Hey, Y’all and Happy Confederate Memorial Day! I’m back with another 10 Totally Random Facts post! It’s been…*Checks to see when the last one was* nine months since I did one! Yikes! Well, it’s high time we bring this series back! May 10th is the anniversary of the death of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson. Only 39 years old when he died, this amazing Confederate General is respected by northerners and southerners alike. Below, to celebrate this fine Christian’s memory, I’ve got 10 Totally Random Facts about him! Enjoy!
1. Stonewall Jackson is not a West Virginian. I’m sorry to all you Mountaineers out there, but Stonewall Jackson was born in Clarksburg, Va. Today, yes, this is part of West Virginia. But West Virginia wasn’t a state at the time and did not become a state until over a month after his death.
2. Stonewall Jackson was a teetotaler. Finding out as a young man that he had a natural desire for tobacco and alcohol, Jackson decided then and there that he would have no part in them. He feared anything a man could become addicted to. In fact, when he was wounded during the Battle of Chancellorsville, when his men tried to give him whiskey to dull the pain, he initially refused to drink it. (During that time soldiers carried it into battle as a medication/disinfectant. They didn’t have many of the medications we have today. This is not a justification, just an explanation.)
3. He only lost one battle. That’s right! Only one battle stained his pristine record, the Battle of Kernstown. (Read about this battle in my book “Our Heritage to Save” to find out why he lost this battle…and if he was really to blame!)
4. He had three children. Stonewall was married twice. His first wife, Elinor Junkin, gave birth to a stillborn son in 1854, who they never named. Elinor died shortly after her son. Later he married Mary Anna Morrison. They had a daughter, Mary Graham, who died in 1858 of a liver dysfunction. In 1862, Julia Laura was born, the only surviving child of Stonewall Jackson.
5. His horse’s name was “Little Sorrel.” Stonewall had originally purchased the horse from the Confederate war department as a gift for his wife. The horse had been captured from a Union supply line during the early days of the war. After riding the horse for a bit, he decided to keep him and send Anna another. People teased that the General’s feet would drag the ground because the sorrel was so little. The name stuck, making him the most famous Confederate war horse, next to Traveler 😊
6. The Bayonet was his favorite weapon. Gen. Jackson believed in keeping the peace if possible, but once a war was begun, he believed in getting it over with. He had his men drilled with the bayonet, some believe, to an excess, making sure they knew how to use it. His famous nickname came about because of a bayonet, actually. Confederate Gen. Bernard Bee approached him during the First Battle of Manassas Junction and informed him that Bee’s men were being beaten back. Gen. Jackson replied, “Well then, sir, we will give them the bayonet!” After this bold statement, Bee returned to his men and declared, “Rally men! Look, there is Jackson, standing like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!” From that point on, Jackson was known as “Stonewall” and his men as “The Stonewall Brigade.” In fact, after the General’s death, the men got their brigade’s name officially changed from the 1st Virginia Brigade to the Stonewall Brigade.
7. Jackson had a sister who supported the Union. Laura Jackson Arnold and Stonewall had always been very close until the War Between the States erupted. Laura supported the Union, while Stonewall became the most loved General of the South. She said once that she would patch up the Union soldiers as fast as her brother could wound them. They never saw each other again. But even though she broke off their relationship, Stonewall showed his unending love for his little sister by naming his daughter Julia Laura, after his mother and sister, respectively.
8. Stonewall only bought one home. While a professor at the Virginia Military Institute, he bought a home on Washington Street. Today, it is the Home of the Stonewall Jackson House Museum. I’ve never been there, but it’s on my bucket list!
9. He gave himself a middle name. Stonewall was the only child in his family that didn’t have a middle name. It bothered him, especially when he was to enroll at the United States Military Academy at West Point. So, when his turn came to sign his name, he added his deceased father’s name to his own, Thomas Jonathan Jackson.
10. He married a North Carolina Gal! Yes, Mary Anna Morrison was a Tar Heel girl, even though the nickname came about during the war. Another fun fact about her family is that her sister Isabella was married to D. H. Hill, another Confederate General, and friend of Stonewall Jackson!
I could easily have made this into a 20+ Totally Random Facts post, but it’s got to end somewhere. 😊 Thank you for baring with me as I bragged on my absolute favorite American Hero! He was truly a great man of God and there are not enough words to express how I feel about him!
Something to think about: What are some of your favorite facts about Stonewall Jackson? If you have a blog, why not list your favorites there in honor of his memory? If you don’t, share them with a friend!
Supporting my Heritage,
Christian. American. Southern. Author.