Letter written by Lucy Reavis Jackson to her husband, Major Thomas K. Jackson, C.S.A., from Gainesville, AL. Lucy updates Thomas on her family, and recounts their night filled with piano music and games. She mentions seeing the commander of the post, Captain Guibor, at church, and writes about the arrival of the Quartermaster, Captain Thornton. Lucy mentions several upcoming weddings. She describes the fine weather, and how her mother has been gardening. She also writes of how her brother brought “the itch” (likely epidemic scabies) with him when he returned from Virginia. Lucy is somewhat envious of a friend of hers who is travelling to Macon soon, though she expects her friend will get lonely on the trip.
Gainesville February 1st 1864 –
Do you remember the old saying dear Major, that we are apt to do often in the month what we do the first day? I have begun bravely you see – writing to you on this first day – Again I have left the parlor for this purpose – Captain Williams & Pa were playing Euchre, with uncle John & Mar Lou as opponents. I hear Nannie laughing at some of Mr Dobb’s witticisms – They seem to be very friendly to-night, rested on the sofa together [???] sits at the piano & I hear her now singing “here’s a heart for any fate” – Poor Ma is in bed & I am sitting near her writing to him I love, above all things – If you were only here this morning – Do you know, Sunday morning I could not help watching the cars, thinking you might possibly come – Mar Lou has decided to go down on the boat Friday week – I said I would rather you would not make us another visit until after her departure, but I cannot wait so long, do come this week if you can. I am so anxious to see you. Mrs Beauchamp was here this morning, told me I’d better write to you by the servant who goes up to-morrow – his wife is over at her house – She told me they asked him if he knew you & he said yes, that you were coming down the latter part of this week, if your wife got home – and she is at home & wants to see you dreadfully – I wonder if you think as often & fondly of me, as I do of you – The Commander of the Post was at Church, with uncle John, Sunday. He is quite gray and has a wife and family in Missouri – He is Dutch, or something, Capt Guibor – The Quarter-Master, Capt Thornton entered on his duties to-day, his daughter has been acting as his clerk & is the only one her brought with him – The Captain says he told him, he had a number of horses in Greene – & his daughters could not attend to them, “Well,” the old gentleman said, he “must try to get somebody” – then – “said the Captain some one must receive the tythe of corn, fodder &c – & yr daughter can
not see to that” The old fellow became quite perplexed & thought he must hunt up some other clerk to attend to that – They board at Mr Bradshaw’s – The daughter was at church, seems to be quite a nice young lady, about my age – but there is a very rude son – We met him this afternoon & thought he would never tire of staring at us – He will not remain long I believe – You see, they are taking all of our young men away & putting these old, married men here, I regret it so much. Am afraid my friends will have a dull time when they come to see me. The ex Commander – Col McFarland – I understand is to be married shortly & Miss Lizzie B- is going to the wedding – That reminds me that there are to be two marriages near town to-morrow – Miss [???], a refugee is to marry Mr Luckett another refugee, both from Miss. and the other – guess who the bride-groom is______ Old Mr Holloway to Miss Horn, a young girl – She must be marrying to have some one to provide for her – Pa says he met him last week, returning from Livingston with his license, and his face looked like a full moon in Indian Summer, just as round and red. Ma has just roused up sufficiently to send you a long message – First, her best love & she was delighted with your letter, because it is so sweet & affectionate – Every thing in it is charming, save the allusion to taking me to Macon. that she thinks dreadful & almost worse than she can stand – She is much better to-day tho’ still in bed – says she took advantage of the fine weather & planted a number of Irish potatoes, peas &c – She had a nice time until she was attacked by her old enemy the [???] looking after the destruction Mr Chapman left behind him, at Cedar Bluff – Don’t that sound like her? She wants me to go on and tell you about the fences being down – how many young calves & pigs were there &c – but I shant do it – She was delighted with one thing she saw – a sheep with three little lambs – I wish they all had
as many – If the war goes on, we would have a plenty of wool.
Your old friend Mrs Anderson was at the Chapel, Sunday afternoon – She goes to her own Church in the morning & down there in the evening – looks quite sad & badly – Mar Lou & I went to the poor Drs grave this evening – Judge Pierce asked me, if the body had been buried thought Mrs A- would have let him know, so that he might attend-
We are all in a peck of trouble now – Did you know that Reavis had the itch when he came home from Virginia? Isn’t it horrid? I hate to mention it- Well, he has gotten well – but Mammy Lucinda comes up today & shows Ma her arms, just covered with it – & she has been dressing Willie & waiting on Ma all the time – We are in fear & trembling that Will will have it & then of course all of us will – for he is such a little body, that he will make us fondle him – Wouldn’t it be dreadful? I had rather anything else almost – Ma was laughing to-day at the idea of Reavis’ going to see his sweet-heart in that condition – Mit has been shut up in her room all day, with dreadfully inflamed yes, which she caught from Reav – He always brings something bad with him, when he returns from his trips, so to-day as he was going to Mobile, we begged him not to return with the Small pox —- Mrs Beauchamp was very much pleased, when I told her you were having a fine time in Macon – She longs to be there herself and is going up in about two weeks. I shall envy her I expect but I feel mighty sorry for her, she must be so lonesome all day by herself – without any books to read or anything – If it were me – it would me no difference, for my pleasantest moments are those spent in thinking of my absent Darling – I wrote you quite a lengthy epistle Saturday night, which of course you have received before this – You will be surprised when this letter is given you I expect Captain Williams says he hopes will come down before
he leaves – I think it will be the last of the week – Major Jackson I think Pa is so funny – He speaks of Captain Williams as though he were not particularly fond of him, but when he comes up, he seems to be delighted to see him & welcome him much more cordially than he ever did you. In fact he seems to look forward to his coming with something of Mitties pleasure – Aunt Mona sends much love to you so do all at uncle John’s – They are well, except aunt Callie –
Well my Dearest, I have talked on at a great rate – I have tired you with my nonsense, no doubt – but I love you so dearly, that my greatest pleasure is in writing, when I can not see you – Congratulate me – (or yourself) I have finished “the contract” the six pair of socks – am almost sorry, for it is very pleasant to have something to do for my dear one – Good-night – & pleasant dreams – Write soon to
Your love Wife-
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.