Letter – David Norton, 2 December 1861

2015.002.174

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Letter written by Captain David W. Norton of Company E, 42nd IL Volunteer Infantry, to his mother, from a camp near Tipton, MO. Norton’s company has seen no fighting since they left Camp Hunter in Tipton. They marched to Warsaw on the Osage River hoping to fight General Sterling Price, but were disappointed. They were then forced march to Springfield, MO and joined General David Hunter’s division. He describes the rations and weather conditions. Upon arriving at Springfield and finding no Confederate troops, the hard and hurried march had been unnecessary. Some blamed General John C. Fremont, though most still have confidence in him. Norton warns that the newspapers are exaggerating the number of casualties suffered by Union troops. After staying in Springfield for a few days, they marched back to Camp Baker. Norton mentions that he had been ill, and the doctor tried to keep him from marching on to Warsaw. Initially he stayed behind as ordered, but the next day rode out to join his company when they received new orders to head to St. Louis. Since then, his health has recovered. He has been busy making muster and pay rolls for the company. He mentions an engagement with a small camp of Confederate troops, and how he took prisoners against the authorization of Major Roberts.


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Camp near Tipton Mo.

Dec. 2nd 1861

Dear Mother

As I have just learned that a mail by which I sent you a letter from Springfield Mo. has not been since heard from, I thought you must be somewhat anxious to hear from me. You have undoubtedly read of Battles fought and to be fought in this state since you last heard from me. This Regt. has been in none – excepting those to be fought! I don’t know which of my letters you may have received so I will tell you all that has occurred to me since I left Camp Hunter, Tipton 28th of Oct. We marched to Warsaw on the Osage River in 3 days. This was the first place where we were sure to have a fight with Gen. Price! When we arrived he was no nearer to us than when we started. We remained at Warsaw 3 days and crossed the river – on that bridge you may have seen illustrations of in Harper’s, – and marched 6 or 7 miles and camped at Camp Baker where we remained until the 1st of Nov. Our soldiering now begun for the first time. At nine o’clock on the evening of the 1st we received orders to march immediately to Springfield leaving our camp equipage and all men who could not march night and day behind. We started at 10 o’c. I had in my company to go with me, my 1st Lieut and 62 men out of a comp’y of 94 Rank & file. We marched all that night and joined Gen. Hunter’s division

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at their camp in the morning. We stopped here long enough to cook our breakfast and marched again. We made 30 miles that day – 42 miles our regiment marched without sleep. We laid ourselves at length on the prarie that night and did some ‘tall’ sleeping even if we did for the 1st time do with out tents and other camp conveniences such as full rations and something to cook them in. But we did not miss our rations until the next morning, for we were too tired to think of eating.

We were up next morning in time to eat such rations as we could get – being fresh beef with out salt and one pilot brisket to a man – in time and marched about an hour before day. We marched about 30 miles that day and camped in the woods, where fortunately we had plenty of fuel, for although it was not very cold, still we were so tired that we all felt as cold as if it had been winter in place of Nov. This day our men began to give out; and I marched into camp with only 40 men. We built large fires and waited for our beef and hard bread with a great deal of impatience for the butchers were slow and the teams with the bread had no kept up with us. We had just got our meat when an officer dashed into camp at full speed with an order from Gen. Hunter, – who had gone on ahead of us, -for us to march to Springfield without resting – So the long roll was sounded and we ‘fell in‘ in hot – (or rather cold) haste expecting that the enemy must be upon us, and minus our suppers we started in the dark to meet him. My boys would have left their meat on the ground had I not by

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precept and example induced them to put it in their haversacks. I put a “junk” of about four lbs in my haversack and they then followed suit. We marched that night in a cold mist – which was gotten up for our especial benefit until just at daylight when our commanding Gen. ordered a halt of about 2 hours. The way the most of the men threw themselves upon the ground at the order was a caution to young men not to go soldiering in Missouri! I stopped to build some fires to sleep by and then rolled my blanket around me and went to sleep in short order. The drums beat in two hour and up we jumped and I pulled out my beef and after dividing it with some of my boys who didn’t get any, I stuck my part on a stick and heated it through by my fire and eat it with as good relish as ever I eat roast turkey at home. We ‘fell in‘ in good spirits after our nights rest, and started again for Springfield perfectly sure we should have a fight when we got there – if not before! We arrived at Springfield that afternoon – having marched on short rations (and very short too) 100 miles in two nights and less than three days.

The Gen. said our Regt. did the best in the division and we had about 300 men when we arrived in camp – so you may judge how many men some of the other regiments had. One Regt. did not have more than half a compy! – I had 38 men – the largest number excepting one that any compy in our Regt reported. Our march was bad enough – but what was worse than that was that we were no nearer a fight than when we

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started from Camp Baker. The way our poor tired men cursed the one who ordered us on in such haste, was shocking to church members I assure you. No one but Hunters particular friends and the newspapers blame Gen. Fremont. Notwithstanding all that has been said against him, this army so far as I can learn, have more confidence to-day, in Gen. Fremont than in any other man under Gen. McClelland. About 20,000 men were hurried to Springfield without camp equipage and slept without cover, when Gen. Price was not within 56 miles of the place and showed no disposition to come nearer. Many a good man will pay for that march with his life, – which would have been all right if the march had been necessary, but as it was not it is a perfect shame. One of my own men I am expecting daily to die from the effects of the march. I for one do not believe that Gen. Fremont ever ordered us to make a forced march. I believe it was done to through [throw] a slur upon Gen. F.

Bad as our case was – those long articles in the papers, asserting that our men were dying by hundreds & thousands under the hedges and by the road sides, between Tipton & Sedalia and Springfield were nothing but outrageous lies from beginning to end. Our Regt. left only one man seriously sick on the whole trip and that was on our return. And he was left at a comfortable farm house. Those men who dropped out of the ranks from fatigue on the way all came into camp within three days. Those articles made thousands of hearts in this army boil with bitterness at those men who stay at home and write lying articles against those who are

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fighting for their country. If they confined themselves to pointing out their faults we could stand it although that is mean enough when they are where they are where they can not defend themselves – but to make such lies of ‘whole cloth‘ is contemptable.

Gen. Fremont, I believe, did everything a man surrounded by vipers as he was – could do.

We remained at Springfield 6 days and started on the back track. We reached Camp Baker on the fifth day. I did not give out once on the march until we were within about 3 miles of Camp Baker when I was taken with a kind of ‘gone-ness,’ and they put me on a horse on which I road to camp. The Dr. would not let me walk any farther as I wished to do on account of the example to my tired me. We received orders before daylight next morning to march across the Osage river at Warsaw and camp three miles beyond. As our teams were not with us we must again leave our Camp and sick behind. I was sick that night and the Doctor reported to the Major that I had the (Billious Fever?) And that I could not be moved, but as I had never yet allowed my company to march without being at their head, I told the Doctor I should go, and began to dress accordingly, when the Maj. came to my tent and ordered me to remain behind – nominally to take charge of the camp and sick, but really because he thought it dangerous to move me in a lumberwagon for he and the Doctor thought that they had a sick Capt. in your son, notwithstanding I knew better. They were rather anxious to get me on the sick list – not that they wanted me to suffer, but only because I had always made fun of them for getting tired or ‘played-out‘ as we call it. For you must know that the Major had nick-named me the ‘Stout Cap‘ as I

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had not been on the sicklist since the Regt. left Chicago. Well the Regt. marched from Camp Baker and I staid behind in obedience to Maj’s orders. In the afternoon one of the officers came back to camp and said the Regt. was to march at daylight next morning and to proceed to St Louis immediately. I thought from that that they must want to send us immediately into Kentucky and having no notion of being behind, I got up and had a horse saddled and started at sun down to ride to the other camp, about 12 miles. It was hard work to ride and took me about 5 hours to go camp. The next morning when the Major saw me he threatened to put me under arrest for not obeying his orders, but when I told him that I understood that he was to march that morning he laughed at my conceit at for thinking the Regt. could not get along without me, and called me a fool for running the chance of making myself sick. While I was talking to the Major, the Doctor came to report that he had succeeded in getting an ambulance to send for me. He was surprised and angry at seeing me, and said I had signed my death warrant that time sure! He said I was as sick as any man in the Regt. and had the Billious fever, but I knew better – so he got angry and so did I, and he insisted I was sick and I that I was not, and, so ended the affair. We did not march until the next day. I was hardly able to march, but would not ride because I would not acknowledge that the Dr. was right. I actually drove sickness “from my tent‘ and have been in first rate health ever since. That one day is the only day that I have not been in command of my company since we

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left Chicago. I am ‘fat and saucy’ – so say my “supperior officers,” for my old habit of saying what I think at all times and in all places has not left me yet. – In fact camp life just suits me – I believe I weigh more now than at any other time since I was at home.

My time is fully occupied with affairs of my company for I have the whole to do, excepting what can be trusted to my non-commissioned officers. My Lieutenants are of very little use to me, as they are either sick or lazy all the time.

We arrived at Camp Hunter, Tipton, on the 19th ultimo. Since then we have marched to Syracuse and back to our present camp. How long we shall remain here I can not guess.

Since we came here I have been very busy making muster and pay rolls for my co. and in writing up my company books, which were very much behind on a/c [account] of our long marches.

We have marched since leaving St. Louis, about 450 or 500 miles (since the 8th of Oct.)

The only thing our Regt. has done against the Rebels, has been done by my Co. We went out to take a camp of Secesh while we were at Camp Baker. We surprised them and took fiver prisoners and six horses. – One Major and four soldiers, several rifles & other traps. The next day I went out again to finish up the business and to take another squad camped two or three miles farther off. Some of Gen. Hunters Cavalry got the start of me and got to the camp before me and after a short but sharp fight took some prisoners and horses. I went to finish up the other job and took about 20 head of cattle and 14 horses

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The joke of the Affair is that Maj. Roberts sent one of his pet’s Capt. Vardon with his whole company to take this Major and his squad. Maj. Roberts would not authorize me to do the same thing that he ordered Capt. Vardon to do. I had the best guide and went straight to the camp about 12 miles, took it and returned to our camp the same night. What I did, I did on my own responsibility. The next day – after I had got the cattle & horses in a field ready to drive to camp, – who should march up but Capt. Vardon, who had marched all the day before and half of that day to get to the place I was already to leave with my booty. If ever a man was angry – Capt. V. was, to find me in full possession of the ground and ‘plunder’ and to learn that I had taken the prisoners and part of the horses in to camp the night before. I t was a good joke on him and on the Major too for selecting an old English officer to do what a young Yankee could do a great deal better.

When we found the Secesh camp the men took to the brush but our bullets call so loudly on five of them that they surrendered without being hurt. They are a cowardly sett out here. They know they are in the wrong and can’t stand fire.

I must close now as I must go up to Tipton to see my sick boys of whom I have one Lieut. (the one whose likeness I sent you) and 10 men in the Hospital there.

Write soon and often to

Your Son

(Excus Brevity) D. Woodman Nor

Capt. Co. ‘E’

42nd Regt Ills. Vols

in Missouri

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P.S. I visited the Battle field where Gen. Lyon was killed; while I was at Springfield will write about it in my next D.W.N.


Major David Woodman Norton was born 31 January 1838 in Chelsea, MA. He had two other brothers (Joshua and John) who also enlisted and served in the Union Army. He enlisted with the 1st Zouave Regiment of Chicago and was then promoted to 2nd Lieutenant of the 42nd IL Infantry then Captain on July 22, 1861. He eventually joins Major General John M. Palmer’s staff as acting Assistant Inspector General. He was killed in action near New Hope Church, GA on June 2, 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign.

Letter – Thomas Jackson, 21 January 1864

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Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his wife Lucy Reavis Jackson in Gainesville, AL, from Macon, MS. Thomas writes that he intended to write to Lucy sooner, but was delayed as he had to send a load of beef to Atlanta [Major Jackson is in charge of the army’s supply of meat]. He mentions meeting the daughter of General Leonidas Polk. Thomas expresses how much he misses taking walks with Lucy back home, and writes about his great love for his wife. He inquires about family members, then describes a social outing he recently attended. Thomas retells how he was invited to escort a young lady to a party, but declined as he is a newly married man.


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Macon, Jany 21, 1864,

My own dear Wife,

I intended writing to you yesterday by Major Beauchamp, but early in the morning a dispatch came requiring me to send a thousand beeves to Atlanta immediately – consequently my time was fully occupied making the necessary arrangements until it was too late – besides I thought it likely you and Miss Mar Lou would have started to Eutaw before he got home, and my letter delayed several days anyhow – I took a ride yesterday evening – the weather was fine & the streets were all alive with the bright faces of many fair ladies, and troops of merry children – How delightful it must be for them to come out to breathe the fresh, invigorating air and enjoy the warm sunshine once more, after being housed up so long – I met a daughter of General Polk out walking – she has a fine face & is said to sing divinely – I am sure you hail with pleasure the return of fair weather, and will resume those delightful walks you enjoy so much – What a dear little indefatigable pedestrian you are! How I would like to be with you in your rambles! – I recur to our walks & talks as among the happiest moments of my life – Same how in your loved company my capacity for enjoyment seems increased ten-fold – Your dear presence developes new pleasures and beauties in every object – Nature smiles, and

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my heart bounds and it pounds in the fullness of love entirely yours – How idly that pretended philosopher talked when he asserted that “Absence conquers love” – What nonsense! Isn’t it? Love, having for its object those radiant virtues which belong to you, and whose value is enhanced by the purity of such a lovely character, cannot be conquered, and never, never dies – With me, absence from you, my Love, and association with others, only serve to show how incomparable you are, & to increase the intensity of my affection – It never occurs to me to wonder why I love you – It would be too absurd; when the answer is so evident to all who behold you – The only wonder is, what you ever saw in such a stupid fellow as me to love – while the single desire of my heart is to preserve yr affection, & make myself as worthy as may be, of such priceless love – Oh! I am so happy in the knowledge of your regard – The mail has just this moment brought me yr dear letter of yesterday – I thank you so truly for it – The gentle tenderness of my own precious wife sparkles in every word, and awakens new sentiments of love in my heart – I fear you were disappointed in not receiving a letter from me by Maj Beauchamp – do not think me negligent – I would not pain you for the world – I am grieved about Mattie – I love the dear child more than she can guess – I have felt much of what yr Uncle says, and have been much pained & perplexed by it – She’s a dear

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thoughtless child – be gentle with her – Let us hope nothing more serious than the “fun of the thing” – as she calls it – influences her conduct – even that is reprehensible enough Heaven knows – Young girls cannot be too circumspect – Trifles light as air, sometimes awakens eternal sources of regret – There was a party in town night before last, and another is to be to night – At dinner Miss Fannie Lucas said she would require an escort & would take me if I wished to go – but I am unacquainted with the parties, & told her, that since newly married men are generally considered very stupid on such occasion, I would prefer staying at home – She is a sweet little girl – says she will have a party soon & will bring me out. Isn’t she kind? The weather has been so unfavorable that I haven’t gone out any where as I intend to do – I’m afraid I shall not enjoy myself much however, as I can’t get up any enthusiasm unless you are present – I have deferred calling upon Mrs Larnagin (I don’t know how to spell her name) for the present, so as to allow the letter MRs Beauchamp promised to write, to have due weight before asking her to take us to board – Your dear society would be a great comfort to me, & I think you would enjoy a little visit here right well – but I fear you would sometimes be lonesome – I miss you constantly – tho’ never so much as when in

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company – When alone I can recalls the charms & grace of your society – the pretty expressions you use, and the gentle tenderness of your manner – and am happy as I ever can be, without you –

It is almost impossible for me to write a letter in the day time – I am interrupted so constantly – I must write at night here-after – I send much love to all at home & believe me dearest ever fondly

and affectionately your

proud & happy husband

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.

Letter – Thomas Jackson, 9 November 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 tells Reavis that he had planned to write to her the day before, but was unexpectedly busy all day and feeling ill and depressed in the evening. He mentions a herd of “Yahoos” who came to him inquiring about cattle and tithe corn. Jackson also writes of a raid carried out by the “Piney Woods women,” who brandished weapons at local merchants before they were arrested by the military. He had dinner with Major Mims, the Chief Quartermaster for Mississippi, and will soon be having dinner with Major Theobold. Jackson inquires after Reavis’ recent illness, and mentions how sorry he is that he could not be with her during the bishop’s visit.


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Enterprise Miss.

Nov. 9. 1863

My darling Lucy,

When I sent my hurried little note to you by Mr Hart, I promised myself the pleasure of writing to you on yesterday, which was sunday, and expected then to be undisturbed & free to indulge my fond inclinations towards you, I like to be entirely alone when I write to, or even think of you, my love, and cannot bear to be interrupted on such occasions, by the rude necessities of business, or common-place vanities of every-day-life. But things fell out very differently from what I expected – I was busy all the morning, had company in the afternoon & evening and was sick all day – my business was perplexing and disagreeable, my company stupid and uninteresting, and my indisposition oppressed me with low spirits, from which nothing would arouse me – even thoughts of your own sweet self, which rarely ever fail in their enlivening influence, seemed incapable of [missing] the feeling

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of depression under which I laboured, or producing more than momentary sensations of relief – Tuesday 10, I havd proceeded thus far, dear Lucy, on yesterday with my letter, when in came a herd of “Yahoos”, who harangued me about cattle & tithe corn until it was too late to finish in time for the mail – so I had to lay it aside, demonstrating my loyalty to duty, at the expense of my love & tenderness for you – I’m sure I deserve a General’s commission for such a true mark of self denial – Don’t you think so too my love? – The monotony of this dull town was broken in upon on yesterday by a very daring raid – the raiders were all captured, however, before any serious damage was done – It seems that quite a formiddable force of the “Piney-Woods Women” of this vicinage, armed to the teeth, mad ea descent on the merchants, firing their guns & pistols in a very war-like manner, & would have supplied their necessities, vi et armis [with force & arms], had they not been arrested by the military – I assure you these piney woods delivered for once, a very [for]middable array of Charms, indignant [missing] though they were.

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However much the [missing] such outbursts is to be deprecated, I have it [not] in my nature to censure the poor women whose husbands, sons, & brothers are away fighting our battles, & who slaves her eyes out for the comfort of our armies, while her babies are crying for bread, when she raises her feeble arm to secure for herself & needy family the actual necessaries of life which are withheld from her by the grasping hand of avarice – I dined with Major Mims (Chief Qrmr for Mississippi) on yesterday – the party was small & select, the dinner sumptuous, & the host admirable, Mrs M. though at home, did not make her appearance – I don’t know why – They have no family – the Major lives well – His house, which he recently purchased here, is comfortable & furnished with luxury & some taste – especially in the item of mirrors. I saw there a pious cover, which some lady wishes to exchange with him for a servant, worked in the most elaborate style – the owner says it took her fourteen years to finish it – What patience some people have! I’m sure I should have wearied of such tedious work in an hour. It is, however, very beautiful [missing] admired

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which [missing] compensate the fair architect for her [missing] & pains. We are to dine at Major Theobold’s today & the time approaches so I must make haste, or this letter may be further delayed – I felt much concerned about your illness until I came to yr delightful postscript to yr sister’s note – How good of you to write to me, and you so sick! It was so like my gentle darlin g- How is it possible, my love for he should be otherwise than like the evening shadows, which go on increasing until the close Dear darling Lucy, be careful of yr health for my sake & those who love you so much, & be careful, exceedingly careful, of your sweet voice, for your own sake, if not for mine – I add “not for mine”, because you will persist in saying, that I don’t like music. You will be convinced to the contrary some day I hope – I am so sorry I could not be with you during the Bishop’s visit – but my consciousness of the claims of duty, denied me the much coveted pleasure – I do not know exactly when I shall be able to go on a little visit to you – but it will not be long first – Thank your dear mother for her kind inteions towards me & assure her [that] I am not too proud to receive anything [missing] motherly hands – my only fear

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[is] that I am unworthy of such unvaried kindness – Bless her dear heart – a good mother aught to make a good child & I ought to be, as indeed I am, the happiest man in the world to possess the love of such a child – write soon dear Lucy, & make, as I am convinced you will every allowance for all apparent [missing] & neglible [missing] in [missing…] with your dear graceful letters

God bless you & soon restore yr health – is the constant prayer of him who is fondly yours TKJ


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.

Letter – Thomas Jackson, 31 July 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 writes that he was asked by the Chief Commissary to take over control of the purchase of beef cattle, and was consequently sent to Enterprise. He was glad to leave Meridian, as he felt his health was declining there. He is staying with a friend, Major Theobold, who is the Depot Quartermaster. Jackson expresses his love for Reavis, and describes her many virtues. Jackson suspects that the army may move in his direction soon. Unlike many, he does not think the Confederacy is doomed from the fall of Vicksburg. However, he has heard that thousands of Mississippi troops deserted after the surrender. In a small addendum, Jackson writes that General Sheppard expects the war to be over within a year due to foreign intervention, and that Confederate independence will be recognized and slavery will be abolished.


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Enterprise Miss.

July 31. 1863.

You will be surprised, no doubt, my dearest Lucy, to find me writing from this place, after my letter to you of the 22nd inst – So I proceed to explain at once – The Chief Commissary – who, by the by, is an old friend of mine – came up to Meridian, before I had commenced my duties there, & urged me to take executive control of the purchase of Beef Cattle throughout the Department – I hesitated as indeed I well might, to take charge of so important a branch of the service as supplying meat for the Army has become – My objections were over-ruled however, & finally, I gave a reluctant consent, whereupon a Major & several Captains were ordered to report to me – I was burthened [burdened] with a large sum of money & authorized to establish my Hd.qrs. at any convenient point I might select –

I have, therefor come here, as the most central position, & the most convenient for the discharge of my duties – I am living with an old friend – Major Theobold, Dėpôt quartermaster, who resides here with his family, & on the whole, am not uncomfortable, nor altogether dissatisfied. I was glad to leave that abominable place Meridian.

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for had I remained there much longer I really think I must have died – I was sick all the time while there, whereas here, my health seems to improve daily.

I received your cheerful, delightful letter, No 2 last Sunday – I did not recognize the superscription, & my heart nearly failed me when the Postmaster said that was the only letter for me – I thought it was from Capt. Williams, but was amply rewarded for my fears when the open envelope disclosed your well known hand – Dear Lucy, you do write such a charming, beautiful letter – what a treat I enjoyed as I read, re-read & read it again & again, & constantly with the liveliest satisfaction & pleasure, & you will not be surprised, that my reflections upon your unbounded goodness, yr graceful simplicity & frankness, yr true nobility of thought & feeling, yr firmness, yr truth & courage, yr unvarying kindness to all, yr amiable charity, yr devotion to yr parents, yr sympathy with sorrow, yr pure, unsullied thoughts, yr delicate taste, & your deep relegion, should inspire me with the constant desire to become, if possible, worthy of so much loveliness – Almost from our first acquaintance, you have been to me, the universe & I have no hope or joy, except in your love –

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Your sweet fair face rises before me, in the busy scenes of life, like a star from out the sea, & I cannot be conscious of yr noble heart, yr pure, true woman’s nature, so tender, yet so firm, & be the same careless inconsiderate, wicked man I have been – My affection for you, dearest, springs from those feelings which make true love sublime as honor, & meek as relegion, & God knows, my own darling, it must influence my future life –

I received a letter from Capt. Williams this morning – He mentioned you, Miss [Narmie?], & Mrs Shotwell in his usual rattling style of expression, & acquainted me with the postponement of Miss Colgin’s marriage –

I should not be surprised if the Army were to be moved in this direction soon, there is some talk of it – There is a perfect dearth of news just now – I haven’t a word worth communicating – I am not like many of the Mississippians who think the fate of the Confederacy was sealed when Vicksburg fell – Vicksburg, tho’ of the highest importance to the country, was not the Confederacy, & I do not believe Mississippi is “gone up yet” – I do not feel competent to give advice, but if I owned property I the State I would not dispair – It is said that Miss: Troops have

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deserted from the Army by thousands since the surrender of Vicksburg, & I fear there is much truth in it – This looks bad for our cause, for if there ever was a time when the entire strength of the country ourght to stand together, shoulder to shoulder it is now –

I am obliged & flattered by Mrs Lacy’s message, say as much to her, & give her my love – You say Miss Mattie is a “constant source of amusement” to you – Oh! she is young, & the brightest little being that ever breathed – She enjoys all those little pastimes which you sexagenarians have abandoned & forgotten – Give her my warmest love, & tell her, that I take a great interest in all that concerns her – I should like to be with you ate the Barbacue tomorrow, I know I should have a delightful time, but I am too much occupied to think of pleasure just now – I am the busiest fellow you ever saw, but hope soon to have my duties so arranged as to have a leisure day now 7 then – I have made one young lady acquaintance since coming here – a Miss Kate McKinney – she is beautiful & interesting – I met her at Mrs Theobold’s – Give my love to yr dear mother – I miss her kind, motherly, thoughtful attention – Her motherly kindness is new to me & I fear she has spoiled me – Much love to yr cousin Narmie yr Aunt Assie, to Dr. Mrs & Miss Barrit, with a kiss to the latter – Good bye my love, may the light of heaven continue to shine around you – Ever very affectionately yours TKJ

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My kindest regards to your Uncle John, Reavis & Dr Dobb. I miss them so. If you see Miss Lizzie tell her I think of her very often & of our pleasant evenings I have passed in her most agreeable company – Give her my love,

__________________

Genl Sheppard has just called to see me – He thinks the war will end in less than a year by foreign intervention that our Independence will be acknowledged & guaranteed & that slavery will be abolished what do you think of all that?


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.

Letter – W.H. Mann, 1 September 1861

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Letter written by civilian W. H. Mann of Athol, Massachusetts, to Joseph W. Luce of Charlotte Center, NY. Mann writes that farming is usually be a successful venture, but business is at a stand-still due to the war. Unemployment rates are high, and wages are low. He mentions that support for the Union is high. He has heard a rumor that the Confederates were advancing to Washington D.C., and mentions thousands of troops coming up the Potomac and from Manassas Junction. In a later section dated September 3rd, Mann writes about two Confederate forts that were captured in North Carolina. He thinks that the U.S. Government will ultimately prevail, as “the South was the first aggressor.”


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Sept 1st 1861

Friend Joseph,

I once before got pen and paper in order to answer your letter but for some reason got called away and have let it go untill now

You enquire about writing wheather it would be a successful business here now or rather the ensuing winter At any other time I think there would be a fair prospect but business at this time is very near at a a stand still The war has knocked every thing wrong end fore-most at present This vicinity is more of a manufacturing than farming country and consequently is more affected Thousands of people are out of employment and wages are less than 1/2 as high as they were 2 or 3 years ago There is very little except strong union feeling in this neighborhood over sixty able bodied men have gone from Athol to the aid of their country money is shelled out like water Here as in most places north

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all parties go in for the union News came last night that the rebels are going were advancing on Washington and that a great battle was at hand it may be so & may not 180000 were coming up the Potomac & 120000 coming by land from Manassas Junction

Sept 3d evening

you probable get the war news as soon as we so I will turn to other subjects the latest I have heard was the capture of 2 new secession forts in N Carolina by a fleet of ours

I hope this rebelion will be put down in a manner that it will stay down a spell It is going to be a hard struggle but with good management I think the right side will conquer (i.e.) the U.S. Government Evry man of reason will can see that the South were the first egressors Any government that is a government ought to try to sustain its self but enough about the war.

We have not heard from Uncle H for a long time and should really like to

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Hay came in very good this season all crops look well wheat not so good as last year We have had some warm weather but the season has been cool generaly I have built a house & barn such as they are within a little over a year

I have got a yok of stags 3 cows 2 calves 2 old hogs & 4 pigs and over 30 fowls I hardly know wheather I am doing well or not the times are so hard but I am in hopes they will soften before long

Beef is selling here for $5 per cut to average it Pork 3 cts corn southern & western 60 per bush (lowest ever known) meal has been $1.15 per cwt in Athol

Tell all to write and I will try and be more prompt in future I write so little I do not feel much like writing

Give my best respects to all and tell them a line would be very acceptable and I hope more promptly replyed to

JW Luce Yours truly W H Mann