William A. Jackson
Written by Peter Fitzgerald
History of War - Spies
William A. Jackson was very important to the Union war effort during the American Civil War. Many will not have heard of William A. Jackson, but this was a man that went to great lengths for the United States in ensuring they had the relevant intelligence to help them win the war.
While William A. Jackson was simply a slave to those around him, to the Union higher echelons he was a very important man and he was heavily involved in the development of the United States through his espionage.
The William A. Jackson Story
William A. Jackson was a free man in the Union states and as such served as a Union spy for many years infiltrating where possible to deliver crucial intelligence to the Union Generals. What sets William A. Jackson against all other spies is that he put himself in the most difficult position ever, a position that he could possibly have never retrieved himself from.
With the Civil War just starting to get in full swing everyone would be a suspected spy for the Union side, but the Confederates could only expect Caucasian men and women to spy for the Union side because they still believed in slavery. Because of this they never expected that an African-American man could be doing the bidding for the Union side.
Because of this when William A. Jackson was taken into the household of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America they never suspected he would be undercover and gathering intelligence for the Union. Well little did they know that William A. Jackson was doing just that.
While working in the Davis household as a slave William A. Jackson completed jobs around the house and acted as the coachman too. For months Jackson listened into the Davis conversations about the Confederate Army and gathered the information so at the right time he could deploy this to the Union Generals.
In late 1861 Jackson saw his chance and fled from Jefferson Davis and his household. Here Jackson made the gruelling journey to the Union side where he was able to give the Generals information on Confederate numbers, deployments, planning, supplies and problems with logistics.
Jackson had proved himself to be an important and pivotal part of the Union war effort.
Jackson for all intense and purposes had put himself into slavery for the protection of the United States, but he didn’t simply put himself into any form of slavery. Jackson went as far as to become a slave to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America.
While he may never have been found out, Jackson may have found himself in a position where he could not get himself out of the situation he was in. This would have meant taking himself from the position of a free man and putting himself into a lifetime imprisonment as a slave to the wrong President of America.
When you look at the work Jackson did for the United States you can see he was truly a special individual who put his life on the line for a better future for his country.