In 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."   General Jackson's uniform frock coat

Front of coat

Back of coat

Back of coat

Cathy Heffner with Jackson's trousers Cathy Heffner works on General Jackson's uniform trousers  

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 funds were acquired through the sale of "Jackson in the Shenandoah," a video documentary produced by Blue Ridge Public Television and narrated by Dr. James I. Robertson, author of Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend, the definitive biography of the General. The restoration was handled by Fonda G. Thomsen, considered one of the finest textile conservators in the country. The newly restored trousers went on display at the VMI Museum October 8, 2000.

Now that the preservation of the uniform trousers has been assured, Virginia Division UDC is turning its attention to the frock coat, so called because of the "skirt" attached to the body and extending down near the knee. This design was first mandated by U.S. Army regulations in 1851 and remained in use until 1872.

The total cost of the restoration has been estimated at $6,700. The following organizations have contributed to the fund:

It falls to all of us, as stewards of our heritage, to assure the preservation of historic items such as these, which have tremendous sentimental and historical value for scholars and historians as well as for anyone interested in the War Between the States. Jackson's frock coat has a special significance for devotees of one of the Confederacy's most enduring legendary figures. We invite individuals and groups to take up the challenge of funding the restoration of the frock coat.

Persons or organizations interested in making a contribution to the restoration effort may do so by contacting Mrs. David S. Whitacre, President of Virginia Division UDC, or Keith Gibson, Director of the VMI Museum. Through our combined efforts, this irreplaceable artifact can be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Mrs. David S. Whitacre, President
Virginia Division UDC
P.O. Box 557
Cross Junction, VA 22625-0557

Colonel Keith Gibson, Director
VMI Museum
Virginia Military Institute
Lexington, VA 24450

Col. Gibson and Mrs. Gum
Col. Keith Gibson and Mrs. John H. Gum (President, Virginia Division, 1997-1999) with General Jackson's uniform frock coat in the VMI Museum

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