Brigadier General Alfred Eugene Jackson

Thomas' Legion
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  Brigadier General Alfred Eugene Jackson

(January 11, 1807 - October 30, 1889)

Photograph is Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Gen. Jackson
General Alfred Jackson.jpg

General A. E. Jackson
Name: Alfred Eugene Jackson
January 11, 1807, Davidson City, TN.
October 30, 1889, Jonesborough (Jonesboro), TN.
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 Gen. Breckinridge.
Post War Career: Farmer

Gen. Alfred Eugene Jackson Historical Marker
Alfred Eugene Jackson.jpg

General Alfred Eugene Jackson received his moniker "Old Mudwall" by troops he commanded prior to Thomas' Legion or Jackson's Brigade. Some stated that unlike General "Stonewall" Jackson, A. E. Jackson, as he was also known, was opposite.


What's in a name?


Regarding both "Mudwall" and "Stonewall," it was the troops that they commanded that bestowed the nom de guerres. While "Stonewall" Jackson quickly executed aggressive decisions in battle and continually exuded confidence in the face of the enemy, "Old Mudwall," on the other hand, appeared to be nervous in battle and apprehensive regarding decisions in the field. While "Stonewall" was also quick to advance and charge into battle, Alfred, to the contrary, was (stuck) like that proverbial deer staring at the headlights and unsure of its next decision. While "Stonewall" was firm, strong and unwavering in battle, "Old Mudwall" was yielding, weak and hesitant in conflict. The name "Mudwall" stuck, and many subordinates also thought that Jackson was a "man who only cared about himself."


Faltering morale


Several officers in 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 added to the list of grievances. The letter was forwarded to President Jeff Davis via Gov. Zebulon Vance.


The allegations appear to have merit because President Jeff Davis's aide, Colonel William P. Johnston, stated to Davis that Brig. Gen. Jackson was a "very nervous person under responsibility." (O.R., 30, iv, 602*). This peaked when General Bragg wrote Davis and also recommended that Jackson be removed of command and that the Thomas Legion should be placed under Col. William Holland Thomas's command. General Order 105 was signed on May 5, 1864, sending the Thomas Legion to Western North Carolina. It was delayed, however, and the Legion, or the Regiment, was sent into the Shenandoah Valley. *Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; hereinafter cited as O.R.


Command rivalry


Thomas despised Jackson, he even stated that "Jackson never governed any man in his life, just his 20 slaves, and he received his command by accident." The Thomas/Jackson friction resulted in Thomas receiving a court-martial. (Brigadier General Alfred Eugene Jackson and Colonel William Holland Thomas: RIVALRY.)
The Thomas Legion's
James W. Terrell 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 order to make it a show of a [his] brigade." (Thomas' Regiment: O.R., 1, Vol. 33, p. 1137.)


Subsequently, Brig. Gen. Alfred Jackson was relieved of command and sent to the Army of Tennessee (O.R. 37, i, 753). His nervous condition worsened and he was again relieved of command (O.R., 45, 1, 1240). By War's end, Jackson served as a staff officer under the command of Gen. Breckinridge. See also General Alfred Eugene Jackson: Biography.

(Additional sources and related reading below.)


Recommended Reading: Shook over Hell: Post-Traumatic Stress, Vietnam, and the Civil War. Description: Eric T. Dean Jr., a lawyer whose interest in the Civil War prompted him to return to school to obtain a Ph.D. in history, makes a unique contribution to Civil War studies with his research on the psychological effects of the war on its veterans. Digging through the pension records of Civil War vets, Dean documents the great number who, suffering from severe psychological problems triggered by intense combat experience, were dutifully provided with disability pensions by the U.S. government. Continued below...

Dean's central thesis--that these veterans provide a mirror for the experiences of their counterparts in Vietnam a century later--is supported with lucid reasoning. Of particular interest are the many stories of intense Civil War combat and its psychological aftereffects, including many cases of Civil War veterans committed to asylums well into the 1890s--case studies seldom found in standard histories which offer painful testimony to the war's enormous impact on the nation.

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Recommended Reading: Storm in the Mountains: Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers (Thomas' Legion: The Sixty-ninth North Carolina Regiment). Description: Vernon H. Crow, Storm in the Mountains, spent 10 years conducting extensive Thomas Legion's research. Crow was granted access to rare manuscripts, special collections, and privately held diaries which add great depth to this rarely discussed Civil War legion. He explores and discusses the unit's formation, fighting history, and life of the legion's commander--Cherokee chief and Confederate colonel--William Holland Thomas. Continued below...

Numerous maps and photographs allow the reader to better understand and relate to the subjects discussed. It also contains rosters which is an added bonus for researchers and genealogists. Crow, furthermore, left no stone unturned while examining the many facets of the Thomas Legion and his research is conveyed on a level that scores with Civil War students and scholars alike.


Recommended Reading: North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster (Volume XVI: Thomas's Legion) (Hardcover, 537 pages), North Carolina Office of Archives and History (June 26, 2008). Description: The volume begins with an authoritative 246-page history of Thomas's Legion. The history, including Civil War battles and campaigns, is followed by a complete roster and service records of the field officers, staff, and troops that served in the legion. A thorough index completes the volume. Continued below...

Volume XVI of North Carolina Troops: A Roster contains the history and roster of the most unusual North Carolina Confederate Civil War unit, significant because of the large number of Cherokee Indians who served in its ranks. Thomas's Legion was the creation of William Holland Thomas, an influential businessman, state legislator, and Cherokee chief. He initially raised a small battalion of Cherokees in April 1862, and gradually expanded his command with companies of white soldiers raised in western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and Virginia. By the end of 1862, Thomas's Legion comprised an infantry regiment and a battalion of infantry and cavalry. An artillery battery was added in April 1863. Furthermore, in General Early's Army of the Valley, the Thomas Legion was well-known for its fighting prowess. It is also known for its pivotal role in the last Civil War battle east of the Mississippi River. The Thomas Legion mustered more than 2,500 soldiers and it closely resembled a brigade. With troop roster, muster records, and Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR) this volume is also a must have for anyone interested in genealogy and researching Civil War ancestors. Simply stated, it is an outstanding source for genealogists.


Recommended Reading: Generals in Gray Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Description: When Generals in Gray was published in 1959, scholars and critics immediately hailed it as one of the few indispensable books on the American Civil War. Historian Stanley Horn, for example, wrote, "It is difficult for a reviewer to restrain his enthusiasm in recommending a monumental book of this high quality and value." Here at last is the paperback edition of Ezra J. Warner’s magnum opus with its concise, detailed biographical sketches and—in an amazing feat of research—photographs of all 425 Confederate generals. Continued below...

The only exhaustive guide to the South’s command, Generals in Gray belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in the Civil War. RATED 5 STARS!


Recommended Reading: Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders (Hardcover). Description: More than forty years after its original publication, Ezra J. Warner’s Generals in Blue is now available in paperback for the first time. Warner’s classic reference work includes intriguing biographical sketches and a rare collection of photos of all 583 men who attained the rank of general in the Union Army. Here are the West Point graduates and the political appointees; the gifted, the mediocre, and the inexcusably bad; those of impeccable virtue and those who abused their position; the northern-born, the foreign-born, and the southerners who remained loyal to the Union. Continued below...

Warner’s valuable introduction discusses the criteria for appointment and compares the civilian careers of both Union and Confederate generals, revealing striking differences in the two groups. Generals in Blue is that rare book—an essential volume for scholars, a prized item for buffs, and a biographical dictionary that the casual reader will find absorbing.

Recommended Reading: Civil War High Commands (1040 pages) (Hardcover). Description: Based on nearly five decades of research, this magisterial work is a biographical register and analysis of the people who most directly influenced the course of the Civil War, its high commanders. Numbering 3,396, they include the presidents and their cabinet members, state governors, general officers of the Union and Confederate armies (regular, provisional, volunteers, and militia), and admirals and commodores of the two navies. Civil War High Commands will become a cornerstone reference work on these personalities and the meaning of their commands, and on the Civil War itself. Continued below...

Errors of fact and interpretation concerning the high commanders are legion in the Civil War literature, in reference works as well as in narrative accounts. The present work brings together for the first time in one volume the most reliable facts available, drawn from more than 1,000 sources and including the most recent research. The biographical entries include complete names, birthplaces, important relatives, education, vocations, publications, military grades, wartime assignments, wounds, captures, exchanges, paroles, honors, and place of death and interment. In addition to its main component, the biographies, the volume also includes a number of essays, tables, and synopses designed to clarify previously obscure matters such as the definition of grades and ranks; the difference between commissions in regular, provisional, volunteer, and militia services; the chronology of military laws and executive decisions before, during, and after the war; and the geographical breakdown of command structures. The book is illustrated with 84 new diagrams of all the insignias used throughout the war and with 129 portraits of the most important high commanders. It is the most comprehensive volume to any Union or Confederate general--and it can be found in here. [T]he photos alone are worth the purchase. RATED FIVE STARS by

Bibliography: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; Walter Clark, Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861-1865; National Park Service: American Civil War; National Park Service: Soldiers and Sailors System; Weymouth T. Jordan and Louis H. Manarin, North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865; D. H. Hill, Confederate Military History Of North Carolina: North Carolina In The Civil War, 1861-1865; Vernon H. Crow, Storm in the Mountains: Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers; Vernon H. Crow, The Justness of Our Cause; E. Stanly Godbolt, Jr. and Mattie U. Russell, Confederate Colonel and Cherokee Chief: The Life of William Holland Thomas; The Civil War Diary of William W. Stringfield, Johnson City, TN: East Tennessee Historical Society Publications; and John R. Finger, The Eastern Band of Cherokees.

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