Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Charles H. Jackson, Boy Hero and Casualty of Shiloh

Charles H. Jackson's headstone lists no birth nor death date.  There is no "Beloved Son of" or "At Rest" engraved there either.  What you see, should you wander the city of the dead known as Elmwood, are the things that his parents felt were important about his life; his name,  his ultimate sacrifice to the Confederacy, and his age.

Charles H. Jackson
Killed at
Battle of Shiloh
Aged 15 Years
From the Memphis Appeal:
A Boy Hero--We this morning announce the death of Charles H. Jackson, son of Capt. D.F. Jackson, of this city.  The boy was only fifteen years and eight months old, yet one year ago he entered as a private in his father's company.  Young as were his years, his actions showed a manly heart.  His fearless bravery won for him the admiration, and his amiable traits attracted the affection of all who knew him.

We have been permitted to see the leave of absence granted him by the surgeon of his regiment, of which the following is a copy:  "Charles H. Jackson, private in Company K, 2d Confederate regiment, had his right thigh fractured in the battle of Shiloh while gallantly fighting by the side of his father, Capt. R.F. Jackson. (His father was misreported as R.F., he was D.F. Jackson)  This gallant boy is hereby granted an indefinite furlough." During his agonizing sufferings he always expressed the deepest regret, because, as he said, he could not help his father to raise enough men to take the place of those who feel with him in battle.  He bore the suffering from his wound with a hero's patience, and frequently he asked of his physician, Dr. Keller, who paid every possible attention, "Urge my father to hurry back to camp and be ready to fight again; I do not want him to mind my sufferings and lose time here."  The boy is dead.  Though but a child, there never was a braver heart or a truer soldier.

This funeral notice appeared in the Memphis Daily Appeal on May 2, 1862:
Died, yesterday, in the city, of wounds received at the battle of Shiloh Charles H. Jackson, aged 15 years and eight months, son of Capt. David (Should be Davis) F. and Eliza S. Jackson.

The friends and acquaintances of the family of the deceased are requested to attend the funeral from Capt. Jackson's residence, on main, near Beale street, This Friday Afternoon, at 3 o'clock.  Services by Rev. J. Davis.  Carriages in attendance.

In reality Private Jackson didn't die at Shiloh. He was brought back home to Memphis and died there from the wounds he received in battle.  Perhaps his parents thought it sounded grander and more noble to die upon the field of battle than to die at home from his wounds.  Whatever their beliefs, they were proud of him and thought it important enough to note their sons participation in the war between the states.

Research shows that Charles H. Jackson was born about 1846 in Indiana to Davis F. Jackson and Eliza S. Cunningham.  The family was still living in Indiana at the time of the 1850 Census.  By 1860 they were living in Memphis.  In addition to Charles, their other children were Anna, Clara Maria, Eliza, D.F., Kate and Rufus.  Capt. Jackson was the City Jailer with a personal estate valued at $400.  Interestingly enough he and his family lived at the jail as did others who were employed there including the baker, cook, bookkeeper, launder and machinist.  By 1880 Capt Jackson's position was that of Health Officer.  His son Davis was a Quarantine Officer and Rufus was also a Health Officer.

Charles' parents and at least one brother, Dr. Rufus Jackson, are interred in the lot with him at Elmwood.

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