Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October 25, 1861 (Friday): Jackson Takes Command of the Valley

General Thomas J. Jackson

Centreville, October 25, 1861.
Hon. J. P. Benjamin, Secretary of War:
   SIR:  In reply to your letter [of 21st instant] informing me that I have been assigned to the command of “the Valley District of the Department of Northern Virginia,” I have to express my grateful acknowledgment of the honor conferred, and my readiness promptly to comply with the order when received, though it separates me from the brigade which I had hoped to command through the war.
   Availing myself of your kind offer to receive suggestions from me respecting the defense of that section of the State, I would, before visiting that region of the State, and ascertaining what troops, stores, and other means of defense are on hand, barely request that, if you have a good and available engineer officer, you would direct him to report to me, and that you will, as far as practicable, send me troops for the war, and keep the supplies, especially of arms, beyond the immediate wants of the forces.  Men are more ready to volunteer when told that they can be immediately armed and equipped.
   Hoping, through the troops and supplies that you may furnish, soon to see an efficient army in the valley, I remain, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                                                                    T. J. JACKSON
                                                                                    Major-General, P. A. C. S.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 5, Part 1, Page 921

Jackson was not the simple character he is often made out.  He had an awareness of the importance of military politics.  He wrote a letter similar to this on assuming command at Harper’s Ferry, and communicated freely with Governor Letcher of Virginia.  He likely saw this as important to advancing the needs of his command, and while not overtly politicking for advancement was not adverse to promotion. The P. A. C. S. next to Jackson's title is the official, but not often used, Provisional Army of the Confederate States.  It is also interesting to note Jackson shared, in his writing, a trait common to that of many writers in the war-an overuse of the comma.

No comments:

Post a Comment