Stonewall Jackson Papers. 1845 August 2

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Date: 1845 August 2
Item: Letter
To: Laura Jackson Arnold
From: Thomas J. Jackson
Place: United States Military Academy (West Point)
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U.S.M.A. Aug 2nd 1845
Dear Sister

Actuated by a sense of duty I proceed to writing you a few lines hoping that they may find you enjoying the blessings of health and prosperity generally which I have some reason to expect.

You may infer that I am well and enjoying myself very well considering that I am deprived of the blessings of a home the society of the friends of my child-hood the cordial welcome of relatives and above all the presence of an only sister. Times are now far different from what they once were. Once I was in my native state at my adopted home none to give there mandates none for me to obey but as I chose surrounded by my playmates and natives all apparently eager to promote my happiness. But those were the days of my youth they have fled never again to return. They have been succeeded by days of quite a different aspect they have brought forth manhood with all its cares.

I have before me two courses either of which I may chose in case that I am blessed with health and long life they are widely different in their natures and consequences. The first I may say would be to follow the profession of arms the second that of a civil pursuit as law. If I should adopt the first I could live independently & surrounded by friends whom I have all ready made have no fear of want, my pay would be fixed. The principal thing I would have to attend to would be futurity. If I adopt the latter I presume that I would still find plenty of friends but my exertions would have to be great in order to acquire a name. This course is most congenial to my taste and consequently I expect to adopt it after spending a few years in pursuing the former.

I have forgotten the contents of my former letter consequently I will mention my standing as it exists at present . In Drawing it is 59th, in Chemistry 25th, in general standing 20th, in Philosophy 11th, in conduct 1st. There are 60 members in my class at present nineteen above me and forty below me.

I propose on coming to see my friends and yourself in July next.

A member of the Corps was drowned a few days since his body was recovered about 5 days subsequent to the fatal stroke and interred with the honors of war. I had the pleasure of his acquaintance. He was a youth of promise stood high in his class and bid fair for long life. The news must have inflicted a sore wound on the hearts of his parents for he certainly was a favorite child. The corps is at present in mourning for him.

There have been a number of distinguished men on the point for some time back among whom was Major General Scott. Many visitors favour us with calls among them are a number of ladies but they are not so fair as the daughters of western Virginia.

Write to me frequently [as] your brother
T.J. Jackson

©Virginia Military Institute Archives, Lexington, VA 24450