James Streshly Jackson was born in Fayette County, Kentucky September 27th 1823. He attended Center College at Danville, Kentucky before graduating in 1844 from Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. He would also study law at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, practicing law afterwards in Greenup County, Kentucky. When the Mexican American war started Jackson enlisted as a private in the 1st Kentucky Cavalry, but after participating in a duel with a fellow soldier, he was sure he’d be court martialed and so resigned in 1846. In 1859 Jackson ran for Congress, he was elected to the Thirty-seventh Congress serving until December 13th 1861 when he entered the Union Army.
Jackson raised a company of cavalry that became the Union 3rd Kentucky Cavalry. He was elected their Colonel on December 13th 1861. He led the 3rd in the Battles of Shiloh and Corinth. He received a promotion to Brigadier General of Volunteers July 16th 1862 and was placed in commanding a Brigade in the Union Army of the Ohio.
Jackson was shot in the chest and killed during the Battle of Perryville October 8th 1862. He was buried originally in the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky, but his body was moved and reburied March 24th 1863 in the Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.