Letter – Lucy Reavis, 15 May 1863


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Letter written by Lucy Reavis of Gainesville, AL, to her fiancé Major Thomas K. Jackson in Jackson, MS. Reavis expresses how much she misses Jackson, and talks about visiting family friends to keep her mind occupied. She describes a dream she had in which the Yankees had formed a plan to overthrow the Confederate army, and her disclosure of this information to the president led to a great victory and a promotion for Major Jackson. Reavis laments the death of General Stonewall Jackson at the hands of his own men, and mentions that General Johnston is currently in Vicksburg. She describes everyday life in Gainesville, including relationships, engagements, and church. Reavis is determined not to reply to Jackson’s wish to marry soon, as she wouldn’t see him any more frequently than she does now.

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No 1-

Gainesville, May 15th 1863

You cannot think, my dear Major Jackson how delighted I was yesterday, when Alfred brought me your letter- It was quite a disappointment to me to find none awaiting my return from Greensboro- but I was sure you must have written. Your letter was just like your dear, good self, and I believe makes me want to see you more than ever – We all miss you terribly and I so much, that I do not intend to remain at home many days at a time –

Although we only reached home Wednesday evening I am going to Mr Giles on Monday – Ma is at “Cedar Bluff” and Pa will be at court, so I must go some where or do something in self-defense – I hardly know what to tell Mr Giles, when he asks me about our engagement. You know he begged me to make no rash promises until he had had a long conversation with me on the subject- But I am not afraid – think I can prove to him satisfactorily that there is but one Major Jackson in the world. and when he knows you, he

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will not wonder at my great love for you – I am so glad Major Jackson that you have such perfect confidence in me. and assure you that I will strive ever to be deserving of it. Nothing gives me pleasure if you disapprove of it-

Ma and I went up to see Mrs Whitesid the evening before starting on our little trip. I thought she might like to send a message or letter to Willie – As usual, she was arranging flowers in Lizzie’s hair- and informed me that it was for the purpose of making an impression on the new Commissaries – They are to take their meals at Mr Bradshaw’s – Mrs W- was quite disconsolate, said she could scarcely refrain from tears – either when you left or when she thought of your cruel desertion of us. (Of her, she means) She asked me to tell you, when I wrote that she had lost her appetite & enjoyment of everything – even her flowers were neglected- I told her to write it herself, but she replied right pitifully – as the darkeys say, “he didn’t ask me to write to him” – I am not romancing, or adding a single word – Ma’s sympathies were so deeply aroused, that all the way coming home she was persuading me to write & tell you to

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love Mrs W – instead of me – But I refused positively- she ought not to have loved you first. Lizzie Bradshaw made her so mad, she said she could scarcely keep from calling her some bad name, when she teased her about Dr. Stuart- She begged me never to speak of it- if I did she’d be my mortal enemy, in spite of her great regard for you.

We had a delightful time over at the Council – There was a great number of the clergy there, and still more lay members – the first day, as I sat in Church, looking around at the new benches &c & feeling a perfect stranger, in a strange place, who do you think I saw, come in? I was so pleased dont think my heart could have made such a bound at the appearance of any one else but yourself – It was Mar Lou- I went immediately & sat by her – Every body laughed when she jumped up & kissed me in the most delighted manner. We had a charming time together and of course she insisted that I should go home with her, as did her father & my other friends from the [Cane?] Brake. But I resisted, because I wanted to come home & hear from you. Dont you think that was a great proof of my affection for you? I had

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such a funny dream about you, while I was over there. thought that the Yankees had formed a most beautiful plot for the overthrow of our army. that I discovered & disclosed it to the President Consequently we gained a perfect & glorious victory – As it was owing in a measure to me, the President proposed doing me some kindness & suggested that he should bestow some command on you, which he cheerfully did, saying if you were gallant & brave, you should be made a General. Was that not curious? The last thing in the world I should ask, for I’d be perfectly wretched the whole time, fearing that some harm might befall you. Isn’t it too bad that our other great Jackson was killed? and by his own men they say. Who do you suppose will or can fill his place? Pa thinks we lost more than we gained in that last battle- I dont believe the war is ever to end – I suppose Genl Johnston is now in Vicksburg we travelled with some soldiers who came as far as Selma with him-

You cannot think Major, how mortified Bettie Pierce is at the Captain’s treatments. We spent a day in Eutaw on our return & she told me that he was there three days, visiting & riding with Miss Rhoda

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and others & did not go near her until the last day when he knew she was not at home – Wasn’t it wrong? She declares she had nothing to do either with that report or the one that is now much talked of in regard to Uncle John. When she talks to me I believe every word she says, but afterwards it does not seem true – I wish I knew whether she is like her brother in that respect, or not – She wanted to know what was the matter with Mattie, Bro had written & complained to her of Mattie’s profound silence – I had a long letter from my sweet little Sister when I returned, she was in the highest spirits & her heart overflowing with love towards both you & me, because I had written her all that had passed between us She says, she does not object to my caring some, for you, but I must promise to love her best – Which do you think I ought to care most for? Harriet Colgin told me all about her engagement & showed me the Dr’s picture – & some of his letters. I wonder if it is right for girls to show these letters. Mr [???] & a great many persons were at the council, from Tuscaloosa – I wish you had been with us – The ministers all dressed in their pure white surplices, really looked beautiful, when they’d

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come in & kneel around the church. They have an excellent organ & good choir also – Mr Dobb did not pass his examination, at least not to the Bishop’s satisfaction, so he was not ordained. I am right glad, for I would not like for him to administer the Holy Communion – I do not think I should feel right. His constant amusement is talking to me of you – Hee firmly believes that we are to marry in July, and I do not undeceive him. Did I not tell you, that I would not reply to that part of your letter, if you said anything on this subject? Would I see anymore of you if were to marry this Fall? Don’t ask me what my wishes are on the subject, I have but one, to please you in all things.

Aunt Carlie was highly gratified at your message, said she did not think you would ever remember her after you left. Marmie sends her love & says she intends writing to ask if she may see your letters – I would not show this one to her – You wrote Ma, a mighty nice note, I will give it to her when she returns – I am so afraid of writing too much, that I will not tell you how much I want to see you – Try to come soon, and until then, write as often as you can.


Lucy Reavis-

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.

Letter – Jesse Brock, 4 August 1862


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Letter written by Assistant Surgeon Jesse W. Brock of the 66th OH Infantry, to his siblings, from a camp near Washington Court House in Rappahannock County, VA. He describes the apprehension before facing Stonewall Jackson at the Battle of Cedar Mountain. He is unsure of how long they will remain in their current camp, though he expects a battle soon. Jackson is in Gordonsville and Brock expects his regiment will have to meet him before long. He expects that the impending battle will decide the fate of George B. McClellan’s army. Brock expresses the need for more men, and hopes that they will volunteer rather than be drafted. He also writes that the army has lost its “novelty,” and that he has made it “a business now.”

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Camp Near Washington Court House

                   Rappahannock Co., Va.

August 4, 1862

Dear Brother & Sister

I don’t know whether I wrote you the last letter or not. Perhaps not as I am always indebted to everybody in some manner – therefore [I] always feel safe in writing. I am in good health; never had better health in my life. I received a letter from Jim Packer giving me the general news of Flushing & vicinity. I am always glad to   hear from any old home, as I am interested in that direction. I wish you all would write more frequent as I am so situated that I can always

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write when I would wish to. We are in camp; have been since the 1st instant. don’t know how long we may remain here; not so long I presume as we are expecting a battle near this point soon. [Stonewall] Jackson is at Gordonsville with a large force. We will have to meet him & with what success future history alone will tell. We were encamped at Alexandria for about 3 weeks were ordered to Sperrysville, 6 miles from here. We are under Pope’s command. He has 134 regiments in the field. Formerly we were with the 3rd brigade, Gen. Tyler commanding. Yesterday we were ordered to report at Washington for the purpose of organizing another brigade. We are under the command of Gen. Geary, formerly

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Governor of Kansas. We didn’t like the change much, knowing that Tyler was a fighting man. I hope we may find the same kind of a man in Gen. Geary. The weather is very hot here; almost insufferable. But we have to stand it. We are anxious to have the present battle decided as it in a manner decides the fate of McClellan’s army. There is an uneasy sensation manifested in our troops concerning McClellan’s army. We need your 300,000 men immediately hope you will send them along, and that without drafting. I presume you will hate to part with your sons. But recollect others have sacrificed & you will become compelled to do the same. Let your

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young men pitch in & show their grit. Nothing like it when you once get used to it. The thing has lost its novelty to me. I make it a business now. My mate leaves me the 15th of this month; don’t know whether he will return or not. If possible I want you to meet me at Waightstown sometime in October. Perhaps I am too fast, but I shall try & come home for a few days. Don’t allow yourselves to be drafted, but show your hand & volunteer. This rebellion must be put down. I would like to hear from you soon. Tell me all about your affairs. How is George & that sweet little child. Tell him to send me her photograph. My love to your family & all my relatives & tell friends write soon.

                                  Your brother J.W. Brock


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J.W. Brock,

Asst. Surgeon 66th Regt. O.V.I.

Gen. Geary’s Brigade,

via Washington

Jesse W. Brock was mustered in as assistant surgeon on November 5, 1861. He was promoted to surgeon September 13, 1862, and was mustered out July 15, 1865. At Cedar Mountain, VA, August 9, 1862 the 66th OH lost 10 enlisted men killed, 4 officers and 77 enlisted men wounded, and 3 men captured, a total of 94 casualties from a an effective strength of about 250.

Letter – Rufus King, 27 July 1862


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Letter written by Brigadier General Rufus King to Colonel George D. Ruggles, Chief of Staff of the Army of Virginia, from the division headquarters in Fredericksburg, VA. King is writing to report to the headquarters of Major General John Pope on the reconnaissance march of General John Gibbon’s troops towards Orange Court House. King writes that Gibbon has already returned to the camp, and has reported that the forces of Confederate generals Beverly H. Robertson, Richard S. Ewell, and Stonewall Jackson are located near Orange Court House and Liberty Mills. King states that the Confederates were expecting an attack from Warrenton or Madison Court House, rather than Fredericksburg.

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Division Head Quarters

                               Fredericksburg, July 27,‘62

                                     11 A.M.

Col. Geo. D. Ruggles

Chief of Staff, Army of Virginia

Washington, D.C.


                  I telegraphed yesterday to Head Quarters the result, as far as ascertained, of our expedition in the direction of Orange Court House. The column bivouacked, last night, about 18 or 20 miles from here, and, early this morning, resumed its march for camp. The advance is now within a few miles of town. They have met with no casualties. I will transmit Gen. Gibbon’s detailed report of the movement, as soon as it is rendered.

              Gen. Gibbon himself   has this moment

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returned. He confirms substantially what I telegraphed, to wit: that Gen. Beverly H. Robertson, with two or three regiments of cavalry, is within a mile of Orange C. H.  Gen. Ewell, with a force of all arms, three miles beyond; and the rest of [Stonewall] Jackson’s forces stretched along for six miles towards Liberty Mills. The whole force is estimated at 25 to 30,000 men. They were anticipating an attack from the direction of Warrenton or Madison Court House, and did not expect an advance from this direction.

                                Very respectfully,

                                       Rufus King

                                          Brig. Gen. Cmdg.

General Rufus King, was the Union general who organized the famous Black Hat or Iron Brigade. In July of 1862 Gen. McDowell told King to “use every effort and employ all the means in your power to obtain… reliable information of the enemy at Louisa Court House and Gordonsville [OR’s 1-12-3-498].” King chose John Gibbon, now commander of the “Black Hat” brigade, for this mission. Gibbon was told to “ascertain what Confederate forces are at Orange Court House and Gordonsville.” Gibbon’s troops consisted of a detachment from the Iron Brigade (2nd, 6th, 7th Wisconsin Inf., Battery B, 4th U.S. Artillery) and several other units from King’s division (3rd Indiana Cavalry, and Co’s. A,C, 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters).