The "Other" Confederate General Jackson - aka "Old Mudwall" Jackson from Tennessee

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NEW YORK TIMES- Sept. 19. 1863 PAGE I:

"THE WAR IN TENNESSEE.; A BATTLE AT LIMESTONE STATION CAPTURE OF 300 OF OUR FORCES."

Correspondence of the Richmond Enquirer.

JONESEDORE, Tern., Thursday, Sept. 10, 1863.

Before giving an account of the fight of the 9th, I will give some light as to the state of affairs in upper East Tennessee. It is well known to you that about the 27th of August Gen. BUCKNER, with his entire force, withdrew from Knoxville, leaving the country east along the line of the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad to Bristol to be guarded and defended by Gen. A.E. JACKSON's brigade. Notwithstanding the evacuation of Knoxville and the abandonment of the country, except by the small force above alluded to, the Directory of the road, (the President, Col. JOHN BRANNER, then being at Knoxville.) continued to run their trains into Knoxville for several days, although a large force of the enemy was known to be within fifteen or twenty miles of the city, and, marvelous to say, it is the common report of the country that the President and Directors resolved to run the road, declaring they were only common carriers, evidently indifferent whether the rolling stock fell into the hands of the enemy. This they must have known would have been the case. So, sure enough, on Tuesday, the --, they dashed into Knoxville, and captured their best passenger train and three locomotives. On the same day our little force at the Plains was withdrawn by railroad to Bristol. On the morning of the 4th the enemy pushed up to Mossy Creek, captured a train and then run into |Jonesboro, one hundred miles distant from Knoxville, with four hundred men, and there took another.

A small company of cavalry, under Capt. JONES, at this latter place, after firing a volley into the enemy, made their escape.

The enemy then pushed on to Carter's Bridge, where was stationed a small force of infantry and one section of artillery, under the accomplished Capt. MCCLUNG, and demanded its surrender, when, upon refusal, they retreated toward Knoxville.

Having learned the above facts, Gen. JACKSON, who was at Bristol with the principal part of his forces, with a regiment of Kentucky cavalry and some other forces that had recently joined him, made a forced march for Jonesboro, at which place he arrived on the morning of the 7th. Here he learned that the enemy was returning in full force by railway, so he promptly threw forward a battalion of cavalry (Col. GILTNER's regiment.) a section of artillery and a detachment of infantry.

A few miles below Jonesboro they found five or six hundred of the enemy and a train of cars, unable to proceed on account of the destruction of a small bridge, effected by our scouts the day before. An attack was at once made upon them, Col. GILTNER commanding the cavalry, and Lieut. J.E. GRAHAM the artillery. They were driven back near a half mile, but the enemy gaining a shelter, our forces were compelled to fall back to their first position, having, at the risk of losing our cannon, incautiously advanced too far.

Continue reading the main story



Seizing this moment of temporary advantage, the enemy pained the railroad and got away with their train. Having previously sent a squad of cavalry to destroy the railroad in their rear, our forces, now joined by Lieut. J.W. BLACKWELL, with an 8-inch rifle gun, pursued with vigor, expecting momentarily to capture the train and forces, but our scouts had so ineffectually done their work that the enemy passed down the Limestone Bridge, seizing the heights and woods around the block-house at the bridge, and sending their train toward Knoxville for reinforcements. Having now possession of the block-house and the thick woods around it, the enemy resolved to make a bold stand.

Gen. JACKSON at once ordered Col. GILTNER's cavalry to cross Limestone Cseek to cut off the retreat of the enemy, while our artillery -- one rifle gun and one small one-pound mountain gun -- opened fire upon the depot, block-house and other buildings occupied by the enemy, while Major MCCAULEY's detachment of THOMAS' Legion was posted in rear of the battery.

Just at this time Lieut.-Col. M.A. HAYNES, of the artillery, and Lieut.-Col. WALKER, with a detachment of THOMAS' Legion, were ordered from Jonesboro to reinforce Gen. JACKSON. After this fire had been opened some forty minutes, Col. HAYNES brought gallantly forward, at a gallop, Lieut. GRAHAM's section of artillery, (BURROUGH's Battery.) which also opened briskly. The enemy's sharpshooters in the woods, meanwhile, kept up an incessant fire on the batteries.

By this time Col. GILTNER had taken possession of the south side of the bridge, dismounted and deployed his men as skirmishers, and after a spirited engagement, drove the enemy across the creek, and held the railroad and south end of the bridge. In this latter engagement, and up to the time of the capture of the enemy, Col. GILTNER had the valuable services of Lieut.-Col. BOTTLES, of the Twenty-sixth Tennessee Regiment, who, being absent from his command at Chattanooga, volunteered his services for the occasion.

Just as this feat was accomplished by Col. GILTNER, Lieut-Col. WALKER's battalion, of THOMAS' legion, was thrown out to the left, through a skirt of timbers on the left of the enemy's sharpshooters, and the artillery, led by Col. HAYNES in person, advanced to within two hundred yards of the roads occupied by the enemy, and opened a rapid fire of shell and canister upon the sharpshooters. At the same time the infantry upon the left of the artillery drove in the enemy at a double-quick, where they took refuge in the block-house and other buildings, from which they kept up a rapid fire.

Advancing at a tfot, Col. HAYNES threw the guns into battery, in the midst of a shower of balls, upon a height, not more than 200 yards, and promptly fired several rounds of shell into the block-house.

At this moment the enemy raised a white flag, and Col. HAYNES galloped forward and received the flag and sword of their commander, Lieut.-Col. HAYNRS, One Hundred and Fifth Ohio Volunteers, and the surrender of near 300 of the enemy, rank and file. Capt. B.W. JENKINS, formerly of Gen. MARSHALL's Staff, volunteered for the occasion, and Lieut.-Col. J.L. BOTTLES was in at the death.

The enemy's loss was 12 killed and 20 wounded; our loss is 6 killed and 10 wounded.

Download PDF The TimesMachine archive viewer is a subscriber-only feature. This article is also available separately as a high-resolution PDF.

A version of this archives appears in print on September 19, 1863, on Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: THE WAR IN TENNESSEE.; A BATTLE AT LIMESTONE STATION CAPTURE OF 300 OF OUR FORCES. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

SOURCE: https://www.nytimes.com/1863/09/19/...ttle-at-limestone-station-capture-of-300.html



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Gen. A. E. Jackson

genalfredjackson.jpg

General Alfred Jackson



Name: Alfred Eugene Jackson
Born: January 11, 1807, Davidson City, TN.
Died: October 30, 1889, Jonesborough (aka Jonesboro), TN.
Buried: Jonesborough (Jonesboro), TN.
Pre-War Profession: Farmer, merchant.
War Service: 1861, staff major, quartermaster, paymaster, served in East Tennessee; April 1863, Brigadier General in command of a brigade, served in the Cumberland Gap and southwest Virginia; unfit for field service in November 1864; remained on staff duty under Maj. Gen. Breckinridge until the war ended.
Postwar Career: Farmer


Brig. Gen. Alfred Eugene Jackson, commonly referenced as A. E. Jackson, was a lifelong resident of Tennessee and slaveholder and farmer prior to the Civil War. Lacking any prior military service, the aged brigadier exhibited poor leadership and the inability to adapt and adopt the warrior's mindset, therefore forcing poor morale and contention among the soldiers who served in his brigade. On September 8, 1863, he tasted his only victory of note by capturing 300 soldiers of the 100th Ohio Infantry at Limestone, TN. When the Confederates were pushed out of Knoxville in December, Jackson would lead a brigade while assigned to the rugged southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. He would later assume temporary control of the Rebel forces at Saltville, VA., during the first fight over the prized salt production facilities on October 2, 1864. With a large Federal command marching toward Saltville, Jackson led the troops well as they prepared fortifications and rifle pits, but Richmond had already made a career changing decision for the Tennessean, and during the next month of November, 1864, Jackson was declared unfit for the field and ordered to light duty on Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge's staff, where he would remain until the conflict ended.


They Call Me "Old Mudwall"


Unlike most generals of the conflict, Brig. Gen. Alfred E. Jackson lacked any formal military training and had never donned a uniform, but was a farmer who owned 20 slaves prior to the Civil War. Jackson received his disparaging nom de guerre, the moniker "Old Mudwall," by troops under his authority. Some men under the Tennessean's leadership routinely complained to headquarters with statements accusing Jackson of being unfit for command to pointing out how the farmer turned brigadier had only commanded 20 slaves prior to the war. For much of the war, Alfred Jackson did little to gain the confidence of his men. He was known to discipline officers in the presence of enlisted men — chastening actions that a slaveholder would openly practice — but such harmful conduct toward military personnel was crippling to morale and esprit de corps of the entire unit, and it was shunned by veteran soldiers and grads of West Point and VMI.

(About) Albumen print of Alfred Eugene Jackson. Undated. Post war image of Brig. Gen. Jackson astride his favorite horse Jeff Davis. The brigadier was rather fond of this mount and included ole Davis in his will. If Jackson should precede the handsome steed in death, Jeff Davis shall remain on the farm where he is to be later buried. When Jackson was said to be unfit for field duty and then stripped of command and reassigned to light duty on Breckinridge's staff, it was none other than the other Jeff Davis who would approve the reassignment of the aged Tennessean. Image has been altered from the original. This rare photo is courtesy Tennessee State Library and Archives.

What's in a Name


Two Jacksons, one dogged and the other neurotic. Whereas Lt. Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson could be seen resonating leadership and confidence on the field, Brig. Gen. "Old Mudwall" Jackson was said to be a rather nervous man. Regarding both "Old Mudwall" and "Stonewall," it was the troops they commanded that bestowed the nom de guerres. While the wise "Stonewall" Jackson executed aggressive tactical decisions and exuded mettle in the face of the enemy, "Old Mudwall," on the other hand, appeared to be quite nervous in any given skirmish and apprehensive regarding decisions in the field. "Stonewall" was a strategist who was well-known for pressing the action and carrying the day, but the other Jackson, to the contrary, was (stuck) like that proverbial deer staring at the headlights and unsure of its next decision. Whilst "Stonewall" was resolute and commanding in the throes of battle, "Old Mudwall" was unassertive on the battlefield — so the namesake stuck.

Faltering Morale

Captain James W. Terrell, of the Thomas Legion, was one of many who wrote to Governor Vance and stated that Jackson was trying to destroy the legion by making it his brigade. Notwithstanding, reports of poor discipline in the ranks of the Jackson brigade may be more intrinsic to the soldiers themselves and should therefore share strongly in the equation of culpability with Jackson.

As brigade general, A. E. Jackson would command Thomas' Legion, which, for much of his generalship, comprised most if not all of his entire brigade. The legion, which included some 400 Cherokee Indians, had fielded some 2,500 men in 1862, but the unit, like other legions of the war, would be more a legion in name only as exigencies of conflict required its artillery and cavalry to be detached. Since the legion had at various times formed all of Jackson's Brigade, conflict was inevitable between Colonel William H. Thomas, the legion's namesake, and the brigadier who had assumed authority of Thomas' unit.

By 1864, several officers of Thomas' Legion signed a petition stating that Jackson was "a man of irritable temper intensified by diseased nerves and aggravated by being in a position for which the man is morally and physically unfit." This letter further stated that "General Jackson would reprimand the officers in the presence of the enlisted men," which only added to the list of grievances. The letter was forwarded from Gov. Zebulon Vance and read by President Jeff Davis.



The scathing allegations against Jackson would gain traction when Colonel William P. Johnston, President Jefferson Davis' aide, stated to Davis that Brig. Gen. Jackson was a "very nervous person under responsibility." (O.R., 30, IV, 602*). This rhetoric became action when General Bragg wrote Davis in 1864 and recommended that Jackson be relieved of command and that Col. William H. Thomas resume control of the Thomas Legion (which Bragg knew had formed the nucleus of the brigade under Jackson). But the organization change would have to wait. Having been signed on May 5, 1864, General Order 105 would order the Thomas Legion to return to western North Carolina, but the exigencies of war would postpone the order by first moving the legion into the Shenandoah Valley to serve under Lt. Gen. Jubal Early.



While the soldiers enjoyed a laissez-faire atmosphere under Col. Thomas, Brig. Gen. Jackson was said to be a strict disciplinarian. Lt. Col. W. W. Stringfield, Thomas' Legion, recorded the unit's history for North Carolina in 1901. Although he made critical remarks for some soldiers, Stringfield gave the following account of the brigadier. "[General Alfred E. Jackson] was a cultivated gentleman and personally a brave man. He was a good man and always managed the men to the best advantage in so hostile a region. He was personally and scrupulously honest, and demanded the same of his men; but he was a little too strict for the "old soldier" ideas of those who wanted to prowl." W. W. Stringfield, 10 May, 1901. Clark, Walter, 1846-1924, ed. Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina, in the Great War 1861-'65. Vol. III, p. 743.


*Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; hereinafter cited as O.R.



Commander Nemesis




Because they were too much alike may be the single greatest reason why they remained at odds with each other.



Alfred E. Jackson and William H. Thomas had much more in common than not. The two alpha males were in their mid-50s when the war broke out and were from adjoining homogenous mountain regions; both had owned slaves prior to the conflict; each had amassed fortune and stature; neither had spent a single day of his life in the military prior to the four year conflict; the leadership of both Jackson and Thomas was often viewed with skepticism by generals reporting to Richmond; the aged duo would conclude the war with physical and or mental disabilities; both were insolvent in 1865 and would spend the remainder of their lives striving to regain their former estates; and whereas each would outlive the majority of all Americans, the two senior citizens would have several years to reflect upon and contemplate the many decisions and actions of a lifetime. Jackson would pass in 1889 at 82 years young and across the border in North Carolina, Thomas, aged 88, would be laid to rest in 1893.



Brig. Gen. A. E. Jackson, like many general officers from the South, was a slaveholder who had attained wealth and prominence. But unlike the majority of Confederate generals, Jackson, who had spent much of his adult life farming, had never donned the military uniform prior to the conflict.



Colonel W. H. Thomas, commanding Thomas' Legion, was also a slave owner, but to his credit he had amassed in his 50 plus years an array of experiences to warrant solid complaints on poor leadership, but only through proper channels of course. Thomas, prior to Civil War, had owned stores, acquired a law practice, was elected as an N.C. state senator, and served as Chief of the Eastern Cherokee, which he would continue through the war by wearing the hat of both colonel and chief.



The unit known as Thomas' Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders was mustered in with the belief that it would be assigned only in defense of the East Tennessee and adjacent North Carolina mountains. But war being war and the exigencies of combat requiring hard, difficult decisions, it was not practical to have such a large force of some 2,500 men, consisting of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, left intact for the entire four year fight. Once the legion was thrust over the mountains and into East Tennessee and placed in a brigade under the command of Brig. Gen. A. E. Jackson, morale faltered. Since the legion comprised the entire brigade, save another artillery battery at various times, it brought confusion and many complaints from the troops while questioning who was their commander.



In fairness to Jackson, Thomas, who assumed the role of co-captain of the legion, did absolutely nothing to extinguish the rising flames of anger in the ranks, but he himself fueled it. Jackson was "Old Mudwall," but the Thomas Legion would soon assume a few monikers for itself — from useless to utterly worthless according to some reports by division and corps generals. As the soldiers under Jackson longed for duty on the front, as in front door of hearth and home, they daily recalled the promises of being stationed only in defense of the mountain region. So it was the path of least resistance for the ranks to vent their discontentment by bickering and complaining about Jackson. But "Old Mudwall" would engage and further enrage the already fractured unit by leveling petty charges and minor infractions at its officers in the front of the entire brigade. Morale and bitterness would continue to drop to such levels that some soldiers under Jackson returned to North Carolina with the likelihood of facing desertion charges rather than serve another day under the so-called unfit leader.





Brig. Gen. Alfred E. Jackson
tennesseeandthecivilwarmap.gif

Tennessean and Brig. Gen. Alfred E. Jackson




Jonesborough, Tennessee
genjackson.jpg

Gen. Alfred Eugene Jackson



Conclusion




"General A. E. Jackson was formerly paymaster at Knoxville, and was appointed brigadier general last spring. He is an East Tennessean and was a citizen of wealth and prominence. I make these statements because you were not fully satisfied what General Jackson it was. I hear that he has very complete topographical knowledge of the county, but is a very nervous person under responsibility, although undoubtedly brave and energetic." Letter dated September 5, 1863, from William Preston Johnston, Colonel and Aide-de-Camp, to President Jefferson Davis. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Volume 30, part IV, p. 602.


Although several soldiers stated publicly their dislike of Jackson, it would be remiss to discount or discard the brigadier's abilities. The Tennessean was a self-made man who had evolved into an expert wartime strategist. He understood the strategic importance of the railways and was by all accounts a seasoned topographer. While the aged general was an expert of the ground to which he was assigned to defend, he sought throughout the conflict to use the terrain for an advantage. Whereas Jackson was undoubtedly brave and energetic, the same words could not always be said of the troops he commanded. Because Headquarters Confederate States constructed and then permitted the contentious command structure of the Jackson Brigade, one will never realize the full potential of the mature brigadier.



One soldier serving under the old brigadier would say in a single sentence what many had tried to convey through lengthy prose during the entire war, that Jackson was a "man who cared only about himself." In the several complaints that Thomas would bring against Jackson during the conflict, many had the eerie semblance as though he was actually talking about himself. Whereas the two highlanders were similar in many respects and neither was accustomed to riding shotgun, in unawares during the course of a lengthy conflict they were creating a two-headed commander with monstrous results. (See Brigadier General Alfred Eugene Jackson v. Colonel William Holland Thomas.)



Although Thomas often berated Jackson, there was no love lost between these two men, so when he said that "Jackson never governed any man in his life, just his 20 slaves, and he received his command by accident," it came as no surprise to Jackson. The Thomas Jackson friction rose to such a level that it led to Thomas receiving his first of many court-martials. Allegations would be hurled at Thomas and protests would be aimed at Jackson, in what resembled a schoolyard squabble with neither swallowing his pride and taking a hike on the highway of humility. But as Richmond had tried at times to place pacifiers in the mouths of the bickering commanders, there was actually a war going on.



On a few occasions petitions circulated through the ranks of the Thomas Legion with some men stating their grievances against Jackson, but it was the legion's James W. Terrell who wrote to Governor Vance and stated that "Jackson is trying to destroy our organization. It is no longer Thomas' Legion, but Thomas' Regiment, Walker's Battalion and Levi's Battery, in order to make it a show of a his brigade." (O.R., 1, Vol. 33, p. 1137.)



It was only after the likes of Bragg, Longstreet, Breckinridge, and Jefferson Davis had been thoroughly briefed with the present state of affairs, that Jackson's military service would turn to that of a nonsupervisory role. Jackson was initially relieved of command and sent to the Army of Tennessee (O.R. 37, I, 753), but as his nervous condition worsened, he was again dismissed from command (O.R., 45, I, 1240) and reassigned to the staff of Breckinridge, where he would remain until the war concluded.



With the anger and nervousness of Jackson being witnessed and reported by several in the army over an extended period of the war, the general may have been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, a condition that had yet to be recognized. The former Confederate officer would gradually reclaim a portion of his East Tennessee estate, where he would remain until his death on October 30, 1889. See also Brig. Gen. Alfred E. Jackson History and General Alfred Eugene Jackson Biography.


Jackson's Cherokee Brigade.jpg


SOURCE: http://thomaslegioncherokee.tripod.com/jackson.html
 
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Gen. A. E. Jackson
genalfredjackson.jpg

General Alfred Jackson

Name: Alfred Eugene Jackson
Born: January 11, 1807, Davidson City, TN.
Died: October 30, 1889, Jonesborough (aka Jonesboro), TN.
Buried: Jonesborough (Jonesboro), TN.
Pre-War Profession: Farmer, merchant.
War Service: 1861, staff major, quartermaster, paymaster, served in East Tennessee; April 1863, Brigadier General in command of a brigade, served in the Cumberland Gap and southwest Virginia; unfit for field service in November 1864; remained on staff duty under Maj. Gen. Breckinridge until the war ended.
Postwar Career: Farmer

Brig. Gen. Alfred Eugene Jackson, commonly referenced as A. E. Jackson, was a lifelong resident of Tennessee and slaveholder and farmer prior to the Civil War. Lacking any prior military service, the aged brigadier exhibited poor leadership and the inability to adapt and adopt the warrior's mindset, therefore forcing poor morale and contention among the soldiers who served in his brigade. On September 8, 1863, he tasted his only victory of note by capturing 300 soldiers of the 100th Ohio Infantry at Limestone, TN. When the Confederates were pushed out of Knoxville in December, Jackson would lead a brigade while assigned to the rugged southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. He would later assume temporary control of the Rebel forces at Saltville, VA., during the first fight over the prized salt production facilities on October 2, 1864. With a large Federal command marching toward Saltville, Jackson led the troops well as they prepared fortifications and rifle pits, but Richmond had already made a career changing decision for the Tennessean, and during the next month of November, 1864, Jackson was declared unfit for the field and ordered to light duty on Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge's staff, where he would remain until the conflict ended.

They Call Me "Old Mudwall"

Unlike most generals of the conflict, Brig. Gen. Alfred E. Jackson lacked any formal military training and had never donned a uniform, but was a farmer who owned 20 slaves prior to the Civil War. Jackson received his disparaging nom de guerre, the moniker "Old Mudwall," by troops under his authority. Some men under the Tennessean's leadership routinely complained to headquarters with statements accusing Jackson of being unfit for command to pointing out how the farmer turned brigadier had only commanded 20 slaves prior to the war. For much of the war, Alfred Jackson did little to gain the confidence of his men. He was known to discipline officers in the presence of enlisted men — chastening actions that a slaveholder would openly practice — but such harmful conduct toward military personnel was crippling to morale and esprit de corps of the entire unit, and it was shunned by veteran soldiers and grads of West Point and VMI.

(About) Albumen print of Alfred Eugene Jackson. Undated. Post war image of Brig. Gen. Jackson astride his favorite horse Jeff Davis. The brigadier was rather fond of this mount and included ole Davis in his will. If Jackson should precede the handsome steed in death, Jeff Davis shall remain on the farm where he is to be later buried. When Jackson was said to be unfit for field duty and then stripped of command and reassigned to light duty on Breckinridge's staff, it was none other than the other Jeff Davis who would approve the reassignment of the aged Tennessean. Image has been altered from the original. This rare photo is courtesy Tennessee State Library and Archives.

What's in a Name

Two Jacksons, one dogged and the other neurotic. Whereas Lt. Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson could be seen resonating leadership and confidence on the field, Brig. Gen. "Old Mudwall" Jackson was said to be a rather nervous man. Regarding both "Old Mudwall" and "Stonewall," it was the troops they commanded that bestowed the nom de guerres. While the wise "Stonewall" Jackson executed aggressive tactical decisions and exuded mettle in the face of the enemy, "Old Mudwall," on the other hand, appeared to be quite nervous in any given skirmish and apprehensive regarding decisions in the field. "Stonewall" was a strategist who was well-known for pressing the action and carrying the day, but the other Jackson, to the contrary, was (stuck) like that proverbial deer staring at the headlights and unsure of its next decision. Whilst "Stonewall" was resolute and commanding in the throes of battle, "Old Mudwall" was unassertive on the battlefield — so the namesake stuck.

Faltering Morale

Captain James W. Terrell, of the Thomas Legion, was one of many who wrote to Governor Vance and stated that Jackson was trying to destroy the legion by making it his brigade. Notwithstanding, reports of poor discipline in the ranks of the Jackson brigade may be more intrinsic to the soldiers themselves and should therefore share strongly in the equation of culpability with Jackson.

As brigade general, A. E. Jackson would command Thomas' Legion, which, for much of his generalship, comprised most if not all of his entire brigade. The legion, which included some 400 Cherokee Indians, had fielded some 2,500 men in 1862, but the unit, like other legions of the war, would be more a legion in name only as exigencies of conflict required its artillery and cavalry to be detached. Since the legion had at various times formed all of Jackson's Brigade, conflict was inevitable between Colonel William H. Thomas, the legion's namesake, and the brigadier who had assumed authority of Thomas' unit.

By 1864, several officers of Thomas' Legion signed a petition stating that Jackson was "a man of irritable temper intensified by diseased nerves and aggravated by being in a position for which the man is morally and physically unfit." This letter further stated that "General Jackson would reprimand the officers in the presence of the enlisted men," which only added to the list of grievances. The letter was forwarded from Gov. Zebulon Vance and read by President Jeff Davis.

The scathing allegations against Jackson would gain traction when Colonel William P. Johnston, President Jefferson Davis' aide, stated to Davis that Brig. Gen. Jackson was a "very nervous person under responsibility." (O.R., 30, IV, 602*). This rhetoric became action when General Bragg wrote Davis in 1864 and recommended that Jackson be relieved of command and that Col. William H. Thomas resume control of the Thomas Legion (which Bragg knew had formed the nucleus of the brigade under Jackson). But the organization change would have to wait. Having been signed on May 5, 1864, General Order 105 would order the Thomas Legion to return to western North Carolina, but the exigencies of war would postpone the order by first moving the legion into the Shenandoah Valley to serve under Lt. Gen. Jubal Early.

While the soldiers enjoyed a laissez-faire atmosphere under Col. Thomas, Brig. Gen. Jackson was said to be a strict disciplinarian. Lt. Col. W. W. Stringfield, Thomas' Legion, recorded the unit's history for North Carolina in 1901. Although he made critical remarks for some soldiers, Stringfield gave the following account of the brigadier. "[General Alfred E. Jackson] was a cultivated gentleman and personally a brave man. He was a good man and always managed the men to the best advantage in so hostile a region. He was personally and scrupulously honest, and demanded the same of his men; but he was a little too strict for the "old soldier" ideas of those who wanted to prowl." W. W. Stringfield, 10 May, 1901. Clark, Walter, 1846-1924, ed. Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina, in the Great War 1861-'65. Vol. III, p. 743.

*Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; hereinafter cited as O.R.

Commander Nemesis

Because they were too much alike may be the single greatest reason why they remained at odds with each other.

Alfred E. Jackson and William H. Thomas had much more in common than not. The two alpha males were in their mid-50s when the war broke out and were from adjoining homogenous mountain regions; both had owned slaves prior to the conflict; each had amassed fortune and stature; neither had spent a single day of his life in the military prior to the four year conflict; the leadership of both Jackson and Thomas was often viewed with skepticism by generals reporting to Richmond; the aged duo would conclude the war with physical and or mental disabilities; both were insolvent in 1865 and would spend the remainder of their lives striving to regain their former estates; and whereas each would outlive the majority of all Americans, the two senior citizens would have several years to reflect upon and contemplate the many decisions and actions of a lifetime. Jackson would pass in 1889 at 82 years young and across the border in North Carolina, Thomas, aged 88, would be laid to rest in 1893.

Brig. Gen. A. E. Jackson, like many general officers from the South, was a slaveholder who had attained wealth and prominence. But unlike the majority of Confederate generals, Jackson, who had spent much of his adult life farming, had never donned the military uniform prior to the conflict.

Colonel W. H. Thomas, commanding Thomas' Legion, was also a slave owner, but to his credit he had amassed in his 50 plus years an array of experiences to warrant solid complaints on poor leadership, but only through proper channels of course. Thomas, prior to Civil War, had owned stores, acquired a law practice, was elected as an N.C. state senator, and served as Chief of the Eastern Cherokee, which he would continue through the war by wearing the hat of both colonel and chief.

The unit known as Thomas' Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders was mustered in with the belief that it would be assigned only in defense of the East Tennessee and adjacent North Carolina mountains. But war being war and the exigencies of combat requiring hard, difficult decisions, it was not practical to have such a large force of some 2,500 men, consisting of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, left intact for the entire four year fight. Once the legion was thrust over the mountains and into East Tennessee and placed in a brigade under the command of Brig. Gen. A. E. Jackson, morale faltered. Since the legion comprised the entire brigade, save another artillery battery at various times, it brought confusion and many complaints from the troops while questioning who was their commander.

In fairness to Jackson, Thomas, who assumed the role of co-captain of the legion, did absolutely nothing to extinguish the rising flames of anger in the ranks, but he himself fueled it. Jackson was "Old Mudwall," but the Thomas Legion would soon assume a few monikers for itself — from useless to utterly worthless according to some reports by division and corps generals. As the soldiers under Jackson longed for duty on the front, as in front door of hearth and home, they daily recalled the promises of being stationed only in defense of the mountain region. So it was the path of least resistance for the ranks to vent their discontentment by bickering and complaining about Jackson. But "Old Mudwall" would engage and further enrage the already fractured unit by leveling petty charges and minor infractions at its officers in the front of the entire brigade. Morale and bitterness would continue to drop to such levels that some soldiers under Jackson returned to North Carolina with the likelihood of facing desertion charges rather than serve another day under the so-called unfit leader.


Brig. Gen. Alfred E. Jackson
tennesseeandthecivilwarmap.gif

Tennessean and Brig. Gen. Alfred E. Jackson


Jonesborough, Tennessee
genjackson.jpg

Gen. Alfred Eugene Jackson


Conclusion


"General A. E. Jackson was formerly paymaster at Knoxville, and was appointed brigadier general last spring. He is an East Tennessean and was a citizen of wealth and prominence. I make these statements because you were not fully satisfied what General Jackson it was. I hear that he has very complete topographical knowledge of the county, but is a very nervous person under responsibility, although undoubtedly brave and energetic." Letter dated September 5, 1863, from William Preston Johnston, Colonel and Aide-de-Camp, to President Jefferson Davis. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Volume 30, part IV, p. 602.


Although several soldiers stated publicly their dislike of Jackson, it would be remiss to discount or discard the brigadier's abilities. The Tennessean was a self-made man who had evolved into an expert wartime strategist. He understood the strategic importance of the railways and was by all accounts a seasoned topographer. While the aged general was an expert of the ground to which he was assigned to defend, he sought throughout the conflict to use the terrain for an advantage. Whereas Jackson was undoubtedly brave and energetic, the same words could not always be said of the troops he commanded. Because Headquarters Confederate States constructed and then permitted the contentious command structure of the Jackson Brigade, one will never realize the full potential of the mature brigadier.



One soldier serving under the old brigadier would say in a single sentence what many had tried to convey through lengthy prose during the entire war, that Jackson was a "man who cared only about himself." In the several complaints that Thomas would bring against Jackson during the conflict, many had the eerie semblance as though he was actually talking about himself. Whereas the two highlanders were similar in many respects and neither was accustomed to riding shotgun, in unawares during the course of a lengthy conflict they were creating a two-headed commander with monstrous results. (See Brigadier General Alfred Eugene Jackson v. Colonel William Holland Thomas.)



Although Thomas often berated Jackson, there was no love lost between these two men, so when he said that "Jackson never governed any man in his life, just his 20 slaves, and he received his command by accident," it came as no surprise to Jackson. The Thomas Jackson friction rose to such a level that it led to Thomas receiving his first of many court-martials. Allegations would be hurled at Thomas and protests would be aimed at Jackson, in what resembled a schoolyard squabble with neither swallowing his pride and taking a hike on the highway of humility. But as Richmond had tried at times to place pacifiers in the mouths of the bickering commanders, there was actually a war going on.



On a few occasions petitions circulated through the ranks of the Thomas Legion with some men stating their grievances against Jackson, but it was the legion's James W. Terrell who wrote to Governor Vance and stated that "Jackson is trying to destroy our organization. It is no longer Thomas' Legion, but Thomas' Regiment, Walker's Battalion and Levi's Battery, in order to make it a show of a his brigade." (O.R., 1, Vol. 33, p. 1137.)



It was only after the likes of Bragg, Longstreet, Breckinridge, and Jefferson Davis had been thoroughly briefed with the present state of affairs, that Jackson's military service would turn to that of a nonsupervisory role. Jackson was initially relieved of command and sent to the Army of Tennessee (O.R. 37, I, 753), but as his nervous condition worsened, he was again dismissed from command (O.R., 45, I, 1240) and reassigned to the staff of Breckinridge, where he would remain until the war concluded.



With the anger and nervousness of Jackson being witnessed and reported by several in the army over an extended period of the war, the general may have been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, a condition that had yet to be recognized. The former Confederate officer would gradually reclaim a portion of his East Tennessee estate, where he would remain until his death on October 30, 1889. See also Brig. Gen. Alfred E. Jackson History and General Alfred Eugene Jackson Biography.

View attachment 196624

SOURCE: http://thomaslegioncherokee.tripod.com/jackson.html
At the time of his death in 1889, the General was the oldest resident of Jonesboro, Washington County, East Tennessee. Jonesboro (Jonesbourgh) is Tennessee's oldest town.
 
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