The Letters of John M. Jackson–March 7, 1861

On one of his usual treasure hunts in Maine, our CEO, Will Seippel  stumbled upon a massive collection of letters from 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 new column that sets the stage with our soldier’s background story.



March 7th, 1861

Dear John,

Your letter of the 12th of last month was received by me two weeks ago on my return from a very pleasant and happy vacation. It is a great pleasure for me to hear from you, and from the folks that neighborhood in which I saw God’s power to manifest declare. Though you was by no means fair in neglecting me so long, yet, as you was undoubtedly very busy in your work during the winter I will forgive you, in the hope that you will do better next time.

I am prospering by the blessing of God and his grace cheers and envigorates my heart and soul. I can truly say “Bless God, & my soul,” as I count all his mercies and his benefits which are remembered day by day. You seem to think that you will be or rather are entirely unfit for the service of God, and especially from taking a decided stand for l— in a respectful place in the church. I agree with you that I am unfit for such a place, but thanks be to God who can and will make us worthy, if we but rely wholly upon him and feel that He is all our hope and expectation. It is my cheering to learn that there are signs of a work of grace in your midst. I can but expect my earned wish and hope, that the cloud no larger than a man’s hand, may spread and increase, till God shall rain righteousness upon you, and the heart of the Lord be established in Lion. O! That Lion may be enabled to put on her beautiful adornments, and that she may become speedily the glory of the earth and the joy of the people.

Be active my dear bro’ in the service of God. Never allow your Heart to grow cold, but bear the throne of God keep it in that stream of love which flows from it. I appreciate and thank your Mother for her kind interest in me, and can but ask that she will continue to pray that I may be kept from the wiles of a flattering —, and be deceived from the temptations of a fiery adversary.

I am in the joyful expectation of seeing my Mother and Brother from l— very soon as they have left their late residence at Shanghai, and are on their way home. I am very glad to think of their return, & hope that God will realize & me, this hope of my heart. As I shall take a little vacation when they return I am getting in advance of my class, which makes it rather hard work. But the reward which I shall receive is sufficient & urge me on.  For this time I must bid you good night, hoping soon to hear from you. Love to all your folks and believe me in Christian love

Your aff. friend & Brother

John S. Holmes

Please tell Sophia Coburn that she owes me a letter if she aint mistaken, and that I should like to hear from her


Another letter from John Holmes. It seems like John Jackson had not written to Holmes in a while due to being very busy, but Holmes generously understands Jackson’s situation and forgives him.

Holmes seems to think that he is doing well and has a pleasant relationship with God; however, Jackson thinks that he himself is “unfit for the service of God.” Holmes consoles his friend by saying that many people doubt their place in the church, but it is by one’s faith and dedication to God that they are able to establish a holy relationship with Him. Jackson must remember God’s love and trust in Him if he wishes to prosper.

And yet, Holmes isn’t doing as well as he would like. Even Holmes admits that he occasionally falls to temptation and other vices, and so he requests that Jackson’s mother keeps him in her prayers.

His mother and brother are returning abroad from Shanghai, and Holmes is very excited to see his family after such a long absence. Unfortunately, he is unable to take a vacation any time soon due to his schoolwork, but he believes that seeing his family is a sufficient reward on its own and eagerly awaits their return.

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