Friday, December 7, 2012

VMI General Orders May 11 - 14, 1863

Cadets at Jackson's Grave, 1868 

Adjutant General's Office Va.
May 11th 1863
Major Gen. F.H. Smith
Supt., Virginia Military Institute


By Command of the Governor I have this day to perform the most painful duty of my official life in announcing to you and through you to the Faculty & Cadets of the Virginia Mil. Institute the death of the great and good--the heroic and illustrious Lieut. General T.J. Jackson at 15 minutes past 3 oclock yesterday afternoon.

This heavy bereavement over which every true heart within the bounds of the Confederacy mourns with inexpressible sorrow--must fall if possible with heavier force upon that Noble State Institution to which he came from the battle-fields of Mexico, and where he gave to his native state the first years service of his modest and unobtrusive but public spirited and useful life.

It would be a senseless waste of words to attempt a eulogy upon this great among the greatest of sons who have immortalized Virginia. To the Corps of Cadets of the Virginia Military Institute, what a legacy he has left you, what an example of all that is good and great and true in the character of a Christian Soldier.

The Governor directs that the highest funeral honors be paid to his memory, that the customary outward badges of mourning be worn by all the officers and cadets of the Institution.

By command, W.H. Richardson, A.G.
By Command of Major Genl. Smith. A.G. Hill, Actg. Adjt., V.M.I.

 Head Quarters Virginia Military Institute
May 13th, 1863
General Order No. 30

It is the painful duty of the Superintendent to announce to the officers and Cadets of this Institution the death of their late associate and Professor Lieut. General Thomas J. Jackson. He died at Guinea's Station, Caroline Co. Va on the 10th inst of Pneumonia, after a short but violent illness, supervening upon the severe wound received in the battle of Chancellorsville. A nation mourns the loss of Genl. Jackson. First in the heart of the brave men he has so often led to victory, there is not a home in the Confederacy that will not feel the loss and lament it as a great national calamity.

But our loss is distinctive. He was peculiarly our own. He came to us in 1851, a Lieutenant and Brevet Major of Artillery from the army of the late United States, upon the unanimous appointment of the Board of Visitors as Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, and Instructor of Artillery. Here he laboured with scrupulous fidelity for 10 years, in the duties of these important offices. Here he became a soldier of the Cross and as an humble conscientious and useful Christian man he established the character which has developed into the world renowned Christian Hero.

On the 21st of April 1861 upon the order of his Excellency Governor Letcher, he left the Institute, in command of the Corps of Cadets for Camp Lee, Richmond, for service in the defense of his state and country and he has never known a day of rest--until called by Divine command to cease from his labors.

The military career of Genl. Jackson fills the most brilliant and momentous page in the history of our country and on the achievements of our arms, and he stands forth a colossal figure in this war for our Independence.

His country now returns him to us--not as he was when he left us--his spirit has gone to God who gave it--his mutilated body comes back to us--to his home--to be laid by us in the tomb. Reverently and affectionately we will discharge this last solemn duty--and
"though his early sun has set
Its light shall linger round us yet
Young Gentlemen of the Corps of Cadets--The memory of General Jackson is very precious to you. You know how faithfully--how conscientiously he discharged every duty--You know that he was emphatically a man of God, and that Christian principle impressed every act of his life. You know he sustained the honor of our arms when he commanded at Harper's Ferry--How gallantly he repulsed Patterson at Hainesville; the invincible stand he made with his Stonewall Brigade at Manassas; you know the brilliant series of successes and victories which immortalized his Valley Campaign, for many of you were under his standard at McDowell, and pursued and discomfited Milroy and Schenck at Franklin. You know his rapid march to the Chickahominy; how he turned the flank of McClellan at Gaines Mill; his subsequent victory over Pope at Cedar Mountain; the part he bore in the great victory at Second Manassas; his investment and capture of Harper's Ferry; his rapid march and great conflict at Sharpsburg; and when his last conflict was passed, the tribute of the magnanimous Lee, who would gladly have suffered in his own person, could he by that sacrifice have saved General Jackson, and to whom alone, under God, he have the whole glory of the great victory at Chancellorsville. Surely the Virginia Military Institute has a precious inheritance in the memory of General Jackson. His work is finished. God gave him to us, and to his country. He fitted him for his work, and when his work was done He called him to Himself. Submissive to the will of his heavenly Father, it may be said of him, that while in every heart there may be some murmuring, his will was to do and suffer the will of God.

Reverence the memory of such a man as General Jackson. Imitate his virtues, and here, over his lifeless remains, reverently dedicate your service, and your life, if need be, in defense of the cause so dear to his heart; the cause for which he fought and bled, the cause in which he died.

Let the Cadet Battery, which he so long commanded, honor his memory by half-hour guns tomorrow from sunrise to sunset, under the direction of the commandant of cadets. Let his lecture room be draped in mourning for the period of six months.

Let the officers and cadets of the Institute wear the usual badge of mourning for the period of thirty days; and it is respectfully recommended to the alumni of the institution to unite in this last tribute of respect to the memory of their late professor.

All duties will be suspended tomorrow.

By Command of Major-General Smith. A. Govan Hill, Acting Adjutant, VMI.

H.Q. Virginia Military Institute
May 14th, 1863
General Order No. 31

The funeral of Lt. Gen. Jackson will take place tomorrow. Maj. Scott Ship Commandant of Cadets will command the Military Escort and direct the procession.

The body will move from the Institute at 11 oclock A.M.

Half hour guns will be fired from sunrise until the procession moves.

The Flags of the State & Confederacy will be displayed at half mast during the day.

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