Letter #22 – DECEMBER ?, 1864  


Harper's Weekly Magazine Nov 12 1864

Here we sense Thomas Jackson's clear feeling that the corner had been turned and that a majority of Northerners were now on board in supporting abolition (which was not invariably so in the middle of the war.) Furthermore he recognizes the importance of the North having significantly greater resources of materials and manpower.

Most striking is his blunt request that his English relative get this (once long) letter published in the English newspapers.

Possibly DEC 1864 ?: Thomas Jackson to William Slater Pages 9 & !0 only

... slave is free, and every black man, north and south, armed on one side or the other. If we take them cordially and treat them kindly we can yet get them all, but the few who may be forced into the rebel ranks. And they will run to us whenever they see anything like a chance to get away. The fierce obstinacy of the traitor man stealer will ensure freedom to all his victims, because the free states will never submit to a division of the union on any terms. I could give many good reasons for that opinion but my letter is too long now. We have settled down to war as a business we are bound to follow up to the last, rather than the rebels shall succeed in their barberous intent. The immense means & material resources of the north have not been at all lessened yet. But vastly increased. Colliers, iron mines, furnaces, forges, rolling mills, cannon foundries, armories, dockyards, rope walks, and workmen of all kinds as busy as bees & doing the best to sustain the war & beat the rebels. The only chance left for slavery

is for the slaveholders to lay down their arms and submit now. And thank God, there is not the least danger of them doing that. The almighty does not mean them to save their barberously beloved institution or they would not be so blind & hardened & determined as they are. The fate of the Confederacy is sealed now. There was a chance for them while the north was so proslavery. But we are all becoming abolitionists now. What a change. It seals the doom of slavery. The slave power has committed suicide by rebelling.

I inclose you some of our "currency". And also a rebel 5 dollar bill. You are welcome to them all. The rebel note is not worth a farthing. We are all alive and well & so are Watsons. I will write you another long letter and give you the inside view about our affairs. Please remember me kindly and affectionately to all old friends and relations, especially your parents.

Yours affectionately
Thomas Jackson

get this letter published & send me the paper
(This last request circled for emphasis)


Harper's Weekly Magazine Nov 12 1864

We have searched in vain for the first 8 pages of this letter. Similarly we cannot locate an envelope whose post marks might indicate that this letter was sent on a given date.

The reasons that we have guessed at the date being around December 1864 are as follows. There seems to have been a positive turning point moving the nation's mood towards a more widespread support abolition. We are assuming that that event was the election of Lincoln for the second time based on this unambiguous policy declaration that if re-elected, he was going to mercilessly proceed to end the war, not by reconciliation but by clear military victory. Previously, many of Northerners particularly around TJ's home area were "peace democrats and Knights of the Golden Circle". However, after that election these people recognized that the overwhelming wish of the Union voters was to follow Lincoln's policy of pursuing a military victory over the South.

We decided that the original letter was sent to Caleb's son William Slater (who had earlier spent some months working with Thomas Jackson and his sons in Reading) based on the author's request that he be remembered to "old friends and relatives,especially your parents."

We consider this short section to give a summary of Thomas Jackson's attitude to the war at about this time.

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