Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 27, 1861 (Saturday): Colonel T.J. Jackson to Harper's Ferry

Jackson's Headquarters at Harper's Ferry, now the Jackson Rose Bed & Breakfast


Maj. Gen. R. E. Lee, Commanding, &c:
   SIR:  You will direct Col. T.J. Jackson to proceed to Harper’s Ferry, to organize into regiments the volunteer forces which have been called into the service of the State, and which may be assembled in the neighborhood.
…..You will place Colonel Jackson, for the present, in command of the troops in that locality, and give him such general instructions as may be required for the military defenses of the State.  Direct him to make diligent inquiry as to the state of feeling in the northwestern portion of the State.  If necessary, appoint a confidential agent for that purpose, but great confidence is placed in the personal knowledge of Major Jackson in this regard.  If deemed expedient, he can assemble the volunteer forces of the northwest at such points as he may deem best, giving prompt information of the same.  Promptness in all these matters is indispensable.
      I am, very respectfully,


So enters Thomas J. Jackson onto the stage.  Jackson was born in Clarksburg, in the western portion of the state, and what is now (as a result of the war) West VirginiaJackson’s relationship with Governor Letcher of Virginia stood him in good stead during the famous Loring-Jackson dispute.  Jackson’s serious nature often overshadows for modern students that he was ambitious and sophisticated enough to understand the nature and advantages of political connections.  Likewise, the appointment of Jackson by Letcher is based not only on an evaluation of Jackson's military reputation, but also of his ties to and understanding of, the volatile situation in western Virginia.

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