Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson Essay

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Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson

Sun Tzu once said, “The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his count and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.” To many, General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was that man. He was an enigma of a man with a harsh past, but he had an extreme and faithful love of God. Thomas Jackson was born in January of 1824, in the mountainous wilderness of northwest Virginia. At the age of two, he lost both his father Jonathon and sister Elizabeth. Five years later, at the age of seven, his destitute mother was pressured to leave him with relatives; not even a year later, Julia Jackson passed away (McAllister 819). Separated from his brother Warren and his half-brother William, Thomas and his sister Laura were put into the care of their uncle. He provided security for them but not much else (Robertson Jr. 2). The first seventeen years of his life were sad and empty; he never openly discussed this period of his life. Because of this, Jackson went searching for something more. In 1842, he found that place. When he entered West Point, Jackson was ranked at the bottom of his class. Nevertheless, he remained undaunted and studied day and night for the four years he was there. He gave everything he had to the sole purpose of learning(2). When the time came, Jackson graduated seventeenth of fifty-nine student in his class of 1864 (McAllister 819). Jackson’s high academic score brought him into the military as a lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Artillery. Not even six weeks after his graduation at West Point, He entered the Mexican-American war with General Scott Winfield. Throughout this brief time, he was promoted to major and not only gained valuable insight into the art of war, but he also mastered the transition from knowledge gained from textbooks to practical application. In the years 1847- 51 during the dull routine of garrison duty, he began to show and intense interest in religion. He read the Bible dutifully every day and attended many churches in search of a place to call home (Robertson Jr. 2-3). After the war ended, the peacetime army gave few challenges and even fewer promotions. So, in 1851, Jackson accepted an offer to teach at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington (McAllister 819). Over the ten years he was there, Jackson finally found his home in the Lexington Presbyterian Church. To say that Jackson was the most devout follower to step into the church would not be incorrect. He attended every church service faithfully even if he would sleep during a good portion of the sermon. His primary desire was to love God fully in hopes that God would love him back in an equal capacity. Because of his deep love and devotion to God, he did not fear dying. He believed that God would take him when it was his time. Aside from all that, his one other refuge lay in prayer. He prayed habitually, whether he was drinking a glass of water, or entering the classroom. And as a result from this love for God, he was a fierce opponent in battle (Robertson Jr. 4). When the time came again for war, the Union asked Jackson to serve them and he declined swearing allegiance first to his home state. Jackson demanded complete obedience among his troops, because this was how he responded to his superiors, he was a prime beacon of confidence for his men. In the eyes of Jackson, the Christian faith with God’s favor and the Civil War were intertwined, and he acknowledging it as a test from God himself (Robertson Jr. 5). In June