Letter #13 – MAY 23, 1863  

Mainly a note answering genealogical questions from Caleb and giving a summary of family members

Also reports that they are hardly affected by the war in Reading but repeats his determination not allow the South to dissolve the union.


Reading May 23 - 1863

Dear Cousin Caleb/
I duly received the half sheet of a letter you wrote me. In reply I do not exactly know my father's age when he died but think he was about 84 and he died in August 1844. I have no record here of the births of my father, your mother or of Aunt Watson. I cannot learn that Watsons have any record of it. I saw John Watson about 6 months ago and passed within 8 miles of his farm about 3 months since, but had not time to call. I went from here to New York, 140 miles, and back again the same day. Was there 8 hours bought my hemp etc & home again the same day.

We are all very busy here. Feel nothing of the war but the taxes, & see nothing of it but the soldiers going off and coming back again. Some badly hurt and some not hurt at all. & some brought home dead. The battles

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And the burnings and the havoc and destruction of this great war are all where they ought to be, among those who began it. And if they dont give up and submit to the same laws & the same free government that we are all willing to live under, the havoc and destruction to the slave states will be far worse still. We are quite willing to give them all the rights and privileges & all the liberties and enfranchisements that we enjoy ourselves, We never asked any kind of advantage over them. But we are fully determined that they shall never desolve the union, break up the government & become a bitterly hostile nation close to us. Sooner than that every rebel will be driven out or exterminated.

We are all well. Edwd. Is keeping store in Reading. Henry has a rope walk at Harrisburg. Ann lives at Scranton, Pa & is well. Mary is with some friends in Phila.

I live in hopes of coming to England once more and seeing you all once again. But I feel getting old. I am a grandfather now "& so that may add something to the feeling.

With kind love to you all. I am yours affectionately

Thomas Jackson


This letter appears to provide a clear snap shot of the family at this stage.

It reinforces that RTJ's father - John, Caleb's mother (nee first name? Jackson ) and Aunt Watson were siblings. From other letters, we know that aunt Watson and Aunt Reiley were sisters so that tells us that John Watson's father (TJ's grandfather) had at least four children.

Thomas Jackson's own brothers and sisters in America amount to Edward (keeping store in Reading, Henry (rope-walk in Harrisburg), Ann living in Scranton,PA and is well) and Mary (with some friends in Philadelphia)

In addition, we know from other letters that brother John was still In England so there were at least 5 children in the family

The war was continuing away from Thomas Jackson's direct view and this letter simply reinforces that he remains determined that the union would not be split.

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