Monday, January 28, 2019

Stonewall: By Name and Nature

Stonewall lay dying of his wounds at Chancellorsville — “the most successful movement of my life,” he murmured, and then remembered to give full credit to God. “I feel His hand led me.” He had smashed Fighting Joe Hooker and 134,000 invaders of Virginia with 60,000 Confederates. Jackson didn’t mention General Robert E. Lee who was with the reserves that battle.

Eight days would pass from the night of May 2, 1863, when a Confederate volley ironically struck Jackson down, until his beloved physician, Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire, his ear close to the General’s lips, made out the unforgettable words, “Let us cross the river and rest in the shade of the trees.” The length of the death watch gave ample time for soldiers’ talk of battle, death and wartime politics. Much of it took place around Jackson’s shattered body which had been moved by litter and wagon-ambulance, often under Yankee artillery barrage, through mountain terrain to Guiney’s station some forty-five miles from Richmond. Somebody mentioned the then pending resolution before the Confederate government to designate Jackson’s original command as the Stonewall Brigade, wholly unprecedented in military orders.


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