Stonewall Jackson History
Stonewall Jackson was born Thomas Jonathan on 21st January 1824. His birth took place in the city of Clarksburg in modern-day West Virginia. When young Thomas was just 2 years old, his father passed away. His mother was left handling debts and no money. To support her 3 children, Mrs. Jackson began taking orders to sew and also teach. However, she was forced to sell her home and property due to shortage of money. And, then after 4 years, Mrs. Jackson got married again and the family relocated to another county.
Stonewall Jackson’s stepfather was not very fond of the Jackson children, so when their mother fell ill, the children were sent to live with some relatives until the mother recovered. Unfortunately, Jackson’s mother did not recover and passed away. Thereafter, the orphaned Jackson children were sent to live with their uncle to live in a farm. Jackson was 7 years old at that time. However, Jackson loved his uncle and enjoyed staying in the farm.
At the age of 18, Jackson gained entry into the prestigious West Point Military Academy located in New York. However, since Jackson had just 3 years of formal education, he did not perform well and was last in his class in the first year. However, with each passing year, Jackson improved his grades and went on to graduate in the year 1846. He was attached to an artillery unit and immediately he saw his first action at the Mexican War.
During the war, Jackson kept his cool and did not worry about the hailing bullets. The unit was suppose to march toward Mexico City, but encountered fierce fighting at a fortress called Chapultepec. The fortress was situated on top of a hill and guarded the route to Mexico City. Very soon the American soldiers were at the mercy of the Mexican soldiers, who had an advantage of being on top of the hill. As the unit began retreating, one officer stood out. This officer was Thomas Jackson. He rallied his soldiers to hold their ground and return fire. Jackson held on until reinforcements arrived and this allowed the Americans to take over Mexico City. Immediately, stories about Jackson’s heroics began spreading in the US army and for his bravery, Jackson was promoted 3 times.
Thereafter, Jackson returned to the US and spent time in New York and Florida. However, he got tired of not seeing any action, so took up a teaching job at the Virginia Military Institute located in Lexington. He also invested his money in a tannery to become a partner. During his time at Lexington, Jackson used to attend services at the Lexington Presbyterian Church, and was also one of the founding members of the Rockbridge Bible Society.
It was at the church that Jackson met Elinor Junkin, who he would marry on 4th August 1853. However, this marriage did not last long, as Elinor passed away during childbirth after the couple celebrated their 1st wedding anniversary. Jackson grieved for his wife for 2 years, spending time in Europe, but on return, he started wooing Mary Anna Morrison. The couple got married in the year 1857. Their first child, a daughter, died as an infant. The couple was extremely happy and even had their own home.
However, on 21st April 1861 Virginia announced that it seceding. This was the end of peace time and Jackson had to return to Lexington to take his cadets to Richmond.
It was during the Battle of Bull Run, also known as the Battle of Manassas, that Jackson was given his nickname, Stonewall. It is claimed that General Bernard Bee claimed that Jackson was standing like a stone wall against the Union army onslaught. Thereafter, the name stuck on and he was referred to as Stonewall Jackson, and the brigade that he commanded was known as Stonewall Brigade.
Jackson helped the Confederates to win several battles. In one of the many battles that he fought, he ended up losing his life. This was the Battle of Chancellorsville that was fought close to Fredericksburg in Virginia. The Confederate army was winning the battle against the Union army, but poor Jackson was shot at by his own army when his soldiers mistook him for Union army cavalry. He got short in the left arm, which had to be amputated. The shooting occurred on 2nd May 1863 and on 10th May 1863 Stonewall Jackson died from pneumonia. He was buried in Lexington.
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