Stonewall Jackson Papers. 1855 March 20
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Date: 1855 March 20
To: Laura Jackson Arnold
From: Thomas J. Jackson
Place: Lexington, Virginia
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March 20th 1855
My Dear Sister,
I sometime since received a letter from Wirt in which he stated that he was at Uncle Alfred Neales, and that he intended going to your house as soon as the weather should settle. He requested me to answer him immediately directing my letter to him at Beverly. I at once replied and I suppose that the letter has reached its destination ere this. He writes a good hand and a sensible letter. He expresses his intention of going to California or his desire to do so. This I hope he will relinquish. I am inclined to the belief that he would probably do as well by making Civil Engineering his profession as at any thing else to which he could turn his attention under present circumstances. But of this I can not speak definitely. He must judge of this for himself. Try and get him to stay with you if you can, until I come and get him to study arithmetic & geography and history: and for this purpose lend him Rollin's ancient history. If Wirt will study Latin I will give him lessons during the summer and put him in the way of learning it so that he can teach Thomas.
I will also if he will consent to do so give him instruction in the different sciences, of Algebra, Geometry and in Engineering and other branches of necessary education and bring with me the necessary books. If he thinks that it will take up too much time for a perfect education, he can take enough for an Engineer in the course of a few months. He can then commence the practice on some of our internal improvements. I have an idea that he might succeed well in this sphere of life. He could whilst practicing his profession make himself a good historian, but it would be the safer plan to get a good education before he commences the practice of the profession.
I hope that for the present Wirt will conclude to teach and then he can as he progresses with his education decide on his profession. I am anxious to know as soon as practicable his determination. I think that the plan of staying in Beverly and taking up a school is the proper one for him if all things are favorable to it, so far as obtaining Mr. Arnold's approbation and a moderate school. I send you two styles of writing but I would not advise the use of but one. If you will let me know which you have selected I can send you [some] others when wanted.
I bought four papers of seed, but can only find three. If you will name the kind of seed you want I think that I can probably get them for there is a variety here but I am unable to select for fear that you may have them or that they may not suit your taste. Remember me very kindly to Wirt when he arrives, to Mr. A., to all the family and to all enquiring friends and relatives.
Your affectionate brother,
©Virginia Military Institute Archives, Lexington, VA 24450