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Mudwall Jackson


Confederate General William Lowther Jackson (February 3, 1825-March 24, 1890) was born in Clarksburg. He was one of at least three Southern officers to bear the nickname, “Mudwall Jackson.”

At age 23 Jackson served as a judge in Ritchie County. His antebellum career also included service as lieutenant governor of Virginia and a term as president of the Virginia state senate. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was serving as a circuit judge in Parkersburg.

Jackson was a Southern loyalist. With the coming of war he sought to control the Wood County militia and to seize its three cannons for the Confederacy. During Parkersburg’s Jail House Riots in 1861, Jackson engaged the militia’s colonel in a fist-fight. Days later, when Judge Jackson dismissed charges against three Southern guerrillas who had been arrested for bridge burning, pistols were drawn in the courtroom and Jackson was forced to leave Parkersburg.

He joined the Confederate Army as a private. After helping to organize an infantry unit, he was promoted to colonel. He served on the staff of his cousin, Gen. Thomas J. ‘‘Stonewall’’ Jackson, and was jokingly nicknamed ‘‘Mudwall.’’ In 1863, Jackson led troops against his former Ritchie County neighbor, Union Gen. Thomas Harris. He served under Gen. W. E. ‘‘Grumble’’ Jones during the Jones-Imboden Raid into the Little Kanawha Valley. Jackson was promoted to brigadier general in 1864 and commanded forces at the Battle of Droop Mountain.

After the war Jackson returned to Parkersburg but found the atmosphere hostile. He moved to Louisville, where he served as a circuit judge until his death.

While a 1985 article in Blue & Gray magazine makes the case that Confederate Brigadier General Alfred E. Jackson of East Tennessee was the true Mudwall Jackson, William Lowther Jackson is identified as Mudwall in several other sources. A reader in a later issue of Blue & Gray pointed out that “the name is a natural” and raised the question, “Why must there be only one ‘Mudwall’ Jackson?”

Written by Larry Bartlett


  1. Faust, Patricia L., ed. Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War. New York: Harper Collins, 1986.

  2. Matheny, H. E. Wood County W. Va. in Civil War Times. Parkersburg: Trans-Allegheny Books, 1987.

  3. Lowther, Minnie Kendall. Ritchie County in History and Romance. Wheeling News Litho. Co., ca. 1911, Reprint, McClain, 1990.

  4. Walden Geoffrey W.. Will the Real 'Mudwall' Jackson Please Stand Up?. Blue & Gray, VIII, 1, 1990.