Alonzo Jackman

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Alonzo Jackman
Alonzo Jackman.jpg
Alonzo Jackman
Nickname(s) Old Jack
Born (1809-03-20)March 20, 1809
Thetford Center, Vermont
Died February 24, 1879(1879-02-24) (aged 69)
Northfield, Vermont
Buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Northfield, Vermont
Allegiance Union
Service/branch New Hampshire Militia
Vermont Militia
Years of service 1847–1866
Rank Brigadier General
Commands held Norwich University Corps of Cadets
2nd Vermont Militia Regiment

American Civil War

Relations Charlotte Sawyer (1828 -- 1874) (wife)
Alonzo (1857 -- 1859) (son)
Helen (1867 -- 1877) (daughter)
Other work Professor, Norwich University

Alonzo Jackman (March 20, 1809 – February 24, 1879) was a Vermont educator and military officer. He is prominent for developing and implementing a system for receiving and training troops for the Union Army during the American Civil War, and for commanding troops on the Vermont border with Canada following the St. Albans Raid.

Early life and academic career[edit]

Alonzo Jackman was born in Thetford Center, Vermont on March 20, 1809. He left home as a teenager following his widowed mother's remarriage, and worked as a laborer before deciding to obtain a college education. Entering Norwich University in 1832, he received his bachelor's degree in 1836 and his master's degree in 1840.[1]

Jackman joined the Norwich University faculty as Professor of Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Civil Engineering and Military Science. In addition, he served as the college's librarian.[2]

Jackman wrote several articles and treatises on mathematics and other topics. In the 1840s he prepared an article on constructing an underwater telegraph, including methods of insulating and laying cable. When the Transatlantic line was laid in the 1850s and 1860s Jackman received credit for originating the idea.[3]

In 1862 Jackman was awarded an honorary doctorate from Norwich University.[4]

Military service[edit]

From 1847 to 1848 he served as a Major and brigade drill master in the New Hampshire Militia. In 1859 he was commissioned as Colonel of the 2nd Vermont Militia Regiment, and in 1860 he was appointed a Brigadier General.[5]

Civil War service[edit]

At the start of the Civil War Governor Erastus Fairbanks offered him command of the 1st Vermont Infantry Regiment, but at the same time requested that Jackman decline it and stay in Vermont to train new recruits, and Jackman consented.[6]

Working in concert with Adjutant General Peter T. Washburn, Jackman devised a process for receiving recruits at a central location, equipping them and training them before sending them to the front lines. This method was adopted by other states as they raised volunteer regiments throughout the Civil War.[7][8]

Following the Confederate Raid on St. Albans, Vermont in October, 1864, the northernmost action of the Civil War, General Jackman commanded troops along the Canadian border.[9]

Death and burial[edit]

Jackman died suddenly at his home in Northfield, Vermont on February 24, 1879.[10] Earlier that day he reported feeling ill and sent word to the university president that he would be unable to teach as scheduled. He died while wearing his uniform and standing at his living room window, falling to the floor after an apparent heart attack.[11] He is buried in Northfield's Elmwood Cemetery.[12]

Published works[edit]

A treatise on the doctrine of numerical series, both ascending and descending (1846);[13] Who Originated the Oceanic Telegraph? (1846);[14] Mathematical Considerations (1873);[15] The Circle Squared (1876).[16]


Jackman Hall, the first building erected when the university moved from the town of Norwich to the town of Northfield after an 1866 fire, is named for him.[17]


Jackman was married to Charlotte Sawyer of Royalton, Vermont (December 11, 1828—October 7, 1874). They had two children, Alonzo (1857–1859) and Helen (1867–1877).[18]


  1. ^ John J. Duffy, Samuel B. Hand, Ralph H. Orth, The Vermont Encyclopedia, 2003, page 169
  2. ^ Adelbert Milton Dewey, The life and Letters of Admiral Dewey, 1899, pages 87 to 89
  3. ^ Marita Moll, Leslie Regan Shade, Seeking Convergence in Policy and Practice, 2004, page 27
  4. ^ James Terry White, The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Volume 16, 1918, page 273
  5. ^ Vermont Historical Society, Vermont History, Volumes 46-47, 1978, page 245
  6. ^ Miriam Irene Kimball, Vermont for Young Vermonters, 1908, page 289
  7. ^ Norwich University, Norwich University Record, Volumes 4-6, 1912, page 10
  8. ^ George Grenville Benedict, author, Eric Ward, editor, Army Life in Virginia: The Civil War Letters of George G. Benedict, 2002, page 17
  9. ^ William Arba Ellis, Norwich University, 1819-1911; Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor, Volume 1, 1911, pages 416 to 421
  10. ^ New York Times, Death Notice, Alonzo Jackman, February 25, 1879
  11. ^ William Arba Ellis, Norwich University, 1819-1911: Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor, Volume 2, 1911, page 270
  12. ^ Find A Grave, Alonzo Jackman page, September 2, 2012
  13. ^ Alonzo Jackman, A treatise on the doctrine of numerical series, both ascending and descending, 1846, title page
  14. ^ Who Originated the Oceanic Telegraph?, 1846, title page
  15. ^ Mathematical Considerations, 1873, title page
  16. ^ Alonzo Jackman, The Circle Squared, 1876, title page
  17. ^ Norwich University, Jackman Hall history page, accessed September 2, 2012
  18. ^ Ellis, Norwich University, Volume 2, 1911, page 270