William Lowther Jackson

William Lowther Jackson

Portrait photograph of Lt. Governor Jackson
3rd Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
In office
December 7, 1857  January 1, 1860
Governor Henry A. Wise
Preceded by Elisha W. McComas
Succeeded by Robert Latane Montague
Personal details
Born February 3, 1825
Clarksburg, West Virginia
Died March 26, 1890(1890-03-26) (aged 65)
Louisville, Kentucky
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Sarah Elizabeth Jackson
(nee Creel)
Profession Attorney, judge, soldier
Military service
Allegiance Confederate States
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Years of service 18611865 (CSA)
Rank Brigadier General (CSA)
Commands 31st Virginia Infantry
19th Virginia Cavalry
W.L. Jackson's Cavalry Brigade

American Civil War

William Lowther Jackson, Jr. (February 3, 1825 – March 26, 1890) was an American politician and jurist who served as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia prior to the American Civil War, and later served as a general in the Confederate States Army.

Early life

Paternal ancestry

William L. Jackson was a cousin of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson through their great-grandparents, John Jackson (1715 or 1719 – 1801) and Elizabeth Cummins (also known as Elizabeth Comings and Elizabeth Needles) (1723–1828). John Jackson was a Protestant (Ulster-Scottish) from Coleraine, County Londonderry, Ireland. While living in London, England, he was convicted of the capital crime of larceny for stealing £170; the judge at the Old Bailey sentenced him to seven years of indentured servitude in America. Elizabeth, a strong, blonde woman over 6 feet (180 cm) tall, born in London, England was also convicted of larceny in an unrelated case for stealing 19 pieces of silver, jewelry, and fine lace, and received a similar sentence. They both were transported on the prison ship Litchfield, which departed London in May 1749 with 150 convicts. John and Elizabeth met on board and were in love by the time the ship arrived at Annapolis, Maryland. Although they were sent to different locations in Maryland for their indentures, the couple married in July 1755.[1]

The family migrated west across the Blue Ridge Mountains to settle near Moorefield, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1758. In 1770, they moved farther west to the Tygart Valley. They began to acquire large parcels of virgin farming land near the present-day town of Buckhannon, including 3,000 acres (12 km²) in Elizabeth's name. John and his two teenage sons, were early recruits for the American Revolutionary War, fighting in the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780; John finished the war as captain and served as a lieutenant of the Virginia militia after 1787. While the men were in the Army, Elizabeth converted their home to a haven, "Jackson's Fort," for refugees from Indian attacks.[2]

John and Elizabeth had eight children. Their eldest son, George Jackson (1757–1831), was a colonel in the Virginia militia during the Revolutionary War and Congressman from Virginia. George and his wife, Elizabeth Brake (1757–1812), daughter of Jacob and Mary E. (née Cooper) Brake, had three children; their youngest was William's father, William Lowther Jackson, Sr. (1798–1836), who also served in the Virginia militia.[3]

Childhood and prewar career

Jackson was born on February 3, 1825 in Clarksburg, Virginia (now West Virginia). Studying law he was admitted to the Bar of Virginia in 1847.[4] He married Sarah Elizabeth Creel on December 19, 1849, and together they had two or three children. Jackson was a big man, standing about six feet tall and weighing about 200 pounds. He had a shock of dark red hair and piercing blue eyes like those of his famous cousin, Thomas Jackson. William Jackson was not known as an eloquent speaker, but he was known as a forceful one.[5] He later became the Commonwealth's Attorney for Harrison County. Entering politics he was elected into the Virginia House of Delegates two times, also serving as Second Auditor of the State and as superintendent of the state library fund. Jackson was the third Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 1857 until 1860 and afterwards was made a circuit judge in the 19th district.[6]

Civil War

When the civil war erupted Jackson, a proponent of slavery, resigned from his position as judge and enlisted in the Confederate States Army as a Private. Recommended to General Robert E. Lee he quickly was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the 31st Virginia Infantry Regiment. Assigned to the command of Gen. Robert S. Garnett he participated in the Western Virginia Campaign and the battles of Rich Mountain and Cheat Mountain. In July 1861 he was promoted to rank of Colonel. In early 1862 he became a Volunteer Aide-de-camp to his cousin, Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson; and participated in his campaigns during the year.[7][8]

William's younger brother George, who was a graduate of West Point (Class of 1856) and served in the U.S Army, became a Colonel in the Confederate Army, too.[9]

In February 1863 William Jackson was authorized to organize a mounted regiment for service behind the enemy lines and he raised the 19th Virginia Cavalry. His regiment immediately joined the Jones-Imboden Raid, first under command of Albert G. Jenkins, then under John D. Imboden. Jackson stayed in western Virginia, being assigned to command a cavalry brigade; fighting in the battles of Bulltown and Cloyd's Mountain. In 1864 he joined Lt. Gen. Jubal Early in the Valley Campaigns from May to October. He received his promotion to Brigadier General on December 19, 1864.[8][10]

On April 15, 1865, six days after Gen. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House, he disbanded his brigade. Refusing to surrender he headed westwards, finally getting a parole in Brownsville, Texas, on July 26, 1865.[5]

Later life

Temporarily emigrating to Mexico he returned to what was now Western Virginia just to learn that former Confederate officers were barred from practicing law in the state. He then moved to Louisville, Kentucky where he was allowed to resume his practice of law. Jackson became a circuit judge again and kept this position for his remaining life. He died on March 26, 1890 of Bright's disease in Louisville; and was interred there on Cave Hill Cemetery.[5]

Nickname controversy

William L. Jackson is one of three Confederate generals associated with the nickname "Mudwall", a reference to the "Stonewall" nickname given to his cousin Thomas. While William Jackson has been known as such for a long time, it was found by noted historian Garry W. Gallagher that the nickname was originally given to fellow Confederate General Alfred E. Jackson from Tennessee (no family relation). It seems the two were mixed up in the Southern Historical Society Papers in 1906 and the error was involuntarily repeated afterwards. Sometimes the name is even attributed to another (likewise not related) Confederate Brigadier, John K. Jackson. It is also possible that at times the name was attributed to several of the Jacksons simultaneously.[11][12]

See also


  1. Robertson, 1997, pp. 1–2
  2. Robertson, 1997, pp. 2–3.
  3. William Lowther Jackson, Sr. (1798–1836) - Find A Grave Memorial
  4. Wickline, John. "The Other Gen. Jackson: William Lowther 'Mudwall' Jackson". Connect-Clarksburg. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 Wittenberg, Eric J. "Brig. Gen. William L. "Mudwall" Jackson". Rantings of a Civil War Historian. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  6. Evans, 2004, p. 131
  7. Webb, Kerry. "Jackson, William Lowther "Mudwall"". Confederate Generals - J. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  8. 1 2 Eicher, 2001, p. 317
  9. Rob. "Col George Jackson". Find a Grave. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  10. Ugaalltheway. "William Lowther "Mudwall" Jackson, Jr". Find a Grave. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  11. "You Know of " Old Stonewall " Meet " Old Mudwall " Jackson". Civil War Talk. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
  12. Walden, 1990



External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Elisha W. McComas
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
Robert L. Montague
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