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    War-Dated Letter by "Stonewall" Jackson: "What a blessed thought...to ever dwell in the presence of God"

    Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson Autograph Letter Signed "T. J. Jackson." Two pages, 5" x 7.75", Caroline County, Virginia, March 2, 1863. From December 1862 until March 1863, General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was at his winter headquarters as Moss Neck Manor, located 10 miles south of Fredericksburg, where three months earlier, he and the Army of Northern Virginia, who were outnumbered nearly two to one, scored a stunning victory over the Union Army of the Potomac. Finding some free time, he penned this letter to his former sister-in-law, Margaret Junkin Preston. His first wife, Elinor (Ellie) Junkin, had died nine years earlier from complications stemming from a hemorrhage suffered in childbirth after only fourteen months of marriage. In full:

    "My Dear Maggie, Your very welcome letter with that for Julia has been received. I will give special attention to seeing that hers is forwarded. The aging [?] of our dear Ellie, no mortal can estimate: but of one thing we are assured - she is one of the happy throng of the redeemed, which I hope that you and I will at God's own time be privileged to join. What a blessed thought! to be with the just made perfect, where there are songs of everlasting rejoicing. to be with the celestial host, to ever dwell in the presence of God, where no sin can enter, where only happiness exists. to be like unto the glorified Redeemer. to love what eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man to conceive. When we think upon these things truly the cup of blessedness runs over. I am much obliged to you for your congratulations. Anna writes very cheering accounts of the little darling. Your affectionate brother."

    Three years after the death of his wife, Jackson married Mary Anna Morrison. His new wife gave birth to a daughter in 1858, but the child only lived for one month. In November 1862, Anna gave birth to a second child, Julia Laura Jackson, "the little darling" to whom he makes reference.

    Jackson, as is evident in the letter, was a deeply religious man. A devout Presbyterian, his religious faith was bordering on fanatical and dominated every facet of his life, including combat. Believing his fate to be entirely in the hands of God, he was without fear on the battlefield and he expected the same from his men, oftentimes showing intolerance to those who showed any hint of frailty.

    Two months to the day after writing this letter, Jackson was returning to camp during the Battle of Chancellorsville under cover of night. Mistaken for Union cavalry, men of the 18th North Carolina fired two volleys, hitting Jackson twice in the left arm and once in the right hand and killing several members of his staff. He was taken to the plantation office of Thomas C. Chandler where his left arm was amputated. He seemed to be recovering, but several days later he began to complain of soreness of the chest. On May 10, 1862, the general died of complications from pneumonia.

    Margaret "Maggie" Preston (1820-1897) was an author and poet who was married to Lieutenant Colonel John Preston, adjutant-general on the staff of Stonewall Jackson. Her first book, "Silverwood, a Book of Memories," was published anonymously in 1856. After the war, her husband returned to teaching at the Virginia Military Institute and she continued publishing her work.

    With a 4" x 6" postcard featuring a portrait of Jackson by William Garl Brown based on a photograph by Nathaniel Routzahn. Smoothed folds. The ink is heavy and blotted in places causing some bleed-through and slight smudging of Jackson's signature though it remains clearly legible. Left edge is unevenly torn.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
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