Layout of the Site | Organization of the Material

Thomas Jackson reported from his home town of Reading, Pennsylvania on many of the events of the civil war, as they were happening. He has left us with such extensive notes of the times, but it appears as though there are very few matching photographs of Reading from this period despite the cooperation of the local historical society museum . . . And absolutely none at all of the man!

However, the civil war represented such a dominant agenda for the country over so many months that there is an extensive array of material available on the internet. Often Thomas Jackson's letters add in lesser or greater degree to the other material from previous sources. In our collection, for example, the Ambassadors' great, great uncle deals with the burning of Richmond in his letter # 17.

An artist's conception of the burning of Richmond as the confederate forces start out on the trail to Appomattox

Next: The Other Side, A War for Southern Independence

Our Star Ratings

In order to give visitors a quick way to get to those letters that have the most civil war content, we have adopted a system of adding stars.
***** indicates a high level of civil war reporting, whereas
* indicates that the letter mainly deals with the author’s family and business news

How the site is organized.

The front panel that identifies each letter gives the date and a brief summary of the letter's contents. In addition we have tried to find a historical photo or other illustration that helps set the mood of the time or is relevant to that particular document.

We have added a star rating that is intended to guide our visitors to those letters that we feel have most relevance to slavery, the civil war and the circumstances of the author.

Summary. When you click on any letter, you move to a longer explanation of the contents intended to help the casual visitor decide whether s/he wishes to study each letter in detail.

THE MENU for each letter offers:

The transcription alongside scans of the original letter. After some thought, we have maintained the content and spelling of each letter but we have often divided the text into paragraphs so that contemporary readers can more easily understand the different topics and refer back when they wish to do so.

Because most of the letters in the Thomas Jackson collection are in such good condition and his handwriting is both beautiful and easily legible, we believe that all serious researchers who might disapprove of our presumption in breaking the text up into paragraphs will be able to see where the paragraphs inserts have been made such that the original meaning is totally clear.

The original letter is shown by high resolution scans of each page and, if it is available, the associated envelope. We have put water marks over the original scans on this website but we are open to working with institutions and researchers to make this trove of historic letters available for detailed research and analysis.

Ambassadors for Thomas Jackson is the name that the cousins who are the owners of this collection of letters (and surviving relatives of the author) and have labeled themselves. Under this heading, they offer their Notes from the Ambassadors for Thomas Jackson along with suggestions or requests for other information. These represent the simple and unprofessional commentary of two of Thomas Jackson's great, great nephews to whom this collection of letters has been passed down.

Readers' Comments Finally, in part to counteract the limited expertise of the Ambassadors, there is a section for comments from readers. These may include other interpretations of the manuscript or additional information about people or events covered by the letters. Readers’ comments may be aded to the site if the Ambassadors consider them useful.

In addition, if a reader wishes to send a private or personal comment to the host of the site, that will be welcomed and respected.

Home   |   Next: The Other Side, A War for Southern Independence