Jackson (Thomas J.) Papers, 1862-1863, 3 Items

Administrative Information

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Copyright: The copyright of these letters is held by Navarro College Archives, Navarro College, 3200 W. 7th Ave., Corsicana, Texas. Internet: archives@navarrocollege.edu.

Cite As:Thomas J. Jackson Papers, 1862-1863, Pearce Civil War Collection, Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas

Forms Part of: Pearce Civil War Collection

Location: 1-S11

Transcription(s): Yes

Scanned Copies on File: No

Accession Number: 1994.014; 2000.014; 2002.304

Processed by: Emily Brickhouse, October 2003

Reproductions of original materials and transcriptions may be available. Please contact the archivist for further information.

Abstract: Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson wrote two letters in the spring of 1862. The first letter (April 29, 1862; 2 quarto pages) written from Swift Run Gap is a recommendation to promote Lt. Col. John R. Jones to Brigadier General. The second letter (May 14, 1862; 1 quarto page) is an order addressed to Col. Turner Ashby directing his command destroy the Manassas Gap Railroad. The third item in the collection is a letter forwarded to Jackson from the 25th Virginia Infantry, Company I protesting the addition of a man to the company (March 13, 1863; 2 pages).

Biographical/Historical Sketch

Thomas Jonathan Jackson was born January 21, 1824 in Clarksburg, Virginia. He graduated from West Point in 1846 and became a professor at Virginia Military Institute. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Jackson left VMI, was given a commission as Colonel in the Confederate Army, and sent to a command in Harper’s Ferry. Jackson was promoted to Brigadier General on June 17, 1861; Major General on October 7, 1861; and Lieutenant General on October 10, 1862. Jackson commanded at First Manassas where he received the name “Stonewall” and among other distinctions directed a campaign in the Shenandoah Valley from March to June of 1862. Engagements during that time included: Kernstown (March 23), McDowell (May 8), Front Royal (May 23), Winchester (May 25), Cross Keys (June 8) and Port Republic (June 9). Jackson was prominent during the Antietam Campaign and Fredericksburg. Jackson was wounded during the battle at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863 by his own soldiers while scouting. He died eight days later in Guinea’s Station while recovering from his wound in Thomas C. Chandler’s Farm Office Building.

Scope and Content Note

The first letter in the collection, dated April 29, 1862 is addressed to “Hon. G.W. Randolph” the Confederate Secretary of War. The letter is a request to promote Colonel John R. Jones to Brigadier General. Jones was born March 12, 1827 at Harrisonburg, Virginia. He enlisted as a captain into the 33rd Virginia Infantry on June 22, 1861 and was transferred the next day to a Field and Staff position. On August 21, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Jones received the promotion to Brigadier General requested for him on June 23, 1862. Jones survived the war and died in Harrisonburg on April 1, 1901. In the letter, Jackson cited examples of Jones’ leadership abilities. “…recently when a band of insurgents assembled near this place, and threatened to become formidable unless speedily put down, I selected Lt. Col. Jones as the commander of the expedition in consequence of my high appreciation of his qualifications, and he discharged the trust entirely to my satisfaction; by breaking up the organization and capturing a number of the party.” The incident to which Jackson referred to occurred in the second week of April, 1862 while Jackson’s army was camped at Rude’s Hill, Virginia. Recent Confederate legislation disbanded militia forces and ordered the men to join the volunteer army. To sixty members of the Virginia militia, conscription was an illegal measure and they fled to the wilderness around Swift Gap Run in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Jackson, an enthusiastic supporter of the legislation and new conscription laws (his army was increased to 6,000 men after the measures were passed), sent four companies of infantry, one cavalry company, and two pieces of artillery after the militia men. Jones was put in command of the posse and located the men in a wooded area and shelled the group. One man was killed and twelve quickly surrendered. Another letter, written May 14, 1862, was sent to Colonel Turner Ashby. Ashby commanded a cavalry brigade and received orders from Jackson to proceed with cavalry attached to General R.S. Ewell’s command and destroy the Manassas Gap Railroad. Jackson had received intelligence that General Nathanial Banks was headed with his army to Fredericksburg. The letter was written during Jackson’s Valley Campaign. The campaign was conducted in an attempt to prevent Union forces (three armies commanded by Charles Fremont, Nathanial Banks, and Irvin McDowell) from reinforcing General George McClellan’s army on the Virginia peninsula. Jackson wrote in part, “Maj. Genl. R.S. Ewell is of the opinion that Banks is on his way to Fredericksburg. If Banks is thus moving, it is important to destroy as far as practicable the Manassas Gap R.R. and I here suggested the propriety of sending yours and his cavalry forward for this purpose. If you believe that you can effect the object I hope that you will take steps at once for accomplishing this very deserable object.” Turner Ashby was a diehard Confederate. In the first months of the war, his brother, Robert was killed by Union soldiers and Ashby’s sole purpose in fighting was to gain revenge. After completing the task assigned to him by Jackson Ashby was promoted to Brigadier General. He was killed a two weeks later at Cross Keys, Virginia on June 6, 1862. The final letter in the collection was written March 13, 1863. The letter is written by First Lt. C.S. Gammon of the 25th Virginia Infantry, Company I. The letter was signed by several members in the company and then forwarded to higher officers. The letter is a request to deny the conscription of James Jackson into the company. According to the letter, Jackson “In the early part of the war, he became disloyal to the South, and as we learn, was a scout & spy for the enemy. One thing we do know, that he was with the enemy, and aided in Capturing & removing citizens. Of the foregoing county, and has was taken prisoner sometime last fall and confined in Jail at Warm Springs, and broke Jail. He afterwards was with the enemy at a time when two members of Co “I” 25th Va Regt was taken prisoners and he often [bankd] them with Columbus Ohio, and was one of the Guards that removed them from Pocahontas when they were sick, to the County town of Beverly in Randolph County… but the men, who know him well, and have heard so much of his conduct to their friends in Pocahontas, refuse to sevre let him serve in the Company.” The letter was then forwarded to Lt. Col. I.C. Higginbottom, commander of the 25th Virginia who signed it and sent it to a higher authority. The letter was then signed by Brigadier General J.R. Jones commander of the brigade, Major General I.R. Trimble, division commander and finally Lieutenant General Jackson and General Robert E. Lee’s staff officer R.H. Chilton. The letter was approved by the chain of command. James Jackson was sent to Richmond and assigned on January 22. 1864 to the 1st Virginia Battalion, company D. Jackson was listed as a POW on April 3, 1865 at Petersburg, confined on April 15th at Hart’s Island, New York and took an Oath of Allegiance to the Union on June 21, 1865.

The copyright of these materials is managed by the Navarro College Archives on behalf of the Navarro College Foundation, 3100 W. Collin St., Corsicana, Texas 75110. Phone: 903-875-7438. Internet: archives@navarrocollege.edu.