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domineering; and we are disposed to routed in battle; that he never had a think that it required all the grace of train or any organized portion of his his Christian character and the severest army captured by the enemy; and that discipline of his religion to keep within he never made intrenchments. bounds his constitutional impulses of A common error has prevailed that anger.
Jackson's military faculty was a partial While we thus lessen (no doubt to one; that he was brilliant in executing the surprise of many readers) the popu- the parts assigned him by his superiors, lar regards for Jackson as a Christian but that he was scarcely competent to hero, it is yet to observe him in his plan and originate for himself. When supreme character of a master of war, the he fell, General Lee deplored the loss as surpassing military genius of the South. that of his “right arm,” and the phrase It is here where the chief interest of his has been too literally or narrowly taken, life resides, here where the biographer as meaning that Jackson was chiefly should have pointed and held attention. valuable in executing the plans of the He was a “heaven-born general,” said commander-in-chief. This estimate does the London Times, a journal least accus him great injustice, and ignores some tomed to extravagant phrases, and al of the most important parts of his camost historical in its deliberate measure reer. Indeed, there was, on the Southof language. He was a born soldier ern side in the war, no military genius natus est, non factus, nascitur non fit; he more complete, more diversified in its had far more of the inspiration of war accomplishments, more universal in the than Lee. He was undoubtedly supe- range of arms, and in its methods of rior to the latter, in the sense that genius illustration. His plans were as excelis superior to the highest intellect, that lent as his executions. His famous camit has more self-possession and readi- paign of 1862, in the Valley of Virginia, ness, that it acts with intuition and was of his own origination, further than rapidity on instant combinations; thus that he had been placed there by Johnhaving advantage of the latter, and ston to draw attention from Richmond; executing while it has taken time to but it was not expected that he would meditate. Jackson knew, as by intui act offensively, until the news electrified tion, when and where to strike the the country that he had defeated four cnemy; he had an almost infallible in- separate armies, marched four hundred sight into his condition and temper; miles in forty days, neutralized a force he marched to his purpose with that of sixty thousand men designed to opersupreme self-confidence, that absolute ate against Richmond, and was sweepcertainty, which always designate the ing through the mountain-passes to the efforts of genius. He had the inspira- relief of the Confederate capital in a tion of war rather than its pedantry. blaze of glory. The movements that He must have been really deficient in constituted this campaign were as precise military learning, for, as a professor at as were ever adjusted by military skill, the Institute of Virginia, he would have and the diagram that describes them had abundant opportunities, unavoid remains one of the nicest strategic studable occasions, no matter how unfor- ies of the war. Again, the great event tunate and blundering he was as an in of Chancellorsville- the movement on structor, to let out the contents of his Hooker's flank, when Jackson blazed mind, to blurt them in some way; but from the Wilderness, sudden and conhis reputation there was quite as re suming as the lightning-was his own markable for a blank mind as for a bad conception, urged upon Lee; and the delivery. Yet he was not only the night before the great warrior fell, he most brilliant of Confederate command had planned beneath the pines, and by ers, but the most uniformly successful. the light of a camp-fire, this masterIt is remarkable of him that he was piece of the most famous victory of the never surprised; that he was Confederates. It was the characteristic,
crowning repetition of his favorite strat- some and agonizing march through egy on the enemy's flanks; dealing those snow-fields and along the yawning presudden and mortal blows which show cipices full of black, jagged rock and the nerve of a great commander, and ghostly-frosted shapes, Jackson was yet illustrate the precision of genius. the silent, grim, inexorable general, the
Jackson had that rare and interesting only man in the command who never test of genius—the support of a weak uttered a word of suffering, although physique by the transports of the mind. sharing the hardships and privations of In his campaigning he was as imper- the commonest soldier, apparently havvious to the elements, as strong and grim ing no thoughts, no feelings, beyond the as Charles XII. of Sweden, the iron war- victory, to which he toiled on the narrior of his age. At ordinary times he row mountain-path, through the wreck was weak and whimsical as to health ; of winter, the ravages of death, and the in the life of the professor he was dys- defiances of nature. His constitution peptic and hypochondriac; but in the was naturally weak, but it was braced excitements of war he was equal to al- by an extraordinary will.; and his enmost incredible hardships, and the ani- durance was probably an illustration of mation of his genius alone seems to have that very physical strength which comes made him a type of endurance. He was from the transports of genius. never absent a day from his command; He had another remarkable trait, he often slept without any thing but a which has often been observed in great blanket between him and the mud or military commanders : a cold method, the snow; he ate with almost mechani- which has sometimes been taken for cal indifference as to the quality of his cruelty, but is really nothing more than food; vigilant, elastic, always in mo- the expression of the severe and supreme tion, he excelled all other Confederate idea of war. He had no weak senticommanders in activity and endurance, mentalism, and he was even averse to and made his “ foot-cavalry” the won- much of the ostentation and refinement der of the country. When his brigade of arms. War for him had a gloomy, was making a forced march to the first terrible meaning; it was the shedding Manassas, it bivouacked near the rail- of blood, wounds, death. Once an inroad, and the volunteers, unused to such ferior officer was regretting that some fatigue, murmured at the necessity of Federal soldiers had been killed in a setting guards for the night. Jackson display of extraordinary courage when pitied their weariness; he replied that they might as readily have been caphe himself, alone, would do the guard- tured. · Jackson replied, curtly, “ Shoot duty for that night; and during all them all; I don't want them to be its lonely hours, when his men were brave.” He had a gloomy, fierce idea stretched on the ground, worn out, the of war, which we are forced to confess commander stalked on his rounds, dis- was sometimes almost savage in its exdaining the least refreshment of sleep, pressions. It was testified by Governor and wrapped in unknown meditations. Letcher, in a distinct and authentic At another time, when, in the harshest manner, during the life-time of Jackson, depths of winter, and through a raging, that, from the opening of the war, the merciless storm, he marched towards the latter favored the black flag, and thought headwaters of the Potomac; when over- that no prisoner should be taken in a wearied men sank by the way to die, or war invading the homes of the South. slipped down the precipices overlaid The fact is, Jackson had no politics, not with ice; when the animals of his trains a particle of political animosity in the gave out, or stumbled along with bleed- war, and, in this respect, represented ing muzzles; when many of his shelter many of his countrymen, who only realless troops froze dead in the night-time, ized that an issue of arms was made, and their gloomy comrades murmured and that they were called upon to de against their commander; on the toil- fend their homes against invaders, whom
the newspapers represented to be no bet once asked if he bad felt ro trepidation ter than marauders and incendiaries. when he made most extraordinary er. Jackson had only the idea of the soldier posures of his person in some of the fa-to fight, and to fight in the most ter mous battles of the Mexican War, he rible manner. It is a curious circum- replied that the only anxiety of which stance that he once recommended a he was conscious in any of these engagenight-attack to be made by assailants ments was a fear lest he should not meet stripped naked and armed with bowie- danger enough to make his conduct unknives, suggesting that the novelty and der it as conspicuous as be desired; and terror of such an apparition would par as the peril grew greater, he rejoiced in alyze the enemy. The writer was dis- it as bis opportunity for distinction. posed to doubt an anecdote so remark- He courted the greatest amount of danable, until it was confirmed to him by ger for the greatest amount of glory; the testimony of a well-known and most and this sentiment of the true soldier truthful gentleman ; and he must con
survived to his last moments. fess that he perceives in it something But it is to be observed that Jackcharacteristic of Jackson's gloom and son's ambition was of a true, lofty sort, fierceness. It was not a natural cruelty, quite unlike that vulgar passion which a constitutional harshness, but a stern makes men itch for notoriety, and conconception of war and its dread reali- stantly place themselves in circumties—the soldier's disposition for quick,
stances and attitudes to attract public decisive, destructive work.
attention. Such an ambition (if the We are aware that we have disturbed term may be so profaned) is the quality some popular notions about the favorite of mean souls; and even its little, noisy hero of the South. But we are endeav- prizes are worthless, for it is remarkable oring to obtain the truth of a somewhat that mere notoriety generally recoils mysterious character; and we have yet upon itself, and that those who make to notice the most complete delusion themselves notorious, at last tax public that the common mind has attached to attention to find out something disrepthe name of Jackson. It is, that he was utable or ridiculous about them. Jack. a cold figure in a round of duty, oper son's passion was that fine and lofty ated only by conscientious motives, deaf ambition which pursues idealities, which to praise and destitute of ambition. looks to a name in history, and which, The writer recollects, on one occasion, averse to the mere noisy, evanescent gifts writing some encomium on Jackson, in of popularity, actually shuns notoriety, a Richmond journal, and remarking is pained by all vulgar and meretricious thereupon that Jackson would probably displays, and is constantly maintaining never read it, and undoubtedly cared a close and sensitive reserve. Such amnothing for public opinion. “You are bition is the property of grand and utterly mistaken,” spoke up John M. noble souls. It is most interesting to Daniel, the editor; "he is to-day the regard its reserves, its disguises, its taci. most ambitious man within the limits turn moods, its apparent want of symof the Southern Confederacy."
pathy with immediate surroundings, A close inspection of Jackson's life, and the common mistake the world and especially of his peculiar and mask makes in designating as emotionless, ing manners, shows that he really had ascetic men, those who are daily and an enormous, consuming ambition. It nightly consumed by grand aspirations. was an ambition that resided in the An ambition of this sort pursues only depths of his nature; that ate into and the ideal; it finds its happiness in selfhoneycombed his heart; that bounded culture and self-approval, in secret aspiand fluctuated in every pulse of his rations, in communion with the historibeing. He was almost fierce in the con cal and universal; it is but the vulgar fession of this secret feeling, in the be- counterfeit, the low desire, that seeks givning of his military career. When the coarse rewards of popularity in
offices, in applause, in newspaper para him. Mr. John Esten Cooke, who was graphs; that imagines mere noise is the near his person in the war, declares : acclamation of glory, and mistakes “The recollection is still preserved by dunce's puff for fame.” Jackson, no many of his personal peculiarities; his doubt, valued “ skilled commendation,” simplicity and absence of suspicion while he did not mistake the penny-d when all around were laughing at some lines of the newspaper for the inscrip- of his odd ways; his grave expression tions of history; he was not entirely in and air of innocent inquiry when some sensible to the praise of his contempo- jest excited general merriment, and he raries; but what he mostly and chiefly could not see the point; his solitary prized was the name in history-an habits and self-contained deportment; aspiration after the ideal, and not the his absence of mind, awkwardness of vulgar hunt for notoriety and its gifts. gait, and evident indifference to every Such an ambition is consonant with the species of amusement." most refined spirit of Christianity; it There is a common disposition to resides in the depths of great minds; caricature great men, to exaggerate and it easily escapes observation, because their peculiarities, and to discover ecthose moved by it are generally silent centricities. It comes, probably, from a men, of mysterious air and mechanical low, literary adventure, a design to manners, living within themselves, con- point paragraphs at the expense of scious that few can enter into sympathy truth. Jackson has suffered greatly with them, and constantly practising from such caricature; he has been repthe art of impenetrable reserve.
resented as uncouth and odd in the The very awkwardness of Jackson's most various particulars, and the apocmanners, his taciturn habit, his con- rypha of the Bohemians have given the straint in company, the readiness with most conflicting representations of his which he was put to embarrassment, person and manners. There was nothwere marks of sensitive ambition, with ing really very extraordinary in these; its supreme self-confidence which is yet but it is surprising what different opinnot vanity, its raw self-regard which is ions have been held as to the comeliness yet not conceit, rather than evidences
of the man.
We may quote here from of a strained and excessive modesty, some of our own personal recollections blundering in its steps and painfully of Jackson, written on another occasion, protesting its unworthiness.
It is a
what we yet think the most correct superficial, common mistake of the description of the hero: “To the vulworld to designate as “ modest” men, gar eye he was a clumsy-looking man, or as persons holding low opinions of and his roughly-cut features obtained themselves, those who are awkward and for him the easy epithet of an ugly man. bashful in society, who blush easily But to the eye that makes of the human when confronted in a general conversa face the janua animi, and examines in tion, or are constrained and embarrassed it the traces of character and spirit, the in the conventionalisms of social inter- countenance of Jackson was superlacourse. But an observation more studi- tively noble and interesting. The outous than that of the drawing-room and line was coarse; the reddish beard was general assembly often discovers under scraggy; but he had a majestic brow, such manners the very sensitiveness of and in the blue eyes was an introverted & supreme self-appreciation, the chafe expression, and just sufficient expression or reserve of a great proud spirit, with- of melancholy to show the deeply-earnest out opportunity to exert itself. It is But the most striking feature, thus we may explain how the shy and the combative sign of the face, was the clumsy manners of Jackson, which made massive iron-bound jaw-that which him the butt of social companies, yet Bulwer declares to be the mark of the covered an enormous self-regard, and conqueror, the facial characteristic of masked the ambition which devoured Cæsar and William of Normandy, the
latter of whom he has brought before majority of the Southern soldiers, who our eyes in one of his most splendid fought more from martial instincts than romances. In brief, while common curi- from political convictions; and his osity saw nothing to admire in Jack- superb valor illustrated the sentiment son, a closer scrutiny discovered a rare of the South that thinks persoral courand interesting study. It was not the age a virtue and an ornament, and ranks popular picture of a bizarre and austere it first among the titles of admiration. hero: it was that of a plain gentleman, It is indispensable that an influence that of ordinary figure, but with a lordly contributed so much to the war should face, in which serious and noble thoughts be carefully analyzed ; that a person so were written without effort or affecta- conspicuous in it should be correctly tion."
portrayed; and that the character of The views the present writer has taken Stonewall Jackson should be placed of Jackson scarcely correspond to the among its first historical studies. beaten types of the man, and their nov- The last moments of the great warrior elty may be unpleasant, and provocative have been variously described. The of criticism in some quarters. But we following stateme:t is derived from the conceive the necessity of a profound ex- exact and literal accounts of his pbssiploration, a searching analysis of a char- cian. Within two hours of his death, acter so central and dramatic in the war, he was told distinctly that there was no that stands in so many important his- hope, that he was dying; and he antorical connections; and we refer to the swered, feebly but firmly, “ Very good; remarks prefacing this article, on the it is all right.” A few moments before width and importance of the biographi- he died, he cried out in his delirium, cal study. Many of the most important “Order A. P. Hill to prepare for action! events of the war must be grouped Pass the infantry to the front rapidly! around Jackson, and the veins of his Tell Major Hawks—" then stopped, single dominant character must run leaving the sentence unfinished. Pres through many pages of the general nar- ently a smile of ineffable sweetness rative. We cannot exaggerate the im- spread itself over his pale face, and he portance of a correct study of the man. said, quietly, and with an expression as In many respects he was the representa- if of relief, “Let us cross over the river. tive of his countrymen. His chaste and and rest under the shade of the trees' noble ambition represented the aspira- And so, with these beautiful, typical tions of the best and most cultivated words trembling on his lips, the soul of men of the South, as opposed to a mania the great soldier, taxed with battle, and in the North for noisy and visible dis- trial, and weariness, passed through the tiactions ; his innocence of politics was deep waters of Death, and found sweet extremely characteristic of perhaps a and eternal rest.