General Alfred Jackson
Brigadier General A. E. Jackson
Alfred Eugene Jackson
Alfred Eugene Jackson (January 11, 1807–October 30, 1889) was a Confederate brigadier
general during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Before the war,
he was a farmer, produce wholesaler, miller, manufacturer and transporter of goods by wagon and boat. After the war, he was
a tenant farmer in Virginia until he regained some of his property in
American Civil War
Alfred Eugene Jackson was born on January 11, 1807, in Davidson County, Tennessee, and attended
Washington College and Greeneville College, now Tusculum College. After college he became a farmer and merchant of produce and manufactured wares, and distributed those goods from
North Carolina to the Mississippi River through an extensive transportation network of wagons
and boats that he established.
|Alfred Eugene Jackson
|Alfred E. Jackson
Alfred E. Jackson began his Confederate service as a major on September
11, 1861, and by applying his experience, he served as quartermaster on the staff of Brigadier General Felix Zollicoffer—until
his death at the Battle of Mill Springs. Jackson then served as a paymaster at Knoxville, Tennessee, under the command of Major General E. Kirby Smith. Jackson's original
appointment to brigadier general on October 29, 1862, was canceled, but he was promoted to the rank on February 9, 1863.
After his promotion to brigadier, Alfred Jackson was given command of a
brigade in the Confederate Department of East Tennessee in April 1863, where his brigade fought in several skirmishes,
pursued deserters, raided into eastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia and fought Union loyalists and bushwackers. Jackson
tasted his only victory of note by capturing 300 soldiers of the 100th Ohio Infantry at Limestone, Tennessee, on September
The unit was assigned to Major General Robert Ransom Jr's. division between
October 1863 and February 1864, Brigadier General Bushrod R. Johnson's division in February and March 1864, and Major General
Simon Buckner's division in April and May 1864, all in the Confederate Trans-Allegheny Department. General Braxton Bragg criticized
Jackson in a May 1864 report because his men were in "miserable order."
Jackson and his men spent most of the war fighting guerrilla actions and
numerous skirmishes in East Tennessee, eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina. They supported Brigadier General John S. Williams in his retreat after the Battle of Blue Springs and helped guard the winter
quarters of Lieutenant General James Longstreet's corps at Knoxville during their detachment to the western theater of the
war. They also fought engagements with Union Major General Ambrose Burnside's men along the East Tennessee and Virginia
|General Alfred Jackson
|General Alfred Jackson on his favorite horse Jeff Davis after 1865.
|Brig. Gen. Alfred Jackson Gravesite
|Alfred Jackson and his best equine Jeff Davis
Albumen print of Alfred Eugene Jackson. Undated. Post Civil War image of Brig. Gen. Jackson astride his favorite
horse Jeff Davis. The Confederate brigadier was rather fond of this mount and included ole Davis
in his will. If Jackson should precede the handsome steed in death, Jeff Davis shall remain on the farm
where he is to be later buried. When Jackson was said to be unfit for field duty and then stripped of command and reassigned
to light duty on Breckinridge's staff, it was none other than the other Jeff Davis who would approve the reassignment
of the aged Tennessean. Image has been altered from the original. This rare photo is courtesy Tennessee State Library
Jackson's brigade was ordered to assist in the defense of Saltville,
Virginia, in the Confederate Department of East Tennessee and West Virginia, successor
to the Trans-Allegheny Department from September 30, 1864. With the Confederates pushed out of Knoxville in December 1863,
Jackson would assume temporary command of the Rebel forces at Saltville, VA, during the first fight over the prized salt production
facilities on October 2, 1864. With a numerically superior Federal command marching toward Saltville, Jackson led the troops
as they prepared fortifications and rifle pits.
The 57-year old Jackson was in poor health and reassigned within the same
department to light staff duty under Major General John C. Breckinridge on November 23, 1864, but although his health had
failed, Jackson would live another 25 years and become the eldest resident of Jonesborough.
Post Civil War
After the war, Jackson, now impoverished, rented land in Washington
County, Virginia. President Andrew Johnson, a fellow Tennessean, granted Jackson, along with many former Confederates, a
special pardon on November 16, 1865. Jackson had also shown kindness to Johnson's family in East Tennessee during the
war. After the pardon, Jackson gradually regained a portion of his property in Jonesboro, Tennessee, where
he died, aged 82, and was buried on October 30, 1889.
|General Alfred Jackson
|Tennessee Railroads and the Civil War
|Brig. Gen. Alfred E. Jackson
|Brig. Gen. Alfred Jackson had the responsibility of defending the East Tennessee railroads.
Brigadier General Jackson would command his brigade during numerous
skirmishes and battles, including the fights at Mill Springs, Telford Station, Limestone Depot, Blue Springs, Henderson's
Mill, Carter's Depot, and he prepared the defenses while the massive Union army approached and then opened the
First Battle of Saltville. Given little attention, historically, Jackson was tasked with defending the crown jewel known as
the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad, the sole line connecting Virginia and Tennessee, and without it, the Confederacy
was unable to rapidly shift the desperately needed armies and equipment between theaters of war. Well-versed in transportation
and logistics, Jackson, underappreciated, knew the strategic importance of the track, and with a scarcely a force,
he made every effort to defend it.
Thinning ranks and poorly equipped soldiers, known by Richmond for their
desertions and low morale, would form Jackson's brigade. The unit would continually test Jackson. Although some
soldiers from his command routinely leveled at him charges of poor generalship and being unfit to command, the Tennessean,
who had never served a day in the military prior to the conflict, was determined to fight the enemy for the duration
of the war, regardless.
And as accusations were hurled at Jackson, it took a reassignment from headquarters
to remove him from the battlefield. Many a good men would have easily and eagerly requested a transfer out of and away from
such a unit, but again, Jackson, said to be a man of diseased nerves by some, settled for staff duty as he remained faithful
to the cause which had initially compelled him to join and serve the Confederacy.
Whereas the aged brigadier was burdened with a command that was in
"miserable condition," according to Bragg, these two words perhaps said more about the men that Jackson commanded than it
did about anyone else.
Sources: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; Boatner,
Mark Mayo, III. The Civil War Dictionary. New York: McKay, 1988. ISBN 0-8129-1726-X. First published New York, McKay, 1959;
Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3;
Sifakis, Stewart. Who Was Who in the Civil War. New York: Facts On File, 1988. ISBN 0-8160-1055-2; Stanchak, John E. "Jackson,
Alfred Eugene" in Historical Times Illustrated History of the Civil War, edited by Patricia L. Faust. New York: Harper &
Row, 1986. ISBN 978-0-06-273116-6; Warner, Ezra J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders. Baton Rouge: Louisiana
State University Press, 1959. ISBN 0-8071-0823-5.