While the most famous Southern general of the American Civil War was undoubtedly Robert E Lee, another man who came close behind him was Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson. Before the war, he had been a teacher and an academic, but his transformation was a remarkable one. Once a solitary and reserved man, suffering from a number of physical and mental ailments, he would eventually come to be known as one of the greatest tacticians and generals in US history.
From the Valley Campaign to the First Battle of Bull Run, his skill on the battlefield as a strategist earned him a glowing reputation. Even when greatly outnumbered, he could still seize victory from the Unionist troops, and his presence in the army became a source of pride and morale for the Confederate forces.
His death came suddenly and unexpectedly when, at the young age of 39, he was accidentally shot by Confederate soldiers. Although the shooting itself didn’t kill him outright, he lost an arm as a result and died eight days later from pneumonia, on May 10th, 1863. His loss was a tremendous blow to the spirits of the men who followed him and a huge loss to the Confederate army as a whole.
This video reminds us of five important facts to remember when examining this legendary general. Part of the ongoing YouTube series History In Five, it is presented by best-selling author S. C. Gwynne, whose book – Rebel Yell – also examines the life of Stonewall Jackson. The video is an excellent introduction to Jackson’s remarkable story and a good way to fill out our understanding of his role in American history.