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[666] commencing with the disadvantages of inadequate preparation, he overcame obstacles by such determination as to rise from year to year in the estimation of the faculty. He graduated June 30, 1846, at the age of twenty-two years, receiving brevet rank as second-lieutenant at the beginning of the Mexican war, and was ordered to report for duty with the First Regular artillery, with which he shared in the many brilliant battles which General Scott fought from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico. He was often commended for his soldierly conduct and soon received successive promotions for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco. Captain Magruder, afterwards a Confederate general, thus mentioned him in orders: ‘If devotion, industry, talent, and gallantry are the highest qualities of a soldier, then is he entitled to the distinction which their possession confers.’ Jackson was one of the volunteers in the storming of Chapultepec, and for his daring there was brevetted major, which was his rank at the close of the Mexican war.

His religious character, which history has and will inseparably connect with his military life, appears to have begun forming in the City of Mexico, where his attention was directed to the subject of the variety of beliefs on religious questions. His amiable and affectionate biographer (Mrs. Jackson) mentions that Colonel Francis Taylor, the commander of the First artillery, under whom Jackson was serving, was the first man to speak to him on the subject of personal religion. Jackson had not at any time of his life yielded to the vices, and was in all habits strictly moral, but had given no particular attention to the duties enjoined by the church. Convinced now that this neglect was wrong, he began to study the Bible and pursued his inquiries until he finally united (1851) with the Presbyterian church. His remarkable devoutness of habit and unwavering confidence in the truth of his faith contributed, it is conceded, very greatly to the full development of his singular character, as well as to his marvelous success.

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