|Name:||Thomas Stonewall Jackson|
|Birth Day:||January 21, 1824|
|Death Date:||May 10, 1863 (age 39)|
|Birth Place:||Clarksburg, United States|
As per our current Database, Thomas Stonewall Jackson died on May 10, 1863 (age 39).
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He spent his early years working at his uncle's grist mill.
Thomas Jackson was born in the town of Clarksburg, Virginia, on January 21, 1824. He was the third child of Julia Beckwith (née Neale) Jackson (1798–1831) and Jonathan Jackson (1790–1826), an attorney. Both of Jackson's parents were natives of Virginia. The family already had two young children and were living in Clarksburg, in what is now West Virginia, when Thomas was born. He was named for his maternal grandfather. There is some dispute about the actual location of Jackson's birth. A historical marker on the floodwall in Parkersburg, West Virginia, claims that he was born in a cabin near that spot when his mother was visiting her parents who lived there. There are writings which indicate that in Jackson's early childhood, he was called "The Real Macaroni", though the origin of the nickname and whether it really existed are unclear.
Thomas's sister Elizabeth (age six) died of typhoid fever on March 6, 1826, with two-year-old Thomas at her bedside. His father also died of a typhoid fever on March 26. Jackson's mother gave birth to Thomas's sister Laura Ann the day after Jackson's father died. Julia Jackson thus was widowed at 28 and was left with much debt and three young children (including the newborn). She sold the family's possessions to pay the debts. She declined family charity and moved into a small rented one-room house. Julia took in sewing and taught school to support herself and her three young children for about four years.
In 1830, Julia Neale Jackson remarried, against the wishes of her friends. Her new husband, Captain Blake B. Woodson, an attorney, did not like his stepchildren. There were continuing financial problems. The following year, after giving birth to Thomas's half-brother Willam Wirt Woodson, Julia died of complications, leaving her three older children orphaned. Julia was buried in an unmarked grave in a homemade coffin in Westlake Cemetery along the James River and Kanawha Turnpike in Fayette County within the corporate limits of present-day Ansted, West Virginia.
As their mother's health continued to fail, Jackson and his sister Laura Ann were sent to live with their half-uncle, Cummins Jackson, who owned a grist mill in Jackson's Mill (near present-day Weston in Lewis County in central West Virginia). Their older brother, Warren, went to live with other relatives on his mother's side of the family, but he later died of tuberculosis in 1841 at the age of twenty. Thomas and Laura Ann returned from Jackson's Mill in November 1831 to be at their dying mother's bedside. They spent four years together at the Mill before being separated—Laura Ann was sent to live with her mother's family, Thomas to live with his Aunt Polly (his father's sister) and her husband, Isaac Brake, on a farm four miles from Clarksburg. Thomas was treated by Brake as an outsider and, having suffered verbal abuse for over a year, ran away from the family. When his cousin in Clarksburg urged him to return to Aunt Polly's, he replied, "Maybe I ought to, ma'am, but I am not going to." He walked eighteen miles through mountain wilderness to Jackson's Mill, where he was welcomed by his uncles and he remained there for the following seven years.
In 1842, Jackson was accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Because of his inadequate schooling, he had difficulty with the entrance examinations and began his studies at the bottom of his class. Displaying a dogged determination that was to characterize his life, he became one of the hardest working cadets in the academy, and moved steadily up the academic rankings. Jackson graduated 17th out of 59 students in the Class of 1846. It was said by his peers that if he had stayed there another year, he would have graduated first.
During the assault on Chapultepec Castle on September 13, 1847, he refused what he felt was a "bad order" to withdraw his troops. Confronted by his superior, he explained his rationale, claiming withdrawal was more hazardous than continuing his overmatched artillery duel. His judgment proved correct, and a relieving brigade was able to exploit the advantage Jackson had broached. In contrast to this display of strength of character, he obeyed what he also felt was a "bad order" when he raked a civilian throng with artillery fire after the Mexican authorities failed to surrender Mexico City at the hour demanded by the U.S. forces. The former episode, and later aggressive action against the retreating Mexican army, earned him field promotion to the brevet rank of major.
While an instructor at VMI in 1853, Thomas Jackson married Elinor "Ellie" Junkin, whose father, George Junkin, was president of Washington College (later named Washington and Lee University) in Lexington. An addition was built onto the president's residence for the Jacksons, and when Robert E. Lee became president of Washington College he lived in the same home, now known as the Lee–Jackson House. Ellie gave birth to a stillborn son on October 22, 1854, experiencing a hemorrhage an hour later that proved fatal.
Little known as he was to the white inhabitants of Lexington, Jackson was revered by many of the African Americans in town, both slaves and free blacks. In 1855, he was instrumental in the organization of Sunday School classes for blacks at the Presbyterian Church. His second wife, Mary Anna Jackson, taught with Jackson, as "he preferred that my labors should be given to the colored children, believing that it was more important and useful to put the strong hand of the Gospel under the ignorant African race, to lift them up." The pastor, Dr. William Spottswood White, described the relationship between Jackson and his Sunday afternoon students: "In their religious instruction he succeeded wonderfully. His discipline was systematic and firm, but very kind. ... His servants reverenced and loved him, as they would have done a brother or father. ... He was emphatically the black man's friend." He addressed his students by name and they, in turn, referred to him affectionately as "Marse Major".
Though he spent a great deal of time preparing in depth for each class meeting, Jackson was unpopular as a teacher. His students called him "Tom Fool". He memorized his lectures and then recited them to the class; any student who came to ask for help was given the same explanation as before. And if a student asked for help a second time, Jackson viewed him as insubordinate and punished him. For his tests, Jackson typically had students simply recite memorized information that he had given them. The students mocked his apparently stern, religious nature and his eccentric traits. In 1856, a group of alumni attempted to have Jackson removed from his position.
After a tour of Europe, Jackson married again, in 1857. Mary Anna Morrison was from North Carolina, where her father was the first president of Davidson College. Her sister, Isabella Morrison, was married to Daniel Harvey Hill. They had a daughter named Mary Graham on April 30, 1858, but the baby died less than a month later. Another daughter was born in 1862, shortly before her father's death. The Jacksons named her Julia Laura, after his mother and sister.
In November 1859, at the request of the governor of Virginia, Major William Gilham led a contingent of the VMI Cadet Corps to Charles Town to provide an additional military presence at the hanging of militant abolitionist John Brown on December 2, following his raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry on October 16. Major Jackson was placed in command of the artillery, consisting of two howitzers manned by twenty-one cadets.
In 1861, after Virginia seceded from the Union and as the American Civil War broke out, Jackson became a drill master for some of the many new recruits in the Confederate Army. On April 27, 1861, Virginia Governor John Letcher ordered Colonel Jackson to take command at Harpers Ferry, where he would assemble and command the unit which later gained fame as the "Stonewall Brigade", consisting of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th, and 33rd Virginia Infantry regiments. All of these units were from the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia, where Jackson located his headquarters throughout the first two years of the war. Jackson became known for his relentless drilling of his troops; he believed discipline was vital to success on the battlefield. Following raids on the B&O Railroad on May 24, he was promoted to brigadier general on June 17.
Jackson rose to prominence and earned his most famous nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas) on July 21, 1861. As the Confederate lines began to crumble under heavy Union assault, Jackson's brigade provided crucial reinforcements on Henry House Hill, demonstrating the discipline he instilled in his men. Although under heavy fire for several continuous hours, Jackson received a wound, breaking the middle finger of his left hand; about midway between the hand and knuckle, the ball passing on the side next the index finger. The troops of South Carolina, commanded by Gen. Barnard Elliott Bee Jr. had been overwhelmed, and he rode up to Jackson in despair, exclaiming, "They are beating us back!" "Then," said Jackson, "we will give them the bayonet!" As he rode back to his command, Bee exhorted his own troops to re-form by shouting, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians!" There is some controversy over Bee's statement and intent, which could not be clarified because he was killed almost immediately after speaking and none of his subordinate officers wrote reports of the battle. Major Burnett Rhett, chief of staff to General Joseph E. Johnston, claimed that Bee was angry at Jackson's failure to come immediately to the relief of Bee's and Francis S. Bartow's brigades while they were under heavy pressure. Those who subscribe to this opinion believe that Bee's statement was meant to be pejorative: "Look at Jackson standing there like a stone wall!"
The campaign started with a tactical defeat at Kernstown on March 23, 1862, when faulty intelligence led him to believe he was attacking a small detachment. But it became a strategic victory for the Confederacy, because his aggressiveness suggested that he possessed a much larger force, convincing President Abraham Lincoln to keep Banks' troops in the Valley and McDowell's 30,000-man corps near Fredericksburg, subtracting about 50,000 soldiers from McClellan's invasion force. As it transpired, it was Jackson's only defeat in the Valley.
Lee wrote to Jackson after learning of his injuries, stating: "Could I have directed events, I would have chosen for the good of the country to be disabled in your stead." Jackson died of complications from pneumonia on May 10, 1863, eight days after he was shot. On his deathbed, though he became weaker, he remained spiritually strong, saying towards the end: "It is the Lord's Day; my wish is fulfilled. I have always desired to die on Sunday."
Harper's Weekly reported Jackson's death on May 23, 1863, as follows:
Jackson encouraged the Confederate States Army revival that occurred in 1863, although it was probably more of a grass-roots movement than a top-down revival. Jackson strictly observed the Sunday Sabbath. James I. Robertson, Jr. notes that "no place existed in his Sunday schedule for labor, newspapers, or secular conversation."
Jackson owned six slaves in the late 1850s. Three (Hetty, Cyrus, and George, a mother and two teenage sons) were received as part of the dowry at his marriage to Mary Anna Jackson. Another, Albert, requested that Jackson purchase him and allow him to work for his freedom; he was employed as a waiter in one of the Lexington hotels and Jackson rented him to VMI. Amy also requested that Jackson purchase her from a public slave auction and she served the family as a cook and housekeeper. The sixth, Emma, was a four-year-old orphan with a learning disability, accepted by Jackson from an aged widow and presented to his second wife, Mary Anna, as a welcome-home gift. After the American Civil War began he appears to have hired out or sold his slaves, except, apparently at least, one slave: "A 'servant', Jim Lewis, had stayed with Jackson in the small house as he lay dying". Mary Anna Jackson, in her 1895 memoir, said, "our servants ... without the firm guidance and restraint of their master, the excitement of the times proved so demoralizing to them that he deemed it best for me to provide them with good homes among the permanent residents." James Robertson wrote about Jackson's view on slavery:
Beginning in 1904 the Commonwealth of Virginia celebrated Jackson's birthday as a state holiday; the observance was eliminated, with Election Day as a replacement holiday, effective July 2020.
A Stonewall Jackson Monument was unveiled on October 11, 1919, in Richmond, Virginia, then taken down on July 1, 2020. Its removal was live-streamed by news outlets and onlookers on various websites and social media platforms.
During a training exercise in Virginia by U.S. Marines in 1921, the Marine commander, General Smedley Butler was told by a local farmer that Stonewall Jackson's arm was buried nearby under a granite marker, to which Butler replied, "Bosh! I will take a squad of Marines and dig up that spot to prove you wrong!" Butler found the arm in a box under the marker. He later replaced the wooden box with a metal one, and reburied the arm. He left a plaque on the granite monument marking the burial place of Jackson's arm; the plaque is no longer on the marker but can be viewed at the Chancellorsville Battlefield visitor's center.
Jackson is featured on the 1925 Stone Mountain Memorial half dollar.
Jackson's grandson and great-grandson, both namesakes, Thomas Jonathan Jackson Christian (1888-1952) and Thomas Jonathan Jackson Christian Jr. (1915-1944), both graduated from West Point. The elder Christian was a career US Army officer who served during both World Wars and rose to the rank of brigadier general. The younger Christian was a colonel in command of the 361st Fighter Group flying P-51 Mustangs in the European Theater of Operations in World War II when he was killed in action in August 1944; his personal aircraft, Lou IV, was one of the most photographed P-51s in the war.
Currently, Thomas Stonewall Jackson is 198 years, 3 months and 29 days old. Thomas Stonewall Jackson will celebrate 199th birthday on a Saturday 21st of January 2023.
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