Page images

Scott's campaign, being twice brevetted for gallant conduct. When the war ended he bore the rank of first lieutenant and for several years was on duty at Norfolk harbor and in Florida. Ill health in 1857 caused him to resign from the army and he soon after accepted the position of professor of natural philosophy and military tactics in the military academy at Lexington, Virginia.

Jackson had the credit of being a good teacher, but he was a man of many peculiarities, one of these being an extreme bashfulness that gave an opening for much amusement to the students. It was while at Lexington that he became a member of the Presbyterian Church, and his religious fervor was always afterwards notable. Christian duty was his first thought at all times and seasons and the habit of prayer became a part of his very life. As he himself said, “I have made the practice habitual, and I can no more forget it than forget to drink when I am thirsty."

His conscientiousness was so great that on one occasion, on discovering that he had made a mistake in sending a student to his seat for an error in recitation, he could not rest an instant till he had visited the student in his room and set the matter right. To do so he had to walk a long distance through sleet and snow of a winter's night. Most men would have waited for the next day's session, but that was not Jackson's idea of duty.

In politics Jackson was a State-rights Democrat of the strictest school. His State was his country, and when Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861 he felt it his religious duty to go with it to the end. His spirit was that of a patriot called to the defence of his native land. He wrote to the governor, offering

[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors]

to serve in any position, and as he had borne the brevet title of major in the United States service, the governor at once appointed him colonel of an infantry regiment and sent him to Harper's Ferry, where on May 3 he took possession of the United States arsenal.

Such were the events preceding Jackson's two years of active life as Confederate soldier. As a commander of men the shyness he exhibited before college students left him, and he displayed the dignity and self-possession necessary to success as a soldier. On the 21st of July he found himself in command of a brigade on the field of Bull Run, the first important battle of the war. Here, while the Confederate line was wavering before the Federal attack and the result seemed in serious doubt, Jackson held his men with immovable firmness, repelling all assaults. General Bee, who was trying to rally his broken brigade, pointed to Jackson's men and called out: "Look at those Virginians! They are standing like a stone wall."

This is the story told of the origin of the famous appellation of “Stonewall” Jackson, which clung to him for the remainder of his life, while his men came to be known as the “Stonewall brigade.” Wounded in the hand during this battle, he would not leave the field till the fight was over, and then would not permit the surgeon to attend to him till those worse hurt were relieved. He sat down on the bank of a small stream and refused any assistance until“ his turn came.'

In September he was made a major-general and sent to the Shenandoah Valley, the locality in which he was to gain much of his fame. His genius for war was quickly displayed and the Federal troops found him an ugly foe to deal with. On March 23, 1862, he was defeated by General Shields near Winchester and retreated rapidly up the valley, pursued by General Banks. Reinforcements reaching him, he suddenly turned, sent Banks whirling backward, and drove him to the Potomac, striking in rapid succession the converging columns of Milroy, Shields, and Banks, beating them separately and forcing them from the State. Then, on the approach of General Fremont with a strong force from the west, he moved hastily.up the valley to Harrisonburg. Fremont overtook him at Cross Keys, where on the 8th of June, an indecisive battle was fought. In that brief campaign Jackson had proved himself a soldier of exceptional ability and was looked upon with admiration alike in South and North. He had cleared the valley of his foes by movements of the greatest brilliancy, and then deftly baffled the attempt to cut him off by moving upon his rear.

In this “campaign of the valley” he had, by vigilance, sagacity, celerity of movement, secrecy, and faultless tactical skill, achieved the greatest results with the smallest means and had made himself a terror to the Federal authorities. McDowell, commanding an army between Washington and Richmond, was held back from McClellan through fear of uncovering Washingtion to this thunderbolt of war. Lee and Jackson took quick advantage of the situation. Hastening from the valley, where there was no foe to hold him, Jackson joined Lee in that series of movements and assaults which drove back McClellan's army through a week of battles and forced it to take shelter at Harrison's Landing, on the James River.

The Government at Washington, losing faith in its generals, now called to its aid General Pope, who had done some good fighting in the West, and put him to

« PreviousContinue »