Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson: Autograph Letter Signed fro...
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DescriptionThomas 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.
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