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Edward "Jackson" Gregory
Jackson, the oldest child of Josephus and Betsy (:Lee) Gregory, went by the name "Jackson" or "Jack," but always signed his name, "E. J. Gregory." At at age 23 he entered into a local mercantile business operating as Gregory, Lee and Hardy. A newspaper, Weekly National Intelligence, issue 7 Feb. 1857, addressed to E. J. Gregory P.M., Plantersville, Lunenburg Co., Va., indicates he preceded his father as postmaster of Plantersville.
At the onset of the Civil War, in the spring of 1861, Jackson was employed in Richmond, 90 miles north of home. On or before his letter of 15 Apr., he joined the Richmond Light Infantry Blues. It was apparently a sudden decision, as in May he wrote to his father, "I am afraid Cousin Bettie Bruce and Miss Annie Saunders will think hard of me for not filling an order for them which they gave me the morning they left Richmond. You must apologize to them for me. I joined the Blues that day and have been on duty ever since and did not have time to attend to it. . . ." He described the company Captain, O. J. Wise, as one of the kindest men he had ever known.
Jackson thus began a service of four years in the Confederate Army. The Blues became attached to Wises's Brigade, under the command of General Henry A. Wise, past governor and father of Capt. Wise. After a rugged tour in western Virginia, the Blues returned to Richmond in Dec. 1861. Capt. Wise was mortally wounded 8 Feb. 1862, at Roanoke Island, NC, where the company was heavily engaged against a numerically superior Federal force. That Jackson was detached from his company is indicated in a letter written by his cousin Adele Lee saying she had been "on thorns" until she learned of his safety. Fifty-one captured of the company would not be exchanged until 16 Aug.
Remnants of the Blues (Co. A. 46th Va. Regt.) returned to Richmond and remained in camp under command of Col. John H. Richardson, until ordered to Yorktown on 30 Mar. Among extant papers of E. J. Gregory (Jackson) is the following "Special Order":
Sergeant Gregory "Co A" of this Regiment will remain in Richmond and procure the arms for said company of Colonel Grog[--?] and take charge of all men belonging to the Regiment that he may find and report to his command as soon as possible. By order of Col J. H. Richardson Comdr - John M. Page Act. Adjt."
By early 1864 Jackson was attached to Co. G as 1st Lieut. under the captaincy of H. M. Bethel. The company soon came under the command of Gregory, with the wounding of Bethel in battle on 17 June. Capt. Bethel was still confined and absent at the Muster Roll of 30 Oct. 1864, signed by E. J. Gregory, Lieut. "Commanding the Company."
It was not learned if Capt. Bethel was able to return to duty. He
was not listed on the Roster of officers of Wise's Brigade who were
paroled at the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court
House. (See below parole of E. J. Gregory.) E. J. Gregory of Co. G,
46th Va. Inf'y, was listed as Actg. Adj. Bethel and Gregory remained
in touch for years. In May 1883, 18 years after
the War, H. M. Bethel wrote to Jackson from Rose Bower, Va.:
"Dear Lieutenant: - First, a remembrance of days gone by. And I am glad to entertain in that remembrance one whose life I have known only to admire. May Heaven continue that blessing to you. . . .
"The SEVENTEENTH JUNE will soon recur again. I do not speak of it much - rarely. There is no one near me now, who was near me then - that memorable evening. Respecting the result of the war, I am altogether satisfied. I hope that you have the same train of reasoning. . . .
"Of late, I hear nothing from [2nd] Lieut. Sutherland - rarely from any old member of the company - G - "Fall in Co. G." A remembrance of the command makes me smile while I write - among scenes of several years, carries me back to South Carolina -ADAMS RUN. Do you smile too? . . ."
His reference may be explained in the company records of the Blues,
which reflect a spirit of fun and of levity at Adams Run (Feb. 1864),
which soon gave way to more serious things.
After the War, Jackson entered into a mercantile business, "Gregory and Hardy" in Petersburg, Va. Subsequently, he had a business in Richmond operating as a commission merchant. In later years Jackson and his brother Cass were proprietors of "Gregory's Warehouse," dealing in tobacco sales. This business was located in Keysville, Va., 14 miles from the old homeplace, making it possible for him to assist his brothers and aging father in conducting business on the Gregory farm. Jackson's amiable disposition gained him lasting friendships, and when he had occasion to travel, there was someone, relative or friend, to welcome him in about any area. He had an interest in a real estate adventure in Texas, giving ground for travel to that area.
After his mother's death the Gregory homeplace fell to Jackson, having been so willed by his father who died in 1880. Jackson's brother Flavius was established in Keysville as a physician; Cass and Wirt had built homes on land cut from the Gregory property. Jackson's time became consumed in the business of agriculture and he moved to the homeplace.
By 1890 the popular Miss Ida Rudd, of Columbian Grove District, was teaching at Mt. Zion School and boarding at the home of Cass Gregory. Jackson, a frequent dinner guest in the home, was greatly attracted to Miss Ida, and by the end of the next year began to think in terms of marriage. Cass's daughter Emma (then courting her husband-to-be, Tom Williams) assisted in abridging the age gap, for "Bro. Jack" was then in his late fifties. Emma could provide him with popular titles in sheet music and other ideas for gifts that he might pick up when in Richmond on business. Miss Ida, talented at piano and organ, was reared in a less staid household. The Rudds were lovers of music and dancing. As Miss Ida prepared to return to her parents at the end of the 1892 spring session, Jackson obtained her permission to visit. Emma accompanied him on his visits. While Miss Ida debated his marriage proposal, she encouraged him to accept an invitation to visit his close friend, the Robert R. Swepson of Knoxville, Tenn., on his return from Europe. (A gold-handled ebony cane engraved with Jackson's name was a souvenir and gift to him, and is in the hands of a grandson.) (Notes taken by Jackson during the trip to Knoxville.) Soon after Jackson's return from Tenn., preparations for the wedding were on. Sis Ella (Cass's wife) went to Columbian Grove to help Miss Ida with her trousseau. Jackson enthusiastically prepared to spruce up the old place. When the shipment of paint arrived at Fort Mitchell Depot, Jackson was not convincing when he told the curious that he was fixing up the place to sell. As work progressed, and the purpose confirmed, neighbors and old friends frequently dropped in, giving approval of its readiness. Jackson wrote Miss Ida that if she could see him in his paint suit, she might change her mind.
Jackson was known for his immaculate and stylish attire; his son recalls that his father never even went to the garden without his string bow tie, and in dress--always wore a top hat.
|The below is included should it help a researcher establish the contribution
13th Jan 1864 Richmond Thos M. Binford to Lieut Gregory stationed at Adams Run, SC
"I received your letter by Charles and would have replied to it immediately but for the press of business, and also not being able to decide positively as to his returning to you. I should much prefer his remaining with you to hiring him to any one else, as he seems so much attached to you, and you have been so very kind to him, but I think it best not to expose him to a Southern Climate in summer and he seems opposed to going so far from his family. I knew therefore under these circumstances you would not wish to have him as he would not be as useful to you, he says if you were near Richmond no one could keep him from you. He brought me $23.75 of the $50. you gave him, it took the balance to pay his expenses here."
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