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[79]

The career of General Jackson

Circumstances under which he received his Sobriquet of Stonewall—Disappointed his Critics—Interesting paper read before Massachusetts Historical Society.


In March last, Rev. Dr. J. William Jones, of Virginia, read the following paper before the Massachusetts Historical Society on ‘Stonewall Jackson, the Soldier:’

I used to hear the cadets of the Virginia Military Institute speak of a grim professor whom they called ‘Old Jack,’ who was very eccentric, and upon whom they delighted to play all sorts of pranks. Stories were told of his having greatly distinguished himself when serving in the regular army in the Mexican War, and of his steady promotion for ‘gallantry and meritorious conduct’ from brevet second lieutenant to brevet major. But this gallant record had been overlooked or forgotten in the odd stories that were told of his conduct at the Institute, and when Governor Letcher, his neighbor and friend, nominated him as colonel in the Virginia volunteers in May, 1861, there was very general surprise, and many expressions of regret, especially among old cadets and people about Lexington who knew him. When his confirmation by the Virginia Convention was under consideration, a member arose and inquired, ‘Who is this Major Jackson anyway? And what are his qualifications for this important position?’ It required all of the powers of the Lexington delegation and the influence of Governor Letcher to secure his confirmation by the convention.

He was soon sent to the command of Harper's Ferry, then popularly regarded as one of the strongholds of the Confederacy, and those of us who were stationed there eagerly inquired, ‘What is this newly made colonel?’

Some of the Lexington soldiers, and some of the old cadets, [80] sneered at his appointment; made all manner of fun of him, and told various anecdotes of his career at the Virginia Military Institute to disparage him. I remember one of them said to me: ‘Governor Letcher has made a great mistake in promoting “Old Jack.” He is no soldier. If he wanted a real soldier. why did he not give the place to Major——’ mentioning the name of a worthy gentleman, who afterwards served in the army, but made no reputation as a soldier.

But when ‘Old Jack’ took command, we were soon made to see the difference between his rule and that of certain militia officers who had been commanding us, and were made to feel and know that a real soldier was now at our head. He soon reduced the high-spirited mob who rushed to the front at the first call of their native Virginia into the respectable ‘Army of the Shenandoah,’ which he turned over to General Joseph E. Johnson when he came to take command of the department.

Jackson won some reputation in several skirmishes in the lower valley, and at this time very small affairs were magnified into brilliant victories.


When he became famous.

But it was on the plains of first Manassas, July 21, 1861, that he first became famous.

General McDowell had ably and skilfully outgeneraled Beauregard, and crossing the upped fords of Bull Run, had moved down on the Confederate flank, driving before him the small Confederate force stationed there.

General Bee, in the agony of being driven back, galloped up to Jackson, who, in command of a Virginia brigade, was stationed on the Henry House hill, and exclaimed: ‘General, they are beating us back!’

Jackson's eyes glittered beneath the rim of his old cadet cap. as he almost fiercely replied: ‘Sir, we will not be beaten back. We will give them the bayonet.’

Bee rushed to his own decimated ranks and rallied them by exclaiming: ‘Look! there stands Jackson like a stone wall! Rally on the Virginians! Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer!’

Jackson not only stood the shock of the heavy attack made [81] on him, but did ‘give them the bayonet,’ checked the onward tide of McDowell's victory, and held his position until Kirby Smith and Early came up on the flank. ‘JebStuart made a successful cavalry charge, Johnston and Beauregard had time to hurry up other troops, and a great Confederate victory was snatched from impending disaster.

The name which the gallant Bee, about to yield up his noble life, gave Jackson that day, clung to him ever afterwards, and he will be known in history not by the name Thomas Jonathan Jackson, which his parents gave him, but as ‘StonewallJackson. And yet the name was a misnomer. ‘Thunderbolt,’ ‘Tornado’ or ‘Cyclone’ would be more appropriate to Jackson's character as a soldier.

I cannot, within the proper limits of this paper, give even an outline of Jackson's subsequent career as a soldier — that would be to sketch the history of the Army of Northern Virginia, while he remained in it. But I propose rather to give and illustrate several salient points in his character as a soldier.

First, I notice Jackson's rapidity of movement.

N. B. Forrest, ‘the wizard of the saddle,’ when asked the secret of his wonderful success, replied: ‘I am there first with most men.’ Stonewall Jackson always got there first, and while his force was always inferior in numbers to the enemy, he not infrequently had ‘the most men’ at the point of contact.

When General Banks reported that Jackson was ‘in full retreat up the Valley,’ started a column to join McClellan east of the Blue Ridge, and was on his own way to report at Washington, Jackson (on a mistaken report of the number left in the Valley) suddenly wheeled, made a rapid march and struck at Kernstown a blow, which, while the only defeat he ever sustained, brought back the column which was crossing the mountains, and disarranged McClellan's plan of campaign.

He then moved up the Valley, took a strong position in Swift Run Gap, and after Ewell's Division joined him, he left Ewell to watch Banks, made a rapid march to unite with Edward Johnson, and sent (May the 9th) his famous dispatch: ‘God blessed our arms with victory at McDowell yesterday.’ Ordering Ewell to join him at Luray, he pushed down the Valley, drove in Bank's flank at Front Royal, cut his retreating column [82] at Middletown, marched all night by the light of the burning wagons of the enemy, and early the next morning drove Banks from Winchester and pursued him to the Potomac.

Learning that Shields, from McDowell's column at Fredericksburg, and Fremont, from the West, were hurrying to form a junction in his rear, he marched his old brigade thirty-five miles, and one of the regiments, the 2nd Virginia, forty-two miles a day, and safely passed the point of danger at Strasburg, carrying his immense wagon train loaded with captured stores, his prisoners and everything, ‘not leaving behind so much as a broken wagon wheel.’ He then moved leisurely up the Valley until at Cross Keys and Port Republic he suffered himself to be ‘caught,’ and proved beyond question that the man who caught Stonewall Jackson had indeed ‘caught a Tartar.’


The Valley campaign.

Here is a brief summary of this Valley Campaign of Stonewall Jackson: In thirty-two days he had marched nearly 400 miles, skirmishing almost daily, fought five battles, defeated three armies, two of which were completely routed, captured 26 pieces of artillery, 4,000 prisoners, and immense stores of all kinds, and had accomplished all of this with a loss of less than 1,000 men killed, wounded and missing, and with a total force of only 15,000 men, while there were at least 60,000 men opposed to him. No wonder that this campaign is studied in the Military Academies of England and Germany as an example of able strategy, rapid marching, and heroic fighting.

In his march from the Valley to seven days around Richmond, his flank movement to Pope's rear at Second Manassas—his capture of Harper's Ferry, and march to Sharpsburg—his march from the Valley to Fredericksburg—and his last great flank movement to Hooker's rear at Chancellorsville, Jackson showed the same rapidity of movement.

An able critic said of him, ‘he moved infantry with the celerity of cavalry.’ His men won the soubriquet of ‘Foot Cavalry,’ and it was glorious to see the cheerful alacrity with which they responded to every call of their loved and honored chief. Many of them with bare, and bleeding feet, would limp along the [83] march, with song and jest, when the word was passed back: ‘Old Stonewall says that it is necessary for us to march further to-day.’ I remember one brave fellow—an old college-mate of mine—who, when I tried to persuade him to fall out of ranks, and let me get him a place in an ambulance, or wagon, replied: ‘No! I cannot do that, there are poor fellows worse off than I am, who need all of the transportation that can be had. Besides, I think from appearances, we are going to have a fight up yonder presently, and if I can't march I can shoot, and I am in good condition now to go into line of battle; I would be obliged not to run if I wished to do so.’

And thus the gallant fellow limped to the front to ‘take his place in the picture near the flashing of the guns.’

He was afterwards killed, bravely doing his duty, and sleeps in the cemetery at Lexington, Va., hard by the grave of his chief, Stonewall Jackson.

Second, Jackson was noted for the secrecy with which he made and executed his plans. He is reported to have said: ‘If my coat knew my plans, I would burn it at once.’

He concealed his plans from even his staff officers and subordinate generals, and was accustomed to say, ‘If I can keep my movements secret from our own people, I will have little difficulty in concealing them from the enemy.’


Colonel Walkers story,

My old Colonel, J. A. Walker, afterwards made brigadier—general and put in command of the Stonewall Brigade, told me this incident: While Ewell's Division was occupying Swift Run Gap, and Jackson had gone to meet Milroy at McDowell, Walker went up to Ewell's headquarters one morning to see him on some important matter, when Ewell passed him, and merely gave him the ‘military salute,’ and went on to the front of the yard, where he spent some time walking back and forth in evident impatience. The chief of staff told Walker that he had better not say anything to Ewell about his business then, as ‘the general was in a very bad humor that morning.’ After a time Walker started back to his own quarters, when Ewell stalked across the yard, planted himself in his front, and eclaimed: [84] ‘Colonel Walker, did it never occur to you that General Jackson is crazy?’ ‘No,’ replied Walker, ‘we cadets at the Virginia Military Institute used to call him “Fool Tom Jackson,” but I never thought that he was crazy.’ ‘Yes, he is sir!’ rejoined Ewell, ‘he is as mad as a March hare; here he has gone off, I don't know where, and left me here with no instructions except to watch Banks, and wait until he returns, and when that will be I have not the most remote idea. Now, Banks is moving up the Valley with a large force, and I do not purpose to remain here and have my division cut to pieces at the behest of a crazy man. I will march my people back to Gordonsville, if I do not hear from him very soon.’ That afternoon Ewell received from Jackson the famous message I have given in reference to his victory at McDowell, with the additional order: ‘Move down the Luray Valley, and I'll join you at Luray.’

It may be added that Ewell afterwards became Jackson's enthusiastic admirer; was accustomed to say: ‘I know nothing of this movement, but Jackson knows, and if the enemy are as ignorant of it as I am, then old Stonewall has them.’ He said at this time, ‘I once thought he was crazy, now I know he is inspired!’

He became Jackson's ‘right arm’ in his famous campaigns, until he lost a leg at Second Manassas.

Not long after the close of the Valley Campaign, when we were resting in the beautiful region around Port Republic, I got a short furlough to go to Nelson County to see my family, and my uncle. Colonel John Marshall Jones, Ewell's Chief of Staff, told me that if I would come by headquarters he would ride with me as far as Staunton. Accordingly, I rode by Ewell's headquarters, and just before we left the grounds, General Ewell came out and said to us in a confidential tone: ‘If you gentlemen wish to stay a little longer than your leave it will make no difference; we are going to move down the Valley to beat up Banks' quarters again.’

I did not overstay my brief furlough, for I was hurrying back in hope that our rest near Port Republic would give the chaplains especially good opportunities for preaching to the men, but when I reached Charlottesville, I found Jackson's troops marching through the town. Asking Colonel Jones afterwards [85] ‘Why General Ewell wished to deceive us,’ he replied: ‘General Ewell did not mean to deceive us, he was deceived himself. He never knows what Jackson is going to do.’

Jackson was anxious to be reinforced and move down the Valley again, but General Lee wrote him, ‘I would be glad for you to make that move, and will give you needed reinforcements; but you must first come down here and help me drive these people from before Richmond.’

Reinforcements were sent Jackson, and pains taken to let the enemy know, and Jackson so completely deceived them as to his plans that at the time he was thundering on McClellan's flank before Richmond, they were entrenching at Strasburg, some two hundred miles away, against an expected attack from him.

I remember that on this march we were in profound ignorance as to our destination. At Charlottesville we expected to move into Madison County, at Gordonsville we expected to move towards Washington, at Louisa we expected to move on to Fredericksburg, at Hanover Junction we expected to move up the railway to meet McDowell's Column, and it was only on the afternoon of June 26th, when we heard A. P. Hill's guns at Mechanicsville, that we fully realized where we were going.


Disclosed by a preacher.

I remember that at Gordonsville, Rev. Dr. Ewing, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, with whom Jackson passed the night, told me as a Profound secret, not to be breathed, that we would move at early dawn the next morning on Culpeper, and intimated that he ‘had gotten his information from headquarters.’

We did not move at ‘early dawn’—the men used to say that ‘Old Stonewall’ always moved at ‘early dawn’ except when he started “the evening before” —but instead of moving on Culpeper, we moved on Louisa.

At Frederick's Hall Depot, General Jackson had his headquarters near the beautiful home of Mr. Nat Harris. Mrs. Harris sent to invite the general to take breakfast with her the next morning, and he replied: ‘If I can, I will be glad to do so.’ Being asked what hour would suit him, he said: ‘Let not [86] Mrs. Harris change her usual hour for me, but send for me when her breakfast is ready, and if I am here I will be glad to breakfast with her.’

When she sent the next morning to call him to breakfast, Jim, his servant, said: ‘Surely you did not spec to find de gineral here at dis hour. He left 'bout 12 o'clock last night, and I spec he is on his way to fight General Banks in the Valley again.’

He had really started, accompanied by a single staff officer, to ride 53 miles to Richmond, have an interview with General Lee, and receive instructions on his part in the proposed attack on McClellan. On this ride he rode up before day to the home of Mr. Matthew Hope, in the lower part of Louisa County, and arousing him from his bed, asked if he had two good saddle horses, saying that they were going to Richmond on very important business, and as their horses were exhausted, they wished to leave them in the place of his, and would send them back on their return.

Mr. Hope replied: ‘Yes, I have two good horses, I always keep good horses, but I am not green enough to let them go off with any straggling cavalrymen, who may represent themselves as being on important business.’

Jackson cut the colloquy short by saying in emphatic tone: ‘It is a case of necessity, sir, we must have the horses, and you had as well saddle them up at once.’ Mr. Hope indignantly replied: ‘I will not do it. I am not in the habit of saddling horses, I keep servants for that purpose, and I will certainly not saddle them for you. If you will take theme, you must saddle them yourselves.’

Thereupon Jackson and his staff officer saddled the horses and were soon galloping on their way. When several days later the horses were sent back, “with General Jackson's compliments,” Mr. Hope exclaimed: ‘Why did he not tell me that he was General Jackson, I would have let him have every horse on the place, and saddled them myself.’

But Jackson did not mean for anyone to recognize him on that ride, which was made so secretly that he had his interview with General Lee, and returned to his command before any of us suspected his absence.

It was reported that on this march Jackson met a Texas [87] soldier straggling from his command, and the following conversation ensued:

‘What command do you belong to, sir?’

‘I do not know.’

‘What State are you from’

‘I do not know, sir.’

‘What do you know, then, sir?’

‘Nothing at all, sir, at this time. Old Stonewall says that we must be know-nothing until the next battle, and I am not going to violate orders.’

On the campaign against Pope, General Ewell rode up one day to the house of a friend of mine and asked: ‘Doctor, can you tell me where we are going?’

“I should like to ask you that question, general, if it were a proper one,” was the reply.

‘Oh! it is perfectly proper to ask the question, but I would like to see you get the answer. General Jackson ordered me to be ready to move at “early dawn,” and my people, as you see, have been lying there in the road ever since, but I pledge you my word I do not know whether we are to march north, south, east or west, or whether we are going to march at all. And that is as much as I generally know about General Jackson's movements.’

In the second Manassas campaign, Jackson conducted his movements to Pope's flank and rear so secretly that just before he captured Manassas Junction, with its immense stores, Pope reported to Washington that Jackson was in ‘full retreat to the mountains.’

So at Chancellorsville he moved to Hooker's flank and rear so secretly that he struck Howard's corps entirely unprepared for his attack.

My accomplished friend, Rev. James Power Smith, D. D., the only surviving member of Jackson's staff, gave me an incident the other day, illustrating how he concealed his plans from even his staff.

After the return of Lee from the first Maryland campaign, Jackson and his corps were left for a time in the Valley, while the rest of the army crossed the mountains to Eastern Virginia.

After lingering around Winchester for a time, Jackson's whole [88] command was moved one day on Berryville, and it seemed very evident that they were about to ford the Shenandoah, and cross the mountains to join Lee.

Captain Smith went to his general and said: ‘As we are going to cross the mountains, general, I should like very much to ride back to Winchester to attend to some matters of importance to me personally, if you can give me a permit.’

“Certainly I will give you the permit.” was the reply, ‘and if we cross the mountains you will be able to overtake us tomorrow.’

Captain Smith rode into Winchester, and started early the next morning to overtake, as he supposed, the moving column. He had only ridden several miles when he met Jackson at the head of his corps moving back to Winchester, and was greeted by the salutation, ‘I suppose Mr. Smith that you are on your way to cross the mountains.’

It was then currently believed that Jackson would spend the winter in the Valley, with headquarters at Winchester, and a vacant house was selected for the general and his staff. After a day or two, Captain Smith and Colonel Pendleton, as a committee of the staff, waited on the general, and said: ‘As it is understood that we are to spend the winter here, we called to ask permission to get some necessary furniture.’

“That would add very much to our comfort, but I think we had better wait until to-morrow, and decide definitely on what we need,” was the reply. The next day Jackson started on his famous march to join Lee in time for the battle of First Fredericksburg.

Secrecy was a strong element in his character as a soldier.

Third. His stern discipline was another important element in Jackson's character as a soldier. He put General Garnett under arrest at Kernstown for ordering a retreat of his brigade when they were out of ammunition, and almost surrounded, saying, ‘He ought to have held his position with the bayonet.’

Garnett was still under arrest when Jackson died, when General Lee released him, and put him in command of one of Pickett's Brigades, the gallant gentleman being killed in the charge at Gettysburg, while leading his men.

On the Valley campaign I chanced to witness a scene in which [89] Jackson rode up to a gallant colonel, commanding a brigade, and said: ‘Colonel, the orders were for you to move in the rear of General to-day.’

The colonel replied in a rather rollicking tone: ‘Yes, I knew that General, but my fellows were ready to march, and General——was not, and I thought that it would make no difference which moved first, as we are not going to fight to-day. But if you prefer it, I can halt my brigade, and let General—— pass us.’ Jackson replied, almost fiercely: ‘How do you know that we are not going to fight to-day? Besides, colonel, I want you to distinctly understand that you must obey my orders first, and reason about them afterwards. Consider yourself under arrest, sir, and march in the rear of your brigade.’

In one of his battles, a brigadier rode up to him and asked: ‘General, did you order me to move my brigade across that plane, and charge that battery?’ ‘Yes, sir, I sent you that order,’ said Jackson, ‘Have you obeyed it?’

‘Why, no! General, the enemy's artillery will sweep that field, and my brigade would be literally annihilated if I move across it.’

Jackson replied, in tones not to be mistaken: ‘General, I always try to take care of my wounded and bury my dead. Obey that order, sir, and do it at once.’

It is needless to add that the order was obeyed, and the battery captured.

At one time he put every commander of a battery in A. P. Hill's Light Division under arrest for some slight disobedience of orders.

He put A. P. Hill under arrest several times, and there were charges and countercharges between these accomplished soldiers, until General Lee intervened to effect a compromise.


His strict discipline.

Jackson probably put more officers under arrest than all other Confederate generals combined. He was probably sometimes too severe. I have reason to believe that General Lee thought that he was too severe both on Garnett and A. P. Hill. But there can be little doubt that if there had been more stern discipline [90] in the Confederate Army, it would have been more efficient.

But Jackson was always ready to obey himself orders from his superiors. General Lee once said of him: ‘I have only to intimate to him what I wish done, and he promptly obeys my wishes.’

My friend, Dr. James Power Smith, who served so heroically on Jackson's staff and has twice appeared before this society, gives a striking incident illustrating this: General Lee sent Jackson, by Captain Smith, a message to the effect that he would be glad if he would call at his headquarters the first time he rode in that direction, but that it was a matter of no pressing importance, and he must not trouble himself about it.

When Jackson received this message he said: ‘I will go early in the morning, Captain Smith, and I wish you to go with me.’

The next morning when Captain Smith looked out he saw that a fearful snowstorm was raging, and took it for granted that Jackson would not undertake to ride fourteen miles to General Lee's quarters through that blizzard.

Very soon, however, Captain Smith's servant came to say, ‘The general done got his breakfast, and is almost ready to start.’

Hurrying his preparations, the young aid galloped after his chief through the raging storm. On reaching Lee's quarters, the general greeted him with, ‘Why, what is the matter, general; have those people crossed the river again?’

‘No, sir; but you sent me word that you wished to see me.’

‘But I hope that Captain Smith told you that I said it was not a matter of pressing importance, and that you must not trouble yourself about it. I had no idea of your coming such weather as this.’

Bowing his head, Jackson gave the amphatic reply:

General Lee's slightest wish is a supreme order to me, and I always try to obey it promptly.’

He certainly acted upon this principle.

Fourth. Attention to minute details was very characteristic of Jackson. He had an interview with his quartermaster, commissary, chief of ordnance and surgeon-general every day, and [91] kept minutely posted as to the condition of their departments. This was so well understood throughout the army, that I once heard a quartermaster say to his sergeant: ‘Have that horse shod immediately, or there will come an order down here from “Old Jack” wanting to know why the gray mare is allowed to go with a shoe off of her left hind foot.’

He kept the most minute knowledge of the topography of the country in which he was campaigning, and the roads over which he might move, and often when his men were asleep in their bivouack, he was riding to and fro inspecting the country and the roads.

But when he began to ask me which side of certain creeks was the highest, and whether there was not a ‘blind road’ turning off at this point or that, and showed the most perfect familiarity with the country, and the roads, I had to interrupt him by saying: ‘Excuse me, General, I thought I knew not only every road, but every footpath in that region, but I find that you really know more about them than I do, and I can give you no information that would be valuable to you.’

I can never forget another interview I had with him on the Second Manassas campaign. His corps had crossed the South Fork of the Rappahannock River, General Ewell's Division had been formed on the bank of the North Fork, and the rest of the corps were marching up between the two rivers to Warrenton White Sulphur Springs, where it was General Lee's purpose to cross his whole army, and plant it in General Pope's rear at Warrenton. In bringing a wounded man of my regiment—the 13th Virginia—back from Ewell's Division to our surgeon, and returning, I saw a skirmish line of the boys in Blue who had crossed at the forks of the river below, and were moving up in General Ewell's rear between him and the moving column of Hill's Division. I waited to satisfy myself that they were real Blue Coats, and becoming fully satisfied by their firing at me, one of the bullets cutting off the extreme end of my horse's ear, I had, of course, important business elsewhere, and was galloping to find General Hill, who commanded that part of our column, when I ran up against old Stonewall himself; I approached him, trying to be as calm as possible, and the following colloquy ensued: [92]

‘General, are you aware that the enemy have crossed at the forks of the river, and are now moving up in the rear of General Ewell, and between him and A. P. Hill's column?’

‘No! have they?’

‘Yes, sir, I have seen them.’

‘Are you certain they are the enemy?’

‘Yes, sir, I am.’

‘How close did you get to them?’

“I suppose about 1,000 yards, I could plainly see their blue uniforms and the United States flag which they carried. They shot at me, and cut the ear of my horse, as you see, and then I got away from there as fast as my horse would bring me.” I expected that he would now send staff officers in every direction with orders to meet this new movement, but Jackson coolly replied: ‘1 am very much obliged to you, sir, for the information you have given me, but General Trimble will attend to them. I expected this movement, and ordered Trimble posted there to meet it.’

He rode off, seemingly as unconcerned as if nothing had happened. Trimble did ‘attend to them,’ and after a severe fight drove them back.

General Lee was prevented by a sudden rise of the river from a severe storm from crossing at Warrenton White Sulphur Springs, but the next day Jackson forded the river higher up, and made his famous movement to Pope's flank and rear.


Other Iilustrations.

I have noted other illustrations of this point, but I find I am in danger of making this paper too long, and must omit much that I might say.

Fifth. Jackson was noted for the quickness of his decisions, and his short orders on the battlefield.

At Winchester on the Valley campaign he said to Colonel Patton, who commanded a brigade: ‘The enemy will presently plant a battery on that hill, when they do you must seize it at once; clamp it immediately, sir!’

During one of the battles around Richmond a staff officer galloped up to him and reported: ‘General Ewell says, sir, that he cannot well advance until that battery over there is silenced.’ [93] Turning to one of his staff, he said: ‘Gallop as hard as you can, and tell Major Andrews to bring sixteen guns to bear on that battery, and silence it immediately.’

Soon Andrews was in position; his guns opened, and before long the battery was silenced. When this was reported to Jackson, he said, with a quiet smile: ‘Now, tell General Ewell to drive them.’

In the afternoon at Gains' Mill, June 27th, 1862, the progress seemed not to have been as rapid as he expected, as gallant Fitz John Porter made a heroic defense, and Jackson exclaimed to one of his staff: ‘This thing has hung fire too long; go rapidly to every brigade commander in my corps and tell him that if the enemy stands at sundown he must advance his brigade regardless of others, and sweep the field with the bayonet.’

It was this order that won the day despite the gallant defense. I chanced to be near and heard the order he gave General Early at Cedar Run (Slaughter's Mountain) in the fight with our old friend, General Banks (‘Stonewall Jackson's quartermaster,’ our men facetiously called him), who commanded the advance of General Pope's Army. We had been skirmishing all of the morning, and Colonel Pendleton, of Jackson's staff, rode up to General Early and said quietly: ‘General Jackson's compliments to General Early, and says that he must advance on the enemy, and he will be supported by General Winder.’

Grim old Early replied in his curtest tones: ‘Give my compliments to General Jackson, and tell him I will do it.’

It was on this field that several of Jackson's Brigades were broken, and it looked as if Banks was about to win, when Jackson dashed in among them, and rallied the confused ranks by exclaiming, ‘Rally on your colors, and let your general lead you to victory. Jackson will lead you.’ His presence acted like magic, the broken troops were rallied, the lines restored and the victory won.


Fitz Lee S story.

General Fitz Lee gives an exceedingly interesting account of an interview he had with Jackson on his flank movement at Chancellorsville. Fitz Lee had been covering the movement [94] with his cavalry, when he discovered that from a certain hill a full view of Hooker's flank and rear could be seen. He galloped back until he met Jackson, and conducted him to the spot, accompanied by a single courier. Jackson swept the scene with his glasses, decided at once that he should move further on the flank and rear than he had intended, and turning to his courier said: ‘Tell the head of my column to cross that road, and I'll meet them there.’

Fitz Lee said that he made no reply to his remarks, but after gazing intently for a few moments longer at the enemy's exposed flank, he lifted his hand in that position which indicated, that he was engaged in prayer, and then galloped rapidly down the hill to hurl his column like a thunderbolt on Hooker's flank and rear.

Fitz Lee facetiously said that Hooker was in imminent peril when the ‘Blue-light Presbyterian’ was praying on his flank and rear.

I might quote at length the opinions of many distinguished men as to Jackson's ability as a soldier, but I give only that of Colonel Henderson, of the British Army, Professor of Military Art and History in the Staff College. In his able ‘Memoir of Stonewall Jackson’ he gives the highest estimate of his ability as a soldier all through his history of his campaigns, but I quote only from his comparison of Jackson and Wellington. He says:

‘If his military characteristics are compared with those of so great a soldier as Wellington, it will be seen that in many respects they run on parallel lines. Both had perfect confidence in their own capacity. “I can do,” said Jackson, “whatever I will to do,” while the Duke, when a young general in India, congratulated himself that he had learned not to be deterred by apparent impossibilities. Both were patient, fighting on their own terms, or fighting not at all. Both were prudent, and yet when audacity was justified by the character of their opponent and the condition of his troops, they took no counsel of their fears. They were not enamored of the defensive, for they knew the value of the initiative, and that offensive strategy is the strategy which annihilates. Yet, when their enemy remained concentrated, they were content to wait until they could induce him to disperse. Both were masters of ruse and stratagem, and the Virginian was as industrious as the Englishman. And in [95] yet another respect they were alike. In issuing orders or giving verbal instructions Jackson's words were few and simple, but they were so clear, so comprehensive and direct that no officer could possibly misunderstand, and none dared to disobey. Exactly the same terms might be applied to Wellington. Again, although naturally impetuous, glorying in war, they had no belief in a “lucky star” ; their imagination was always controlled by common sense, and, unlike Napoleon, their ambition to succeed was always subordinate to their judgment. Yet both, when circumstances were imperative, were greatly daring. On the field of battle the one was not more vigilant nor imperturbable than the other, and both possessed a due sense of proportion. They knew exactly how much they could effect themselves, and how much must be left to others. Recognizing that when once the action had opened the sphere in which their authority could be exercised was very limited, they gave their subordinates a free hand, issuing few orders, and encouraging their men rather by example than by words. Both, too, had that most rare faculty of coming to prompt and sure conclusions in sudden e igences—the certain mark of a master-spirit in war. At Bull Run Jackson was ordered to support Evans at the Stone Bridge. Learning that the left was compromised, without a moment's hesitation he turned aside and placed his brigade in the only position where it could have held its ground. At Groveton, when he received the news that the Federal left wing was retreating on Centreville, across his front the order for attack was issued almost before he had read the dispatch. At Chancellorsville, when General Fitzhugh Lee showed him the enemy's left wing dispersed, and unsuspecting, he simply turned to his courier, and said: “Let the column cross the road.” and his plan of battle was designed with the rapidity as Wellington's at Salamanca.’

Lee called Jackson his ‘right arm,’ and wrote him when he was wounded at Chancellorsville:

‘Could I have dictated events I should have chosen, for the good of the country, to have been disabled in your stead.’

I had the privilege once of hearing General Lee, in his office in Lexington, Va., pronounce a glowing eulogy on Jackson, in which he said, with far more than his accustomed warmth of [96] feeling: ‘He never failed me. Why, if I had had Stonewall Jackson at Gettysburg I should have won that battle; and if I had won a decided victory there we would have established the independence of the Confederacy.’

It was, on the other hand, beautiful to see how Jackson reciprocated Lee's high opinion. He said: ‘General Lee is a phenomenon. He is the only man whom I would be willing to follow blindfolded.’ And it was glorious to see the cheerful alacrity, the splendid skill and the terrific energy with which he executed the orders, or even the slightest wish, of his chief.


General Lees order.

On Jackson's death, Lee issued the following order:

General orders no. 61:

headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, May 1, 1863.
With deep grief the commanding general announces to the army the death of Lieutenant-General T. J. Jackson, who expired on the 10th instant, at 3 P. M. The daring, skill and energy of this great and good soldier, by the decree of an all-wise Providence, are now lost to us. But while we mourn his death we feel that his spirit still lives, and will inspire the whole army with his indomitable courage and unshaken confidence in God as our hope and strength. Let his name be a watchword to his corps, who have followed him to victory on so many fields. Let his officers and soldiers emulate his invincible determination to do everything in the defense of our beloved country.

R. E. Lee, General.

General Lee wrote Mrs. Lee from camp near Fredericksburg, May 11, 1863:

‘In addition to the death of friends and officers consequent upon the late battle, you will see we have to mourn the loss of the good and great Jackson. Any victory would be dear at such a price. His remains go to Richmond to-day. I know not [97] how to replace him, but God's will be done. I trust He will raise up some one in his place.’

To his son Custis he wrote:

‘You will have heard the death of General Jackson. It is a terrible loss. I do not know how to replace him. Any victory would be dear at such a cost. But God's will be done.’

I have confined myself to speaking of ‘Jackson, the Soldier,’ and have not spoken of him as the humble, active Christian, whose life in Lexington and in the army was ‘a living epistle and read of all men.’

I cannot go into that now, except to say the negro Sunday school, which he taught with such devotion, exerted an influence on the negroes of Lexington which is felt to this day among the negroes of that whole region.

The first contribution made to the fund which has placed at his grave the beautiful statue, which is the work of Edward Valentine, and is a veritable Stonewall Jackson in bronze, was made by the negro Baptist Church at Lexington, Va., whose pastor had been a pupil at the negro Sunday school.

And there has been placed recently a beautiful Stonewall Jackson memorial window in the new negro Presbyterian Church in the city of Roanoke, through the influence of the negro pastor, who was a member of Jackson's Sunday school.

Unveiling of the Monument.

After a prayer there followed the other exercises—an able oration on Jackson, by General Fitzhugh Lee, an eloquent eulogy by ex-President Jefferson Davis, who was unquestionably one of the greatest orators of this land of orators; the unveiling of the monument by little Julia Jackson, the only child of the great soldier; the firing of artillery and small arms, and the enthusiastic cheers of the vast crowd. Father Hubert being now called on to pronounce the benediction uttered a few sentences of eloquent eulogy on Confederate soldiers in general and, Jackson in particular, and made this his climax: ‘Thou knowest, O Lord, that Stonewall Jackson was the greatest soldier [98] of the century, always and all the time excepting our peerless leader, Robert Edward Lee.’

There are many old Confederates who believe that with Lee to plan, and Jackson to execute, that the Army of Northern Virginia was simply invincible. And it was beautiful to behold the mutual confidence which these great leaders had in each other. They were, indeed, par nobile fratum, and it seems very appropriate that in their graves they would sleep so near each other—Lee beneath the chapel he builded at Washington and Lee University; Jackson in Lexington's beautiful cemetery, hard by.

They were born, Lee on the 19th of January, and Jackson on the 31st of the same month. Cavalier and Puritan, but brothers in arms, brothers in faith, and brothers in glory, they will shine forever in the world's gala y of true patriotism, stainless gentlemen, great soldiers and model Christians. ‘They were swifter than eagles; they were stronger than lions; they were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided.’

From all parts of the world pilgrims come to visit their tombs, and loving hands bring them fresh flowers, immortelles and evergreens, fit emblems of the fadeless wreaths which now deck their brows. The blue mountains of their loved Virginia sentinel their graves, and young men from every section throng the classic shades of Washington and Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute, and delight to keep watch and ward at which flow along their emerald streams that seem to murmur their praise and roll on their fame to the ocean.

[99]

General R. E Lee's war-horse: a sketch of Traveller by the man who formerly owned him.

It has been incorrectly stated some time ago that General Lee's famous war-horse ‘Traveller,’ was formerly owned by CaptainJohn S. Brown.’ He was owned by Major Thomas L. Broun, of Charleston, W. Va., and the following sketch of the horse, written by that gentleman for the Richmond Dispatch, in 1886, is worthy of reproduction:


Gen. R. E. Lees war-horse.

In view of the fact that great interest is felt in the monument about to be erected to General Lee, and many are desirous that his war-horse should be represented in the monument, and as I once owned this horse, I herewith give you some items respecting this now famous war-horse, ‘Traveller.’

He was raised by Mr. Johnson, near the Blue Sulphur Springs, in Greenbrier County, Va. (now West Virginia); was of the ‘Gray Eagle’ stock, and, as a colt, took the premium under the name of ‘Jeff Davis’ at the Lewisburg Fair for each of the years; 1859 and 1860. He was four years old in the spring of 1861.

When the ‘Wise Legion’ was encamped on Sewell Mountain, opposing the advance of the Federal Army, under General Rosecrans, in the fall of 1861, I was major of the 3rd Regiment of Infantry in that Legion, and my brother, Captain Joseph M. Broun, was quartermaster to the same regiment. I authorized my brother to purchase a good, serviceable horse of the best Greenbrier stock for our use during the war. After much inquiry and search he came across the horse above mentioned, and I purchased him for $175 (gold value) in the fall of 1861, of Captain James W. Johnson, son of Mr. Johnson first above mentioned. When the Wise Legion was encamped about Meadow Bluff and Big Sewell Mountain, I rode this horse, which was then greatly admired in the camp for his rapid, springy walk, [100] his high spirit, bold carriage and muscular strength. He needed neither whip nor spur, and would walk his five or six miles an hour over the rough mountain roads of West Virginia, with his rider sitting firmly in the saddle and holding him in check by a tight rein, such vim and eagerness did he manifest to go right ahead soon as he was mounted.

When General Lee took command of the Wise Legion and Floyd Brigade that were encamped at and near Big Sewell Mountain in the fall of 1861, he first saw this horse and took a great fancy to it. He called it his colt, and said he would need it before the war was over. When the general saw my brother on this horse he had something pleasant to say to him about ‘my colt,’ as he designated this horse.

As the winter approached, the climate in West Virginia mountains caused Rosecrans' Army to abandon its position on Big Sewell and retreat westward. General Lee was thereupon ordered to South Carolina. The 3rd Regiment of the Wise Legion was subsequently detached from the army in Western Virginia and ordered to the South Carolina coast, where it was known as the 60th Virginia Regiment under Colonel Starke. Upon seeing my brother on this horse, near Pocotaligo, in South Carolina, General Lee at once recognized the horse, and again inquired of him pleasantly about his colt. My brother then offered him the horse as a gift, which the general promptly declined, and at the same time remarked: ‘If you will willingly sell me the horse I will gladly use it for a week or so to learn its qualities.’ Thereupon my brother had the horse sent to General Lee's stable. In about a month the horse was returned to my brother, with a note from General Lee stating that the animal suited him, but that he could no longer use so valuable a horse in such times unless it were his own; that if he (my brother) would not sell, please keep the horse, with many thanks. This was in February, 1862. At that time I was in Virginia on the sick list from a long and severe attack of camp fever, contracted in the campaign on Big Sewell Mountain. My brother wrote me of General Lee's desire to have the horse and asked me what he should do. I replied at once: ‘If he will not accept it, then sell it to him at what it cost me.’ He then sold the horse to General Lee for $200 in currency, the sum of $25 having been [101] added by General Lee to the price I gave for the horse in September, 1861, to make up for the depreciation in our currency from September, 1861, to February, 1862.

In 1868 General Lee wrote to my brother stating that his horse had survived the war and was known as ‘Traveller’ (spelling the word with a double ‘l’ in good English style), and asking for its pedigree, which was obtained as above mentioned and sent by my brother to General Lee.



From Gen. Fitzhuigh Lees book on Gen. Robert E. Lee, 1894.

“Traveller,” the most distinguished of the General's warhorses, was born near Blue Sulphur Springs, in West Virginia, and was purchased by General Lee from Major Thomas L. Broun, who bought him from Captain James W. Johnson, the son of the gentleman who reared him. General Lee saw him first in West Virginia and afterwards in South Carolina, and was greatly pleased with his appearance. As soon as Major Broun ascertained that fact the horse was offered the general as a gift, but he declined, and Major Broun then sold him. He was four years old in the spring of 1861, and therefore only eight when the war closed. He was ‘greatly admired for his rapid, springy walk, high spirit, bold carriage and muscular strength.’ When a colt he took the first premium at the Greenbrier Fair, under the name of Jeff Davis. The General changed his name to Traveller. He oftenrode him in Lexington after the war, and at his funeral Traveller followed the hearse. He was appraised by a board in August, 1864, at $4,600 in Confederate currency.

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