Letter – Thomas Jackson, 30 July 1864


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Post-war letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson to his wife Lucy, from Cedar Bluff, AL. Thomas tells his wife that he has been writing “Proclamation Oaths” for Lucy’s father, who is a judge. Her father has also been working on an application for a “special pardon” for Thomas. The previous day’s paper contained information from the governor on how to apply for one, and how questions would need to be answered for a successful application. Thomas describes the recent weather conditions and how they have affected the crops. They are selling her mother’s cotton in town, for which her father “expects to receive from 20 to 22 cents in gold.” He also mentions a “tournament” held for the entertainment of the local young ladies and gentlemen, and that a friend offered to give him a few hunting dogs to train.

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Cedar Bluff,

Sunday, July 30. 1865.

My precious Wife,

I remained at home last night as I expected, and came up here this morning, bringing little Katy with me to see her mother. I was occupied part of the day yesterday writing off some “Proclamation Oaths” for yr Father, while he drew up my application for “special pardon”; he also prepared applications for a number of other parties – Mine is a master-piece, and, according to my judgement, makes a better showing than any I have seen. Carrie was some better last evening, though quite sick – and I regret I did not learn her condition this morning, for, having to come by the Farm, I forgot to do so. I sent Bettie’s letter to her yesterday by Dr Alexander, (wonder if Mrs Whiteside doesn’t wish she had married him?)

I shall commence sending your mothers cotton to town tomorrow, as the Judge wishes to dispose of it before his departure, & to expediate its delivery there, a wagon has been ordered from the prairie to assist. There are seventeen bales – The Judge expects to receive from 20 to 22 ct in gold for it, which, he says he will pack up with your Mother’s name marked upon it, and will lock it up in the iron safe.

Yesterdays paper, which was not received until

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late, contains a Proclamation by Gov. [missing], issued for the information & guidance of all those applying for “special pardon”, through him; and enumerating certain questions, which the applicant must answer satisfactorily, to insure a favorable consideration of his petition by the Governor – This entails an alteration in, or rather, a postscript added to, our applications – I shall, therefore, go to town Tuesday afternoon to attend to this correction in mine, and to see yr Father off on the following morning. I hope you will receive the letter I sent to you, by Express, yesterday. I discover that some rain fell here yesterday, but not sufficient to do the crop much good – a steady rain for some hours, would be of great service to the growing corn just now. To-day has been unusually cool and delightful, a fine breeze has been blowing all day long, with the sun partially obscured by light clouds.

As I rode from Warsaw Friday evening, I discovered quite a collection of ladies and gentlemen in the distance, whom, I have since concluded, had assembled to celebrate a “Tournament”, as this species of gentle, and joyous pastime, seems to be occupying the attention of the chivalric youths, and damsels fair, in the surrounding neighborhood. Had I been apprised of such an opportunity, I might have entered the lists & essayed a course in honor of her, who, whether

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present or absent, reigns sole queen of my heart.

Tomorrow I should ride out for the purpose of buying some bacon, for the use of this Farm, I hope to secure about 500 lbs @ 10 ct. I shall first apply to Old Mr Wm Little who, if he cannot supply me, may be able to direct my further search.

Yesterday while speaking of dogs in the presence of Mr [McNettly?], I expressed my predilection for pointers & setters, when he spoke up and said he had two or three superior full blooded English setters, which he would take great pleasure in letting me have, if I would train the two puppies & save one of them for him. I accepted the offer at once, and he promised to bring them up, about the 6th prox. when he brings the terrier for Mother.

You are not to be alarmed, for they shall not give you the least inconvenience. And now my precious Love, good night – Do I not love thee my precious one? Go ask the whispering breezes, whose name so oft as [???], is breathed upon their balmy flight. With holy blessings on your darling head, again good night.

Monday July 31, 1865, I have omitted to mention my dear Lucy, in these daily notes, that Major Beauchamp spent a couple of days in Gainesville last week – I met him a few miles from town as I came

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up the first time – He was looking quite [missing] usual, and said, he left his family well, [missing] had reached Macon without accident. Mr Rogers told me Saturday, the Major had failed to sell his house, owing to the exhorbitant price he demands – I did not see Mrs Pool or any of her family when I was down – The fact is, I was only at home early in the morning & at night.

I feel the want of some body to talk to up here; so that if you were here, I doubt if you would ever find any cause for complaint on that score. I started over to Old Bill Little’s this morning, after dispatching three wagons loaded with cotton to town, but before I got quite to his house I met one of his servants, who informed me the the Old Man had gone to Gainesville, so I shall have to goover in the morning – I met with quite a little adventure on the road near Old Mr Daniels, the details of which I must reserve for some future occasion, merely explaining now that I very innocently stumbled upon the rendezvous of a pair of lovers, & temporarily interrupted their assignation. On my return I rode through Warsaw to enjoy the only inviting thing I have, or wish to discover in that wretched place, viz: a cool drink of water. I also called at Mr Kirkland’s to take him to task about some rails he has been appropriating from your Father’s fences. He was not at home – but I shall find him – Last night & this forenoon have been quite cool, rendering outdoors exercises delicious & exhilerating.

I expect to go home tomorrow afternoon, when I shall finish & dispatch this note to you my Love

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.