- Historic Sites
Stonewall Jackson’s Deadly Calm
COMING TO TERMS WITH THE MOST COMPELLING AND MYSTERIOUS OF CIVIL WAR HEROES
December 1996 | Volume 47, Issue 8
The Georgia soldier who wrote that “his presence was sufficient to strike terror to the heart of the enemy” captured the essence of the general’s image in the North. Jackson had become “the great dread of the Yankees,” in the delighted phrase of one of his men. A Virginia private, hoping that the Confederacy would find an equally capable hero after Jackson’s death, acknowledged sagely that even if it did, it would still take time for the Yankees “to learn to fear him” as they had the legendary Stonewall.
A century and a third after the death of Thomas J. Jackson he remains an ogre only to tendentiously anti-Southern polemicists. The spectral aspect of his image continues to bemuse us, however, as we wonder at his unusual characteristics and his spectacular feats. This most compelling of 1860s warriors remains, in the memorable phrase of Stephen Vincent Benét, “Stonewall Jackson, wrapped in his beard and his silence.”