Letter – Thomas Jackson, 8 May 1863


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Letter written by Major Thomas Klugh Jackson, C.S.A., to his fiancée Lucy Reavis of Gainesville, AL, from Jackson, MS. Jackson expresses his love for Lucy, and writes of how he longs for the day when they may see each other again. He writes that General Pemberton detained him to assist his Chief of Subsistence. Jackson is unhappy with this position, and hopes that he will be reassigned soon. He mentions a Dr. Whitfield bringing sick men up from Vicksburg, and that the doctor is in high hopes concerning the city. Jackson has heard rumors concerning the movements of General Beauregard, and the possible assassination of General Van Dorn. Jackson desires to set a wedding date, but his military duties make planning in advance difficult.

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No 1.

Jackson Miss:

May 8. 1863

I devote the first unoccupied moment to you my love. Every thought is yours, & every instant increases the liveliness of my regard. When I parted with you, whom I love so so tenderly, so unselfishly & so entirely, the wide world seemed like a wilderness, devoid of sun, verdure & flowers, and my heart was filled with a wretchedness that only my perfect confidence in your truth, your constancy & your love, could soften – Dear Lucy, will you not accept this unreserved confidence as assurance of my own love and fidelity? Oh! believe me dearest, all my hope of future joys is centered in the pure love

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I bear you, & to it alone must be ascribed whatever of good may radiate from me in the future.

I scarcely knew the extent & depth of my love until called upon to separate from you, and the dearest employment I have, is in thinking of the time when I shall see you again, behold your radiant smile, & listen to the sweet tones of your voice – how soon that may be, I cannot say; it may be in a few weeks, & again many long months may elapse, in these perilous times, before that joyful occasion – I can only hope that the time may be short – ‘Tis sweet to hope, & I shall cherish the inspiriting consolation now, with a liveliness never before felt.

You will be surprise that I address you from Jackson – the fruitful wit of Mr Dobb would, perhaps, pro=

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=nounce this a real Jackson letter – I am surprised myself, and Capt. Williams will win his bet after all, for I shall not go to Grenada – not at present at all events – General Pemberton having detained me here to assist his Chief of Subsistence.

The arrangement does not suit me at all, & I frankly told them so – I would much prefer to have a Dėpôt, & have been assured, that after the present pressure on the Department, occasioned by the sudden arrival of reinforcements, is abated, I shall be assigned to some more agreeable & satisfactory post.

There is great activity here, & there dust & bustle always beyond endurance – I must have been born for a quiet life, for I feel as if I never could get settled again.

Important developments are looked

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for in the next few days – And attack on Big Black, & a raid upon this place about the same time, are expected – everything is being done to meet them – Although much excitement prevails among non-combattants, the people are aroused, & those in authority are calm & confident.

I saw Dr. Whitefield yesterday – He came up from Vicksburg with some sick – He seems pleased with affairs at V. & in high hopes.

General Pemberton is there. Our Army is gaining strength every day.

I have heard a rumor that Gen’l Beauregard was coming here, but I do not credit it. It is reported today that Gen’l Van Dorn has been assassinated – no particulars given, I sincerely regret leaving Gainesville without telling

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your Aunt Carrie goodbye – I fully intended calling on her for that purpose, but was so much annoyed by McMahon’s putting off his settlement with me until the very last moment, that I forgot all about it – Be good enough dear Lucy, to explain this to her, & express my regrets – I enclose a little note for your mother, which you can read – I hope you had a pleasant visit in Greensboro – you must tell me all about it.

I desired to say something to you about one prospective marriage – you regard it as prospective, do you not? – but scarcely know what to say – If the times corresponded with my wishes, I could desire it to take place immediately, but I fear that such a step would be impracticable, as well as inadvisable

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this summer, for my movements are necessarily uncertain in the present unsettled state of affairs – I have thought however, that by next Fall we may see the dawn of brighter prospects, & then my dearest hopes might be fulfilled, & my happiness complete. My wishes in all respects, in this matter, dear Lucy, are subordinate to yours, & however impatient I may be for the accomplishment of this dawning glory of my life, I trust I shall submit with becoming cheerfulness to whatever you think best. You see I write to you very frankly, my love, and I will regard it as a great favor if you will express yourself on the subject with like frankness. It is now quite late, & I must say good night – Give my love to yr Father & Mother & all those you & I hold dear –

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Good night my own sweet Lucy, & may the perpetual smiles of Heaven shine around.

Ever yours,

Thos K Jackson

Miss L. Reavis

Gainesville Ala.

P.S. I shall number my letters so that you may know if you receive them all, & I suggest the same plan to you

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.