1861: Samuel Stewart Jackson to Oscar Lawrence Jackson

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Oscar Lawrence Jackson, 63rd OVI

This unsigned letter was written by Samuel Stewart Jackson (1815-1911), the son of James Jackson (1779-1837) and Nancy Shields (1787-1850) of Lawrence county, Pennsylvania. At the time Samuel wrote this letter in November 1861, he was married to his second wife, Nacy McCaslin (1826-1884); his first wife, Nancy Mitchell (1814-1859) having died in March 1859. Samuel wrote the letter to his son, Oscar Lawrence Jackson (1840-1920) who served as an officer in the Union Army from 1861 to 1865. He entered the service as the captain of Company H of the 63rd Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and later received promotions of major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel by brevet after the war. He was shot in the face by a Confederate soldier with a Squirrel Rifle and left for dead in the 2nd Battle of Corinth.

Samuel mentions all of Oscar’s siblings in the letter, Edwin Wallace Jackson (1847-1924), David Prentice Jackson (1851-1926), and Mary Jackson (1854-1929). It isn’t clear from Samuel’s letter what the nature of his son David’s disability was—that he would require crutches. It was most likely an accident of some kind as he grew up to be a physician and lived until 1926.

In his letter, Samuel speaks on an incident in Clark county, Missouri, wherein his brother-in-law’s family was burned out of his property and forced to flee Missouri because of the family’s Union sympathies.


[Shenango Township, Lawrence county, Pennsylvania]
November 24, 1861


I received your letter dated Sabbath stating you was well and had received five dollars from me and the promise of some more. I thought to have sold some wheat and sent it to you but wheat has declined a little and I have thought to wait a little to see if it would not advance again. But you must rest assured if health permits, I will do it if you still need it. We are all in our usual health. I am hardly so well as usual but I attribute it to the amount of hard work I did. We have got our fall work pretty well done and Edwin started to school today and Mary has been gone for some time. David is still improving a little. I have [made] him a pair [of] crutches and he can walk across the room. There is not much I have to write.

[Col. Daniel] Leasure’s Regiment is in the [Thomas W.] Sherman’s Expedition [to take Fort Pulaski]. We hear they are doing well. Still Sherman is most too anxious to gain favors with the South.

George Baker & wife was up on a visit. They have got quite [a] splendid carriage. They was telling us about your Uncle Price Dillon ¹ of Missouri [and] that he had volunteered in our army. He is holding some appointment—I think quarter master—and the Rebs in his absence gave his wife 12 hours to make escape which she did into the edge of Illinois. She got some of the property away [and] eleven head of horses, and when Price got back, everything was destroyed. He then moved her up to [Mahaska county] Iowa to your grandfather Mitchell’s. So everything considered, I think the South ought to be subdued and if need be, their peculiar institutions rooted out, and I think the government has not been enough in earnest yet.

You spoke about the vices of camp life. I hope you will keep clear of them and so far as your influence goes to suppress it. I herein send you Mr. Chedester’s & Robert M. Gaston’s letters. Also Robert M. Gaston’s post office address by Col. [Daniel] Leasure’s Regiment, 2nd Brigade, Sherman’s Division, Care of Col. Tompkins, A. Q. M., New York City, Co. F.

I have no other letters of yours.

¹ Price Cooper Dillon (1821-1910) served with the 1st Northeast Cavalry Regiment, Missouri [Union] Home Guard. He is identified as a private and was in “Capt. Moore’s Company.” Price was married to Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Smith Mitchell (1823-1902) in 1842. She was the daughter of Matthew Mitch (1786-1876) and Nancy Smith (1786-1872) who relocated from Beaver county, Pennsylvania, to Mahaska county, Iowa, in the mid 1850’s. Price was also born in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, and moved to Jackson, Clark county, Missouri, prior to 1850.

2 thoughts on “1861: Samuel Stewart Jackson to Oscar Lawrence Jackson”

  1. Hello – I’m curious about where you found these letters. Oscar Lawrence Jackson was my great-grandmother’s first cousin and it’s very interesting to read about the escape from Missouri to Iowa of my great-great-great Aunt, Elizabeth Mitchell Dillon.


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