The Flag Bearer – Part III

Nathan Andrew Jackson fought with the 21st Mississippi Infantry. Jackson was well over six feet tall and served as the flag bearer for Company C. This regiment formed part of Barksdale’s all Mississippi Brigade. They fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the war.

Nathan carried the colors for Company C at Antietam, Chancellorsville, both battles at Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. Amazingly, he was never injured in combat.

The 21st Mississippi was sent to Tennessee following Gettysburg to support Bragg’s army during the Chattanooga campaign. They fought at Chickamauga on Sept 19, 1863 and spent the winter of 1863/1864 in Russellville, TN. Nathan died of smallpox on February 12, 1864. He was 25 years old.

Nathan wrote two letters to his wife Martha that were preserved by his daughter, Arabella. Both letters are dated Sunday, July 27, 1862. Nathan was hopeful that he would be granted a furlough. The first letter starts out carefully written in block letters but he switches to his own handwriting after the first paragraph.

Letter #1 dated July 27, 1862, Richmond VA

He is homesick and seems to be spending most of his time appealing to his commanding officer for a transfer closer to Mississippi or a furlough.

I and the captain will go up and see the secretary of war. I wish Colonel A. E. Teyton would have wrote to the secretary of war for me and write a transfer. I wish I could get a transfer or a furlough, if I could get a furlough I would turn it into a transfer and I would make good use of my time. It don’t look right for to keep men away from their family for so long. I would had thought I would have been back home long since, but I am not there yet, and I don’t know when I will be there. I hope it won’t be long before I come home and see you all.

The full text of the first letter is here => Nathan Jackson Letter #1  

The second letter is more personal and poignant. He seems to realize that a furlough probably will not be granted. Money that he had saved for the trip home will be sent to Martha instead.

Nathan Jackson letter July 27, 1862

He reassures his wife that Mississippi will be safe from Federal troops. At that time, most of the fighting was concentrated in Virginia and northern border states. It was thought that the Mississippi river protected states to the west.

Martha you must not grieve for me and you need not be scared for the Yanks for they are not coming out in the country

The full text of the second letter is here => Nathan Jackson Letter #2

The furlough never came. Nathan never again saw his wife Martha or his two small children, William and Arabella.

Nathan Andrew Jackson was my grandmother’s great great uncle

Lost Cause Statement