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Chapter 6: first campaign in the Valley.

The reduction of Fort Sumter aroused at the North a general paroxysm of fury and revenge. Wherever there was enough of the spirit of moderation and justice to dissent, violent mobs were collected, which intimidated not only the press, but the pulpit, and exacted a pretended approval of the war-frenzy. The cry was, that the flag of the Union had been insulted, the Government assailed by treason, and the very life of tie nation threatened. But even then, the enormity of the purposed crime of subduing free and equal States by violence, was so palpably felt, that the public mind, passionate as it was, acknowledged the necessity for a pretext. This was found in the false assertion that the Confederate States had inaugurated war, and thus justified a resort to force,--a misrepresentation which has already been refuted. It was claimed for the North, that its temper was just and pacific; and the contrast between the seeming calmness of her people before, and their tumultuous excitement after the first conflict, was pointed to as proof that they meditated no violence, and were only driven to a forcible defence of the Government, by the wickedness of the South. But the true explanation of the tempest is, that the North had just awakened to the fact, of which it was incredulous before, that the South was in earnest in the assertion of its rights. The difficulty of believing this arose in part from the many concessions of right [178] which the long-suffering South had made, from her long-continued, but futile expostulations, together with the ill-judged and passionate threats which her wrongs had often provoked from some of her politicians, and, in part, from the unspeakable vanity of the North, and its overweening conceit of its own power. The whole preparation of the Confederate States for self-defence, and the solemn warnings uttered by Virginia and the other Border States, were mocked at as only a new phase of political manceuvre. Often they affected a sort of good-natured forbearance, and spoke of not “whipping the spoiled children back into the Union,” until they were obliged to do it. In the political slang which degraded the deliberations of the Capitol, it was currently asserted that those States “could not be kicked out of the Union.” But, now, the North awoke out of this insane dream of delusion, to find that the South meant, and always had meant, what it said. Two purposes had long since grown up, and become fixed in the Northern mind: One was, not to surrender the legislative plunder which they had long gathered from the South, and which would be lost to them by its independence; the other was, not to make it contented in the Union, by a just concession of its rights. So long as the South could be kept quiet by mock compromises which secured it nothing, and by wheedling words, the North was very willing to expend these cheap means for that end; but so soon as it learned that the South was at last in earnest in asserting its rights, it became thoroughly in earnest also. The ruthless purpose of domination was at once revealed. Not only did the fragment of the Federal Government diligently prepare for a great war, but the people and the States began to provide munitions and raise troops, on a vast scale.

The prognostications indulged by speakers and newspapers, were as vainglorious, as their purposes were revengeful. The common language breathed threatening and slaughter, and [179] demanded the sack, ruin, and extermination of the Southern people. To effect this, they thought the mighty North had only to lift up its little finger. The South was disdainfully described as poor, semi-barbarian, cowardly, unfurnished for war, and sunk in effeminacy; and the common expectation was, that nothing more was needed to wrap the whole country in the flames of a servile insurrection, than the signal of a Yankee invasion. In this spirit, equally fool-hardy and fiendish, the North rushed to the tremendous conflict.

Before Virginia seceded, the sword had been definitively drawn; indeed, it was this crime, which decided her to assert her independence. The legislative act was therefore accompanied, and immediately followed, by prompt preparations for defence.

The only standing army which the State possessed, was a single company of soldiers, who guarded the public property of the Commonwealth. at the Capitol. Her old militia system, which only required three exceedingly perfunctory drills a year, had, for some time, fallen into desuetude, and was just revived. The Stabt had no men, who possessed any tincture of military training, except a few volunteer companies in her cities, and a few hundred alumni of the military academies at West Point and Lexington. Very few of these companies were armed. The armory of the State was in decay, its machinery rusting, and its arsenal only furnished with a few thousand muskets of antiquated make. The enterprise of private citizens, and the spirit of the country, more advanced than that of their rulers, had indeed led to the arming of a number of volunteer companies, after the attack of John Brown; and for these, a few thousand rifles had been purchased by the parties themselves. But the authorities of the State now set themselves, in earnest, to repair these omissions. The Convention, having passed the Ordinance [180] of Secession the 17th of April, proceeded to appoint a Council of Three, to assist the Governor of the Commonwealth in his military duties. Orders were issued to the volunteer companies, which were springing into existence in every part of the State, to assemble in camps of instruction. The manufacture of cannon, projectiles, and muskets was resumed. Colonel Robert E. Lee, having resigned his commission from the Federal Government, had been invited to Richmond, immediately after the withdrawal of Virginia, and offered his services to his native State. His high character, patriotism, professional knowledge, and executive ability, were, fortunately, appreciated, and he was at once appointed Major-General and Commander-in-Chief of all the forces of the Commonwealth, by land and sea. Under his vigorous and sagacious management, order instantly began to arise out of chaos, and the excited masses of patriotic citizens assumed the proportions of an army. The most important of the camps of instruction was that named after him, Camp Lee, a mile beyond the western suburbs of Richmond. Here, several thousands of volunteers were assembled; and, to provide for their instruction, it was resolved to bring the more advanced Cadets of the Military School from Lexington, to perform the duties of drill-serjeants. The senior teachers of the school were already in Richmond, and this circumstance devolved the duty of conducting the cadets thither upon Major Jackson.

The bursting of the storm, which he had so long foreseen, found him calm, but resolved. About this time, a Christian friend, in whose society he greatly delighted, passed a night with him, and, as they discussed the startling news which every day brought with it, they were impelled to the conclusion that the madness of the Federal Government had made a great and disastrous war inevitable. The guest retired to his bed depressed by this thought, and, in the morning, arose harassed and [181] melancholy. But, to his surprise, Jackson met him at the morning worship, as calm and cheerful as ever, and when he expressed his anxieties, replied, “Why should the peace of a true Christian be disturbed by anything which man can do unto him? Has not God promised to make all things work together for good to them that love him?”

The county of Rockbridge, like the rest of the State, was in a blaze of excitement, and its volunteers were arming and hurrying to the scene of action. Now it was that the hold which, notwithstanding his reputation for singularity, Major Jackson had upon the confidence of his countrymen, revealed itself. To his practical wisdom and energy they looked, in every difficulty of their organization and equipment. These calls, with the care of the Military Academy, occupied all his time. On Wednesday, April 17th, the presbytery of Lexington met in his church to hold its semi-annual session. These meetings, with their frequent opportunities for public worship and preaching, and their delightful hospitalities, have ever been, in Virginia, religious festivals. Major Jackson had been anticipating this reunion with great pleasure, and was preparing to entertain some of its members in his house. But the absorbing occupations of the week deprived him of every opportunity to attend either their meetings, or their worship. As he retired to rest on Saturday night, he remarked that he hoped for a quiet Sabbath-day, in which it would be his privilege to worship undisturbed, and to participate in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, which was to be dispensed in the church; and he requested that politics and the troubles of the country might be banished from their conversation, that he might enjoy communion with God and his people undisturbed. But at day-break, on Sabbath morning, April 21st, an order arrived from the Governor of the State, to march the Cadets that day for Richmond. [182] Having given his wife some directions touching his own preparations for the journey, he immediately hurried to the Institute, and busied himself in the arrangements for his pupils' departure. One of these was to call upon his pastor, and request him to attend at twelve o'clock A. M., to give them some Christian counsels and a parting prayer. At eleven o'clock A. M., he returned to his house, took a hurried breakfast, and retired with his wife to their chamber, where he read the 5th chapter of 2d Corinthians, commencing with the sublime and consoling words: “For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” He then knelt, and poured out a fervent prayer for themselves and for the country, imploring God, in accents choked with tears, if it was compatible with His holy will, that the storm might yet be calmed, and war averted. He thus departed; and this happy home he never saw again. Although he left his affairs thus unsettled, he never asked nor received one day of furlough. From that time, he never lodged one night outside the lines of his command. His next return to Lexington was as a corpse, bedewed by a nation's tears. After a few days, his family removed, by his advice, to the house of a friend, his furniture was packed, his dwellinghouse closed, and his servants placed out for the war.

Having mustered the Cadets, and made everything ready for their departure, at twelve o'clock, he invited Dr. White to begin the religious service which he had requested, remarking significantly, “Doctor, we march at one o'clock precisely.” This hint against an undue prolongation of the worship was so well observed, that the services were concluded fifteen minutes before that hour. One of his officers, after a few moments' pause, approaching him, said: “Major, everything is now ready, may we not set out?” To this he made no reply, save to point to the [183] dial-plate of the great clock; and when it was upon the stroke of one, he gave the word: “Forward! March!” The corps of Cadets was conducted to Staunton, and thence, by railroad, to Richmond, and turned over to the commandant of Camp Lee. During a momentary pause in their journey, on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge, he wrote to his wife: “Here, as well as at other points of the line, the war-spirit is intense. The cars had scarcely stopped here before a request was made that I would leave a Cadet to drill a company.”

From Richmond he wrote, April 23d: “Colonel Lee of the army is here, and has been made Major-General. His (services) I regard as of more value to us than General Scott could render as commander.” (This was an allusion to a report, by which the people had just been excited, that General Winfield Scott, the conqueror of Mexico, and a son of Virginia, was about to return, to espouse the cause of his native State.) “It is understood that General Lee is to be Commander-ih-Chief. I regard him as a better officer than General Scott.”

“The Cadets are encamped at the Fair Grounds, which are about one and a half miles from the city. We have excellent quarters. So far as we can hear, God is crowning our cause with success; but I do not wish to send rumors to you. I will try to give facts as they become known; though I may not have time to write more than a line or so. The governor, and others holding responsible offices, have not enough time for their duties; they are so enormous at this date.”

The Camp of Instruction near Richmond being in charge of another officer, Major Jackson had no responsible duties to perform there during his short stay. He was exceedingly anxious for active employment; and, it must be added, distrustful of his prospects of obtaining it. For, his acute, though silent perspicacity taught him plainly enough, that the estimate formed of [184] his powers by the major part of the people and the authorities, was depreciatory. But he disdained to agitate, or solicit for promotion; and busied himself quietly in assisting, at the camp, informally, in the drill and discipline of the mass of new soldiers there collected. One day he was accosted by one of these, an entire stranger, who told him that he had just been assigned as corporal of the guard for the day, that he was absolutely ignorant of the details of his duties, that the officer who had given him his orders, as ignorant, perhaps, as himself; had left him without instructions; and that seeing, by his uniform, he was an officer of rank, he wished to beg him for some aid. Major Jackson at once assented. He went with the soldier around the whole circuit of sentry-posts, taught him practically all the salutes, the challenges, and the instructions to be observed, and displayed such thorough knowledge and goodness at once, that he declared from that hour Jackson had won not only his respect but his love. It was these, not arts of popularity, but actual virtues, which bound — the hearts of his men to him.

When the State had such urgent need of practical talent, it was impossible that an officer of Major Jackson's reputation should be wholly overlooked. A few days after he reached Camp Lee, it was determined by the Executive War Council to employ him in the engineer department, with the rank of Major. This arrangement his advocates justly regarded as unfriendly to him, for it gave him no actual promotion, while the State was showering titles and rank on scores of men who had never seen service; and it assigned him a branch of duty for which he always professed least taste and qualification. For placing a battery, an earthwork, or a line of battle, indeed, his judgment was almost infallible; but he was no draughtsman, and to set him to the drudgery of compiling maps, was a sacrifice of his [185] reputation and of his high capacities for command. But as soon as this purpose was made known, and before it was reported to the Convention for their approval, influential friends from Jackson's native district, by whom his powers were better esteemed, remonstrated with the Council, and showed them that he was the very man for a post of primary importance for which they were then seeking a commander. By their advice, seconded by that of Governor Letcher, this appointment was revoked, and he was commissioned, Colonel of the Virginia forces, and ordered to take command at Harper's Ferry. The next day this appointment was sent to the Convention for their sanction, when some one asked, “Who is this Major Jackson, that we are asked to commit to him so responsible a post?” “He is one,” replied the member from Rockbridge, “who, if you order him to hold a post, will never leave it alive to be occupied by the enemy.” The Governor accordingly handed him his commission as Colonel, on Saturday, April 27th, and he departed at once for his command. On the way. he wrote thus to his wife:--

Winchester, April 29th.-I expect to leave here about halfpast two P. M. to-day, for Harper's Ferry. I am thankful to say that an ever-kind Providence, who causes “all things to work together for good to them that love him,” has given me the post which I prefer above all others, and has given me an independent command. To His name be all the praise.

You must not expect to hear from me very often, as I expect to have more work than I have ever had, in the same length of time, before; but don't be concerned about me, as an ever-kind Heavenly Father will give me all needful aid.

This letter is a truthful revelation of his character; on the one hand, full of that self-reliance and consciousness of power, which made him long for a conspicuous position and an independent command; and on the other, recognizing the gratification of [186] this wish as a mark of God's favor, and resting upon His aid, with an eminent faith, for all his success and fame.

On the 19th of April, two notable events had occurred in Virginia, of which one was the evacuation of the great naval depot in Norfolk Harbor by the Federal authorities, after its partial destruction; and the other was, the desertion of Harper's Ferry.

This little village, which events have rendered so famous, is situated on the tongue of land between the junction of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. The former of these is the boundary between Virginia and Maryland. The latter, collecting its tributaries southwest of Harper's Ferry, in the great valley of Virginia, flows northeastward along the western base of the Blue Ridge, until it meets the Potomac where that river forces its passage through this mountain range, to find its way towards the sea. The abundant water-power, the interior position, and its proximity to a plentiful country, had led to its selection by the Federal Government, for the manufacture and storing of fire-arms. The banks of the two streams were lined with factories, where muskets and rifles of the most approved patterns were made in large numbers; and in the village were the arsenals, where many thousands were stored. The space between the two rivers is also filled by a mountain of secondary elevation, called Bolivar Heights, and on the lower declivities of this ridge, as it descends to the junction of the two streams, the town is built in a rambling fashion. East of the Shenandoah the Blue Ridge rises immediately from the waters, overlooking the village, and the sides of Bolivar Heights. Here the mountain, lying in the county of Loudoun, is called Loudoun Heights. North of it, and across the Potomac, the twin mountain, bearing the name of Maryland Heights, rises to an equal altitude, and commands the whole valley of the Potomac above. From this [187] description, it is manifest that Harper's Ferry is worthless as a defensive military post, when assailed by a large force, unless it were also garrisoned by a great army, and supplied with a vast artillery, sufficient to crown all the triangle of mountains which surround it, and to connect those crests effectually with each other. It had never been designed for a fortress, and there was nothing whatever of the character of fortifications around it. But as a preliminary point, it was of prime importance to hold it, both to protect Virginia against incursions, and to restrict the convenience of her enemy. Through the gorge opened in the Blue Ridge by the Potomac, passes also the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, the great turnpike road from the regions of the Upper Potomac to the cities of Washington and Baltimore, and the railroad, which constitutes the grand connexion of those cities with the coal-fields whence they draw their fuel, and with the great West. Besides this, the railroad leading southward to Winchester, diverges from Harper's Ferry, and ascends the valley of the Shenandoah. Hence, the occupation of this point, as a focus, was regarded by the government of Virginia, as of radical importance, and it was obviously the advanced post of all her defences.

As soon as war became imminent, the minds of the people were turned to the value of the arms stored at Harper's Ferry, because they were precisely what Virginia lacked. Almost without prompting from the authorities, the militia was assembling in the neighborhood to capture the place; when the officer in command of the Federal guard attempted to destroy the factories and arsenals, and fled to Carlisle, in Pennsylvania. His designs against the former were abortive, and a quantity of machinery and materials, which proved of priceless value to the Commonwealth, was rescued; but when the militia entered the village, the storehouses, which had contained thousands of valuable [188] arms, were wrapped in flames. It was indeed ascertained, that the larger part of the muskets were not consumed with the buildings, but were stolen and secreted by the inhabitants of the place. Of these, a few thousands were discovered, hidden in every conceivable place of concealment, and gathered for the State by the officers of the militia, while many of the privates armed themselves, by traffic with the venal populace. Meantime, other companies of volunteers flocked from the valley of Virginia to the place, until the materials of a little army were assembled there. But they were “without form and void.”

It was at this juncture that Colonel Jackson took command. He was ordered by Major-General Lee to organize the companies of volunteers, assembled at Harper's Ferry, into regiments, and to instruct them diligently in military drill and discipline, to retain control of the great thoroughfares leading towards Washington city, and prevent their use by the Federal authorities for offensive purposes, even by their partial destruction, if necessary; to urge on the completion of fire-arms out of the materials already partially prepared at the factories, until such time as the machinery could be removed to the interior; and to defend the soil of Virginia from the invasion threatened from that quarter. About this time, there were assembled at Harper's Ferry, 2100 Virginian troops, with 400 Kentuckians, consisting of Imboden's, Rogers', Alburti's, and Graves'. batteries of field artillery, with fifteen guns of the lightest calibre; eight companies of cavalry without drill or battalion organization, and nearly without arms; and a number of companies of infantry, of which three regiments, the 2d, 5th, and 10th, were partially arranged, while the rest had no organization. The Convention had just passed a very necessary law, revoking the commissions of all the militia officers in command of volunteer forces; for their appointments, made long before, when the military system of the State was only a name. [189] on every conceivable ground of political or local popularity, were no evidence whatever of fitness for actual command. These decapitated generals and colonels were, naturally, disaffected to the new order in military affairs. Of discipline there was almost none, and the force was apparently about to disintegrate and separate as rapidly as it had been gathered. Everybody wanted a furlough, for they had come as to a frolic. There was no general staff, no hospital, nor ordnance department, and scarcely six rounds of ammunition to the man.

To this confused mass Colonel Jackson came a stranger having not a single acquaintance in the whole command. He brought two of his colleagues in the military school, Major Preston and Colonel Massie, who virtually composed his staff, and two young men whom he employed as drill-masters. With their aid, his energy, impartiality, fairness and courtesy, speedily reduced the crude rabble to order and consistency. The little army, like the generous young courser, recognized a master in the first touch of the reins; and speedily the restive temper, which had been provoked by the incompetent hands that essayed to guide it, gave place to joy and docility. The reputation of Colonel Jackson as a stark fighter in the Mexican War, laid the foundation for his influence; for, among new soldiers, it clothed his person and authority with a fascination which charmed and stimulated their fancy. His justice engaged the approbation of every man's conscience; his unaffected goodness allured their love, and, if insubordination was attempted, his sternness awed them into submission. Once or twice only some wilful young officer made experiment of resisting his authority; and then the snowy brow began to congeal with stony rigor, the calm blue eye to kindle with that blaze, steady at once and intense, before which every other eye quailed; and his penalties were so prompt and inexorable, that no one desired to adventure another [190] act of disobedience. His force was ultimately increased by the accession of volunteers from Virginia, and of a few Southern troops, to forty-five hundred men. Ammunition was forwarded to him, additional cannon of heavy calibre were procured, and the Pendleton battery, from his own village, afterwards famous on many a hard-fought field, was added to his command.

Several questions of peculiar delicacy were to be handled by him. One was the control of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. From the western boundary of Maryland to the Ohio river, this great thoroughfare passed through the territory of Virginia by two branches. It had opened up to the inhabitants valuable access to the eastern cities, which many of them prized more than liberties, or the claims of either the Union or Virginia. If commercial intercourse along this road were hindered, it was feared that the vacillating allegiance of the Northwest to the State would be utterly overthrown. Colonel Jackson therefore resolved to leave the road uninterrupted for all peaceful travel and traffic for the present.

The Maryland Heights overlooked the village from the north, and, if they were occupied by the enemy with artillery, his position there would be rendered untenable. But Maryland then professed to be neutral; it was hoped that she would, before long, espouse the cause of the South; and the authorities of Virginia wished to respect her territory, and all her rights, so long as she did not become one of our enemies. One expedient proposed by General Lee was, to induce Marylanders to enlist in the war, in sufficient numbers to hold the crest of the mountain, and commit its guardianship to them. But the people of that region were too timid and undecided to concur in such a plan. Another was, to postpone the occupancy of the mountain until the near approach of the enemy rendered it a military necessity; when this would constitute the justification [191] of the act. But against this the obvious objection lay, that the enemy's advance might be too sudden to permit those preparations which were necessary to make the post tenable. Colonel Jackson therefore decided the matter for himself, and seized the Maryland Heights; constructing upon them a few block houses, and quartering there a few companies of troops.

He was his own engineer, and reconnoitred all the ground for himself. He constructed very few entrenchments; and, to the end of his career, it was characteristic that he made almost no use of the spade and pick. On the 8th of May he wrote as follows to his wife:--

“I am living at present in an elegant mansion, with Major Preston in my room. Mr. Massie is on my staff, but left this morning for Richmond, as bearer of despatches, and is to return in a few days. I am strengthening my position, and, if attacked, shall, with the blessing of the kind providence of that God who has always been with me, and who, I firmly believe, will never forsake me, repel the enemy. I am in good health, considering the great labor which devolves on me, and the loss of sleep to which I am subjected.”

In the despatches which he sent to the Government, he announced his conviction that his post should be so defended, as to make it a Thermopylae. His command was the advanced-guard of all the Southern forces; a collision was. expected first at Harper's Ferry, which was threatened by a large force under Major-General Patterson; and, through that pass, it was supposed the invaders would attempt to pour into the State. Such a resistance, Colonel Jackson declared, should be made to this first assault, as would convince our enemies of the desperate determination of the people of the South, and would set, to our soldiers, an example of heroism in all future combats. As Leonidas and his three hundred judged that the moral effect of [192] their sacrifice would be worth more to Greece, in teaching her citizens how to die for their country, than any subsequent services which they could hope to render, so Jackson determined, if necessary, to die at his post at Harper's Ferry, in order to elevate the spirit of Southern resistance.

From the beginning, he manifested that reticence and secrecy as to all military affairs, for which he was afterwards so remarkable. It was his maxim, that, in war, mystery was the key to success. He argued, that no human shrewdness could foretell what item of information might not give some advantage to an astute adversary, and that, therefore, it was the part of wisdom to conceal everything, even those things of which it did not appear how the enemy could make use. And since the channels by which intelligence may pass, are so numerous and unforeseen, those things which he did not wish divulged to the enemy he divulged to no one, except where necessity compelled him. Not long after he took command at Harper's Ferry, a dignified and friendly Committee of the Legislature of Maryland visited him to learn his plans. It was deemed important to receive them with all courtesy, for the co-operation of their State was earnestly desired, and every one was watching to see how Colonel Jackson would reconcile his secrecy, and his extreme dislike to be questioned upon military affairs, with the demands of politeness. Among other questions, they asked him the number of his troops. He replied promptly, “I should be glad if Lincoln thought I had fifteen thousand.”

The character of his thinking was illustrated by the declaration which he made upon assuming this command, that it was the true policy of the South to take no prisoners in this war. He affirmed that this would be in the end truest humanity, because it would shorten the contest, and prove economical of the blood of both parties; and that it was a measure urgently dictated [193] by the interests of our cause, and clearly sustained by justice. This startling opinion he calmly sustained in conversation, many months after, by the following considerations, which he prefaced with the remark, that, inasmuch as the authorities of the Confederate States had seen fit to pursue the other policy, he had cheerfully acquiesced, and was as careful as other commanders to enjoin on his soldiers the giving of quarter and humane treatment to disarmed enemies. But he affirmed this war was, in its intent and inception, different from all civilized wars, and therefore should not be brought under their rules. It was not, like them, a strife for a point of honor, a diplomatic quarrel, a commercial advantage, a boundary, or a province; but an attempt on the part of the North against the very existence of the Southern States. It was founded in a denial to their people of the right of self-government, in virtue of which, solely, the Northern States themselves existed. Its intention was a wholesale murder and piracy, the extermination of a whole people's national life. It was, in fact, but the “John Brown Raid” resumed and extended, with new accessories of horror, and, as the Commonwealth of Virginia had righteously put to death every one of those cut-throats upon the gallows, why were their comrades in the same crime to claim now a more. honorable treatment? Such a war was an offence against humanity so monstrous, that it outlawed those who shared its guilt beyond the pale of forbearance. But as justice authorized their destruction, so wisdom and prudence demanded it, for it is always. wisest to act upon principle, in preference to expediency. He argued further, that this enormous intent of the war, together with the infuriated temper of the Northern people, and the circumstances of the contest, would inevitably lead them, before its close, even if they observed some measure at first, to barbarities and violations of belligerent rights, which would [194] compel our authorities, by every, consideration of righteous retribution and duty to their own injured citizens, to a bloody retaliation. But this would probably be then retorted, and the internecine policy would only assume a wider extent. The arrogance of the Federal Government would be sure to add political persecution of our citizens to the other rigors of war, under the pretext of punishing rebellion. The Administration at Washington was indebted to Abolitionism for its rpel strength, and would find itself impelled, whether it willed it or not, to conduct the war in accordance with the demands of that. fell fanaticism. It would be seen, before this contest was over, inciting slave insurrections in the South, arming the servile class against their masters, and setting them on to perpetrate all the horrors of savage warfare. The Confederate States ought not to submit to these enormities, and could not; but the measures of retribution which the protection of their outraged citizens would require, should be directed rather against the instigators than the ignorant tools. By the time, however, this stern necessity had manifested itself, the Federal Government might have many of our soldiers, and much of our territory, in their clutches, so that retaliation would be encumbered with additional difficulties. It would be better, therefore, to begin upon a plan of warfare which would place none of our citizens in their power alive. And lastly, if quarter was neither given nor asked, our soldiers would be only the more determined, vigilant, and unconquerable, for they were fighting under an inevitable necessity for liberties, homes, and existence; while the soldiers of our enemies would be intimidated, and enlistments would be prevented, because they contend only for pique, revenge, and lust of gain. Indeed, it was in every way for the advantage of the Confederate States, that the war should be made to unmask its murderous nature, most practically, to the [195] apprehensions of our citizens, for then they would be more likely to rise to the exercise of those radical and primary instincts of the human soul, which are commensurate in intensity with the magnitude of the stake at issue. This war was, in its true nature, internecine; It were better that it should be understood as such. Its real meaning was destruction to the South; better have each citizen and soldier understand this for himself, in the most personal sense. Then, instead of seeing a people waging so dire a contest for. the primary objects of existence, with divided zeal, and with only the secondary motives of their nature, the most powerful moral forces of the soul would be evoked to sustain the struggle.

Such, in substance, were the reasons which he rendered for his conclusion. They were given with an unpretending simplicity, which no other can reproduce; for it was a characteristic of his mind, that the most profound considerations were seen by him so clearly and simply, that they were expressed without logical parade or pomp, as though they had been easy, and obvious to every understanding. Those who have watched the subsequent course of the war can decide, how accurately all his predictions have been verified. And every thoughtful man now anticipates nothing else, than to see mutual acts of retaliation precipitate the parties into an unsparing slaughter; a result which has only been postponed thus far, by the unexampled forbearance of the people and government of the Confederate States.

Meantime, on the 2d of May, Virginia had adopted the Constitution of the Confederate States, appointed Commissioners to their Congress, and thus united her fortunes with theirs. The secession of Virginia gave a second impulse to the revolution, by which the States of North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Missouri, and afterwards, in name, Kentucky, were [196] added to the Confederation. On the 20th of May, the Confederate Congress adjourned from Columbia to Richmond, which they had selected as their future capital, and on the 29th of the same month, Mr. Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, was received in Richmond with unbounded enthusiasm. By a treaty between Virginia and the Confederate Government, the State transferred all her troops and armaments to that power; which engaged, in return, to defend her, and to pay and govern the forces. One of the earliest acts of the Confederate Government was to appoint a Commander of higher rank and greater experience to Harper's Ferry, which they justly regarded as a post of prime importance. General Joseph E. Johnston was selected by them for this office, May 23d, and proceeded thither immediately, to take command. The Virginian authorities afterwards assured Colonel Jackson, that they were fully satisfied with his administration there, and would have been well pleased to increase his rank until it was adequate to the extent and responsibility of the command; but they properly acquiesced in the appointment made by the Confederate Government. When General Johnston, however, arrived at Harper's Ferry, and claimed to relieve Colonel Jackson of his command, the latter had received no directions from the State Government to surrender his trust. And here arose a momentary collision between the two authorities, which displayed the inflexibility of Jackson's character. He replied that he had been intrusted by Major-General Lee, at the command of the State of Virginia, with this charge; and could only relinquish it by his orders. In this position, he was, while respectful, immovable; and as the Confederate commander was equally firm, a mischievous strife was anxiously feared. But very soon, the mails brought an application from some person pertaining to Colonel Jackson's command, upon which was endorsed, in the handwriting of [197] Major-General Lee, a reference to the authority of General Joseph E. Johnston, as commanding at Harper's Ferry. This furnished Colonel Jackson all the evidence which he desired, to justify his surrender of his trust; and he hastened, with cordial pleasure, to transfer his whole powers to General Johnston. The purity of his motives, and the absence of ambition, were appreciated by the latter, in a way equally honorable to both; Colonel Jackson became at once a trusted subordinate, and zealous supporter. The Virginia regiments, at the different posts, were now separated and organized into a brigade, of which he was made commander. Thus began his connexion with the Stonewall Brigade. It was composed of the 2d Virginia regiment, commanded by Colonel Allen, who fell at Gaines' Mill; the 4th, commanded by Colonel Preston; the 5th, commanded by Colonel Harper; the 27th, commanded by Colonel Gordon; and, a little after, the 33d, commanded by Colonel Cummings. The battery of light field-guns, from his own village of Lexington, manned chiefly by the gentlemen of the college and town, and commanded by the Rev. Mr. Pendleton, Rector of the Episcopal congregation of that place, formerly a graduate of the West Point Academy, was attached to this brigade, and was usually under Jackson's orders. His brigade staff was composed of Major Frank Jones (who also fell as Major in the 2d regiment, at Gaines' Mill), Adjutant; Lieutenant-Colonel James W. Massie, Aide-de-camp; Dr. Hunter McGuire, Medical Director; Major William Hawkes, Chief Commissary; Major John Harman, Chief Quartermaster; and Lieutenant Alexander S. Pendleton, Ordnance Officer. It is due to the credit of Jackson's wisdom in the selection of his instruments, and to the gallant and devoted men who composed this staff, to add, that all of them who survived, rose with their illustrious leader to corresponding posts of usefulness and [198] distinction. It may be added, that every brigadier who has com.. manded this famous brigade, except its present gallant leader, has fallen in battle, either at its head or in some other command. General Jackson was succeeded as its commander, by General Richard Garnett, who, having been appointed to another brigade, fell at the head of his command, at Gettysburg. The next General of the Stonewall Brigade was the chivalrous C. S. Winder, who was killed at its head, at Cedar Run. He was succeeded by the lamented General Baylor, who speedily, in the second battle of Manassas, paid, with his life, the price of the perilous eminence; and he, again, by the neighbor and friend of Jackson, General E. F. Paxton, who died on the second of the bloody days of Chancellorsville, thus preceding his commander by a week. This fatality may show the reader what kind of fighting that brigade was taught, by its first leader, to do for its country.

General Johnston, having speedily learned the untenable nature of his position at Harper's Ferry, and having accomplished the temporary purposes of its occupation, by the removal of the valuable machinery and materials for the manufacture of fire-arms, determined to desert the place. The Federal commander, General Patterson, had now approached the Potomac northwest of Harper's Ferry, by the way of the great valley of Pennsylvania, so that against him the tenure of that post had become no defence. His purpose to effect a junction at Winchester with the forces of General McClellan, advancing from northwestern Virginia, was suspected. That town, situated in the midst of the champaign of the great valley, about thirty miles southwest of Harper's Ferry, is the focus of a number of great highways, from every quarter. Of these, one leads north, through Martinsburg across the Potomac at the little village of Williamsport, the position then occupied by General Patterson. Another, known as the northwestern turnpike, passes by [199] Romney, across the Alleghany Mountains, throughout northwestern Virginia to the Ohio River. And others, leading eastward, southward, and southwestward into the interior of the State, Winchester, was therefore the true strategic point for the defence of the upper regions of Virginia, and thither General Johnston determined to remove his army. Having destroyed the great railroad bridge at Harper's Ferry, and the factories of the Government, and removed all his heavy guns and stores, he left that place on Sunday, June 16. About this time, the advance of the Federal army from the northwest was reported to be at Romney, forty miles west of Winchester; and General Patterson was crossing the Potomac at Williamsport, nearly the same distance to the north, with 18,000 men. General Johnston having marched to Charlestown, eight miles upon the road to Winchester, turned westward to meet Patterson, and chose a strong defensive position at Bunker Hill, a wooded range of uplands between Winchester and Martinsburg. Upon hearing of this movement, Patterson precipitately withdrew his forces to the north bank of the Potomac. Colonel Jackson thus described these movements in his letter to his wife:--

Tuesday, June 18.--On Sunday, by order of General Johnston, the entire force left Harper's Ferry, marched towards Winchester, passed through Charlestown, and halted for the night about two miles this side. The next morning we moved towards the enemy, who were between Martinsburg and Williamsport, Ma., and encamped for the night at Bunker Hill. The next morning we were to have marched at sunrise, and I hoped that in the evening, or this morning, we would have engaged the enemy; but, instead of doing so, General Johnston made some disposition for receiving the enemy, if they should attack us, and thus we were kept until about twelve A. M., when he gave the order to return towards Winchester. At about sunset, we reached [200] this place, which is about three miles north of Winchester, on the turnpike leading thence to Martinsburg. When our troops on Sunday were marching on the enemy, they were so inspirited as apparently to forget the fatigue of the march, and though some of them were suffering from hunger, this and all other privations appeared to be forgotten, and the march continued at the rate of about three miles per hour. But when they were ordered to retire, their reluctance was manifested by their snaillike pace. I hope the General will do something soon. Since we have left Harper's Ferry, something of an active movement towards repelling the enemy is, of course, expected. I trust that, through the blessing of God, we will soon be given an opportunity of driving the invaders from this region.”

From this tithe Colonel Jackson's brigade formed the advanced body of the infantry of the army of the Valley, and was continually near the enemy. He thus speaks of the command:--

“The troops have been divided into brigades, and the Virginia forces under General Johnston constitute the first brigade, of which I am in command. I am very thankful to our kind heavenly Father, for having given me such a fine brigade. He does bless me beyond my expectations, and infinitely beyond my deserts. I ought to be a devoted follower of the Redeemer.”

About this time, Colonel A. P. Hill, afterwards Lieut.-General, was sent towards Romney with a detachment of Confederate troops. The Federalists there retired before him, and having occupied that village, he proceeded along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, eighteen miles west of the town of Cumberland, assailed a detachment which guarded an important bridge, dispersed them, capturing two cannon and their colors, and destroyed the bridge. On the 19th of June, Colonel Jackson was sent with his brigade north of Martinsburg, to observe the enemy, who were again crossing the Potomac. They retired [201] before him, evidently afraid to hazard a collision. On this expedition Colonel Jackson was ordered by General Johnston to destroy the locomotives and cars of the Baltimore Railroad at Martinsburg. At this village there were vast workshops and depots for the construction and repair of these cars; and more than forty of the finest locomotives, with three hundred burdencars, were now destroyed. Concerning this he writes:--“It was a sad work; but I had my orders, and my duty was to obey. If the cost of the property could only have been expended in disseminating the gospel of the Prince of peace, how much good might have been expected”

That this invaluable property should have been withdrawn to Winchester by the way of Harper's Ferry, before this point was evacuated, is too plain to be argued. Whose was the blunder cannot now be ascertained; that it was not Colonel Jackson's appears from the extract of his letter just inserted. The bridges across the streams, between Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry, were by this time burned. So desirable did it afterwards appear that the railroads of the Confederate States should be recruited with the remaining stock at Martinsburg, that a number of locomotives and burden-cars were drawn along the turnpike roads by long teams of horses to Winchester, and thence to the Central Virginia Railroad.

Colonel Jackson remained with his brigade a little north of Martinsburg, with Colonel J. E. B. Stuart in his front, then commanding a regiment of cavalry, until July 2d. On that day, he first fleshed his sword in actual combat with the Federal army. Patterson had, at last, ventured to cross the Potomac again in force, and to advance towards Jackson's camp. The latter immediately struck his tents, and ordered his command under arms. The instructions given him by his commander were to observe the enemy, and, if he advanced in full force, to [202] retire until he found a supporting body of his friends. He therefore advanced to meet the Federalists with the 5th Virginia Regiment, a few companies of cavalry, and one light field-piece of Captain Pendleton's battery, leaving orders to the remainder of his command to be ready to march either way, and to commence sending their baggage to the rear. Near Falling Water Church, a rural house of worship half-way between Martinsburg and the Potomac, he met the advance of the enemy, assailed and, repelled them. Receiving reinforcements, they again advanced, and were again repulsed. Perceiving by this time the smallness of the force which was holding them in check, the enemy displayed a large body of infantry, which extended its wings, and then advanced them, with the design of enveloping Jackson in their folds. But he had posted his infantry behind the buildings and enclosures of a farm-house and barn, which occupied both sides of the highway, and thence poured a galling fire upon the enemy, until they were about to surround him. Bringing up his field-piece to cover the retreat of his men, he then withdrew them. The first fire of his gun cleared the highway of the advancing column of Federals, and he retired, skirmishing with them until, four miles south of Martinsburg, he met the army advancing to his support. In this combat, known as that of Haines' Farm, Colonel Jackson employed only 380 men (for the whole of the 5th Regiment was not engaged), with one piece of artillery. The enemy brought into action the whole of Cadwallader's Brigade, containing 3000 men and a battery of artillery. Yet it occupied them from nine o'clock A. M. until mid-day to dislodge this little force, and it cost them a loss of forty-five prisoners, captured by Colonel Stuart in a dash of his cavalry, and a large number of killed and wounded. Jackson's loss was two men killed and ten wounded. He was probably the only man in the detachment [203] of infantry who had ever been under fire; but he declared that “both officers and men behaved beautifullyy” On the other hand, his coolness, skill, care for the lives of his men, and happy audacity, filled them with enthusiasm. Henceforward, his influence over them was established. General Patterson reported to his Government that he had repulsed 10,000 rebels, with the loss of one man killed. The numerous covered wagons of the Dutch farmers, which went to the rear, with the blood dripping through the seams of the boards, told a different story of his loss. The dead of the Federal army were carefully concealed from their comrades, lest the sight should intimidate the unwarlike rabble.

General Patterson occupied Martinsburg while General Johnston remained at the little hamlet of Darkesville, four miles distant, and offered him battle daily. This challenge the Federal general prudently declined. The Confederate commander, on the other hand, refused to gratify the eagerness of his men by attacking him in Martinsburg; for the massive dwellings and warehouses of that town, with the numerous stone-walled enclosures, rendered it a fortified place, of no little strength against an irregular approach. At the end of four days, General Johnston retired to Winchester. On the 15th of July General Patterson advanced to Bunker Hill, but, when his adversary again offered battle, he paused there, and began to extend his left eastward towards the little village of Smithfield. To the uninformed, the meaning of this movement seemed to be, to surround General Johnston by his larger forces. But the superior sagacity of the latter discerned the true intention, viz., to prepare for co-operation with the army of General McDowell, the Federal commander, who was about to assail the Confederate forces under General Beauregard at Manassa's Junction, and at [204] the same time, to prevent the army of the Valley from extending that aid which would be so much needed by him.

Upon his return to Winchester, Colonel Jackson received the following note:--

Richmond, 3d July, 1861.
My dear General,--I have the pleasure of sending you a commission of Brigadier-General in the Provisional army; and to feel that you merit it. May your advancement increase your usefulness to the State.--Very truly,

R. E. Lee.

General Johnston had recommended him for this promotion, immediately after the affair of Haines' Farm; but it had been already determined upon by the Confederate Government, and the letter of appointment was dated as early as June 17th. General Jackson was exceedingly gratified by this tribute to his merit, and by his permanent assignment to his Brigade. Ignorant of the generous intentions of the Government, he had been led by his modesty to fear, that his possession of that command would only be temporary. Other colonels in command of Brigades had just been relieved by officers of higher rank; and he anticipated the same event for himself. He had, indeed, written, just before, to an influential member of the State Government, earnestly requesting him to procure for him such promotion as would prevent this fate. His advancement, therefore, brought him all the pleasure of an agreeable surprise. To the constant sharer of his joys, he wrote:--

I have been officially informed of my promotion to be a Brigadier-General of the Provisional Army of the Southern Confederacy. My promotion is beyond what I anticipated, as I only expected it to be in the volunteer forces of the State. One of the greatest [grounds of] desires for advancement is the [205] gratification it will give you, and serving my country more efficiently.

“ Through the blessing of God I now have all that I ought to desire in the line of promotion. I would be very ungrateful if I were not contented, and exceedingly thankful to our kind heavenly Father. May his blessing ever rest on you, is my fervent prayer!”

The reader will see here, the same remarkable union of honorable professional aspirations, with faith and dependence on God, which distinguished his whole course. [206]

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