Monday, January 7, 2013

The 48th/150th: Burying the Dead of Fredericksburg/"You Yankees Don't Know How To Hate."

Lt. Henry Clay Jackson, Co. G
The 48th Pennsylvania lost seven men killed, forty-three wounded, and one missing on December 13, 1862, at the Battle of Fredericksburg, the regiment's last battle of 1862. After that Saturday's slaughter, the 48th remained in the devastated town until nightfall on December 15, licking its wounds and trying to make sense of this latest defeat. At one point during the battle's ghastly aftermath, a flag of truce was raised for the burial of the dead. Young Henry Clay Jackson, a lieutenant in Company G and native of St. Clair, Pennsylvania, was the officer placed in charge of the burial party for the Ninth Corps's Second Division, First Brigade. Captain Oliver Bosbyshell, Clay's commanding officer, recounted the following story in his regimental history The 48th in the War:

"Lieutenant Jackson, of G, commanded a burial party from the First Brigade, which proceeded to the battlefield under flag of truce, to bury the Union soldiers still lying on the ground. Whilst performing this duty he conversed with a number of rebel officers. One said to him, "You Yankees don't know how to hate--you don't hate us near as much as we hate you. You've yet learn how to hate," then, pointing to a number of dead Union soldiers, whose bodies had been stripped of every vestige of clothing, he added, "Is it not revolting--don't you think it's terrible?" Jackson replied that he did, and that no civilized people would be guilty of such desecration. The rebel officer replied, "Indeed, I could not be to any other save a Yankee."
Lt. Jackson remained with the regiment through Kentucky and Tennessee in 1863, and returned, with the 9th Corps to Virginia in the spring of 1864. He was killed in action at Spotsylvania on May 12, 1864. After a battlefield burial, Jackson's remains were then taken to their final resting place. . .in the National Cemetery, in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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