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.
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
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
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
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.