Fall of the Stonewall

Today is the anniversary of the passing of a key Southern leader:

A native Virginian, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson grew up in poverty in Clarksburg, in the mountains of what is now West Virginia. Orphaned at an early age, Jackson was raised by relatives… He had only a rudimentary education but secured an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point after another young man from the same congressional district turned down his appointment. Despite poor preparation, Jackson worked hard and graduated 17th in a class of 59 cadets…  He was also a devout Presbyterian who refused to even talk of secular matters on the Sabbath.

The Battle of Chancellorsville was Lee’s and Jackson’s shining moment. Despite the fact that they faced an army twice the size of theirs, Lee daringly split his force and sent Jackson around the Union flank—a move that resulted in perhaps the Army of the Potomac’s most stunning defeat of the war. When nightfall halted the attack, Jackson rode forward to reconnoiter the territory for another assault. But as he and his aides rode back to the lines, a group of Rebels opened fire. Jackson was hit three times, and a Southern bullet shattered his left arm, which had to be amputated the next day. Soon, pneumonia set in, and Jackson began to fade. He died, as he had wished, on the Sabbath, May 10, 1863, with these last words: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

I have but one print of artwork depicting this era… and it’s of Stonewall with his “beloved Esposa.”

Rest in peace, General.

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