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Stonewall Jackson.

A lecture delivered in Baltimore in November, 1872, by Rev. Dr. R. L. Dabney. paper no. 2. (Conclusion.)

This plan, then, is clear even to the civic apprehension, as offering fewest risks and largest promise—in a word, the perfection of sagacity; and with so many men in gray as might match two-fold numbers of enemies (odds rather favorable, if not light and trivial, compared with the customary), it seems to promise safely. Perhaps some may even say that these reasonings are clear and just, even too much so to imply peculiar genius in Jackson. Remember, friend, Columbus and his egg. Jackson's performance hath illustrated this problem for you, made it all plain, which to him was all novel, urgent, and to have its right solution by him alone invented, then and there, under pressure of dire responsibility and penalty of portentious ruin and manifold destruction. These, friend, thou wouldst not have found propitious or helpful for clear meditation and judgment [146] the night of that 7th of June. Believe me, the problem did not then seem easy, or even soluble to us, as men whispered by the watch-fires, with bated breath: ‘Jackson is surrounded.’ Our eyes, then beclouded with apprehension, confused, saw no light; but he, clear-eyed and serene, with genius braced by his steadfast heart and devout faith, saw all possibilities, and whence deliverance might dawn out of seeming darkness. And these two chiefest traits of greatness I recognized in Jackson through these transactions: First, that urgent and critical peril did not agitate nor confuse his reason, nor make him hang vacillating, uneasy and impotent to decide between the alternatives, but only nerved and steadied his faculties; that he ever thought best where other men could least think. Second, that he knew how to distinguish the decisive points from the unessential, and, grasping those with iron strength, to form from them an inflexible conclusion.

Events, then, had showed Jackson these things by the close of Saturday, June the 7th. Why did he delay to strike this time, so unlike his wont? The 8th was ‘the Sabbath of the Lord,’ which he would fain honor always, if the wicked would let him. Not by him should the sanctity and repose of that bright, calm Sabbath be broken. When I went to him early, saying, ‘I suppose, General, divine service is out of the question to-day?’ his reply was, ‘Oh, by no means; I hope you will preach in the Stonewall Brigade, and I shall attend myself—that is, if we are not disturbed by the enemy.’ Thus I retired, to doff the gray for the time and don the parson's black. But those enemies cherished no such reverence. As at the first Manassas, and so many other pitched battles, they selected the holy day for an unholy deed. They supposed that the toils were closed again around the prey, and were eager to win the spoils before they escaped them. Shields, then, moves first to strike Jackson's rear, a detachment of cavalry, with two cannon in front, who sweep away the pickets with a sudden rush, dash pell-mell across the lesser river, into the street, almost as soon as the fugitives who would tell their coming. Then is there at Headquarters mad haste, Jackson leaping into the saddle and galloping (the pass even now scarcely open) for the bridge and his army; Staff following as they may; one and another too late (as Colonel Crutchfield, our Chief of Artillery), and captured in mid street; a few yet, more too late, and wholly unable to follow; I, of course, again doffing the black to don the gray, among these last. Right briskly did those invaders (bold, quick men, for Yankees,) occupy the village, plant cannon at each end of it, spy out Jackson's trains, and begin to reach forth the hand to grasp [147] them, while we, cut off and almost powerless, make such resistance as we may. Haste thee, Master Shields. ‘What thou doest do quickly’! for Nemesis is coming, and thy time is short—too short, alas! for Shields, for mortal man; for lo! yonder, one hath clattered through the bridge, and bounding up the heights where the forces lay, pressing his steed with burning spurs, his visage all aglow and blue eye blazing, and shouts: ‘Beat the Long Roll!’ Drums roll with palpitating throb; men spring to the ranks, cannoneers harness; and ere Shields can brush away the flimsy obstacles between him and the trains, already Jackson comes streaming back with Poague's battery and Fulkerson's tall riflemen—streaming down the hill, a flashing torrent. There is one crash of thunder, one ringing volley, one wild yell; the bayonets gleam through the shadowy cavern of the bridge, and the thing is done. Hostile cannon lie disabled, horses weltering around them in blood; intruders flee pell-mell, splashing through the stream, whither they came; while Jackson stands alone, over on the green hillside, still, calm, and reverent, his hand lifted in prayer and thanksgiving that the village is won again. But it is only for a moment, for he knows what more remains to be done. He remounts the heights, and there, sure enough, is Shields's army advancing up the meadows from Lewiston, ranks dressed, banners flying, in all the bravery of their pomp. Jackson utters a few quiet words, and Poague's guns, reinforced by others, remove to the next hill, depress their grim muzzles, and rain down an iron storm across the river, which lashes Shields back to his covert.

Jackson trusted Providence, and here Providence took care of him in a most timely way. Our Colonel Crutchfield, detained amidst his captors in the village street, shall tell how the intervention looked from his point of view. The cavalry Colonel commanding Shields's advance had not more than disarmed him, when a Yankee vidette, who had ventured a little up the Staunton Road, came hurrying back, his eyes glaring with elation, and exclaimed: ‘Colonel Carrell! you have as good as got Jackson's trains; they are right above here, in sight; I have seen thousands of the white wagon-covers shining! You have nothing to do but ride forward and take them.’ ‘Yes!’ avouched Crutchfield's despairing thought, ‘he has them! There are no train-guards, and those white sheets, as I wofully know, are the covers of my ordnance-train, containing all the artillery ammunition and most of the other for the whole army. Colonel Carrell may not remain here permanently, but nothing can prevent his riding thither and doing irreparable mischief before Jackson's return.’ [148]

Such was also the Yankee's thought, for he immediately ordered a strong squadron of his cavalry to go up and capture those trains. So the horsemen formed in column and advanced up the street, leaving Colonel Crutchfield in silent despair. But near the head of that street they were met by a discharge of canister at close quarters. The balls came ricocheting down the road amidst the horses' legs, and back came the column in headlong flight, with a tempest of dust. Said Crutchfield's thoughts to him: ‘Did those cannons drop from the skies? Did the angels fire them? I thought I was artillerychief to that army, and had posted all the guns, and I thought I knew that there was no artillery there.’ But none the less did the mysterious guns hold their post, despite the cannonading of the Yankee battery accompanying their advance; and whenever the attacking column of cavalry was advanced, lash it back to the sidealleys with canister-shot until Jackson re-occupied the village.

The explanation was that there was a new battery, that of Captain Carrington, of Albemarle, just arrived, which Colonel Crutchfield had found so partially equipped and so absolutely unskilled, that he had relegated it with the baggage, and thus had actually discounted it in his mind as anything more than baggage. Two guns of this battery had been brought forward, with fragments of the fleeing Confederate pickets for supports, and with that audacity which, as Jackson taught, was on some occasions the most timely discretion, had made its little fight and saved the trains.

But now the cannonade answers back from Cross-Keys, where Fremont crowds upon Ewell, endeavoring to keep his part of the rendezvous. How the fight raged there through the day, while Jackson vibrated thither and back, watchful of all points, I need not detain you to relate; for your history-books may tell you all this, as also how Ewell hurled back his adversary, and held his own stoutly at all points. One little thing I may relate, not flattering to myself, which may be to you a revelation of Jackson's mind, (and may also be taken as an example of the scant encouragement which suggestions from subordinates usually met). As he sat upon his horse, scanning the region whither Shields had retired, I moved to his side and asked: ‘There is, then, a general action at Cross-Keys?’ The answer was an affirmative nod. ‘Then General Shields will not be blind to the importance of his cooperating in it: he will surely attack you again to-day?’ Hereupon he turned upon me, as though vexed with my obtuseness, with brows knit, and waving his clenched fist towards the commanding positions of the artillery near him, said: [149] ‘No, sir; he cannot do it, sir. I should tear him to pieces’! And Shields did not do it, because he could not!

The two Yankee Generals have now had their forwardness a little rebuked; are taught to keep their places quietly until they are wanted. The Sabbath-eve has descended as calmly as though no blood or crime had polluted it, and Jackson has rested until the midnight hour ushers in the working day with a waning moon. He then addresses himself to his work and takes the aggressive. The trains are sent over to Ewell to carry rations to his hungry men and to replenish the guns with their horrid food; a foot bridge is prepared for the infantry over South river, by which they may be passed towards Lewiston. Ewell is directed to creep away at daybreak, from Fremont's front, leaving only a skirmish line to amuse him, and to concentrate against Shields. Colonel Patton, one of the two commanders who are to lead this line, is sent for to receive his personal instructions from Jackson. ‘I found him,’ says Colonel Patton, ‘in the small hours of the night, erect, and elate with animation and pleasure. He began by saying: “I am going to fight. Yes, we shall engage Shields this morning at sunrise. Now, I wish you to throw out all your men before Fremont as skirmishers, and to make a great show, so as to cause the enemy to think the whole army are behind you. Hold your position as well as you can; then fall back when obliged; take a new position; hold it in the same way, and I will be back to join you in the morning.” ’ Colonel Patton reminded him that his brigade was small, and that the country between Cross-Keys — and the Shenandoah afforded few natural advantages for protecting such manoeuvres. He therefore desired to known for how long a time he would be expected to hold Fremont in check. He replied: ‘By the blessing of Providence, I hope to be back by ten o'clock.’

Here then we have the disclosure of his real plan, to which he makes no reference in his own official report. He proposed to finish with Shields, peradventure to finish Shields, by ten o'clock. Five hours should be enough to settle his account, and he would then go straight back to see after Fremont. By ten o'clock of the same day he would meet his retreating skirmish line north of the river, arrest the retrograde movement and be ready, if Fremont had stomach for it, to fight a second pitched battle with his army, more than double the one vanquished in the morning. As to the measure of Shield's disaster, it was to be complete; dispersion and capture of his whole force, with all his material. As Napoleon curtly said at the battle of Rivoli, concerning the Austrian division detached around the mountain to [150] beset his rear: ‘Ils sont á nous;’ so it seems had Jackson decreed of Shields's men: ‘They belong to us.’ This the whole disposition of his battle clearly discloses. I have described to you the position which Shields had assumed at Lewiston, with his line stretching from the forest to the river. Behind him were a few more smooth and open fields; and then the wilderness closed in to the river, tangled and trackless, overlooking the position of the Federal line in height, and allowing but one narrow track to the rear. It was a true funnel— almost a cul de sac. These then, were Jackson's dispositions. General Richard Taylor, with his Louisiana brigade, accompanied by a battery of artillery, was to plunge into the woods by those tortuous tracks which I have mentioned, to creep through the labyrinths, avoiding all disturbance of the enemy, until he had passed clear beyond his left, was to enfilade his short and crowded line, was to find position for his battery on some commanding hillock at the edge of the copsewood, and was to control the narrow road which offered the only line of retreat. The Stonewall brigade was to amuse the enemy meantime, in front, until these fatal adjustments were made, when the main weight of the army should crowd upon them, and they should be driven back upon the impassible river, hemmed in from their retreat, cannonaded from superior positions, ground, in short, between the upper and nether millstones, dissipated and captured. This was the morning's meal with which Jackson would break his fast. Then, for his afternoon work, he designed to re-occupy his formidable position in front of Fremont upon the north of the river, and either fight and win another battle the same day, or postpone the coup de grace to his second adversary until the next morning, as circumstances might dictate.

Such was the splendid audacity of Jackson's real design. Only a part of it was accomplished; you may infer that only a part of it was feasible, and that the design was too audacious to be all realized. I do not think so; only two trivial circumstances prevented the actual realization of the whole. When the main weight of the Confederate army was thrown against Shields he was crushed (though not captured) in the space of two hours. Again, Fremont had been, on the previous day, so roughly handled by Ewell, with six thousand men, that he did not venture even to feel the Confederate position, guarded really only by a skirmish line, until ten o'clock the next day, and such was his own apprehension of his weakness, that as soon as he learned Shields's disaster definitely, he retreated with haste, even though there was now no bridge by which Jackson might reach him. Why then a [151] performance so short of the magnificent conception? The answer was in two little circumstances. The guide who thought he knew the paths by which to lead General Taylor to the enemy's rear (a professional officer of the engineers) did not know; he became confused in the labyrinth; he led out the head of the column unexpectedly in front of instead of beyond their left, and General Taylor concluded he had no choice but to hold his ground and precipitate the attack. That was blunder first; a little one seemingly, but pregnant with disappointment. And here let me remark upon a mischievous specimen of red-tapeism, which I saw often practiced to our detriment, even sometimes by Jackson, who was least bound by professional trammels. It was the employing of engineer officers, with their pocket compasses and pretty, red and blue crayon, hypothetical maps, as country guides; instead of the men of the vicinage with focal knowledge. Far better would it have been for Jackson had he now inquired among Ashby's troopers for the boy who had hunted foxes and rabbits through the coppices around Lewiston. Him should he have set to guide Taylor's brigade to the enemy's rear, with a Captain's commission before him if he guided it to victory, and a pistol's muzzle behind his left ear in case he played false.

The other blunder was, in appearance, even more trivial: The footbridge, constructed by moonlight, and designed to pass four men abreast, proved at one point so unsteady that only a single plank of it could be safely used. Thus, what was designed to be a massive column was reduced from that point onward to a straggling ‘Indian file.’ Instead of passing over the infantry in the early morning, we were still urging them forward when the appointed ten o'clock had come and gone, and the first attack on Shields, made with forces wholly inadequate, had met with a bloody repulse. Jackson, burning with eagerness had flown to the front as soon as the Stonewall brigade was passed over, leaving to me a strict injunction to remain at the bridge and expedite the crossing of the other troops. First the returning trains, mingled in almost inextricable confusion with the marching column, was to be disentangled, amidst much wronghead-edness of little Q. M's, swollen with a mite of brief authority. This effectually done; the defect of the bridge disclosed itself. Can it not be speedily remedied? No; not without a total arrest of the living stream, which none dared to order. Then began I to suggest, to advise, to urge, that the bridge be disused wholly and that the men take to the water en masse (kindly June water). For although it was Jackson's wont to enlighten none as to his plans; yet even my inexperienced [152] ear was taught by the cannon thundering at Lewiston, that we should all have been, ere this, there; not pothering here, in straggling Indian file. Well did I know how Jackson's soul at that hour would avouch that word of Napoleon: ‘Ask me for anything but time.’ But no: ‘Generals had their orders: to march by the bridge.’ ‘They would usurp no discretion.’ Punctilious obedient men they! ‘keeping the word of promise to the ears, but breaking it to the sense.’ Well, in such fashion was the golden opportunity lost; and Jackson, at mid-day, instead of returning victorious to confront Fremont, must send word to his skirmish line, to come away and burn the bridge behind them, while he reinforces his battle against Shields and crushes down his stubborn (yea right gallant) resistance, with stern decision. Thus he must content himself with one victory instead of two, and in that one, chase his enemy away like a baffled wolf instead of ensnaring him wholly and drawing his fangs.

Who can hear this story of victory thus organized and almost within the grasp—victory which should have been more splendid than Marengo—so shorn of half its rays, without feeling a pungent, burning, sympathetic disappointment? Did not such a will as Jackson's then surge like a volcano at this default? No. There was no fury chafing against the miscarriage, no discontent, no rebuke. Calm and contented, Jackson rode back from the pursuit and devoted himself to the care of the wounded and to prudent precautions for protection. ‘God did it.’ That was his philosophy. There is an omniscient Mind which purposes, an ever present Providence which superintends; so that when the event has finally disclosed His will, the good man has found out what is best. He did not know it before, and therefore he followed, with all his might, the best lights of his own imperfect reason; but now that God has told him, by the issue, it is his part to study acquiescence—

Such was ‘Stonewall Jackson's way.’

This, my friends, is a bright dream, but it is passed away. Jackson is gone, and the cause is gone. All the victories which he won are lost again. The penalty we pay for the pleasure of the dream is the pain of the awakening. I profess unto you that one of the most consoling thoughts which remain to me amidst the waking realties of the present, is this: that Jackson and other spirits like him are spared the defeat. I find that many minds sympathize with me in the species of awful curiosity to know what Jackson would have done at our final surrender. It is a strange, a startling conjunction of thoughts: [153] Jackson, with his giant will, his unblenching faith, his heroic devotion, face to face, after all, with the lost cause! What would he have done? This question has been often asked me, and, my answer has always been: In no event could Jackson have survived to see the cause lost. What, you say: would he have been guilty of suicide? Would he, in the last-lost-battle, have sacrificed himself upon his country's funeral pyre? No. But I believe that as his clear eye saw the approaching catastrophe, his faithful zeal would have spurred him to strive so devotedly to avert it that he would either have overwrought his powers or met his death in generous forgetfulness (not in intentional desperation) on the foremost edge of battle. For him there was destined to be no subjugation! The God whom he served so well was too gracious to his favorite son. Less faithful servants, like us, may need this bitter scourge. He was meeter for his reward.

Yes, there is solid consolation in the thought: Jackson is dead. Does it seem sometimes as we stand beside the little green mound at the Lexington graveyard, a right pitiful thing, that here, beneath these few feet of turf, garnished with no memorial but a faded wreath (faded like the cause he loved) and the modest little stone placed there by the trembling hand of a weeping woman (only hand generous and brave enough even to rear a stone to Jackson in all the broad land baptized by his heart's blood), that there lies all this world contains of that great glory. That this pure devotion, this matchless courage, this towering genius are all clean gone forever out of this earth; gone amidst the utter wreck of the beloved cause which inspired them. Ah, but it was more pitiful to see a Lee bearing his proud, sad head above that sod, surrounded by the skeleton of that wreck, head stately as of old, yet bleached prematurely by irremediable sorrow, with that eye revealing its measureless depths of grief even beneath its patient smile. More pitiful to see the great heart break with an anguish which it would not stoop to utter, because it must behold its country's death, and was forbidden of God to die before it. But pitifulest of all is the sight of those former comrades of Jackson and Lee, who are willing to live and to be basely consoled with the lures of the oppressor, and who thus survive not only their country, but their own manhood. Yes, beside that sight the grave of Jackson is luminous with joy.

I well remember the only time when I saw him admit a prognostic of final defeat. It was a Sabbath day of May, 1862, as bright and calm as that which ushered in the battle of Port Republic. We were riding alone, slowly, to a religious service in a distant camp, and communing [154] of our cause, not then as superior with inferior, but as friend with friend. I disclosed to Jackson the grounds of the apprehensions which I always harboured in secret, but which I made it my duty to conceal, after the strife was once unavoidable, from every mortal save him. He defended his more cheerful hopes. He urged the surprising success of the Confederate government in organizing armies and acquiring material of war in the face of an adversary who would have been deemed overwhelming, and especially the goodness of Divine Providence in giving us, so far, so many deliverances. I re-asserted my apprehensions with a pertinacity which was, perhaps, uncivil. I pointed out that the people were not rising as a whole to the height of the terrible crisis. That while the minority (all honor to them) were nobly sacrificing themselves in the breach, others were venal and selfish, eager to depute to hireling substitutes the glorious privilege of defending their own homes and rights, and to make a sordid traffic out of the necessities of the glorious martyrs who were at the front dying for them. That it was at least questionable whether such men were not predestined slaves. That the government was manifestly unequal to the arduous enterprise and entangled in the plodding precedents of dull mediocrity, instead of rising to the exertion of lofty genius and heroism. Witness, for instance, the deplorable military policy which left our first critical victory without fruits; a blunder which no government would be allowed by a righteous Providence to repeat often, with impunity; because it is as truly a law of God's administration, as of His grace, which is expressed in the fearful question: ‘How can ye escape who neglect so great salvation?’ That neither government nor people seemed awake to the absolute necessity of striking quickly in a revolutionary war like ours; but they were settling down to a regular protracted contest, in which the machinery of professional warfare would gradually, but surely, abolish that superiority of the Southern citizen-soldier over the Yankee mercenary, which the honor and courage of the former gave him while both were undrilled; a routine-war in which we should measure our limited resources against their unlimited ones, instead of measuring patriotic gallantry against sluggishness. That the final issue of such a struggle must be the exhaustion of our means of resistance by gradual attrition, which would render all our victories unavailing. At length, as I enlarged upon the points, Jackson turned himself upon his saddle towards me and said, with a smile which yet had a serious meaning in it: ‘Stop, Major Dabney; you will make me low-spirited!’ He then rode in silence for some moments, and said, [155] as though to himself: ‘I don't profess any romantic indifference to life; and certainly, in my own private relations, I have as much that is dear to wish to live for as any man. But I do not desire to survive the independence of my country.’ These words were uttered with a profound, pensive earnestness, which effectually ended the debate.

Jackson prayed for the independence of his country; or, if that might not be, he desired not to survive its overthrow. God could not grant the former, for reasons to be seen anon, wherefore He granted the latter. The man died at the right time. He served the purpose of the Divine Wisdom in his generation. He went upward and onward upon the flood-tide of his fame and greatness, until it reached its very acme; and thence he went up to his rest. After that came the ebb-tide, the stranding, and the wreck. This, surely, is a singular mark of Heaven's favor, lifting him almost to the rank of that antediluvian hero ‘who walked with God, and he was not; for God took him.’ When his fame and success were at their zenith, never yet blighted by disaster; when the cause he loved better than life was most hopeful; when he had just performed his most brilliant exploit, and could leave his country all jubilant with his praise, and glowing with gratitude for his deliverance; before the coming woe had projected upon his spirit even the fringe of that shadow which would have been to him colder than death—that was the time for Jackson to be translated.

The other thing, which alone would have been better—to lead his country on from triumph to triumph to final deliverance—to hang up his sword in the sanctuary, and to sit down a freeman amidst the people he had saved—that we would not permit God to effect; and that we were not fit to have such deliverance wrought for us, even by a Jackson, this God would demonstrate before he took him away; for the true great man is a gift from heaven, informed with a portion of its own life and fire. Some small critics have argued that great men are born of their times; that they are mere impersonations of the moral forces common to their cotemporaries. This, be assured, may be true of that species of little great men, of whom Shakespeare writes, that ‘they have greatness thrust on them.’ The true hero is not made by his times, but makes them, if indeed material of greatness be in them. They wait for him, in sore need, perhaps, of his kindling touch, groping in perilous darkness towards destruction, for want of his true light: they produce him not. God sends him. There be three missions for such a true great man among men. If ‘the iniquity of the Amorites is already full,’ the Great Power, the [156] wicked great man, Caesar or Napoleon, is sent among them to seduce them to their ruin. If they be worthy of greatness, and have in them any true substance to be kindled by the heroic fire, the good hero, your Moses or Washington, shall be sent unto them for deliverance. If it be not yet manifest to men whether the times be the one or the other, Amoritish, utterly reprobate, and fit only for anarchy or slavery, or else with seed of nobleness in them, and capable of true glory (though to Him who commissions the hero there be no mystery nor contingency which is not manifest), then will he send one, or peradventure several, who shall be touchstones to that people, to ‘try them so as by fire,’ whether there be worth in them or no. And then shall this God-sent man show forth an examplar to his people, which shall be unto them a test whether they, having eyes, see, or see not the true glory and right, and whether they have hearts to understand and love it. And then shall he bring nigh deliverances unto them, full of promise and hope, yet mutable, which arc God's overtures saying unto them: ‘Come now and let us reason together. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword, for the mouth of the Lord-hath spoken it.’ Will ye, or will ye not? Thus was Jackson God's interrogatory to this people, saying to them: ‘Will ye be like him, and be saved? Lo, there! What would a nation of Jacksons be? That may ye be! How righteousness exalteth a people! Shall this judgment and righteousness “be the stability of thy times, O Confederate, and strength of thy salvation” ?’ And these mighty deliverances at Manassas, Winchester, Port Republic, Chickahominy, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, were they not manifest overtures to us to have the God of Jackson and Lee for our God, and be saved? ‘Here is the path; walk ye in it.’

And what said our people? Many honestly answered, ‘Yea, Lord, we will,’ of whom the larger part walked whither Jackson did, and now lie with him in glory. But another part answered, ‘Nay,’ and they live on such terms as we see, even such as they elected. To them, also, it was plain that Jackson's truth and justice and devotion to duty were the things that made him great and unconquerable. Even the wicked avouched this. Therefore a nation of such like men must needs be unconquerable and free. But they would not be free on such terms. Nay; they preferred rather to walk after their own vanities. Verily they have their reward! Let the contrast appear in two points. Jackson writes thus to his wife:

‘You had better not sell your coupons from the’ (Confederate) [157] ‘bonds, as I understand they are paid in gold; but let the Confederacy keep the gold. Citizens should not receive a cent of gold from the government when it is so scarce.’

Set over against this the spectacle of almost the many, except the soldiers, gone mad at the enhancement of prices with speculation and extortion, greedy to rake together paper money, mere rags and trash, while such as Jackson were pouring out money and blood in the death grapple for them. Take another: He writes to his wife, Christmas, 1862, in answer to the inquiry whether he could not visit her, and see the child upon which he had never looked, while the army was in winter-quarters:

‘It appears to me that it is better for me to remain with my command so long as the war continues, if our ever-gracious Heavenly Father permits. The army suffers immensely by absentees. If all our troops, officers and men, were at their posts, we might, through God's blessing, expect a more speedy termination of the war. The temporal affairs of some are so deranged as to make a strong plea for their returning home for a short time; but our God has greatly blessed me and mine during my absence; and whilst it would be a great comfort to see you, and our darling little daughter, and others in whom I take special interest, yet duty appears to require me to remain, with my command. It is most important that those at headquarters set an example by remaining at the post of duty.’

Look now from this picture of steadfastness in duty to the multitudes of absentees and of stalwart young men shirking the army by every slippery expedient. So these answered back to God's overture: ‘Mammon is dearer than manhood, and inglorious ease than liberty.’ The disclosure was now made that this people could not righteously be free, was not fit for it, and that God was just. Jackson could now go home to his rest. He in the haven, the ebb-tide might begin; he safely housed, the storm of adversity might burst.

The thing to be most painfully pondered then, by this people, is: Whether the fate of Jackson, and such like, is not proof that we have been weighed in the balances and found wanting? How readeth the handwriting on the wall? Not hopefully, in verity of truth, if Truth, which heroes worship, be indeed eternal, and be destined to assert herself ever. Jackson, alas, lies low, under the little hillock in Lexington graveyard, and Lee frets out his great heartstrings at this world-wide vision of falsehood and vile decree, cruel as sordid, triumphant, unwhipped of justice; while the men who ride prosperously are they who sell themselves to work iniquity, and who [158] say ‘Evil, be thou my good.’ Yea, these are the men whom the people delighteth to honor; to whom the Churches and ministers of God in this land bow down, proclaiming: ‘verily success is divine; and Might it maketh right; and the Power of this world, it shall be God unto us.’ And while the grave of heroic Truth and virtue has no other memento than the humble stone placed there by a feeble woman's hand; pompous monuments of succeesful wrong affront the skies with their altitude, ‘calling evil good and good evil, and putting darkness for light and light for darkness.’ We fear that when Truth shall re-assert herself it will go ill with this generation.

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