Quotes from Confederate general Stonewall Jackson

You may be whatever you resolve to be.

The time for war has not yet come, but it will come, and that soon; and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard.

If the general government should persist in the measures now threatened, there must be war. It is painful enough to discover with what unconcern they speak of war and threaten it. They do not know its horrors. I have seen enough of it to make me look upon it as the sum of all evils.

Don’t say it’s impossible! Turn your command over to the next officer. If he can’t do it, I’ll find someone who can, even if I have to take him from the ranks!

The only true rule for cavalry is to follow the enemy as long as he retreats.

Who could not conquer with such troops as these?

I yield to no man in sympathy for the gallant men under my command, but I am obliged to sweat them tonight, so that I may save their blood tomorrow.

Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.

Who could not conquer with such troops as these?

My men have sometimes fail to take a position but to defend one, never!

The business of a soldier is to fight.  Armies are not called out to dig trenches, to throw up breastworks, and live in camps, but to find the enemy, and strike him; to invade his country, and do him all possible damage in the shortest possible time…but such a war would of necessity, be of brief continuance, and so would be an economy of prosperity and life in the end.  To move swiftly, strike vigorously, and secure all the fruits of victory, is the secret of successful war.

Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy, if possible; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up the pursuit so long as your men have strength to follow; for an army routed, if hotly pursued, becomes panic-stricken, and can then be destroyed by half their number.  The other rule is, never fight against heavy odds, if by any possible maneuvering you can hurl your own force on only a part, and that the weakest part of your enemy and crush it.  Such tactics will win every time, and a small army may thus destroy a large one in detail, and repeated victory will make it invincible.

(Last coherent words on his deathbed) Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.

For more information on the life of Stonewall Jackson, including pictures, facts, family life, articles and accomplishments, please see our Stonewall Jackson theme page.