The following letter was written by Thomas J. Jackson (1840-1862) of Co. A, 32nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). Thomas enlisted as a private on 12 July 1861 and rose in rank to corporal before he was killed in the Battle of McDowell (also known as Battle of Sitlington’s Hill) on 8 May 1862 at McDowell, Virginia. In the engagement, the 32nd OVI had six men killed and fifty-three wounded. Thomas was buried at Grafton, West Virginia.
Thomas was the son of Jesse Hendrix (1816-1898) and Mary A. Warren (1815-1891) of Augusta, Carroll county, Ohio. Thomas’s father was a shoemaker by trade. At the time of the 1860 US Census, 19 year-old Thomas will still living at home with his parents and working as a school teacher. Carroll county is in northeast Ohio about 50 miles due west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
To read letters by other members of the 32nd OVI that I have transcribed and published on Spared & Shared, see:
Abraham M. Crumbecker, Co. A, F&S, 32nd Ohio (15 Letters)
Francis Marion Hopkins, Co. B, 32nd Ohio (5 Letters)
Francis Marion Hopkins, Co. B, 32nd Ohio (1 Letter)
James F. Johnson, Co. B, 32nd Ohio (1 Letter)
Francis Lewis, Co. G, 32nd Ohio (2 Letters)
William Henry Wilson, Co. G, 32nd Ohio (1 Letter)
December 16, 1861
When I carefully read your last letter, I perceived from the tenor of your writing that it was aggravating to some, for you to write to me. If I thought it would lower you in the estimation of your friends or bring disgrace on your family, I would not write another letter. You did not say whether you was opposed by writing to me or others. I interpreted it to the former. Please enlighten me as to which it is in your next. If it should be from the fact that I am a soldier battling for the rights of our common country, I feel sad for the one that may say so.
As for what other country gossip may say about our writing, I place no stress on it. All the letters I have written heretofore to you have been merely friendship. If this mars their feeling, they will have to recover as best they can. I have met with opposition heretofore. It always has a tendency to excite a person and makes me more attentive to such matters than I otherwise would be. Please state the particulars and then I shall be better prepared in the future to meet emergencies and know how to devise means to escape opposition.
The letter that you and [my sister] Birtha wrote, I read and then showed it to the other boys. It contained some grand suggestions. yet for all you said about us boys having a bother, I do not believe you meant what you said.
You will see from the heading of this letter that I am at Beverly. On yesterday morning three companies from the regiment left the mountain. Also there was nine detailed out of the remaining companies to go along for the purpose of building quarters at the aforesaid place. Jim Watson and myself are the only ones of the Augusta boys that was detailed. We had a very tiresome walk. The woods are extremely bad. It was with difficulty that we made the march. I do not think I ever was as tired in my life. I could hardly navigate. We (five of us) slept in an old saw mill in a small rom the sawyers occupied. Today we set our tent and will probably commence to work tomorrow. The remainder of the regiment will be here in a few days.
I do not think we will stay long. I think we will either go to Buchanan or to Ohio. There are a great many in the regiment that are unfit for duty. Our boys are all well and are in good spirits.
Oh yes! there is one question I want to ask you. Did you write to Hen[ry A.] Jackson before he wrote to you? Some of the boys told him that he wrote first and he denied it. I will make the same request of you that you did of me—that is, to destroy the letters you get from me and not let any person get hold of them.
Sam McClellan has gone home on furlough. Henry Chain is here at Beverly. He arrived on last Monday. All the things that he brought for us boys are at Webster. I suppose you will have some grand times at school this winter. I hope to hear from the school before long. Write as soon as you can conveniently. I shall wait with eagerness to hear from you again.
Direct to Beverly, Randolph county, Va., in care of Capt. [Jackson] Lucy, Company A. With much respect, I subscribe my name as your sincere and lasting friend, — T. J. Hendrix