amazing man, and a most amazing time. During 1861-65
American's were at war with one another. Some six
million lives were lost. This was certainly the bloodiest
times in our History.
There was a teacher, later to become a General for the
Southern Confederacy named Thomas J.Jackson.
This is a brief overview of his contribution to the cause
he so embraced. Some of his tactics and exploits
are still reviled to this day
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
enduring. He was born January 21, 1824, in Clarksburg, Va., and his parents, who were of
patriotic Revolutionary stock, dying while he was but a child, he was reared and educate by
his kindred in the pure and simple habits of rural life, taught in good English schools, and is described as a "diligent, plodding scholar, having a strong mind, though it was slow in development." But he was in boyhood" a leader among his fellow-students in the athletic sports of the times, in which he generally managed his side of the contest so as to win the victory. By this country training he became a bold and expert rider and cultivated that spirit of daring which being held sometime this country training he became a bold and expert rider
and cultivateds in abeyance displayed itself in his Mexican service, and then suddenly
again in the Confederate war. In June, 1842, at the age of eighteen, he was appointed to a cadetship in
the military academy at West Point, where, commencing with the disadvantages of inadequate
preparation, he overcame obstacles by such determination as to rise from year to year in the estimation
of the faculty. He graduated June 30, 1846, at the age of twenty-two years, receiving brevet rank as
second-lieutenant at the beginning of the Mexican war, and was ordered to report for duty with the First
Regular artillery, with which he shared in the many brilliant battles which General Scott fought from
Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico. He was often commended for his soldierly conduct and soon received
successive promotions for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco. Captain Magruder, afterwards a
Confederate general, thus mentioned him in orders: "If devotion, industry, talent, and gallantry are the
highest qualities of a soldier, then is he entitled to the distinction which their possession confers."
Jackson was one of the volunteers in the storming of Chapultepec, and for his daring there was
brevetted major, which was his rank at the close of the Mexican war.
of beliefs on religious questions. His amiable and affectionate biographer (Mrs. Jackson) mentions that
Colonel Francis Taylor, the commander of the First artillery, under whom Jackson was serving, was the first man to speak to him on the subject of personal religion. Jackson had not at any time of his life
yielded to the vices, and was in all habits strictly moral, but had given no particular attention to the
duties enjoined by the church. Convinced now that this neglect was wrong, he began to study the Bible
and pursued his inquiries until he finally united (1851) with the Presbyterian church. His remarkable
devoutness of habit and unwavering confidence in the truth of his faith contributed, it is conceded, very
greatly to the full development of his singular character, as well as to his marvelous success.
In 1848 Jackson's command was stationed at Fort Hamilton for two years, then at Fort Meade, in
Florida, and from that station he was elected to a chair in the Virginia military institute at Lexington in
1851, which he accepted, and resigning his commission, made Lexington his home ten years, and until
he began his remarkable' career in the Confederate war. Two years later, 1853, he married Miss
Eleanor, daughter of Rev. Dr. Junkin, president of Washington college, but she lived scarcely more
than a year. Three years after, July 16, 1857, his second marriage occurred, with Miss Mary Anna,
daughter of Rev. Dr. H. R- Morrison, of North Carolina, a distinguished educator, whose other
daughters married men who attained eminence in civil and military life, among them being.
flowed on serenely from this hour, was the summons of the cadets of the Institute by Governor Letcher,
to proceed to Harper's Ferry on the occasion of the raid of John Brown in 1859.
During the presidential campaign of 1860 Major Jackson visited New England and there heard enough
to arouse his fears for the safety of the Union. At the election of that year he cast his vote for
Breckinridge on the principle that he was a State rights man, and after Lincoln's election he favored the
policy of contending in the Union rather than out of it, for the recovery of the ground that had thus been
lost. The course of coercion, however, alarmed him, and the failure of the Peace congress persuaded
him that if the United States persisted in their course war would certainly result. His State saw as he
did, and on the passage of its ordinance of secession, the military cadets under the command of Major
Jackson were ordered to the field by the governor of Virginia. The order was promptly obeyed April 21,
1865, from which date his Confederate military life began.
Jackson's valuable service was given to Virginia in the occupation of Harper's Ferry and several
subsequent small affairs, but his fame became general from the battle of First Manassas. It was at one
of the crises of that first trial battle between the Federal and Confederate troops that he was given the
war name of "Stonewall," by which he will be always designated. The true story will be often repeated
that on being notified of the Federal advance to break the Confederate line he called out, "We will give
them the bayonet," and a few minutes later the steadiness with which the brigade received the shock of
battle caused the Confederate General Bee to exclaim: "There stands Jackson like a stone wall."
1861, with the wise assignment to command of the Valley district, which he assumed in November of
that year. With a small force he began even in winter a series of bold operations in the great Virginia
valley, and opened the spring campaign of 1862, on plans concerted between General Joseph E.
Johnston and himself, by attacking the enemy at Kernstown, March 23rd, where he sustained his only
repulse; but even in the movement which resulted in a temporary defeat he caused the recall of a
considerable Federal force designed to strengthen McClellan in the advance against Richmond. The
next important battle was fought at McDowell, in which Jackson won a decided victory over Fremont.
Then moving with celerity and sagacity he drove Banks at Front Royal, struck him again at Newtown,
and at length utterly routed him. After this, turning about on Shields, he overthrew his command also,
and thus, in one month's campaign, broke up the Federal forces which had been sent to "crush him." In
these rapidly executed operations he had successfully fought five battles against three distinct armies,
requiring four hundred miles, marching to compass the fields.
This Valley campaign of 1862 was never excelled, according to the opinions expressed by military men
of high rank and long experience in war. It is told by Dr. McGuire, the chief surgeon of Jackson's
command, that with swelling heart he had "heard some of the first soldiers and military students of
England declare that within the past two hundred years the English speaking race has produced but five
soldiers of the first rank--Marlborough, Washington, Wellington, Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and that
this campaign in the valley was superior to either of those made by Napoleon in Italy." One British
officer, who teaches strategy in a great European college, told Surgeon McGuire that he used this
campaign as a model of strategy and tactics, dwelling upon it for several months in his lectures; that it
was taught in the schools of Germany, and that Von Moltke, the great strategist, declared it was
without a rival in the world's history.
McClellan's flank at the battle of Cold Harbor, and to contribute to the Federal defeat in the Seven
Days' battles around Richmond. In the campaign against Pope, undertaken by Lee after he had
defeated McClellan, Jackson was sent on a movement suited to his genius, capturing Manassas
Junction, and foiling Pope until the main battle of Second Manassas, August 30, 1862, under Lee,
despoiled that Federal general of all his former honors. The Maryland campaign immediately followed,
in which Jackson led in the capture of Harper's Ferry September 15th, taking 11,500 prisoners, and an
immense amount of arms and stores, just preceding the battle of Sharpsburg, in which he also fought
with notable efficiency at a critical juncture. The promotion to lieutenant-general was now accorded him,
October 10, 1862. At the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, Lieutenant-General Jackson
held the Confederate right against all Federal assaults. The Federal disaster in this battle resulted in
the resignation of Burnside and the reorganization of the army under General Hooker in 1863.
countervailed all the Federal general's plans by sending Jackson to find and crush his right flank,
which movement was in the process of brilliant accomplishment when Jackson, who had passed his
own lines to make a personal inspection of the situation, was fired upon and fatally wounded by a line of
Confederates who unhappily mistook him and his escort for the enemy. The glory of the achievement
which Lee and Jackson planned, fell upon General Stuart next day, who, succeeding Jackson in
command, ordered that charge which became so ruinous to Hooker, with the thrilling watchword,
have lost my right arm." The army felt that his place could not be easily supplied. The South was
weighted with grief. After the war, when the North dispassionately studied the man they ceased to
wonder at the admiration in which he was held by the world. He was buried at Lexington, Va., where a
monument erected by affection marks his grave. "For centuries men will come to Lexington as a
Mecca, and to this grave as a shrine, and wonderingly talk of this man and his mighty deeds. Time will
Jackson believed "It's a man's entire duty to pray and fight." This might
been the best philosophy during this tumultuous period for a General to
Thus his final word
"Let us cross over the river and rest
beneath the shade of the tree"
Robertson, James I. Stonewall Jackson--the man, the soldier, the legend. New York : Macmillan Library Reference USA, 1997.
This book contains an excellent and comprehensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
Selected resources published since 1950
Allan, William, 1837-1889. History of the campaign
of Gen. T.J. (Stonewall) Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
From November 4, 1861, to June 17, 1862. With full maps of the region and
of the battle-fields by Jed. Hotchkiss. Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott &