Stonewall Jackson died two years before the end of the Civil War, but he is remembered as one of the greatest commanders. He was Robert E. Lee’s right-hand man, famous for this brilliant tactics and bold strikes against Union forces.
Jackson was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was promoted for bravery three times during the War with Mexico. He did not approve of slavery, but he was loyal to his home state, Virginia, and joined the Confederate Army when the Civil War broke out. He earned his nickname at the Battle of Bull Run in 1861. As his brigade withstood a Union onslaught, a fellow officer called out, “There is Jackson, standing like a stone wall.” Jackson next led a brilliant campaign in the Shenandoah Valley.
Although greatly outnumbered, he held off the Union force with a series of lightning strikes and well-fought encounters. He fought some of the war’s most important battles. In May, 1863, he won his greatest victory, at Chancellorsville, Virginia. But the battle had a tragic aftermath. Returning home from a scouting mission, he was mistaken for an enemy and shot by his own men. Jackson died eight days later. It was a bitter loss for Lee, who mourned, “I know not how to replace him.”
Jackson observed the Sabbath so strictly that he would not write a letter if he thought it might travel in the mails on Sunday.