- NAME: Stonewall Jackson
- OCCUPATION: Educator, General
- BIRTH DATE: January 21, 1824
- DEATH DATE: May 10, 1863
- EDUCATION: U.S. Military Academy at West Point
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Clarksburg (then Virginia), West Virginia
- PLACE OF DEATH: Guinea Station, Virginia
- Full Name: Thomas Jonathan Jackson
- AKA: Thomas Jackson
Best Known For
Stonewall Jackson was a leading Confederate general during the U.S. Civil War, commanding forces at Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.
Stonewall Jackson rose to prominence and earned his most famous nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run (known by Southerners as First Manassas) in July, 1861.
Stonewall Jackson pressed his army to travel 646 miles in 48 days of marching and won five significant victories with a force of about 17,000 against a combined force of 60,000.
Gen. Robert E. Lee could trust Stonewall Jackson with deliberately non-detailed orders that conveyed Lee's overall objectives, what modern doctrine calls the "end state."
Military historians consider Stonewall Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history.
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Stonewall Jackson was born in Clarksburg (then Virginia), West Virginia, on January 21, 1824. A skilled military tactician, he served as a Confederate general under Robert E. Lee in the American Civil War, leading troops at Manassas, Antietam and Fredericksburg. Jackson lost an arm and died after he was accidentally shot by Confederate troops at the Battle of Chancellorsville.
"You may be whatever you resolve to be."
Stonewall Jackson was born Thomas Jonathan Jackson on January 21, 1824, in Clarksburg (then Virginia), West Virginia. His father, a lawyer named Jonathan Jackson, and his mother, Julia Beckwith Neale, had four children. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was the third born.
When Jackson was just 2 years old, his father and his older sister, Elizabeth, were killed by typhoid fever. As a young widow, Stonewall Jackson’s mother struggled to make ends meet. In 1830 Julia remarried to Blake Woodson. When the young Jackson and his siblings butted heads with their new stepfather, they were sent to live with relatives in Jackson’s Mill, Virginia (now West Virginia). In 1831, Jackson lost his mother to complications during childbirth. The infant, Jackson’s half-brother William Wirt Woodson, survived, but would later die of tuberculosis in 1841. Jackson spent the rest of his childhood living with his father’s brothers.
After attending local schools, in 1842 Jackson enrolled in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He was admitted only after his congressional district’s first choice withdrew his application a day after school started. Although he was older than most of his classmates, Jackson at first struggled terribly with his course load. To make matters worse, his fellow students often teased him about his poor family and modest education. Fortunately, the adversity fueled Jackson’s determination to succeed. In 1846, he graduated from West Point, 17th in a class of 59 students.
Jackson graduated from West Point in the nick of time to fight in the Mexican-American War. In Mexico he joined the 1st U.S. Artillery as a 2nd lieutenant. Jackson quickly proved his bravery and resilience on the field, serving with distinction under General Winfield Scott. Jackson participated in the Siege of Veracruz, and the battles of Contreras, Chapultepec and Mexico City. It was during the war in Mexico that Jackson met Robert E. Lee, with whom he would one day join military forces during the American Civil War. By the time the Mexican-American War ended in 1846, Jackson had been promoted to the rank of brevet major and was considered a war hero. After the war, he continued to serve in the military in New York and Florida.
Jackson retired from the military and returned to civilian life in 1851, when he was offered a professorship at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. At VMI, Jackson served as professor of natural and experimental philosophy as well as of artillery tactics. Jackson’s philosophy syllabus was composed of topics akin to those covered in today’s college physics courses.
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