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Manuscripts of the American Civil War
John M. Jackson Letters

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Document Type: Autograph Letter Signed

Author: John M. Jackson
Date: December 8, 1864
Place: A boat travelling up the James River, Virginia
To: Betsey Mower Jackson

Physical Description: Pencil on paper; 4 pages (20 x 13 cm.) on 1 folded sheet

Number: MSN CW 5017-42

(Please click on our Technical Details button at left
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Page 1      Images: 150 DPI100 DPI72 DPI

On a boat, passing up the James river, Dec. 8th 1864
Dear Mother,

     I am once more on my way to duty as you see. I cannot help contrasting my feelings and condition now with what it was two months and a little more ago when I passed down this river. Then I was weak and poor. now I feel fleshy and vigorous. I felt tired and was clad in a dirty uniform with no mark to distinguish me from a private. I was also with a great number of sick and wounded soldiers on a hospital boat, without a cent of money and the only thing I could eat was farina. now I am on the mail boat with liberty to go where I please and am with officers of all ranks all appearing as well as myself

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I had a good breakfast and expect to have a good dinner. I hear that our Corps has moved but I dont know how far. We left Fortress Monroe about two hours ago. We pass between Fortress Monroe and the Rip Raps. I was pleased to view all I could this time as it was dark when we passed there before. Since we left the Fortress we have passed very near the captured rebel ram Atlanta It is a curious looking craft. There are many men of war and one monitor & several gun boats below the Fortress. The Florida is sunk only her yards near the Atlanta. We left Alex. about 4 oclk P.M. yesterday and the first thing that very much interested me was Mt. Vernon. Washington's house is very large and looks like a pleasant one. There is a fair view of the tomb of Washington, but tell Delinda [i.e., Delinda Jackson] that I did not see the man as is represented in her picture of the place

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perhaps he has gone up to the house or into the tomb for I believe he is heading that way. I took a berth and soon after passing Aquia Creek I retired and enjoyed a fine nights rest. Some were quite sea sick that always amuses me but I presume I should not think it so funny to have a trial of it once. I hated to leave some of the boys at the hospital for I have been treated like a gentleman by them. I have formed some pleasant associations but this life is made up of meetings and partings and most likely nearly all there I have parted from for the last time. Even if I should be sent back to Alex. sick, which I dont intend ever shall be the case, I should not go to St. Paul's Church. I am hearing much speculation about the movements of the Army in prospect but I know just as much about it as any of them and that is just nothing at all.

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Grant dont tell every one what is going to be done and I dont think he can see far ahead. I have no doubt I am running into a great and terrible battle but even that I dont know. I only judge from appearances. I know I shall have your prayers for my preservation and my fittness for death if it be God's will to remove me. I desire to be prepared for life or death and then I need not worry what may befall me. It is one of the loveliest of days and that is in very strong contrast to the day we went down the river. As we pass along we see large flocks of ducks reminding me of the pond of which I used to be so very fond Heavier game is above here in abundance. Hoping you will all continue to be blessed and preserved from all ill. And that I shall have frequent and long letters from home, I remain as ever

your very aff son.

Additional text on Page 1      Images: 150 DPI100 DPI72 DPI

I have backed this beautifully I am proud of it very.

Additional text on Page 4      Images: 150 DPI100 DPI72 DPI

I begin to feel in a hurry to be with the boys. It almost seems as if I was going home.

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

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