Letter – Lucy Reavis, 15 May 1863


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Letter written by Lucy Reavis of Gainesville, AL, to her fiancé Major Thomas K. Jackson in Jackson, MS. Reavis expresses how much she misses Jackson, and talks about visiting family friends to keep her mind occupied. She describes a dream she had in which the Yankees had formed a plan to overthrow the Confederate army, and her disclosure of this information to the president led to a great victory and a promotion for Major Jackson. Reavis laments the death of General Stonewall Jackson at the hands of his own men, and mentions that General Johnston is currently in Vicksburg. She describes everyday life in Gainesville, including relationships, engagements, and church. Reavis is determined not to reply to Jackson’s wish to marry soon, as she wouldn’t see him any more frequently than she does now.

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No 1-

Gainesville, May 15th 1863

You cannot think, my dear Major Jackson how delighted I was yesterday, when Alfred brought me your letter- It was quite a disappointment to me to find none awaiting my return from Greensboro- but I was sure you must have written. Your letter was just like your dear, good self, and I believe makes me want to see you more than ever – We all miss you terribly and I so much, that I do not intend to remain at home many days at a time –

Although we only reached home Wednesday evening I am going to Mr Giles on Monday – Ma is at “Cedar Bluff” and Pa will be at court, so I must go some where or do something in self-defense – I hardly know what to tell Mr Giles, when he asks me about our engagement. You know he begged me to make no rash promises until he had had a long conversation with me on the subject- But I am not afraid – think I can prove to him satisfactorily that there is but one Major Jackson in the world. and when he knows you, he

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will not wonder at my great love for you – I am so glad Major Jackson that you have such perfect confidence in me. and assure you that I will strive ever to be deserving of it. Nothing gives me pleasure if you disapprove of it-

Ma and I went up to see Mrs Whitesid the evening before starting on our little trip. I thought she might like to send a message or letter to Willie – As usual, she was arranging flowers in Lizzie’s hair- and informed me that it was for the purpose of making an impression on the new Commissaries – They are to take their meals at Mr Bradshaw’s – Mrs W- was quite disconsolate, said she could scarcely refrain from tears – either when you left or when she thought of your cruel desertion of us. (Of her, she means) She asked me to tell you, when I wrote that she had lost her appetite & enjoyment of everything – even her flowers were neglected- I told her to write it herself, but she replied right pitifully – as the darkeys say, “he didn’t ask me to write to him” – I am not romancing, or adding a single word – Ma’s sympathies were so deeply aroused, that all the way coming home she was persuading me to write & tell you to

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love Mrs W – instead of me – But I refused positively- she ought not to have loved you first. Lizzie Bradshaw made her so mad, she said she could scarcely keep from calling her some bad name, when she teased her about Dr. Stuart- She begged me never to speak of it- if I did she’d be my mortal enemy, in spite of her great regard for you.

We had a delightful time over at the Council – There was a great number of the clergy there, and still more lay members – the first day, as I sat in Church, looking around at the new benches &c & feeling a perfect stranger, in a strange place, who do you think I saw, come in? I was so pleased dont think my heart could have made such a bound at the appearance of any one else but yourself – It was Mar Lou- I went immediately & sat by her – Every body laughed when she jumped up & kissed me in the most delighted manner. We had a charming time together and of course she insisted that I should go home with her, as did her father & my other friends from the [Cane?] Brake. But I resisted, because I wanted to come home & hear from you. Dont you think that was a great proof of my affection for you? I had

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such a funny dream about you, while I was over there. thought that the Yankees had formed a most beautiful plot for the overthrow of our army. that I discovered & disclosed it to the President Consequently we gained a perfect & glorious victory – As it was owing in a measure to me, the President proposed doing me some kindness & suggested that he should bestow some command on you, which he cheerfully did, saying if you were gallant & brave, you should be made a General. Was that not curious? The last thing in the world I should ask, for I’d be perfectly wretched the whole time, fearing that some harm might befall you. Isn’t it too bad that our other great Jackson was killed? and by his own men they say. Who do you suppose will or can fill his place? Pa thinks we lost more than we gained in that last battle- I dont believe the war is ever to end – I suppose Genl Johnston is now in Vicksburg we travelled with some soldiers who came as far as Selma with him-

You cannot think Major, how mortified Bettie Pierce is at the Captain’s treatments. We spent a day in Eutaw on our return & she told me that he was there three days, visiting & riding with Miss Rhoda

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and others & did not go near her until the last day when he knew she was not at home – Wasn’t it wrong? She declares she had nothing to do either with that report or the one that is now much talked of in regard to Uncle John. When she talks to me I believe every word she says, but afterwards it does not seem true – I wish I knew whether she is like her brother in that respect, or not – She wanted to know what was the matter with Mattie, Bro had written & complained to her of Mattie’s profound silence – I had a long letter from my sweet little Sister when I returned, she was in the highest spirits & her heart overflowing with love towards both you & me, because I had written her all that had passed between us She says, she does not object to my caring some, for you, but I must promise to love her best – Which do you think I ought to care most for? Harriet Colgin told me all about her engagement & showed me the Dr’s picture – & some of his letters. I wonder if it is right for girls to show these letters. Mr [???] & a great many persons were at the council, from Tuscaloosa – I wish you had been with us – The ministers all dressed in their pure white surplices, really looked beautiful, when they’d

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come in & kneel around the church. They have an excellent organ & good choir also – Mr Dobb did not pass his examination, at least not to the Bishop’s satisfaction, so he was not ordained. I am right glad, for I would not like for him to administer the Holy Communion – I do not think I should feel right. His constant amusement is talking to me of you – Hee firmly believes that we are to marry in July, and I do not undeceive him. Did I not tell you, that I would not reply to that part of your letter, if you said anything on this subject? Would I see anymore of you if were to marry this Fall? Don’t ask me what my wishes are on the subject, I have but one, to please you in all things.

Aunt Carlie was highly gratified at your message, said she did not think you would ever remember her after you left. Marmie sends her love & says she intends writing to ask if she may see your letters – I would not show this one to her – You wrote Ma, a mighty nice note, I will give it to her when she returns – I am so afraid of writing too much, that I will not tell you how much I want to see you – Try to come soon, and until then, write as often as you can.


Lucy Reavis-

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 four 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 in 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.

Letter – Elizabeth Todd, 10 December 1867


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Letter written by Elizabeth L. “Betsey” Humphreys Todd (step-mother of Mary Todd Lincoln), to her cousin William, from Madison, IN. Betsey is updating her cousin on the current state of her children, in-laws, and grandchildren, but does not mention Mary Todd Lincoln. She does mention her deceased son-in-law, Brigadier General Hardin Helm. Helm was a graduate of West Point, and served in the Confederate army. Betsey enjoys living in Madison, and says that several Kentucky families have followed suit, despite some locals who “try to convert us, being well acquainted with our… disloyal sentiments.”

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Madison Dec

10th 1867

Dear Cousin William

Many things have prevented my writing sooner and thanky you for the history of the family of which I was ignorant soon After the death of my Brother I left Ky and have not sen any of them since. You knew Lucy was dead and soon after her three children with that dreadful scourge Diptheria – Sam left two sons his widow moved to Springfield Ill. her oldest son David at College [is a] fine young man. Tommy [is] delicate Joseph mar[ri]ed a relation Sarah Gibson – died in N[ew] York leaving three daughters IS ok – his widow Resides on the farm near Versailles Ky Belle died just before her father and Annie since having Lucy, Sally & Joe Mary H has never married and lives with her Mother at the home place – I had a visit from Mrs Dawson (Elodie Todd) Col Dawson lives in Selma and by the

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of one of our distant Preston Cousins (during the sacking & burning of the town) he knew Dede [Elodie] and placed a guard on her lot as well as a camp but they saved her house Col D. was at Manassas & was in the fight when “Wilson” entered the city but escaped with my other son in law Capt White did not get home for some weeks – David H Todd Capt Art. commanded at Vicksburg has parolled with the Army married a daughter of Judge Turner of Huntsville has one daughter Elise Kitty Todd my youngest daughter married since the war Capt Herr & lives near Louisville has one child H Helen Herr – Margaret my eldest child married Mr Kellogg merchant at that time in N.O. [New Orleans?] has considerable property and resides in Covington Ky. he went South under a misapprehenson After the death [of] A.S. Johnson he was carried to Richmond as prisoner – he is right has always been a Democrat

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you may have heard my great bereavement My oldest Samuel Todd fell at Shilo a brave man went with the NO [New Orleans] “Crescents” saw much privation as he went as a private left a wife of four children in N Orleans – My youngest son Capt Alex Todd fell at Baton rouge “young brave & good he was a favorite with his company and much loved by all that knew him B. General Hardin Helm my son in law fell at Chickamauga – My daughter Emilie was in Atlanta with her three children. she had gone out with him and had passed thro’ many trying scenes before the last affliction which deprived her of a most excellent Husband her children of an affectionate father & me of a devoted son & friend – he was a graduate of West Point, but had left the Army and was was a practising lawyer at the opening of the war – the three lie in

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[the] South I never could get Samuel but Alex and Gen Helm were quietly and decently intered. their Graves are marked. The Genl at Atlanta. his Father Gov Helm died one week after his Inaugeration It may be that the bodies may be brought to Ky – I am now indifferent about it. I have left the state, but hope the resurrection may find us all in the [???] prepared for those who love the Lord – Emily is very young to have the care of her family – she purchased the house we live in. All my child being married I remain with her and am rather pleased with this place ’tis quiet and several Ky families have followed our example and we have society sufficient tho’ the Lads seem to convert us being well acquainted with our to “them disloyal sentiments-” I hope you iwll write again and inform me respecting yourself & others of the family or better still come to see us –

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I direct to Mr. Gilkinson as I am not sure of your address

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I enclose my [???] knitting {???] socks and will try to send one of each of my family – write to Mrs Humphrys for theirs – May evry good my dear cousin attend you [???] E.L.T.

Elizabeth L. “Betsey” Humphreys married Robert Smith Todd of Lexington, KY in November 1826, following the death of his first wife in July 1825. She was stepmother to six children, including Mary Todd Lincoln (then age 8), and soon had nine children of her own, before her husband’s death of cholera in 1849. Three of her sons served in the Confederate army, two of which died (Samuel – at Shiloh; Alexander – at Baton Rouge). Her favorite son-in-law, Brigadier General Benjamin Hardin Helm (married to Betsey’s oldest daughter Emilie) was killed at Chickamagua. She was about 65 years of age in 1867, while living with Emilie, her only unmarried child, when this letter was written.

Report – Henry Bryan, 2 February 1865


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Report of Confederate Major Henry Bryan, staff of General P. G. T. Beauregard, from Montgomery, AL. The report is addressed to Colonel George H. Brent, Assistant Adjutant General. Bryan recently inspected the Artillery of the Army of Tennessee at Columbus, MI, and found that they were in desperate need of horses. There were enough horses when General Johnston was in command, but the number lessened under General Hood in Atlanta. The march to Tuscumbia and Nashville wearied them due to harsh weather conditions and lack of forage. Bryan describes how the horses were lost during the retreat. The close proximity of Union troops forced a march through the mountains, and many weaker animals were left behind. Major Landis saved several hundred mules and brought them to Clinton, AL where they are to be exchanged in charge of Captain Rumble. Bryan mentions that the quartermasters, Captain B. M. Duffie and Captain McIves, supposedly escaped to Richmond but have not sent a report.

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Montgomery Ala Feby 2d 1865

Col. Geo. H. Brent, A.A.G.


     In my recent rough inspection of Artillery of the Army of Tennessee at Columbus, Miss., I found the most pressing want to be horses. It was a mooted question whether mules could be successfully used to pull the caissons instead of horses. I presume we shall be forced to depend on them. For mere hauling on the roads, they are better, but when wounded they may run away & smash up everything; at least this has happened so.

     I tried to make an enquiry as to what had become of the horses belonging to this artillery & append to this a statement of what I gathered, not added up, because the reports I asked for were not sent in uniformly or complete. 

It seems that the horses were in good order during Gen. Johnston’s Administration of the Army of Tenn., but deteriorated under Gen. Hood at Atlanta for want of forage, & were wearied by the march to Tuscumbia. They suffered in the advance into Tennessee somewhat, but more at Nashville for want of good forage. On the retreat they got very little to eat & this with bad weather broke down most of them.

     Major A. L. Landis, Inspector of Field Transportation, collected many unserviceable horses & mules at Columbia, Tenn. & sent them across the Tennessee River. At the crossing of this river on the retreat about Dec. 26th Maj. Landis by order of Gen. Hood, thro’ Major Ayer stopped all unauthorized animals & unserviceable artillery horses to be sent to the rear for protection & recruiting. He got there & on the retreat about 150 horses (some 600 animals of all kinds). Many of these horses were lost on the south side by the gross negligence of the guard under Lt. ______of Nixon’s Cavalry Regt., & only 116 could be found on the morning of the 28th Decr. & were started for Clifton, Ala. in charge of Capt. Hays. Between Bainbridge & Leighton, Ala. some Confederate cavalry (command not known) met these horses on the march & took violent possession of quite a number of horses & mules. The enemy

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being in close proximity, a forced march was made to the mountains, during which many of the weaker animals were left. Part of these with a lot of mules 268 in all were saved from the general wreck by the agents of Major Landis & brought to Clinton, Greene Co., Ala., where they are to be exchanged or recruited in charge of Capt. Rumble, agent for Major Ewing. Capt. Rumble is said to be incompetent, or careless in the care of horses.

(The quartermasters, Capt. F. M. Duffie & McIves, in charge of the pontoon train, escaped but did not make any report to the Inspector of Field Transportation, & are supposed to have gone to Richmond; 80 pontoon boats were supposed to have been lost.)

     In the artillery, many officers were riding government horses under an order issued by Genl. Hood at Florence. Many of these officers could not buy horses at the high market rates. They should be authorized to purchase at low rates under certain checks, the use of public horses, by them[now] forbidden.

                   Very respy. yr. obt. svt.

                          Henry Bryan

                        Major & A.I. Genl.

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Approximate Statement of what became of Artillery Animals belonging to the Army of Tennessee during the Retreat from Nashville

BattalionCorpsKilled in actionSaved from battle of Nashville or on hand at NashvilleNow on handDied on RetreatAbandoned, exhausted & captured on RetreatTaken by or turned over to Maj. A. L. Lanais, Insp. Field TransportationTurned over to Q. M. Dept.Turned over to other Batteries
Johnson’s (sent to Geo.)142481010222824
Turner’s & Cobb’sCheatham’s1414(114 Horses belonging to these Battlions were either killed, captured, abandoned on Retreat or turned over to Capt. O’Bryan Regt. 2 Q. M. as unservciable)
Hotchkiss; (sent to Georgia), Capt. Bledsoe, Cmdg.211928621611
Storr’sStewart’s5252“a great number”

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Montgomery Ala/ Feby 2d 1865/ Henry Bryan/ Maj. & A.I.G.

 report on what became of artillery horses, Army of Tenn. on late retreat

Dispatch – P.G.T. Beauregard, 12 March 1862


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2 Confederate HQ telegraph dispatches sent by General P. G. T. Beauregard to General Albert Sidney Johnston from Jackson, TN, to Decatur, AL prior to the Battle of Shiloh. In the first dispatch, General Beauregard requests surplus ammunition for guns and small arms to be sent to Corinth, MS. It also mentions that Union forces under General Charles F. Smith’s command are up the Tennessee River. The second dispatch states that General Chalmers in Iuka, Mississippi, has sighted Union boats. Beauregard mentions that pickets at East Port spotted Union ships at Savannah. He writes that the Union boats will likely go to Pittsburg Landing or East Port. He also warns Johnston not to collect too many trains at Tuscumbia, as they may be cut off from the west by Union forces.

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                              Jackson, March 12th 1862

Genl. A. S. Johns[t]on


     Have you surplus ammunition for guns & small arms for this army – If so, send to Corinth forthwith. Enemies force up Tennessee supposed to be [Gen. C. F.] Smith’s command.

                               G. T. Beauregard

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Jackson, March 12th 1862         

Genl. A. S. Johnston


     Genl. Chalmers at Iuka telegraphs some of Boats in sight – At East Port when my pickets left at six o’clock this morning enemy were at Savannah last night with thirty-three transports & gun boats did not disembark – wagons Horses & all on board at sunset they said they would start for Rail Road this morning early – There is not water enough for the Gun Boats to go to Florence – They will stop at Pittsburg or East Port – the enemy took in all pickets & guards last night.

     Later shelling East Port

Two Gun Boats in sight.

N. B. Be care not to collect too many trains at Tuscumbia for fear of being cut off from the west by the enemy

                          G.T. Beauregard

It appears this document was carried by a dispatch courier from the telegraph office in Decatur, AL to Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston’s HQ. It is believed this dispatch was the first time Gen. Johnston saw the fateful mention of “Pittsburg [Landing],” where he would die little more than three weeks later. As such, these messages prompted immediate action on the part of Johnston to aid Beauregard at Corinth, MI. Johnston sent Hindman’s brigade by rail to Corinth on March 15th, and despite adverse weather, hastened preparations to get his army there, 93 miles distant. Johnston’s troops began arriving about March 20th, and by March 23rd Johnston was present himself. Although the crisis declared by Beauregard did not result in immediate significant fighting, it was a precursor to the crisis that soon developed. Following the occupation of Pittsburg Landing by the main segment of the Union army on March 16th it was apparent that a major Union offensive against Corinth was imminent. Ironically, this ominous message of Beauregard’s four days earlier had pinpointed the exact location to carefully watch. Eastport, also mentioned as another likely site of enemy occupation, was protected by long range Confederate guns, thus Pittsburg Landing was the obvious enemy point of invasion. Despite Beauregard’s astute observations of this, little was done in scouting, mapping, or otherwise planning for the major offensive strike that soon resulted in the famous April 6th surprise attack at Shiloh.