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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,

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