Civil War: Pension File, Union Navy
Names on Record
Former Civil War Sailor and Ex-Virginia Slave, Tells an Interesting Story
C. V. Brooks
March 14, 1907
After my discharge I started out to find my wife... my master greeted me; shook hands and said, well Jackson, I am glad to see you, you done just right to leave.
--Andrew Jackson, Civil War veteran quoting James B. Jones, former slaveholder from Chesterfield County, Virginia
On this 14th day of March, A.D., 1907, personally appeared ANDREW JACKSON, a resident of Worcester, County of Worcester, State of Massachusetts, formerly a Landsman in the United States Navy, and a pensioner by Certificate No. 11609 (Navy), whose post-office address id [is] No. 83 Eastern Avenue, Worcester, Massachusetts, and who, being duly sworn according to law, declares as follows:
That I was born Christmas day [Day] in the year 1837, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, on a plantation on the line of the Counties of Hanover and Henrico, Va., owned by Dudley Brown. When a young boy my master died and many of the slaves were sold. I with others was sold to a trader who took us to Richmond, Va., where I was sold to James and Alexander Jones, and taken to their plantation in Chesterfield County, Va., between Petersburg and Richmond, on which plantation I was raised.
In 1858 I was married according to slave custom, to Martha Twine, who was also raised on the plantation, and she is still my wife. Neither of us had before our marriage had marriage relations with any one.
On the 8th day of June 1862, myself and 15 other slaves on the plantation, ran away, and that night found us on the banks of the James river near Deep Bottom where we were seen and hailed by an officer on a Gunboat in the river; the officer come ashore and asked us if we wanted to enlist in the service of the federal government; we told him that we did and he went to his boat and brought three guns, giving me one and one to Gustavus Branch, and the other to Washington Robinson, and told us to patrol up and down the river bank and if we saw any confederates to fall back on the gunboat and he would pick us up. He took the rest of the boys aboard the gunboat. The next morning, June 9, 1862, we three were enlisted on the gunboat (Galena) for 3 years or the war and the rest of the boys were sent down to Fortress Monroe. Later the Galena was disabled and she went to Philadelphia where we were transferred to the Shennandoah [Shenandoah], and later I was transferred to the Flag Ship tender [at] Hampton Roads, and later went down to Fort Fisher, N.C. and was at Fort Fisher at both fights, and was on June 9, 1865 mustered out at Fort Fisher and went up to Fortress Monroe where I received my discharge papers.
After my discharge I started out to find my wife, first going back to the old home but found none of the old people there; I then went to my maters [master's] (James Jones) house, about 5 miles out from Petersburg; my master greeted me; shook hands and said, well Jackson, I am glad to see you, you done just right to leave. He told me that my wife was at his sisters [sister's] about 25 miles up country at a place called Gravelville. [A section called Gravel Hill is part of modern Richmond, which stretches over the James River into what was once a part of Chesterfield County.] He [James B. Jones] gave me a note to the overseer to turn over my wife to me but advised me not to go myself as it might not be safe. I sent a team up after my wife and she came down to me. We went [We went] to Roseland [Rosyln ?] near Petersburg and hired a small place and staid there about two years and then we went to Richmond, Va. where I worked about in Haxall's flour mill and in the year of the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia , my wife and myself come North to Worcester, Massachusetts where we have since lived.
One of the two witnesses signing Andrew Jackson's statement on March 14, 1907, was a William Whittaker. In her statement made a little over a year later, Andrew Jackson's widow mentions the widow Whittaker, "a white lady" to whom Martha Jackson was renting a house.
"Names on Records: Martha Jackson, Civil War Sailor's Widow, Describes Life as a Virginia Slave and a Free Woman in Two Commonwealths"