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 “circuit-riders” who flocked to his camp with much more distinction than any other visitors; and the story is told how, on one occasion, when the horse driven by one of these itinerants balked at a hill, Jackson himself insisted upon leading and assisting the animal up the acclivity in the astonished sight of his whole army. His nature was epicene. We but seldom see a combination of feminine tenderness with a really strong will; but when we do, we see masked iron in the man, and discover the rarest and loftiest type of greatness. Such a combination was most sincere and striking in Jackson. An authentic anecdote is told of him, illustrating his extreme tenderness to whatever was weak or helpless. Stopping at the house of a friend, one wintry night, he showed much concern for a little delicate girl of the family, and counselled them to see that her bed was comfortable. After the family had retired, Jackson was seen to leave his chamber and approach the bedside of the little girl, where for some moments he busied himself tucking the bedclothes around her, and making the little creature as snug as possible.--The large, rough hand that did this gentle task, was the same that wielded the thunderbolt of battle, and that cleft like flaming lightning the hosts of the Wilderness. Jackson's habits in the field were those of almost superhuman endurance. Neither heat nor cold appeared to make the slightest impression upon him. He cared nothing for good quarters and dainty fare. He often slept on the ground, wrapped in his blanket. His vigilance was marvellous; he never seemed to sleep; lie let nothing pass without his personal scrutiny. His active determination and grim energy in the field, were scarcely to be expected from one who, in preceding years, had been a quiet professor in a college of youths. As for the rapidity of his marches, that was something portentous.1
1 An officer on the staff of Jackson, at the time he was ordered to the Shenandoah Valley, writes as follows, in a pleasant private letter, of his experiences of the campaign, and of the peculiarities of the commander:
When we were ordered up the Valley with old Jackson, it was considered to be a source of congratulation to all for going into active service; but, believe me, I would have willingly gone back into winter-quarters again after a week's trial, for Jackson is the greatest marcher in the world. When we first moved up here, our orders were for a march to Charlestown; next day we moved back to Winchester; in a few days again back to Charlestown; and thence, from one place to another, until at last I began to imagine that we were commanded by some peripatetic philosophical madman, whose forte was pedestrianism. With little or no baggage, we are a roving, hungry, hardy lot of fellows. “ Stonewall” may be a very fine old gentleman, and an honest, good-tempered, industrious man, but I should admire him much more in a state of rest than continually seeing him moving in front. And such a dry old stick, too! As for uniform, he has none-his wardrobe isn't worth a dollar; and his horse is quite in keeping, being a poor, lean animal, of little spirit or activity. And don't he keep his aides moving about! Thirty miles' ride at night through the mud is nothing of a job; and if they don't come up to time, I'd as soon face the devil, for Jackson takes no excuses when duty is on hand. He is solemn and thoughtful, speaks but little, and always in a calm, decided tone; and from what he says there is no appeal, for he seems to know every hole and corner of this valley as if he had made it, or, at least, as if it had been designed for his own use. He knows all the distances, all the roads, even the cow-paths through the woods, and goat-tracks along the hills. I have frequently seen him approach in the dead of night, and enter into conversations with sentinels, and ride off through the darkness. In my opinion, Jackson will assuredly make his mark in this war, for his untiring industry and eternal watchfulness must tell upon a numerous enemy unacquainted with the country, and incommoded by large baggage-trains.
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