Nathaniel James Jackson


Nathaniel James Jackson was born at Newburyport, Massachusetts, July 28, 1818. He learned the machinist's trade as a youth and at the outbreak of the Civil War was superintendent of the Hill mills at Lewiston, Maine. He became colonel of the 1st Maine, a ninety-day regiment, on May 3, 1861. Eight of the ten companies of this regiment had been units of the state militia in which Jackson had been prominent. During the campaign of First Manassas, the 1st Maine was not in action and was mustered out on August 3. A month later Jackson assumed command of the 5th Maine, which had also been recruited from the state militia. At the battle of Gaines's Mill on the Virginia Peninsula during George B. McClellan's 1862 campaign, Jackson was wounded and carried from the field. He was present at South Mountain and Sharpsburg and on September 24, 1862, was made a brigadier general. The XII Corps, of which Jackson's brigade of Geary's division was a part, was stationed at Harpers Ferry during the battle of Fredericksburg and at Chancellorsville where Jackson was not present, having suffered "a recent severe accident." When able to perform light duty he was placed in command of the draft rendezvous on Riker's Island in New York Harbor and later of Hart's Island. On September 20, 1864, he was relieved from duty at the latter post and ordered to report to General W. T. Sherman at Atlanta, where he was assigned to the 1st Division of the XX Corps (former XI and XII Corps consolidated) under his old commander, A. S. Williams. With it he took part in the celebrated "March to the Sea" and the campaign of the Carolinas. Soon after the battle of Averasboro, J. A. Mower having resumed permanent command of the XX Corps, Williams resumed permanent command of the 1st Division, and Jackson, its temporary commander, was relieved. With the brevet of major general he was honorably mustered out of service on August 24, 1865. His postwar career is obscure: by 1870 he was no longer a resident of Lew-iston, and his obituary notice in the Newburyport paper records only that he "had a host of friends in this city, with whom he was wont to mingle during his summer vacations here." He died at the home of a son in Jamestown, New York, on April 21, 1892, and was buried in Newburyport—neither the Jamestown nor Buffalo papers noted his passing.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.