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Crutchfield being wounded,) he spent the night rectifying the Confederate lines, and selecting positions for his batteries. It had been Jackson's plan to push forward at night, to secure the speediest results of his victory. But Stuart, after the attacks upon his right by Sickles and Pleasonton, and having in view the disorganized condition of his troops, thought wise to defer a general assault until daylight. Having submitted the facts to Jackson, and received word from this officer to use his own discretion in the matter, he decided to afford his troops a few hours of rest. They were accordingly halted in line, and lay upon their arms, an ample force of skirmishers thrown out in front.
No better place than this will be found in which to say a few words about the remarkable man who planned and led this movement about Hooker's flank, -a maneuvre which must have been condemned as foolhardy if unsuccessful, but whose triumph wove a final wreath to crown his dying brows.
Thomas J. Jackson entered West Point a poor boy, essentially a son of the people. He was a classmate of McClellan, Foster, Reno, Stoneman, Couch, Gibbon, and many other noted soldiers, as well those arrayed against as those serving beside him. His standing in his class was far from high; and such as he had was obtained by hard, persistent work, and not by apparent ability. He was known as a simple, honest, unaffected fellow, rough, and the reverse of social; but he commanded his companions' sincere respect by his rugged honesty, the while his uncouth bearing earned him many a jeer.
He was graduated in 1846, and went to Mexico as second lieutenant of the First United States Artillery. He was promoted to be first lieutenant “ for gallant and meritorious services at Vera Cruz." Twice mentioned in Scott's reports, and repeatedly referred to by Worth and Pillow for gallantry while with Magruder's battery, he emerged from that eventful campaign with fair fame and abundant training.
We find him shortly afterwards professor at the Virginia Military Institute of Lexington. Here he was known as a rigid Presbyterian, and a “fatalist," if it be fatalism to believe that “what will be will be," - Jackson's constant motto.
Tall, gaunt, awkward, grave, brief, and business-like in all he did, Jackson passed for odd, “queer,” — insane almost, he was thought by some, — rather than a man of uncommon reserve power.
It was only when on parade, or when teaching artillery practice, that he brightened up; and then scarcely to lose his uncouth habit, but only to show by the light in his eye, and his wrapt attention in his work, where lay his happiest tendencies.
His history during the war is too well known to need to be more than briefly referred' to. He was made colonel of volunteers, and sent to Harper's Ferry in May, 1861, and shortly after promoted to a brigade. He accompanied Joe Johnston in his retreat down the valley. At Bull Run, where his brigade was one of the earliest in the war to use the bayonet, he earned his soubriquet of * Stonewall " at the lips of Gen. Bee. But in the mouths of his soldiers his pet name was “Old Jack,” and ihe term was a talisman which never failed to inflame the heart of every man who bore arms under his banner.
Jackson possessed that peculiar magnetism which stirs the blood of soldiers to boiling-point. Few leaders have ever equalled him in his control of troops. His men had no questions to ask when “Old Jack” led the way. They believed in him as did he in his star; and the impossible only arrested the vigor of their onset, or put a term to their arduous marches.
His campaign in the valley against Fremont and Shields requires no praise. And his movement about McClellan's flank at Mechanicsville, and his still more sterling manæuvre in Pope's campaign, need only to be called to mind.
In the field he was patient, hard-working, careless of self, and full of forethought for his men; though no one could call for and get from troops such excessive work, on the march or in action. No one could ask them to forego rations, rest, often the barest necessaries of life, and yet cheerfully yield him their utmost efforts, as could 6 Old Jack.”
He habitually rode an old sorrel horse, leaning forward in a most unmilitary seat, and wore a sun-browned cap, dingy gray uniform, and a stock, into which he would settle his chin in a queer way, as he moved along with abstracted look. He paid little heed to camp comforts, and slept on the march, or by snatches under trees, as he might find occasion; often begging a cup of bean-coffee and a bit of hard bread from his men, as he passed them in their bivouacs. He was too uncertain in his movements, and careless of self, for any of his military family to be able to look after his physical welfare. In fact, a cold occasioned by lending his cloak to one of his staff, a night or two before Chancellorsville, was the primary cause of the pneumonia, which, setting in upon his exhausting wounds, terminated his life.
Jackson was himself a bad disciplinarian. Nor had he even average powers of organization. He was in the field quite careless of the minutiæ of drill. But he had a singularly happy faculty for choosing men to do his work for him. He was a very close calculator of all his movements. He worked out his maneuvres to the barest mathematical chances, and insisted upon the unerring execution of what he prescribed ; and above all he believed in mystery. Of his entire command, he alone knew what work he had cut out for his corps to do. And this was carried so far that it is said the men were often forbidden to ask the names of the places through which they marched. Mystery,” said Jackson, “mystery is the secret of success in war, as in all transactions of human life.”
Jackson was a professing member of the Presbyterian Church, and what is known as a praying man. By this is meant, that, while he never intentionally paraded or obtruded upon his associates his belief in the practical and immediate effect of prayer, he made no effort to hide his faith or practice from the eyes of the world. In action, while the whole man was wrought up to the culminating pitch of enthusiasm, and while every fibre of his mind and heart was strained towards the achievement of his pur. pose, his hand would often be instinctively raised upwards; and those who knew him best, believed this to be a sign that his trust in the help of a Higher Power was ever present.
Jackson was remarkable as a fighter. In this he stands with but one or two peers. Few men in the world's history have ever got so great results from armed men as he was able to do. But to judge rightly of his actual military strength is not so easy as to award this praise. Unless a general has commanded large armics, it is difficult to judge of how far he may be found wanting if tried in that balance. In the detached commands which be enjoyed, in the Valley and elsewhere, his strategic ability was marked: but these commands were always more or less limited; and, unlike Lee or Johnston, Jackson did not live long enough to rise to the command of a large army upon an extended and independent field of operations.
In Gen. Lee, Jackson reposed an implicit faith. “He is the only man I would follow blindfold,” said Jackson. And Lee's confidence in his lieutenant's ability to carry out any scheme he set his hand to, was equally pronounced. Honestly, though with too much modesty, did Lee say: "Could I have directed events, I should have chosen, for the good of the country, to have been disabled in your stead."
But, illy as Lee could spare Jackson, less still could the Army of Northern Virginia spare Robert E. Lee, — the greatest in adversity of the soldiers of our civil war. Still, after Jackson's death, it is certain that Lee found no