The name may sound similar, as in the outlaw from back in the day, but Jesse Jamison was actually a blacksmith in mid-1800’s Indiana.
I think I know how Elon, his mother, felt when he enlisted in the 66th Indiana Volunteers. When your child chooses the military way, you live with a mixture of pride and fear. You mostly keep a smile on your face but there’s usually a knot in your stomach. You pray a lot.
For Elon it was likely more difficult. Jesse was the oldest of nine brothers.
And nine brothers enlisted in Abraham Lincoln’s Union Army. I can’t wrap my mind around that.
All nine from Indiana – Thomas joined Jesse in the 66th. Benjamin in the 79th, and James, a lieutenant in the 27th. David, Jacob, George and Robert joined the 49th. And Lewis went with the 16th Indiana Infantry. Two brothers were carpenters, the rest farmers. They all left families and sweethearts behind.
Patriotic holidays and stories of military relatives and friends were cherished in my family. My normally reserved father spared no expense on 4th of July fireworks and sparklers when I was a kid. Our house was the place to be.
And fortunately, I married a man who feels the same way about his adopted country, the USA, and his birth country of Canada. Between us we passed along our fathers and grandfathers stories. I am happy that our sons share our love of country. They respect and know the cost of freedom.
When I take the time to reflect, I find it humbling that young men and women, from Revolutionary War times to present day, put their lives on the line for causes bigger than themselves. Bigger than they knew.
They gave their lives for people they would never know… for people who would live a life they never dreamed of.
G. K. Chesterton wrote, “Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.”
I hope I could be that brave.
Not all of us are called to serve in the military. But I think we’re all called to serve. Perhaps the best way to honor our fallen, is simply to practice gratitude. Live a good life. Courage, honor and old-fashioned grit can only be shared by example.
Of the nine brothers who went to war, seven returned home.
Sgt. Lewis Jamison died at the Seige of Vicksburg.
Cpl. Jesse Jamison died and is buried at the National Cemetery in Corinth, Mississippi.
Jesse didn’t die suddenly in battle. He died slowly, suffering from peritonitis. The ten other men listed on the death register for that day died of diarrhea, typhoid fever and inflammation of the brain.
That deserves to be remembered. They and their families gained no personal benefit for that suffering.
But we did.
Jesse was 36 when he died. He left behind, Mary, his wife and three children – Lewis- 7, Cynthia- 5 and Laura- 2.
Lewis grew up and married Harriet. They had Albert.
Albert grew up and married Vera. They had Robert.
Generation after generation leaves its mark and makes its sacrifice.
Thank you, Jesse, for yours.
Full Heart Day.