Saturday, January 21, 2017

Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson

From the Prattville Dragoons January 2017 Camp Dispatch newsletter:

Jackson and his army spent the winter of 1862 and early 1863 at Moss Neck on the Rappahannock River, not far from Fredericksburg. During this time, Jackson took leave to visit his wife and to see his infant daughter for the first time. On April 29, 1863, Jackson received word that 134,000 Union troops were crossing the Rappahannock River on both sides of Fredericksburg. Consequently, his leave was interrupted.
These Union forces were under the command of Major Generals John Sedgwick and Joseph Hooker. Jackson sent a small force to defend against Sedgwick, while taking the bulk of his army into the Wilderness near Spotsylvania on April 30, where he joined General Lee in hopes of stopping General Hooker. On May 1, they were able to stop Hooker's advance down the Rappahannock River toward Fredericksburg, and in doing so, drove them back toward Chancellorsville. That evening, Lee and Jackson met and decided to split their army again. Lee was to stay at Chancellorsville to take on Hooker's front lines, while Jackson would make a sweep around Hooker, and attack him from the rear. On the morning of May 2, Jackson was successful, completely overwhelming the Union XI Corps.
This was one of Jackson's most sensational victories during the war, only to be marred by tragedy. As dusk began to fall, while Jackson and staff were scouting forward of his own lines, several of his own men mistakenly fired at him, believing him to be the enemy. Hit and badly injured, he was taken to a nearby house, where doctors had to amputate his left arm. Soon thereafter, it appeared that his condition was improving. However, it then suddenly worsened, and was now complicated by pneumonia.
Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, easily one of the finest generals in the war on both sides, died on May 10, 1863. With his death, General Lee had lost one whom he considered his "right arm". “Stonewall” Jackson and his tactics are studied still today at various military institutions around the world, including Maxwell Air Force Base.
-- Compatriot Tyrone Crowley

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