GENERAL JACKSON'S UNIFORM FROCK COAT TO BE RESTOREDIn December 1925, Julia Jackson Christian (Mrs. Randolph) Preston, the granddaughter of Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson, presented several of his personal belongings to the Virginia Military Institute. Among these items was the VMI instructor's uniform that General Jackson wore at the beginning of the War, most notably at the Battle of First Manassas, where he earned his famous nickname "Stonewall."
In the summer of 1997, Virginia Division UDC raised $2,100 -- the entire amount necessary to fund a restoration of the trousers -- and presented it to VMI following the burial of Little Sorrel, Jackson's warhorse. The newly restored trousers went on display at the VMI Museum October 8, 2000.
One year later, on October 12, 2001, Virginia Division UDC President Mrs. John W. Lougheed presented VMI Museum Director Colonel Keith Gibson with a check for $656.93, the amount needed to reach the $6,700 estimated cost of restoring the matching frock coat. Past Division Presidents Mrs. David S. Whitacre and Mrs. John H. Gum, who raised funds for the restoration during their terms of office, and Mrs. Haike M. Giragosian were in also attendance for the presentation.
(L-R): Mrs. Haike M. Giragosian, Mrs. John H. Gum, Mrs. David S. Whitacre, Virginia Division UDC President Mrs. John W. Lougheed, and VMI Museum Director Colonel Keith Gibson with General Jackson's soon-to-be-restored uniform frock coat
Front of coat
Back of coat
The frock coat, so called because of the "skirt" attached to the body and extending down near the knee, was first mandated by U.S. Army regulations in 1851 and remained in use until 1872.
The coat will soon be on its way to conservator Fonda Thompsen, who also oversaw the restoration of the matching uniform trousers. The project should be completed within the next two years.
"This is a rare opportunity to actually help make available for the public to view something that was worn by one of our most beloved Southern heroes, " said Mrs. Lougheed. "Having the restoration of General Jackson's trousers completed was indeed a great accomplishment and now his coat will soon be on display right along with them!"
Among the many organizations and individuals contributing to the restoration are:
- Old Free State Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (Victoria, Virginia)
- Real Great-Granddaughters Club, Virginia Division UDC
- Professor Peter Keith-Stuart and Dr. Sonia F. Keith-Stuart, MD (Edinburgh, Scotland)
- Virginia Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy
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