Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his fiancée Lucy Reavis of Gainesville, AL, from Enterprise, MS. Jackson is impatient to see Reavis again. He expresses his love for his fiancée, and mentions how he had hoped to send her a letter when he was in Meridian, but was unable to get to the post office before it closed. He mentions how he had been feeling ill and depressed the week before.
Nov 19. 1863.
My dear Lucy,
This week has been an age to me, notwithstanding the various occupations to employ my time – I am so impatient to see you, that it seem interminable.
Do you ever feel my absence thus? I hope not – Such an evidence of yr regard would be of all things the most delightful, as well as extremely flattering to my vanity – but I fain would spare you the anxiety which accompanies it.
At last, however, the longest days must end, whether they be quickened by sunshine, or retarded by impatience, and I live in the sweet hop of seeing yr radiant smiles Saturday morning at Ramsey’s, when I am convinced I shall be fully repaid for all my solicitude – Dear “rare and radiant maiden” – I love you so fondly.
I went up to Meridian yesterday, & wanted to write to you from there – if only to assure you of my unalterable attachment – but after getting through with my business, I found the mail had been closed, so I played several games of chess, ate parched pinders [peanuts], & did some “extensive chatting” with old friends until the Train arrived – Am I not a clever fellow to do whatever you ask me? But I deserve no praise – yr requests seem to fit exactly with my wishes – The bare prospect of affording you pleasure, awakens all that is affectionate in my nature – & I cherish such feelings with pride & satisfaction – How have you passed this week? – Delightfully I am sure – Surrounded by those who admire & love you, it could not be otherwise – besides you diffuse an atmosphere of happiness where ever you go – I wrote you a little note last sunday, which I suspect never reached you – It is no matter – for what I wrote doubtless took the complexion of my feelings – I was in wretched spirits, sick & depressed, & so lonesome –
You will receive this on Friday (if it has luck) & see me on Saturday – so pray excuse my brevity,
Ever fondly yours
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.