Skip to main content
Go to accessibility options


    Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson: Autograph Letter Signed from the Virginia Military Institute. One page, recto and verso, 7.75" x 9.75", Lexington, Virginia, October 12, 1852, addressed to "Truheart." Jackson accepted a position at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, in early 1851 when he agreed to serve as a Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and an Instructor of Artillery. While an instructor there in 1852, he wrote to "Truheart" and discussed a series of experiments recently performed by Mr. [Lawrence] Hale, a popular nineteenth-century hypnotist. It reads in part:

    "Your very kind letter has been received with the enclosed Land warrant...I suppose that you are aware of Mr. Harris a graduate of 1851 being here in Maj. Preston's Department. Major [John Thomas Lewis] Preston will soon leave for the west on business. During the past few days, we have been favored with a series of interesting experiments in Electro-Byology [sic] by a Mr. Hale. Our little Lecture room has been crowded so that one evening I suppose that the number equaled, if it did not surpass four hundred. Things here are going smoothly. Major Gilhelm's family has returned and is living in his new house. When ever you can spare a leisure moment, let me hear from you." Signed, "T. J. Jackson."

    Jackson served at the VMI until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. Despite a decade-long tenure, Jackson was not remembered as a popular instructor. A humorless disciplinarian, he favored the rote learning style of teaching and once had a cadet expelled for disrespect. (The cadet then challenged him to a duel, which Jackson duly ignored.) This behavior resulted in Jackson being the subject of many classroom pranks, and a group of alumni went so far as to petition to have him dismissed in 1856. The Major Preston mentioned above was one of the primary founders of the VMI and served as an aide-de-camp for Jackson during the war.

    The lot is accompanied by a carte de visite [CDV] portrait, which measures 2.25" x 4", and an engraving of Jackson from Johnson Fry & Co. LOA from PSA and a typed transcription also accompany the lot. Some minor, intermittent areas of soiling and toning with smoothed folds.

    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    23rd Monday
    Auction Dates
    11th-12th Saturday-Sunday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    125 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 42
    Auction Type
    Signature®:  Heritage Live®:After Internet bidding closes, live bidding will take place through Your secret maximum bid placed prior to the live event will compete against the live bids. To maximize your chances of winning, enter realistic secret maximum bids on our site. Many of our proxy bidders are successful at winning lots in these auctions, and usually below their secret maximum. You can also place last minute bids directly with us by e-mailing or calling 1-866-835-3243. (Important note: Due to software and Internet latency, live bids may not register in time, so enter realistic proxy bids.)

    Signature® Floor Sessions
    Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 7 days before the live session begins and continues through the session. During the live auction event, bidding in person is encouraged, and Heritage Live includes streaming audio and often video during the event.
    Track Item