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J.W. Jackson

J.W. Jackson

Confederate (CSA)

Colonel

James Washington Jackson

(1831 - 1865)

Home State: Alabama

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 47th Alabama Infantry

Before Sharpsburg

He had attended the Greenville (GA) military academy and medical school in New York City before the War. In 1861 he was a physician in Lafayette, Alabama, and was Captain of the "Lafayette Guards", which became Company A, 7th Alabama Infantry. An apparently sickly man, he mustered into Confederate service at Barancas, Florida on 1 September. He resigned for health reasons in October 1861.

He had recovered sufficiently to raise and Captain a company of troops for the new 47th Alabama Infantry in April 1862, and was elected Lieutenant Colonel in May. He saw his first combat with the Regiment at Cedar Creek on 9 August, and was promoted to Colonel on the 11th. He was frequently ill between engagements, but saw action at Groveton and Manassas before the Maryland Campaign.

On the Campaign

He and the Regiment were with General "Stonewall" Jackson at the captures of Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry, and they reached Sharpsburg on September 16th. He replaced the wounded Colonel Warren in command of the Brigade early on the morning of the 17th. He described his part of the fight at Sharpsburg in a letter to his wife on 21 September:

I was in command of a Brigade of five regiments. The General commanding the Division was wounded & sent word to me to support any troops that I thought needed it. It was not more than fifteen minutes afterwards before I saw our troops in front of me retiring slowly before an overwhelming force of the enemy. I thought that was the time & ordered my men to advance which they did under a heavy shower of grape shot bombshells and musket balls. I charged them up to form in about fifty yards of the enemy. As soon as they got to the fence they all fell down & began firing. I made every effort to make then charge over the fence. But the fire was so destructive that they would not rise.

Gen. Starke who was commanding the Brigade on my left seeing the efforts I was making to get my men to charge the enemies position came over & assisted me in my efforts. In our efforts to do so the Gen. was shot down by my side & died almost immediately. I had him taken from the field & then turned my attention to my men. I found I was the only man standing for a Quarter of a mile, all the Brigade being in a recumbent position & although they loaded and fired, yet the did not do the execution they would have done if they had charged up to the barrels of the enemy. Held the position for about two hours; when the enemy having received reinforcements, my men gave way and retired slowly from the field. I was knocked down by a ball just before the retreat began & seeing me fall was the cause of their giving way too soon. As I came to my senses I found I was wounded in the right arm, the ball penetrating to the bone. I hobbled off the field & rallied my men behind a hill & turned over command to Col. Terry who was wounded almost immediately.

The rest of the War

He was absent convalescing after Sharpsburg, but returned to lead the Regiment at Gettysburg in 1863, where he fell ill or exhausted during the assault on Little Round Top on 2 July. He resigned from the service immediately afterward, on the 10th. He died almost exactly two years later, having never recovered his health.

References & notes

His picture from an 1858 ambrotype portrait in the Alabama Archives.1 His service from the Service Cards.2 The quotes from his letter from Nowlen,3 from the original in the Alabama State Archives. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

More on the Web

See an excellent pair of 2014 posts about Jackson by Ranger John Hoptak on the Gettysburg NMP Blog [Part I | Part II].

Birth

09/28/1831; Tallapoosa City, AL

Death

07/01/1865 Greenville, GA; burial in Greenville City Cemetery, Greenville, GA

Notes

1   ADAH Order number: LPP00715, part of the "Alabama cased photographs" collection, Box LPP31, #039
State of Alabama, State Archives, and Dr. Edwin C. Bridges, director, and staff, Alabama Department of Archives & History, Published c.2000, first accessed 08 July 2005, <http://www.archives.state.al.us/index.html>, Source page: /internetphoto/photo_search.cfm  [AotW citation 150]

2   Military service details for Alabama soldiers compiled on Service Cards at the ADAH.
State of Alabama, State Archives, and Dr. Edwin C. Bridges, director, and staff, Alabama Department of Archives & History, Published c.2000, first accessed 08 July 2005, <http://www.archives.state.al.us/index.html>, Source page: /civilwar/index.cfm  [AotW citation 151]

3   Nowlen, Paul, Providence has been kind..., Military Images Magazine, 1999-02-01  [AotW citation 152]