Stonewall Jackson And The American Civil War
G. F. R. Henderson

Part 4 out of 19

Jackson's charge; the right was giving way, and the Confederates,
manning the captured guns, turned them on the masses which covered
the fields below.

Howard, although his men fought bravely, was easily repulsed; in a
few minutes not a single Federal soldier, save the dead and dying,
was to be seen upon the plateau.

(MAP. THE FIELD OF BULL RUN. Showing West: Sudley Springs, North:
Centreville, South: Manassas Junction and East: Old Ox Road.)

3.30 P.M.

A final stand was made by McDowell along Young's Branch; and there,
at half-past three, a line of battle was once more established, the
battalion of regular infantry forming a strong centre. But another
Confederate brigade, under General Early, had now arrived, and again
the enemy's right was overthrown, while Beauregard, leaving Jackson,
whose brigade had lost all order and many men in its swift advance,
to hold the plateau, swept forward towards the Matthews Hill. The
movement was decisive. McDowell's volunteers broke up in the utmost
confusion. The Confederate infantry was in no condition to pursue,
but the cavalry was let loose, and before long the retreat became a
panic. The regular battalion, composed of young soldiers, but led by
experienced officers, alone preserved its discipline, moving steadily
in close order through the throng of fugitives, and checking the
pursuing troopers by its firm and confident bearing. The remainder of
the army dissolved into a mob. It was not that the men were
completely demoralised, but simply that discipline had not become a
habit. They had marched as individuals, going just so far as they
pleased, and halting when they pleased; they had fought as
individuals, bravely enough, but with little combination; and when
they found that they were beaten, as individuals they retreated. "The
old soldier," wrote one of the regular officers a week later, "feels
safe in the ranks, unsafe out of the ranks, and the greater the
danger the more pertinaciously he clings to his place. The volunteer
of three months never attains this instinct of discipline. Under
danger, and even under mere excitement, he flies away from his ranks,
and hopes for safety in dispersion. At four o'clock in the afternoon
of the 21st there were more than 12,000 volunteers on the
battle-field of Bull Run who had entirely lost their regimental
organisation. They could no longer be handled as troops, for the
officers and men were not together. Men and officers mingled together
promiscuously; and it is worthy of remark that this disorganisation
did not result from defeat or fear, for up to four o'clock we had
been uniformly successful. The instinct of discipline which keeps
every man in his place had not been acquired. We cannot suppose that
the enemy had attained a higher degree of discipline than our own,
but they acted on the defensive, and were not equally exposed to
disorganisation."* (* Report of Captain Woodbury, U.S. Engineers,
O.R. volume 2 page 334.)

"Cohesion was lost," says one of McDowell's staff; "and the men
walked quietly off. There was no special excitement except that
arising from the frantic efforts of officers to stop men who paid
little or no attention to anything that was said; and there was no
panic, in the ordinary sense and meaning of the word, until the
retiring soldiers, guns, waggons, Congressmen and carriages, were
fired upon, on the road east of Bull Run."* (* General J.B. Fry,
Battles and Leaders volume 1 page 191.)

At Centreville the reserve division stood fast; and the fact that
these troops were proof against the infection of panic and the
exaggerated stories of the fugitives is in itself strong testimony to
the native courage of the soldiery.

A lack of competent Staff officers, which, earlier in the day, had
prevented an advance on Centreville by the Confederate right, brought
Johnston's arrangements for pursuit to naught. The cavalry, weak in
numbers, was soon incumbered with squads of prisoners; darkness fell
upon the field, and the defeated army streamed over the roads to
Washington, followed only by its own fears.

Why the Confederate generals did not follow up their success on the
following day is a question round which controversy raged for many a
year. Deficiencies in commissariat and transport; the disorganisation
of the army after the victory; the difficulties of a direct attack
upon Washington, defended as it was by a river a mile broad, with but
a single bridge, and patrolled by gunboats; the determination of the
Government to limit its military operations to a passive defence of
Confederate territory, have all been pressed into service as excuses.
"Give me 10,000 fresh troops," said Jackson, as the surgeon dressed
his wound, "and I would be in Washington to-morrow." Before
twenty-four hours had passed reinforcements had increased the
strength of Johnston's army to 40,000. Want of organisation had
undoubtedly prevented McDowell from winning a victory on the 19th or
20th, but pursuit is a far less difficult business than attack. There
was nothing to interfere with a forward movement. There were supplies
along the railway, and if the mechanism for their distribution and
the means for their carriage were wanting, the counties adjoining the
Potomac were rich and fertile. Herds of bullocks were grazing in the
pastures, and the barns of the farmers were loaded with grain. It was
not a long supply train that was lacking, nor an experienced staff,
nor even well-disciplined battalions; but a general who grasped the
full meaning of victory, who understood how a defeated army, more
especially of new troops, yields at a touch, and who, above all, saw
the necessity of giving the North no leisure to develop her immense
resources. For three days Jackson impatiently awaited the order to
advance, and his men were held ready with three days' cooked rations
in their haversacks. But his superiors gave no sign, and he was
reluctantly compelled to abandon all hope of reaping the fruits of

It is true that the Confederates were no more fit for offensive
operations than McDowell's troops. "Our army," says General Johnston,
"was more disorganised by victory than that of the United States by
defeat." But it is to be remembered that if the Southerners had moved
into Maryland, crossing the Potomac by some of the numerous fords
near Harper's Ferry, they would have found no organised opposition,
save the debris of McDowell's army, between them and the Northern
capital. On July 26, five days after the battle, the general who was
to succeed McDowell arrived in Washington and rode round the city. "I
found," he wrote, "no preparations whatever for defence, not even to
the extent of putting the troops in military position. Not a regiment
was properly encamped, not a single avenue of approach guarded. All
was chaos, and the streets, hotels, and bar-rooms were filled with
drunken officers and men, absent from their regiments without leave,
a perfect pandemonium. Many had even gone to their homes, their
flight from Bull Run terminating in New York, or even in New
Hampshire and Maine. There was really nothing to prevent a small
cavalry force from riding into the city. A determined attack would
doubtless have carried Arlington Heights and placed the city at the
mercy of a battery of rifled guns. If the Secessionists attached any
value to the possession of Washington, they committed their greatest
error in not following up the victory of Bull Run." On the same date,
the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, wrote as follows: "The capture of
Washington seems now to be inevitable; during the whole of Monday and
Tuesday [July 22 and 23] it might have been taken without resistance.
The rout, overthrow, and demoralisation of the whole army were
complete."* (* McClellan's Own Story pages 66 and 67.)

Of his own share in the battle, either at the time or afterwards,
Jackson said but little. A day or two after the battle an anxious
crowd was gathered round the post-office at Lexington, awaiting
intelligence from the front. A letter was handed to the Reverend Dr.
White, who, recognising the handwriting, exclaimed to the eager
groups about him, "Now we shall know all the facts." On opening it he
found the following, and no more:--

My dear Pastor,

In my tent last night, after a fatiguing day's service, I remembered
that I had failed to send you my contribution to our coloured Sunday
school. Enclosed you will find my check for that object, which please
acknowledge at your earliest convenience, and oblige yours faithfully,

T.J. Jackson.

To his wife, however, he was less reserved. "Yesterday," he wrote, we
"fought a great battle and gained a great victory, for which all the
glory is due to God alone...Whilst great credit is due to other parts
of our gallant army, God made my brigade more instrumental than any
other in repulsing the main attack. This is for your information
only--say nothing about it. Let others speak praise, not myself."

Again, on August 5: "And so you think the papers ought to say more
about your husband. My brigade is not a brigade of newspaper
correspondents. I know that the First Brigade was the first to meet
and pass our retreating forces--to push on with no other aid than the
smiles of God; to boldly take up its position with the artillery that
was under my command--to arrest the victorious foe in his onward
progress--to hold him in check until the reinforcements arrived--and
finally to charge bayonets, and, thus advancing, to pierce the
enemy's centre. I am well satisfied with what it did, and so are my
generals, Johnston and Beauregard. It is not to be expected that I
should receive the credit that Generals Johnston and Beauregard
would, because I was under them; but I am thankful to my ever-kind
Heavenly Father that He makes me content to await His own good time
and pleasure for commendation--knowing that all things work together
for my good. If my brigade can always play so important and useful a
part as it did in the last battle, I trust I shall ever be most
grateful. As you think the papers do not notice me enough, I send a
specimen, which you will see from the upper part of the paper is a
'leader.' My darling, never distrust our God, Who doeth all things
well. In due time He will make manifest all His pleasure, which is
all His people should desire. You must not be concerned at seeing
other parts of the army lauded, and my brigade not mentioned. Truth
is mighty and will prevail. When the official reports are published,
if not before, I expect to see justice done to this noble body of
patriots."* (* Both Johnston and Beauregard, in their official
reports, did full justice to Jackson and his brigade.)

These letters reveal a generous pride in the valour of his troops,
and a very human love of approbation struggles with the curb which
his religious principles had placed on his ambition. Like Nelson, he
felt perhaps that before long he would have "a Gazette of his own."
But still, of his own achievements, of his skilful tactics, of his
personal behaviour, of his well-timed orders, he spoke no word, and
the victory was ascribed to a higher power. "The charge of the 2nd
and 4th Virginia," he wrote in his modest report, "through the
blessing of God, Who gave us the victory, pierced the centre of the
enemy."* (* O.R. volume 2 page 482.)

And Jackson's attitude was that of the Southern people. When the news
of Bull Run reached Richmond, and through the crowds that thronged
the streets passed the tidings of the victory, there was neither wild
excitement nor uproarious joy. No bonfires lit the darkness of the
night; no cannon thundered out salutes; the steeples were silent till
the morrow, and then were heard only the solemn tones that called the
people to prayer. It was resolved, on the day following the battle,
by the Confederate Congress: "That we recognise the hand of the Most
High God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, in the glorious
victory with which He has crowned our arms at Manassas, and that the
people of these Confederate States are invited, by appropriate
services on the ensuing Sabbath, to offer up their united
thanksgivings and prayers for this mighty deliverance."

The spoils of Bull Run were large; 1500 prisoners, 25 guns, ten stand
of colours, several thousand rifles, a large quantity of ammunition
and hospital stores, twenty-six waggons, and several ambulances were
left in the victors' hands. The Federal losses were 460 killed and
1124 wounded; the Confederate, 387 killed, 1582 wounded, and 13
missing. The First Brigade suffered more severely than any other in
the Southern army. Of 3000 officers and men, 488 were killed or
wounded, nearly a fourth of the total loss.

A few days after the battle Johnston advanced to Centreville, and
from the heights above the broad Potomac his cavalry vedettes looked
upon the spires of Washington. But it was in vain that the
Confederate troopers rode to and fro on the river bank and watered
their horses within sight of the Capitol. The enemy was not to be
beguiled across the protecting stream. But it was not from fear.
Although the disaster had been as crushing as unexpected, it was
bravely met. The President's demand for another army was cheerfully
complied with. Volunteers poured in from every State. The men were no
longer asked to serve for three months, but for three years.
Washington became transformed into an enormous camp; great earthworks
rose on the surrounding heights; and the training of the new levies
went steadily forward. There was no cry for immediate action. Men
were not wanting who believed that the task of coercion was
impossible. Able statesmen and influential journalists advised the
President to abandon the attempt. But Lincoln, true to the trust
which had been committed to his keeping, never flinched from his
resolve that the Union should be restored. He, too, stood like a wall
between his defeated legions and the victorious foe. Nor was the
nation less determined. The dregs of humiliation had been drained,
and though the draught was bitter it was salutary. The President was
sustained with no half-hearted loyalty. His political opponents raved
and threatened; but under the storm of recrimination the work of
reorganising the army went steadily forward, and the people were
content that until the generals declared the army fit for action the
hour of vengeance should be postponed.

To the South, Bull Run was a Pyrrhic victory. It relieved Virginia of
the pressure of the invasion; it proved to the world that the
attitude of the Confederacy was something more than the reckless
revolt of a small section; but it led the Government to indulge vain
hopes of foreign intervention, and it increased the universal
contempt for the military qualities of the Northern soldiers. The
hasty judgment of the people construed a single victory as proof of
their superior capacity for war, and the defeat of McDowell's army
was attributed to the cowardice of his volunteers. The opinion was
absolutely erroneous. Some of the Federal regiments had misbehaved,
it is true; seized with sudden panic, to which all raw troops are
peculiarly susceptible, they had dispersed before the strong
counterstroke of the Confederates. But the majority had displayed a
sterling courage. There can be little question that the spirit of the
infantry depends greatly on the staunchness of the artillery. A
single battery, pushed boldly forward into the front of battle, has
often restored the vigour of a wavering line. Although the losses it
inflicts may not be large, the moral effect of its support is
undeniable. So long as the guns hold fast victory seems possible. But
when these useful auxiliaries are driven back or captured a general
depression becomes inevitable. The retreat of the artillery strikes a
chill into the fighting line which is ominous of defeat, and it is a
wise regulation that compels the batteries, even when their
ammunition is exhausted, to stand their ground. The Federal infantry
at Bull Run had seen their artillery overwhelmed, the teams
destroyed, the gunners shot down, and the enemy's riflemen swarming
amongst the abandoned pieces. But so vigorous had been their efforts
to restore the battle, that the front of the defence had been with
difficulty maintained; the guns, though they were eventually lost,
had been retaken; and without the assistance of their artillery, but
exposed to the fire, at closest range, of more than one battery, the
Northern regiments had boldly pushed forward across the Henry Hill.
The Confederates, during the greater part of the battle, were
certainly outnumbered; but at the close they were the stronger, and
the piecemeal attacks of the Federals neutralised the superiority
which the invading army originally possessed.

McDowell appears to have employed 18,000 troops in the attack;
Johnston and Beauregard about the same number.* (* For the strength
of divisions and brigades, see the Note at the end of the chapter.)

A comparison of the relative strength of the two armies, considering
that raw troops have a decided advantage on the defensive, detracts,
to a certain degree, from the credit of the victory; and it will
hardly be questioned that had the tactics of the Federals been better
the victory would have been theirs. The turning movement by Sudley
Springs was a skilful manoeuvre, and completely surprised both
Johnston and Beauregard. It was undoubtedly risky, but it was far
less dangerous than a direct attack on the strong position along Bull

The retention of the Fourth Division between Washington and
Centreville would seem to have been a blunder; another 5000 men on
the field of battle should certainly have turned the scale. But more
men were hardly wanted. The Federals during the first period of the
fight were strong enough to have seized the Henry Hill. Bee, Bartow,
Evans, and Hampton had been driven in, and Jackson alone stood fast.
A strong and sustained attack, supported by the fire of the regular
batteries, must have succeeded.* (* "Had an attack," said General
Johnston, "been made in force, with double line of battle, such as
any major-general in the United States service would now make, we
could not have held [the position] for half an hour, for they would
have enveloped us on both flanks." Campaigns of the Army of the
Potomac, W. Swinton page 58.) The Federal regiments, however, were
practically incapable of movement under fire. The least change of
position broke them into fragments; there was much wild firing; it
was impossible to manoeuvre; and the courage of individuals proved a
sorry substitute for order and cohesion. The Confederates owed their
victory simply and solely to the fact that their enemies had not yet
learned to use their strength.

The summer months went by without further fighting on the Potomac;
but the camps at Fairfax and at Centreville saw the army of Manassas
thinned by furloughs and by sickness. The Southern youth had come out
for battle, and the monotonous routine of the outpost line and the
parade-ground was little to their taste. The Government dared not
refuse the numberless applications for leave of absence, the more so
that in the crowded camps the sultry heat of the Virginia woodlands
bred disease of a virulent type. The First Brigade seems to have
escaped from all these evils. Its commander found his health improved
by his life in the open air. His wound had been painful. A finger was
broken, but the hand was saved, and some temporary inconvenience
alone resulted. As he claimed no furlough for himself, so he
permitted no absence from duty among his troops. "I can't be absent,"
he wrote to his wife, "as my attention is necessary in preparing my
troops for hard fighting, should it be required; and as my officers
and soldiers are not permitted to visit their wives and families, I
ought not to see mine. It might make the troops feel that they are
badly treated, and that I consult my own comfort, regardless of

In September his wife joined him for a few days at Centreville, and
later came Dr. White, at his invitation, to preach to his command.
Beyond a few fruitless marches to support the cavalry on the
outposts, of active service there was none. But Jackson was not the
man to let the time pass uselessly. He had his whole brigade under
his hand, a force which wanted but one quality to make it an
instrument worthy of the hand that wielded it, and that quality was
discipline. Courage and enthusiasm it possessed in abundance; and
when both were untrained the Confederate was a more useful soldier
than the Northerner. In the South nearly every man was a hunter,
accustomed from boyhood to the use of firearms. Game was abundant,
and it was free to all. Sport in one form or another was the chief
recreation of the people, and their pastoral pursuits left them much
leisure for its indulgence. Every great plantation had its pack of
hounds, and fox-hunting, an heirloom from the English colonists,
still flourished. His stud was the pride of every Southern gentleman,
and the love of horse-flesh was inherent in the whole population. No
man walked when he could ride, and hundreds of fine horsemen, mounted
on steeds of famous lineage, recruited the Confederate squadrons.

But, despite their skill with the rifle, their hunter's craft, and
their dashing horsemanship, the first great battle had been hardly
won. The city-bred Northerners, unused to arms and uninured to
hardship, had fought with extraordinary determination; and the same
want of discipline that had driven them in rout to Washington had
dissolved the victorious Confederates into a tumultuous mob.* (*
Colonel Williams, of the 5th Virginia, writes that the Stonewall
Brigade was a notable exception to the general disintegration, and
that it was in good condition for immediate service on the morning
after the battle.) If Jackson knew the worth of his volunteers, he
was no stranger to their shortcomings. His thoughts might be
crystallised in the words of Wellington, words which should never be
forgotten by those nations which depend for their defence on the
services of their citizen soldiery.

"They want," said the great Duke, speaking of the Portuguese in 1809,
"the habits and the spirit of soldiers,--the habits of command on one
side, and of obedience on the other--mutual confidence between
officers and men."

In order that during the respite now offered he might instil these
habits into his brigade, Jackson neither took furlough himself nor
granted it to others. His regiments were constantly exercised on the
parade-ground. Shoulder to shoulder they advanced and retired,
marched and countermarched, massed in column, formed line to front or
flank, until they learned to move as a machine, until the limbs
obeyed before the order had passed from ear to brain, until obedience
became an instinct and cohesion a necessity of their nature. They
learned to listen for the word of the officer, to look to him before
they moved hand or foot; and, in that subjection of their own
individuality to the will of their superior, they acquired that
steadiness in battle, that energy on the march, that discipline in
quarters which made the First Brigade worthy of the name it had
already won. "Every officer and soldier," said their commander, "who
is able to do duty ought to be busily engaged in military preparation
by hard drilling, in order that, through the blessing of God, we may
be victorious in the battles which in His all-wise providence may
await us."

Jackson's tactical ideas, as regards the fire of infantry, expressed
at this time, are worth recording. "I rather think," he said, "that
fire by file [independent firing] is best on the whole, for it gives
the enemy an idea that the fire is heavier than if it was by company
or battalion (volley firing). Sometimes, however, one may be best,
sometimes the other, according to circumstances. But my opinion is
that there ought not to be much firing at all. My idea is that the
best mode of fighting is to reserve your fire till the enemy get--or
you get them--to close quarters. Then deliver one deadly, deliberate
fire--and charge!"

Although the newspapers did scant justice to the part played by the
brigade in the battle of Bull Run, Lee's epithet survived, and
Jackson became known as Stonewall throughout the army. To one of his
acquaintances the general revealed the source of his composure under
fire. "Three days after the battle, hearing that Jackson was
suffering from his wound, I rode," writes Imboden, "to his quarters
near Centreville. Of course the battle was the only topic discussed
during breakfast. "General," I remarked, "how is it that you can keep
so cool, and appear so utterly insensible to danger in such a storm
of shell and bullets as rained about you when your hand was hit?" He
instantly became grave and reverential in his manner, and answered,
in a low tone of great earnestness: "Captain, my religious belief
teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the
time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be
always ready, no matter when it may overtake me." He added, after a
pause, looking me full in the face: "That is the way all men should
live, and then all would be equally brave.""* (* Battles and Leaders,
volume 1 pages 122 and 123.)

Although the war upon the borders had not yet touched the cities of
the South, the patriotism of Virginia saw with uneasiness the inroads
of the enemy in that portion of the State which lies beyond the
Alleghanies, especially the north-west. The country was overrun with
Federal soldiers, and part of the population of the district had
declared openly for the Union. In that district was Jackson's
birth-place, the home of his childhood, and his mother's grave. His
interest and his affections were bound by many ties to the country
and the people, and in the autumn of 1861 he had not yet come to
believe that they were at heart disloyal to their native State. A
vigorous effort, he believed, might still restore to the Confederacy
a splendid recruiting-ground, and he made no secret of his desire for
employment in that region. The strategical advantages of this corner
of Virginia were clearly apparent, as will be seen hereafter, to his
perception. Along its western border runs the Ohio, a river navigable
to its junction with the Mississippi, and giving an easy line of
communication into the heart of Kentucky. Through its northern
counties passed the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the main line of
communication between Washington and the West; and alongside the
railway ran the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, a second and most
important line of supply. Above all, projecting as it did towards the
great lakes of the North, the north-western angle, or Virginia
Panhandle, narrowed the passage between East and West to an isthmus
not more than a hundred miles in breadth. With this territory in the
possession of the Confederates, the Federal dominions would be
practically cut in two; and in North-western Virginia, traversed by
many ranges of well-nigh pathless mountains, with few towns and still
fewer roads, a small army might defy a large one with impunity.

November 4.

On November 4 Jackson's wish was partially granted. He was assigned
to the command of the Shenandoah Valley District, embracing the
northern part of the area between the Alleghanies and the Blue Ridge.
The order was received with gratitude, but dashed by the fact that he
had to depart alone. "Had this communication," he said to Dr. White,
"not come as an order, I should instantly have declined it, and
continued in command of my brave old brigade."

Whether he or his soldiers felt the parting most it is hard to say.
Certain it is that the men had a warm regard for their leader. There
was no more about him at Centreville to attract the popular fancy
than there had been at Harper's Ferry. When the troops passed in
review the eye of the spectator turned at once to the trim carriage
of Johnston and of Beauregard, to the glittering uniform of Stuart,
to the superb chargers and the martial bearing of young officers
fresh from the Indian frontier. The silent professor, absent and
unsmiling, who dressed as plainly as he lived, had little in common
with those dashing soldiers. The tent where every night the general
and his staff gathered together for their evening devotions, where
the conversation ran not on the merits of horse and hound, on
strategy and tactics, but on the power of faith and the mysteries of
the redemption, seemed out of place in an army of high-spirited
youths. But, while they smiled at his peculiarities, the Confederate
soldiers remembered the fierce counterstroke on the heights above
Bull Run. If the Presbyterian general was earnest in prayer, they
knew that he was prompt in battle and indefatigable in quarters. He
had the respect of all men, and from his own brigade he had something
more. Very early in their service, away by the rippling Shenandoah,
they had heard the stories of his daring in Mexico. They had
experienced his skill and coolness at Falling Waters; they had seen
at Bull Run, while the shells burst in never-ending succession among
the pines, the quiet figure riding slowly to and fro on the crest
above them; they had heard the stern command, "Wait till they come
within fifty yards and then give them the bayonet," and they had
followed him far in that victorious rush into the receding ranks of
their astonished foe.

Little wonder that these enthusiastic youths, new to the soldier's
trade, should have been captivated by a nature so strong and
fearless. The Stonewall Brigade had made Jackson a hero, and he had
won more from them than their admiration. His incessant watchfulness
for their comfort and well-being; the patient care with which he
instructed them; his courtesy to the youngest private; the tact and
thoughtfulness he showed in all his relations with them, had won
their affection. His very peculiarities endeared him to them. Old
Jack or Stonewall were his nicknames in the lines of his own command,
and stories went round the camp fire of how he had been seen walking
in the woods round Centreville absorbed in prayer, or lifting his
left hand with that peculiar gesture which the men believed was an
appeal to Heaven, but which, in reality, was made to relieve the pain
of his wounded finger. But while they discussed his oddities, not a
man in the brigade but acknowledged his ability, and when the time
came not a man but regretted his departure.

His farewell to his troops was a striking scene. The forest, already
donning its gorgeous autumnal robes, shut in the grassy clearing
where the troops were drawn up. There stood the grey columns of the
five regiments, with the colours, already tattered, waving in the
mild November air. The general rode up, their own general, and not a
sound was heard. Motionless and silent they stood, a veritable stone
wall, whilst his eye ran along the ranks and scanned the familiar
faces. "I am not here to make a speech," he said, "but simply to say
farewell. I first met you at Harper's Ferry, at the commencement of
the war, and I cannot take leave of you without giving expression to
my admiration of your conduct from that day to this, whether on the
march, in the bivouac, or on the bloody plains of Manassas, where you
gained the well-deserved reputation of having decided the fate of

"Throughout the broad extent of country through which you have
marched, by your respect for the rights and property of citizens, you
have shown that you are soldiers not only to defend, but able and
willing both to defend and protect. You have already won a brilliant
reputation throughout the army of the whole Confederacy; and I trust,
in the future, by your deeds in the field, and by the assistance of
the same kind Providence who has hitherto favoured our cause, you
will win more victories and add lustre to the reputation you now
enjoy. You have already gained a proud position in the future history
of this our second War of Independence. I shall look with great
anxiety to your future movements, and I trust whenever I shall hear
of the First Brigade on the field of battle, it will be of still
nobler deeds achieved, and higher reputation won!" Then there was a
pause; general and soldiers looked upon each other, and the heart of
the leader went out to those who had followed him with such devotion.
He had spoken his words of formal praise, but both he and they knew
the bonds between them were too strong to be thus coldly severed. For
once he gave way to impulse; his eye kindled, and rising in his
stirrups and throwing the reins upon his horse's neck, he spoke in
tones which betrayed the proud memories that thronged upon him:

"In the Army of the Shenandoah you were the First Brigade! In the
Army of the Potomac you were the First Brigade! In the Second Corps
of the army you are the First Brigade! You are the First Brigade in
the affections of your general, and I hope by your future deeds and
bearing you will be handed down to posterity as the First Brigade in
this our second War of Independence. Farewell!"

For a moment there was silence; then the pent-up feeling found
expression, and cheer upon cheer burst forth from the ranks of the
Valley regiments. Waving his hand in token of farewell, Jackson
galloped from the field.









TOTAL 18,000, AND 30 GUNS.



Kirby Smith.


7th Louisiana Regiment.
8th Louisiana Regiment.
Hampton's Legion.

TOTAL 18,000, AND 21 GUNS.


Lord Wolseley has been somewhat severely criticised for asserting
that in the Civil War, "from first to last, the co-operation of even
one army corps (35,000 men) of regular troops would have given
complete victory to whichever side it fought on." Whatever may be
argued as to the latter period of the conflict, it is impossible for
anyone who understands the power of organisation, of discipline, of
training, and of a proper system of command, to dispute the accuracy
of this statement as regards the year 1861, that is, for the first
eight months.

It is far too often assumed that the number of able-bodied men is the
true criterion of national strength. In the Confederate States, for
instance, there were probably 750,000 citizens who were liable for
service in the militia, and yet had the United States possessed a
single regular army corps, with a trained staff, an efficient
commissariat, and a fully-organised system of transport, it is
difficult to see how these 750,000 Southerners could have done more
than wage a guerilla warfare. The army corps would have absorbed into
itself the best of the Northern militia and volunteers; the staff and
commissariat would have given them mobility, and 60,000 or 70,000
men, moving on Richmond directly Sumter fell, with the speed and
certainty which organisation gives, would have marched from victory
to victory. Their 750,000 enemies would never have had time to arm,
to assemble, to organise, to create an army, to train a staff, or to
arrange for their supplies. Each gathering of volunteers would have
been swept away before it had attained consistency, and Virginia, at
least, must have been conquered in the first few months.

And matters would have been no different if the army corps had been
directed against the Union. In the Northern States there were over
2,000,000 men who were liable for service; and yet the Union States,
notwithstanding their superior resources, were just as vulnerable as
the Confederacy. Numbers, even if they amount to millions, are
useless, and worse than useless, without training and organisation;
the more men that are collected on the battle-field, the more
crushing and far-reaching their defeat. Nor can the theory be
sustained that a small army, invading a rich and populous country,
would be "stung to death" by the numbers of its foes, even if they
dared not oppose it in the open field. Of what avail were the
stupendous efforts of the French Republic in 1870 and 1871? Enormous
armies were raised and equipped; the ranks were filled with brave
men; the generals were not unskilful; and yet time after time they
were defeated by the far inferior forces of their seasoned enemies.
Even in America itself, on two occasions, at Sharpsburg in 1862, and
at Gettysburg in 1863, it was admitted by the North that the
Southerners were "within a stone's throw of independence." And yet
hundreds of thousands of able-bodied men had not yet joined the
Federal armies. Nor can Spain be quoted as an instance of an
unconquerable nation. Throughout the war with Napoleon the English
armies, not only that under Wellington, but those at Cadiz, Tarifa,
and Gibraltar, afforded solid rallying-points for the defeated
Spaniards, and by a succession of victories inspired the whole
Peninsula with hope and courage.

The patriot with a rifle may be equal, or even superior, man for man,
to the professional soldier; but even patriots must be fed, and to
win victories they must be able to manoeuvre, and to manoeuvre they
must have leaders. If it could remain stationary, protected by
earthworks, and supplied by railways, with which the enemy did not
interfere, a host of hastily raised levies, if armed and equipped,
might hold its own against even a regular army. But against troops
which can manoeuvre earthworks are useless, as the history of
Sherman's brilliant operations in 1864 conclusively shows. To win
battles and to protect their country armies must be capable of
counter-manoeuvre, and it is when troops are set in motion that the
real difficulty of supplying them begins.

If it is nothing else, the War of Secession, with its awful
expenditure of blood and treasure, is a most startling object-lesson
in National Insurance.


1861 November.

While the Indian summer still held carnival in the forests of
Virginia, Jackson found himself once more on the Shenandoah. Some
regiments of militia, the greater part of which were armed with
flint-lock muskets, and a few squadrons of irregular cavalry formed
his sole command.

The autumn of 1861 was a comparatively quiet season. The North,
silent but determined, was preparing to put forth her stupendous
strength. Scott had resigned; McDowell had been superseded; but the
President had found a general who had caught the confidence of the
nation. In the same month that had witnessed McDowell's defeat, a
young officer had gained a cheap victory over a small Confederate
force in West Virginia, and his grandiloquent dispatches had
magnified the achievement in the eyes of the Northern people. He was
at once nicknamed the "Young Napoleon," and his accession to the
chief command of the Federal armies was enthusiastically approved.
General McClellan had been educated at West Point, and had graduated
first of the class in which Jackson was seventeenth. He had been
appointed to the engineers, had served on the staff in the war with
Mexico, and as United States Commissioner with the Allied armies in
the Crimea. In 1857 he resigned, to become president of a railway
company, and when the war broke out he was commissioned by the State
of Ohio as Major-General of Volunteers. His reputation at the
Military Academy and in the regular army had been high. His ability
and industry were unquestioned. His physique was powerful, and he was
a fine horseman. His influence over his troops was remarkable, and he
was emphatically a gentleman.

It was most fortunate for the Union at this juncture that caution and
method were his distinguishing characteristics. The States had placed
at Lincoln's disposal sufficient troops to form an army seven times
greater than that which had been defeated at Bull Run. McClellan,
however, had no thought of committing the new levies to an enterprise
for which they were unfitted. He had determined that the army should
make no move till it could do so with the certainty of success, and
the winter months were to be devoted to training and organisation.
Nor was there any cry for immediate action. The experiment of a
civilian army had proved a terrible failure. The nation that had been
so confident of capturing Richmond, was now anxious for the security
of Washington. The war had been in progress for nearly six months,
and yet the troops were manifestly unfit for offensive operations.
Even the crude strategists of the press had become alive to the
importance of drill and discipline.

October 21.

A reconnaissance in force, pushed (contrary to McClellan's orders)
across the Potomac, was repulsed by General Evans at Ball's Bluff
with heavy loss; and mismanagement and misconduct were so evident
that the defeat did much towards inculcating patience.

So the work went on, quietly but surely, the general supported by the
President, and the nation giving men and money without remonstrance.
The South, on the other hand, was still apathetic. The people,
deluded by their decisive victory, underrated the latent strength of
their mighty adversary. They appear to have believed that the
earthworks which had transformed Centreville into a formidable
fortress, manned by the Army of Northern Virginia, as the force under
Johnston was now designated, were sufficient in themselves to end the
war. They had not yet learned that there were many roads to Richmond,
and that a passive defence is no safeguard against a persevering foe.
The Government, expecting much from the intervention of the European
Powers, did nothing to press the advantage already gained. In vain
the generals urged the President to reinforce the army at Centreville
to 60,000 men, and to give it transport and supplies sufficient to
permit the passage of the Potomac above Washington.

In vain they pointed out, in answer to the reply that the Government
could furnish neither men nor arms, that large bodies of troops were
retained at points the occupation of which by the enemy would cause
only a local inconvenience. "Was it not possible," they asked the
President, "by stripping other points to the last they would bear,
and even risking defeat at all other places, to put the Virginian
army in condition for a forward movement? Success," they said, "in
the neighbourhood of Washington was success everywhere, and it was
upon the north-eastern frontier that all the available force of the
Confederacy should be concentrated."

Mr. Davis was immovable. Although Lee, who had been appointed to a
command in West Virginia almost immediately after Bull Run, was no
longer at hand to advise him, he probably saw the strategical
requirements of the situation. That a concentrated attack on a vital
point is a better measure of security than dissemination along a
frontier, that the counter-stroke is the soul of the defence, and
that the true policy of the State which is compelled to take up arms
against a superior foe is to allow that foe no breathing-space, are
truisms which it would be an insult to his ability to say that he did
not realise. But to have surrendered territory to the temporary
occupation of the enemy, in order to seek a problematical victory
elsewhere, would have probably provoked a storm of discontent. The
authority of the new Government was not yet firmly established; nor
was the patriotism of the Southern people so entirely unselfish as to
render them willing to endure minor evils in order to achieve a great
result. They were willing to fight, but they were unwilling that
their own States should be left unprotected. To apply Frederick the
Great's maxim* requires greater strength of will in the statesman
than in the soldier. (* "A defensive war is apt to betray us into too
frequent detachments. Those generals who have had but little
experience attempt to protect every point, while those who are better
acquainted with their profession, having only the capital object in
view, guard against a decisive blow, and acquiesce in smaller
misfortunes to avoid greater." Frederick the Great's Instructions to
his Generals.) The cries and complaints of those who find themselves
abandoned do not penetrate to the camp, but they may bring down an
administration. It is easy to contrive excuses for the inaction of
the President, and it is no new thing to find the demands of strategy
sacrificed to political expediency. Nor did the army which had
suffered so heavily on the banks of Bull Run evince any marked desire
to be led across the Potomac. Furloughs were liberally granted.
Officers and privates dispersed to look after their farms and their
plantations. The harvests had to be gathered, the negroes required
the master's eye, and even the counties of Virginia asked that part
of the contingents they had furnished might be permitted to return to
agricultural pursuits.

The senior generals of the Virginia army were not alone in believing
that the victory they had won would be barren of result unless it
were at once utilised as a basis for further action. Jackson,
engrossed as he was with the training of his command, found time to
reflect on the broader aspects of the war. Before he left for the
Shenandoah Valley he sought an interview with General G.W. Smith,
recently appointed to the command of his division. "Finding me lying
down in my tent," writes this officer, "he expressed regret that I
was sick, and said he had come to confer with me on a subject of
great importance, but would not then trouble me with it. I told him
that I wished to hear whatever he desired to say, and could rest
whilst he was talking. He immediately sat down on the ground, near
the head of the cot on which I was lying, and entered on the subject
of his visit.

"'McClellan,' he said, 'with his army of recruits, will not attempt
to come out against us this autumn. If we remain inactive they will
have greatly the advantage over us next spring. Their raw recruits
will have then become an organised army, vastly superior in numbers
to our own. We are ready at the present moment for active operations
in the field, while they are not. We ought to invade their country
now, and not wait for them to make the necessary preparations to
invade ours. If the President would reinforce this army by taking
troops from other points not threatened, and let us make an active
campaign of invasion before winter sets in, McClellan's raw recruits
could not stand against us in the field.

"'Crossing the Upper Potomac, occupying Baltimore, and taking
possession of Maryland, we could cut off the communications of
Washington, force the Federal Government to abandon the capital, beat
McClellan's army if it came out against us in the open country,
destroy industrial establishments wherever we found them, break up
the lines of interior commercial intercourse, close the coal-mines,
seize and, if necessary, destroy the manufactories and commerce of
Philadelphia, and of other large cities in our reach; take and hold
the narrow neck of country between Pittsburg and Lake Erie; subsist
mainly the country we traverse, and making unrelenting war amidst
their homes, force the people of the North to understand what it will
cost them to hold the South in the Union at the bayonet's point.'

"He then requested me to use my influence with Generals Johnston and
Beauregard in favour of immediate aggressive operations. I told him
that I was sure that an attempt on my part to exert any influence in
favour of his proposition would do no good. Not content with my
answer he repeated his arguments, dwelling more at length on the
advantages of such strategy to ourselves and its disadvantages to the
enemy, and again urged me to use my influence to secure its adoption.
I gave him the same reply I had already made.

"After a few minutes' thought he abruptly said: 'General, you have
not expressed any opinion in regard to the views I have laid before
you. But I feel assured that you favour them, and I think you ought
to do all in your power to have them carried into effect.'

"I then said, 'I will tell you a secret.'

"He replied, 'Please do not tell me any secret. I would prefer not to
hear it.' I answered, 'I must tell it to you, and I have no
hesitation in doing so, because I am certain that it will not be
divulged.' I then explained to him that these views had already been
laid before the Government, in a conference which had taken place at
Fairfax Court House, in the first days of October, between President
Davis, Generals Johnston, Beauregard, and myself, and told him the

"When I had finished, he rose from the ground, on which he had been
seated, shook my hand warmly, and said, 'I am sorry, very sorry.'

"Without another word he went slowly out to his horse, a few feet in
front of my tent, mounted very deliberately, and rode sadly away. A
few days afterwards he was ordered to the Valley.* (* Letter of
General G.W. Smith to the author.)

November 5.

It was under such depressing circumstances that Jackson quitted the
army which, boldly used, might have ensured the existence of the
Confederacy. His headquarters were established at Winchester; and, in
communication with Centreville by road, rail, and telegraph, although
sixty miles distant, he was still subordinate to Johnston. The
Confederate front extended from Fredericksburg on the Rappahannock to
Winchester on the Opequon. Jackson's force, holding the Valley of the
Shenandoah and the line of the Potomac westward of Point of Rocks,
was the extreme outpost on the left, and was connected with the main
body by a detachment at Leesburg, on the other side of the Blue
Ridge, under his brother-in-law, General D.H. Hill.

At Winchester his wife joined him, and of their first meeting she
tells a pretty story:

"It can readily be imagined with what delight General Jackson's
domestic plans for the winter were hailed by me, and without waiting
for the promised 'aide' to be sent on escort, I joined some friends
who were going to Richmond, where I spent a few days to shop, to
secure a passport, and to await an escort to Winchester. The latter
was soon found in a kind-hearted, absent-minded old clergyman. We
travelled by stage coach from Strasburg, and were told, before
reaching Winchester, that General Jackson was not there, having gone
with his command on an expedition. It was therefore with a feeling of
sad disappointment and loneliness that I alighted in front of
Taylor's hotel, at midnight, in the early part of dreary cold
December, and no husband to meet me with a glad welcome. By the dim
lamplight I noticed a small group of soldiers standing in the wide
hall, but they remained silent spectators, and my escort led me up
the big stairway, doubtless feeling disappointed that he still had me
on his hands. Just before reaching the landing I turned to look back,
for one figure among the group looked startlingly familiar, but as he
had not come forward, I felt that I must be mistaken. However, my
backward glance revealed an officer muffled up in a military
greatcoat, cap drawn down over his eyes, following us in rapid
pursuit, and by the time we were upon the top step a pair of strong
arms caught me; the captive's head was thrown back, and she was
kissed again and again by her husband before she could recover from
the delightful surprise he had given her. The good old minister
chuckled gleefully, and was no doubt a sincere sharer in the joy and
relief experienced by his charge. When I asked my husband why he did
not come forward when I got out of the coach, he said he wanted to
assure himself that it was his own wife, as he didn't want to commit
the blunder of kissing anybody else's esposa!"

The people amongst whom they found themselves were Virginian to the
core. In Winchester itself the feeling against the North was
exceptionally bitter. The town was no mushroom settlement; its
history stretched back to the old colonial days; the grass-grown
intrenchments on the surrounding hills had been raised by Washington
during the Indian wars, and the traditions of the first struggle for
independence were not yet forgotten. No single section of the South
was more conservative. Although the citizens had been strong
Unionists, nowhere were the principles which their fathers had
respected, the sovereignty of the individual State and the right of
secession, more strongly held, and nowhere had the hereditary spirit
of resistance to coercive legislation blazed up more fiercely. The
soldiers of Bull Run, who had driven the invader from the soil of
Virginia, were the heroes of the hour, and the leader of the
Stonewall Brigade had peculiar claims on the hospitality of the town.
It was to the people of the Valley that he owed his command. "With
one voice," wrote the Secretary of War, "have they made constant and
urgent appeals that to you, in whom they have confidence, their
defence should be assigned."

"The Winchester ladies," says Mrs. Jackson, "were amongst the most
famous of Virginia housekeepers, and lived in a good deal of
old-fashioned elegance and profusion. The old border town had not
then changed hands with the conflicting armies, as it was destined to
do so many times during the war. Under the rose-coloured light in
which I viewed everything that winter, it seemed to me that no people
could have been more cultivated, attractive, and noble-hearted.
Winchester was rich in happy homes and pleasant people; and the
extreme kindness and appreciation shown to General Jackson by all
bound us to them so closely and warmly that ever after that winter he
called the place our 'war home.'"

But amid congenial acquaintances and lovely surroundings, with the
tumult of war quiescent, and the domestic happiness so dear to him
restored, Jackson allowed no relaxation either to himself or to his
men. His first care was to train and organise his new regiments. The
ranks were filled with recruits, and to their instruction he devoted
himself with unwearied energy. His small force of cavalry, commanded
by Colonel Turner Ashby, a gentleman of Virginia, whose name was to
become famous in the annals of the Confederacy, he at once despatched
to patrol the frontier.

Prompt measures were taken to discipline the troops, and that this
last was a task of no little difficulty the following incident
suggests. In the middle of November, to Jackson's great delight, the
Stonewall Brigade had been sent to him from Manassas, and after its
arrival an order was issued which forbade all officers leaving the
camp except upon passes from headquarters. A protest was immediately
drawn up by the regimental commanders, and laid before the general.
They complained that the obnoxious order was "an unwarranted
assumption of authority, disparaged their dignity, and detracted from
that respect of the force under their command which was necessary to
maintain their authority and enforce obedience." Jackson's reply well
illustrates his own idea of discipline, and of the manner in which it
should be upheld. His adjutant-general wrote as follows to the
discontented officers:

"The Major-General Commanding desires me to say that the within
combined protest is in violation of army regulations and subversive
of military discipline. He claims the right to give his pickets such
instructions as in his opinion the interests of the service require.

"Colonels ---- and ---- on the day that their regiments arrived at
their present encampment, either from incompetency to control their
commands, or from neglect of duty, so permitted their commands to
become disorganised and their officers and men to enter Winchester
without permission, as to render several arrests of officers

"If officers desire to have control over their commands, they must
remain habitually with them, industriously attend to their
instruction and comfort, and in battle lead them well, and in such a
manner as to command their admiration.

"Such officers need not apprehend loss of respect resulting from
inserting in a written pass the words 'on duty,' or 'on private
business,' should they have occasion to pass the pickets."

Even the Stonewall Brigade had yet much to learn.

At this time Jackson was besieged with numerous applications for
service on his staff. The majority of these were from persons without
experience, and they were made to the wrong man. "My desire," he
wrote, "is to get a staff specially qualified for their specific
duties. I know Mr. ---- personally, and was favourably impressed by
him. But if a person desires office in these times, the best thing
for him to do is to pitch into service somewhere, and work with such
energy, skill, and success as to impress those round him with the
conviction that such are his merits that he must be advanced, or the
interests of the service must suffer...My desire is to make merit the
basis of my recommendations."

Social claims had no weight with him whatever. He felt that the
interests at stake were too great to be sacrificed to favouritism or
friendship, and he had seen enough of war to know the importance of
staff work. Nor was he in the unfortunate position of being compelled
to accept the nominees of his superiors. The Confederate authorities
were wise enough to permit their generals to choose for themselves
the instruments on which they would have to rely for the execution of
their designs. Wellington, in 1815, had forced on him by the Horse
Guards, in the teeth of his indignant remonstrances, incompetent
officers whom he did not know and whom he could not trust. Jackson,
in a country which knew little of war, was allowed to please himself.
He need appoint no one without learning all about him, and his
inquiries were searching. Was he intelligent? Was he trustworthy? Was
he industrious? Did he get up early? If a man was wanting in any one
of these qualifications he would reject him, however highly
recommended. That his strict investigations and his insistence on the
possession of certain essential characteristics bore good fruit it is
impossible to gainsay. The absence of mishaps and errors in his often
complicated manoeuvres is sufficient proof that he was exceedingly
well served by his subordinates. The influence of a good staff is
seldom apparent except to the initiated. If a combination succeeds,
the general gets all the credit. If it fails, he gets all the blame;
and while no agents, however efficient, can compensate by their own
efforts for the weakness of a conception that is radically unsound,
many a brilliant plan has failed in execution through the
inefficiency of the staff. In his selection of such capable men as
his assistants must needs have been Jackson gave proof that he
possessed one at least of the attributes of a great leader. He was
not only a judge of character, but he could place men in the
positions to which they were best suited. His personal predilections
were never allowed to interfere. For some months his chief of the
staff was a Presbyterian clergyman, while his chief quartermaster was
one of the hardest swearers in Virginia. The fact that the former
could combine the duties of spiritual adviser with those of his
official position made him a congenial comrade; but it was his energy
and ability rather than this unusual qualification which attracted
Jackson; and although the profanity of the quartermaster offended his
susceptibilities, their relations were always cordial. It was to the
intelligence of his staff officers, their energy and their loyalty,
that he looked; for the business in hand these qualities were more
important than their morals.

That a civilian should be found serving as chief of the staff to a
general of division, one of the most important posts in the military
hierarchy, is a curious comment on the organisation of the
Confederate army. The regular officers who had thrown in their lot
with the South had, as a rule, been appointed to commands, and the
generals of lower rank had to seek their staff officers amongst the
volunteers. It may be noticed, however, that Jackson was by no means
bigoted in favour of his own cloth. He showed no anxiety to secure
their services on his staff. He thought many of them unfitted for
duties which brought them in immediate contact with the volunteers.
In dealing with such troops, tact and temper are of more importance
than where obedience has become mechanical, and the claims of rank
are instinctively reflected. In all his campaigns, too, Jackson was
practically his own chief of the staff. He consulted no one. He never
divulged his plans. He gave his orders, and his staff had only to see
that these orders were obeyed. His topographical engineer, his
medical director, his commissary and his quartermaster, were
selected, it is true, by reason of their special qualifications.
Captain Hotchkiss, who filled the first position, was a young man of
twenty-six, whose abilities as a surveyor were well known in the
Valley. Major Harman, his chief quartermaster, was one of the
proprietors of a line of stage coaches and a large farmer, and Major
Hawks, his commissary, was the owner of a carriage manufactory. But
the remainder of his assistants, with the exception of the chief of
artillery, owed their appointments rather to their character than to
their professional abilities. It is not to be understood, at the same
time, that Jackson underrated soldierly acquirements. He left no
complaints on record, like so many of his West Point comrades, of the
ignorance of the volunteer officers, and of the consequent
difficulties which attended every combination. But he was none the
less alive to their deficiencies. Early in 1862, when the military
system of the Confederacy was about to be reorganised, he urged upon
the Government, through the member of Congress for the district where
he commanded, that regimental promotion should not be obtained by
seniority, unless the applicant were approved by a board of
examination; and it was due to his representations that this
regulation, to the great benefit of the army, was shortly afterwards
adopted. With all his appreciation of natural aptitude for the
soldier's trade, so close a student of Napoleon could scarcely be
blind to the fact that the most heroic character, unsustained by
knowledge, is practically useless. If Napoleon himself, more highly
endowed by nature with every military attribute than any other
general of the Christian era, thought it essential to teach himself
his business by incessant study, how much more is such study
necessary for ordinary men?

But no man was less likely than Jackson to place an exaggerated value
on theoretical acquirements. No one realised more fully that
Napoleon's character won more victories than Napoleon's knowledge.
The qualities he demanded in his subordinates were those which were
conspicuous in Napoleon. Who was more industrious than the great
Corsican? Who displayed an intenser energy? Whose intelligence was
brighter? Who understood human nature better, or handled men with
more consummate tact? These were the very attributes which
distinguished Jackson himself. They are the key-note to his success,
more so than his knowledge of strategy and tactics, of the mechanism
of march and battle, and of the principles of the military art. In
selecting his staff officers, therefore, he deemed character of more
importance than erudition.

The men of the Stonewall Brigade had a saying that Jackson always
marched at dawn, except when he started the night before, and it was
perhaps this habit, which his enemies found so unreasonable, that led
him to lay so much stress on early rising. It is certain that, like
Wellington, he preferred "three o'clock in the morning men." In a
letter to his wife he says:

"If you will vouch for your brother's being an early riser during the
remainder of the war, I will give him an aide-ship. I do not want to
make an appointment on my staff except of such as are early risers;
but if you will vouch for him to rise regularly at dawn, I will offer
him the position."

Another characteristic he looked for was reticence; and it was
undeniably of the utmost importance, especially in an army which
spoke the same language as the enemy, where desertion was not
uncommon, and spies could easily escape detection, that the men who
might become cognisant of the plans of the commander should be gifted
with discretion. Absolute concealment is generally impracticable in a
camp. Maps must be drawn, and reports furnished. Reconnoitring
parties must be sent out, roads examined, positions surveyed, and
shelter and supplies requisitioned in advance. Thus the movements of
staff officers are a clue to the projected movements of the army, and
the smallest hint may set a hundred brains to the work of surmise.
There will always be many who are just as anxious to discover the
general's intentions as he is to conceal them; and if, by any
possibility whatever, the gossip and guesses of the camp may come to
the enemy's ears, it is well that curiosity should be baulked. Nor is
it undesirable that the privacy of headquarters should be respected.
The vanity of a little brief authority has before now tempted
subordinate officers to hint at weaknesses on the part of their
superiors. Ignorance of war and of the situation has induced them to
criticise and to condemn; and idle words, greedily listened to, and
quickly exaggerated, may easily destroy the confidence of the
soldiery in the abilities of their leader.

By the middle of December Jackson's small army had become fairly
effective. Its duties were simple. To watch the enemy, to keep open
the communication with Manassas, so as to be ready to join the main
army should McClellan advance--such were Johnston's orders. The Upper
Potomac was held by the enemy in force. General Banks, a volunteer
officer, who was yet to learn more of Stonewall Jackson, was in
command. The headquarters of his division, 18,000 strong, were at
Frederick City in Maryland; but his charge extended seventy-five
miles further west, as far as Cumberland on the Potomac. In addition
to Banks, General Kelly with 5000 men was at Romney, on the South
Branch of the Potomac, thirty-five miles north-west of Winchester by
a good road. The Federal troops guarding the Chesapeake and Ohio
Canal and that portion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad which was
still intact were necessarily much dispersed, for the Confederate
guerillas were active, and dam and aqueduct, tunnel and viaduct,
offered tempting objectives to Ashby's cavalry. Still the force which
confronted Jackson was far superior to his own; the Potomac was broad
and bridgeless, and his orders appeared to impose a defensive
attitude. But he was not the man to rest inactive, no matter what the
odds against him, or to watch the enemy's growing strength without an
endeavour to interfere. Within the limits of his own command he was
permitted every latitude; and he was determined to apply the
aggressive strategy which he was so firmly convinced should be
adopted by the whole army. The Secretary of War, Mr. Benjamin, in
detaching him to the Valley, had asked him to "forward suggestions as
to the means of rendering his measures of defence effectual."* (*
O.R. volume 5 page 909.)

The earliest information he had received on his arrival at Winchester
pointed to the conclusion that the enemy was meditating an advance by
way of Harper's Ferry. His first suggestion thereupon was that he
should be reinforced by a division under General Loring and a brigade
under Colonel Edward Johnson, which were stationed within the
Alleghanies on the great highways leading to the Ohio, covering
Staunton from the west.* (* Loring was at Huntersville, Johnson on
Alleghany Mountain, not far from Monterey. General Lee, unable with
an inferior force to drive the enemy from West Virginia, had been
transferred to South Carolina on November 1.) His next was to the
effect that he should be permitted to organise an expedition for the
recapture and occupation of Romney. If he could seize this village,
the junction of several roads, more decisive operations would at once
become feasible. It has been said that the force of old associations
urged Jackson to drive the invader from the soil which held his
mother's grave; but, even if we had not the evidence of his interview
with General G.W. Smith,* (* Ante page 174.) a glance at the map
would in itself be sufficient to assure us that strategy prevailed
with him rather than sentiment.

The plan of campaign which first suggested itself to him was
sufficiently comprehensive.

"While the Northern people and the Federal authorities were still a
prey to the demoralisation which had followed Bull Run, he proposed
to advance with 10,000 troops into north-west Virginia, where he
would reclaim the whole country, and summon the inhabitants of
Southern sentiment to join his army. His information was extensive
and reliable, and he did not doubt his ability to recruit between
15,000 and 20,000 men, enough for his designs. These were bold and
simple. While the enemy was under the impression that his only object
was to reclaim and occupy North-west Virginia, he would move his
whole force rapidly across to the Monongahela, march down upon
Pittsburg, destroy the United States arsenal, and then, in
conjunction with Johnston's army (which was to cross the Potomac at
Leesburg), advance upon Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. From
Harrisburg he proposed that the army should advance upon
Philadelphia."* (* Cooke page 87.)

These suggestions, however, went no further than his friends in the
Legislative Assembly. Although, for his conduct at Bull Run, he had
now been promoted to major-general, the Lexington professor had as
yet no voice in the councils of the young republic. Nevertheless, the
President read and approved the less ambitious proposal for an attack
on the Federal force at Romney.

Romney, the county seat of Hampshire, lies in a rich district watered
by the South Branch of the Potomac. For more than a hundred miles,
from source to mouth, the river is bordered by alluvial meadows of
extraordinary fertility. Their prodigal harvests, together with the
sweetness of the upland pastures, make them the paradise of the
grazier; the farms which rest beneath the hills are of manorial
proportions, and the valley of the beautiful South Branch is a land
of easy wealth and old-fashioned plenty. From Romney an excellent
road runs south-east to Winchester, and another south-west by
Moorefield and Franklin to Monterey, where it intersects the great
road, constructed by one of Napoleon's engineers, that leads from
Staunton in the Valley to Parkersburg on the Ohio.

When Jackson advocated the occupation of this important point the
whole of West Virginia, between the Alleghanies and the Ohio, was in
possession of the Federals. The army of occupation, under General
Rosecrans, amounted to 27,000 men and over 40 guns; but the troops
were dispersed in detachments from Romney to Gauley Bridge, a
distance of near two hundred miles, their communications were
exposed, and, owing to the mountains, co-operation was almost

(MAP. SKETCH OF WEST VIRGINIA IN 1861. Showing: West: Pt. Pleasant,
North: Pittsburg, South: Lewisburg and East: Winchester.)

5000 men, based on Grafton, occupied Romney.

18,700, based on Clarksburg, occupied the passes south-east of

9000, based on the Ohio, were stationed on the Great Kanawha, a river
which is navigable for small steamers to within a few miles of Gauley

4000 protected the lines of communication.

Jackson's letter to the Secretary of War was as follows:

November 20.

"Deeply impressed with the importance of absolute secrecy respecting
military operations, I have made it a point to say but little
respecting my proposed movements in the event of sufficient
reinforcements arriving, but since conversing with Lieutenant-Colonel
Preston [his adjutant-general], upon his return from General Loring,
and ascertaining the disposition of the general's forces, I venture
to respectfully urge that after concentrating all his troops here, an
attempt should be made to capture the Federal forces at Romney. The
attack on Romney would probably induce McClellan to believe that
General Johnston's army had been so weakened as to justify him in
making an advance on Centreville; but should this not induce him to
advance, I do not believe anything will, during this winter.

"Should General Johnston be attacked, I would be at once prepared to
reinforce him with my present force, increased by General Loring's.
After repulsing the enemy at Manassas, let the troops that marched on
Romney return to the Valley, and move rapidly westward to the waters
of the Monongahela and Little Kanawha. I deem it of very great
importance that North-western Virginia be occupied by Confederate
troops this winter. At present it is to be presumed that the enemy
are not expecting an attack there, and the resources of that region,
necessary for the subsistence of our troops, are in greater abundance
than in almost any other season of the year. Postpone the occupation
of that section until spring, and we may expect to find the enemy
prepared for us, and the resources to which I have referred greatly
exhausted. I know that what I have proposed will be an arduous
undertaking and cannot be accomplished without the sacrifice of much
personal comfort; but I feel that the troops will be prepared to make
the sacrifice when animated by the prospects of important results to
our cause, and distinction to themselves. It may be urged against
this plan that the enemy will advance [from Beverley and the Great
Kanawha] on Staunton or Huntersville. I am well satisfied that such a
step would but make their destruction sure. When North-western
Virginia is occupied in force, the Kanawha Valley, unless it be the
lower part of it, must be evacuated by the Federal forces, or
otherwise their safety will be endangered by forcing a column across
from the Little Kanawha between them and the Ohio River.

"Admitting that the season is too far advanced, or that from other
causes all cannot be accomplished that has been named, yet through
the blessing of God, who has thus far wonderfully prospered our
cause, much more may be expected from General Loring's troops,
according to this programme, than can be expected from them where
they are."* (* O.R. volume 5 page 965.)

This scheme was endorsed by Johnston. "I submit," he wrote, "that the
troops under General Loring might render valuable services by taking
the field with General Jackson, instead of going into winter quarters
as now proposed."

In accordance with Jackson's suggestion, Loring was ordered to join
him. Edward Johnson, however, was withheld. The Confederate
authorities seem to have considered it injudicious to leave unguarded
the mountain roads which lead into the Valley from the west. Jackson,
with a wider grasp of war, held that concentration at Winchester was
a sounder measure of security. "Should the Federals" (at Beverley),
he said, "take advantage of the withdrawal of Johnson's troops, and
cross the mountains, so much the worse for them. While they were
marching eastwards, involving themselves amongst interminable
obstacles, he [Jackson] would place himself on their communications
and close in behind them, making their destruction the more certain
the further they advanced towards their imaginary prize."* (* Dabney
volume 1 page 298.)

While waiting for Loring, Jackson resolved to complete the education
of his new battalions in the field. The raw troops who garrisoned the
Northern border were not formidable enemies, and a sudden rush upon
some ill-defended post would give to the staff and soldiery that
first taste of success which gives heart and backbone to
inexperienced troops.

December 6 to 9.

The first enterprise, however, was only partially successful. The
destruction of a dam on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, one of the
main arteries of communication between Washington and the West, by
which coal, hay, and forage reached the Union capital, was the result
of a few days' hard marching and hard work. Two companies of the
Stonewall Brigade volunteered to go down by night and cut the cribs.
Standing waist deep in the cold water, and under the constant fire of
the enemy, they effected a partial breach; but it was repaired by the
Federals within two days. Jackson's loss was one man killed. While
engaged in this expedition news reached him of the decisive repulse
by Colonel Edward Johnson of an attack on his position on Alleghany
Mountain. Jackson again asked that this brigade might be sent to his
support, but it was again refused, notwithstanding Johnston's
endorsement of his request.

Loring reached Winchester on Christmas Day. Once more the enemy
threatened to advance, and information had been received that he had
been largely strengthened. Jackson was of opinion that the true
policy of the Federals would be to concentrate at Martinsburg, midway
between Romney and Frederick, and "to march on Winchester over a road
that presented no very strong positions." To counteract such a
combination, he determined to anticipate their movements, and to
attack them before they received additional reinforcements.

1862. January 1.

On January 1, 1862, 9000 Confederates marched from Winchester towards
the Potomac. Jackson's first objectives were the villages of Bath and
Hancock, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, held by Federal
garrisons. By dispersing these detachments he would prevent support
being sent to Romney; by cutting the telegraph along the railroad he
would sever the communication between Banks at Frederick and
Rosecrans in West Virginia, and compel Kelly either to evacuate
Romney or fight him single-handed. To deal with his enemy in detail,
to crush his detachments in succession, and with superior force, such
was the essence of his plan.

The weather when the expedition started was bright and pleasant, so
much so that the troops, with the improvidence of young soldiers,
left their coats and blankets in the waggons. That very afternoon,
however, the temperature underwent a sudden change. Under cold grey
skies the column scaled the mountain ridges, and on the winter wind
came a fierce storm of snow and hail. In order to conceal the march
as far as possible from the enemy's observations the brigades had
marched by country roads, and delayed by steep gradients and slippery
tracks, it was not till the next morning that the supply waggons came
up. The troops, hurried suddenly from comfortable winter quarters,
suffered much. The bivouac was as cheerless as the march. Without
rations and without covering, the men lay shivering round the camp
fires. The third day out, even the commander of the Stonewall Brigade
took it upon himself to halt his wearied men. Jackson became restive.
Riding along the column he found his old regiments halted by the
roadside, and asked the reason for the delay.

"I have halted to let the men cook their rations," was General
Garnett's reply. "There is no time for that." "But it is impossible
for the men to march further without them." "_I_ never found anything
impossible with this brigade!" and Jackson rode on. His plans
admitted of no delay. He intended to surprise the enemy. In this
expectation, however, he was disappointed.

January 3.

A few miles distant from Bath his advanced guard fell in with a
Federal reconnaissance, and at nightfall the Confederates had not yet
reached the outskirts of the town. Once more they had to bivouac in
the open, and rations, tents, and blankets were still behind. When
the day broke over the Shenandoah Mountains the country was white
with snow, and the sleeping soldiers were covered as with a
winding-sheet. After a hasty meal an attempt was made to surround the
village, and to cut off the retreat of the garrison. The outflanking
movements, made in a blinding storm, failed in combination. The roads
were too bad, the subordinate commanders too inexperienced; the three
hostile regiments escaped across the river in their boats, and only
16 prisoners were captured. Still, the advantages of their unexpected
movement were not altogether lost to the Confederates. The Federals,
ignorant as yet of the restless energy of the foe who held command at
Winchester, had settled themselves cosily in winter quarters. The
intelligence of Jackson's march had come too late to enable them to
remove the stores which had been collected at Bath, and on the night
of January 4 the Virginians revelled in warmth and luxury. The next
morning they moved forward to the river.

January 5.

On the opposite bank stood the village of Hancock, and after a demand
to surrender had been refused, Jackson ordered his batteries to open
fire.* (* The Federal commander was granted two hours in which to
remove the women and children.) Shepherdstown, a little Virginia town
south of the Potomac, had been repeatedly shelled, even when
unoccupied by Confederate troops. In order to intimate that such
outrages must cease a few shells were thrown into Hancock. The next
day the bombardment was resumed, but with little apparent effect; and
strong reinforcements having joined the enemy, Jackson ceased fire
and withdrew. A bridge was already in process of construction two
miles above the town, but to have crossed the river, a wide though
shallow stream, in face of a considerable force, would have been a
useless and a costly operation. The annihilation of the Federal
garrison would have scarcely repaid the Southerners for the loss of
life that must have been incurred. At the same time, while Jackson's
batteries had been at work, his infantry had done a good deal of
mischief. Two regiments had burned the bridge by which the Baltimore
and Ohio Railway crosses the Great Cacapon River, the canal dam was
breached, and many miles of track and telegraph were destroyed. The
enemy's communications between Frederick and Romney were thus
effectually severed, and a large amount of captured stores were sent
to Winchester. It was with the design of covering these operations
that the bombardment had been continued, and the summons to surrender
was probably no more than a ruse to attract the attention of the
Federal commander from the attack on the Cacapon Bridge. On the
morning of the 7th Jackson moved southward to Unger's Store. Here,
however, the expedition came to a standstill. The precaution of
rough-shoeing the horses before leaving Winchester had been
neglected, and it was found necessary to refit the teams and rest the

January 13.

After halting for four days the Confederates, on January 13, renewed
their march. The outlook was unpromising. Although cavalry patrols
had been despatched in every direction, a detachment of militia,
which had acted as flank-guard in the direction of Romney while
Jackson was moving to Unger's Store, had been surprised and defeated,
with the loss of two guns, at Hanging Rock. The weather, too, grew
colder and colder, and the mountain roads were little more than
sheets of ice. The sleet beat fiercely down upon the crawling column.
The men stumbled and fell on the slippery tracks; many waggons were
overturned, and the bloody knees and muzzles of the horses bore
painful witness to the severity of the march. The bivouacs were more
comfortless than before. The provision train lagged far in rear. Axes
there were none; and had not the fence-rails afforded a supply of
firewood, the sufferings of the troops would have been intense. As it
was, despite the example of their commander, they pushed forward but
slowly through the bitter weather. Jackson was everywhere; here,
putting his shoulder to the wheel of a gun that the exhausted team
could no longer move; there, urging the wearied soldiers, or rebuking
the officers for want of energy. Attentive as he was to the health
and comfort of his men in quarters, on the line of march he looked
only to the success of the Confederate arms. The hardships of the
winter operations were to him but a necessary concomitant of his
designs, and it mattered but little if the weak and sickly should
succumb. Commanders who are over-chary of their soldiers' lives, who
forget that their men have voluntarily offered themselves as food for
powder, often miss great opportunities. To die doing his duty was to
Jackson the most desirable consummation of the soldier's existence,
and where duty was concerned or victory in doubt he was as careless
of life and suffering as Napoleon himself. The well-being of an
individual or even of an army were as nothing compared with the
interests of Virginia. And, in the end, his indomitable will
triumphed over every obstacle.

January 10.

Romney village came at length in sight, lonely and deserted amid the
mountain snows, for the Federal garrison had vanished, abandoning its
camp-equipment and its magazines.

No pursuit was attempted. Jackson had resolved on further operations.
It was now in his power to strike at the Federal communications,
marching along the Baltimore and Ohio Railway in the direction of
Grafton, seventy-five miles west of Romney. In order to leave all
safe behind him, he determined, as a first step, to destroy the
bridge by which the Baltimore and Ohio Railway crossed the Potomac in
the neighbourhood of Cumberland. The Federal forces at Williamstown
and Frederick drew the greater part of their supplies from the West;
and so serious an interruption in the line of communication would
compel them to give up all thought of offensive enterprises in the
Valley. But the sufferings that his green soldiers had undergone had
sapped their discipline. Loring's division, nearly two-thirds of the
command, was so discontented as to be untrustworthy. It was useless
with such troops to dream of further movements among the inhospitable
hills. Many had deserted during the march from Unger's Store; many
had succumbed to the exposure of the bivouacs; and, more than all,
the commander had been disloyal to his superior. Although a regular
officer of long service, he had permitted himself a license of speech
which was absolutely unjustifiable, and throughout the operations had
shown his unfitness for his position. Placed under the command of an
officer who had been his junior in the Army of the United States, his
sense of discipline was overborne by the slight to his vanity; and
not for the first time nor the last the resentment of a petty mind
ruined an enterprise which would have profited a nation. Compelled to
abandon his projected march against the enemy, Jackson determined to
leave a strong garrison in Romney and the surrounding district, while
the remainder of the force withdrew to Winchester. The two towns were
connected by a good high-road, and by establishing telegraphic
communication between them, he believed that despite the Federal
numbers he could maintain his hold on these important posts. Many
precautions were taken to secure Romney from surprise. Three militia
regiments, recruited in the country, and thus not only familiar with
every road, but able to procure ample information, were posted in the
neighbourhood of the town; and with the militia were left three
companies of cavalry, one of which had already been employed in this

In detailing Loring's division as the garrison of Romney Jackson
seems to have made a grave mistake. He had much reason to be
dissatisfied with the commander, and the men were already
demoralised. Troops unfit to march against the enemy were not the men
to be trusted with the security of an important outpost, within
thirty miles of the Federal camps at Cumberland, far from their
supports, and surrounded by bleak and lonely mountains. A man of
wider sympathy with human weakness, and with less rigid ideas of
discipline, might possibly have arranged matters so that the
Stonewall Brigade might have remained at Romney, while Loring and his
division were transferred to less exacting duties and more
comfortable quarters. But Loring's division constituted two-thirds of
Jackson's force, and Romney, more exposed than Winchester, required
the stronger garrison. A general of Loring's temper and pretensions
would scarcely have submitted to the separation of his brigades, and
would probably have become even more discontented had Garnett, the
leader of the Stonewall Brigade, been left in command at Romney,
while he himself played a subordinate part at Winchester. It is only
too possible, however, that matters were past mending. The feeble
discipline of Loring's troops had broken down; their enthusiasm had
not been proof against the physical suffering of these winter

The Stonewall Brigade, on the other hand, was still staunch. "I am
well assured," wrote Jackson at this time, "that had an order been
issued for its march, even through the depth of winter and in any
direction, it would have sustained its reputation; for although it
was not under fire during the expedition at Romney, yet the alacrity
with which it responded to the call of duty and overcame obstacles
showed that it was still animated by the same spirit that
characterised it at Manassas." But Jackson's old regiments were now
tried soldiers, inspirited by the memories of the great victory they
had done so much to win, improved by association with Johnston's
army, and welded together by a discipline far stricter than that
which obtained in commands like Loring's.

January 24.

On January 24 Jackson returned to Winchester. His strategy had been
successful. He had driven the enemy across the Potomac. He had
destroyed for a time an important line of supply. He had captured a
few prisoners and many stores; and this with a loss of 4 men killed
and 28 wounded. The Federal forces along the border were far superior
to his own. The dispersion of these forces from Cumberland to
Frederick, a distance of eighty miles, had doubtless been much in his
favour. But when he marched from Winchester he had reason to believe
that 8000 men were posted at Frederick, 2000 at Hagerstown, 2000 at
Williamsport, 2000 at Hancock, and 12,000 at Cumberland and Romney.
The actual effective strength of these garrisons may possibly have
been smaller than had been reported, but such were the numbers which
he had to take into consideration when planning his operations. It
would appear from the map that while he was at Romney, 12,000
Federals might have moved out from Williamsport and Harper's Ferry
and have cut him off from Winchester. This danger had to be kept in
view. But the enemy had made no preparations for crossing the
Potomac; the river was a difficult obstacle; and Banks was not the
man to run risks.* (* "Any attempt," Banks reported to McClellan, "to
intercept the enemy would have been unsuccessful...It would have
resulted in almost certain failure to cut him off, and have brought
an exhausted force into his presence to fight him in his stronghold
at Winchester. In any case, it promised no positive prospect of
success, nor did it exclude large chances of disaster."
(O.R. volume 5 page 694.)

At the same time, while Jackson was in all probability perfectly
aware of the difficulties which Banks refused to face, and counted on
that commander's hesitation, it must be admitted that his manoeuvres
had been daring, and that the mere thought of the enemy's superior
numbers would have tied down a general of inferior ability to the
passive defence of Winchester. Moreover, the results attained were
out of all proportion to the trifling loss which had been incurred.
An important recruiting-ground had been secured. The development of
Union sentiment, which, since the occupation of Romney by the
Federals, had been gradually increasing along the Upper Potomac,
would be checked by the presence of Southern troops. A base for
further operations against the Federal detachments in West Virginia
had been established, and a fertile region opened to the operations
of the Confederate commissaries. These strategic advantages, however,
were by no means appreciated by the people of Virginia. The
sufferings of the troops appealed more forcibly to their imagination
than the prospective benefit to be derived by the Confederacy.
Jackson's secrecy, as absolute as that of the grave, had an ill
effect. Unable to comprehend his combinations, even his own officers
ascribed his manoeuvres to a restless craving for personal
distinction; while civilian wiseacres, with their ears full of the
exaggerated stories of Loring's stragglers, saw in the relentless
energy with which he had pressed the march on Romney not only the
evidence of a callous indifference to suffering, but the symptoms of
a diseased mind. They refused to consider that the general had shared
the hardships of the troops, faring as simply and roughly as any
private in the ranks. He was charged with partiality to the Stonewall
Brigade. "It was said that he kept it in the rear, while other troops
were constantly thrust into danger; and that now, while Loring's
command was left in midwinter in an alpine region, almost within the
jaws of a powerful enemy, these favoured regiments were brought back
to the comforts and hospitalities of the town; whereas in truth,
while the forces in Romney were ordered into huts, the brigade was
three miles below Winchester, in tents, and under the most rigid
discipline."* (* Dabney volume 1 page 320.)

It should not be forgotten, however, that Loring's troops were little
more as yet than a levy of armed civilians, ignorant of war; and this
was one reason the more that during those cruel marches the hand that
held the reins should have been a light one. A leader more genial and
less rigid would have found a means to sustain their courage.
Napoleon, with the captivating familiarity he used so well, would
have laughed the grumblers out of their ill-humour, and have nerved
the fainting by pointing to the glory to be won. Nelson would have
struck the chord of patriotism. Skobeleff, taking the very privates
into his confidence, would have enlisted their personal interest in
the success of the enterprise, and the eccentric speeches of "Father"
Suvoroff would have cheered them like a cordial. There are occasions
when both officers and men are the better for a little humouring, and
the march to Romney was one. A few words of hearty praise, a stirring
appeal to their nobler instincts, a touch of sympathy, might have
worked wonders. But whatever of personal magnetism existed in
Stonewall Jackson found no utterance in words. Whilst his soldiers
struggled painfully towards Romney in the teeth of the winter storm,
his lips were never opened save for sharp rebuke or peremptory order,
and Loring's men had some reason to complain of his fanatical regard
for the very letter of the law. On the most inclement of those
January nights the captain of a Virginia company, on whose property
they happened to have halted, had allowed them to use the fence-rails
for the camp fires. Jackson, ever careful of private rights, had
issued an order that fences should not be burnt, and the generous
donor was suspended from duty on the charge of giving away his own
property without first asking leave! Well might the soldiers think
that their commander regarded them as mere machines.

His own men knew his worth. Bull Run had shown them the measure of
his courage and his ability; in a single battle he had won that
respect and confidence which go so far towards establishing
discipline. But over Loring's men his personal ascendency was not yet
established. They had not yet seen him under fire. The fighting in
the Romney campaign had been confined to skirmishing. Much spoil had
been gathered in, but there were no trophies to show in the shape of
guns or colours; no important victory had raised their self-respect.
It is not too much to say that the silent soldier who insisted on
such constant exertion and such unceasing vigilance was positively

"They were unaccustomed to a military regimen so energetic as his.
Personally the most modest of men, officially he was the most
exacting of commanders, and his purpose to enforce a thorough
performance of duty, and his stern disapprobation of remissness and
self-indulgence were veiled by no affectations of politeness. Those
who came to serve near his person, if they were not wholly
like-minded with himself, usually underwent, at first, a sort of
breaking in, accompanied with no little chafing to restless spirits.
The expedition to Romney was, to such officers, just such an
apprenticeship to Jackson's methods of making war. All this was fully
known to him; but while he keenly felt the injustice, he disdained to
resent it, or to condescend to any explanation."* (* Dabney volume 1
page 321.)

Jackson returned to Winchester with no anticipation that the darkest
days of his military life were close at hand. Little Sorrel, the
charger he had ridden at Bull Run, leaving the senior members of the
staff toiling far in rear, had covered forty miles of mountain roads
in one short winter day. "After going to an hotel and divesting
himself of the mud which had bespattered him in his rapid ride, he
proceeded to Dr. Graham's. In order to give his wife a surprise he
had not intimated when he would return. As soon as the first glad
greetings were over, before taking his seat, with a face all aglow
with delight, he glanced round the room, and was so impressed with
the cosy and cheerful aspect of the fireside, as we all sat round it
that winter evening, that he exclaimed: 'This is the very essence of
comfort.'"* (* Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson.)

He had already put aside the unpleasant memories of the expedition,
and had resigned himself to rest content with the measure of success
that had been attained. Romney at least was occupied, and operations
might be effectively resumed at a more propitious season.

Six days later, however, Jackson received a peremptory message from
the Secretary of War: "Our news indicates that a movement is making
to cut off General Loring's command; order him back immediately."* (*
O.R. volume 5 page 1053.)

This order had been issued without reference to General Johnston,
Jackson's immediate superior, and so marked a departure from ordinary
procedure could not possibly be construed except as a severe
reflection on Jackson's judgment. Nor could it have other than a most
fatal effect on the discipline of the Valley troops. It had been
brought about by most discreditable means. Loring's officers had sat
in judgment on their commander. Those who had been granted leave at
the close of the expedition had repaired to Richmond, and had filled
the ears of the Government and the columns of the newspapers with
complaints. Those who remained at Romney formulated their grievance
in an official remonstrance, which Loring was indiscreet enough to
approve and forward. A council of subordinate officers had the
effrontery to record their opinion that "Romney was a place of no
strategical importance," and to suggest that the division might be
"maintained much more comfortably, at much less expense, and with
every military advantage, at almost any other place."* (* Ibid pages
1046 to 1048.)

Discomfort was the burden of their complaint. They had been serving
continuously for eight months. Their present position imposed upon
them even greater vigilance and more constant exertion than had
hitherto been demanded of them, and their one thought was to escape
from a situation which they characterised as "one of the most
disagreeable and unfavourable that could well be imagined." Only a
single pertinent argument was brought forward. The Confederate
soldiers had enlisted only for twelve months, and the Government was
about to ask them to volunteer for the duration of the war. It was
urged by Loring's officers that with the present prospect before them
there was much doubt that a single man of the division would
re-enlist. "With some regard for its comfort," added the general, "a
large portion, if not the whole, may be prevailed upon to do so."

It does not seem to have occurred to these officers that soldiers in
the near vicinity of the enemy, wherever they may be placed, must
always be subject to privations, and that at any other point of the
Confederate frontier--at Winchester with Jackson, at Leesburg with
Hill, or at Centreville with Johnston--their troops would be exposed
to the same risks and the same discomforts as at Romney. That the
occupation of a dangerous outpost is in itself an honour never
entered their minds; and it would have been more honest, instead of
reviling the climate and the country, had they frankly declared that
they had had enough for the present of active service, and had no
mind to make further sacrifices in the cause for which they had taken

January 31.

With the Secretary's order Jackson at once complied. Loring was
recalled to Winchester, but before his command arrived Jackson's
resignation had gone in.

His letter, forwarded through Johnston, ran as follows:

Headquarters, Valley District, Winchester, Virginia: January 31, 1862.

Hon. J.P. Benjamin, Secretary of War,


Your order, requiring me to direct General Loring to return with his
command to Winchester immediately, has been received and promptly
complied with.

With such interference in my command I cannot expect to be of much
service in the field, and, accordingly, respectfully request to be
ordered to report for duty to the Superintendent of the Virginia
Military Institute at Lexington, as has been done in the case of
other professors. Should this application not be granted, I
respectfully request that the President will accept my resignation
from the army.* (* O.R. volume 5 page 1053.)

The danger apprehended by the Secretary of War, that Loring's
division, if left at Romney, might be cut off, did not exist. General
Lander, an able and energetic officer, now in command of the Federal
force at Cumberland, had put forward proposals for an active campaign
in the Shenandoah Valley; but there was no possibility of such an
enterprise being immediately undertaken. The Potomac was still a
formidable obstacle; artillery and cavalry were both deficient; the
troops were scattered, and their discipline was indifferent. Lander's
command, according to his official despatches, was "more like an
armed mob than an army."* (* Ibid pages 702 and 703.) Romney,
therefore, was in little danger; and Jackson, who had so lately been
in contact with the Federal troops, whose cavalry patrolled the banks
of the Potomac, and who was in constant receipt of information of the
enemy's attitude and condition, was certainly a better judge of what
was probable than any official in the Confederate capital. There were
doubtless objections to the retention of Romney. An enormous army, in
the intrenched camp at Washington, threatened Centreville; and in the
event of that army advancing, Jackson would be called upon to
reinforce Johnston, just as Johnston had reinforced Beauregard before
Bull Run. With the greater part of his force at Romney such an
operation would be delayed by at least two days. Even Johnston
himself, although careful to leave his subordinate a free hand,
suggested that the occupation of Romney, and the consequent
dispersion of Jackson's force, might enable the enemy to cut in
effectively between the Valley troops and the main army. It is beyond
question, however, that Jackson had carefully studied the situation.
There was no danger of his forgetting that his was merely a detached
force, or of his overlooking, in the interests of his own projected
operations, the more important interests of the main army; and if his
judgment of the situation differed from that of his superior, it was
because he had been indefatigable in his search for information.

He had agents everywhere.* (* "I have taken special pains," he writes
on January 17, "to obtain information respecting General Banks, but I
have not been informed of his having gone east. I will see what can
be effected through the Catholic priests at Martinsburg." O.R. volume
5 page 1036.) His intelligence was more ample than that supplied by
the Confederate spies in Washington itself. No reinforcements could
reach the Federals on the Potomac without his knowledge. He was
always accurately informed of the strength and movements of their
detachments. Nor had he failed to take the precautions which minimise
the evils arising from dissemination. He had constructed a line of
telegraph from Charlestown, within seven miles of Harper's Ferry, to
Winchester, and another line was to have been constructed to Romney.
He had established relays of couriers through his district. By this
means he could communicate with Hill at Leesburg in three hours, and
by another line of posts with Johnston at Centreville.

But his chief reason for believing that Romney might be occupied
without risk to a junction between himself and Johnston lay in the
impassable condition of the Virginia roads. McClellan's huge army
could not drag its guns and waggons through the slough of mud which
lay between Washington and Centreville. Banks' command at Frederick
was in no condition for a rapid advance either upon Leesburg or on
Winchester; and it was evident that little was to be feared from
Lander until he had completed the work, on which he was now actively
engaged, of repairing the communications which Jackson's raid had
temporarily interrupted. With the information we have now before us,
it is clear that Jackson's view of the situation was absolutely
correct; that for the present Romney might be advantageously
retained, and recruiting pushed forward in this section of Virginia.
If, when McClellan advanced, the Confederates were to confine
themselves to the defensive, the post would undoubtedly have to be
abandoned. But if, instead of tamely surrendering the initiative, the
Government were to adopt the bolder strategy which Jackson had
already advocated, and Johnston's army, moving westward to the
Valley, were to utilise the natural line of invasion by way of
Harper's Ferry, the occupation of Romney would secure the flank, and
give the invading force a fertile district from which to draw

It was not, however, on the Secretary's misconception of the
situation that Jackson's request for relief was based. Nor was it the
slur on his judgment that led him to resign. The injury that had been
inflicted by Mr. Benjamin's unfortunate letter was not personal to
himself. It affected the whole army. It was a direct blow to
discipline, and struck at the very heart of military efficiency. Not
only would Jackson himself be unable to enforce his authority over
troops who had so successfully defied his orders; but the whole
edifice of command, throughout the length and breadth of the
Confederacy, would, if he tamely submitted to the Secretary's
extraordinary action, be shaken to its foundations. Johnston, still
smarting under Mr. Davis's rejection of his strategical views, felt
this as acutely as did Jackson. "The discipline of the army," he
wrote to the Secretary of War, "cannot be maintained under such
circumstances. The direct tendency of such orders is to insulate the
commanding general from his troops, to diminish his moral as well as
his official control, and to harass him with the constant fear that
his most matured plans may be marred by orders from his Government
which it is impossible for him to anticipate."* (* O.R. volume 5
pages 1057 and 1058.)

To Jackson he wrote advising the withdrawal of his resignation:
"Under ordinary circumstances a due sense of one's own dignity, as
well as care for professional character and official rights, would
demand such a course as yours, but the character of this war, the
great energy exhibited by the Government of the United States, the
danger in which our very existence as an independent people lies,
requires sacrifices from us all who have been educated as soldiers.

"I receive the information of the order of which you have such cause
to complain from your letter. Is not that as great an official wrong
to me as the order itself to you? Let us dispassionately reason with
the Government on this subject of command, and if we fail to
influence its practice, then ask to be relieved from positions the
authority of which is exercised by the War Department, while the
responsibilities are left to us.

"I have taken the liberty to detain your letter to make this appeal
to your patriotism, not merely from common feelings of personal
regard, but from the official opinion which makes me regard you as
necessary to the service of the country in your present position."*
(* O.R. volume 5 pages 1059 and 1060.)

But Johnston, when he wrote, was not aware of the remonstrance of
Loring's officers. His protest, in his letter to the Secretary of
War, deprecated the action of the department in ignoring the
authority of the military chiefs; it had no reference to the graver
evil of yielding to the representations of irresponsible
subordinates. Considering the circumstances, as he believed them to
exist, his advice was doubtless prudent. But it found Jackson in no
compromising mood.

"Sacrifices!" he exclaimed; "have I not made them? What is my life
here but a daily sacrifice? Nor shall I ever withhold sacrifices for
my country, where they will avail anything. I intend to serve here,
anywhere, in any way I can, even if it be as a private soldier. But
if this method of making war is to prevail, the country is ruined. My
duty to Virginia requires that I shall utter my protest against it in
the most energetic form in my power, and that is to resign. The
authorities at Richmond must be taught a lesson, or the next victims
of their meddling will be Johnston and Lee."

Fortunately for the Confederacy, the Virginia officers possessed a
staunch supporter in the Governor of the State. Mr. Letcher knew
Jackson's worth, and he knew the estimation in which he was already
held by the Virginia people. The battle of Manassas had attained the
dignity of a great historical event, and those whose share in the
victory had been conspicuous were regarded with the same respect as
the heroes of the Revolution. In the spring of 1862 Manassas stood
alone, the supreme incident of the war; its fame was not yet
overshadowed by mightier conflicts, and it had taken rank in the
popular mind with the decisive battles of the world.

Jackson, at the same time that he addressed Johnston, wrote to
Letcher. It is possible that he anticipated the course the Governor
would adopt. He certainly took care that if a protest were made it
should be backed with convincing argument.

"The order from the War Department," he wrote, "was given without
consulting me, and is abandoning to the enemy what has cost much
preparation, expense, and exposure to secure, is in direct conflict
with my military plans, implies a want of confidence in my capacity
to judge when General Loring's troops should fall back, and is an
attempt to control military operations in details from the
Secretary's desk at a distance...As a single order like that of the
Secretary's may destroy the entire fruits of a campaign, I cannot
reasonably expect, if my operations are thus to be interfered with,
to be of much service in the field...If I ever acquired, through the
blessing of Providence, any influence over troops, this undoing my
work by the Secretary may greatly diminish that influence. I regard
the recent expedition as a great success...I desire to say nothing
against the Secretary of War. I take it for granted that he has done
what he believes to be best, but I regard such policy as ruinous."*
(* Memoirs pages 232 and 233.)

This letter had the desired result. Not content with reminding
Jackson of the effect his resignation would have on the people of
Virginia, and begging him to withdraw it, Governor Letcher took the
Secretary of War to task. Mr. Benjamin, who had probably acted in
ignorance rather than in defiance of the military necessities, at
once gave way. Governor Letcher, assured that it was not the
intention of the Government to interfere with the plans of the
general, withdrew the resignation: Jackson had already yielded to his

"In this transaction," says his chief of the staff, "Jackson gained
one of his most important victories for the Confederate States. Had
the system of encouragement to the insubordination of inferiors, and
of interference with the responsibilities of commanders in the field,
which was initiated in his case, become established, military success
could only have been won by accident. By his firmness the evil usage
was arrested, and a lesson impressed both upon the Government and the
people of the South."* (* Dabney volume 1 page 327.)

That the soldier is but the servant of the statesman, as war is but
an instrument of diplomacy, no educated soldier will deny. Politics
must always exercise a supreme influence on strategy; yet it cannot
be gainsaid that interference with the commanders in the field is
fraught with the gravest danger. Mr. Benjamin's action was without
excuse. In listening to the malcontents he ignored the claims of
discipline. In cancelling Jackson's orders he struck a blow at the
confidence of the men in their commander. In directing that Romney
should not be held he decided on a question which was not only purely
military, but of which the man on the spot, actually in touch with
the situation and with the enemy, could alone be judge.* (* The
inexpediency of evacuating Romney was soon made apparent. The enemy
reoccupied the village, seized Moorefield, and, with the valley of
the South Branch in their possession, threatened the rear of Edward
Johnson's position on the Alleghany Mountain so closely that he was
compelled to retreat. Three fertile counties were thus abandoned to
the enemy, and the Confederate sympathisers in North-west Virginia
were proportionately discouraged.) Even Johnston, a most able and
experienced soldier, although he was evidently apprehensive that
Jackson's front was too extended, forbore to do more than warn. Nor
was his interference the crown of Mr. Benjamin's offence. The
omniscient lawyer asked no advice; but believing, as many still
believe, that neither special knowledge nor practical acquaintance
with the working of the military machine is necessary in order to
manoeuvre armies, he had acted entirely on his own initiative. It was
indeed time that he received a lesson.

Well would it have been for the Confederacy had the President himself
been wise enough to apply the warning to its full extent. We have
already seen that after the victory of Manassas, in his capacity of
Commander-in-Chief, he refused to denude the Southern coasts of their
garrisons in order to reinforce Johnston's army and strike a decisive
blow in Northern territory. Had he but once recognised that he too
was an amateur, that it was impossible for one man to combine


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