the lower would harmonize – As it is – her voice is like two persons singing, in one part so low & even feeble & in the other so powerful & melodious – She plays beautifully – She expressed her delight at my delightful & beautifully cultivated voice – If I had her voice, I know, I would sing divinely – But it matters little – You do not care much for music – and I do not care a great deal about pleasing any one else – You have no idea of how frequently my thoughts are with you and how truly I long to do something for your pleasure – Do tell me, is there nothing I can do? It would make me so happy – You will not be surprised to hear that we remained at Col: Thorntons until Thursday morning – I did not see a great deal of Mrs T- she was with her little sick grand child – but the Colonel is such a fine old man. We talked about our relatives & he thinks we are certainly
cousins. Kate calls me nothing but “little Pet.” she is very curious to see you & wanted to know, if I had your picture. The next time you go to Mobile, do have it taken for me – Mr Dobb read “Tannhauser” to me as we rode along – It is beautiful – I must read it again for myself – He was as witty as usual during our ride – As we looked around and saw nothing but corn fields, east & west – he remarked – “Verily, this is a Corn-federacy” I was so amused at Mr Bradshaw – After you all left, Mrs D. asked Uncle John to give us a passport. He said – “Just write Mr Dobb & Lady”- But I said “No such thing, put Miss L. Reavis & Attendant” – Mr B- thought it was too good, went off down the street chuckling & shaking –
We took dinner at Mrs Pool’s Thursday – she was not at home, but we had a pleasant time with her sister. The streets were crowded with soldiers & officers – There were several Generals in town also. Pemberton, Hardee, Breckenridge & one or two from Mobile. Mrs Hayden told us that the former’s name was never mentioned without execrations. I hear that his men are to be organized at Enterprise – You will have a full
benefit. We saw the defenses at Demopolis – The only thing of the kind I ever saw – They were busy at work on them as we passed – What do you think of my stupidity? When we got to the road leading here, I forgot to tell George & never thought of it, until we were several miles out of our road. Then we had to go into highways & by ways & did not get to the house until nearly 11 at night – We rung the bell, but no one heard us, so I came to the back gallery & knocked at Mar Lou’s door – as it happened Mr Mine was not at home – and the girls were terribly frightened Liz says, “Is that you Lucy” & I replied “Yes, it is Lucy Reavis”- But although they knew my voice, they feared some one was deceiving them & would not let me in for some moments – But we were delighted to meet. Of course, they are much quieter & less cheerful than formerly, but we have a very nice time together – Kittie Christian is as lively and funny as ever – I have not seen her before since I left schoo – Mar Lou is the same sweet girl – I know you must like her, when you know her – If you do not, I shall be so put out – She says if you come for me, she will be glad
to see you, but that am to stay a long time – I expect I shall go home the latter part of next week, or the first of the week after – Do you think it will be perfectly convenient for you to come? – & do you think it will be pleasant for you? I do not wish to give you any trouble & perhaps some one will come from home – The girls are as busy as can be, making up black dresses & Mrs Minge is dying some. She looks so sad seldom smiles – but of course, she can not feel cheerful yet when George has not been dead three weeks – They carry wreaths & bouquets to his grave twice a week – He is buried in the church yard – where they are obliged to see his grave whenever they go to church – I like it so much. We feel serious & more humble, after passing among graves & we are better prepared to confess our sins before God – Mr Dobb preached & pleased the congregation very much –
I met such a nice gentleman the other day. Colonel Saunders of Pemberton’s Staff – There are few young men in the neighborhood & no possible hope of Maj Adam’s return, so be at ease & know that my heart will not go astray. I do not
mean to mention that it would under any circumstances, for no one can compare with you in any respect I think – Mar Lou says her cousin Carter is as much in love with me as ever, but even if it is true, it gives me no pleasure – I am very much obliged to your sister for her kind messages – give my best love to her when you write & say that I deserve no thanks or credit for “taking compassion” on you, for my love was involuntary – I could not keep it, moreover any girl ought to feel proud of loving & being beloved by such a man – Don’t you agree with me? Say yes. I do hope your Sister will like me – for I love every body that is dear to you – I am so sorry Willie is going in the army. A mother must suffer, when she gives up her only child – It was right funny that you should dream of me with my hair cut off, for Mar Lou & I are tlaking very seriously of shaving our heads – Wouldn’t it be nice? Then next Summer we would have such nice little short curls – I have not heard from home yet, but will write this morning. I expect Ma has returned by this time – What did you write to Ma about? You & she have entirely too much to say to each other – I know
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Uncle John will be delighted to be with you – What sensible person would not? I told [Jennie?] Thornton of the admiration she had excited in G- (Uncle John you remember) She was crazy to know who it was & said she should make him a tobacco pouch & knit him some socks when he joined the army – she said it must be a widower, that they frequently took a fancy to her & declared her the image of a poor dear, dead wife – I assured her the gentleman in question admired her for herself alone – I have written a long letter, but am convinced you will not be displeased – Do write to me soon, dear Major, for if you wait very long, it will not arrive before my departure – I dont know what to number my letter, but as yours is No 5. I reckon mine is also – I am so warm, I dont know what to do – have no idea what I have written – Goodbye my dear, dear Major –
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.