Stonewall Jackson

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Thomas Jonathan Jackson
January 21, 1824–May 10, 1863
General Thomas J. Jackson
Nickname Stonewall, Old Blue Light
Place of birth Clarksburg, Virginia (now West Virginia)
Place of death Guinea Station, Virginia
Allegiance U.S. Army, Confederate Army
Years of service 1846-1851 (USA), 1861-1863 (CSA)
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Stonewall Brigade
Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia
Battles/wars Mexican-American War
American Civil War
*First Battle of Bull Run
*Valley Campaign
*Seven Days Battles
*Second Battle of Bull Run
*Maryland Campaign
**Battle of Antietam
*Battle of Fredericksburg
*Battle of Chancellorsville

Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (January 21, 1824 – May 10, 1863) was a Confederate general during the American Civil War. He is most famous for his audacious Valley Campaign of 1862 and as a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee. His own troops accidentally shot him at the battle of Chancellorsville and he died of complications from an amputated arm and pneumonia, several days later.

Military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in United States history. His Valley Campaign and his envelopment of the Union Army right wing at Chancellorsville are studied worldwide even today as examples of innovative leadership and military strategy. He excelled as well at the First Battle of Bull Run (where he received his famous nickname), Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. Jackson was not universally successful as a commander, however, as displayed by his weak and confused efforts during the Seven Days Battles around Richmond in 1862. His death was a severe setback for the Confederacy, affecting not only its military prospects, but the morale of its army and the general public. As Jackson lay dying after the amputation of his left arm, General Robert E. Lee wrote, "He has lost his left arm; but I have lost my right arm."[1]

Jackson was devoutly religious and respected for his uncompromising integrity. Like many Americans before the Civil War, Jackson's views were conditioned by the vastly unequal relations between races that prevailed for generations during the era of slavery. Jackson saw the institution of slavery as a social aspect of the human condition and neither supported nor condemned it, but as a Christian always practiced and urged benevolent care toward slaves.

Early years

Paternal ancestry

Thomas Jonathan Jackson was the great-grandson of John Jackson (1715 or 1719–1801) and Elizabeth Cummins (also known as Elizabeth Comings and Elizabeth Needles) (1723–1828). John Jackson was born in Coleraine, County Londonderry, in Northern Ireland, of Scots-Irish descent. While living in London, he was convicted of the capital crime of larceny for stealing £170; the judge at the Old Bailey sentenced him to a seven-year indenture in America. Elizabeth, a strong, blond woman over 6 feet tall, born in London, was also convicted of larceny in an unrelated case for stealing 19 pieces of silver, jewelry, and fine lace, and received a similar sentence. They both were transported on the prison ship Litchfield, which departed London in May 1749, with 150 convicts. John and Elizabeth met on board and were in love by the time the ship arrived at Annapolis, Maryland. Although they were sent to different locations in Maryland for their indenture, the couple married in July 1755.[2]

The family migrated west across the Blue Ridge Mountains to settle near Moorefield, Virginia, (now West Virginia) in 1758. In 1770, they moved further west to the Tygart Valley. They began to acquire large parcels of virgin farmland near the present-day town of Buckhannon, including 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares) in Elizabeth's name. John and his two teenage sons were early recruits for the American Revolutionary War, fighting in the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780; John finished the war as captain and served as a lieutenant of the Virginia Militia after 1787. While the men were in the Army, Elizabeth converted their home to a haven, "Jackson's Fort," for refugees from Native American attacks.[3]

John and Elizabeth had four children. Their second son was Edward Jackson (March 1, 1759–December 25, 1828), and Edward's third son was Jonathan, Thomas's father.[4]

Early childhood

Thomas Jackson was the third child of Julia Beckwith (née Neale) Jackson (1798–1831) and Jonathan Jackson (1790–1826), an attorney. Both of Jackson's parents were natives of Virginia and were living in Clarksburg,in what is now West Virginia when Thomas, was born. He was named for his maternal grandfather.

Two years later, Jackson's father and sister Elizabeth (age six) died of typhoid fever. Jackson's mother gave birth to Thomas's sister Laura Ann the next day. Julia Jackson, thus, was widowed at 28 and was left with much debt and three young children (including the newborn). She sold the family's possessions to pay the debts, declined family charity and moved into a small rented one-room house. Julia took in sewing and taught school to support herself and her three young children for about four years.

In 1830, Julia remarried. Her new husband, Blake Woodson,an attorney, evidently did not like his stepchildren.[5] There were continuing financial problems, and the following year, after giving birth to Thomas's half-brother, Julia died of complications, leaving her three older children orphaned.[6] Julia was buried in an unmarked grave in a homemade coffin in Westlake Cemetery along the James River and Kanawha Turnpike in Fayette County.

Jackson's Mill, owned by Cummins Jackson.

Working and teaching at Jackson's Mill

Jackson was seven years old when his mother died. He and his sister Laura Ann were sent to live with their paternal uncle, Cummins Jackson, who owned a grist mill in Jackson's Mill (near present-day Weston in Lewis County in central West Virginia). Cummins Jackson was strict with Thomas, who looked up to Cummins as a schoolteacher. His older brother, Warren, went to live with other relatives on his mother's side of the family, but he later died of tuberculosis in 1841 at the age of 20.

Jackson helped around his uncle's farm, tending sheep with the assistance of a sheepdog, driving teams of oxen and helping harvest the fields of wheat and corn. Formal education was not easily obtained, but he attended school when and where he could. Much of Jackson's education was self-taught. He would often sit up at night reading by the flickering light of burning pine knots. The story is told that Thomas once made a deal with one of his uncle's slaves to provide him with pine knots in exchange for reading lessons. This was in violation of a law in Virginia that forbade teaching a slave, free black, or mulatto to read or write which had been enacted following the infamous and bloody Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion incident in Southampton County in 1831. Nevertheless, Jackson secretly taught the slave to read, as he had promised. In his later years at Jackson's Mill, Jackson was a schoolteacher.

West Point

In 1842, Jackson was accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Because of his inadequate schooling, he had difficulty with the entrance examinations and began his studies at the bottom of his class. As a student, he had to work harder than most cadets to absorb lessons. However, displaying a dogged determination that was to characterize his life, he became one of the hardest working cadets in the academy. Jackson graduated 17th out of 59 students in the Class of 1846. It was said by his peers that if they had stayed there another year, he would have graduated first.

U.S. Army and the Mexican War

Jackson began his U.S. Army career as a brevet second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Artillery Regiment and was sent to fight in the Mexican-American War from 1846 to 1848. Again, his unusual strength of character emerged. During the assault on Chapultepec Castle, he refused what he felt was a "bad order" to withdraw his troops. Confronted by his superior, he explained his rationale, claiming withdrawal was more hazardous than continuing his outmatched artillery duel. His judgment proved correct, and a relieving brigade was able to exploit the advantage Jackson had broached. In contrast, he obeyed what he also felt was a "bad order" when he raked a civilian throng with artillery fire after the Mexican authorities failed to surrender Mexico City at the hour demanded by the U.S. forces.[7] The former episode, and later aggressive action against the retreating Mexican army, earned him field promotion to the brevet rank of major.

He served at the Siege of Veracruz and the battles of Contreras, Chapultepec, and Mexico City, eventually earning two brevet promotions. It was in Mexico that Jackson first met Robert E. Lee, later Jackson's superior and the commanding general of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Lexington and the Virginia Military Institute

In the spring of 1851, Jackson accepted a newly created teaching position at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), in Lexington, Virginia, becoming Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Instructor of Artillery. Jackson's teachings on discipline, mobility, assessing the enemy's strength and intentions while attempting to conceal your own, and the efficiency of artillery combined with an infantry assault are still used at VMI today and are considered military essentials.

Despite the quality of his teachings, he was not popular and students mocked his apparently stern, religious nature, and his eccentric traits. In 1856, a group of alumni attempted to have Jackson removed from his position.[8]

While an instructor at VMI, in 1853, Jackson married Elinor "Ellie" Junkin, whose father was president of Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) in Lexington. An addition was built onto the president's residence for the Jacksons, and when Robert E. Lee became president of Washington College he lived in the same home, now known as the Lee-Jackson House.[9] Ellie died during childbirth and the child, a son, died immediately afterward.

After a tour of Europe, Jackson married again, in 1857. Mary Anna Morrison was from North Carolina, where her father was the first president of Davidson College. They had a daughter named Mary Graham on April 30, 1858, but the baby died less than a month later. Another daughter was born in 1862, shortly before her father's death. The Jacksons named her Julia Laura, after his mother and sister.

Jackson purchased the only house he ever owned in 1859 while in Lexington, a brick town house built in 1801. He lived in it for just two years before being called to serve in the Confederacy and never returned to his home. Jackson's family owned six slaves in the late 1850s. Three (Hetty, Cyrus, and George, a mother and two teenage sons) were received as a wedding present. Another, Albert, requested that Jackson purchase him and allow him to work for his freedom; he was employed as a waiter in one of the Lexington hotels and Jackson rented him to VMI. Amy also requested that Jackson purchase her from a public auction and she served the family as a cook and housekeeper. The sixth, Emma, was a four-year-old orphan with a learning disability, accepted by Jackson from an aged widow and presented to his second wife, Anna, as a welcome-home gift.[10]

Despite being a slave holder, Jackson was respected by many of the African-Americans in town, both slaves and free blacks. He was instrumental in the organization of Sunday school classes for blacks at the Presbyterian Church in 1855. His wife, Mary Anna Jackson, taught with Jackson, as "he preferred that my labors should be given to the colored children, believing that it was more important and useful to put the strong hand of the Gospel under the ignorant African race, to lift them up."[11] The pastor, Dr. William Spottswood White, described the relationship between Jackson and his Sunday afternoon students: "In their religious instruction he succeeded wonderfully. His discipline was systematic and firm, but very kind. … His servants reverenced and loved him, as they would have done a brother or father. … He was emphatically the black man's friend." He addressed his students by name and they in turn referred to him affectionately as "Marse Major."[12]

After the American Civil War began, Jackson appears to have hired out or sold his slaves. Mary Anna Jackson, in her 1895 memoir, said, "our servants … without the firm guidance and restraint of their master, the excitement of the times proved so demoralizing to them that he deemed it best for me to provide them with good homes among the permanent residents."[13] According to Jackson biographer James Robertson, "Jackson neither apologized for nor spoke in favor of the practice of slavery. He probably opposed the institution. Yet in his mind the Creator had sanctioned slavery, and man had no moral right to challenge its existence. The good Christian slaveholder was one who treated his servants fairly and humanely at all times."

In November 1859, at the request of the governor of Virginia, Major William Gilham led a contingent of the VMI Cadet Corps to Charles Town to provide an additional military presence at the execution by hanging, on December 2, 1859, of militant abolitionist John Brown following his raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Major Jackson was placed in command of the artillery, consisting of two howitzers manned by 21 cadets.

Civil War

In 1861, as the American Civil War broke out, Jackson became a drill master for some of the many new recruits in the Confederate Army. On April 27, 1861, Virginia Governor John Letcher ordered Colonel Jackson to take command at Harpers Ferry, where he would assemble and command a brigade consisting of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th, and 33rd Virginia Infantry regiments. All of these units were from the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. He was promoted to brigadier general on June 17.[14]

First Bull Run

Jackson rose to prominence and earned his most famous nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run (also known as First Manassas) in July 1861. As the Confederate lines began to crumble under heavy Union assault, Jackson's brigade provided crucial reinforcements on Henry House Hill. Brig. Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr., exhorted his own troops to re-form by shouting, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Follow me."[15] There is some controversy over Bee's statement and intent, which could not be clarified because he was killed almost immediately after speaking and none of his subordinate officers wrote reports of the battle. Major Burnett Rhett, chief of staff to General Joseph E. Johnston, claimed that Bee was angry at Jackson's failure to come immediately to the relief of Bee's and Bartow's brigades while they were under heavy pressure. Those who subscribe to this opinion believe that Bee's statement was meant to be pejorative: "Look at Jackson standing there like a damned stone wall!"[16] Regardless of the controversy and the delay in relieving Bee, Jackson's brigade, which would henceforth be known as the Stonewall Brigade, stopped the Union assault and suffered more casualties than any other Southern brigade that day.[17] After the battle, Jackson was promoted to major general (October 7, 1861)[14] and given command of the Valley District, with headquarters in Winchester.

Valley Campaign

In the spring of 1862, Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan's massive Army of the Potomac approached Richmond from the southeast in the Peninsula Campaign, Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell's large corps was poised to hit Richmond from the north, and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's army threatened the Shenandoah Valley. Jackson was ordered by Richmond to operate in the Valley to defeat Banks' threat and prevent McDowell's troops from reinforcing McClellan.

Jackson possessed the attributes to succeed against his poorly coordinated and sometimes timid opponents: A combination of great audacity, excellent knowledge and shrewd use of the terrain, and the ability to inspire his troops to great feats of marching and fighting.

The campaign started with a tactical defeat at Kernstown on March 23, 1862, when faulty intelligence led him to believe he was attacking a much smaller force than was actually present, but it was a strategic victory for the Confederacy, forcing President Abraham Lincoln to keep Banks' forces in the Valley and McDowell's 30,000-man corps near Fredericksburg, subtracting about 50,000 soldiers from McClellan's invasion force. In addition, it was Jackson's only defeat in the Valley.

By adding Maj. Gen. Richard S. Ewell's large division and Maj. Gen. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson's small division, Jackson increased his army to 17,000 men. He was still significantly outnumbered, but attacked portions of his divided enemy individually at the Battle of McDowell, defeating both [[Brigadier Generals Robert H. Milroy and Robert C. Schenck. He defeated Banks at Front Royal and Winchester, ejecting him from the Valley. Lincoln decided that the defeat of Jackson was an immediate priority (even though Jackson's orders were solely to keep Union forces occupied away from Richmond). Lincoln ordered Irvin McDowell to send 20,000 men to Front Royal and Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont to move to Harrisonburg. If both forces could converge at Strasburg, Jackson's only escape route up the Valley would be cut off.

After a series of maneuvers, Jackson defeated Frémont at Cross Keys and Brig. Gen. James Shields at Port Republic on June 8 and June 9. Union forces were withdrawn from the Valley.

It was a classic military campaign of surprise and maneuver. Jackson pressed his army to travel 646 miles in 48 days of marching and won five significant victories with a force of about 17,000 against a combined force of 60,000. Stonewall Jackson's reputation for moving his troops so rapidly earned them the oxymoronic nickname "foot cavalry." Because of his exploits he became the most celebrated soldier in the Confederacy (excepting Robert E. Lee) and lifted the morale of the Southern public.

Lee could trust Jackson with deliberately non-detailed orders that conveyed Lee's overall objectives, what modern doctrine calls the "end state." This was because Jackson had a talent for understanding Lee's sometimes unstated goals and Lee trusted Jackson with the ability to take whatever actions were necessary to implement his end state requirements. Many of Lee's subsequent corps commanders did not have this disposition. At Gettysburg, this resulted in lost opportunities. Thus, after the Federals retreated to the heights south of town, Lee sent one of his new corps commanders, Richard S. Ewell, discretionary orders that the heights (Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill) be taken "if practicable." Without Jackson's intuitive grasp of Lee's orders and the intuition to take advantage of sudden tactical opportunities, Ewell chose not to attempt the assault, and this failure is considered by historians to be the greatest missed opportunity of the battle.


McClellan's Peninsula Campaign toward Richmond stalled at the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31 and June 1. After the Valley Campaign ended in mid-June, Jackson and his troops were called to join Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in defense of the capital. By utilizing a railroad tunnel under the Blue Ridge Mountains and then transporting troops to Hanover County on the Virginia Central Railroad, Jackson and his forces made a surprise appearance in front of McClellan at Mechanicsville. Reports had last placed Jackson's forces in the Shenandoah Valley; their presence near Richmond added greatly to the Union commander's overestimation of the strength and numbers of the forces before him. This proved a crucial factor in McClellan's decision to re-establish his base at a point many miles downstream from Richmond on the James River at Harrison's Landing, essentially a retreat that ended the Peninsula Campaign and prolonged the war almost three more years.

Jackson's troops served well under Lee in the series of battles known as the Seven Days Battles, but Jackson's own performance in those battles is generally considered to be poor.[18] He arrived late at Mechanicsville and inexplicably ordered his men to bivouac for the night within clear earshot of the battle. He was late and disoriented at Gaines' Mill. He was late again at Savage's Station, and at White Oak Swamp, he failed to employ fording places to cross White Oak Swamp Creek, attempting for hours to rebuild a bridge, which limited his involvement to an ineffectual artillery duel and a missed opportunity. At Malvern Hill, Jackson participated in the futile, piecemeal frontal assaults against entrenched Union infantry and massed artillery and suffered heavy casualties, but this was a problem for all of Lee's army in that ill-considered battle. The reasons for Jackson's sluggish and poorly coordinated actions during the Seven Days are disputed, although a severe lack of sleep after the grueling march and railroad trip from the Shenandoah Valley was probably a significant factor. Both Jackson and his troops were completely exhausted.

Second Bull Run to Fredericksburg

The differing styles and temperaments of Lee's corps commanders were typified by Jackson and James Longstreet, the former representing the audacious, offensive component of Lee's army, and the latter the defensive, tactical, and strategic component. Jackson has been described as the army's hammer, Longstreet its anvil.[19] In the Northern Virginia Campaign of August 1862, this stereotype did not hold true. Longstreet commanded the Right Wing (later to become known as the First Corps) and Jackson commanded the Left Wing. Jackson started the campaign under Lee's orders with a sweeping flanking maneuver that placed his corps to the rear of Union Maj. Gen. John Pope's Army of Virginia, but he then took up a defensive position and effectively invited Pope to assault him. On August 28 and August 29, the start of the Second Battle of Bull Run (or the Second Battle of Manassas), Pope pounded Jackson as Longstreet and the remainder of the Army marched north to reach the battlefield.

On August 30, Pope came to believe that Jackson was starting to retreat, and Longstreet took advantage of this by launching a massive assault on the Union army's left flank with over 25,000 men. Although the Union troops put up a furious defense, Pope's army was forced to retreat in a manner similar to the embarrassing Union defeat at First Bull Run, fought on roughly the same battleground.

When Lee decided to invade the North in the Maryland Campaign, Jackson took Harpers Ferry, then hastened to join the rest of the army at Sharpsburg, Maryland, where they fought McClellan in the Battle of Antietam. Although McClellan had superior numbers, he failed to exploit his advantage. Jackson's men bore the brunt of the initial attacks on the northern end of the battlefield and, at the end of the day, successfully resisted a breakthrough on the southern end when Jackson's subordinate, Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill, arrived at the last minute from Harpers Ferry. The Confederate forces held their position, but the battle was extremely bloody for both sides, and Lee withdrew the Army of Northern Virginia back across the Potomac River, ending the invasion. Jackson was promoted to lieutenant general on October 10, and his command was re-designated the Second Corps.

Before the armies camped for winter, Jackson's Second Corps held off a strong Union assault against the right flank of the Confederate line at the Battle of Fredericksburg, in what became a decisive Confederate victory. Just before the battle, Jackson was delighted to receive a letter about the birth of his daughter, Julia Laura Jackson, on November 23.[20]


At the Battle of Chancellorsville, the Army of Northern Virginia was faced with a serious threat by the Army of the Potomac and its new commanding general, Major General Joseph Hooker. General Lee decided to employ a risky tactic to take the initiative and offensive away from Hooker's new southern thrust—he decided to divide his forces. Jackson and his entire corps were sent on an aggressive flanking maneuver to the right of the Union lines. This flanking movement would be one of the most successful and dramatic of the war. While riding with his infantry in a wide berth well south and west of the Federal line of battle, Jackson employed Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry to provide reconnaissance for the exact location of the Union right and rear. The results were far better than even Jackson could have hoped. Lee found the entire right side of the Federal lines in the middle of open field, guarded merely by two guns that faced westward, as well as the supplies and rear encampments. The men were eating and playing games in carefree fashion, completely unaware that an entire Confederate corps was less than a mile away. What happened next is given in Lee's own words:

So impressed was I with my discovery, that I rode rapidly back to the point on the Plank road where I had left my cavalry, and back down the road Jackson was moving, until I met "Stonewall" himself. "General," said I, "if you will ride with me, halting your column here, out of sight, I will show you the enemy's right, and you will perceive the great advantage of attacking down the Old turnpike instead of the Plank road, the enemy's lines being taken in reverse. Bring only one courier, as you will be in view from the top of the hill." Jackson assented, and I rapidly conducted him to the point of observation. There had been no change in the picture.

I only knew Jackson slightly. I watched him closely as he gazed upon Howard's troops. It was then about 2 p.m. His eyes burned with a brilliant glow, lighting up a sad face. His expression was one of intense interest, his face was colored slightly with the paint of approaching battle, and radiant at the success of his flank movement. To the remarks made to him while the unconscious line of blue was pointed out, he did not reply once during the five minutes he was on the hill, and yet his lips were moving. From what I have read and heard of Jackson since that day, I know now what he was doing then. Oh! "beware of rashness," General Hooker. Stonewall Jackson is praying in full view and in rear of your right flank! While talking to the Great God of Battles, how could he hear what a poor cavalryman was saying. "Tell General Rodes," said he, suddenly whirling his horse towards the courier, "to move across the Old plank road; halt when he gets to the Old turnpike, and I will join him there." One more look upon the Federal lines, and then he rode rapidly down the hill, his arms flapping to the motion of his horse, over whose head it seemed, good rider as he was, he would certainly go. I expected to be told I had made a valuable personal reconnaissance—saving the lives of many soldiers, and that Jackson was indebted to me to that amount at least. Perhaps I might have been a little chagrined at Jackson's silence, and hence commented inwardly and adversely upon his horsemanship. Alas! I had looked upon him for the last time.

Jackson immediately returned to his corps and arranged his divisions into a line of battle to charge directly into the oblivious Federal right. The Confederates marched silently until they were merely several hundred feet from the Union position, then released a bloodthirsty cry and full charge. Many of the Federals were captured without a shot fired, the rest were driven into a full rout. Jackson pursued relentlessly back toward the center of the Federal line until dusk.

The plantation office building where Stonewall Jackson died in Guinea Station, Virginia

Darkness ended the assault. As Jackson and his staff were returning to camp on May 2, they were mistaken for a Union cavalry force by a Confederate North Carolina regiment who shouted, "Halt, who goes there?" but fired before evaluating the reply. Jackson was hit by three bullets, two in the left arm and one in the right hand. Several other men in his staff were killed in addition to many horses. Darkness and confusion prevented Jackson getting immediate care. He was dropped from his stretcher while being evacuated because of incoming artillery rounds. Because of his injuries, Jackson's left arm had to be amputated. Jackson was then moved to Thomas C. Chandler's 740-acre plantation named "Fairfield." He was offered Chandler's home for recovery, but Jackson refused and suggested using Chandler's plantation office building instead. He was thought to be out of harm's way, but unknown to the doctors, he already had classic symptoms of pneumonia, complaining of a sore chest. This soreness was mistakenly thought to be the result of his rough handling in the battlefield evacuation. Jackson died of complications of pneumonia on May 10. In his delirium, his dying words were, "Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade of the trees." His body was moved to the Governor's Mansion in Richmond for the public to mourn, and he was then moved to be buried in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia. However, the arm that was amputated on May 2 was buried separately by Jackson's chaplain, at the J. Horace Lacy house, "Ellwood," in the Wilderness of Spotsylvania County, near the field hospital.

Upon hearing of Jackson's death, Robert E. Lee mourned the loss of a trusted commander. The night Lee learned of Jackson's death, he told his cook, "William, I have lost my right arm" (deliberately in contrast to Jackson's left arm) and "I'm bleeding at the heart."


Jackson is considered one of the great characters of the Civil War. He was profoundly religious, a deacon in the Presbyterian Church. He disliked fighting on Sunday, though that did not stop him from doing so. He loved his wife very much and sent her tender letters.

Jackson often wore old, worn-out clothes rather than a fancy uniform, and often looked more like a moth-eaten private than a corps commander. In direct contrast to Lee, Jackson was not a striking figure, particularly since he was not a good horseman and, therefore, rode a staid, dependable horse, rather than a spirited stallion.

In command, Jackson was extremely secretive about his plans and extremely punctilious about military discipline. This secretive nature did not stand him in good stead with his subordinates, who were often not aware of his overall operational intentions and complained of being left out of key decisions.[21]

The South mourned his death; he was greatly admired there. A poem penned by one of his soldiers soon became a very popular song, "Stonewall Jackson's Way." Many theorists through the years have postulated that if Jackson had lived, Lee might have prevailed at Gettysburg.[22] Certainly Jackson's iron discipline and brilliant tactical sense were sorely missed, and might well have carried an extremely close-fought battle. He is buried at Lexington, Virginia, near VMI, in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. He is memorialized on Georgia's Stone Mountain, in Richmond on historic Monument Avenue, and in many other places.

After the war, Jackson's wife and young daughter, Julia, moved from Lexington to North Carolina. Mary Anna Jackson wrote two books about her husband's life, including some of his letters. She never remarried, and was known as the "Widow of the Confederacy," living until 1915. His daughter Julia married, and bore children, but she died of typhoid fever at the age of 26 years.

A former Confederate soldier who admired Jackson, Captain Thomas R. Ranson of Staunton, Virginia, also remembered the tragic life of Jackson's mother. Years after the War, he went to the tiny mountain hamlet of Ansted in Fayette County, West Virginia, and had a marble marker placed over the unmarked grave of Julia Neale Jackson in Westlake Cemetery, to make sure that the site was not lost forever.

West Virginia's Stonewall Jackson State Park is named in his honor. Nearby, at Stonewall Jackson's historical childhood home, his Uncle's grist mill is the centerpiece of a historical site at the Jackson's Mill Center for Lifelong Learning and State 4-H Camp. The facility, located near Weston, serves as a special campus for West Virginia University and the WVU Extension Service.

The United States Navy submarine USS Stonewall Jackson (SSBN 634), commissioned in 1964, was named for him. The words "Strength—Mobility" are emblazoned on the ship's banner, words taken from letters written by General Jackson. It was the third U.S. Navy ship named for him. The submarine was decommissioned in 1995. During World War II, the Navy named a Liberty ship the SS T.J. Jackson in his honor.

The state of Virginia honors Jackson's birthday on Lee-Jackson Day, a state holiday observed as such since 1904. It is currently observed on the Friday preceding the third Monday in January.

Davis, Lee, and Jackson on Stone Mountain.

Jackson also appears prominently in the enormous bas-relief carving on the face of Stone Mountain riding with Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. The carving depicts the three on horseback, appearing to ride in a group from right to left across the mountainside. The lower parts of the horses' bodies merge into the mountainside at the foot of the carving. The three riders are shown bare-headed and holding their hats to their chests. It is the largest such carving in the world.


  1. "Thomas J. Jackson Biography," The American Civil War Home Page.
  2. Robertson, p. 1-2.
  3. Robertson, p. 2-3.
  4. Robertson, p. 4.
  5. Robertson, p. 8.
  6. Robertson, p. 10.
  7. Robertson, p. 69.
  8., Virginia Military Institute Archives: Stonewall Jackson FAQ. Retrieved June 17, 2008.
  9. Archibald Alexander, Travelogue of Lexington. Retrieved June 17, 2008.
  10. Robertson, p. 191-92.
  11. Mary Anna Jackson, Memoir of Stonewall Jackson (Louisville, Kentucky, 1895), 78.
  12. Robertson, p. 169.
  13. Mary Anna Jackson, Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson, by His Widow (Louisville, Ky, 1895), p. 152.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Eicher, p. 316.
  15. Freeman, Lee's Lieutenants, p. 82.
  16. David Goldfield, et al., The American Journey: A History of the United States (Prentice Hall, 1999, ISBN 0-13-088243-7).
  17. McPherson, p. 342.
  18. Freeman, R.E. Lee, p. 247.
  19. Wert, p. 206.
  20. Robertson, p. 645.
  21. Robertson, p. xiv.
  22. Sears, Gettysburg, p. 233-34.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Alexander, Bevin. Lost Victories: The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson. Hippocrene Books, 2004. ISBN 0-7818-1036-1.
  • Bryson, Bill. A Walk in the Woods. Broadway, 1998. ISBN 0-7679-0251-3.
  • Burns, Ken. The Civil War. PBS television series, 1990.
  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Civil War High Commands. Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Freeman, Douglas S. Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command. Scribners, 1946. ISBN 0-684-85979-3.
  • Freeman, Douglas S. R. E. Lee, A Biography. Scribners, 1934.
  • Henderson, G.F.R., Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War. Smithmark reprint, 1995. ISBN 0-8317-3288-1.
  • McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States). Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-19-503863-0.
  • Robertson, James I., Jr., Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend. MacMillan Publishing, 1997. ISBN 0-02-864685-1.
  • Sears, Stephen W. Gettysburg. Houghton Mifflin, 2003. ISBN 0-395-86761-4.
  • Sharlet, Jeff. "Through a Glass, Darkly: How the Christian right is reimagining U.S. history." Harpers. December 2006.
  • Underwood, Robert, and Clarence C. Buel (eds.). Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Century Co., 1884-1888.
  • Wert, Jeffry D. General James Longstreet: The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier: A Biography. Simon & Schuster, 1993. ISBN 0-671-70921-6.

Further reading

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

  • Addey, Markfield, Stonewall Jackson: Life and Military Career (New York, 1863)
  • Chambers, Lenoir, Stonewall Jackson (Two Volumes, New York, 1959)
  • Cooke, J. E., Stonewall Jackson: A Military Biography (New York, 1876)
  • Dabney, R. L., Life of General T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson (New York, 1866)
  • Henderson, G. F., Stonewall Jackson and the Civil War (two volumes, New York, 1902)
  • Jackson, M. A. M., Memoirs (Louisville, 1895)
  • McGuire and Christian, Confederate Cause and Conduct in the War between the States (Richmond, 1907)
  • White, H. A., Stonewall Jackson (Philadelphia, 1909)
  • Wilkins, J. Steven, All Things for Good: The Steadfast Fidelity of Stonewall Jackson, Cumberland House Publishing, 2004, ISBN 1-58182-225-1.
  • Williamson, M. L., Life of General Thomas F. [sic] Jackson (Richmond, 1901)

External links

All links retrieved February 26, 2023.


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