Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stonewall Jackson - Happy Birthday!

Lt. Gen. T.J. "Stonewall" Jackson
by John Adams Elder
Statue of Stonewall Jackson at his grave
in Lexington, Va. (Library of Congress)
It was on 21 January 1824  that Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson was born in Clarksburg (or Parkersburg), West Virginia. He was orphaned at an early age and raised by an uncle, Cummins Jackson. He was admitted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. in 1842 and graduated 17th in a class of 59 cadets in 1846. Jackson fought with the artillery at the Siege of Vera Cruz and in the battles of Contreras, Chapultepec, and Mexico City. By the end of the war he was promoted to the brevet rank of major. Jackson left the army in 1851 and took a teaching position at the Virginia Military Academy. He was married the first time to Elinor Junkin, with whom he had one child who was stillborn. Elinor died soon after of complications. He remarried to Mary Annna Morrison, and they had two children. The first was a daughter who died at one month. The second child, Julia, was their only surviving child. Jackson entered the Confederate Army as a colonel and was promoted to brigadier general and commanded the 1st Virginia Infantry Brigade, afterward known as the "Stonewall Brigade," at the First Battle of Manassas 21 July 1861. His brigade famously stopped a Federal assault, which led to a great Confederate victory. It was there he received his immortal nickname by standing like a "Stonewall." Promotions followed to major general of a division, and then lieutenant general of the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia. His other notable battles and campaigns included the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1863; the Seven Days Battles; the Battle of Cedar Mountain; the Second Battle of Manassas; the Battle of Chantilly; the Battle of Sharpsburg  and the Battle of Chancellorsville. At the last battle he led his corps on a famous flank march that shattered the Federal right and led to one of the greatest Confederate victories of the war. Jackson, however, was mortally wounded by friendly fire and died May 10, 1863. He was buried with full military honors at Lexington, Va. and mourned by the entire Confederacy. Jackson was known at a man of deep Christian faith who was instrumental in bringing many of his men to Christ. All honor to his memory.

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