“It will not be very long till the matter will be brought to a close” A Buckeye’s Last Letter Home

    A few days ago, I featured a letter written by Captain Calvin Wood of the 13th Missouri to Samuel M. Jackson back in Scioto Co., Ohio relating the circumstances of the death of Samuel’s brother Isaac Jackson during the Battle of Shiloh. It was on the morning of Sunday, April 6, 1862 and the 13th Missouri was under attack.

          “I had been on the left of the company and had got back to the center I saw your brother laying on his back trying to load; your brother was on the right of the second platoon. He remarked to me that he could not ram his cartridge down. I replied I will help you and turned to assist him. He raised up on his right knee with one hand on the barrel of the piece and the other on the rammer and at that instant a ball passed so near my hand as to burn the back of it and struck him in the neck just below his right ear and out under the left ear, killing him instantly. He never groaned or moved a muscle any more than to just straighten his limbs. He never knew what hurt him. I saw that he was dead and hurried on to try and take care of the living,” recalled Captain Wood.

It turns out that a reader of the blog named Richard Wood is a direct descendant of Samuel Jackson and has in his possession the last letter that Isaac Jackson wrote home before Shiloh. Richard was kind enough to share that letter with me which I am delighted to share below. 

The 13th Missouri had previously taken part in the Battle of Fort Donelson and afterwards had occupied Clarksville, Tennessee and then Nashville, the first Confederate state capital to fall into Federal hands. The 13th Missouri was then put on steamboats at Nashville and shipped down the Cumberland River to rejoin Grant’s army camped at Pittsburg Landing.  Isaac Jackson’s last letter was written on March 24, 1862 at Paducah, Kentucky at the mouth of the Tennessee River while he was awaiting transportation to Pittsburg Landing and his meeting with destiny on the field of battle.

Gravestone of Corporal Isaac L. Jackson, Co. B, 13th Missouri Volunteer Infantry at Shiloh National Cemetery. Isaac was only 21 years old when he was killed in battle. 

Paducah, Kentucky

March 24, 1862

Samuel Jackson, Dear Brother,

Once more I take up an old steel pen to write you to let you know that I am well and doing the best for myself I can in this present contest hoping when this arrives it will find you and all the rest in the same state of existence. I would have written sooner but we have been running around through this section of country in search of rebel property which we have succeeded in getting a good deal of. We have no idea what the value of the property is we captured about ten hundred tons of bacon here at Clarksville besides any amount of other goods.

We had the pleasure of visiting the capital of the state of Tennessee which was a very nice scene. The state house is one of the finest buildings that ever I seen but was evacuated when we arrived there but the Secesh had left the town in an awful condition they had burned the bridge across Cumberland also the R.R. bridge crossing the same which was no advantage to the Union troops whatever but a great damage to the citizens of the place besides. It proved to be a great disadvantage to themselves and a great loss in the end of this struggle that brought us all out from our friends and homes, but we shall soon return again. The prospects for our return still keeps brightening every day but we are still getting farther from home.

We are on our route to Alabama up the Tennessee River by looking at the map of Alabama look at Florence and you will see right where we are bound for. If we should not get further orders by the first of April we will be at that place. My desire to get home still keeps growing. If I ever wanted to see you all it is at this time though I intend to stand the storm for it will not be very long till the matter will be brought to a close. I answered Henry’s letter some four weeks since and have never got any answer yet. He may eventually get his nose pulled for his negligence. He always appears careless about answering my letters if ever I return he will be apt to have it cast up to him which will probably make him repent his negligence.

When you write to me direct your letters to Paducah, Kentucky that being Head Quarters of the Division in which the 13th Mo. is connected, therefore they will be forwarded to the regiment. Tell Mother that I am as fat as ever and as bald headed as a buzzard I weigh 175.


Write soon.

Your Brother Isaac Jackson


Captain Wood’s letter can be viewed here.


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