Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson
Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson was born January 21, 1824 in Clarksburg, Virginia. He graduated from West Point in 1846 and began his career in the artillery as a brevet second lieutenant. Jackson fought in the Mexican-American War from 1846-1848 and received brevets to the rank of major for his actions.
In 1852, Jackson resigned his military commission and accepted a teaching position at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. His style as a professor was controversial, but nonetheless invaluable, as VMI continues to use many of his philosophies today.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Jackson accepted orders as a Colonel of Virginia militia and commanded a Confederate garrison at Harper’s Ferry. Promoted to Brigadier General, Jackson led a brigade at the Battle of First Manassas where he earned the sobriquet “Stonewall.” In November 1861, Jackson was promoted to Major General and dispatched to the Shenandoah Valley.
The following spring, Jackson conducted a campaign in the Valley that ultimately defeated three different Union forces and brought him international fame. He then transferred his command to Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Richmond. Jackson fought in the Seven Days' Battles which secured the Confederate capital from an advancing Union army under Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. During the Second Manassas Campaign, Lee utilized Jackson's regiments in a flanking movement that helped bring the defeat of Maj. Gen. John Pope's Army of Virginia. Jackson fought in the Maryland Campaign and in the fall of 1862 was promoted to Lieutenant General.
Jackson fought at Fredericksburg in December and on May 2, 1863, he executed a devastating flank march and assault at the Battle of Chancellorsville. That evening, while returning from a reconnaissance, Jackson was mistakenly fired on by his own men and wounded. He died on May 10 at the plantation of Thomas Chandler at Guinea Station of pneumonia and is buried in Lexington, Virginia.