Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his fiancée Lucy Reavis of Gainesville, AL, from Enterprise, MS. Jackson writes how happy he was to receive a letter from Reavis, as his “anxiety was fast becoming intolerable.” He mentions having dinner with the paymaster, Captain Decker, in Meridian. Mrs. Decker is a friend of General Hardee, and is planning to request that Captain Decker be sent to Enterprise. Jackson mentions the train times from Demopolis, as he is planning on visiting Reavis. He then expresses his great love for Reavis, and writes that he will get a photograph taken while in Mobile. Jackson concludes by mentioning a compliment he received from the Chief Commissary of Mississippi.
Sept 6. 1863.
Thanks – thanks, my own sweet Lucy, for your charming letter, every word of which is a breathing echo of your dear self – I have just received it, & am the happiest man alive – even this stupid Enterprise wears a cheerful smile this morning – My anxiety was fast becoming almost intolerable – it had been so long since I had heard from you – I have also, this morning a kind letter from yr Mother [missing] she was still at Kemper, but was to be at home today – Yr Father had returned – They were all quite well. I spent part of last Friday at Meridian & took tea with the Paymaster, Captain Decker & his family, consisting of his wife & her sister, whom I met
for the first time – Mrs Decker is a charming lady, & I do not know when I passed an evening so pleasantly. Meridian has been vastly improved lately – ditched, policed, & numerous wells dug, adding immeasurably to the comforts of the sick & passing soldiers. Mrs D. says she intends to see Gen’l Hardee – whom she knows very well – and ask him to order the Captain to this place, which I should regard as a piece of good fortune, for she knows so many of my old friends, is so intelligent, entertaining & I think such a delightful Lady to visit.
The train from Demopolis is due at Meridian at half after five P.M. so you will have to remain there ’till 4 A.M. for the “up train” – It will be quite convenient & pleasant for me to go for you, because I have some business in that direction, & would like to get a glimpse of the coun-
try so as to set about it at the proper time understandingly; so if my coming be entirely agreeable to you – write immediately & acquaint one with the day you wish to start, so that my arrangements may be made accordingly, & be sure to furnish me with the necessary directions to find you in the “Canebrake” – such as when to leave the cars &c &c
A delightful rain is falling now cooling the air & laying the dust – How welcome it is! for the heat has been intense & the dust [missing] most suffocating during these past ten days – Oh! my love, I have been so joyous & happy all day in the possession of your dear, dear letter – With what tenderness I regard each word traced by yr loved hand! If possible, I love you more than ever, and long for the day which is to
unite our hands, as, I fondly [missing], our hearts are already united – I am going to Mobile soon & shall comply with your request about the picture – My letters to yr Mother were only little friendly epistles about nothing in particular, but I told her I had something serious to write to her about, but have not yet been able to approach her with the subject – When I see you I will tell you what it is, [missing] perhaps you can assist me, [missing] remind me of it, if I should forget – I received quite a complimentary letter from the Chief Commissary of Mississippi the other day, & feel right down rain about it – I didn’t know I was such a clever fellow. Goodbye my love – Ever 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.