Letter #11 – AUGUST 13, 1862  


This letter tells us that TJ had written several articles about the war and the abolition of slavery which he had had published and circulated in America prior to the pivotal "slave market letter" that features so prominently in this collection.

He reports on the rapidly increasing numbers of the union forces and predicts that the slaves will be liberated and fight for the Government.

Reading August 13, 1862

Dear Cousin William,
I wrote the inclosed letter to your Father in June and should have mailed it then but mislaid it. And as events are so pressing and serious here, I have neglected from time to time writing another. Really we are so much engaged with the extraordinary state of affairs here, that all our spare time is taken up in reading NewsPapers and talking about them. I send you some more papers now. And will send you more and oftener now, as the war is going to assume tremendous proportions.

They have just raised in the free states 300,000 more volunteers and are now raising also 300,000 more drafted man & will then draft another 300,000 as a reserve. In all nine hundred thousand men and set and the 700,000 northerners now in the field will make then sixteen thousand men. And then we expect out will come the full declaration of the entire abolition of slavery & the arming of 4 or 5 hundred thousand slaves & free colored man also on the side of the government. And the rebellion at once crushed or the whole south laid waste.

I received the Ilkestone paper & am much obliged to you for it. Thinking he might like to publish something directly from America I wrote the inclosed article "An Englishman in an American Slave Market" especially for him. I am the Englishman. And assure you that it is a simple truth & not at all exaggerated. Thousands of such things of been done since then. And I could write whole pages of what I have seen of slavery. I also inclose you several things I have written and had

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privately printed & circulated for effect against slavery. The north has a refrained from striking at slavery fully a year longer than I thought they would. But this forbearance is nearly over now. Another month will show what they will do. I think my prediction in the letter I wrote 21 June is now coming to pass very soon. Things seem shaping up for such a result. The article "What are we fighting for" I wrote and put out in August 1861. after the battle of Bull run. It was about one year too soon. But it is coming now.

Please write to me and say if you know how my brother John & family are now. Also all the rest of my living relatiions. I heard of Aunt Reiley's death. I should very much like to have seen her once again. But she is going to rest now. In "Another & a better world than this. I intend to visit England again some time if I live long enough. I want to have one more look at you all. Especially I want to see your Father once again. I shall try to get one of the Watsons to go with me. But I cannot go untill this war is over.

Please give my love to your Father Mother & all the family and remember me to all enquiring friends (if any now left) and believe me ever

Your affectionate Cousin
Thomas Jackson

P.S.If any of your newspapers publish any of the articles I send you please send me one of the papers having them in and oblige.

Reading August 13, 1862


This letter appears to have been written a day later that TJ's important "slave market letter" was published in the local Ilkeston newspaper. That shows that William's father, Caleb had received the letter earlier and had arranged for it to be published as TJ had requested.

Here we can sense the rapid escalation of the war along with the recognition that it was not going to be a short war but that it was going to "Assume tremendous proportions".

Given Thomas' focus on the abolition of slavery , he was already anticipating that as part of the future developments there would be "a full declaration of the entire abolition of slavery" and that the slaves and colored men would be armed on the side of the Union.

He describes how he wrote the slave market letter specifically for publishing in the English newspapers and reveals that he had written several other articles supporting abolition that he that he had privately printed and circulated. His political writing appears to have started shortly after the first Battle of Bull Run in August 1861 with a piece titled "What we are fighting for" .

He inquires about the wellbeing of his English relatives and repeats his intention to get back to England to see them all again.

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