Letter – Lucy Reavis, 30 January 1864


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Letter written by Lucy Reavis Jackson to her husband, Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., from Gainesville, AL. Lucy describes the events of the past couple of weeks, including a dinner party. The party culminated with ice cream and singing. Many of her acquaintances have asked about Thomas. Lucy describes two conscripts who were on the train with them from Eutaw to Gainesville. She also writes of an attempt to burn down a local school, possibly by a servant. She has seen a few old beaus, and remains glad to have married Thomas. She does, however, express some jealousy at the idea of other women paying attention to her husband.

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Home January 30th 1864-

My beloved Husband,

To-night I have received your two dear precious letters, so like yourself that I am perfectly radiant with joy & love after reading them – You are so good, two letters without once hearing from me! But I did write – Last Tuesday, while in Eutaw I sent you a poor apology for a letter – but they are all poor enough – Where & how shall I begin to write all that I have to say? Believe I will go back to the date of my last, and give you a little journal of events, trivial and unimportant in themselves, but I am vain enough to believe that all I do is of interest to my darling. We went over to Dr. Alexander’s to dinner – Mar Lou was delighted to see us, for she could not disguise that feeling of discomfort which all reserved people feel, when among strangers – the family were kind & polite, had an elegant dinner, finishing off with ice-cream, which I think a great luxury. After dinner they insisted on my singing as my fame had reached them long ago but they must have been sadly disappointed, for I croaked like a frog, not having entirely recovered from my hoarseness – Mar Lou came home with us & we had a pleasant night together, but she was dreadfully home-sick & tho’ we had gone to remain until Tuesday she visited on returning to-day. By the way, when I told uncle John of it to-night, he seemed highly gratified, exclaimed “Bless her little heart! I thank her for it.” Did he attribute it to a desire to see him? There is a question for the wise – Wednesday we walked around town, went to the stores & nearly melted, the Sun was so warm – In the afternoon I went to Mrs Riddle’s & spent the night with [Nic/Vic?] How lonesome they must be! But the old lady is very talkative & a little boisterous

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In [dit?] that she is a great drawback to [Nic/Vic?] – in the way of getting a good husband I mean – and and certainly she deserves the best – like wise she is going to Enterprise on a visit soon & I am really sorry you are not there – I’d go with her, Every body made particular inquiries about you & Judge Pierce & family desired to be remembered to you, Also Miss Rhoda Coleman – We called on her – She is very lonely, in that large house, without any companion, since Lida came home – She expected her to return yesterday, but Fannie Allen had a party last night & she remained in town in order to attend – I am sorry I did not get back in time to attend – Sister says they had a delightful time, danced til 2 O’clock & enjoyed an elegant supper My old admirer, Mr Jemison was there – he has been in town several days – I suppose I shall see him at Church to-morrow- Lis says he called he “Mit” as in the days of her childhood & she requested him to “put a respectful prefix to it-” I could not have said that – We had a delightful trip to-day – There were only two passengers from Eutaw besides ourselves – Both members of the company stationed there to do Conscript duty – One was a conscript himself – & bemoaned his lot very affectingly – He was exceedingly talkative & gave Mar Lou & Self some excellent recipes for dying cotton, cloth & even gloves – We were greatly amused by him – He left us at Clinton & another young soldier took his place. We chatted away gaily & finally we gave him our brush to take on with him – He was from Tenn. & the other, a very handsome little fellow from Miss. They were as attentive to me as possible – Mar Lou said she got quite jealous & had an idea of addressing me as Mrs Jackson to let them know I was married We are all distressed that our gallant Captain must leave. He came up this afternoon & we had a nice talk – he told me, he had

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received your letter in which you declared your intention of coming down as soon as your “well-away wife” returned – She is at home now & might anxious to see you – but as you are so very busy, you had better wait awhile – I’d rather you would come after Mar Lou leaves – but if you have leisure, don’t wait – You know mon cher, that I am always too anxious to see you – I can think of nothing else – tho’ I try not to talk too much – Uncle John received your letter, and desires me to say the shoes are finished & wishes to know, if he must send them by express, or let me take charge of them until you come – He bought Kittie such a nice pair – What do you suppose was the cost? 69 dollars – Isn’t that a great deal? But they were really elegant English shoes – She has not been down this week – Miss Murphy is quite sick & she is missing her – The boys tell me that an attempt was made to-day to burn the old Academy – or rather last night – They had a good deal of cotton in one of the rooms & while all the teachers were out spending the evening, a torch was thrown in & the cotton was all burning, when it was discovered – You remember hearing the girls tell of a difficulty they had up there, with some of the children & their maid – It is supposed that this servant of theirs did it – Ma has been spending several days at “Cedar Bluff” returned this afternoon quite sick, with fever – She desires her warmest love to her darling Son & thanks for the nice letter received this evening, says she is too sick to answer it just now – but will make me write for her if she does not get quickly better – Lis sends her love & says if you do not come down very soon, write her a note & let her know what you have to say to her. She is very much put out at the Captain’s removal – He is too funny – says he supposes you sympathize with Alfred also. He has lately taken unto himself a wife & does

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not want to leave her, although he has given him full permission to find another at every place they go to her– He seems to think people affections are easily changed from one object to another I left him in the parlor playing cards – to write to my dear old Precious, but Mr Jemison has just come in & I must go back & entertain him – Au revoir mon bien-aime — Well he has left and though it is nearly 11 O’Clock, I must finish my letter, as to-morrow is Sunday – They are all laughing at Mr Dobb about going to the party last night & patting his foot, while the dancing was going on – Ministers ought not to attend such entertainments I think – Poor Mr Jemison looks so badly, gave me something of mine he had – said he never intended to return it until I married or he died – I am mighty glad I married you, instead of him never was more surprised, than when he shook hands & called me by my new name – I thought certainly he’d say “Miss Lu” as he used to do. Your letters come very quickly generally, but to-day I received two at once – the 27th & 29th – I am glad the first did not come sooner, as it might have been sent to Eutaw & lost – my dear darling, you write such nice letters – I ought to be mighty good & thankful for your great love – I am sure I am as thankful as can be and love you in return with all my heart – To-morrow will be two weeks since I saw you Isn’t it an age? I know you were quite an acquisition to Miss Fannies party & helped nicely to entertain her guests. I am glad you enjoyed yourself & like the Sledge girls – When do they leave Macon? Capt W- asked me to give you his regard & say that you must give his love to the girls & tell them he will be glad to get the letter they propose writing – Oh! I laughed so heartily at that part of your letter, in which you spoke of Mr Hart’s being a beau – They (the young ladies) ought to see all the little scions, I am sure they would not care to have him as a beau, even if his wife were out of the way – You are almost as bad as Madame [???] our singing teacher’s husband – A Hungarian, he said all of the men in

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his country first valued their moustache – next their horse & thirdly the wife – but no matter what [missing] write I shall conclude to believe that I reign supreme in your affections I feel quite cut your allusion to Miss Edith’s promise to knit you gloves – Did you intend it so? I shall not allow these girls to be paying you so much attention I am afraid it is a bad plan to have so handsome a husband, & shall so be thinking that I ought to have followed M[missing] plan when she married such an ugly fellow [missing] gave as the reason, that no body would want to take him from her Mar Lou talks of going home Friday but I should insist on her remaining until the next week send much love to [missing] When may I expect you? – I don’t like [missing] you to be here, [missing] Lou is, for I cannot [missing] myself from you [missing] any with her – but [missing] cannot wait two [missing] longer, can we? I [missing] see you very much [missing] regard to Edith & Ka[missing] and write to me soon [missing] like a darling as you [missing] with great love, your Lucy

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 – Joseph Younger, 18 August 1864


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Letter of Lieutenant Joseph G. Younger of Company F, 53rd VA Infantry (Armistead’s Brigade, Pickett’s Division), to his cousin. Younger writes that his brothers are well, but he has been ill. He remarks on how hardened soldiers have become to suffering, observing that they hardly care if someone dies as long as it is not a relative. Younger inquires on whether his cousin has found him a “sweetheart.” Younger describes shelling at Petersburg, VA. He hopes the war will soon end. He thinks the Confederacy should conscript African Americans to fight for them like the Union has.

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Cousin August the 18th 1864,

Your long looked for letter has come at last. It has been duly perused it finds Marion & Nathan well but I am quite sick and have been for some time. I do not think I shall be able to finish this epistle on account of my head swimming so bad it seems to me the paper is turning round all the time. Cousin it is so bad to be away off here sick, where no Femenine hand is to feel of ones fevered pulse. nor any kind and affectionate sister, mother, relative or friend to watch one as he lays and suffers upon the ground, soldiers have become used to so many suffering that they have no sympathy for one that is sick, so long as they can keep will if one die it makes no difference with them so the

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unfortunate one is no relation of theirs if one gets killed in battle it is the same case. This indeed is a hard time. People are bound to become better or I think they will be cut off and perish all over the land. I think it has rained all over the state by this time we have had quite a nice shower since I have been writing and it looks like coming down down again shortly. So you have not picked me out any particular young Ladie for a sweet heart you say that there are several nice young Ladies in that neighborhood but you will wait and let me come and pick for myself. Cousin I think I should be pleased, at any choice you would make for I am shure your fancie and taste would be perfect You speak of Miss Emma Womack as being a nice young Ladie I should

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Judge so for I have heard a good deal of talk about her but Mr W or Mr Younger is too far ahead for any of us to talk about her. Marion though seems satisfied about it so I must be too as I am not acquainted with her he says she is one of his best friends and he is certain she will let him know when she is going to get married. There were terrible terrible shelling at Petersburg this morning before day I have not as yet heard the cause of it. We will have hot time here soon I think, a good deal of sickness are getting among our soldiers I am in hopes the war will end soon I have thought it would end this winter but I do not know how it will end nor when I know this much it cannot end too soon for us I think it had as well end this winter as

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to go on next spring for it will never end by fighting no-how, We have to fight negroes now driven up to us by the white yankeys our men fought them at Petersburg & also on the other side of the river a day or so ago our boys allways slay them when they get a chance at them but it is a shame for our good young white men to be killed by a yankey negro, I think if they fight negroes against us we ought to conscript some of our to meet them I reckon our negroes would fight as well as theirs. I must close as I am getting so weak I cannot sit up write soon I remain Your affectionate Cousin

J G Younger

Joseph G. Younger enlisted as a private on July 10, 1861 at Union Church, VA in Company F of the 53rd VA Infantry. He was promoted corporal August 14, 1861; sergeant December 15, 1861; but was reduced to private on May 5, 1862. He was hospitalized August 18, 1862 at Chimborazo Hospital, Richmond, VA with diarrhea, then marked as ‘absent’ and sick at home in September of 1862. He was present December 15, 1862, then hospitalized again on February 28, 1863 at Lynchburg, VA. Present once more April 15, 1863. He was appointed 2nd lieutenant on April 4, 1863, but on November 12, 1864 he requested a transfer to the artillery “due to a lack of respect shown him by the men of his company.” Younger was duly transferred into the Halifax VA Light Artillery Battery on December 15, 1864. He survived the war, and later lived in Mississippi County, AR until his death April 13, 1916. His brothers Francis Marion, and Nathan, served at least through the end of 1864, both being issued clothing at Fairfax, VA on December 31, 1864. However, no further military documents could be found for all.

The 53rd VA Infantry was one of the most prominent of Virginia regiments, serving from December 1, 1861 until April 9, 1865. As a part of Armistead’s Brigade, Pickett’s Division, it was among the foremost in the famous “Pickett’s Charge” at Gettysburg, led by Brigadier General Lewis A. Armistead over the stone wall at the Angle during the height of the assault on July 3, 1863. Here the regiment lost 34 killed, 140 wounded, and 150 prisoners or missing, total of 314. It is believed all three Younger brothers were present and survived this ordeal.

Letter – George Jones, November 1863


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Letter from George Jones to his cousin Helen Sofield, dated November, 1863. Jones is writing to express his condolences to Helen on the death of her husband, Alfred J. Sofield, who was killed in action at the Battle of Gettysburg. He writes about faith, and that God will support her through this difficult time.

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Dear Cousin                           Nov.

I intended to have written long ere this time, but I have been busy and have neglected it longer than I ought. Indeed, cousin, I can sympathize with you. I felt sorry when I heard of Alfred’s death. We talked of your troubles long before I received your letter. I often think of Willie, James, & Benny. Dear cousin, there is a care exercised over us by Our Heavenly Father that we fail perhaps to realize until we, through affliction or misfortune are brought to turn our minds or thoughts to things beyond this world. We can then trace God’s goodness to us through all

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our past life. Tho we were perhaps unconscious from where or how that care has been exercised over us, still we must acknowledge God’s care through all the past. It is said that all things work together for good to those that love God. Although you have been bereaved of a husband and your parents have long since been taken away, and we may utterly fail to see any Providence in these things, yet we are led more fully to realize the truth that there is a high power where we hope to gather strength, and to more fully trust in God.

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We will pray that God will be a father to your fatherless children, and the widow’s God in bringing you through all your affliction, and providing a way for your comfortable support – here below. We are all well at present. Lyman had the eggy five weeks after they came from the 90 days’ call of the governor. We are sometimes a little too hasty. I scolded Henry & Perry a little this week, and Henry run away and I have not heard of him since. Lee joined a conscription company which cost me $80.00. I earn it you know by hard work, and if I had known it would be lost I would much rather have given it to you. So goes the world. I will be happy to hear from you whenever you can make it convenient to write. 

                            From your affectionate cousin,

                                     George Jones

Alfred J. Sofield was a clerk/justice of the peace in Wellsboro, PA when he enrolled as a Union Army Officer. He served in the Civil War as Captain and commander of Company A of the 149th PA Volunteer Infantry. During the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, he was stationed along Chambersburg Pike north of the McPherson Farm. His unit under artillery fire from the Confederate batteries on Herr Ridge, and was struck by a round, which killed him as well as Private Edwin D. Dimmick and Corporal Nathan H. Wilcox.

Letter – William Garner, 30 March 1863


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Letter written by Sergeant William A. Garner of Company G, 10th TN Infantry, U.S.A., to Mr. James W. Waldren and family, from Camp Spear in Nashville, TN. Garner, a Union soldier, is writing to friends and updating them on general war news as well as news from his hometown of Pulaski, TN. He offers to find out whether the 21st OH was involved in the battle at Stones River. The Confederates conscripted everyone who was obligated to military service, and all the prisoners at Fort Donelson who took an oath were forced back into the Confederate army. He writes that Captain Julian was killed near Columbia, TN while skirmishing with Confederate troops. Louis Kirk, a captain in the Confederate army, was killed near Franklin. Garner mentions that no African American troops, or “recruits of color,” have been raised in Tennessee, but he hopes that will change.

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Camp Spear, Nashville, Tenn

March the 30th 1863

Mr. James W. Waldren & Famalie [Family]

My Dear Friends

     It is with a degree of the most delightful pleasure that I avail myself of the present opportunity to drop you a few lines in return for the affectionate letter that I have just received from you bearing date of the 22[nd] of this inst. Indeed, it affords me much pleasure to receive intelligence from a friend or friends that has ever been ready and willing to give me help in time of need. I am very glad to learn that you are all well, and prouder to learn that Mrs. Waldren is in very good health. I can just state in return that my health is very good, and a great deal better than when you last saw it. The boys are all well, and as fat as pigs. Capt. Gillespie is in front. His lady is in the city as yet. I do not know whether or not the 21[st] Ohio was in the battle at Stones River. I will try to learn by the next letter. I held a conversation with Mr. Rankin of Pulaski a few days ago, and he had just seen his lady a short time before, who still resides in Pulaski. And she had given him the following statements.

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1. The Rebs have conscripted all persons that were obligated to military duty. J. R. Childers was selling sole leather at $1.50 per lb. George McGrew had bought out the town principally, and was doing a big business. All of those Fort Donelson  prisoners had taken the oath had been forced back into the Rebel army. I could learn nothing of Mr. Pillow. Mrs. Ranking will be here in a few days, and then I will write you more. I know no more now. Capt. Julian was killed near Columbia, Tenn, while skirmishing with the Rebs on the 19th, and he was a brave man. Louis Kirk was killed near Franklin in a battle that was fought there. He was a captain in the Confederate Army. There are no recruits of color being raised in this state as yet, though I hope that there will be. It a very dark hour in this department now. Our Tenn. boys are the very boys that can whip the Rebs. We expect to get our pay tomorrow, if we are not disappointed as we have been before. There is 4 months’ due us. My babe departed this life on the 7[th] of this inst. I will close by saying to you write soon and give all of the news.

                        William A. Garner

William A. Garner, of Pulaski, TN enlisted as a sergeant in Co. G, 10th Tenn. Infantry (U.S.A.) ca. April 1, 1863. This regiment served as garrison troops at Nashville, then later guarded the line of railroads at Bridgeport, AL On March 8, 1864 Garner joined Co. I, 2nd TN Mounted Infantry (U.S.A.) as its captain. He enrolled for one year, and was mustered out June 17, 1865.