Letter written by Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., to his wife Lucy Reavis Jackson from Gainesville, AL. Thomas tells his wife that he is writing the letter early in the day, so that he may finish work before the intolerably hot weather sets in. He updates Lucy on recent social events and the current affairs of their friends and family at home in Gainesville. Lucy’s mother is still at work preparing a grand supper. Thomas also describes a controversy between two family friends and demonstrated “ill breeding” in one of the young women involved, over an Ice Cream Social. Thomas is planning on seeing Lucy the following week in Farmsdale, and expresses his deep love for his wife.
Office, July 21, 1864,
My precious Wife,
I have come down early this morning so as to write to you & finish my work before the heat sets in & renders the least exertion intolerable, Mrs F. Bell dined with us yesterday – Says she had to send sister’s bonnet to Livingston to be fixed – no doubt it will be a real “love of a bonnet” when it comes home.
Mrs Bell is very amiable & sweet, & I like her more & more every day – She has partly moved from town – to her plantation I believe – She says the Misses Herndon & Rhodes are visiting near macon Station – I presume Sis saw them – The Judge told me last night that he expected to be in Demopolis next Sunday – the 24th, So if you should happen to be visiting Mrs Pool at that time you would have an opportunity of seeing him – I merely mention this incidentally – He does not expect to meet you there, & it is not supposed that you alter any of your plans to do so, Yr mother & Mr Dobb are wonderfully busy today about “The Supper”- Only think ! they are to have six nice
roast pigs, & pine coffee – My change begins to burn my pocket already – though I rarely enjoy a supper, (I mean I do not eat with much relish) on such occasions – I am so sorry you all are not here to enjoy the good things to be presented at the entertainment. Mrs O’Neal goes down to Lauderdale to day with various articles of comfort for the sick and wounded there – and good old Mrs Bradshaw is preparing to journey on a similar errand soon. They are in some better spirits about John & have reasons to hope his situation is not so doubtful as at first supposed. Lt. Winston has been here – says he saw John, that his hurt was a flesh wound & by no means regarded as mortal – He thinks John fell into kind hands & believes he is doing well, the family, of course, feel much relieved by even this slight ground of hope,
Mrs Bell & Mrs Van de Graaf took an airing together yesterday evening – I felt gratified to think they had probably compounded their differences & were on good terms again – I like them both too well not to feel some uneasiness at any unpleasantness between them.
The Williamsons are here, and the unpleasant affair which grew out of the Ice-Cream Supper some time since, seems to increase in warmth & bitterness, and receives acrimonious accessions
from the most unexpected sources – What do you think of Miss Kittie’s telling the Williamson at Kemper that she heard here, they only notified Mrs Lacy of an intended visit to her, to prevent Miss Kitties visiting them at Kemper? I was surprised, & shocked, & hurt when I heard it – & regard it as a most uncalled for exhibition of ill breeding on the part of Miss Kittie – I cannot look, with any degree of complaisancy, upon such gratuitous talking, such a trespass upon good breeding, in anyone, let alone one, who has been treated with so much kindness – indeed – as a member of our family for the past year,
Whoever made the remark, did so in suggestive manner, & I for one believe the inference fair & natural, Miss Mag Williamson called upon yr mother the other day to inquire who made the insinuation, & said Miss Kittie had referred her to Sister – I know nothing further about the interview, but expect they had quite a round – Yr mother, I am sure was firm & dignified; & when required to speak, did so with her usual perspicuity, terseness, and firm decision, For my part, I do not intend to permit the affair to disturb my equanimity in the least, & shall treat whatever they choose to say about me with the contempt it deserves. & I am convinced, that their malicious attempts
made to mortify you, by the circulation of rumors about me, will recoil with ten fold fury upon some of their heads.
Miss Annie played a good while for me last night – I think her execution of some pieces very good – She played the Anvil Chorus twice for me – She talked a good deal about you, & her expressions were of the most complimentary character – so much so, that she quite won me over, & I am ready to stand by her, & admit that she can not only be agreeable, but even entertaining.
I expect to go for you about next Monday week, & will arrive at Farmsdale on Tuesday the 2nd of August, If any alteration is made in this plan I will advise you – And if the arrangement does not suit you – you must tell me so without reserve, for I am only too happy to do whatever will contribute to your pleasure.
My heart is over flowing with love for you, whom I regard as my good angel – & that the good God, may constantly bless & guard you, is my constant prayer
I send much love to Mr & Mrs Minge, to my charming Miss Mar Lou & all the family – Kiss my sweet little Sister for me & tell her – that her Brother loves her very dearly – Yr Mother
-Page 1, Crosswritten-
& all at home send much love to you – Yr name is never mentioned but with the tenderest affection,
The African potato vine has reached the top of the tallest pole – Indeed I think it has set out for an excursion to Guinea
yr fond & devoted Husband
-Page 4, Note –
I sent the palmetto by express yesterday
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.