previous next


I know of no picture in his life more impressive than that which presents him as he sat in his study during the still hours of the night, unable to use book or lamp—with only a mental view of diagrams and models, and the artificial signs required in abstruse calculations, holding long and intricate processes of mathematical reasoning with the steady grasp of thought, his face turned to the blank, dark wall, until he mastered every difficulty and made complete preparations for the instructions of the succeeding day.

These years of self-discipline and self-enforced severity of regimen, maintained with rigid austerity, through years of seclusion from public life, constituted the propitious season for the full maturing of those faculties whose energy was so soon to be displayed on a field which attracted the attention of the world.

When his native State, which had long stood in the attitude of magnanimous mediation between the hostile sections, in the hope of preserving the Union which she had assisted in forming, and to whose glory she had made such contributions, was menaced by the rod of coercion, and compelled to decide between submission or separation, then Jackson, who would have cheerfully laid down his life to avert the disruption, in accordance with the principles of the political school in which he had been trained, and which commanded his conscientious assent, hesitated no longer, but went straight to his decision as the beam of light goes from its God to the object it illumines. Simultaneously with the striking of the clock which announced the hour of his departure with his cadets for the Camp of Instruction in this city, the command to march was given. Never was there a home dearer than his own; but he left it, never again to cross its threshold. From that time as we are told, he never asked nor received a furlough—was never absent from duty for a day, whether sick or well, and never slept one night outside the lines of his own command. And passing over a thousand occasions which the war afforded for the exercise of his unconquerable will, there is something impressive in the fact that in the very last order which ever fell from his lips, was a revelation of its unabated force. After he had received his fatal wound, while pale with anguish, and faint with loss of blood, he was informed by one of his generals that the men under his command had been thrown into such confusion that he feared he could not hold his ground, the voice which was growing tremulous and low, thrilled the heart of that officer with the old authoritative tone, as he uttered his final order, ‘General, you must keep your men together and hold your ground.’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Stonewall Jackson (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: