stonewall Essay

stonewall Essay

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“Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees” (McGuire, pp. 162-63). These peaceful words were the last of the most charismatic Confederate general of the American Civil War, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Stonewall’s work ethic, morals, and military prowess earned him the grand recognition he received during the Civil War, and a brief look into his life sheds light upon how Stonewall rose above numerous other outstanding Civil War generals to become “The Man, The Soldier, The Legend” that he is today.
Born in 1824 to Virginia natives, death and heartache followed Stonewall throughout his childhood. When Stonewall was two years old, his older sister and his father died from Typhoid, leaving his mother a widow at twenty-eight years old with three small children. After declining family help and working long hours to support her family for four years, his mother remarried. Her new husband did not get along with his stepchildren, and the family continued to suffer financial difficulties. When Stonewall was seven years old, his mother died from complications in childbirth, leaving her three oldest children as orphans (Robertson, p. 10). Stonewall spent the next seven years being separated from his siblings and bounced between different family homes, finally walking eighteen miles through the wilderness to return back to his original home (Robertson, pp. 9-16). Stonewall spent most of his time working on the farm, tending to sheep and harvesting wheat and corn. Formal education was not easy to find, and so much of Stonewall’s education was self-taught. He made deals with his uncles to provide them with farming services if they taught him to read, and then would stay up late at night reading borrowed book...


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...s is attributed to his command presence. Stonewall was incredibly secretive about his plans and very stringent on his troops’ military discipline. This command nature did not bode well with his subordinates, who did not like being left out of the decision process, but General Lee fully trusted Stonewall with all of his wartime objectives and plans. Many of General Lee’s corps commanders did not have the talent of Stonewall – the ability to understand Lee’s unspoken goals and employ strategies to achieve end state objectives (Robertson, p. 499). Stonewall’s artillery instruction manuals are still used in VMI instruction, while statues, parks, monuments, and U.S. Naval ships are named in his honor (Robertson, pp. 108-10). Despite his untimely death at thirty-nine years old, Stonewall’s legacy of one of the most outstanding characters of the Civil War lives on.

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