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General T. J. (‘Stonewall’) Jackson, Confederate States army.

His career and character.

An address by Hunter McGuire, M. D., Ll.D.

This address, as felicitous in its delineation of the character of one of the greatest soldiers of the age as it is acute and comprehensive in its recountal of his achievements, has been several times delivered by its distinguished author before large and representative audiences, first on June 23, 1897, at the dedication of the Jackson Memorial Hall, at Lexington, Va., next before R. E. Lee Camp Confederate Veterans, at Richmond, Va., on July 2d, and since, at other places. It has been enthusiastically received on every occasion.

The close official relation of Medical-Director McGuire with General Jackson afforded the best possible advantages for an intimate knowledge of the character of the great leader.

The address itself is a striking evidence of the versatility of the genius of one of the foremost surgeons and physicians in this era of medical progress.

It is now printed from a corrected copy furnished by Dr. McGuire.

I understand, and I beg this audience to understand, that I am here to-day, not because I have any place among the orators, or am able to do anything except ‘to speak right on,’ and ‘tell you that which you yourselves do know;’ but because the noblest heritage I shall hand down to my children is the fact that Stonewall Jackson condescended to hold me and treat me as his friend. I know, and you know, that as long as valor and virtue are honored among men, as long as greatness of mind and grandeur of soul excite our admiration, as long as Virginia parents desire noble examples to set before their sons, and as long as there dwells in the souls of Virginia boys that fire of native nobleness which can be kindled by the tales of heroic endeavor, so long will Virginia men and women be ready to hear of the words and the deeds of Virginia's heroic sons, and therefore ready and glad to hear how valorous and how virtuous, how great and how grand in every thought and action was the Virginian of whom I speak to-night—to know in what awesome Titanic mould [92] was cast that quiet professor who once did his duty here; that silent stranger whom no man knew until ‘the fire of God fell upon him in the battlefield,’ as it did upon Arthur—the fire by which Sir Launce-lot knew him for his king—the fire that like the ‘live coal from off the altar touched the lips’ of Jackson and brought from them that kingly voice which the eagle of victory knew and obeyed. For a king was Stonewall Jackson, if ever royalty, anointed as by fire, appeared among men.

When Egypt, or Persia, or Greece, or Rome was the world; when the fame of a king reached the borders of his own dominion, but scarcely crossed them; when a great conqueror was known as far as his banners could fly; friends (or enemies) could assign a warrior's rank amongst mankind and his place in history. These latter ages have agreed that a Rameses, a Cyrus, an Alexander, or a Constantine shall be styled ‘The Great’—accepting therein the estimate put upon them by the contracted times in which they lived, supported, perchance, by the story of their deeds as laboriously chiseled on some long buried slab, recorded on some hardly recovered sheets of ancient parchment, or written on some dozen pages of a literature, the language of which serves the purposes of the ghost along the Styx, as they tell each other of glories long departed.

To-day the world is wide, and before the world's tribunal each candidate for historic honors must appear. The world's estimate, and that alone, posterity will accept, and even that it will hereafter most carefully revise.

The young Emperor of Germany, seeking to decree his grandfather's place in history, would have him styled ‘William the Great.’ Here and there, in one nation and another, press and people combine to deify some popular hero and offer him for the plaudits or the worship of the age. It is a vain endeavor. The universal judgment cannot be forestalled. No force or artifice can make mankind accept as final the false estimate instead of the true. Money, powerful, dangerous and threatening as it now is in this republic, cannot for long buy a verdict. The unbiased world alone is capable of stamping upon the forehead of man that mark which neither the injustice of adverse interest, nor envy's gnawing tooth, nor the ceaseless flow of the river of time are able to efface.

Therefore, it was with swelling heart and deep thankfulness that I recently heard some of the first soldiers and military students of England declare that within the past two hundred years the English speaking race has produced but five soldiers of the first classborough, [93] Washington, Wellington, Robert Lee, and Stonewall Jackson. I heard them declare that Jackson's campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, in which you, and you, and you, and I myself in my subordinate place, followed this Immortal, was the finest specimen of strategy and tactics of which the world has any record; that in this series of marches and battles there was never a blunder committed by Jackson; that this campaign in the Valley was superior to either of those made by Napoleon in Italy. One British officer, who teaches strategy in a great European college, told me that he used this campaign as a model of strategy and tactics, and dwelt upon it for several months in his lectures; that it was taught for months of each session in the schools of Germany; and that Von Moltke, the great strategist, declared it was without rival in the world's history. This same British officer told me that he had ridden on horseback over the battlefields of the Valley, and carefully studied the strategy and tactics there displayed by Jackson. He had followed him to Richmond, where he joined with Lee in the campaign against McClellan in 1862; that he had followed his detour around Pope; his management of his troops at Manassas; that he had studied his environment of Harper's Ferry and its capture; his part of the fight at Sharpsburg, and his flank move around Hooker, and that he had never blundered. ‘Indeed,’ he added, ‘Jackson seemed to me (him) inspired.’ Another British soldier told me that for its numbers the Army of Northern Virginia had more force and power than any other army that ever existed.

High as is my estimate of the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, I heard these opinions with a new elation, for I knew they presented the verdict of impartial history; the verdict that posterity will stamp with its approval; a verdict in itself such a tribute to valor and virtue, devotion and truth, as shall serve to inspire, exalt and ennoble our children and our children's children to the remotest generations.

You will not be surprised to hear of my telling them, that of these five, thus over-topping all the rest, three were born in the State of Virginia; nor wonder that I reverently remember that two of them lie side by side here in Lexington, while one is sleeping by the great river, there to sleep 'till time shall be no more; the three consecrating in death the soil of Virginia, as in life they stamped their mother State as the native home of men who, living as they lived, shall be fit to go on quest for the Holy Grail.

And now I hope I may be able to tell you what evidence of this [94] accredited greatness—what warrant for the justness of this verdict— I, and others with me, saw in the quiet of the camp and in the rush of the battle; and how I saw with my eyes, and stand here to declare, that his greatness vanished not, nor faded, but the brighter shone, when the shadows of evening were falling and the darkness of death gathered round.

In seeking to define Jackson's place in history I accept Lord Wolseley's definition of a great commander. He declares in effect, that the marks of this rare character, are: First of all—the power, the instinct, the inspiration to divine the condition and purposes of your enemy. Secondly—the genius that in strategy instantly devises the combinations most likely to defeat those purposes. Thirdly —the physical and moral courage, the absolute self-reliance that takes the risk of decision, and the skill that promptly and properly delivers the blow that shatters the hostile plans, so managing one's own forces (even when small), as to have the greater number at the point of attack. Fourthly—the cool judgement that is unshaken by the clash and clamor of emergences. And last, but not least, the prevision, the caution that cares for the lives and well-being of the private soldiers, and the personal magnetism that rouses the enthusiasm and affection, that make the commander's presence on the battlefield, the incentive to all that human beings can dare, and the unquestioned hope and sure promise of victory.

Many incidents of Jackson's career prove that he possessed the instinctive power to know the plight, and to foretell the purposes of the Federal army and its commanders. To describe the first that I recall: While dressing his wounded hand at the first Manassas, at the field hospital of the brigade at Young's Branch, near the Lewis house, I saw President Davis ride up from Manassas. He had been told by stragglers, that our army had been defeated. He stopped his horse in the middle of the little stream, stood up in his stirrups (the palest, sternest face I ever saw), and cried to the great crowd of soldiers: ‘I am President Davis; follow me back to the field.’

General Jackson did not hear distinctly. I told him who it was, and what he said. He stood up, took off his cap and cried: ‘We have whipped them; they ran like sheep. Give me 10,000 men and I will take Washington city to-morrow.’ Who doubts now that he could have done so?

When, in May, 1862, he whipped Banks at Winchester and had, what seemed then and even now, the audacity to follow him to Harper's Ferry, he not only knew the number and condition of Banks' [95] army, but in his mind he clearly saw the locality and strength of the armies of Fremont and McDowell, gradually converging from the east and west towards Strasburg to cut of his retreat. He knew the leaders of these hostile forces, their skill and moral courage, and calculated on it, and this so nicely that he was able to pass between them without a moment to spare. Indeed, he held these hosts apart with his skirmishers while his main army passed through, each commander of the Federal army in doubt and dread whether the mighty and mysterous Jackson intended one of his overwhelming blows for him. Both, doubtless, hoping the other one would catch it. Certainly they acted in a way to indicate this.

With the help of Ashby and Stuart he always knew the location and strength of his enemy. He knew the fighting quality of the enemy's forces too. ‘Let the Yankees get very close,’ he said to Ewell at Cross Keys, ‘before your infantry fires, they won't stand long.’ I asked him at Cedar Run if he expected a battle that day. He smiled and said: ‘Banks is in our front and he is generally willing to fight, and,’ he added very slowly, as if to himself, ‘and he generally gets whipped.’

At Malvern Hill, when a portion of our army was beaten and to some extent demoralized, Hill and Ewell and Early came to tell him that they could make no resistance if McClellan attacked them in the morning. It was difficult to wake General Jackson, as he was exhausted and very sound asleep. I tried it myself and after many efforts partly succeeded. When he was made to understand what was wanted, he said: ‘McClellan and his army will be gone by daylight,’ and went to sleep again. The generals thought him mad, but the prediction was true.

At Sharpsburg, when on the 17th, our army had repulsed three great assaults in succession and was reduced to a thin line, happening to have urgent business that took me to the front, I expressed to General Jackson my apprehension lest the surging mass of the enemy might get through. He replied: ‘I think they have done their worst and there is now no danger of the line being broken.’ McClellan's inaction during the long 18th when General Lee stood firm and offered him battle, proves that Jackson knew his enemy's condition.

At Fredericksburg, after Burnside's repulse, he asked me how many bandages I had. I told him, and asked why he wanted to know. He said that he wanted to have a piece of white cloth to tie on each man's arm that his soldiers might recognize each other in a [96] night attack, and he asked to be allowed to make such an attack and drive the foe into the swollen river or capture him. Subsequent events demonstrated that he would have accomplished his purpose.

‘Drive them into the river.’

It was said that at a council of war, called by General Lee after the Fredericksburg battle, Jackson went to sleep during the discussion, and when suddenly aroused and asked for his advice, he simply replied: ‘Drive them into the river.’

That he possessed the genius to devise and the skill and courage to deliver the blow needed to defeat his foes—is it not amply proved by the general fact that his army in the Valley campaign was never over 17,000, and generally less, and that for a time he was keeping at bay 100,000 Federal soldiers—60,000 in or near the great valley, and 40,000 at Fredericksburg—soundly thrashing in the field, from time to time, large portions of this great army? Not to mention details, Jackson and his small force influenced the campaign to the extent of keeping 100,000 Federal troops away from Richmond, and compelling the Federal government to employ a larger force than the whole of the Confederate army, in order, as Lincoln said, ‘to protect the National Capital.’ In the operations necessary to accomplish this, he encountered one (his first and only defeat), that at Kernstown, which he and others, who trusted his judgment, believed was due to an untimely order to fall back, given by one of his bravest and truest of brigade commanders. But that defeat was so full of brilliant results to our cause that the Confederate Congress thanked him for the battle. The gallant and brilliant officer who gave this order was put under arrest (whether wisely or not is not for present discussion), but the effect was to prevent any other man or officer from ordering a retreat on any subsequent field of battle where Jackson was, whether out of ammunition or not.

Thence he went immediately to McDowell, Winchester, Cross Keys and Port Republic, winning battle after battle, having always the smaller army but the larger number actually fighting (except at Cross Keys), illustrating the truth of what a Federal officer tells us a Yankee soldier said after the stern struggle at Groveton: ‘These rebels always put their small numbers in strong positions and then manage to be the stronger at the point where the rub comes.’ And so, notwithstanding the tremendous odds against him in the whole theatre, he met another test of a great commander, in concentrating against his opponent the larger force. [97]

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 [98] withdrew him from the fight. It was only when Jackson found that McClellan was not being driven from his works that he put into the battle every man he had.

General Jackson waited at White Oak Swamp during the battle of Frayser's Farm because he was directed to stay on this road until further orders. As a soldier he could do nothing else. He gave the same unquestioned obedience to the officer above him, that he demanded of those under his control. Moreover the stream was impassible for infantry under fire, and impassible for artillery without a bridge. Jackson and his staff, with Colonel Munford's cavalry, tested it, riding across through quagmires that took us up to the girths of our horses; but by a fierce artillery attack he kept Franklin's and part of Sumner's corps from joining with McCall to resist the attack at Frayser's Farm. This attack General Jackson began with twenty-eight pieces of artillery at twelve o'clock that day. The battle at Frayser's Farm began at five o'clock the same afternoon. White Oak Swamp road is but five miles distant. If General Lee had wanted Jackson he could have sent for him, but General Lee did not want him. He expected to defeat McCall, and isolate Franklin and Sumner, and then capture them with Jackson's co-operation, from the position he knew he occupied.

Cedar Run battle has been criticised as a barren victory, but while it did not accomplish all that Jackson intended, it was far from barren in its results. Pope, who had more than double the force of Jackson, was preparing to attack us at Gordonsville and destroy the railroad. We remained two weeks at Gordonsville, waiting for Pope to make a false move, when, finding that Pope's divisions were widely separated—the left wing being at Fredericksburg, and the right under Siegel, at Sperryville, fifty miles from the left wing; the main army on the Rappahannock—with Banks thrown out to Culpeper Courthouse, Jackson determined to strike them in detail.

I know this was his purpose and his after report proves it. He intended first to attack his old antagonist, Banks, at Culpeper, and then to descend like a thunderbolt on McDowell at Fredericksburg. On our route we lost an entire day because one of the division commanders marched two miles instead of twenty-five. This gave Pope time to concentrate his forces. That night, as we pursued the beaten army of General Banks, we captured some of McDowell's men, proving that the Federals had had time to concentrate, and this prevented him from carrying out his original plan of striking in detail. As it was, Banks' army was so crippled as to be ‘of little use,’ as General [99] Pope reports, ‘during the rest of that campaign.’ The prestige of our troops and commanders was raised, and the Federal confidence in Pope diminished. But more than this, and more important, Pope's plans were disconcerted and ten days were gained, by which time General Lee and the rest of our army joined us.

The imperturbable coolness of a great commander was preemi-nently his. He was always calm and self-controlled. He never lost his balance for one moment. At the First Manassas, when we reached the field and found our men under Bee and Bartow falling back—when the confusion was greatest, and Bee in despair cried out, ‘They are driving us back’—there was not the slightest emotion apparent about him. His thin lips were compressed and his eyes ablaze when he curtly said: ‘Then, sir, we will give them the bayonet.’ At Port Republic, where he was so nearly captured, as he escaped he instantly ordered the 37th Virginia Regiment, which was fortunately near at hand and in line, to charge through the bridge and capture the Federal piece of artillery placed at its mouth.

In the very severe engagement at Chantilly, fought during a heavy thunder storm, when the voice of the artillery of heaven could scarcely be told from that of the army, an aide came up with a message from A. P. Hill, that his ammunition was wet and that he asked leave to retire. ‘Give my compliments to General Hill, and tell him that the Yankee ammunition is as wet as his; to stay where he is.’ There was always danger and blood when he began his terse sentences with ‘Give my compliments.’

One of the most striking illustrations of his courage and absolute self-reliance was shown at the battle of Groveton. He had been detached from General Lee's army, and in a march of two days captured Manassas Junction directly in Pope's rear and destroyed the immense stores accumulated at that point. After this he marched his command to a field which gave him a good defensive position and the readiest means of junction with Longstreet. At that point, if he was compelled to retreat, he had the Aldie Gap behind him through which he could pass and rejoin General Lee. Pope, disappointed at not finding Jackson at Manassas, and confused by the different movements that different portions of Jackson's corps had made, was utterly disconcerted and directed his army to move towards Centreville where they could easily join with the forces of McClellan then at Alexandria. Almost any other soldier would have been satisfied with what had been already accomplished—the [100] destruction of the immense stores of the enemy—the forcing of Pope from the Rappahannock to Bull Run, and the demoralization produced in the Federal army, but General Jackson knew that the Confederate design demanded that a battle with Pope should be made before reinforcements were received from McClellan, and so he determined with his little army to attack the Federal forces and compel them to stop and give battle.

Our army lay concealed by the railroad cut, the woods and the configuration of the ground near the same field that we had fought the first battle of Manassas. The different columns of the enemy were moving in such a confused way that it was difficult to tell what they intended. Gen. Jackson, who had been up the whole of the previous night directing the movement of his troops, was asleep in a fence corner, when mounted scouts came in to inform us that a large body of Pope's army was moving past on the Warrenton road and in the direction of Centreville. As soon as he was waked and informed of the state of affairs, Gen. Jackson sprang up and moved rapidly towards his horse, buckling on his sword as he moved and urging the greatest speed on all around him, directing Ewell and Taliaferro to attack the enemy, which proved to be King's Division. With about 20,000 men he attacked Pope's army of 77,000 soldiers, so determined was he that Pope should not escape to Centreville, there to intrench and wait for the reinforcements of McClellan then on their way to him. The attack that evening brought on the bloody battle of Groveton.

I must recur to the battle of Sharpsburg, as that was one of the sternest trials to which Jackson was ever subjected. 80,000 Federal soldiers under McClellan attacked 35,000 Confederates under Lee, making the contest a most unequal one. It was a pitched battle in an open field. There were no fortifications or entrenchments, and the ground, as far as sites for artillery went, was decidedly more favorable for the Federals. To defend the left wing of the Confederate line Jackson had, including D. H. Hill's three brigades, less than 8,000 men. In front of him was Hooker with 15,000, Mansfield with 10,000, and Sumner with Sedgwick's Division, 6,000-8,000 Confederates to 31,000 veteran Federal soldiers. Hooker, at daylight, attacked and was routed. Then Mansfield came over the same ground and met the same fate. Then Sumner came up and was thrashed. 8,000 half starved, shoeless, ragged Confederates had routed 31,000 of McClellan's best soldiers, and in a plain open field [101] without an entrenchment. But the 8,000 Confederates were veterans and were commanded by Stonewall Jackson. That night 20,000 dead and wounded men lay on the field of Sharpsburg.

About one o'clock that day I rode forward to see the General. I found him a little to the left of the Dunkard church. I remember that I had my saddle pockets filled with peaches to take to him—knowing how much he enjoyed fruit—and was eating a peach when I approached him. The first thing he asked me was if I had any more. I told him yes, that I had brought him some. After he got them he began to eat them ravenously, so much so, that he apologized and told me that he had had nothing to eat that day. I told him why I had come. That our lines were so thin and the enemy so strong, that I was afraid that at some point our line might be broken and in the rush, the hospital captured. He was perfectly cool and quiet, although he had withstood three separate attacks of vastly superior numbers. He thought the enemy had done their worst and made me the reply I have already quoted, but he agreed that I should establish the hospital in Shepherdstown. Before returning to my post, I rode forward with him to see the old Stonewall Division. They had been reduced to a very small body of men and were commanded by Colonel Grigsby. In some places lieutenants commanded brigades; sergeants, regiments. Nearly all of his Generals had fallen, but he had two left who were hosts in themselves, the unconquerable D. H. Hill, and that grand old soldier, Jubal Early.

While talking to Grigsby I saw off at a distance in a field, men lying down, and supposed it was a line of battle. I asked Colonel Grigsby why he did not move that line of battle to make it conform to his own, when he said: ‘Those men you see lying over there, which you suppose to be a line of battle, are all dead men. They are Georgia soldiers.’ It was a stern struggle, but Jackson always expected to hold his lines. I heard him once say: ‘We sometimes fail to drive the enemy from his position. He always fails to drive us.’ But he was never content with the defensive, however successful or however exhausting. In this most destructive battle he was looking all of that day for a chance to make the counter-stroke. He urged General McLaws, who had been sent to his assistance, to move forward and attack the enemy's right flank, but General McLaws was so hotly engaged with those directly in front, that he never had an opportunity to do what General Jackson desired. [102] Other efforts, with the same intent, marked his conduct during all that day.

His tactics were almost always offensive, and by his marvellous strategy and skill, by his consummate daring and absolute confidence in himself and his men, he made up for his deficiency in numbers. When circumstances obliged him to act upon the defensive, always at such times he kept in view the counter-stroke. He did not wish to fight at Fredericksburg. His objection was, that there was no room for this return blow in the daytime, with the enemy's guns on Stafford Heights.

I cannot refrain from speaking of the statement, recently made, that General Jackson advised General Lee on the night of the 17th September to cross the Potomac back into Virginia. I think it is a mistake. He told me at one o'clock that McClellan had done his worst. He was looking all the afternoon for a chance to strike the enemy, but he never had sufficient force to do it. He agreed with General Lee entirely during the whole of this campaign and especially during this battle. General Lee writes, in a letter which I have recently read, ‘When he (Jackson) came upon the field-having preceded his troops, and learned my reasons for offering battle, he emphatically agreed with me. When I determined to withdraw and cross the Potomac he also agreed and said, in view of all the circumstances, it was better to have fought the battle in Maryland than to have left it without a struggle.’ I say it with all possible deference to a distinguished soldier, and most respected gentleman, but there is every indication that General Stephen D. Lee's recollection as to Jackson's having proposed to cross the river on the night of the 17th, is at fault. He says, at the interview he reports, that Longstreet came first and made his report. Longstreet says in his book that he was the last to come. General Lee's letter, above referred to, shows the entire concurrence between himself and General Jackson with respect to their movements both before and after the battle. That General Jackson should have advised Lee, without being asked, to cross the river the night of the 17th, is entirely at variance with his character. It was a liberty he certainly never would have permitted one of his subordinates to take with him.

As for his care for the lives of his men, the great military critics, whose opinions I have quoted, told me that in this especially appeared the superiority of the Valley Campaign to the Italian Campaign of Napoleon. While the strategetical combinations were [103] equally rapid and effective, the successes were attained with a proportion of loss to numbers engaged comparatively small. In the whole Valley Campaign his losses did not exceed 2,500 men. His care was not only for numbers but for individuals. It was my habit to tell him after a battle the whole sad story of the losses as they came under my observation. He always waited for this detailed report, and when I was delayed he would order that he should be waked up when I came in. Presently I shall have occasion to show you how, from time to time, he received such news. His commissaries and quartermasters know how minutely he looked into all the details of their departments. To give only one illustration of his care of his soldiers, I remember in our march to the rear of Pope's army, which we made without any supply train, he called for two of his officers and sent them with a squad of cavalry ahead of his army to tell the people he was coming, and to ask them to send some provisions to his men. The people responded nobly to this appeal, and brought liberal supplies of flour and meat and other things to the troops, and Jackson recognized the fact that these officers and the people had done good service that day.

Had he the personal magnetism that characterizes a great commander? Did he arouse the enthusiasm of his men?

What army ever had more unbounded confidence in its general than did the army of Jackson, and what general ever trusted and depended on his army more than Jackson?

Jackson knew the value of the Southern volunteer better and sooner (as I believe) than any other of our great leaders. When General Johnston took charge at Harper's Ferry, the general staff went with the command. One day, when the 2d Virginia Regiment, composed of men from my county, marched by, I said to him: ‘If these men of the 2d Virginia will not fight, you have no troops that will.’ He expressed the prevalent, but afterward changed opinion of that early day in his reply, saying: ‘I would not give one company of regulars for the whole regiment.’ When I returned to General Jackson's staff I had occasion to quote to him General Johnston's opinion. ‘Did he say that,’ he asked, ‘and of those splendid men?’ And then he added: ‘The patriotic volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.’

Was the confidence returned? When, at sight of him, the battle shout of fighting thousands shook the far heavens, who could doubt its meaning! Did his men love him? What need of proof or illusstration! [104] Do we not feel it to-day in every throb of our hearts, though the long years have rolled away, though three and one-half decades have done their sad work of effacement?

I would like to show you Jackson as a man, for I think that only those who were near him knew him, and to them the picture of him as a man with the heart of a man, is nobler, his memory as a true Christian gentleman is dearer, and he himself is greater—than even he seemed as a soldier.

Under the grave and generally serious manner, sometimes almost stern, there were strong human passions, dominated by his iron will —there was intense earthly ambition. The first time I was under fire, the attempt to diagnose my feelings did not discover anything that I recognized as positive enjoyment. I was not clearly and unmistakably conscious of that feeling until after I got out of it. I told General Jackson frankly what my feelings were, and asked him how he felt the first time he experienced it. Just a glimpse of his inner nature flashed forth in a most unusual expression. ‘Afraid the fire would not be hot enough for me to distinguish myself,’ he promptly replied.

There was in this great soldier a deep love for all that is true, for the beautiful, for the poetry of life, and a wealth of rich and quick imagination for which few would give him credit. Ambition! Yes, far beyond what ordinary men possess. And yet, he told me when talking in my tent one dreary winter night near Charlestown, that he would not exchange one moment of his life hereafter, for all the earthly glory he could win. I would not tell these things except that it is good for you and your children that you should know what manner of man Stonewall Jackson was.

His view of war and its necessities was of the sternest. ‘War means fighting; to fight is the duty of a soldier; march swiftly, strike the foe with all your strength, and take away from him everything you can. Injure him in every possible way, and do it quickly.’ He talked to me several times about the ‘Black Flag,’ and wondered if in the end it would not result in less suffering and loss of life, but he never advocated it.

A sad incident of the battle of Fredericksburg stirred him very deeply. As we stood that night at our camp waiting for some one to take our horses, he looked up at the sky for a moment and said: ‘How horrible is war.’ I replied ‘Yes, horrible, but what can we do? These people at the North, without any warrant of law, [105] have invaded our country, stolen our property, insulted our defenceless women, hung and imprisoned our helpless old men, behaved in many cases like an organized band of cut-throats and robbers. What can we do?’ ‘Do,’ he answered, and his voice was ringing, ‘Do, why shoot them.’

At Port Republic, an officer commanding a regiment of Federal soldiers and riding a snow white horse was very conspicuous for his gallantry. He frequently exposed himself to the fire of our men in the most reckless way. So splendid was this man's courage that General Ewell, one of the most chivalrous gentlemen I ever knew, at some risk to his own life, rode down our line and called to his men not to shoot the man on the white horse. After a little while, however, the officer and his white horse went down. A day or so after when General Jackson learned of the incident he sent for General Ewell and told him not to do such a thing again; that this was no ordinary war, and the brave and gallant Federal officers were the very kind that must be killed.1 [106]

His temper, though capable of being stirred to profoundest depths, was singularly even. When most provoked he showed no great excitement. When the Secretary of War treated him so discourteously that Jackson resigned his commission, he showed no great resentment or indignation. He was the only man in the army who was not mad and excited. Two days after Malvern Hill, when his staff did not get up in the morning as soon as he had ordered them to do, he quietly ordered his servant, Jim, to pour the coffee into the road and to put the mess chest back into the wagon and send the wagon off with the train, and Jim did it; but he showed no temper, and several days after when I described the ludicrous indignation of one of his staff at missing his breakfast that day, he laughed heartily over the incident, for he often showed a keen sense of humor; and when he laughed (as I often saw him do) he did it with his whole heart. He would catch one knee with both hands, lift it up, throw his body back, open wide his mouth, and his whole face and form be convulsed with mirth—but there was no sound.

His consideration for his men was very great, and he often visited the hospital with me and spoke some words of encouragement to his soldiers. The day after the fight at Kernstown as we were preparing to move further up the valley, as the enemy was threatening to attack us, I said to him: ‘I have not been able to move all our wounded.’ And he replied: ‘Very well, I will stay here until you do move them.’ I have seen him stop while his army was on the march to help a poor simple woman find her son, when she only knew that this son was in ‘Jackson's Company.’ He first found out the name of her county, then the companies from that county, and by sending couriers to each company, he at last found the boy and brought him to his mother.

And never can I forget his kindness and gentleness to me when I was in great sorrow and trouble. He came to my tent and spent hours with me, comforting me in his simple, kindly, Christian way, showing a depth of friendship and affection which can never be forgotten. There is no measuring the intensity with which the very soul of Jackson burned in battle. Out of it he was very gentle. Indeed, as I look back on the two years that I was daily, indeed hourly, with him, his gentleness as a man, his great kindness, his tenderness to those in trouble or affliction—the tenderness indeed of a woman—impress me more than his wonderful prowess as a great warrior. [107]

A short time before the battle of the Second Manassas, there came from this town to join the Liberty Hall Volunteers a fine lad, whose parents, living here, were dear friends of General Jackson. The general asked him to stop at his headquarters for a few days before joining his company, and he slept and messed with us. We all became much attached to the young fellow, and Jackson, in his gentle, winning way, did his best to make him feel at home and at his ease; the lad's manners were so gentle, kindly and diffident, and his beardless, blue-eyed, boyish face so manly and so handsome. Just before the battle he reported for duty with his company. The night of the day of the great battle I was telling the general of the wounded, as we stood over a fire where black Jim, his servant, was making some coffee. I mentioned many of the wounded and their condition, and presently, calling by name the lad we all loved, told him that he was mortally wounded. Jim, faithful, brave, big-hearted Jim, God bless his memory! rolled on the ground, groaning in his agony of grief; but the general's face was a study. The muscles were twitching convulsively and his eyes were all aglow. He gripped me by the shoulder till it hurt me, and in a savage, threatening manner asked why I left the boy. In a few seconds he recovered himself, and turned and walked off into the woods alone. He soon came back, however, and I continued my report of the wounded and the dead. We were still sitting by the fire, drinking the coffee out of our tin cups, when I said: ‘We have won this battle by the hardest kind of fighting.’ And he answered me very gently and softly: ‘No, no; we have won it by the blessing of Almighty God.’

When General Gregg, of South Carolina, was wounded at Fredericksburg, an interesting incident occurred. General Jackson had had some misunderstanding with Gregg, the nature of which I do not now recall. The night after this gallant gentleman and splendid soldier was mortally wounded, I told General Jackson, as I generally did of friends or prominent men killed and wounded. General Gregg was one of the most courteous and gallant gentlemen that I had ever known. He exposed himself that day in a way that seemed unneccessary, so much so indeed, that Colonel Pendleton, of Jackson's staff, rode up to him and, knowing he was quite deaf, shouted to him that the Yankees were shooting at him. ‘Yes, sir, thank you,’ he replied, ‘they have been doing so all day.’ When I told General Jackson that Gregg was badly injured, he said: ‘I wish you would go back and see him, I want you to see him.’ I demurred [108] a little, saying it had not been very long since I had seen him, and that there was nothing more to be done for him. He said: ‘I wish you to go back and see him and tell him I sent you.’ So I rode back to the Yerby House, saw General Gregg and gave him the message. When I left his bedside and had gotten into the hall of the house, I met General Jackson, who must have ridden close behind me to have arrived there so soon. He stopped me, asked about General Gregg, and went into the room to see him.

No one else was in the room, and what passed between the two officers will never be known. I waited for him and rode back to camp with him. Not a word was spoken on that ride by either of us. After we reached the camp, occurred the brief conversation I have quoted, as to the horrors of war.

His religious liberality.

A very remarkable illustration of Jackson's religious liberality was shown just before the battle of Chancellorsville. We had been ordered to send to the rear all surplus baggage, and to illustrate how rigidly this was done—only one tent, and that a small one, was allowed for the headquarters of the corps. It was intended to make the campaign of 1863 a very active one. ‘We must make this campaign,’ said Jackson, ‘an exceedingly active one. Only thus can a weaker country cope with a stronger. It must make up in activity what it lacks in strength, and a defensive campaign can only be made successful by taking the aggressive at the proper time. Don't wait for the adversary to become fully prepared, but strike him the first blow.’ When all the tents, among other surplus baggage, were taken away, a Roman Catholic priest of one of the Louisiana regiments sent in his resignation because he could not perform the duties of his office without the privacy of a tent. Jackson asked me about Father——; I told him he was one of the most useful men in time of battle that we had; that I would miss his services very much. He ordered that this Roman Catholic priest should retain his tent, and he was the only man in the corps who had that privilege.

We now approach the close of Jackson's career. Wonderful career! Wonderful in many respects, and to some minds more wonderful in that it took him only two years to make his place in history. Caesar spent eight years in his first series of victories, and some two years more in filling out the measure of his great reputation. [109] Napoleon, teaching the lesson of indifference to danger to the boys he gathered around him, after the fatal Russian campaign, said: ‘The cannon balls have been flying around our legs for twenty years.’ Hannibal's career occupied about fifteen years. No other great commander in the world's history has in so short a time won so great a fame as Jackson. Two years, crowded with weighty deeds, now draw to a close, and Chancellorsville witnesses, perhaps, the most important single incident of his life as a soldier. The whole story has been too often told. Hooker, in command of what was called by the North, ‘the finest army on the planet,’ crossed the Rappahannock and marched to Chancellorsville. He had 123,000 soldiers, Lee less than 58,000. Notwithstanding, Hooker was frightened at his own temerity in coming within striking distance of Lee and Jackson, and he at once set his whole army to work to throw up entrenchments and make abatis of the most formidable character. Lee and Jackson had to meet the present difficulty without the aid of a large portion of their army, absent with Longstreet. Lee and Jackson! How well I remember their meeting before this battle, and their confiding conference! How these two men loved and trusted each other! Where in all history shall we find a parallel to their mutual faith and love and confidence? I can find none. Said Jackson: ‘Lee is a phenomenon. I would follow him blindfold.’

And Lee said to an aide de camp of Jackson's, who reported that Hooker had crossed the river, ‘Go back and tell General Jackson that he knows as well as I what to do.’ After they arrived in front of Hooker our movements are described in a hitherto unpublished letter of General Lee's. That great commander, after saying that he decided not to attack in front, writes as follows: ‘I stated to General Jackson that we must attack on our left as soon as practicable,’ and he adds, ‘in consequence of a report from General Fitz. Lee, describing the position of the Federal army and the roads which he held with his cavalry leading to its rear, General Jackson, after some inquiry concerning the roads leading to the Furnace, undertook to throw his command entirely in Hooker's rear, which he accomplished with equal skill and boldness.’ General Jackson believed the fighting qualities of the Army of Northern Virginia equal to the task of ending the war. During the winter preceding Chancellorsville, in the course of a conversation at Moss Neck, he said: ‘We must do more than defeat their armies; we must destroy [110] them.’ He went into this campaign filled with this stern purpose; ready to stretch to the utmost every energy of his genius, and push to its limit all his faith in his men in order to destroy a great army of the enemy. I know that this was his purpose, for after the battle, when still well enough to talk he told me that he had intended, after breaking into Hooker's rear, to take and fortify a suitable position, cutting him off from the river and so hold him, until between himself and General Lee the great Federal host should be broken to pieces. He had no fear. It was then that I heard him say: ‘We sometimes fail to drive them from position; they always fail to drive us.’

Never can I forget the eagerness and intensity of Jackson on that march to Hooker's rear. His face was pale, his eyes flashing. Out from his thin, compressed lips came the terse command: ‘Press forward, press forward.’ In his eagerness, as he rode, he leaned over on the neck of his horse as if in that way the march might be hurried. ‘See that the column is kept closed and that there is no straggling,’ he more than once ordered, and ‘Press on, press on,’ was repeated again and again. Every man in the ranks knew that we were engaged in some great flank movement, and they eagerly responded and pressed on at a rapid gait. Fitz Lee met us and told Jackson he could show him the whole of Hooker's army if he went with him to the top of a hill near by. They went together and Jackson carefully inspected through his glasses the Federal command. He was so wrapped up in his plans, that on his return he passed Fitz Lee without saluting or even thanking him, and when he reached the column, he ordered one aide to go forward and tell General Rodes, who was in the lead, to cross the Plank Road and go straight on to the Turnpike, and another aide to go to the rear of the column and see that it was kept closed up, and all along the line he repeatedly said: ‘Press on; press right on.’

The fiercest energy possessed the man, and the fire of battle fell strong upon him. When he arrived at the Plank Road he sent this, his last message, to Lee:

The enemy has made a stand at Chancellorsville. I hope as soon as practicable to attack. I trust that an ever kind Providence will bless us with success.

And as this message went to Lee, there was flashing along the wires, giving brief joy to the Federal Capital, Hooker's message: ‘The enemy must either ingloriously fly, or come out from behind [111] his defences and give us battle on our own ground, where certain destruction awaits him.’

Contrast the two, Jackson's modest, confident, hopeful, relying on his cause and his God. Hooker's frightened, boastful, arrogant, vain-glorious. The two messages are characteristic of the two men and the two people.

But this battle has been so often described in its minutest detail that I forbear to tax your patience. I forbear for another reason. While I can write about it, I cannot speak of it to old soldiers without more emotion than I care to show. The result of that great battle the wide world knows. Except for the unsurpassed, the wonderful campaign of 1864, this is perhaps the finest illustration of General Lee's genius for war, and yet, in writing to Jackson he says: ‘I have just received your note informing me that you are wounded. I cannot express my regret at its occurrence. Could I have directed events, I would have chosen, for the good of the country, to have been disabled in your stead. I congratulate you on the victory, which is due to your skill and energy.’

See the noble spirit of our great commander! Not further removed is pole from pole than is any mean jealousy, or thought of self, in his great soul. He at heart obeyed the hard command that ‘In honor ye prefer one another.’ This note displays his greatness, yet it is also history, in that we know on his testimony that Jackson shared with him the glory of that battle. These great soldiers loved and trusted one another, and in death they are not divided. How sacred is the soil of Lexington! for here they rest side by side.

The story of Jackson's death is so familiar to you all that, though intimately associated with its scenes, I will not narrate it. I will only declare that he met this great enemy as he had met all others, calmly and steadily, expecting, as always, to conquer, but now trusting, not in his own strength—not as heretofore in the prowess of mortal arms, nor in the splendid fibre of mortal courage, but in the unseen strength upon which he always relied—the strength that never failed him— and so, foreseeing the rest that awaited him on the other side, he crossed over the river.

My hand is on my mouth and my mouth is in the dust.

Already I have told you much that you already knew. In this, I beg you to observe, I have but fulfilled my promise. My apology is that we are in Lexington, and that we stand by the grave of Jackson. [112] Under such circumstances, love does not seek new stories to tell, new incidents to relate. Just to its own heart or to some sympathizing ear, it goes over the old scenes, recalls the old memories, tenderly dwells upon and tells them over and over again. Says farewell, and comes back again and stands silent in the presence of the dead. And so, I finish what I had to say, and bid farewell to Stonewall Jackson. And yet, all is not said, for here in Lexington, even in the presence of his mighty shade, our hearts bow down and we are awed by another presence, for the towering form beside him is that of Robert Lee.

Thought and feeling and power of expression are paralyzed. I cannot help you now with words, to tell all that is in your hearts.

Time fails, and I trust to your memories to recall a group more familiar, in whose presence perhaps we would not be so oppressed, and yet a list of names that ought to be dear to Lexington. I think that in the wide, wide world no town of equal size has had so long a list of glorious dead; so many around whose memories a halo of glory gathers. Reverently I salute them all.

And so I leave the grave of my general and my friend, knowing that for centuries men will come to Lexington as a Mecca, and to this grave as a Shrine, and wonderingly talk of this man and his mighty deeds. I know that time will only add to his great fame. I know that his name will be honored and revered forever, just as I know that the beautiful river, flowing near by, will sing an unceasing requiem to his memory—just as I know that the proud mountains, like some vast chain of sentinels, will keep eternal watch over his honored grave.

1 The incident, it would appear, was reported to Dr. McGuire with something of misinformation. The point he makes as to General Jackson however is unaffected.

A most estimable citizen of Richmond, Va., Colonel Edwin L. Hobson (late colonel of the 5th Alabama Infantry, and who, at the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, was in command of Battle's Brigade), has given a different version to the editor. Its correctness is manifest, and will, it cannot be doubted, be gladly accepted by Dr. McGuire:

The occurrence was at the battle of South Mountain, September 14, 1862. Colonel, then Major, Hobson was in command of the 5th Alabama, Rodes' Brigade. Colonel John B. Gordon had been placed by General D. H. Hill, the division commander, to prevent a flank movement by the enemy. The enemy was steadily advancing on the line of Rodes, and at the distance of 100 yards menaced a charge. An officer, mounted on a white horse in front, was impetuously urging them onward.

The potent incitation was manifest to Major Hobson, and in the crisis, he felt the necessity of removing the officer. He at once selected skilled riflemen to “pick him off.” This was unerringly done, and at his fall the enemy hesitated, were checked, and the fortunes of the day changed.

Subsequently, and not long before the battle of Sharpsburg (some comment having been made on the sacrifice of the gallant officer), states Colonel Hobson, an officer from General Jackson came to him with the “compliments of General Jackson” and the message: “Tell Major Hobson I want the brave officers of the enemy killed off. Their death insures our success. Cowards are never in the front; they skulk or flee!”

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