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John M. Jackson Letters

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Document Type: Autograph Letter

Author: John M. Jackson
Date: January 3, 1863
Place: Edwards Ferry, Maryland
To: Betsey Mower Jackson

Physical Description: Ink on paper; 4 pages (20 x 14 cm.) on 1 folded sheet

Number: MSN CW 5017-10

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Page 1      Images: 150 DPI100 DPI72 DPI

Edwards Ferry Md. Jan.3rd 1863.
My dear Mother.

     I will now thank you for the letter I received from you but I shall be obliged to do so hastily so you will pardon the writing.
     I was exceedingly glad, as I always am, to have a letter from you. Others may write long letters & express kind wishes but a letter from my mother reaches a different point from those of any one else. I think no one will dispute my right to love my mother better than any one else & if they do it will be useless.
     We are well situated here but we have to work pretty hard. we are on duty nearly every day.
     I do not have so much time to write as I have had all along & think you must be glad at home that I have not, by the way my letters passed in about Christmas.
     We have frequent alarms here & the rebels are reported to be near us but we have not been attacked at all as yet. I was on guard

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last night at the Col's. quarters [i.e., Colonel William Wirt Virgin, 23rd Maine Infantry]. some fifteen signal lights were thrown up back of us & a fire that appeared to be a signal fire was kept burning for a long time over in Virginia. I am expecting we may be attacked but I do not dread it as I expected I should.
     When we are alarmed in the night I shudde[r] to hear the boys swearing what they will do to the rebels & I feel sad when I think that to such men the battles of our country are entrusted. I wonder not that God does not grant us more victories but that with such men He allows us so many.
     My feelings are these, I awake & when I hear the order for every man to be ready at a moments warning, I pray to my Maker for strength & then I feel that "in God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid what man can do unto me" & "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes". I can then sleep sweetly trusting that I will be taken care of by Him without Whose permission not "a sparrow falleth to the ground."

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     I often see letters from the 23rd in the newpapers but most of them I should not mistrust the original if they did not say what Regt. it was. I also notice in stories rather queer labors laid down as being performed by different officers showing the writers to be quite military.
     There are but few with whom I converse but agree that the time we spend here is a total loss to us but I cannot see why it should be. the time that we are on picket we have nothing to do during the day only remain at our post where we can be ready in case of difficulty thus you see we have much time for reading (when we have the papers) & writing to our friends & during the night we have an excellent opportunity for reflection as we tread slowly backward & forward on some lonely road or by the side of the river. I hope I am learning somethings that will be of profit to me in after life. I sometimes get hold of an agricultural paper & learn something to aid me in that

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business to which I expect to devote the most of my life. I think much of my future prospects & try to lay plans by which I may successfully carry on those portions of farming for which I have the greatest like. I do not get nearly so much reading matter in the form of agricultural information & stories as I should like to but I get some & a little well digested is better a large confused mass. If you could hear the soldiers talk about being homesick you would have a different opinion of soldiering from what you have. to hear our great men tell about the honors & glories of the battlefield & the pleasures of camp life & all their other flummery. I hardly ever meet one from any Regt. that I think by their talk are as well contented as I am & still I expect that if I should be unwell I should be homesick at once. I do hope some measures will be devised to close this war soon it is costing so much money & so many lives & still we seem to come no nearer a settlement as I can see

Transcription last modified: 11 Nov 2004 at 11:05 AM EST

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