General Stonewall Jackson

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General Stonewall Jackson

Timeline, Questions and Answers, Virginia, Civil War and Death

Stonewall Jackson Timeline

1824 January 21

Thomas Jonathan Jackson was born at Clarksburg, [West] Virginia.

Parents: Jonathan Jackson (1790-1826) an attorney, and Julia Beckwith Neale (1798-1831). They were married in September 1817 and had four children: Elizabeth (1819-1826); Warren (1821-1841); Thomas (1824-1863), and Laura Ann (1826-1911).

           

1826 March

Jackson's sister Elizabeth (age 6) and his father died of typhoid fever. Julia Jackson gave birth to Laura the day after her husband died. Widowed at age 28, Julia was left with extensive debts and the family was impoverished.

           

1830-1841

Julia Jackson remarried. Her new husband, Blake Woodson, disliked his stepchildren and the family had financial difficulties. A short time after the marriage, Thomas and Laura were sent to live with Jackson relatives in Jackson's Mill [West] Virginia; Warren was sent to Neale relatives. Julia Jackson died, as a result of childbirth complications, on Dec. 4, 1831. She left behind the three Jackson siblings and a newborn son (Thomas's half brother), William Wirt Woodson (1831-1875). Jackson and Laura spent the remaining years of childhood with their paternal uncles. Jackson's brother, Warren, died of tuberculosis in 1841.

           

1842 June-1846 June

Jackson attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. Jackson was not the first choice for his congressional district's appointment, but the top applicant withdrew from the academy after only one day. Jackson graduated in June 1846, standing 17th out of 59 graduates. Jackson began his U.S. Army career as a 2nd Lt., First Artillery Regiment. In 1844, Jackson's beloved sister, Laura, married Jonathan Arnold.

           

1846-1851

United States Army officer. Served in the Mexican War, 1846-1848; stationed at Carlisle Barracks, PA; Ft. Hamilton, NY; Ft. Meade, FL.

           

1851-1861 April

In the spring of 1851 Jackson was offered and accepted the appointment to teach at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia; he resigned from the army.

Reported for duty at VMI on August 13, 1851. He taught natural and experimental philosophy (related to modern day physics and including physics, astronomy, acoustics, optics, and other scientific courses).

On August 4, 1853, Jackson married Elinor Junkin (1825-1854), daughter of Dr. George Junkin (President of Washington College) and Julia Miller Junkin.

Elinor (Ellie) died in childbirth on October 22, 1854. Their child, a son, was stillborn.

During the summer of 1856 Jackson toured Europe, visiting Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, England and Scotland.

On July 16, 1857, Jackson married for the second time. His wife was Mary Anna Morrison (1831-1915), daughter of Robert Hall Morrison and Mary Graham Morrison. Mary Anna's family resided in North Carolina; her father was the retired President of Davidson College.

Mary Anna gave birth to a daughter, Mary Graham, on April 30, 1858; the baby died less than a month later, on May 25.

In November 1859, Jackson was one of the VMI officers who accompanied a contingent of VMI cadets to Harper's Ferry, where they stood guard at the execution of abolitionist John Brown.

 

1861-1863

April 21, 1861 - the VMI Corps of Cadets was ordered to Richmond to serve as drillmasters for new army recruits. Jackson was placed in command of the cadets.

April 27, 1861 - Gov. John Letcher ordered Col. Jackson to take command at Harper's Ferry, where he organized the troops that would soon comprise the famous "Stonewall Brigade" (2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th and 33rd Virginia Infantry Regiments; Rockbridge Artillery; all were from the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia).

July 1861 - Promoted to Brigadier General. Battle of 1st Manassas, where he acquired the legendary nickname Stonewall. "Look, there stands Jackson like a stone wall."

October 1861 - Promoted to Major General. Placed in command of the Valley of Virginia (Shenandoah Valley)

1862 May & June - Jackson's brilliant Shenandoah Valley Campaign; victories at Front Royal, Winchester, Cross Keys and Port Republic. Following the successful campaign, Jackson was ordered to join Gen. Lee in the Peninsula (Eastern Virginia).

1862 June 15-July 1 - Seven Days Battles. Jackson displayed ineffective leadership which stood in stark contrast to the brilliance of the Shenandoah Valley campaign; the reasons for this uncharacteristic military failure are still debated among Jackson scholars. Returned to the Valley.

1862 June-September. Battles of Cedar Mountain, Clark's Mt., 2nd Manassas, Antietam .

1862 October - Lee reorganized his army into two corps. Jackson was promoted to Lt. General and given command of the new Second Corps. Jackson was now in charge of half of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

1862 November - Jackson's daughter, Julia Laura, was born.

1862 December 13 - Battle of Fredericksburg

1862 December-1863 March - In quarters at Moss Neck, 10 miles south of Fredericksburg. The estate was owned by the Corbin family, who offered their home as winter headquarters.

1863 April - in camp at Hamilton's Crossing

1863 May 1 - Battle of Chancellorsville begins.

1863 May 2, 9:00 p.m. - While reconnoitering with members of his staff, Jackson was accidentally fired upon by his own troops. The 18th North Carolina Infantry Regiment was responsible for the "friendly fire" incident. Jackson was struck by three .57 caliber bullets. He was taken to a field hospital near the battlefield, where his left arm was amputated.

1863 May 4 - Jackson was moved to a field hospital at the home of Thomas and Mary Chandler, near Guiney Station, approximately 30 miles from the battlefield.

1863 May 10 - Jackson died at 3:15 p.m. His last words were "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."

1863 May 15. Jackson's funeral took place in Lexington, Virginia, the town that was Jackson's home during his years as Professor at VMI.

 

After Jackson's Death

Mary Anna Jackson did not remarry. She was known as the "Widow of the Confederacy" and devoted much of her time to the United Daughters of the Confederacy organization. She died March 24, 1915 in Charlotte, NC; her remains were taken to Lexington, VA where she is buried beside her husband.

The close relationship between Jackson and his sister, Laura Jackson Arnold, was destroyed during the war. Laura was an outspoken Unionist who became estranged from her brother and other members of her family. Federal troops occupied her hometown of Beverly [West] Virginia during most of the war, and Mrs. Arnold cared for Federal wounded in her home. See the Johnson Family Papers for a letter mentioning Laura's wartime reputation.

Julia Jackson was less than one year old when her father died. She married William E. Christian in 1885; she died of typhoid fever in 1889, at age 26. Her children were Julia Jackson Christian (1887-1991), who married Edmund R. Preston; and Thomas Jonathan Jackson Christian (1888-1952), who married three times. Both of Jackson's grandchildren had several children; thus there are many living descendants of Stonewall Jackson.

Stonewall Jackson: Popular Questions

(About) Video interviews regarding the faith, life, and death of General "Stonewall" Jackson.

Where did Jackson die? Where is Jackson's gravesite?  Where is his amputated arm buried?
Jackson died on May 10, 1863, at a field hospital near Guiney Station, VA, approximately 30 miles from the battlefield at Chancellorsville. The hospital was located in an office building on the estate of Thomas and Mary Chandler.  Jackson's body was returned to Lexington, Virginia, for burial. He had spent almost ten years in the town while he was a Professor at the Virginia Military Institute. The funeral took place on May 15, 1863. He was buried in what is now known as the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, located on Main Street. The gravesite is today a popular tourist attraction.
Jackson's amputated arm was buried by the Rev. Beverly Tucker Lacy in his family burial plot at "Ellwood," the Lacy family estate (15 miles west of Fredericksburg) that was located about one mile from the field hospital where Jackson was initially treated. The land is now owned by the National Park Service and there is a marker noting the location of the arm.

Who shot General Jackson?
Jackson died as a result of "friendly fire." He was shot at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863, by an unknown member or members of the 18th North Carolina Infantry Regiment; he died on May 10th. The order to fire was given by Maj. John D. Barry, and many of his men fired at the same time. Jackson was struck by three smoothbore musket balls. Barry died two years after the war at the age of 27; his family believed his death was a result of the depression and guilt he suffered as a consequence of having given the order to fire.

How did Jackson acquire the nickname "Stonewall"?
This famous nickname was first given to Jackson by General Bernard Bee on the battlefield at First Manassas on July 21, 1861. It refers to Jackson's steadfastness in the face of the enemy. Jackson's demeanor inspired Bee (a friend from Jackson's years at West Point) to shout to his troops, "Look, men, there is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer!"
Jackson's troops also referred to him as "Old Jack."

What was the name of Jackson's horse?
In the spring of 1861, while he was in command at Harper's Ferry, Jackson acquired the horse that he rode throughout the war. Although the horse was originally purchased by Jackson as a gift for his wife and initially named "Fancy," this name was short-lived. Jackson decided to keep the horse, and it was universally known as "Little Sorrel." Described as small (approximately 15 hands) and gaunt, but with remarkable powers of endurance, Little Sorrel remained Jackson's favorite and he was riding this horse when he was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville. After the war, Little Sorrel first returned to North Carolina with Mrs. Jackson, and subsequently was sent to VMI, where he grazed on the VMI Parade Ground and was a favorite of cadets. He died in March 1886, at the age of 36, and his mounted hide is now on display in the VMI Museum in Lexington, Virginia. Little Sorrel's bones were cremated and interred on the grounds of VMI in 1997.

Is it true that Jackson loved lemons?
Jackson was very concerned about his health and followed a strict diet which emphasized fruits and vegetables. Although he enjoyed almost every variety of fruit, he had no special fondness for lemons; in fact, peaches were his favorite. Civil War historian James I. Robertson, Jr., Jackson's biographer, states that "no member of Jackson's staff, no friend, not even his wife ever mentioned Jackson had a particular penchant for lemons," and refers to the "lemon myth." It is true that Jackson was observed eating lemons on several occasions during the war; this was due only to the fact that he ate whatever fruit was available. When the Confederates captured a Union camp, lemons were sometimes among the food stores that they confiscated; the Union soldiers received lemons and other fruits more frequently than did their Confederate counterparts. Despite the historical inaccuracy, the story remains popular. Tourists who visit Jackson's gravesite at Lexington, Virginia, often leave lemons as a tribute.

Did Jackson marry? Did he have any children? 
Jackson married twice. On August 4, 1853, Jackson married Elinor Junkin (1825-1854), daughter of Dr. George Junkin (President of Washington College) and Julia Miller Junkin. Elinor (Ellie) died in childbirth on October 22, 1854. Their child, a son, was stillborn. On July 16, 1857, Jackson married for the second time: Mary Anna Morrison (1831-1915), daughter of Robert Hall Morrison and Mary Graham Morrison. Mary Anna's family resided in North Carolina; her father was the retired President of Davidson College. Mary Anna gave birth to a daughter, Mary Graham, on April 30, 1858; the baby died less than a month later. In November 1862, Mary Anna again bore a daughter, Julia Laura, the only Jackson child to survive into adulthood. She married William E. Christian in 1885 and she died of typhoid fever in 1889, at age 26. Her children were Julia Jackson Christian (1887-1991), who married Edmund R. Preston; and Thomas Jonathan Jackson Christian (1888-1952), who married three times. Both of Jackson's grandchildren had several children; thus there are many living descendants of Stonewall Jackson.

What did Jackson teach?  Was he popular with his students?
Jackson taught at the Virginia Military Institute from August 1851 until the outbreak of Civil War in April 1861. He was responsible for the Department of Natural Philosophy (in modern terms, roughly equivalent to Physics; it included astronomy, mechanics, acoustics, optics, and other sciences) and also instructed and drilled the cadets in artillery tactics. He was neither popular with cadets, many of whom ridiculed and disliked him, nor considered to be a particularly able teacher.

What are some famous Jackson quotations? Which phrase is inscribed on the VMI Barracks?
"You may be whatever you resolve to be"
These words are inscribed over the Jackson Arch entrance to the present-day VMI Barracks. During his years as West Point cadet, Jackson began keeping a notebook in which he jotted down inspirational phrases that he believed would aid him in the development of his character and intellect. He continued to add to this book throughout the 1850's. Jackson was not (and never claimed to be) the author of most of these maxims; rather, he collected ideas and phrases from the books he read. This particular principle is attributed to the Reverend Joel Hawes and first appeared in an 1851 work, Letters to Young Men, on the Formation of Character & c.   Jackson's original notebook is located in the George and Catherine Davis Collection at Tulane University.
 
"The Institute will be heard from today"
These words were spoken by Jackson on the battlefield at Chancellorsville, VA, shortly before 5 p.m. on May 2, 1863. Ready for battle, he was surrounded by former students and colleagues from his years at the Virginia Military Institute; they were now his officers and comrades-in-arms. Overcome by emotion, Jackson said,   "the Institute will be heard from today." A few hours later, Jackson received what would prove to be a fatal wound. This quotation is today inscribed on the base of the Jackson Statue located on the grounds of VMI. For those interested in trivia--the words on the statue ("the Virginia Military Institute will be heard from today") are inaccurate; Jackson said only "the Institute...." The date inscribed on the statue is also incorrect; it says May 3, rather than the correct date, May 2.
 
"Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees."
These were Jackson's final words, spoken on his deathbed on May 10, 1863. Civil War historian James I. Robertson, Jr., author of the widely acclaimed 1997 biography of Jackson, has provided one possible interpretation--- that as he lay dying, Jackson may have envisioned scenes from his beloved boyhood home at Jackson's Mill, West Virginia.

Recommended Viewing: Warriors of Honor (DVD). Description: It has become politically correct to cast slurs and aspersions on all things and men who fought for the Confederacy. Is it true that both General Robert E. Lee and General "Stonewall" Jackson fought to preserve slavery? Clearly, according to this thought-provoking DVD, it wasn't true then and isn't now, but if enough people yell it loud enough long enough it achieves the same status as the truth. Continued below...
This documentary delves in fact, and explains most clearly the motivations of two of the Confederacy's most brilliant and beloved Generals. It goes behind the common information and deals with the true feelings and spiritual beliefs of the two Heroes. Highly recommended for all serious students and buffs of the War between the States. History teachers, moreover, would be shocked by this candid, scholarly, and informative study.

The Execution of John Brown. Eyewitness account

Thomas J. Jackson ("Stonewall") to his wife, Mary Anna Jackson

1859 December 2

 

The original letter is located in the Dabney-Jackson collection at the Library of Virginia. It has been widely reprinted; there are minor editorial variations among different published versions, though no substantive differences. For one published source, see Life and Letters of Thomas J. Jackson by Mary Anna Jackson (NY. Harper. 1892).

 

December 2

John Brown was hung today at about 11 1/2 A.M. He behaved with unflinching firmness. Thomas J. Jackson. The arrangements were well made under the direction of Col. Smith. Brown's wife visited him last evening. The body is to be delivered to her. The gibbet was south east of the town in a large field. Brown rode on the head of his coffin, from his prison to the place of execution. The coffin was of black walnut, enclosed in a poplar box of the same shape as the coffin.

 

He was dressed in carpet slippers of predominating red, white socks, blacks pants, black frock coat, black vest & black slouch hat. Nothing around his neck beside his shirt collar. The open wagon in which he rode was strongly guarded on all sides. Capt. Williams, formerly one of the assistants of the Institute, marched immediately in front of the wagon. The jailer and high sheriff and several others rode in the wagon with the prisoner.

 

Brown had his arms tied behind him, & ascended the scaffold with apparent cheerfulness. After reaching the top of the platform, he shook hands with several who were standing around him. The sheriff placed the rope around his neck, then threw a white cap over his head & asked him if he wished a signal when all should be ready---to which he replied that it made no difference, provided he was not kept waiting too long.

 

In this condition he stood on the trap door, which was supported on one side by hinges, and on the other (south side) by a rope, for about 10 minutes, when Col. S. told the Sheriff "all is ready," which apparently was not comprehended by the Sheriff, and the Col. had to repeat the order, when the rope was cut by a single blow, and Brown fell through about 25 inches, so as to bring his knees on a level with the position occupied by his feet before the rope was cut. With the fall his arms below the elbow flew up, hands clenched, & his arms gradually fell by spasmodic motions---there was very little motion of his person for several minutes, after which the wind blew his lifeless body to & fro.

 

His face, upon the scaffold, was turned a little east of south, and in front of him were the cadets commanded by Major Gilham. My command was still in front of the cadets, all facing south. One howitzer I assigned to Mr. Truheart on the left of the cadets, and with the other I remained on the right. Other troops occupied different positions around the scaffold, and altogether it was an imposing but very solemn scene.

 

I was much impressed with the thought that before me stood a man, in the full vigor of health, who must in a few minutes be in eternity. I sent up a petition that he might be saved. Awful was the thought that he might in a few minutes receive the sentence "Depart ye wicked into everlasting fire." I hope that he was prepared to die, but I am very doubtful--he wouldn't have a minister with him.

 

His body was taken back to the jail, and at 6 p.m. was sent to his wife at Harper's Ferry. When it reached Harper's Ferry the coffin was opened and his wife saw the body---the coffin was again opened at the depot, before leaving for Baltimore, lest there should be an imposition.

The Funeral of Stonewall Jackson
Local newspaper account
The Lexington Gazette, May 20, 1863

All that was mortal of our great and good chief, Lieut. Gen. T.J. Jackson was consigned to the tomb on Friday last.

The body having reached Lexington by the Packet boat on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by his personal staff, Maj. A.S. Pendleton, Surgeon H. McGuire, Lieut. Morrison, and Lieut. Smith, by his Excellency Gov. Letcher, and a delegation of the citizens of Lynchburg, it was received by the Corps of Cadets and escorted to the Institute, and deposited in his late Lecture Room, which had been appropriately draped in mourning.

There was the table used by the late Professor--the same chair in which he sat--the cases with the Philosophical apparatus he had used--all told of his quiet and unobtrusive labors in his Professional life--and placed just as he left them, when he received the order of the Governor of Virginia to march the Corps of Cadets to Richmond, on the 21st of April 1861. He left the Va. Military Institute in command of the Cadets. He has been brought back to sleep among us--a world renowned Christian Hero.

The procession moved from the Institute on Friday morning at 10 A.M. The Funeral escort was commanded by Maj. S. Ship, Commandant of Cadets, a former pupil of Gen. Jackson and a gallant officer who had served with him in his Valley Campaign, as Major of the 21st Va. Regt.

The Escort was composed as follows:

1. Cadet Battalion
2. Battery of Artillery of 4 pieces, the same battery he had for ten years commanded as Instructor of Artillery and which had also served with him at 1st Manassas, in [the] Stonewall Brigade.
3. A company of the original Stonewall Brigade, composed of members of different companies of the Brigade, and commanded by Capt. A. Hamilton, bearing the flag of the "Liberty Hall Volunteers."
4. A company of convalescent officers and soldiers of the army.
5. A Squadron of cavalry was all that was needed to complete the escort prescribed by the Army Regulations. This squadron opportunely made its appearance before the procession moved from the church. The Squadron was a part of Sweeny's battalion of Jenkin's command, and many of its members were from the General's native North-western Virginia.
6. The Clergy.
7. The Body enveloped in the Confederate Flag and covered with flowers, was borne on a caisson of the Cadet Battery, draped in mourning.

The pall bearers were as follows:

Wm. White ; Professor J.L. Campbell--representing the Elders of the Lexington Presbyterian Church.
Wm. C. Lewis; Col. S. McD. Reid--County Magistrates.
Prof. J.J. White; Prof. C.J. Harris--Washington College.
S. McD. Moore; John W. Fuller--Franklin Society.
George W. Adams; Robt. I. White--Town Council.
Judge J. W. Brockenbrough; Joseph G. Steel--Confederate District Court
Dr. H.H. McGuire; Capt. F.W. Henderson--C.S. Army.
Rev. W. McElwee; John Hamilton--Bible Society of Rockbridge

8. The Family and Personal Staff of the deceased.
9. The Governor of Va., Confederate States Senator Henry of Tenn. The Sergeant-at-Arms of C.S. Senate, and a member of the City of Richmond Council.
10. Faculty and Officers of Va. Mil. Institute.
11. Elders and Deacons of Lexington Presbyterian Church of which church Gen. Jackson was a Deacon.
12. Professors and Students of Washington College.
13. Franklin Society.
14. Citizens.

(Source: VMI)

Recommended Reading: Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend (Hardcover) (950 pages). Description: A distinguished Civil War historian unravels the complex character of the Confederacy's greatest general. Drawing on previously untapped manuscript sources, the author refutes such long-standing myths as Stonewall Jackson's obsessive eating of lemons and gives a three-dimensional account of the profound religious faith frequently caricatured as grim Calvinism. Though the author capably covers the battles that made Jackson a legend--Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, etc.--he emphasizes "the life story of an extraordinary man." Continued below...

The result is a biography that will fascinate even those allergic to military history. The New York Times Book Review, Stephen W. Sears . . . [T]wo dozen writers have attempted [Stonewall] biographies, and there are any number of special studies, monographs and essays. Now going straight to the head of the class of Jackson biographers, and likely to remain there, is James I. Robertson Jr. . . . Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend gives us far and away the sharpest picture we have ever had of this enigmatic figure.

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Recommended Reading: Stonewall in the Valley: Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Spring 1862. Description: The Valley Campaign conducted by Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson has long fascinated those interested in the American Civil War as well as general students of military history, all of whom still question exactly what Jackson did in the Shenandoah in 1862 and how he did it. Since Robert G. Tanner answered many questions in the first edition of Stonewall in the Valley in 1976, he has continued to research the campaign. This edition offers new insights on the most significant moments of Stonewall's Shenandoah triumph. Continued below...

About the Author: Robert G. Tanner is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. A native of Southern California, he now lives and practices law in Atlanta, Georgia. He has studied and lectured on the Shenandoah Valley Campaign for more than twenty-five years.

 

Recommended Viewing: Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story, starring James I Robertson Jr., Bill Potter, and Ken Carpenter (2007) (DVD). Description: His legacy as a military genius is widely renowned. Now, in Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story, his legacy as a man of resolute Christian character is captured in this revealing documentary. Through stunning High Definition videography and expert narrative, Still Standing traces the life of Stonewall Jackson from his orphaned childhood, to the Sunday School class he taught for African Americans that has resulted in a lasting impact today, to the pivotal role he played as a General in the Civil War. Still Standing inspires, entertains, and educates as it examines the life of a uniquely American hero. Continued below.

Review: In true Franklin Springs Family Media fashion, Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story is destined to become a family favorite. Still Standing chronicles the life of a true Christian man brought to fame by his exemplary military acumen in the American Civil War. But it was his faithfulness to the Gospel in his family, with his children, toward his soldiers, and the Sunday School class for Blacks (freemen and slaves) that he started, taught, and supported that, no doubt, earned Thomas Jackson the reward of hearing those precious words, Well done, good and faithful servant, from his King when he crossed over the river and finally rested under the shade of the trees. This important documentary will be used in my family to inspire a new generation to look to General Jackson as a man with flaws, but who followed hard after Christ. May mine and I, by God s grace, stand like a stone wall before the onslaught of the enemy, trusting that we are as safe on the battlefield as we are in our beds. --Home Schooling Today

 

Recommended Viewing: Gods & Generals (2003) (219 minutes), starring Stephen Lang, Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels, Mark Aldrich, and George Allen. Description: The more you know about the Civil War, the more you'll appreciate Gods and Generals and the painstaking attention to detail that Gettysburg writer-director Ronald F. Maxwell has invested in this academically respectable 219-minute historical pageant. Continued below…

In adapting Jeffrey Shaara's 1996 novel (encompassing events of 1861-63, specifically the Virginian battles of Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville), Maxwell sacrifices depth for scope while focusing on the devoutly religious "Stonewall" Jackson (Stephen Lang), whose Confederate campaigns endear him to Gen. Robert E. Lee (Robert Duvall, giving the film's most subtle performance). Battles are impeccably recreated using 7,500 Civil War re-enactors and sanitized PG-13 violence, their authenticity compromised by tasteful discretion and endless scenes of grandiloquent dialogue. Still, as the first part of a trilogy that ends with The Last Full Measure, this is a superbly crafted, instantly essential film for Civil War study. For all its misguided priorities, Gods and Generals is a noble effort, honoring faith and patriotism with the kind of reverence that has all but vanished from American film – but provides abundant proof that historical accuracy is no guarantee of great storytelling. It is a sweeping epic charting the early years of the Civil War and how campaigns unfolded from Manassas to the Battle of Fredericksburg, and this video was the prequel to the film Gettysburg, which explores the motivations of the combatants and examines the lives of those who waited at home.

 

Recommended Reading: Four Years in the Stonewall Brigade (American Civil War Classics) (412 pages) (University of South Carolina Press). Description: From his looting of farmhouses during the Gettysburg campaign and robbing of fallen Union soldiers as opportunity allowed to his five arrests for infractions of military discipline and numerous unapproved leaves, John O. Casler’s actions during the Civil War made him as much a rogue as a Rebel. Though he was no model soldier, his forthright confessions of his service years in the Army of Northern Virginia stand among the most sought after and cited accounts by a Confederate soldier. First published in 1893 and significantly revised and expanded in 1906, Casler’s Four Years in the Stonewall Brigade recounts the truths of camp life, marches, and combat. Moreover, Casler’s recollections provide an unapologetic view of the effects of the harsh life in Stonewall’s ranks on an average foot soldier and his fellows. Continued below...

A native of Gainesboro, Virginia, with an inherent wanderlust and thirst for adventure, Casler enlisted in June 1861 in what became Company A, 33rd Virginia Infantry, and participated in major campaigns throughout the conflict, including Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. Captured in February 1865, he spent the final months of the war as a prisoner at Fort McHenry, Maryland. His postwar narrative recalls the realities of warfare for the private soldier, the moral ambiguities of thievery and survival at the front, and the deliberate cruelties of capture and imprisonment with the vivid detail, straightforward candor, and irreverent flair for storytelling that have earned Four Years in the Stonewall Brigade its place in the first rank of primary literature of the Confederacy. This edition features a new introduction by Robert K. Krick chronicling Casler’s origins and his careers after the war as a writer and organizer of Confederate veterans groups. "A must have for researchers, buffs, and American historians...General "Stonewall" Jackson and his brigade shall forever have a place in the annals of world history."

 

Recommended Reading: Stonewall Jackson's Book of Maxims (Hardcover). Description: Stonewall Jackson's Book of Maxims is inspiring to say the least. Thomas Jackson was raised as an orphan in the mountains of [West] Virginia, had less than a fourth-grade education when he entered West Point and then catapulted himself as an elite strategist/tactician and general of the Civil War. Thought to be obsessive, eccentric, and unable to chat at social events....Jackson hid from the world a man that he hoped to be someday. That other Jackson, however, comes screaming just like his famous bloodcurdling rebel yell. Continued below...

"You may be what ever you will resolve to be" is etched over an archway at the Virginia Military Institute where he was also a professor. His works were saved, lost, and thankfully found again... "A truly inspiring work." "[A] must have for anyone remotely interested in General "Stonewall" Jackson, the Civil War, and American history."

 

Recommended Viewing: Biography - Stonewall Jackson (2005) (A&E) (DVD). Description: He earned his nickname for bravery at Bull Run and led some of the most stunning campaigns of the Civil War. An outstanding leader and brilliant tactician, Stonewall Jackson is widely regarded as one of the greatest Confederate commanders. In an exhaustive investigation, this documentary examines Jackson's military prowess through period accounts, interviews with renowned Civil War historians and military experts, and Jackson's own strategies in his pivotal engagements. Continued below…

Follow his career through the American Army, the Mexican American War, and his command in the Confederacy. See rare photos of the famed leader and learn the tragic story of his death at Chancellorsville. Stonewall Jackson visits some of the bloodiest battlegrounds in America for a riveting portrait of the commander who held his ground “like a stone wall.”

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