Recollections of Stonewall Jackson.The "Life of Gen. Thos. J. Jackson," by Major John Esten Cooke, will be read with the deepest interest. It abounds in anecdotes of the great here, which show glimpses of the inner man which no dissertation on his character could convey to the public. "Mystery, mystery is the secret of success," was an expression used by Gen. Jackson very often, and the people can never be tired reading even the slightest unveiling of this mysterious man, whom they almost worshiped. We make several extracts from the work before us, and regret that we have not space for more:
Jackson at Kernstown.At Kernstown, when a portion of his line gave back before the overwhelming numbers assailing it, he took his stand close to the enemy, amid a storm of bullets, called to a drummer boy, and, placing his hand firmly upon the boy's shoulder, said in his brief, curt tones, " Beat the rally!" The rally was beaten, Jackson remained by the drummer's side, holding him to his work with the inexorable hand upon the shoulder, the rally continued to roll, and the line was speedily reformed.
His Parting with the old Stonewall Brigade.After the first battle of Manassas, when Gen. Jackson was ordered to the Valley, his old brigade was left behind with the Army of Northern Virginia. On the 4th of October he took leave of it. The historian says: ‘ On that day Jackson took leave of his old "First Brigade." The officers and men were drawn up as though in line of battle, and their commander appeared in front, as he had so often appeared before when about to give the order for a charge upon the enemy. But now no enthusiasm, no cheers awaited him. All knew for what purpose he came, and the sorrow which filled every heart betrayed itself in the deep silence which greeted his approach. Not a sound along the line, not a hand raised in greeting, not a murmur even going to show that they recognized their beloved captain. The bronzed faces were full of the deepest dejection, and the stern fighters of the old brigade were like children about to be separated from their father. Jackson approached, and, mastering his emotion by an effort, said in the short, abrupt tones with which all were so familiar: ’ ‘ "I am not here to make a speech, but simply to say farewell. I first met you at Harper's Ferry in the commencement of this war, and I cannot take leave of you without giving expression to my admiration of your conduct from that day to this — whether on the march, the bivouac, the tented field, or on the bloody plains of Manassas, where you gained the well-deserved reputation of having decided the fate of the battle. Throughout the broad extent of country over which you have marched, by your respect for the rights and the property of citizens, you have shown that you were soldiers, not only to defend, but able and willing both to defend and protect. You have already gained a brilliant and deservedly high reputation throughout the army of the whole Confederacy, and I trust, in the future, by your deeds on the field, and by the assistance of the same kind Providence who has heretofore favored our cause, you will gain more victories and add additional lustre to the reputation you now enjoy. You have already gained a proud position in the future history of this our second war of independence. I shall look with great anxiety to your future movements, and I trust whenever I shall hear of the First Brigade on the field of battle it will be of still nobler deeds achieved and higher reputation won!" ’ Having uttered these words, Jackson paused for an instant, and his eye passed slowly along the line, as though he wished thus to bid farewell individually to every old familiar face, so often seen in the heat of battle, and so dear to him. The thoughts which crowded upon him seemed more than he could bear — he could not leave them with such formal words only — and that iron lip which had never trembled in the hour of deadliest peril now quivered. Mastered by an uncontrollable impulse, the great soldier rose, in his stirrups, threw the reins on the neck of his horse with an emphasis which sent a thrill through every heart, and, extending his arm, added in tones of the deepest feeling: ‘ "In the army of the Shenandoah you were the First Brigade! In the army of the Potomac you were the First Brigade! In the second corps of the army you are the First Brigade! You are the First Brigade in the affections of your General; and I hope by your future deeds and bearing you will be handed down to posterity as the First Brigade in this our second war of independence. Farewell!" ’ As the last words echoed in their ears, and Jackson turned to leave them, the long pent up feeling burst forth. Three prolonged and deafening cheers rolled along the line of the old brigade; and no sooner had they died away than they were renewed, and again renewed. The calm face of the great leader flushed as the listened to that sound, but he did not speak. Waving his hand in token of farewell he galloped away, and the old brigade deprived of its beloved chief returned slowly and sorrowfully to camp.
Jackson's opinion of an advance into the enemy's country.Long before Jackson had written to a friend, who was the recipient of his most private feelings: "I am cordially with you in favor of carrying the war north of the Potomac." It would appear that, from the beginning of his military career, he had looked forward to an invasion of the enemy's territory as the only certain means of bringing the war to an end; and, if his abruptly-terminated campaign toward Romney in January be attentively studied, it will leave the impression that even then, with the great force in front of him, he believed that greater results would be achieved by a forward movement and a transfer of hostilities to the region beyond the Potomac, than by falling back and yielding possession of the Valley, to be overrun and plundered by the enemy. To advance seems, indeed, to have been the prime maxim of this great man's military philosophy — to strike the foe, without waiting to be struck by him — to make him feel the horrors of war amid his own homes, and thus impressing upon the people of the North the atrocious nature of the contest, compel an early peace.
A picture of the great leader.He wore an old sun-embrowned coat, of gray cloth, originally a very plain one, and now almost out at elbows. To call it sun-embrowned, however, is scarcely to convey an adequate idea of the extent of its discoloration. It had that dingy hue, the result of exposure to rain and snow and scorching sunshine, which is so unmistakable. It was plain that the General had often stretched his weary form upon the bare ground, and slept in the old coat; and it seemed to have brought away with it no little of the dust of the Valley. A holiday soldier would have disdained to wear such a garb; but the men of the Old Stonewall Brigade, with their brave comrades of the corps, loved that coat, and admired it and its owner more than all the holiday uniforms and holiday warriors in the world. The remainder of the General's costume was as much discolored as the coat — he wore cavalry boots reaching to the knee, and his head was surmounted by an old cap, more faded than all; the sun had turned it quite yellow indeed, and it tilted forward so far over the wearer's forehead that he was compelled to raise his chin in the air in order to look under the rim. His horse was not a "fiery steed," pawing, and ready to dart forward at "the thunder of the Captains and the shouting,"but an old raw-boned sorrel, gaunt and grim — a horse of astonishing equanimity, who seemed to give himself no concern on any subject, and calmly moved about, like his master, careless of cannon ball of bullet, in the hottest moments of battle.
The Hero among children.The children of the house, and in the neighborhood, (Caroline county,) will long remember the kind voice and smile of the great soldier — his caresses and affectionate ways. A new military cap had been sent him just before the battle of Fredericksburg which was resplendent with gold braid and all manner of decorations. Gen. Jackson did not admire this fine substitute for that old, sun-scorched head-covering which had so long served him; and when, one day, a little girl was standing at his knee, looking up from her clustering curls at the kindly General, whose hand was caressing her hair, he found a better use for the fine gold braid around the cap. He called for a pair of scissors, ripped it off, and joining the ends, placed it like a coronet upon her head, with smiles and evident admiration of the pretty picture thus presented. Another little girl, in one of the hospitable houses of that region, told the present writer that when she expressed to a gentleman her wish to kiss Gen. Jackson, and the gentleman repeated her words, the General blushed very much and turned away with a slight laugh as if he was confused. These are trifles, let us agree, good reader; but is it not a pleasant spectacle to see the great soldier amid these kindly, simple scenes — to watch the stern and indomitable leader, whose soul has never shrunk in the hour of deadliest peril, passing happy moments in the society of laughing children? At the first battle of Manassas, while Jackson's wound was being dressed, some one said "Here come's the President." He threw aside the surgeons, rose suddenly to his feet, and whirling his old cap around his head, cried, with the fire of battle in his eye, "Hurrah for the President! Give me ten thousand men and I'll be in Washington to-night!" It was the same man who blushed when a child expressed a wish to kiss him.
His Recollection of the Stonewall Brigade.During the ride to Guinea's, (after his wounds,) he had maintained his serene and cheerful bearing, and talked much in reference to the battle of Saturday. He spoke of the gallant bearing of Gen. Rodes, and said that his commission as Major-General ought to date from that day, and of the grand charge of the old Stonewall Brigade in the battle of Sunday, which he had heard of. He asked after all his officers, and said: ‘ "The men who live through this war will be proud to say, 'I was one of the Stonewall Brigade!' to their children." ’ With that grand modesty which ever characterized him he hastened, however, to guard this declaration even from the appearance of egotism, and earnestly declared that the name of "Stonewall" did not belong to him--it was the name given to his old brigade, and their property alone.
The last Scene of all — his death.On Thursday evening all pain had ceased; but a mortal prostration came on, from which he never recovered. He still conversed feebly, and said: ‘ "I consider these wounds a blessing; they were given me for some good and wise purpose, and I would not part with them if I could." ’ From this time he continued to sink, and on Sunday morning it was obvious that he could only live a few hours longer. His mind was still clear, however, and he asked Major Pendleton, his Adjutant General, "who was preaching at headquarters on that day?" Mrs. Jackson was with him during his last moments, and conversed with him fully and freely. She informed him that he was about to die, and his reply was: ‘ "Very good, very good; it is all right!" ’ He then sent messages to all his friends, the Generals and others, and murmured in a low voice his wish to be buried in "Lexington, in the Valley of Virginia." His mind then began to wander, and that delirium which seizes upon the most powerful minds, the most vigorous brains, at the mysterious moment, when the last sands fall from the glass, began to affect him. He gave orders to the commissary of his corps, the surgeons, and the commanders. Among the last words which escaped his lips were, "A. P. Hill, prepare for action!" After this he speedily sank, and at fifteen minutes past three in the evening he tranquilly expired.
Jackson said of Lee, "He is a phenomenon. I would follow him blindfolded. " The regret of General Lee at this deplorable event (the wounding of Jackson) was indeed poignant. The soul of the great commander was moved to its depths, and he who had so long learned to conceal emotion could not control his anguish. "Jackson will not—he cannot die!" General Lee exclaimed, in a broken voice, waving every one from him with his hand--"he cannot die!"