Browsing "American Military Genius"
Jan 30, 2017 - American Military Genius, Southern Conservatives, Southern Patriots, Southern Unionists    Comments Off on Lee’s Confirmed Superiority

Lee’s Confirmed Superiority

Both Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston were appointed to West Point by President John Quincy Adams in 1825, and quickly became friends during their four years there. Lee graduated second in his class and with no demerits; when Virginia withdrew from the Union in 1861, Johnston was the highest-ranking US officer to resign his commission. The evident patriotism and devotion of these two Virginians, Lee descended from Light-Horse Harry Lee and Johnston’s father the Speaker of Virginia’s House of Delegates, may cause one to wonder why those in the US Army in 1861 would take up arms against such men seeking political liberty.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Lee’s Confirmed Superiority

“In June of that year [1825] the two young Virginians successfully passed the examinations to become members of an entering class of 105 cadets. Although Lee was slightly older the two soon became fast friends. Years later Johnston wrote of this relationship:

“We had the same intimate associates, who thought, as I did, that no other youth or man so united the qualities that win warm friendship and command high respect. For [Lee] was full of sympathy and kindness, genial and fond of gay conversation, and even of fun, that made him the most agreeable of companions, while his correctness of demeanor and language and attention to all duties, personal and official, and a dignity as much a part of himself as the elegance of his person, gave him a superiority that everyone acknowledged in his heart. He was the only one among all the men I have known who could laugh at all the faults and follies of his friends in such a manner as to make them feel ashamed without touching their affection for him, and to confirm their respect and sense of his superiority.”

[On June 28, 1860, the US Senate confirmed Johnston’s appointment as Quartermaster General of the United States Army, with the rank of brigadier-general]. Lee wrote with a magnanimous interest, in view of the fact that his promotion elevated Johnston for the first time above him in rank:

“My Dear General: I am delighted at accosting you by your present title, and feel my heart exult within me at your high position. I hope the old State may always be able to furnish worthy successors to the first chief of your new department; and that in your administration the country and army will have cause to rejoice that it has fallen upon you. May happiness and prosperity always attend you . . . “

(General Joseph E. Johnston, CSA: A Different Valor; Gilbert E. Govan and James W. Livingood, Konecky and Konecky, 1956, Bobbs-Merrill Company, excerpts, pp. 14; 25)

 

“Mexico Will Poison Us”

The newly-acquired territories of the Mexican cession set the stage for conflict between Northern and Southern interests to dominate them. In the case of the South, they observed the steadily increasing numbers of Northern immigrants flowing westward which threatened the political balance and harmony with the industrializing North. The bloody victory over Mexico was crowned with the black clouds of future warfare, and a dark legacy which we still live with today.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

“Mexico Will Poison Us”

“Santa Anna had worked a prodigy: he had succeeded in raising a large army from a nation that was half in revolt against him, he had armed and equipped it, and he had made it a fine fighting force. It was a good army, it fought with sustained fury, it came exceedingly close to winning the two-day battle, and it might well have won it if Santa Anna’s own courage had lasted long enough to send it into action on the third day [at Buena Vista].

On the morning of the third day, instead of attacking again, he was already in retreat. The retreat became a panic, the army melted away, and it was only by what amounted to another miracle that he raised an army to oppose Scott.

It turned out a victory after all, a victory won by [Zachary] Taylor’s subordinates and the courage of the private soldier. But it was Captain [Braxton] Bragg and the other officers of artillery ((T.W. Sherman, George Thomas, John Reynolds), it was Jefferson Davis and the First Mississippi Rifles, above all it was the anonymous platoons, who won the battle.

Taylor may have inspired his troops: he certainly did not direct them. The company officers and the private soldiers improvised a rule of thumb defense on the spot as it was needed. The army was shot to pieces in two days of murderous fighting that was frequently hand-to-hand, but it was full of fight – and it held the field. Thus ended the military career of Zachary Taylor. His former son-in-law [Colonel Jefferson Davis] had won the election for him.

It was a little after noon of the second day when a brigade of Mexican cavalry, grandly uniformed, charged the one remaining strong point that defended a flank and protected the road to Saltillo by which an American retreat would have to move.

The troops of that strong point had been driven back and the Mississippi Rifles were coming up in support. Their wounded [Colonel Davis] formed them as a retracted flank, joining an Indiana regiment at a sharp angle. When the Mexican cavalry got within rifle range, it halted. Mississippi and Indiana blew it to pieces and there was no further attack in that part of the field.

By September Jefferson Davis was a Senator of the United States. In 1853 he was Secretary of War. In 1861 he was a President exercising the function of a military genius.

Winfield Scott, however, made an army and conquered a nation. He had, of course, brilliant assistants. [Daniel] Twiggs was a first rate fighting man, and [William J.] Worth . . . was rather more than that. Moreover Scott had a handful of brilliant engineers – Robert E. Lee, who was effectively his chief of staff, [PGT] Beauregard, [George] Meade. Company and battalion officers whose names read like a list Civil War generals, North and South, fought in detail the campaign that Scott conceived and directed. The classic tactics of Robert E. Lee, the perfect battle of Chancellorsville, the converging attacks of Gettysburg, were all learned at the headquarters of Winfield Scott.

“The United States will conquer Mexico,” Ralph Waldo Emerson had said, “but it will be as a man swallows the arsenic which brings him down in turn. Mexico will poison us.”

(The Year of Decision: 1846; Bernard Devoto, Little, Brown and Company, 1943, excerpts, pp. 486-488; 492)

Principles Essential to the Perpetuation of the Union

Richmond’s bronze statue of Gen. Stonewall Jackson was dedicated on October 26, 1875 before a crowd of 50,000; the oration was delivered by the Rev. Moses D. Hoge of Richmond’s Second Presbyterian Church.  Gen. Joseph E. Johnston served as Chief-Marshal; attending were Generals D.H. Hill, W.H.F. Lee, Fitzhugh Lee, and 500 members of the Old Stonewall Brigade.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Principles Essential to the Perpetuation of the Union

“For, when we ask what has become of the principles in defense of which Jackson imperiled and lost his life, then I answer: A form of government may change, a policy may perish, but a principle may never die. Circumstances may so change as to make the application of the principle no longer possible, bits it innate vitality is not affected thereby. The conditions of society may be so altered as to make it idle to contend for a principle which no longer has any practical force, but these changed conditions of society have not annihilated one original truth.

The application of these postulates to the present situation of our country is obvious. The people of the South maintained, as their fathers maintained before them, that certain principles were essential to the perpetuation of the Union according to its original Constitution.

Rather than surrender their convictions, they took up arms to defend them. The appeal was in vain. Defeat came, they accepted it, with its consequences, just as they would accepted victory with its fruits.

But it is idle to shut our eyes to the fact that this consolidated empire of States is not the Union established by our fathers. No intelligent European student of American institutions is deceived by any such assumption. We gain nothing by deceiving ourselves.

And if history teaches any lesson, it is this: that a nation cannot long survive when the fundamental principles which gave it life, originally, are subverted. [Remember] Jackson’s clear, ringing tone . . . :

“What is life without honor? Degradation is worse than death. We must think of the living and of those who are to come after us, and see that by God’s blessing we transmit to them the freedom we have enjoyed.”

(Oration of Rev. Moses D. Hoge, Unveiling of the Statue of Stonewall Jackson, Richmond, Virginia; Stonewall Jackson, A Military Biography, D. Appleton and Company, 1876, excerpt pp. 564)

 

Dec 18, 2016 - American Military Genius, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Utilizing the Enemy’s Commissary

Utilizing the Enemy’s Commissary

Viscount Garnet Wolseley wrote in his “English View of the American Civil War” that when he was with Lee’s army at Winchester, Virginia in the autumn of 1862 that “the soldiers in every camp laughingly spoke of General John] Pope as “Stonewall Jackson’s Commissary,” so entirely had Jackson in the “Pope Campaign” depended upon capturing from that General everything he required for his men” (page 139).

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Utilizing the Enemy’s Commissary

“The battle of Gettysburg will, no doubt, rank as the turning point of the war though perhaps it may better be called the breaking point of the South’s resources. For months our men had been on rations such as no troops ever campaigned on and did a tithe of the work ours were called on to do.

Corn meal and damaged bacon were the staples, often so damaged that to live on them inured disease. Medicines, chloroform especially, had got so scarce that small operations as painful as great ones were done without it. Much of that which was used was of such bad quality that it was used as only a choice of evils.

Delicacies for the sick were unheard of. They lived on damaged bacon or lean beef or went hungry. Clothes and shoes were scant and insufficient, except for those which were taken from our friends, the enemy. Overcoats would have been almost unknown but for them, though for that matter we would have fared badly for everything but for their contributions.

Certainly half our muskets and two-thirds our artillery were forced contributions from them, while [General N. P.] Banks, who commanded United States troops in the [Shenandoah] Valley in 1862, was better known as and better deserved the title of [Stonewall] Jackson’s commissary than as commander of his troops.

The state of affairs would appear to give compelling reasons for the much-criticized advance into Pennsylvania. With our railroad lines worn out, our ports blockaded, and the field of operations stripped by both armies, and burned and desolated by the enemy, who at last openly declared that their policy would be, as Sheridan later boasted, to leave the country so that a crow flying over it would have to carry his rations, the capture of arms, clothing, medicine, and even food, which earlier had added to our comfort, now came to be a necessity.

It looked easier to go to the enemy’s homes to get it, and to leave our poor people a chance to rest and to gather together the fragments left them.”

(The Haskell Memoirs, Govan and Livingood, editors, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1960, excerpts, pp. 54-55)

 

Dec 17, 2016 - American Military Genius, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Success of the Confederate Privateers

Success of the Confederate Privateers

Early in the war, Alabamian Raphael Semmes evaluated the South’s naval dilemma of not having a navy to speak of, and advised the use of privateers to prey upon the North’s merchant marine. His record with the CSS Sumter was exemplary, as was the career of the CSS Alabama he later captained. His protocol when capturing Northern commerce was in accordance with the laws of war: “We were making war upon the enemy’s commerce, but not upon unarmed seamen.”  Semmes and other Confederate privateers like John Newland Maffitt and John Wilkinson virtually destroyed the North’s merchant marine.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Success of the Confederate Privateers

“The advance [of American merchant ships] continued to 1855, when American steam-shipping amounted to 115,000 tons. From that time a retrograde movement set in, and the steam-tonnage of the United States was less in 1862 than it was seven years before. The civil war which intervened accelerated the decline, and prevented attention from being devoted to the subject, which might possibly have given a different direction to events.

American commerce was, in a measure, driven from the seas by Confederate cruisers and their allies, and American shipping was sold to foreigners on account of the special risks to which its use was subjected. Attention was turned away from ship-building for commercial purposes, and from the fostering of commercial interests in general, and the heavy burdens imposed upon the country in order to raise war revenues had the effect of restricting foreign intercourse and trade.

Accordingly, when the war was over, the American merchant marine was well-nigh destroyed. The wooden sailing vessels had largely disappeared, there had been no increase in steam-tonnage, and the slight revival which followed the return of peace affected the coasting-trade mainly, if not wholly.”

(Merchant Marine of the United States, Appleton’s Annual Cyclopedia, 1882, Appleton & Company, page 522)

Dec 16, 2016 - American Military Genius, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on A Suffering Devotion to the Cause of Independence

A Suffering Devotion to the Cause of Independence

The winter of 1864-1865 at Petersburg found Pickett’s Division cold, hungry, and opposed by a well-fed and equipped war machine. Unable to defeat the starving American army that resembled Washington’s at Valley Forge, the North resorted to propaganda leaflets.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

A Suffering Devotion to the Cause of Independence

“The cold winter winds began to be felt in the close of the November days . . . The men were not only thinly-clad, but some, at least, had but little clothing of any kind and a large number were without shoes; and when the first blasts of winter came numbers could be seen shivering over the small fires they were allowed to kindle.

Famine stared them in the face; the ration being from one-eighth to one-fourth of a pound of bacon and one pint of unsheived corn meal a day, and occasionally a few beans or peas. With empty stomachs, naked bodies and frozen fingers, these men clutched their guns with an aim so steady and deadly that the men on the other side were exceedingly cautious how they lifted their heads from behind their sheltered places.

[T]hese heroic men, who loved their cause better than life stood to their posts, and defied the enemy to the last. The enemy, by general orders and circular letters which they managed to send and scatter among the Confederate soldiers, offered all manner of inducements to have them desert their country; but, as a rule, such offers were indignantly spurned.

The consecration of the Southern women to the cause for which their husbands, sons, brothers, and sweethearts struggled and suffered, is beyond the power of the pen to describe. The hardships of these women were equal to, and often greater than that of the shivering, freezing and starving soldier in the field.

They had not only given these men to the cause, but, in fact, themselves too; for they remained at home and labored in the fields, went to the mill, the blacksmith shops, lived on cornbread and sorghum molasses, and gave practically every pound of meat, flour and all the vegetables they could raise to the men in the army, whom they encouraged to duty in every possible way.

They manufactured largely their own clothing, out of material that they had produced with their own hands; and would have scorned any woman who would wear northern manufactured goods . . .”

Through this long, cold, dreary winter, Pickett’s Division — less than five thousand strong — held the line which, in length, was not less than four miles; being not many beyond one thousand men to the mile; only a good skirmish line; over which the enemy, by a bold, determined charge, could at any time have gone.

It is certain that if the Federal line in front of Pickett’s men had been as weak, and held by as few men as that of Pickett, they would have either been prisoners before the 1st day of January 1865, or have been driven into the James River and drowned.”

(A History of Middle New River Settlements and Contiguous Territory, David E. Johnston, Standard Printing, 1906, pp. 285-288)

 

Oct 22, 2016 - American Military Genius, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on They Can’t Whip Old Forrest

They Can’t Whip Old Forrest

At the Battle of Brice’s Cross Roads on 10 June 1864 in northeastern Mississippi, General Nathan Bedford Forrest commanded about 4,900 cavalry with twelve cannon – which he led against a well-equipped enemy force of 4,800 infantry and 3,300 cavalry, a total of 8,100 men. After the battle, the colonel of a Minnesota regiment blamed the defeat on under-supplied men and under-fed horses. The enemy commander’s career seemed over after this defeat by a less numerous adversary, though he re-emerged in 1877 to command the Seventh Cavalry of the dead Custer — leading that force against the less numerous Nez Perce.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

They Can’t Whip Old Forrest

“[Despite being outnumbered], Forrest attacked. Because of the thick undergrowth covering most of the area, the Confederates were able to close to within a few paces of [the enemy] infantry. The Federals called for a charge. Forrest’s sixth sense had placed him at the key point. As he dismounted, he shouted for his escort to do likewise. Accompanied by these daring fighters and with revolver in hand, he rushed the Federals.

In the hand-to-hand fighting, the bayonets of the Union infantry were no match for the heavy Colt revolvers. The center of [the enemy] line crumbled, while the Confederate brigades on the right doubled back the Union left upon Ripley Road.

[The Second Tennessee Regiment, sent to attack the enemy left and rear, sought] to deceive the Federals about their strength . . . [and] made a great commotion [as] a bugler galloped up and down the line sounding the charge.

Forrest knew that the crisis had come and that now the battle must be won or lost. Riding along behind his line, he told his people that the enemy was starting to give way and that another charge would win the day.

He told his young chief of artillery . . . to advance four of his guns, double-shotted with canister, to within pistol range of the Federals at the crossroads. At point blank range, they unlimbered their pieces and fired . . . into [the enemy] infantry with frightful effect. After a brief but savage fight, the Federals were routed from the crossroads, with the loss of three cannon.

[The enemy commander wrote:] “I endeavored to get hold of the colored brigade which formed the guard of the wagon train . . . [but] the main line began to give way at various points . . . Order soon gave way to panic. The army drifted toward the rear and was beyond control. No power could check the panic-stricken mass as it swept towards the rear.”

Several regiments, reinforced by two companies of the 55th US Colored Troops . . . attempted to check the onrushing Confederates; but assailed on the flanks, with [Forrest’s] guns sweeping their front with double-shotted canister, the Northerners broke. In their frantic efforts to escape, [Northern] soldiers pushed their comrades aside.

A mile beyond the bridge, some [enemy] infantry rallied, but [Forrest’s artillery] smashed this pocket of resistance, and as dusk faded into darkness, Forrest and his hell-for-leather troopers overpowered another roadblock hastily manned by black and white Union soldiers. During their nighttime crossing of Hatchie Bottom, [the enemy commander] and many of his officers panicked, and they abandoned fourteen cannon and most of their wagon train.

[The advancing enemy] column, which had taken eight days to reach Brice’s Cross Roads, retreated to Memphis in sixty-four hours. Union casualties in the fight and retreat were 2,612. Forrest listed his losses at 493 killed and wounded . . . [and] captured 250 wagons and ambulances, 18 cannon, and thousands of stands of arms and rounds of ammunition, as well as Federal baggage and supplies.

A noted British soldier, Field Marshal Viscount Garnet Wolseley, in commenting on Forrest’s victory, called it “a most remarkable achievement, well-worth attention by the military student. He pursued the enemy from the battle for nigh sixty miles, killing numbers all the way. The battle and long pursuit were all accomplished in the space of thirty hours. When another Federal general was dispatched to try what he could do against this terrible Southerner, the defeated [enemy commander] was overheard repeating to himself . . . : “It can’t be done . . . it can’t be done.” Asked what he meant, the reply was, “They can’t whip old Forrest.”

(Leadership During the Civil War, Roman J. Heleniak and Lawrence Hewitt, editors, White Mane Publishing, 1992, pp. 82-84)

Oct 21, 2016 - American Military Genius, Recurring Southern Conservatism, Southern Conservatives, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Maury the Seer and Pathfinder

Maury the Seer and Pathfinder

Matthew Fontaine Maury was born in 1806 near Fredericksburg, Virginia, from a family descended from a Dutch sea captain. He spent most of the war in Europe procuring privateers for the Confederacy and perfecting his revolutionary electric mines. Maury returned to America in 1868 to accept a professorship of meteorology at the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, where he advanced the importance of weather forecasting.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Maury the Seer and Pathfinder

“Without his father’s knowledge or consent, young Maury talked Congressman Sam Houston of Tennessee into getting him an appointment as midshipman in the United States Navy. Since there was no naval academy then, he was immediately assigned to sea duty [at age nineteen]. His first trip was to Europe on the war vessel that took Lafayette back to France after his memorable visit.

He then went around the world, followed by a voyage to South America [and returning in 1834] he used his leisure in the publication of a work on navigation which he had begun during his sea duty.

In 1842 he was appointed superintendent of the depots of charts and instruments at Washington, afterward the hydrographic office. As naval observatory astronomer he added the task of determining the direction of ocean winds and currents. In 1855 he published “The Physical Geography of the Sea,” the first textbook of modern oceanography, which went through numerous editions and translations.

In the early 1850s the idea of a trans-Atlantic cable was being discussed, and Maury presented a chart representing in profile the bottom of the Atlantic, called the “telegraphic plateau.” The citizens of New York presented him with a silver service and a purse of five thousand dollars in appreciation of his contributions to commerce.

Maury cherished as a favorite project the opening of the Amazon Valley to free trade, hoping that the project would draw slaves from the United States to Brazil. In the growing antagonism between the North and South, his sympathies were naturally with his section, but he favored conciliation. Three days after the secession of Virginia, he tendered his resignation and proceeded to Richmond where he was commissioned a commander of the Confederate States Navy.

He established the naval submarine service at Richmond and experimented with electric mines . . . [and later was] sent to England as a special agent [who was] instrumental in securing needed ships and continued his experiments with electric mines. With the purpose of using these mines, he set out for America, but when he reached the West Indies the Confederacy had collapsed.

Confederates serving abroad were excluded from pardon under the amnesty proclamations; so Maury offered his services to the Emperor of Mexico in a scheme for the colonization of [Southerners]. When the revolution there intervened, he returned to England where he busied himself with perfecting his electric mines and where he wrote a series of geographies for school use. He was presented with a purse of three thousand guineas raised by popular subscription in gratitude for his services to the maritime world, and Cambridge University honored him with the degree of doctor of laws.

While on a lecture tour in the fall of 1872 in promotion of this idea, he was taken ill at St. Louis and died on February 1, 1873.

A self-educated scientist, Maury led his biographer, John W. Wayland, to write in 1930: “The thing than made Maury a great man was his ability to see the invisible . . . He saw the trans-Atlantic cable before it was laid. He saw a railroad across the continent before it was built. He saw a ship canal from the Mississippi to the Great Lakes before it was dug . . . He saw a great training school for our Naval officers . . . and weather reports for our farmers, long before either was a reality. He saw a ship canal across the Isthmus of Panama more than a century before it was constructed.

He was a seer and pathfinder not only on the sea, but under the seas, across the lands, and among the stars.”

(Sons of the South, Clayton Rand, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1961, pg. 102)

May 22, 2016 - American Military Genius, Southern Conservatives, Southern Patriots, Southern Statesmen    Comments Off on Congress Selects a Virginia Aristocrat

Congress Selects a Virginia Aristocrat

Washington, the Virginia aristocrat, was to grow into his enormous responsibility as commander-in-chief of an “undisciplined horde led by clowns and fools”; he later admitted: “Could I have foreseen what I have, and am likely to experience, no consideration upon earth could have induced me to accept this command.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Congress Selects a Virginia Aristocrat

“Before the Bunker Hill news reached the Congress, the delegates had already agreed to arm the Colonies for defense under a single command and had appointed George Washington commander-in-chief, with the rank of general.

The big, pock-marked plantation master, who stoically suffered the experiments of colonial dentists on iron and wooden teeth, has come across time more as an abstraction than as a person. First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen – this alone is enough to dehumanize any man. Certainly he is not first in the hearts of people who inhabit the county he won, and George Washington personally would regard the nation that has evolved with cold incomprehension.

First of all, George Washington was a product of the ruling class of Virginia’s aristocratic republic. His antecedents were English; his affiliations were with English people and the Virginia English. His experiences were largely limited to the plantation world of eastern Virginia, and he had no real desire to extend his experiences beyond these limits.

When his State allied with others for mutual defense, his ambition and sense of authority motivated him to seek leadership in the area where he felt most qualified to serve – in the military.

The plantation master suffered no delusions about his military gifts, nor did the Continental delegates who appointed him. Washington was picked, for a variety of sound political and practical reasons, primarily because he was a Virginia aristocrat, and not because he was some vaporless distillation of “The Patriot.”

Any New Englander was eliminated from leadership because many of the delegates from other colonies (especially the rich conservatives) regarded them as troublemakers. This elimination made a Virginian the logical choice. Virginia was the largest and oldest colony; it had been a leader on principle in the struggle with England over colonial rights, and its representatives were as a group the most distinguished.

Finally, despite all the later-day talk about democracy, the colonial representatives in 1775 agreed that an aristocrat, habituated to and a symbol of authority, should lead. This made a Virginian at least one inevitability of the movement.

In selecting Washington for these considerations, the Congress could not have known they had selected a man with the most enormous capacity for growth under pressure. Washington was the apogee of the progressive-conservative of his class and his state. He was the most dramatic vindication of the oligarchy’s theory of producing from the plantation society superior individuals for leadership.”

(The Great Plantation, A Profile of Berkeley Hundred and Plantation Virginia, Clifford Dowdey, Bonanza Books, 1957, pp. 220-222)

Jackson's Value to Lee

Second only to Robert E. Lee as a great American military commander, Stonewall Jackson’s death proved to be a calamity which may have cost Lee the battle at Gettysburg. Jackson, like Lee, could handily defeat far superior forces as he did between April 30 and June 9, 1862 in the Valley, frustrating 70,000 Northern troops with less than 18,000 men of his own.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Jackson’s Value to Lee

“It was not until the spring of 1862, when Lee became Jefferson Davis’ military advisor and Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia that Jackson’s independent command in the Shenandoah Valley came under Lee’s control. It was at this time that the partnership between Lee and Jackson first took form.

At once Lee sensed Jackson’s integrity. Lenoir Chambers . . . wrote that while Jackson and Lee were far apart, as far as communications went, they were always able, through their letters and orders, to project themselves into the future. Each had a sagacity to discern what the other was thinking or desired. Lee never had a subordinate so quick to grasp his thoughts or so reliable in carrying them out or, when on his own, in taking care of himself while he fitted all his movements to the grand purpose as did Jackson in the Valley Campaign of 1862.

On several occasions, Jackson demonstrated his zealous devotion to his chieftain. During the winter of 1863-63 [near Fredericksburg], Lee once sent word that he wanted to talk with Jackson at his convenience on a matter of no great urgency. Thereupon Jackson arising at daybreak and without breakfast rode through a blinding snow storm to Lee’s headquarters, 15 miles away.

Lee expressed amazement, saying: “You know, General, I did not wish you to come in such a storm. It was a matter of no importance and I am sorry you had such a ride.” Thereupon Jackson blushed and simply said: “I received your note, General.” Jackson’s personal loyalty to Lee was intimately bound up with his confidence in Lee’s military ability. Once when an officer had criticized Lee, Jackson instantly replied: “Lee is a phenomenon. He is the only man I would follow blindfold.”

On that beautiful Sunday morning of May 10, 1863, when he was informed that Jackson could probably not live through the day, Lee at first refused to believe it, saying: “Surely God will not take from us now that we need him so much.” Notifying Gen. Jeb Stuart of Jackson’s death, Lee said: “The great and good Jackson is no more . . . May his spirit pervade our whole army; our country will then be secure.”

It was only after the war that General Lee gave a glimpse of what he may have thought in 1863 of the ultimate consequence of the removal of Jackson from the scene. In a conversation with one of his friends at Washington College, of which he was then president, he remarked: “If I had had Stonewall Jackson, as far as a man can see, I should have won the battle of Gettysburg.”

(Wartime Relationship Between Lee and Jackson, Dr. W. Gleason Bean, Rockbridge Historical Society Proceedings, Volume Six, J.P. Bell Company, 1966, pp. 43-46)

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