The Letters of John M. Jackson– July 9, 1864

On one of his usual treasure hunts in Maine, our CEO, Will Seippel stumbled upon a massive collection of letters that belonged to a soldier in the Civil War. These letters will be published in chronological order in The Insider over the coming weeks, months and years, as we follow John Mower Jackson’s personal victories and struggles within the greater national struggle of the Civil War. Click here to read our introduction to this column that sets the stage with our soldier’s background story.

This week we have a letter from Mother Jackson.

Lewiston July 9, 1864

My very dear son

We have received the letter directed to me, but add rec’d to the Jackson family. One says this is not sent to anyone in particular I said to my —- written but I was disappointed none just write a few flattering words to me in particular. Daniel Alexander is in a consumption and he swears and calls his mother the old woman because she is so anxious about him and cries over him but I hope she prays for him. I am thankful John is exactly different his picture now looks as good as it can. It is here among the flowers but where is the original? that is something I cannot know but I can ask my dear Saviour to be with him and protect him, and I believe he will for He has promised to in his blessed Word.

It is real nice for you to write with pen and ink but never mind if you have to use a pencil. We had a fine rain last night which was much needed. It was rainy this morning but pleasant now. They have all gone to meeting at the church are not as they should be and Frank won’t attend Sabbath school.

Because William Longley is superintendant, Lenor(?) Wilkins won’t give anything for the Library the same excuse, somebody else is entirely to blame.

Sunday eve.

The girls went to the mills tonight and got me a letter from John, and that was just what I wanted. If the soldiers are as hungry for letters as I am, their friends should write to them before anything else. You say I used to tire of your talk, that was an error of the head and not of the heart. We think of you constantly. The trees and shrubs & birds and flowers continually remind us of you that little maple by the brook almost resembles you it is a beauty. The oilnut elms and maples are very thrifty. I mean to help you plant a tree so you will have something to remember me by but we never shall forget.

Monday 3 o cl

I have been trying all day to say a word and have just got ready. Your father and Alonzo have gone to peel a tree they sold for ship timber but it had some little —- which spoiled it. He sold six sticks for a hundred dollars or more standing. Delinda is very busy making a comb case(?). Delora is having a nap. I think their passion for flowers increased Yesterday. Delinda brought her hands full of rosebushes she gathered near the end of Daggett and Delora came with a lot of slips from Mrs Pettengills yard. They don’t think I ought to make cheese Sunday. Charles Pratt rides around dressed like a gentleman but looking like a hog. I wish he had to spend his three years in the front racks. It is rumored Sam Harris is dead and I don’t think I feel right about that. I like not to have told you old Grey is gone. Mr Coburn was patting him and feasting him on dough the last I heard from him.

Your affectionate mother BE Jackson

Mrs. Jackson writes that a friend of the family’s, Daniel Alexander, has fallen ill with consumption. His mother is terribly worried about her son’s condition, just as any parent would be, so we can only imagine the anxiety that Mrs. Jackson experiences while her son is away at war.

Not much has changed at home, but the family has been very busy: Mr. Jackson and Alonzo have been selling timber, and Delinda has been working on a comb case. She and Delora have also brought several different flowers home, and Mrs. Jackson thinks their love for flowers has grown as a result.  They also returned Sunday evening with another letter from John, to the surprise of John’s mother. She is always delighted to receive a letter from her son and hopes that he has been receiving many letters from his friends. She mentions that the plants have been doing well and hopes one day to plant a tree with John once he returns.

Mrs. Jackson closes on a dreary note and says that another soldier is rumored to be dead. Hearing about the other soldiers in the town doesn’t help her own anxiety, as she is constantly worried about John’s safety.  Yet she is convinced that John will be protected by the Lord, as is promised in His “blessed Word.”


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