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Recently Discovered Memoir about Gen. T. J. 'Stonewall' Jackson

By Mary Roy Dawson Edwards 
Originally published by Civil War Times magazine. Published Online: August 27, 2008 
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General Thomas J. Jackson is fascinating for many reasons. He was a brilliant tactician, a very determined student, a man intent on improving himself, a man enamored of home and family, a Virginia gentleman. In today's language, Jackson's vision of how the Civil War should be fought would be called guerilla warfare.

Housed in Special Collections, University of Virginia Library are two memoirs about Jackson written by Clement Daniels Fishburne (1832-1907), a good friend from Lexington, Virginia. One is quite short, just twenty-one pages (MSS # 3569), and the other is eighty-three pages long (MSS # 2341). The shorter document has been overlooked, perhaps having been confused with the longer one. However, it is well worth looking at because of the many insights into this complex man, General "Stonewall" Jackson.

It is in fact a letter, written in response to an inquiry from a University of Virginia professor, Dr. P. B. Barringer, whose mother, Eugenia, was a sister of Jackson's second wife, Mary Anna Morrison Jackson. It begins:

"Charlottesville Va. 8th April 1903.

Dr. P. B. Barringer
University of Va
Dear Ari: Your favor of 27th ulto. has been received in which you suggest that I "knew General Stonewall Jackson perhaps better than any man now living" and in which you ask that I write out "the things I know in order that they may be incorporated in some history of this peculiar and peculiarly great man"."

The other person who knew Jackson better than anyone else was his second wife, Mary Anna. She was the daughter of the Rev. Dr. R. H. Morrison, the first president of Davidson College in North Carolina and Mary Graham, whose brother, William, was Gov. of North Carolina, a U.S. Senator, and Secretary of the Navy during President Fillmore's administration. Her sister, Isabella, was married to General D. H. Hill. The very intelligent Mary Anna wrote an excellent biography of General Jackson, Life and Letters of General Thomas J. Jackson, published in 1892 by Harper & Brothers, N. Y.

This article will include the entire short memoir of Clement Daniels Fishburne's and some excerpts from Mary Anna Morrison Jackson's book that give even more insight into General Thomas J. Jackson. The memoir continues:

"By reason of your relationship to him through his widow who was your mother's sister, you already know as much about him (and more) than I do, but I shall gladly give you such facts as I have in memory which were known to me and which have never been made public, though in doing thus it may be necessary to speak of myself more than I care to speak. I shall do this as little as may be consistent with my effort to show that I speak only what I knew of him. Your letter suggests that "our relations were intimate", whether this was correct, strictly, or not, they were very cordial and pleasant.

I saw him first in Lexington Va. in the fall of 1851, in which year he was elected Professor of Natural Philosophy and Artillery practice in the Virginia Military Institute; a state school located near that town. [Major D. H. Hill, on the faculty of Washington College, having served with Jackson in Mexico, recommended him for the job. Life and Letters, pages 55-56.]

I was a student in Washington College, an institution presided over by Revd. Dr. Geo. Junkin and located between the Military Institute and the town. I was at that time a shy and awkward sophomore and was introduced to him by Mr. John B. Lyle who kept a bookstore on Main Street in Lexington. Mr Lyle was an alumnus of Washington College, a courteous & jolly and loveable old bachelor, a kinsman of many of the best and most cultivated people of the town and the County of Rockbridge. He had Chambers back of his book store in which he kept and sold such books as were called for by book-lovers in the community and by the students in the two Institutions, Washington College and the V.M.I. Mr. Lyle's book store had become a sort of Club-house in which assembled frequently the professional men of the town, the professors and officers of the College & Institute and every genteel young man of the community, especially much of them as had any taste for music, of which Mr. Lyle was a great lover. By reason of the fact that my eldest brother, who had been several years before a student at the College, was an intimate friend of Mr Lyle, I became a welcome visitor at this Club-house and there I was introduced, incidentally, to General (then Major) Jackson. He had served during the Mexican War: beginning as 2nd Lieut and was brevetted twice, or three times, for gallantry and at the close of it was known as "Major". He served in Florida and elsewhere and was with the Army in Florida when he was called to Lexington Va.

His manners were not what might be called captivating but they were pleasant and courteous and I was captivated by the fact that ever after our meeting at Mr. Liles, [Lyles] on the street, or elsewhere, he recognized me as an acquaintance and saluted me pleasantly. I was not a great visitor in the town but I think he was and I met him occasionally in houses where he visited. At one house, where were two young ladies whom we both knew we met not infrequently. While his courtesy was unfailing there were some peculiarities about him which were marked. He never assumed a lounging and (so called) "easy position". He never crossed his legs in company and rarely touched the back of his chair. He seemed to take a lively interest in every general conversation and was, to this extent, responsive, though he never gave the impression that he was a great talker. On one occasion my roommate, who was a ready talker, met him at the house of a friend and in describing something that had been done, or said, by someone, he used the word vim. Thereupon the Major said, in effect – By the way Mr. C. that word vim which you used seems to me to be a very expressive word – what is the meaning of it? Whereupon C. launched out enthusiastically into the definition of the latin vis explaining that vim was the accusative case of it and meant force or energy – all of which seemed to interest the Major greatly. C., who had never been distinguished as a Latin scholar, returned to his room in College and jestingly boasted that he had given a lecture on Latin to Major Jackson; – but he was never quite sure that the Major was not quizzing him slightly.

I met him occasionally at evening entertainments in the town, where he usually wore his military coat and where his manners were always pleasant though quiet and dignified.

During the Major's second session at the V.M.I., my elder brother was the Professor of Latin at Washington College and being a single man had his chambers in the College buildings. One evening after tea I called on him and very soon afterwards Major Jackson also called. After the usual salutions [salutations], my brother resumed his seat and I stood, expecting the Major to sit down which he did not. They got into a conversation which drifted into a talk about the Spanish language with which the Major had acquired some familiarity during his sojourn in the City of Mexico. He gave some very pleasant reminiscences of his life in that City –

When he entered the room I, of course, rose and stood expecting him to be seated. Finding that he stood alone and that my brother left him standing while their conversation continued, I hesitatingly resumed my seat. When after a half hour or more, he bade us good night & went out, I referred to the fact that the Major had not taken a seat and had not been especially asked to do so, my brother explained that the Major seldom sat when visiting his intimate male friends and had given them to understand that it was useless to ask him to sit when he was at liberty to stand – Quoting a distinguished young physician of the town, who was the Major's medical adviser, he said "the Major stood up habitually thinking it best for his health to keep his alimentary canal straight."

I saw him frequently till June 1853 when I graduated and left College, but do not recall any conversations with him during that period.

In August 1853 he married Miss Eleanor Junkin, the second daughter of Dr. Geo. Junkin. She died in the fall of 1854 and in the mean time my brother married her younger sister, Miss Julia Miller Junkin.

In the summer of 1856 Major Jackson made a short trip to Europe. I was then a Professor at Davidson College N.C. and was living in the house of Maj. D. H. Hill, the Prof. of Mathematics who had married the eldest daughter [Isabella] of Rev. Dr. Robt. Morrison, of Lincoln County, N.C., whose home was about fifteen miles from Davidson, west of the Catawba river. My room mate was Rev. E. D. Junkin, the brother of Maj. Jackson's first wife. He wrote to the Major on his return from his European trip, asking for some account of his trip. The reply of the Major was brief, contained, as I recollect it, in one sheet of note paper, giving the date when he left America, when he reached Europe, what cities he passed through, giving briefly what he saw of the field of Waterloo and closed with his arrival in Lexington. It was peculiarly noted for its brevity.

About Christmas, 1856, Maj. Hills household were at breakfast at his home at Davidson College, when one of his servants came to the door and announced to Mrs. Hill that "Aunt _____", one of the negro slaves of Dr. Morrison's was there just from "Cottage Home", the name of Dr. M's. home. She was called up and gave Miss Hill the "news". In reply to Mrs Hill's question as to whether "Miss Anna had had any beaux lately, she said she did not know but there was a gentleman there then and she heard that he was there to see Miss Anna. In answer to inquiries she said she had seen him out walking – that he was a tall man and had brass buttons on his cap – that one of the little boys had blacked his boots and he said that they were very big ones. There upon Maj Hill laughingly remarked "that must be Jackson". This conjecture of Hill's was after some days confirmed by further news from "Cottage Home" – that Maj. Jackson had during the Christmas recess at the V M Institute, got a short furlough and had come down to visit friends in N.C.

In May 1857 at Davidson College N.C., I recd. the following letter from Major Jackson.

Lexington, Va. May 25. 1857.

My dear Friend: I suppose that you are looking forward to the coming vacation with all a Professor's interest in such seasons of relaxation and enjoyment. I do not wish to interfere with your summer arrangements, but if you can without too much inconvenience officiate as a groomsman for me about the middle of July next when I am to be married to Miss Anna Morrison I will regard it as a special favor. Our friend Thomas Preston is to make one of the official number.

As the time is somewhat distant I have as yet only mentioned the subject to friends.

Your friends here are [in] usual health. Massie is probably a little more under political excitement than is consistent with his comfort, as on the uncertain suffrages of a popular election depend his prospects of being a member of our next Legislature.

Please let me hear from you as early as convenient.

Your sincere friend.
T.J. Jackson.

Thomas Preston who is referred to in this letter was the oldest son of Co. & Mrs. F. L. Preston, a Prof. at the V.M.I. He was a fellow student with me at Washington College and my room-mate the session of 1854-5, at the University of Va.

"Massie" spoken of in the letter had graduated some years previously at the V.M.I. and was then practicing the law in Lexington, Va and an intimate friend of Col. Jackson and a half brother of my first cousins in Waynesboro.

The next month, at Davidson College, I recd. the following letter from Major Jackson.

Lexington Va. June 8th 1857

My dear friend, Please accept my thanks for consenting to officiate as groomsman for me in the event of the time fixed for my marriage not preventing you from so doing.

When I wrote to you I expected that the ceremony would take place at such a period as would not interfere with your vacation after the 16th of July to which you refer as the date of your Commencement. But from a letter written on Tuesday last I see that the day named is later than the 16th and it may be found necessary to postpone beyond the time mentioned.

Should you expect to remain south after the 16th July, please let me know how long, as this will enable one to determine so soon as I learn the wedding day whether you can without inconvenience be present.

If your plans for the summer require that you should leave after Commencement, you must not interfere with them in the least on my account.

It was not my design when I wrote you to occasion you any delay Should you be coming north at once you need not give yourself the trouble of writing. It may be that the time is definitely fixed before this and that before your letter comes to hand I may be able
to speak positively of the period.

I hope to be with you before the middle of July. Remember me very kindly to Eben and believe me ever your true friend.

T. J. Jackson.

The "commencement" referred to in the last letter was the day of the final exercises at Davidson College, N. C., which that year was the 16th of July. The "Eben", to whom he sent greeting, was Rev. E. D. Junkin, the brother of Major Jackson's first wife and my room mate, though his work was in two country churches, of which he was "Pastor".

During our College examinations, & a few days before the 16th July, Major Jackson arrived at Davidson where he was the guest of his old friend Major D. H. Hill, then Prof. of Mathematics. He was introduced to members of the faculty and attended some of the examinations.

One morning after breakfast, he and I were strolling through the College grounds near the Old Chapel, where a few months previously I had witnessed a marriage ceremony performed by Rev. Dr. Lacy in the course of which he had used a part of the ceremony common in the Episcopal church in which he addressed the bride groom & bride by their first names – as "Do you John – " or "do you Mary" &c. I mentioned that to the Major because I had heard Mr. Junkin say that he did not know what the Major's middle name was and that he (Junkin) thought that for some reason the Major never referred to it and did not care to make it known. As soon as I stated to the Major the fact that Dr. Lacy had used this form of addressing the bride and groom he suddenly stopped and in his quiet way of talking said he had never known a Presbyterian Minister to use that particular form and asked if D. Lacy always used it. To this I replied that he did not confine himself to any one form – that I had seen his forms in manuscript and had heard him say that some persons preferred one & some another of his forms. He then wanted to know if Dr. L. would object to his looking at these forms and selecting one of them: on being answered that Dr. L. would make no objection to his selecting what ever form he preferred, he asked where he could fine Dr. L. at that time. I pointed out his house and he promptly went to find the Doctor who after wards told me of the interview and that after examining the forms shown him he selected one in which the names of the contracting parties were not called out in full by the minister.

The Mr. Tom Preston mentioned in Maj. Jackson's first letter as one who had been asked to be one of the "official number", was then visiting his Aunt, Mrs. Cocke, in Powhattan Co Va. and was then quite ill with typhoid fever. Because of his illness Major J. had asked Preston's Cousin, Thomas P. Cocke, to officiate in Preston's place. Cocke accordingly joined the Major at Davidson and was my guest there.

As soon as the Commencement Exercises of the College closed, the groom & D. Lacy & Major Hill & his family, Mr. Cocke & I set out for "Cottage Home", the residence of Rev. Dr. Morrison the father of the bride and reached it before sunset. We crossed the beautiful Catawba river about half way between Davidson and the home of the bride, fording the stream at "Beattie's ford", where the river was several hundred yards wide and the bed of the river was covered with sand and small stones. We reached our destination before sunset and prepared to take part in the ceremony which commenced soon after dark, about "early candle-lighting" according to an expression then in vogue in the country where there was neither gas, nor electric lights. Lamps had begun to be used filled with Kerosene, then called "burning fluid".

The bride's maids were her two younger sisters, Susan & Laura Morrison and her two first-cousins, Sophia & Julia Alexander and the groom's men were Wm. W. Morrison the older brother of the bride, Joseph Graham, after wards Dr. Jos. Graham, a first cousin of the bride; Thom. P. Cocke & myself. These were the parties named in the programme, but after the bridal party assembled, as I learn from Mrs. Jackson in a letter dated 18 Aug 1904, "there were, besides the bridal party, only one young lady, Miss Orr, and one young man Mr. John Graham, so I asked them to go in with us making five couples in all."

As to how these attendants were paired my memory is some what uncertain and so is the memory of others who were present. The first couple consisted of the bride's brother Wm. Morrison, and his cousin Miss Sophia Alexander; the second lady was, I think, Miss Sue Morrison the third, Miss Julia Alexander, the fourth, Miss Laura Morrison [later married to Colonel J. E. Brown of Charlotte, N.C.] and the fifth Miss Orr who appeared with Mr. John Graham.

Dr. Joseph Graham & I were with Miss Sue Morrison & Miss Julia Alexander but I do not recall how these four were paired.

The ceremony was performed by Rev. Drury Lacy, D.D. then President of Davidson College. The party dispersed the next day, the bride & groom going through Charlotte N.C., which was about 20 miles from Davidson, and through Columbia, S. C. on a northern tour of which Mrs. Jackson gives an account in her memoirs of her husband. [A more complete description of the wedding can be found in Life and Letters, pages 103-4.]

The next time I met Major Jackson was during the latter part of that summer, when he & his wife were spending some days at the Rockbridge Alum springs and there I had a pleasant sojourn and they seemed to be enjoying themselves and their surroundings.

Whilst I do not doubt that I met them after wards from time to time before our "civil war" began I do not distinctly recall any other interview with him till in May 1861 when I went to Harper's Ferry to make inquiry about my younger brother, who a private in the Col. J.E.B. Stuarts' 1st Regt of Va. Cavalry, had been accidentally shot by one of his comrades. This Regt. was part of Major. (then Colonel) Jackson's Command. Here I found the Colonel busily engaged with his work, organizing his command. He was cordial and hospitable, but after ascertaining that my brother had been sent to a hospital at Winchester, I hurried on to that town and from there returned in a few days to the University of Va., where I had begun the study of Law in the preceding fall. I soon discovered that it would be difficult for me to find profit in trying to study there, where all the students and Professors were thoroughly interested in the preparations then making in the State of Virginia for the inevitable conflict, and I accordingly decided to join the army and to cast my lot with the Rockbridge Artillery. This Battery had been organized at Lexington Va. and had in it a large number of young men who had been educated at Washington College. It was commanded by Rev. W. N. Pendleton, the Rector of the Episcopal Church at Lexington, who had graduated some years before at West Point and had been a fellow cadet with Genl. Ro. E. Lee, Gen. Joseph E. Johnson & other distinguished graduates, some of whom had already been called to prominent positions in the two armies which were then preparing for the great conflict.

Maj. Jackson had been commissioned a Col. when he was called to the command of the forces at Harper's Ferry. Soon after my trip to that place He moved his troops up the river, the Potomac, so as to command the crossing places. His cavalry under Col. Stuart picketed the river and the infantry was stationed at convenient places from Williamsport down to Harpers Ferry. I went down the Valley by stage coach to Winchester and from that town went with a wagon train toward Martinsburg. Some three or four miles south of this town I found the Rockbridge Artillery, on the 21st June, resumming its march and there I joined it. We passed through the town and went into camp in an oak grove about four miles north of the town. Here we found several regiments of infantry belonging to a Brigade under Command of Col. Jackson, the nucleus of the Brigade which was afterwards known as Jackson's Brigade and after the battle of Manassas known as the "Stonewall brigade". My recollection is that this Brigade at first was composed of Col. JEB Stuart's regiment of Cavalry, the 2nd, the 4th, the 5th, the 27th, & the 33rd regiments of Virginia Infantry and the Rockbridge Artillery.

As soon as I could conveniently do so I called on the Col. who was a very busy man and found him cheerful and pleasant as usual – and always cordial toward the men of his brigade who had before been personally known to him.

Genl. Patterson was reported as advancing toward us by the Ferry & ford at Williamsport and after some of his troops had crossed the Potomac Col. Jackson met him near the "Falling Waters" several miles north of our Camp. His troops, the Cavalry and Infantry, were deployed in front of what would be Gen Patterson's line of march and the four guns of our artillery were moved forward on the turnpike-road which connected Martinsburg and Williamsport and here halted for further developments. Very soon we saw the 5th regiment moved forward and one of our guns, a six pounder brass gun was also advanced. They were soon hidden from us by a patch of wood land but we had not long to wait for news from them. The battle begun by Patterson's troops was continued by Jackson's infantry and the one gun. Col. Jackson was in direct command and his troops were highly elated by his coolness & promptness. The 5th Va Regt. and the one gun did considerable execution and delayed Gen. Patterson's advance so that, at Col. Jacksons command, his troops began to fall back slowly & in perfect order.

Corporal M. tells the story that during this backward movement, the enemy's artillery sent some shots intended to hasten our march, or at least to let us know that they were following us, and that, as a spent ball rolled near us, one of our privates approached him and exclaimed in indignant tones against the conduct of Gen. Patterson – "was any thing like this ever heard of in civilized warfare! – firing on a retreating foe!!" The Corporal was pretty amused but did not stop to discuss the outrage –

Our brigade slowly fell back, through Martinsburg and, when we reached a place called Darksville, we met for the first time Genl. Joseph E. Johnson to whom, as we understand it, Genl. Jackson reported. We were much impressed by the soldierly bearing of our new Commander in Chief. He was a man of medium height, a handsome man and a skillful, accomplished horseman. He had with him his staff and probably other troops besides Jackson's brigade, but of this I am not sure. On a beautiful meadow East of the Valley turnpike, our brigade was deployed and Col. Jackson's brigade – Quartermaster was provided with strips of white callon cloth with which each of the members of the brigade was decorated for the purpose of distinguishing us from the troops of Gen. Patterson who were expected to make an attack on us. The ordinary uniforms then worn by the troops of both armies were very similar and this mode of designating our troops was adopted in order to prevent confusion and the possible mistaking the enemy for friends & vice versa. Gen Jackson was frequently among us during our demonstration while awaiting the advance of Genl. Pattersons forces. We thus remained in line for a day or two, but the Enemy did not advance and we slowly resumed our march toward Winchester which place we reached on the 8 or 10th of July. Here we remained a few days, making demonstrations of readiness to begin battle, till the after noon of the 18th when, after orders to prepare three day's ration's, we set out from Winchester east ward. When we had gone a few miles, each body of our troops was halted long enough to hear an order from Gen. Johnson to the effect that 'Our troops under the command of Gen Beauregard were already attacked by the Enemy at "Bulls run" and we were urged to "gird up our loins: and march with all possible speed to aid our fellow soldiers near Manassas.

Each body responded with a shout and the march was resummed. The brigade reached the top of the mountain after midnight and bivouced [bivouacked] as best it could along the top and eastern slope of the Blue ridge awaiting further orders. Gen. Jackson was "inevidence" occasionally giving orders for the further march east-ward. About sunset the march was resumed – the infantry (as we were informed) taking the trains on the R. R. and the Rockbridge Artillery followed the dirt road and marched all night, halting an hour or so at "the Plains" to rest the horses, and again about sun rise to rest and feed them." About the middle of the afternoon of the 20th we were halted at the [The words "of the 20th" were added in pencil.] Manassas station to rest and receive our further orders. The infantry of the Brigade had already arrived in that vicinity and were bivouacked on the South bank of "Bulls run" where we supposed Jackson was. After a tedious and unsatisfactory halting without water, we resumed the march and about dusk reached the banks of the "Bull's run" where, without unnecessary delay we made ourselves and our horses as comfortable as possible and went to sleep near that small stream. About break of day we were aroused by the Enemy's artillery which was located north of us at Centreville and which was amusing itself firing in our direction as was made manifest by the occasional arrival in our vicinity of their shots or shells. Gen. Jackson took command of the infantry of his brigade and led them toward the place where they were after wards engaged on the ground where the first battle of Manassas was fought – not far from the celebrated "Henry House", and there the Battery joined them.

We found Gen. Jackson on the field riding from one end of the line of his Infantry regiments to the other. He personally superintended the placing of the Rockbridge Artillery into position on the crest of the Hill in front of his infantry. He was riding a small bay horse, which limped from a wound it had rec. in a hind leg. The General had also been wounded in a finger and was riding about with his hand elevated and wrapped in a silk handkerchief. I supposed that he held his hand up to prevent bleeding, but the newspaper correspondents afterward described him as riding about with his hand elevated in prayer for the success of our cause. He probably prayed then as he was known to be a praying man, but he did not fail to watch as well as pray and he saluted me and other acquaintances who met him on the field.

At the proper time he gave orders for the Artillery to fall back and for the Infantry to rise and take position on the crest of hill preparatory to attacking the Enemy in the direction of the "Henry house". I do not remember distinctly seeing him for some days after this battle but I doubt not that we all saw him frequently, as he was much interested in our getting out of the captured guns enough of the newly acquired cannon to equip anew the battery with six guns in place of the four which we had at the beginning.

During the week following the battle, Maj. John A. Harman, the quarter master of the Brigade, which was beginning to be known as "the Stonewall Brigade", selected for it a Camp north of the battlefield and a few miles north of Centreville, in the direction of Fairfax Court House. Here we were encamped more than a month and Gen. Jackson's Head Quarters were within half-mile of the Battery, at a substantial farm house. In the yard were his tents in which his staff lodged and where the business of the Brigade was transacted. Every Sunday some religious services were conducted to which all the members of the Brigade were welcomed. At these services Gen. Jackson occupied a camp chair and it was said that on one occasion the chair upset with him, which gave rise to the conjecture which was expressed by some who had known his habits – that he had slept & lost his balance while asleep.

From this camp he marched with his brigade northward to the vicinity of Fairfax Court House, but no skirmishing with the Enemy followed this march and after a few days in which our gun carriages were overhauled and harness mended & greased and new horses obtained, we fell back to Centreville at night reaching it in the very early morning. We bivouacked on grassy hills near the Headquarters of Gen Jos. E. Johnson and next day pitched our tents & went into camp where we spent several weeks.

Whilst here the whole Command was reviewed by our general officers and the display of troops was very encouraging to us raw veterans. We thought we could whip all the troops that the Federals could muster against us. "It was a child's ignorance then", but it was pleasant."

Here ends Fishburne's memoir.

Everyone who has studied Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign realizes that he was a brilliant student of warfare. Several remarks recorded by his wife, Mary Anna, in Life and Letters, reinforce this view.

On page 155, she writes, "From the very first, Colonel Jackson showed that reticence and secrecy as to his military operations that was so marked in all his campaigns, and contributed so greatly to his success. It was his maxim that, in war, mystery was the key to success." Jackson's brother-in-law, Rufus Barringer, a Cavalry officer and later a Brigadier General, relates a discussion he had with him on Jackson's plan of attack against General John Pope at Second Manassas and his policy of slash and burn. "I have always thought that we ought to meet the Federal invaders on the outer verge of just right and defence, and raise at once the black flag, vis., "No quarter to the violators of our homes and firesides!"…But I see now clearly enough the people of the South were not prepared for such a policy. I have myself cordially accepted the policy of our leaders….President Davis and General Lee." [Life and Letters, page 310.] Barringer quotes Jackson's plans concerning what we would call "guerilla warfare". "I would give up, as circumstances might seem to require, many exposed points and all untenable positions, and gradually concentrate our choicest fighting men and most valuable material at a few strong interior camps, and at the same time, to protect our communications, defend our people and territory against invasions of the enemy and also keep up ceaseless aggression upon them. I would organize our whole available fighting force, so selected and located, into two, four, or more light movable columns, specially armed and trained and equipped for sudden moves and for long and rapid marches. These light movable columns I would hurl against the enemy as they entered our borders; but only when sure of victory, and when the loss of an army was impossible. But better, I would hurl these thunderbolts of war against the rich cities and teeming regions of our Federal friends. I would seek to avoid all regular battles….."

On a lighter note, Mary Anna writes about Jackson's fondness for dancing, "in the privacy and freedom of his own home in Lexington, he used frequently to dance the polka for exercise, but no eye but that of his wife was ever permitted to witness this recreation". She tells a very amusing story about one of Jackson's servants, Hattie.

During the war she was traveling alone, and while changing trains she saw a man pick up her little, old hair trunk – her own personal property, containing all her valuables – and suspecting his honesty, with a determination to stand up for her rights, she called out to him peremptorily: "Put down that trunk; that's General Jackson's trunk!"

One of the best descriptions of Jackson ever written was by a Confederate artilleryman, William Page Carter [Life and Letters, pages 379-380]. Carter tells of his first sight of Jackson coming on the field at Fredericksburg in the winter of 1862. "A general officer, mounted upon a superb bay horse and followed by a single courier, rode up through our guns. Looking neither to the right nor the left, he rode straight to the front, halted, and seemed gazing intently on the enemy's line of battle on the old telegraph road.

"The outfit before me, from top to toe, cap, coat, pants, top-boots, horse and furniture, were all of the new order of things. [All were a recent gift from General J.E.B. Stuart.] But there was something about the man that did not look so new, after all. He appeared to be an old-time friend of all this turmoil around him. As he had done us the honor to make an afternoon call on the artillery, I thought it becoming in some one to say something on the occasion. No one did, however; so, although a somewhat bashful and weak-kneed youngster, I plucked up courage enough to venture the remark that those big guns over the river had been knocking us about pretty considerably during the day. He quickly turned his head, and I knew in an instant who it was before me. The clear-cut, chiselled features; the thin, compressed, and determined lips; the neatly trimmed chestnut beard; the calm, steadfast eye, that could fathom the tide of battle in a moment; the countenance to command respect, and, in time of war, to give the soldier that confidence he so much craves from a superior officer, were all there. And there was one I had heard so much of and had longed so much to see, whose battle front I was then to look upon for the first time, but not, however, the last. As I said before, he turned his head quickly, and looking me all over in about two seconds, he rode up the line and away quietly and as silently as he came, his little courier hard upon his heels, and this was my first sight of Stonewall Jackson."


12 Responses to “Recently Discovered Memoir about Gen. T. J. 'Stonewall' Jackson”


  1. 1

    [...] portion is reprinted with the magazine's kind permission.  The complete article can be found here.  The original letter is situated in Special Collections, University of Virginia, MSS #3569.  The [...]

  2. 2
    CH (LTC) Jeff Burnsed says:

    In truth, General Jackson and General Lee were victors. They were brillinat military leaders, but even better "men of faith." Their reward will come personally from King Jesus one day..and it will be eternal. Where then, will be those who ridiculed the faith of these two men…men of honor and conviction? Both of these men looked forward to seeing Christ, being with Him. Contrast taht to Sherman..famed for hate and an inner miserable life. Contrast these Confederate leaders too, even with Lincoln..who never openly proclaimed a similiar Christian faith. True "Victory" is not for the moment..but for all eternity. To General Jackson and General Lee…true victory has arrived..and with King Jesus the Christ…it will only get better :)

  3. 3
    CH (LTC) Jeff Burnsed says:

    The text entitled "Robert E. Lee on Leadership" is also a "must read."

  4. 4
    Ryan Shirey says:

    yo, what the heck are you talking about that BS for, they killed people, even if christ did exist, they would be going straight to hell

  5. 5
    stan parker says:

    This was war for crying out loud which means people get killed. Jesus is about forgiving also.

  6. 6
    Dean K says:

    Stan, the taking of life is not a one way ticket to hell. Even people who have taken the lives of others can find forgiveness in Christ. The Bible teaches that Samson was a great man of God, despite his shortcomings and the fact that he killed many men. There are several such examples. King David is another. He killed a man because he wanted to be with the guy's wife! Yet he too found forgiveness in God's eyes.

  7. 7
    Troy says:

    excellent article, another must read is "Lost Victories: The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson".

  8. 8
    Ron Morgan says:

    Re: faith and military service, Jesus called the Roman Centurion to faith, but not to stop being a soldier. Much of Paul's language in the original Koine Greek were military terms and had such connotations. We are called to be 'good soldiers' for Christ. In Paul's letter to Timothy, we are told that governments do not bare the sword in vain- a considerable statement in the face of Roman occupation. Jesus said if anyone calls someone a 'fool', they are in danger of the fires of hell. How can anyone judge people so devout, committed to the country they believed in- smaller Federal gov't, low taxes, more states rights, and even eventual emmancipation. Let he without sin cast the first stone.

  9. 9
    James Creeden says:

    Oh,for God's sake!

  10. 10
    Dave says:

    This is supposed to be about the War of Northern Agression not religion

  11. 11
    Jeff Burnsed says:

    Go read "Robert E Lee on Leadership." Always remember too..historical revisionists have rewritten history…so choose carefuly what you believe :) A person's faith…is what completes… and what compliments..their character. And yes..King Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven..as both GEN's Lee and Jackson asserted :)



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