Stonewall Jackson

From ArticleWorld

Stonewall Jackson or Thomas J. Jackson is the most revered of all Confederate commanders. He was a graduate of West Point and had served in the artillery in the Mexican War, earning two brevets, before resigning to accept a professorship at the Virginia Military Institute. Interestingly, he had ‘Tom Fool Jackson’ and ‘Old Blue Light’ as nicknames before earning his most remembered nickname, Stonewall Jackson.


Thomas Jackson, of a Scots-Irish descent, was born in 1824 to Julia and Jonathan Jackson, an attorney. He was the third child, and had an elder brother and sister. His father and sister died of typhoid fever within a day of each other when Thomas was two and his mother passed away when he was seven. The family was split up and sent to live with different relatives. Thomas got to live with his paternal uncle who owned a mill and an adjoining farm in West Virginia. He did not get any formal education but was self taught and tried to attend classes whenever and wherever possible. Later he became a school teacher and taught at Jackson’s Mill.


In 1842 Thomas joined the United States Military Academy in New York and graduated 17th out of a class of 59, despite his handicap of no formal education. Jackson fought in the Mexican War from 1846 to 1848. He earned two brevet promotions during that time. In 1851 Jackson started teaching at Virginia Military Institute and his teaching materials are still used at the institute because they are timeless.

In 1861, the American Civil War broke out and Jackson took command at Harper’s Ferry, where the fomentation had started. Jackson became very famous and earned his nickname of Stonewall after the first battle of Bull Run when he stood like a Stonewall with his troops behind him. In 1862 he took command at Shenandoah Valley where he convincingly beat the Union forces. At the battle of Chancellorsville , Jackson was shot at and lost his left arm in friendly fire. Eight days later, on May 10th, 1863, he died of pneumonia.