Monday, January 21, 2013


[Editor's note: Lt. Gen. Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson was born January 21, 1824 in Clarksburg (West) Virginia. Orphaned at an early age, he was raised by an uncle. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in 1846 and distinguished himself in the Mexican War, 1846-48. He became a professor at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. and with the outbreak of war in 1861, rapidly advanced in rank in the Confederate Army. His military genius shone forth at the First Battle of Manassas, where he got the nickname "Stonewall," at the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862, and at the Battle of Chancellorsville where he was mortally wounded. He died of battle wounds and pneumonia on May 10, 1863. Below are the personnel impressions of Lord General Wolseley, the great British soldiers under Queen Victoria, upon a personal interview with Jackson in October, 1862.]

Lt. Gen. T. J. "Stonewall" Jackson
Wolseley on Jackson
                Shortly afterwards [leaving General Lee’s headquarters] I had the advantage of an interview with 
General Jackson, always spoken of then and to be remembered for all time as “Stonewall Jackson” a man of stern principles, who took seriously whatever he had to do and in whom the beautiful side of his character had been developed by this war. What a hero! And yet how simple, how humble-minded a man! In manner he was very different from General Lee, and I can class him with no one whom I have ever met or read of in history. Like the great commander whom he served with such knightly loyalty, he was deeply  religious, but more austere, more Puritan in type. Both were great soldiers, yet neither had any Gothlike delight in war. He did not, as Lee did, give one the idea of having been born to the hereditary right of authority over others. General Lee, the very type, physically and socially, of a proud Cavalier, would certainly have fought for his king had he lived when Rupert charged at Naseby; Jackson would have been more at home amongst Cromwell’s Ironsides upon that fatal June 14. More than any one I can remember, Jackson seemed a man in whom great strength of character and obstinate determination were mated with extreme  gentleness of disposition and with absolute tenderness towards all about him.
Stonewall Jackson
I had expected to see in Stonewall Jackson something of the religious moroseness we find attributed to the Commonwealth Puritan in our Restoration literature; but he was, instead, most genial and forthcoming during the extremely pleasant hour I spent in his tent. In repose it might be said there was something sad about the expression of this most remarkable man’s face. As his impressive eyes met yours unflinchingly, you knew that his was an honest heart. His closely compressed lips might have lent a harsh coldness to his features had not his face been lit up by a fascinating smile which added to the intense benignity of expression that his Maker had stamped upon it. In all the likenesses I have seen of him this marked characteristic is wanting. In their endeavours to represent it on canvas or in marble most have missed that bright light of highly gifted benevolence and spiritual contentment which, without doubt, must have preeminently distinguished the face of “Him whom  they crucified.”
Lee was a born aristocrat in features and in manner. There was nothing of these refined characteristics in Stonewall Jackson, a man of huge hands and feet. But he possessed an assured self-confidence, the outcome of an absolute trust in God, that  inspired his soldiers with an unquestioning belief in him as their leader. They did not ask him where he was going: they were content to follow him. Many were the stories told me on this score during my stay in Virginia. On the march through a village one day a father standing at his door saw his boy go by in the ranks. “Where are you bound for?” asked the parent as he grasped his son’s hand. “I don’t know, but old Jack does,” was the prompt reply.  That was enough for this young solder; it was enough for every man who fought under Stonewall Jackson.

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