The Language of the Civil War

By John D. Wright | Go to book overview

J

jack A slang name for money. The word had described certain types of money since about 1700, but this general sense was first heard two years before the war.

Jack 1. The nickname for a sailor, which derived from “jack tar.” Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes recalled issuing his ALABAMA crew two daily servings of GROG: “I was quite willing that Jack should drink, but I undertook to be the judge of how much he should drink.” 2. Union General Ulysses S.Grant’s first horse during the war. He purchased the light tan horse in Galena, Illinois, where he kept the accounts in his father’s leather and hardware store. Grant rode Jack until the end of summer in 1863. See also Cincinnati; Fox; Kangaroo.

jackass rabbit The original name that has now been shortened to “jackrabbit.” Westerners said the animal’s long ears resembled those of a male donkey.

Jack’s Alive A party game in which a piece of paper was twisted, lighted, and the flame blown out. The paper was then passed from player to player, and the one holding it when the last spark went out was the loser who had to pay a forfeit. Each time the paper was handed along, the player announced “Jack’s alive.” The most daring would try to trap the next person by holding on until the last ember was dying before making the pass.

Jackson Hospital A large Confederate PAVILION hospital in Richmond, Virginia, which had 6,000 beds.

Jackson’s foot cavalry or Stonewall’s foot cavalry The whole CORPS of Confederate Lieutenant General “STONEWALL” Jackson’s troops. They received the proud name because of the amazing speed of their marches.

jackstraws A popular game in camp and prisons, still played today. The small wooden “straws” were often handcarved by the soldiers into different shapes with hooked ends to require more skill in removing them from the pile. A player’s turn ended when he disturbed the other jackstraws in picking up one. The player who retrieved the most was the winner.

Jacob’s-ladder A flexible ship ladder with rope sides and wooden rungs. Union Admiral David G.Farragut kept them aboard his warships so carpenters could climb down with “inch-board, lined with felt, and ordinary nails” to repair holes made by enemy cannon shots.

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The Language of the Civil War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Guide to Related Topics xv
  • A 1
  • B 19
  • C 50
  • D 81
  • E 100
  • F 107
  • G 122
  • H 138
  • I 154
  • J 161
  • K 166
  • L 172
  • M 184
  • N 202
  • O 208
  • P 221
  • Q 242
  • R 245
  • S 259
  • T 293
  • U 308
  • V 314
  • W 318
  • Y 329
  • Z 332
  • Bibliography 335
  • Index 337
  • About the Author 378
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