previous next


1 cannot give you any instances or illustrations of the mental action by which he reached his conclusions or devised the combinations which defeated his enemy, for Jackson took no counsel save with his ‘familiar,’ the Genius of War, and his God. He did hold one, and only one, council of war. In March, 1862, at Winchester, Jackson had in his small army less than 5,000 men. Gen. Banks, who was advancing upon Winchester from Harper's Ferry and Charlestown, had 30,000 soldiers. Gen. Jackson repeatedly offered Gen. Banks battle, but the latter declined, and on the night of the 11th of March went into camp four miles from Winchester. Gen. Jackson sent for his officers and proposed to make a night attack, but the plan was not approved by the council. He sent for the officers a second time, some hours later, and again urged them to make the night assault, but they again disapproved of the attempt. So, late in the afternoon, we withdrew from Winchester and marched to Newtown. I rode with the General as we left the place, and as we reached a high point overlooking the town, we both turned to look at Winchester, just evacuated and now left to the mercy of the Federal soldiers.

I think that a man may sometimes yield to overwhelming emotion, and I was utterly overcome by the fact that I was leaving all that I held dear on earth, but my emotion was arrested by one look at Jackson. His face was fairly blazing with the fire that was burning in him, and I felt awed before him. Presently he cried out with a manner almost savage: ‘That is the last council of war I will ever hold!’ And it was—his first and last. Thereafter he held council in the secret chambers of his own heart, and acted. Instantaneous decision, absolute self-reliance, every action, every word displayed, his voice displayed it in battle. It was not the peal of the trumpet, but the sharp crack of the rifle, sudden, imperative, resolute.

I venture a word as to the battles in which Jackson's conduct has been criticised. The delay at Gaines' Mill has been the subject of much comment. The truth is that General Lee directed Jackson to place his corps on our extreme left, where he would be joined by the command of D. H. Hill. He ordered him to form in line of battle with Hill and wait until McClellan retreated towards the Pamunkey, and then to strike him a side blow and capture him. For this purpose Jackson had, with Hill's division, 25,500 men. When we arrived at Gaines' Mill, D. H. Hill had engaged the enemy. Jackson, obeying Lee's instructions, sent an aide to inform Hill of the orders of the Commander-in-Chief, and it was with some difficulty that he

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

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

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Stonewall Jackson (8)
D. H. Hill (5)
Robert Lee (2)
N. P. Banks (2)
G. B. McClellan (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March, 1862 AD (1)
March 11th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: