Pocahontas County Civil War
At the start of the Civil War West Virginia was part of Virginia. West Virginia became a state, June 20, 1863, during the Civil War
With few slaves in the county and their energy committed to making a living in an isolated area, most of the 3,958 residents of Pocahontas County in 1861 probably didn't have time to get deeply involved in the issues that led to the tragic events of 1861-1865. However, once the Civil War began, most citizens gave their support to the Confederacy. But Pocahontas County sent sons to the armies of both sides.
With its isolated location high in the Alleghenies, Pocahontas County, then part of Virginia, seemed an unlikely focal point for action during the Civil War. However, the strategically important location of the Staunton-Petersburg Turnpike in the northern part of the county brought the opposing forces together for some of the first actions of the war in a campaign that began in May 1861 and ended the next spring. In the late summer of 1861, following actions to the west, Pocahontas County suddenly became the front line between the opposing forces. The activity in the Pocahontas area that fall and winter included a brief visit by Robert E. Lee; battles at Cheat Mountain, Bartow, and Top of Allegheny; and a miserable winter for troops of both armies stationed at the highest camps in elevation used during the war, Camp Allegheny
For the balance of the Civil War, the fighting was elsewhere and Pocahontas County saw only an occasional Federal raid against Confederate troops stationed in the county, such as the raid on the Confederate Supply Center in Huntersville in 1862, or the passage of troops whose objective was in another location. However, one of these troop movements, by a Union force in November 1863, resulted in the last significant Civil War battle being fought in the country at Droop Mountain. It was a Federal victory and helped ensure northern control of the new state. When the war ended in 1865, the people in Pocahontas County found themselves the citizens of a new state. The common need to get on with making a living brought those who had followed opposite allegiances in the war back together with a minimum of animosity.
Civil War artifacts can be found in the museum at Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park and in the Pocahontas County Historical Museum in Marlinton.
Pocahontas County Civil War Sites The map (below) shows the location of significant Civil War sites in Pocahontas County. All places of interest except Cheat Summit Fort, portions of Camp Allegheny, and Droop Mountain Battlefield are private lands. West Virginia state law requires a permit for excavation of any site that might contain human burials. Permission to traverse non-road areas will be necessary.
Note from George Shinaberry: It
will not be long before the blacks will be insisting we remove all
Memorials to all Confederate Generals or any other Confederate
Soldier. The blacks are trying to erase that part of history, which
is impossible, unless it benefits them. (welfare, government
handouts and etc) They were instrumental in getting the large
letters "Heart Of Dixie" removed from the Alabama Vehicle Tags. The
weren't successful in getting it completely removed. It
is now in a small heart on the plate. They tried to get the
Mississippi State Flag changed without success. Mississippians would
not fall for it. The more our stupid Politian's bow down to this
sort of thing the worse it is going to get. I just read that a black
mayor in Texas is trying to get a law passed that you can be fined
$500 for saying the word nigger."There Mr. Mayor I just typed
it. Is that the same as saying it?". What ever happened to our
Constitutional Right to free speech. It is my opinion they are
letting them go too far. Please understand am not a bigot, redneck
or racist. "There are Blacks and there are Niggers" I just believe enough is enough. If I was
a bigot, redneck or racist I would have
joined the KKK, The Aryan Nation or The Nation Alliance years ago, I do not believe in
any of them. Dr. William Pierce's National Alliance Headquarters is
at Mill Point, West Virginia. Dr. William Pierce passed away at the
headquarters on July 23, 2002. The headquarters is still located at
Please send any comments you may have to: firstname.lastname@example.org All comments are welcome. I would like some other thoughts on the subject.
From the Heart of Dixie,
Alabama State Flag
Mississippi State Flag
Adopted in 1895 resembles the Confederate Battle Adopted by the Mississippi Legislature in 1894.
Flag of Northern Virginia You will notice the image of the
Confederate Battle Flag at upper left
A white field is bordered in dark blue. West Virginia's flag displays a rock containing the date June 20, 1863, the day West Virginia became a state. The two men represent farming and mining. Below them are two rifles with a "Liberty Cap" on top the rifles. A banner ribbon includes the state motto " Mountainiers Are Always Free". Around the picture are a wreath of rhododendren and the name of the state on a red ribbon.
The state of West Virginia was a child of the factors which led to the Civil War. Shortly after Virginia's secession from the Union, Western Virginia adopted the Reorganization Ordinance of June l9, l861. By the time of its split with Virginia, West Virginia had already become a battle ground. The first land battle of the Civil War was fought in West Virginia. None of the battles here had the excessive casualties which characterized engagements in Virginia and Tennessee. The campaigns conducted here attempted to disrupt enemy communications and supplies rather than destroy armies. This led to a series of actions which emphasized movement and fortification. As a result, many towns in West Virginia changed hands dozens of times.
Campaigning in the hilly, heavily wooded terrain of West Virginia was a difficult proposition. The poverty of the land combined with the difficulty in maintaining supply lines necessarily kept opposing armies small. Troops suffered from the harsh climatic conditions as well as disease. As with most campaigns of the 19 th century, far more soldiers were lost to disease than fell in battle.
Veterans would recall the physical hardships endured in the mountain campaigns as the worst of the war. The following quote by Walter Taylor, aide-de-camp to R.E. Lee, typifies the West Virginia mountain campaigns.
"In subsequent campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia the troops were subject to great privations and to many severe trials-in hunger often their nakedness scarcely concealed; strength at times almost exhausted-but never did I experience the same heart-sinking emotions as when contemplating the wan faces and emaciated forms of those hungry, sickly, shivering men of the Army of Valley Mountain.
The 1861-1863 campaigns emphasized the control of a few turnpikes and railroad. Forts, battlefields, and encampments included in this tour relate to control of these vital transportation and communication arteries.
The campaigns in West Virginia built the reputations of many individuals who would later become leading figures in the war. Robert E. Lee would become the head of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. George B. McClellan would command the Union Army of the Potomac as a result of his victory at Rich Mountain. W.S. Rosecrans would eventually command the Union Army of the Cumberland. Two future presidents of the United States (W. McKinley and R. Hayes) participated in the West Virginia campaigns.
As the focus of the war moved to other areas the major concentrations of troops in West Virginia departed. However, minor engagements and guerrilla activity continued. The terrain is uniquely favorable to this kind of warfare. Confederate guerrillas, called "partisans" or "bushwhackers" depending upon one's point of view, conducted and effective campaign of harassment throughout the area. Union troops were kept off balance responding to raids of these groups who were often joined on larger raids by regular Confederate forces.
Note: One of the last Confederate Generals to surrender was General Stanwaite, a full blooded Cherokee Indian.Note: Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson was born and grew up in Clarksburg in what is now the state of West Virginia. Until 1863, this area was part of Virginia.
Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (January 21, 1824 – May 10, 1863) was a Confederate general during the American Civil War. He is most famous for his audacious Valley Campaign of 1862 and as a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee. His own troops accidentally shot him at the battle of Chancellorsville and he died of complications from an amputated arm and pneumonia several days later.
Military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in United States history. His Valley Campaign and his envelopment of the Union Army right wing at Chancellorsville are studied worldwide even today as examples of innovative and bold leadership. He excelled as well at the First Battle of Bull Run (where he received his famous nickname), Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. Jackson was not universally successful as a commander, however, as displayed by his weak and confused efforts during the Seven Days Battles around Richmond in 1862. His death was a severe setback for the Confederacy, affecting not only its military prospects, but the morale of its army and the general public; as Jackson lay dying, General Robert E. Lee stated, "He has lost his left arm; I have lost my right."
Thomas Jonathan Jackson was of Scots-Irish descent, and the great-grandson of John Jackson and Elizabeth Cummins.
John Jackson was born in Coleraine, County Londonderry, in Northern Ireland. He emigrated to the Province of Maryland in 1748 and moved to the Colony and Dominion of Virginia in 1758. He participated in the American Revolutionary War, fighting in the Battle of Kings Mountain on October 7, 1780. He was a lieutenant of the Virginia Militia after 1787. Elizabeth was born in London and raised by an unwed aunt. She was her aunt's only heir, inheriting one thousand pounds sterling. She used this sum to emigrate to Maryland and buy 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares) of land. She is said to have successfully defended her land from attacks by Indians.
John and Elizabeth had four children. Their second son was Edward Jackson (March 1, 1759 – December 25, 1828), and Edward's third son was Jonathan Jackson, Thomas' father.
Thomas Jackson was the third child of Julia Beckwith (née Neale) Jackson (1798 – 1831) and Jonathan Jackson (1790 – 1826), an attorney. Both of Jackson's parents were natives of Virginia. The family already had two young children and were living in Clarksburg, in what is now West Virginia. This is where their third child, Thomas, was born. He was named for his maternal grandfather.
Two years later, Jackson's father and sister Elizabeth (age six) died of typhoid fever. Jackson's mother gave birth to Thomas's sister Laura Ann the next day. Julia Jackson thus was widowed at 28 and was left with much debt and three young children (including the newborn). She sold the family's possessions to pay the debts. She declined family charity and moved into a small rented one-room house. Julia took in sewing and taught school to support herself and her three young children for about four years.
In 1830, Julia Neale Jackson remarried. Her new husband, Blake Woodson an attorney, did not like his stepchildren. There were continuing financial problems. The following year, after giving birth to Thomas's half-brother, she died of complications, leaving her three older children orphaned. Julia was buried in an unmarked grave in a homemade coffin in Westlake Cemetery along the James River and Kanawha Turnpike in Fayette County within the corporate limits of present-day Ansted, West Virginia.
Jackson was seven years old when his mother died. He and his sister Laura Ann were sent to live with their paternal uncle, Cummins Jackson, who owned a grist mill in Jackson's Mill (near present-day Weston in Lewis County in central West Virginia). Cummins Jackson was strict with Thomas, who looked up to Cummins as a schoolteacher. His older brother, Warren, went to live with other relatives on his mother's side of the family, but he later died of tuberculosis in 1841 at the age of 20.
Jackson helped around his uncle's farm, tending sheep with the assistance of a sheepdog, driving teams of oxen and helping harvest the fields of wheat and corn. Formal education was not easily obtained, but he attended school when and where he could. Much of Jackson's education was self-taught. He would often sit up at night reading by the flickering light of burning pine knots. The story is told that Thomas once made a deal with one of his uncle's slaves to provide him with pine knots in exchange for reading lessons. This was in violation of a law in Virginia that forbade teaching a slave to read or write which had been enacted following the infamous and bloody Nat Turner incident in Southampton County. Nevertheless, Jackson secretly taught the slave to read, as he had promised. In his later years at Jackson's Mill, Thomas was a schoolteacher.
In 1842, Jackson was accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Because of his inadequate schooling, he had difficulty with the entrance examinations and began his studies at the bottom of his class. As a student, he had to work harder than most cadets to absorb lessons. However, displaying a dogged determination that was to characterize his life, he became one of the hardest working cadets in the academy. Thomas Jackson graduated 17th out of 59 students in the Class of 1846. It was said by his peers that if they had stayed there another year, he would have graduated first.
Jackson began his U.S. Army career as a brevet second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Artillery Regiment and was sent to fight in the Mexican-American War from 1846 to 1848. Again, his unusual strength of character emerged. During the assault on Chapultepec Castle, he refused what he felt was a "bad order" to withdraw his troops. Confronted by his superior, he explained his rationale, claiming withdrawal was more hazardous than continuing his overmatched artillery duel. His judgment proved correct, and a relieving brigade was able to exploit the advantage Jackson had broached. In contrast, he obeyed what he also felt was a "bad order" when he raked a civilian throng with artillery fire after the Mexican authorities failed to surrender Mexico City at the hour demanded by the U.S. forces. The former episode, and later aggressive action against the retreating Mexican army, earned him field promotion to the brevet rank of major.
He served at the Siege of Veracruz and the battles of Contreras, Chapultepec, and Mexico City, eventually earning two brevet promotions. It was in Mexico that Jackson first met Robert E. Lee.
In the spring of 1851, Thomas Jackson accepted a newly created teaching position at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), in Lexington, Virginia. He became Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Instructor of Artillery. Jackson's teachings are still used at VMI today because they are military essentials that are timeless, to wit: discipline, mobility, assessing the enemy's strength and intentions while attempting to conceal your own, and the efficacy of artillery combined with an infantry assault. However, despite the quality of his work, he was not popular as a teacher. The students mocked his apparently stern, religious nature and his eccentric traits. In 1856, a group of alumni attempted to have Jackson removed from his position.
Little as he was known to the white inhabitants of Lexington, Jackson was revered by many of the African-Americans in town, both slave and free. He was instrumental in the organization in 1855 of Sunday school classes for blacks at the Presbyterian Church. Mary Anna Jackson taught with Jackson, as "he preferred that my labors should be given to the colored children, believing that it was more important and useful to put the strong hand of the Gospel under the ignorant African race, to lift them up." The pastor, Dr. William Spottswood White, described the relationship between Jackson and his Sunday afternoon students: "In their religious instruction he succeeded wonderfully. His discipline was systematic and firm, but very kind. ... His servants reverenced and loved him, as they would have done a brother or father. ... He was emphatically the black man's friend." He addressed his students by name and they in turn referred to him affectionately as "Marse Major."
Jackson's family owned six slaves in the late 1850s. Three (Hetty, Cyrus, and George, a mother and two teenage sons) were received as a wedding present. Albert requested that Jackson purchase him and allow him to work for his freedom; he was employed as a waiter in one of the Lexington hotels and Jackson rented him to VMI. Amy also requested that Jackson purchase her from a public auction and she served the family as a cook and housekeeper. The sixth, Emma, was a four-year-old orphan with a learning disability, accepted by Jackson from an aged widow and presented to his second wife, Anna, as a welcome-home gift. After the war began, he appears to have hired out or sold his slaves. Mary Anna Jackson, in her 1895 memoir, said, "our servants . . . without the firm guidance and restraint of their master, the excitement of the times proved so demoralizing to them that he deemed it best for me to provide them with good homes among the permanent residents."
Jackson neither apologized for nor spoke in favor of the practice of slavery. He probably opposed the institution. Yet in his mind the Creator had sanctioned slavery, and man had no moral right to challenge its existence. The good Christian slaveholder was one who treated his servants fairly and humanely at all times.
While an instructor at VMI, in 1853, Thomas Jackson married Elinor "Ellie" Junkin, whose father was president of Washington College (later Washington and Lee University) in Lexington. An addition was built onto the president's residence for the Jacksons, and when Robert E. Lee became president of Washington College he lived in the same home, now known as the Lee-Jackson House. Ellie died during childbirth and the child, a son, died immediately afterward.
After a tour of Europe, Jackson married again, in 1857. Mary Anna Morrison was from North Carolina, where her father was the first president of Davidson College. They had a daughter named Mary Graham on April 30, 1858, but the baby died less than a month later. Another daughter was born in 1862, shortly before her father's death. The Jacksons named her Julia Laura, after his mother and sister. Jackson purchased the only house he ever owned while in Lexington. Built in 1801, this brick town house at 8 East Washington St., was purchased by Jackson in 1859 where he lived for two years before being called to serve in the Confederacy. Jackson was never to return home.
In November 1859, at the request of the governor of Virginia, Major William Gilham led a contingent of the VMI Cadet Corps to Charles Town to provide an additional military presence at the execution by hanging on December 2, 1859 of militant abolitionist John Brown following his raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Major Jackson was placed in command of the artillery, consisting of two howitzers manned by 21 cadets.
In 1861, as the American Civil War broke out, Jackson became a drill master for some of the many new recruits in the Confederate Army. On April 27, 1861, Virginia Governor John Letcher ordered Colonel Jackson to take command at Harpers Ferry, where he would assemble and command the famous "Stonewall Brigade", consisting of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th, and 33rd Virginia Infantry regiments. All of these units were from the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. He was promoted to brigadier general on June 17.
Jackson rose to prominence and earned his most famous nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run (known by Southerners as First Manassas) in July 1861. As the Confederate lines began to crumble under heavy Union assault, Jackson's brigade provided crucial reinforcements on Henry House Hill. Brig. Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee, Jr., exhorted his own troops to re-form by shouting, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Follow me." There is some controversy over Bee's statement and intent, which could not be clarified because he was killed almost immediately after speaking and none of his subordinate officers wrote reports of the battle. Major Burnett Rhett, chief of staff to General Joseph E. Johnston, claimed that Bee was angry at Jackson's failure to come immediately to the relief of Bee's and Bartow's brigades while they were under heavy pressure. Those who subscribe to this opinion believe that Bee's statement was meant to be pejorative: "Look at Jackson standing there like a damned stone wall!" Regardless of the controversy and the delay in relieving Bee, Jackson's brigade, which would henceforth be known as the Stonewall Brigade, stopped the Union assault and suffered more casualties than any other Southern brigade that day. After the battle, Jackson was promoted to major general (October 7, 1861) and given command of the Valley District, with headquarters in Winchester.
In the spring of 1862, Union Major General George B. McClellan's massive Army of the Potomac was approaching Richmond from the southeast in the Peninsula Campaign, Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell's large corps was poised to hit Richmond from the north, and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's army was threatening the Shenandoah Valley. Jackson was ordered by Richmond to operate in the Valley to defeat Banks's threat and prevent McDowell's troops from reinforcing McClellan.
Jackson possessed the attributes to succeed against his poorly coordinated and sometimes timid opponents: a combination of great audacity, excellent knowledge and shrewd use of the terrain, and the ability to inspire his troops to great feats of marching and fighting.
The campaign started with a tactical defeat at Kernstown on March 23, 1862, when faulty intelligence led him to believe he was attacking a much smaller force than was actually present, but it was a strategic victory for the Confederacy, forcing President Abraham Lincoln to keep Banks's forces in the Valley and McDowell's 30,000-man corps near Fredericksburg, subtracting about 50,000 soldiers from McClellan's invasion force. In addition, it was Jackson's only defeat in the Valley.
By adding Maj. Gen. Richard S. Ewell's large division and Maj. Gen. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson's small division, Jackson increased his army to 17,000 men. He was still significantly outnumbered, but attacked portions of his divided enemy individually at McDowell, defeating both Brig. Gens. Robert H. Milroy and Robert C. Schenck. He defeated Banks at Front Royal and Winchester, ejecting him from the Valley. Lincoln decided that the defeat of Jackson was an immediate priority (even though Jackson's orders were solely to keep Union forces occupied away from Richmond). They ordered Irvin McDowell to send 20,000 men to Front Royal and Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont to move to Harrisonburg. If both forces could converge at Strasburg, Jackson's only escape route up the Valley would be cut.
After a series of maneuvers, Jackson defeated Frémont at Cross Keys and Brig. Gen. James Shields at Port Republic on June 8 and June 9. Union forces were withdrawn from the Valley.
It had been a classic military campaign of surprise and maneuver. Jackson pressed his army to travel 646 miles in 48 days of marching and won five significant victories with a force of about 17,000 against a combined force of 60,000. Stonewall Jackson's reputation for moving his troops so rapidly earned them the oxymoronic nickname "foot cavalry". He became the most celebrated soldier in the Confederacy (until he was eventually eclipsed by Lee) and lifted the morale of the Southern public.
McClellan's Peninsula Campaign toward Richmond stalled at the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31 and June 1. After the Valley Campaign ended in mid-June, Jackson and his troops were called to join Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia in defense of the capital. By utilizing a railroad tunnel under the Blue Ridge Mountains and then transporting troops to Hanover County on the Virginia Central Railroad, Jackson and his forces made a surprise appearance in front of McClellan at Mechanicsville. Reports had last placed Jackson's forces in the Shenandoah Valley; their presence near Richmond added greatly to the Union commander's overestimation of the strength and numbers of the forces before him. This proved a crucial factor in McClellan's decision to re-establish his base at a point many miles downstream from Richmond on the James River at Harrison's Landing, essentially a retreat that ended the Peninsula Campaign and prolonged the war almost three more years.
Jackson's troops served well under Lee in the series of battles known as the Seven Days Battles, but Jackson's own performance in those battles is generally considered to be poor. He arrived late at Mechanicsville and inexplicably ordered his men to bivouac for the night within clear earshot of the battle. He was late and disoriented at Gaines' Mill. He was late again at Savage's Station, and at White Oak Swamp, he failed to employ fording places to cross White Oak Swamp Creek, attempting for hours to rebuild a bridge, which limited his involvement to an ineffectual artillery duel and a missed opportunity. At Malvern Hill, Jackson participated in the futile, piecemeal frontal assaults against entrenched Union infantry and massed artillery and suffered heavy casualties, but this was a problem for all of Lee's army in that ill-considered battle. The reasons for Jackson's sluggish and poorly coordinated actions during the Seven Days are disputed, although a severe lack of sleep after the grueling march and railroad trip from the Shenandoah Valley was probably a significant factor. Both Jackson and his troops were completely exhausted.
Jackson was now a corps commander under Lee. At the Second Battle of Bull Run (or the Second Battle of Manassas in the South), he made an aggressive flanking march that seized a supply depot in the Union rear, provoking an attack from Maj. Gen. John Pope. Pope's army was defeated and retreated to Washington, another Union defeat on the same ground as in 1861. When Lee decided to invade the North in the Maryland Campaign, Jackson took Harpers Ferry, then hastened to join the rest of the army at Sharpsburg, Maryland, where they fought McClellan in the Battle of Antietam. The Confederate forces held their position, but the battle was extremely bloody for both sides, and Lee withdrew the Army of Northern Virginia back across the Potomac River, ending the invasion. After the Invasion, Jackson was promoted to lieutenant general and made commander of the Second Corps. Before the armies camped for winter, Jackson's Second Corps held off a strong Union assault against the right flank of the Confederate line at the Battle of Fredericksburg in what became a decisive Confederate victory.
At the Battle of Chancellorsville, the Army of Northern Virginia was faced with a serious threat by the Army of the Potomac and its new commanding general, Major General Joseph Hooker. General Lee decided to employ a risky tactic to take the initiative and offensive away from Hooker's new southern thrust—he decided to divide his forces. Jackson and his entire corps were sent on an aggressive flanking maneuver to the right of the Union lines. This flanking movement would be one of the most successful and dramatic of the war. While riding with his infantry in a wide berth well south and west of the Federal line of battle, Jackson employed Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry to provide for better reconnaissance in regards to the exact location of the Union right and rear. The results were far better than even Jackson could have hoped. Lee found the entire right side of the Federal lines in the middle of open field, guarded merely by two guns that faced westward, as well as the supplies and rear encampments. The men were eating and playing games in carefree fashion, completely unaware that an entire Confederate corps was less than a mile away. What happened next is given in Lee's own words:
So impressed was I with my discovery, that I rode rapidly back to the point on the Plank road where I had left my cavalry, and back down the road Jackson was moving, until I met "Stonewall" himself. "General," said I, "if you will ride with me, halting your column here, out of sight, I will show you the enemy's right, and you will perceive the great advantage of attacking down the Old turnpike instead of the Plank road, the enemy's lines being taken in reverse. Bring only one courier, as you will be in view from the top of the hill." Jackson assented, and I rapidly conducted him to the point of observation. There had been no change in the picture.
I only knew Jackson slightly. I watched him closely as he gazed upon Howard's troops. It was then about 2 P.M. His eyes burned with a brilliant glow, lighting up a sad face. His expression was one of intense interest, his face was colored slightly with the paint of approaching battle, and radiant at the success of his flank movement. To the remarks made to him while the unconscious line of blue was pointed out, he did not reply once during the five minutes he was on the hill, and yet his lips were moving. From what I have read and heard of Jackson since that day, I know now what he was doing then. Oh! "beware of rashness," General Hooker. Stonewall Jackson is praying in full view and in rear of your right flank! While talking to the Great God of Battles, how could he hear what a poor cavalryman was saying. "Tell General Rodes," said he, suddenly whirling his horse towards the courier, "to move across the Old plank road; halt when he gets to the Old turnpike, and I will join him there." One more look upon the Federal lines, and then he rode rapidly down the hill, his arms flapping to the motion of his horse, over whose head it seemed, good rider as he was, he would certainly go. I expected to be told I had made a valuable personal reconnaissance—saving the lives of many soldiers, and that Jackson was indebted to me to that amount at least. Perhaps I might have been a little chagrined at Jackson's silence, and hence commented inwardly and adversely upon his horsemanship. Alas! I had looked upon him for the last time.
—Fitzhugh Lee, address to the Association of the Army of Northern Virginia, 1879
Jackson immediately returned to his corps and arranged his divisions into a line of battle to charge directly into the oblivious Federal right. The Confederates marched silently until they were merely several hundred feet from the Union position, then released a bloodthirsty cry and full charge. Many of the Federals were captured without a shot fired, the rest were driven into a full rout. Jackson pursued relentlessly back toward the center of the Federal line until dusk.
Darkness ended the assault. As Jackson and his staff were returning to camp on May 2, they were mistaken for a Union cavalry force by a Confederate North Carolina regiment who shouted, "Halt, who goes there?," but fired before evaluating the reply. Jackson was hit by three bullets, two in the left arm and one in the right hand. Several other men in his staff were killed in addition to many horses. Darkness and confusion prevented Jackson getting immediate care. He was dropped from his stretcher while being evacuated because of incoming artillery rounds. Because of his injuries, Jackson's left arm had to be amputated by Dr. Hunter McGuire. Jackson was moved to Thomas C. Chandler's 740-acre plantation named "Fairfield." He was offered Chandler's home for recovery, but Jackson refused and suggested using Chandler's plantation office building instead. He was thought to be out of harm's way, but unknown to the doctors, he already had classic symptoms of pneumonia, complaining of a sore chest. This soreness was mistakenly thought to be the result of his rough handling in the battlefield evacuation. Jackson died of complications of pneumonia on May 10. In his delirium, his dying words were, "Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade of the trees." His body was moved to the Governor's Mansion in Richmond for the public to mourn, and he was then moved to be buried in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia. However, the arm that was amputated on May 2 was buried separately by Jackson's chaplain, at the J. Horace Lacy house, "Ellwood", in the Wilderness of Spotsylvania County, near the field hospital.
Upon hearing of Jackson's death, Robert E. Lee mourned the loss of both a friend and a trusted commander. The night Lee learned of Jackson's death, he told his cook, "William, I have lost my right arm" (deliberately in contrast to Jackson's left arm) and "I'm bleeding at the heart."
Jackson is considered one of the great characters of the Civil War. He was profoundly religious, a deacon in the Presbyterian Church. He disliked fighting on Sunday, though that did not stop him from doing so. He loved his wife very much and sent her tender letters.
Jackson often wore old, worn-out clothes rather than a fancy uniform, and often looked more like a moth-eaten private than a corps commander. In direct contrast to Lee, Jackson was not a striking figure, particularly since he was not a good horseman and, therefore, rode a staid, dependable horse, rather than a spirited stallion.
A recurring story concerns his love of lemons, which he allegedly gnawed whole to alleviate symptoms of dyspepsia. However, recent research has found that none of his contemporaries recorded any unusual lemon habits and Jackson thought of a lemon as a "rare treat ... enjoyed greatly whenever it could obtained from the enemy's camp". He was fond of all fruits, particularly peaches. He held a lifelong belief that one of his arms was longer than the other, and thus usually held the "longer" arm up to equalize his circulation. He was described as a "champion sleeper", even falling asleep with food in his mouth occasionally. He also became noted throughout the Confederate Army for leading his troops in complete circles. It has often been hypothesized that Jackson had Asperger syndrome, for which he is a prime example.
In command, Jackson was extremely secretive about his plans and extremely punctilious about military discipline. This secretive nature did not stand him in good stead with his subordinates, who were often not aware of his overall operational intentions and complained of being left out of key decisions.
The South mourned his death; he was greatly admired there. A poem penned by one of his soldiers soon became a very popular song, "Stonewall Jackson's Way." Many theorists through the years have postulated that if Jackson had lived, Lee might have prevailed at Gettysburg. Certainly Jackson's iron discipline and brilliant tactical sense were sorely missed, and might well have carried an extremely close-fought battle. He is buried at Lexington, Virginia, near VMI, in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. He is memorialized on Georgia's Stone Mountain, in Richmond on historic Monument Avenue, and in many other places.
Lee could trust Jackson with deliberately non-detailed orders that conveyed Lee's overall objectives, what modern doctrine calls the "end state." This was because Jackson had a talent for understanding Lee's sometimes unstated goals and Lee trusted Jackson with the ability to take whatever actions were necessary to implement his end state requirements. Many of Lee's subsequent corps commanders did not have this disposition. At Gettysburg, this resulted in lost opportunities. Thus, after the Federals retreated to the heights south of town, Lee sent one of his new corps commanders, Richard S. Ewell, discretionary orders that the heights (Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill) be taken "if practicable." Without Jackson's intuitive grasp of Lee's orders and the intuition to take advantage of sudden tactical opportunities, Ewell chose not to attempt the assault, and this failure is considered by historians to be the greatest missed opportunity of the battle.
After the war, Jackson's wife and young daughter Julia moved from Lexington to North Carolina. Mary Anna Jackson wrote two books about her husband's life, including some of his letters. She never remarried, and was known as the "Widow of the Confederacy", living until 1915. His daughter Julia married, and bore children, but she died of typhoid fever at the age of 26 years.
A former Confederate soldier who admired Jackson, Captain Thomas R. Ranson of Staunton, Virginia, also remembered the tragic life of Jackson's mother. Years after the War, he went to the tiny mountain hamlet of Ansted in Fayette County, West Virginia, and had a marble marker placed over the unmarked grave of Julia Neale Jackson in Westlake Cemetery, to make sure that the site was not lost forever.
West Virginia's Stonewall Jackson State Park is named in his honor. Nearby, at Stonewall Jackson's historical childhood home, his Uncle's grist mill is the centerpiece of a historical site at the Jackson's Mill Center for Lifelong Learning and State 4-H Camp. The facility, located near Weston, serves as a special campus for West Virginia University and the WVU Extension Service.
The United States Navy submarine U.S.S. Stonewall Jackson (SSBN 634), commissioned in 1964, was named for him. The words "Strength—Mobility" are emblazoned on the ship's banner, words taken from letters written by General Jackson. It was the third U.S. Navy ship named for him. The submarine was decommissioned in 1995. During World War II, the Navy named a Liberty ship the SS T.J. Jackson in his honor.
The state of Virginia honors Jackson's birthday on Lee-Jackson Day, a state holiday observed as such since 1904. It is currently observed on the Friday preceding the third Monday in January.
Stonewall Jackson appears on the CSA $500 bill (7th Issue, February 17, 1864).
Jackson is featured prominently in the novel and film Gods and Generals. In the film, he is portrayed by Stephen Lang. Robert Duvall played Robert E. Lee in the film.
Email to contact us is:
©All rights reserved. No content of this web sit can be used without written permission from the owners