Friday, May 20, 2011

May 17, 1861 (Friday): Jackson The Diplomat

Stonewall Jackson (

                                                                                    May 17, 1861
Col. R. S. GARNETT, Adjutant-General:
            COLONEL: Pursuant to instructions from Colonel Jackson, based upon a letter to me from Colonel French, aide-de-camp to his excellency Governor Letcher, I have this day assumed command of the Maryland volunteers in this State.  Numbers of the men, and especially a large number of the most valuable of the officers, have gone to Richmond and other points in Virginia.  As it is very desirable that all the Maryland men should be together, I respectfully request an order to be issued for them to report here, or at such other point as the General-in-Chief may designate.  I can control about three thousand two hundred of active and well-drilled men from Baltimore and vicinity.
….Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                                                                    F. J. THOMAS
                                                                                        Colonel, Commanding
   There are some of the Maryland volunteers who object to serving under Colonel Thomas, and, in order to secure their services, I would suggest that they be mustered into the service of the Southern Confederacy, and that none except those who muster into the service of Virginia be placed under command of Colonel Thomas.
                                                                                    T. J. JACKSON
                        Colonel, Virginia Volunteers, Commanding at Harper’s Ferry

Colonel Thomas went on to serve as an aide to General Joseph Johnston and was killed at 1st Bull Run.  It may seem surprising Jackson would take note of the interests of soldiers not to serve under a particular commander, but these are Maryland troops and early in the war it would have been important to consider the interests of men from this pivotal border state.  Better to accommodate them than to lose their services outright.

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