Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

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Thomas Jackson won his nickname "Stonewall" in the first battle of the war, when he and his Virginia regiment stood fast against the Union attack, giving other Confederate units time to rally. A man of odd habits and ferocious religious conviction, Jackson drove his men extremely hard. In his brilliant Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1862, his troops began calling themselves the "foot cavalry" because of the long, fast marches they carried out at Jackson's orders. But his relationship with his own commander was extremely different, as Shaara captures in Gods and Generals.


Jackson was very different. Lee had come to understand that if left alone, Jackson held nothing back, would operate with a fury and an anger that was simple and straightforward. He was given credit for military genius. The newspapers referred to him as the greatest general in either army, though Jackson never seemed to pay attention to that kind of praise. Around Lee he was like a young child, eyes wide, eager to please the fatherly Lee, and so Lee had learned to treat him that way. But he did not see just a child. He saw a very strong and dangerous animal that would do whatever you asked him to do, with complete dedication and frightening efficiency.

©1996 Jeff Shaara

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