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Stonewall Jackson: A Thesaurus of Anecdotes of and Incidents in the Life of Lieut.-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson, C. S. A.

Stonewall Jackson: A Thesaurus of Anecdotes of and Incidents in the Life of Lieut.-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson, C. S. A.


Description of Jackson's Maxims of Military Strategy, by Gen. John M. Imboden, C. S. A. — Statement of Jackson's View of War by Dr. Hunter McGuire — Jackson's Knowledge of the Operations of the Enemy— Jackson Made Himself the Master of the Topography of the Country in Which He Was Operating — Jackson's Tactics — Account of in Lecture by One of His Staff, Capt. James Power Smith.

Stonewall Jackson's Maxims of Military Strategy.— "Jackson's military operations were always unexpected and mysterious. In my personal intercourse with him in the early part of the war, before he had become famous, he often said there were two things never to be lost sight of by a military commander — 'always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy, if possible; and, when you strike and overcome him. never let up in the pursuit so long as your men have strength to follow; for an army routed, if hotly pursued, becomes panic-stricken, and can thus be destroyed by half their number. The other rule is, never fight against heavy odds, if, by any possible maneuvering, you can hurl your own force on only a part, and that the weakest part, of your enemy and crush it. Such tactics will win every time, and a small army may thus destroy a large one in detail, and repeated victory will make it invincible.' His celerity of movement was a simple matter. He never broke down his men by too long-continued marching. He rested his whole column very often, but only for a few minutes at a time. I remember that he liked to see the men lie down flat on the ground to rest, and would say, 'A man rests all over when he lies down'." — General John M. Imboden, in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. 2. pp. 297-8.

"His (Jackson's) 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'." Jackson's words as recorded by his Surgeon-General, Dr. Hunter McGuire.

Jackson's Knowledge of the Operations of the Enemy. — "Jackson's knowledge of what the enemy were doing or about to do was sometimes very wonderful. I have already stated what he said to President Davis at the first Manassas, 'Give me twenty thousand fresh troops tomorrow, and I'll capture Washington', and it turned out afterward that he was right and that with the number he asked he could easily have captured Washington." — Dr. Hunter McGuire.

Jackson Made Himself the Master of the Topography of the Country in Which He was Operating. — "He (Jackson) kept the most minute knowledge of the topography of the country in which he was campaigning, and the roads over which he might move, and often when his men were asleep in their bivouac, he was riding to and fro inspecting the country and the roads.

"But when he began to ask me which side of certain creeks were the highest, and whether there was not a 'blind road,' turning off at this point or that, and showed the most perfect familiarity with the country, and the roads, I had to interrupt him by saying: 'Excuse me, General. I thought I knew not only every road, but every footpath in that region, but I find that you really know more about them than I do, and I can give you no information that would be valuable to you'." — Chaplain J. Wm. Jones, C. S. A., South. Hist. Mag., Vol. 35, p. 91.

Jackson's Tactics. — "He mystified and deceived his enemy by concealment from his own generals and his own staff. We were led to believe things very far from his purpose. Major Hotchkiss, his topographical engineer, told me that the General would for hours study the map in one direction, and would at daylight move in the opposite direction." — James Poivcr Smith, a member of his staff, in a lecture.

It has been handed down orally that General Jackson also said, "You must do something that the other fellow thinks nobody but a fool would do."

Elihu Samuel Riley, Stonewall Jackson: A Thesaurus of Anecdotes of and Incidents in the Life of Lieut.-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson, C. S. A. (Annapolis, Md., 1920), 7-8.

Jackson Would Only Engage in Military Services at the Approval of His Conscience — Jackson Calm Under the Rising Cloud of War — Jackson Studying Problems of War — Jackson a Debater — How General Jackson Met the Approaching Storm of War.

General Jackson Would Only Engage in Military Service With the Approval of His Conscience. — When General Jackson mentioned the project (that of securing a Professorship in the University of Virginia) to his friend Colonel Robert E. Lee, of Virginia, then Superintendent at West Point, Lee said to him: — "Have you not departed here from what you told me, upon coming to this military school, was the purpose of your life?" (He referred to Jackson's belief that war was his proper vocation.) Jackson, who seemed never to forget his own most casual remarks, or to overlook the obligation to maintain consistency with what he had once said, replied: — 'I avow that my views have changed.' He then proceeded to explain, while he should ever retain the same conviction concerning his own adaptation to the soldier's life, his convictions concerning war as a pathway to distinction were greatly modified, and that he would now by no means accept a commission in any war which the United States might wage, irrespective of its morality. He had never, he said, while an ungodly man, been inclined to tempt Providence by going in advance of his duty; he had never seen the day when he would have been likely to volunteer for a forlorn hope, although indifferent to the danger of a service to which he was legitimately ordered. But now that he was endeavoring to live the life of faith, he would engage in no task in which he did not believe he should enjoy the Divine approbation; because, with this, he should feel perfectly secure under the disposal of the Divine Providence; without it, he would have no right to be courageous. If, then, his country were assailed in such a way as to justify an appeal to defensive war in God's sight, he should desire to return to military life, but, unless this happened, he should continue a simple citizen. But as such he regarded it as every man's duty to seek the highest cultivation of his powers, and the widest sphere of activity within his reach; and, therefore, he desired to be transferred to the State University." — Dabney's Life of Jackson. p. 69-70.

Jackson Calm Under the Rising Cloud of War. — "A Christian friend, in whose society he greatly delighted, passed a night with him (just before the beginning of the Civil war), and, as they discussed the startling news which every day brought with it, they were impelled to the conclusion that the madness of the Federal Government had made a great and disastrous war inevitable. The guest retired to his bed, depressed with this thought, and, in the morning, arose harassed and melancholy, but, to his surprise, Jackson met him at the morning worship, as calm and cheerful as ever, and when he expressed his anxiety, replied, 'Why should the peace of a true Christian be disturbed by anything which man can do unto him? Has not God promised to make all things work together for good to those who love Him?"'— Dabney's Life. p. 210.

Studying Problems of War. — General Jackson, when it became apparent that there would be war between the States, would sit for hours before a blank wall, and gaze at it intently. It is believed he was then mapping out problems of war, and was preparing for those campaigns that confused his foes and added immortal lustre to his name.

General Jackson a Debater. — "It was currently reported that just before the beginning of the struggle Major Jackson sat up all night in the hopeless endeavor to convert his father-in-law (Dr. Junkin), to the doctrine of States' rights." — Shepherd's Life of Roht. E. Lee, p. 69.

How General Jackson Met the Approaching Storm of War. — On the eve of the Civil War, Major Jackson proposed that the Christian people of the land should agree to pray to alert hostilities, saying: — "It seems to me, that if they would unite thus in prayer, war might be prevented and peace restored." To this his pastor promptly assented, and promised to do what he could to bring about the concert of prayer that he proposed. In the meantime, he said. "Let us agree thus to pray.' And henceforward, when he was called on to lead the devotions of others one petition, prominently presented and fervently pressed, was that God would preserve the whole land from the evils of war." — Dabney, Page 179-180.

"The bursting of the storm which Jackson had so long foreseen found him calm, but resolved."

Elihu Samuel Riley, Stonewall Jackson: A Thesaurus of Anecdotes of and Incidents in the Life of Lieut.-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson, C. S. A. (Annapolis, Md., 1920), 16-17.


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