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Thomas Jonathan Jackson

Biography

Born at Clarksburg, Virginia, now West Virginia. Graduated from West Point in 1846. He was 17th in his class of 59 that included George McClellan and A. P. Hill. In his first service he was sent to Mexico where he served with distinction at Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo and Chapultepec.

Jackson became a professor at the Virginia Military Institute in 1851 and resigned from the army in 1852. Married Eleanor Junkin who died in 1854. He married Mary Ann Morrison July 16, 1857. He commanded the corp of cadets at the hanging of John Brown.

Jackson was ordered to Richmond April 21, 1861, with the cadet corps. He was sent to Harper's Ferry as a colonel. He was promoted to brigadier-general June 17, 1861. He served under Joseph E. Johnston at Bull Run July 21, 1861. As his own troops retreated, brigadier general Bernard Elliot Bee observed, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall." With humility Jackson claimed that the reference was to the brigade and not to himself personally. Jackson had a number of quirks. He believed in strict observation of the sabbath. He would not post a letter if he believed it would be in transit over a Sunday.

Jackson was promoted to major general October 7, 1861. On November 5, 1861, he assumed command of the Shenandoah Valley. From April 17 to May 12, 1862, he served under General Lee. They had known each other since the Mexican War and worked well together.

In August 1862 Jackson marched 20,000 men 51 miles in two days and destroyed his enemy near Manassas. Jackson attacked Harper's Ferry and captured 12,520 prisoners September 15, 1862. He fought at Antietam September 17 and Fredericksburg December 13, 1862. He had been promoted to lieutenant-general October 10, 1862.

In April 1863 Jackson was called into the Wilderness of Spotsylvania. He joined Lee who was facing Hooker April 30, 1863. Jackson was ordered to attack Hooker from the rear. At sunset May 2, 1863, Jackson attacked Hooker from the rear in the Wilderness. Returning from the front, in the twilight, Jackson was wounded by the fire of his own men. He died of pneumonia May 10, 1863, at Guinea Station south of Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was reported that his last words were, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."

Jackson appears at the side of General Lee on the Stone Mountain Commemorative half Dollar. The design is taken from the carving of Stone Mountain by Gutzon Borglum. Jackson appears on the Confederate $500 note of February 17, 1864.

bio: ApCAB; DAB; Drake; EAB; NCAB 4; TCBDA; WAB; WWWA-H; NUM 75 Nov 1962 page 1479

Source credit: Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies

 

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