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Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson
What did the "J." stand for?





November, 2002, e-mail communication with the Archivist at Virginia Military Institute:



To the Archivist:

Professor Robertson says, in his book**, that the initial "J", representing Jackson's middle initial, first appeared on a voucher in 1841. He also says that it is not known what the "J" was to represent. Yet, Professor Robertson, and almost every writer we've read, gives Jackson's middle name as "Jonathan", possibly after his father. Do we know how "Jonathan" came to be considered his middle name and what supports that determination?

Archivist's Response:

Thank you for your inquiry. The facts are as you stated them. As an adult, Jackson consistently used the middle initial "J" in his signature, but did not leave any documentary evidence concerning the adoption of the initial or its meaning. Historians have reached a consensus that the most likely explanation is that Jackson took his father's name as his middle name. I am not aware of any documentary evidence that confirms this theory, but it is accepted as the most likely explanation.

Diane B. Jacob
Archivist
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, VA

**Stonewall Jackson by James I. Robertson, Jr.

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