The Letters of John M. Jackson–June 19, 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 John’s sister, Delora, and one from his mother as well.

Lewiston, June 19th, 1864

My Dear Brother,

I think I shall not better employ my time than writing to you to let you know that we are all well. I hope you are still unharmed. The rest of the family have gone to meeting so I am entirely alone, not even old faithful Watch that used to be my constant companion when the others were absent. It is a delightful day although it has been during the past week very warm, hot I think would express it better.

I have been wondering how you are permitted to spend your Sabbath, I wish it might be as a day of rest. Which I know you must need. We have not had a letter from you that was written since May 31st but we know you write as often as you can. We noticed by the paper that Gen. Burnside has joined Gen. Nutter South of Richmond. I shall be so glad when the war is over and you can return to your friends again. Perhaps you would like to hear about home affairs. Everything about the premises is in flourishing condition. The earlier rosesbushes in the “yard” (such as the Scotch, Besault and Primrose) are looking very pretty with so many blossoms.

Delora

 20th

My  Own Dear Son,

I long to hear from you. I went to meeting yesterday (good good good Samuel Morrow has just brought in two letters from you they are worth their weight in gold) and Elder Nutter preached a long sermon and was very faint. I thought of the poor soldiers who have to fight all day without eating.

21st

A delightful morning. We had a fine shower last night and Delora is bustling about washing. They have hired Stufford Thomson for the month. Everything is beautiful. I think I should count my blessings instead of that I keep thinking John is in the army but I feel God is very good and feel to trust in Him. You mention about your beautiful future home in imagination. I was down there the other night and thought what a nice place for grapevines and in the house I could tear off the old black paper. We got the twenty dollars long ago and we’ve put it in the bank with the rest.

Your mother B.E.J.

In both of these letters, you can just feel the underlying worry about the safety of John.  Delora even says, “I hope you are unharmed.” Can you imagine wondering every day if your loved one has been terribly injured, or worse killed in the vicious war, particularly when you can’t get any updates for weeks and weeks?   Families lived for letters from their soldier boys.  John’s mom is thrilled to say …”good good good Samuel Morrow has just brought in two letters from you they are worth their weight in gold…”  Those letters were probably read a hundred times over and over.  What a privilege we have to read these original letters that have been preserved over 150 years!


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