A Civil War Biography

Henry Rootes Jackson

Jackson was born 24 June 1820 in Athens, Georgia. He was the son of a college professor and always leaned towards intellectual pursuits showing a particular talent as a poet. He attended Yale and graduated near the top of the class of 1839. HE studied the law the n set up a practice in Savannah, Georgia and was appointed US district attorney before he was 24. During the war with Mexico he served as colonel of the 1st Georgia infantry. Upon returning from Mexico he edited a newspaper then was appointed a state superior court judge. From 1853 until 1859 he was the US minister resident to Austria. In 1859 he assisted in the government prosecution of the captain and owners of the slave ship Wanderer. Ironically he would become a general in the Confederacy and John E. Farnum, one of the principle defendants, would become a brevet brigadier general in the Union army. A Democrat Jackson attended both the divided party's 1860 conventions in Charleston, South Carolina and Baltimore, Maryland as a supporter of John C. Breckinridge. Jackson also was a member of the Georgia secession commission.

After Georgia seceded Jackson was given a seat on a Confederate bench but, on 4 June 1861, resigned to accept an appointment as a brigadier general in the Provisional Confederate army on 4 June 1861. He served initially in the Army of the Northwest under Robert E. Lee, commanding a brigade in what became West Virginia seeing action during Lee's Cheat Mountain operations. Jackson resigned on 2 December 1861 to accept command of a division of Georgia state troops with the rank of major general. He was left without a command when the conscript act passed and turned his division over to the central government. After serving as an aide on WHT Walker's staff, Jackson was re-commissioned a brigadier general in the Confederate army on 23 September 1863. He served in various capacities during the Atlanta campaign, taking charge of the deceased Clement H. Steven's brigade. He commanded the brigade at Franklin then at Nashville where he was captured. He would remain a prisoner until after the end of the war.

Jackson was released from Fort Warren in Boston Harbor in July 1865 and resumed his practice of law in Georgia. In 1885 he was appointed minister to Mexico by Grover Cleveland and served until 1886. Jackson then directed a railroad company and became a banker. He served as the president of the Georgia Historical Society from 1887 until his death on 23 May 1898.

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