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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.

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