Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his wife Lucy Reavis from Gainesville, AL. Thomas writes that he had a pleasant journey home, and describes the recent weather conditions. He mentions seeing a few army friends in Demopolis and took tea at General Stephen D. Lee’s headquarters, although he did not see the general himself. He mentions meeting the brother in law of General James Longstreet, Colonel George Deas. Thomas updates his wife on her family and friends, including preparations by Lucy’s mother for a grand supper for the soldiers. General Robert E. Lee approved the resignation of Dr. McIvor, whose “services. . . have gone up-to the Confederacy.”
Office. July 20 1864.
I had an agreeable & quick passage home – The weather was fine, being quite a contrast to that we experienced going down –
Saw Major Butler & Capt Carpenter in Demopolis – they desired to be remembered to you – Butler said he was very sorry that we passed thro’ town without his knowledge, & hopes to have the pleasure of seeing you all during your visit in the “Canebrake.” I took tea at Gen’l Lee’s Hdqrs, & passed a very pleasant night in Meridian – Did not see the Gen’l, but met with quite a number of friends & acquaintances, among them Colo. George Deas – Brother-in-law to General Longstreet – It seemed like old times to see so many familiar faces – & in Camp too. Capt. Williams is at last established in Meridian – He was not there himself – having gone to Selma to assist in pushing forward supplies to Johnston’s Army – but Lewis did the honors of his office – I called for yr fan at Lauderdale, & much to my surprise & satisfaction the clever old land lady produced it intact, though having some signs of service under the administration of greasy hands.
You cannot think how glad I was to recover
it – not for its worth, but because you seemed to regret its loss. There was nobody at home when I arrived – Yr Mother & Mr Dobb were at the old hospital buildings preparing for the supper, which is to be given tomorrow night – & Miss Annie & Willie were spending the day at Dr Barret’s. I soon refreshed myself with a bath & clean clothes, & started to the hospital to see Yr Mother, but met her & Mr Dobb returning home
All are well at home, except Mary’s baby, which is, & has been very sick – The servants enquired very particularly after you, & seem anxious for yr return. Yr Father is well & in good spirits – He seems glad of my return, says it has been mighty lonesome – wanted to know why I did not bring you & Sis, & says you shan’t leave home any more. The storm that interfered with our comfort at Lauderdale was very violent here – the pontoon lumber down at the river, was scattered about in all directions, one plank striking a member of the guard (named Smith) so violently as to break his scull, & killing him instantly. The Hotel was not injured. tho’ a fair mark for its fury- I have had to write this note under many disadvantages, being constantly interrupted, which will explain its disconnected style. The Judge is going down to Linden next week – He starts on saturday & goes by way of Livingston
& will probably be in Demopolis on Sunday – I will write to you further on the subject, so that if you contemplate spending a day with Mrs Pool, you may be able to make it convenient to see him in Demopolis as he passes through. He thinks that as he will be dependent upon friends for conveyance to Linden he will not be able to go to Mr Minge’s to see you all
Yr Mother says there will be no Ice cream at the supper – all of McMahon’s having either melted or been disposed of, & she thinks it too expensive to procure it from Columbus – Mrs Lacy, subscribed custard &c for the supper, but after reflection wrote a note to yr mother, to say, that she had done all she felt able to do for the soldiers at the supper “superintended by her (yr mother’s) sisters” & begged that her name might be erased from the list. Funny wasn’t it? – Yr Aunt Carrie says Mrs L had arranged this little episode beforehand, I have not told you half I have to say, but must wait until tomorrow to write more – I am too busy, & so flustered that I scarcely know what I write – I think of you constantly & am happier & better from the [???] – I regard our connexion as the most fortunate circumstance of my life – nothing could compensate me for yr love – You are my good angel, & however wayward I may be my love is
all your own – I desire much love to Mr & Mrs Minge to dear Miss Mar Lou, & all the family, not forgetting Mrs & Miss Christian – the latter [???] Kathy – has in addition my wishes for the speedy recovery of her usual buoyant spirits – Tell her I saw her Mr Simpson in Meridian – he was looking well.
Sr. Mc Ivor – the son of a Baron, the Brother of a lord & marchioness – has resigned his commission in the Army – I saw him in Meridian – Genl Lee has approved his resignation & his “services,” as he expressed it, “have gone up to the Confederacy” – He has returned to this place to await further action on his resignation. I expect to express the palmetto to day – Yr Mother has not sent it down yet – I am waiting for it. I send much love to my dear little sister & hope she spent a pleasant time with her little friend – We have no Army news – Goodbye Darling
Entirely & most affectionately yrs.
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.