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    [Virginia Military Institute]. Confederate General Alfred E. Jackson Autograph Letter Signed "A. E. Jackson" with two additional related letters. Three integral pages, 7.75" x 9.75", Jonesboro [Tennessee], April 26, 1861. Writing to Robert M. McDowell nearly two weeks after the surrender of Fort Sumter and the opening of the Civil War, he begins by expressing his gratitude for McDowell's sympathies with regard to his son, Alfred Eugene Jackson, Jr., a cadet at the Virginia Military Institute. "It is true," he writes, "I had anticipated that the Corps of Cadets would be called into service if Virginia was threatened with invasion by the Lincoln government but supposed Col Smith would apprise the parents of Cadets before throwing them into active service. I am so devoted to the cause of the South that I am willing however that my sons may do battle for their country." He adds that he has offered his services and that of his other son, but "...Gov. [John] Letcher [of Virginia] has declined to present."

    Tennessee had not yet seceded (and was, in fact, the last of the Confederate states to do so) and Jackson relates rumors of a plan by Tennessee Senator Andrew Johnson to keep it so: "Senator Johnson, Lincolns Southern Ally, has returned home within the past few days (having remained at Washington City until the war policy was fully inaugurated) and I understand is urging an armed neutrality on the part of Tennessee, between the North & the South, and proposes to canvas the State in advocacy of this position...I look upon this as but an indirect method to strengthen Lincoln, and fetter the action of Tennessee in sending troops to the relief of the Seceding States...We will try and procure the best talent of the State to expose the fallacy & wickedness of this policy..."

    Having recently returned from a trip to North Carolina, he gleefully informs McDowell the people of that state have chosen the proper path, believing that "...all the Slave States should be united & should without delay prepare for the conflict with the common enemy." He continues: "Our Legislature convened yesterday and it is supposed will pass the ordinance of secession immediately without a convention and refer it directly to a vote of the people. Unless Johnson & his colleagues can revolutionize public sentiment it will be adopted...If this fails, I think our best population will leave the State to seek more congenial homes." Usual folds with light toning. Page three is damaged along the edge with some loss of paper and text, being repaired on the verso (the address leaf) with archival tape.

    Also included are two additional letters. The first, dated January 17, 1862, from Addie L. Jackson, daughter of Gen. Alfred E. Jackson, to Maggie McDowell, daughter of Robert M. McDowell, thanking her for the treatment that her brother Eugene received from she and her family while in Lexington, Virginia. After relating the sad news of her brother Nathaniel's death, she writes: "...this death is but one, of the many hearts sacrifice that this unholy war has caused be made, my daily prayer is for a speedy termination of this war...the North can never conquer the South; and why not let us depart in peace; without so much shedding of blood..." The second is undated, addressed to "Maggy" from her sister "M," expressing her wish to see her and the rest of the family together again.

    Alfred E. Jackson (1807-1889) enlisted as a major in the Confederate army on September 11, 1861, and served as a quartermaster to Gen. Felix Zollicoffer until the latter's death at Mill Springs (Kentucky, January 19, 1862). He was transferred to the staff of Gen. Kirby Smith and, on February 9, 1863, was promoted to brigadier general. Given command of a brigade, he spent the remainder of the war combating guerillas in eastern Tennessee and Kentucky and western Virginia and North Carolina. He and his brigade also saw action at the Battles of Telford's Station (September 8, 1863) and Blue Springs (Tennessee, October 10, 1863). Following his service in the Corps of Cadets, his son, Alfred E. Jackson, Jr. enlisted in Co. "G," 29th Tennessee Infantry, but died of disease and fatigue on March 6, 1862.

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