Jackson, Thomas Jonathan

Jackson, Thomas Jonathan

▪ Confederate general
born Jan. 21, 1824, Clarksburg, Va. [now in W.Va.], U.S.
died May 10, 1863, Guinea Station [now Guinea], Va.
 Confederate general in the American Civil War, one of its most skillful tacticians, who gained his sobriquet “Stonewall” by his stand at the First Battle of Bull Run (called First Manassas by the South) in 1861.

Early life and career.
      The early death of his father, who left little support for the family, and his mother's subsequent death, caused Jackson to grow up in the homes of relatives. He had little opportunity for formal education in his early years, but he received an appointment, in 1842, to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After a slow start, he was graduated 17th in his class and was commissioned as a second lieutenant assigned to artillery. He joined his regiment in Mexico, where the United States was then at war. In the Mexican War (Mexican-American War) he first met General Robert E. Lee (Lee, Robert E.), who later became the commanding general of the Confederate armies, and it was here that Jackson first exhibited the qualities for which he later became famous: resourcefulness, the ability to keep his head, and bravery in the face of enemy fire. At the end of the fighting in Mexico, having been promoted to first lieutenant and to the brevet rank of major, he was assigned to the occupation forces in Mexico City.

      Finding service in the peacetime army tedious, he resigned his commission and became professor of artillery tactics and natural philosophy at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1851. Though he worked hard at his new duties, he never became a popular or highly successful teacher. A stern and shy man, he earned a reputation for eccentricity that followed him to the end of his career. His strong sense of duty and moral righteousness, coupled with great devotion to the education of cadets, earned for him the derisive title “Deacon Jackson” and comparison with Oliver Cromwell.

      Upon the outbreak of the Civil War he offered his services to his state of Virginia and was ordered to bring his VMI cadets from Lexington to Richmond. Soon after, he received a commission as colonel in the state forces of Virginia and was charged with organizing volunteers into an effective Confederate army brigade, a feat that rapidly gained him fame and promotion. His untimely death only two years later cut Jackson down at the height of an increasingly successful career, leaving unanswered the question of his capacity for independent command, which his rapid rise suggests he might have achieved.

      Jackson's first assignment in the Confederate cause was the small command at Harpers Ferry, Va. (now West Virginia), where the Shenandoah River flows into the Potomac. His mission was to fortify the area and hold it if possible. When General Joseph E. Johnston took over the Confederate forces in the valley, with Jackson commanding one of the brigades, Jackson withdrew to a more defensible position at Winchester.

Battle of Manassas.
 In July 1861 the invasion of Virginia by Federal army troops began, and Jackson's brigade moved with others of Johnston's army to unite with General P.G.T. Beauregard on the field of Bull Run (Bull Run, battles of) in time to meet the advance of General Irvin McDowell's Federal army. It was here that he stationed his brigade in a strong line, withholding the enemy against overwhelming odds and earning the sobriquet “Stonewall.” The spring of 1862 found Jackson again in the Shenandoah Valley (Shenandoah Valley campaigns), where his diversionary tactics prevented reinforcements being sent to Federal army general George B. McClellan, who was waging the peninsular campaign against Richmond, the Confederate capital. Jackson's strategy possibly accounted for Lee's victory later in the Seven Days' Battles. Lee, then chief military adviser to Confederate president Jefferson Davis, suggested to Jackson that he use his troops to attack Federal troops in the valley and thus threaten Washington. By rapid movement, Jackson closed separately with several Federal units and defeated them. In April he struck in the mountains of western Virginia; then on May 24–25 he turned on General Nathaniel P. Banks and drove him out of Winchester and back to the Potomac River.

      He then quickly turned his attention to the southern end of the valley, defeating the Federals at Cross Keys, Va., on June 8, and at Port Republic on the next day. Lee then brought Jackson's troops by road and railroad to Richmond to envelop the right wing of McClellan's army. But Jackson arrived a day late, and his reputation lost some of its lustre, possibly because of his lack of experience in large-scale action; nevertheless, McClellan was beaten back and was ordered to evacuate the peninsula.

      Lee at once joined Jackson against the Federal forces regrouping under General John Pope. He sent Jackson, by a wide encircling movement, to attack the rear of Pope's forces and bring on the Second Battle of Bull Run, in which Pope was soundly beaten. Lee next crossed the Potomac for the “liberation” of Maryland. To protect Richmond, Lee detached Jackson to capture Harpers Ferry, which he did in time (September 13–15) to rejoin Lee at Antietam. After his return to Virginia, Lee divided his army into two corps, General James Longstreet commanding the first and Jackson, now a lieutenant general, the second. At Fredericksburg (Fredericksburg, Battle of), Va., in December, Jackson was in command of the Confederate right when Federal general Ambrose E. Burnside's rash attack was easily repulsed and he was crushingly defeated.

      In April, General Joseph Hooker, Burnside's successor, attempted to turn the Confederate position on the Rappahannock River, south of Washington. There the seemingly invincible team of Lee and Jackson made its boldest move. Leaving a small detachment to meet Federal troops on the Rappahannock, Lee moved his main body, including Jackson's corps, to meet Hooker's threatened envelopment in the woods of Chancellorsville. (Chancellorsville, Battle of)He then divided his army again, keeping only 10,000 men to demonstrate against Hooker's front, and he sent Jackson to move secretly around Hooker's right with his entire corps.

 The maneuver was completely successful. On the evening of May 2, Jackson rolled up the flank of the unsuspecting Federal forces. Then, in the moment of victory, tragedy struck. Jackson, who had ridden forward to organize the pursuit, was accidentally shot down by his own men when he returned at dusk and was seriously, but not mortally, wounded. Although his left arm was amputated successfully, pneumonia set in and he died a week later. Lee could not replace him; for while Jackson had lost his left arm, Lee had, indeed, lost his right arm.

      That Jackson was the ablest of General Robert E. Lee's generals is rarely questioned. The qualities of the two men complemented each other, and Jackson cooperated most effectively. In him were combined a deep religious fervour and a fiercely aggressive fighting spirit. He was a stern disciplinarian, but his subordinates and his men trusted him and fought well under his leadership. A master of rapid movement and surprise tactics, he kept his intentions sometimes so veiled in secrecy that often his own officers did not fully know his plans until they were ordered to strike.

Charlton W. Tebeau

Additional Reading
G.F.R. Henderson, Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War, 2 vol. (1898, reissued in 1 vol., 1994), was the classic life of Jackson and story of the war in Virginia for more than 40 years. It was superceded by Douglas Southall Freeman, Lee's Lieutenants: A Study in Command, 3 vol. (1942–44, reissued 1997), also available in an abridged ed. by Stephen W. Sears, 1 vol. (1998). Frank E. Vandiver, Mighty Stonewall (1957, reprinted 1989), offers an objective and penetrating analysis of Jackson the man, with less detail of military activities. More recently, John Bowers, Stonewall Jackson: Portrait of a Soldier (1989), and Byron Farwell, Stonewall: A Biography of General Thomas J. Jackson (1992), are fine biographies. James I. Robertson, Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend (1997), is today the definitive account of Thomas Jackson.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Jackson,Thomas Jonathan — Jackson, Thomas Jonathan. Known as “Stonewall.” 1824 1863. American Confederate general who commanded troops at both battles of Bull Run (1861 and 1862) and directed the Shenandoah Valley campaign (1862). He was accidentally killed by his own… …   Universalium

  • JACKSON, THOMAS JONATHAN —    known as Stonewall Jackson, an American general, born in Virginia; bred for the army; distinguished himself in the Mexican War; retired from the army in 1853, and became a professor in Mathematics and Military Science in Virginia; was… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Thomas Jonathan Jackson — Stonewall Jackson Thomas Jonathan Stonewall Jackson (21 de enero de 1824 10 de mayo de 1863) fue un general confederado durante la guerra civil estadounidense. Su mayor prestigio deriva de su audacia en la campaña del Valle de 1862 y como un… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Thomas Jonathan Jackson — Thomas Jonathan Jackson, genannt „Stonewall“, (* 21. Januar 1824 in Clarksburg, Virginia (heute West Virginia); † 10. Mai 1863 in Guinea Station, Spotsylvania County, Virginia) war Major des US Heeres, Lehrer am Virginia Military Institute (VMI)… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Thomas Jonathan Jackson — Thomas Jonathan Stonewall Jackson Surnom Stonewall, Old Jack, Old Blue Light, Tom Fool Naissance 21 janvier 1824 Clarksburg (Virginie Occidentale) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Thomas Jonathan Jackson Altizer — (* 28. September 1927 in Charleston, West Virginia) ist ein christlicher US amerikanischer Theologe. Leben Altizer besuchte das St. John s College in Annapolis, Maryland. Altizer studierte an der University of Chicago christliche Theologie. Nach… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Thomas Jonathan Jackson — noun general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War whose troops at the first Battle of Bull Run stood like a stone wall (1824 1863) • Syn: ↑Jackson, ↑Thomas Jackson, ↑Thomas J. Jackson, ↑Stonewall Jackson • Instance Hypernyms:… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Thomas Jonathan Jackson — ➡ Jackson (IX) * * * …   Universalium

  • Thomas J. Jackson — Thomas Jonathan Jackson Demande de traduction Thomas Jonathan Jackson → …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Thomas Jackson — Thomas Jonathan Jackson Demande de traduction Thomas Jonathan Jackson → …   Wikipédia en Français

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