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cover Washington. Here was fresh work cut out for Lee and Jackson. “ Stonewall” was sent against this force and on his way north encountered his old antagonist Banks at Cedar Run and signally defeated him. On August 25 he passed round Pope's right flank and forced him to fall back from the Rappahannock.
Pope, reinforced from McClellan's army, made a stand on the old battlefield of Bull Run, and here Jackson held him by stubborn fighting until Longstreet, sent by Lee, came to his aid, when the two effectively routed Pope, after one of the most desperate battles of the war.
Richmond now was safe. McClellan's men, hastily recalled, had made their way with all speed to Washington. That city was secure and Lee now made his celebrated invasion of Maryland, detaching Jackson with his corps for an attack upon Harper's Ferry, then garrisoned with twelve thousand men. Jackson's success in this movement was remarkable. He invested the place, and a few days sufficed, aided by faintheartedness on the part of the Union commander, to force a surrender of the garrison and the valuable munitions of war, including many stands of arms and seventy-two guns.
Great was the success of Jackson in this movement. Yet brilliant as it was, the movement was highly perilous. Lee had run a serious danger in dividing his army in the face of McClellan's vigorous pursuit. Before a junction could be made McClellan had attacked Lee at Antietam and forced him to accept battle under great disadvantage. His escape from utter rout depended upon Jackson, and old Stonewall proved equal to the occasion. By a severe night march he reached the field of battle with two of his divisions on September 16 and by his presence saved the Confederate army from imminent peril of destruction. The stars had fought for Lee. A day's more detention of Jackson at Harper's Ferry might have brought complete destruction to the Confederate army, pushed back with its rear on the river. But Stonewall Jackson never failed to be on hand when needed. With his thin line he faced the corps of Hooker, Mansfield, and Sumner, repulsing them all successively and saving the day. The next day Lee crossed the Potomac into Virginia.
Jackson remained with Lee's army during the brief remainder of his career and took part in two more great battles. At Fredericksburg, on December 13, he commanded the Confederate right wing and did his share so well in repelling Burnside's fierce assaults that he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general.
The last battle of this famous soldier was that of Chancellorsville, May 1 and 2, 1863. Lee's great victory here was largely due to his able lieutenant, who suggested and made the movement that resulted in Hooker's severe defeat. Executing a flank movement on the right wing of Hooker's army, he suddenly struck the flank of the eleventh Federal corps and drove it in utter confusion before him. As he was making a reconnoissance with his staff in the dusk of the evening, with a view of pressing the pursuit, he was fired on by mistake by some of his own men and received several wounds. One of these, in the arm, was so severe that amputation was necessary. An attack of pneumonia followed and he died May 10, 1863. The battle was won, but at a cost no single victory could pay for. In the fall of Stonewall Jackson it was as if an army had been annihilated.
Stonewall Jackson had few equals as a general. In all his career no one could accuse him of a tactical mistake. He was fearless, but not reckless. He had wonderful power over his men, who loved him and would fight for him as for no other. He knew when he could strike a telling blow and knew as well when it was time to hold back. He carefully planned all his movements and made none which he had not fully matured. His loss was a terrible blow to Lee, who felt that in Jackson he had lost his right arm.
In his religious fervor, his serene and indomitable courage and his extraordinary influence over his soldiers, he reminds us of the great Puritan leaders who fought under Cromwell. On the field of battle he was never known to lose his self-possession or to be surprised by any sudden change of fortune. His quick eye would detect the moment to act and his keen judgment tell when and how the stroke should be made.
As a man he was modest, upright and remarkably pure-minded. In conversation he was frank and firm in manner, looking straight at and seemingly through you as he talked. None of his opinions or convictions was languidly held, he being intensely earnest in all his beliefs and rules of conduct. He was strictly temperate in his habits. On one occasion, when wet and fatigued, his physician gave him some whiskey. He drank it with a wry face and the doctor asked him if it was not good whiskey.
“Oh,” said he, “it's good enough. I like liquor. That's why I don't drink it."
GEORGE H. THOMAS, THE ROCK OF
GENERAL THOMAS was one of the great generals of the Civil War who was too modest to blow his own trumpet. He kept quiet and stayed behind while smaller men crowded to the front. He was not only a man of modesty, but also a man of conscience. After the battle of Shiloh he was given the position which belonged of right to Grant, but would not accept it, feeling that Grant had not been justly treated. In the same way, before the battle of Perryville he was put over Buell, but he declined for the same reason, saying that a soldier ought to have the right to fight a battle for which he had made preparations. Men of this type are rare phenomena in war or peace.
There was thus no self-seeking in General Thomas. He was a true gentleman, a man who would not consent to rise through injustice to others. As a soldier there was not his superior in the army. He was of the slow and sure kind; he would not strike until he was ready, and when he did strike something was sure to fall. He was deliberate in his motions and cautious in his character. His men called him “Old Reliable ,” “Old Pap Safety,” “Old Slow-Trot,” and also “ Pop Thomas ” and “Uncle George.” He never joked or was familiar with them, yet few commanders in the army had more the confidence and affection of their men. He was not of the class of men who seek to shine, but of that class with whom duty stands before glory.
He was ever modest. After the war he could rarely be induced to speak of the great military movements in which he had taken part. One might know him for years and yet never learn from him that he had won great victories. Yet as a soldier he bore the highest reputation, and an able critic has said, “He was one of the very few commanders who never committed a serious military error, who never sacrificed a command, and who never lost a battle."
Personally he was a peculiar character. He hated to change habits or even his clothes, and it was a sore trial to him to give up his old coat. In the early part of the war he rose rapidly in rank from colonel to brigadier-general, but he was long a general before he quit wearing his colonel's uniform. So, six months after he was made a major-general, he still wore the old brigadier coat and would have kept on wearing it had not one of his aides, helped by his servant, slyly abstracted the rusty coat and replaced it with a new one, with the stars suited to his rank.
George Henry Thomas was a Virginian, born in Southampton County, July 31, 1816. As a boy he spent many years in school, but by watching workmen he learned how to make saddles, boots, and furniture, thus cultivating a useful habit of observation. He was twenty years old and was studying law under his uncle when he was offered a cadetship at West Point. This hit his fancy and he gave up law for the army, in which the remainder of his life was passed.
Graduating in 1840, he was made a second lieutenant in the artillery service and sent to Florida, where war with the Seminole Indians was still going on. His second chance for active service came under General Taylor in the Mexican War. Here he fought so gal