Stonewall Jackson Papers. 1858 October 23

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Date: 1858 October 23
Item: Letter
To: Laura Jackson Arnold
From: Thomas J. Jackson
Place: Lexington, Virginia
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Lexington Va.
Oct. 23d, 1858

My dear sister,

Your letter of the 19th inst. reached me this morning. Thomas reached here as you expected on last Saturday and has been a very good boy and we are all much pleased with him. He commenced going to school on Tuesday last to Mr. McFarland & is studying the English & Latin languages. His teacher wishes him to study arithmetic also, but I am unwilling for him to undertake any more at present, until I see what success will attend his present studies & also what kind of health he will have. I don't wish him to go over any thing without his understanding it thoroughly & hence he must not have too much to study. I regard it as a great error to require a child to study what his mind is not capable of appreciating. The tendency is to diminish his fondness for study, to give him a vague way of thinking (since he is not accustomed to see the precise points) & by overtasking the mind his health both of body & mind are endangered. I have been much gratified as seeing Thomas' mind so good; it has improved very much since I last saw him & I think it is partly due to the light course of studies which he has been pursuing.

I will attend to the directions of your letter & I am glad to see that your views with regard to Thomas' education & my views on the same subject are so much alike. I don't think that Thomas will get much home sick. I regret that I have not got some occupation for him & also regret not having some good companion for him to always associate with. I wrote to you about pocket money for him, but as I stated that probably he had reserved enough for that purpose, so I find such to be the case, as he since gave me three dollars to keep for him. Should you send him any clothes at any time, I would not send them of the same style as those he wears, as they are not worn here by boys as large as himself. I find that his dress makes him too marked, I will get him a suit, better adapted to his age.

My greatest concern about him is his eating. When he first came, he would use neither milk nor coffee, since then he drinks a little coffee; but I am a little afraid of his doing so, as he has not been accustomed he says to its use. I don't wish him to change his home habits in any respect unless there is necessity for so doing. I wish you would let me know how he lived at home. He gets his lessons well. Anna joins me in love to yourself & the children.

Your affectionate brother,

©Virginia Military Institute Archives, Lexington, VA 24450