Considered an American Civil War hero and popularly referred to as “Stonewall” Jackson; Thomas Jonathan Jackson was born in Clarksburg in Virginia in 1824. He was regarded as one of the most successful Generals to have led troops during the American Civil War. However, his personal life was not as colorful as his military career. Here are some facts about one of America’s most celebrated war hero.
Jonathan lost his father and elder sister at an age he could hardly remember them or understand the depth of the tragedy. He was only 2 years. But this tragedy had its impact throughout Jonathan’s life. His mother remarried and he and his brothers were left to the mercy of some relatives! Jonathan was under the care of his uncle, who lived in what is today’s West Virginia.
After a not so pleasant childhood, Jonathan joined the Military Academy at New York. His first mission was at Mexico as part of the first U S Artillery. Although he began his career as a lieutenant, his bravery and skills brought him many accomplishments including promotions that soon saw him hold the rank of a brevet major.
Although his military accomplishments and history are very popular, not many know that he also served as a professor in the Virginia Military Institute. After five years in the military, Jonathan accepted a professorship in 1851 at the aforesaid institute to teach artillery tactics and natural philosophy.
Although his military accomplishments made him a popular person during his service years, the same cannot be said of his professorship. Although there was nothing lacking in his knowledge or teaching skills, he was not quite popular among his students thanks to his eccentric behavior, lack of empathy, and brusqueness.
Stonewall Jackson is believed to have suffered from hypochondria, a chronic anxiety where the person believes he suffers from some serious illness. This made him the centre of joke among his students, who found his weird habit of keeping his arm raised funny. But this was the result of his perception that there was some discrepancy in the length of his arm!
Jackson’s married life was not very smooth either. He first married Elinor Junkin, in 1853, but unfortunately she died during child-birth 14 months after their marriage. About two years later, he married Mary Anna Morrison. And in this marriage, tragedy came in the form of his children not surviving.
Despite his weirdness and hypochondriac obsessions, Jackson was considered an honest and devout person. He was a teetotaler and enjoyed a good reputation in his community at Lexington.
It is believed that Jackson earned his popular nickname “Stonewall” during his second tenure in the military; more specifically, during the “First Battle of Bull Run” where he is believed to have closed a gap in the line by rushing in with his troops. He was a brigadier general at that time and this nickname was bestowed by a fellow general, Joseph E. Johnston.
Jackson is believed to have spearheaded the Shenandoah Valley Campaign. He was responsible for defending West Virginia and overthrew an army of 60,000 men with just a troop that numbered around 18,000! It was his military tactics and his success against larger armies that earned him the recognition and applause of the Union generals; making him one of America’s greatest war heroes.
Although he was a war hero with several accomplishments to his credit; his death was a freak accident that occurred as a result of fire that was aimed at the enemy! This resulted in the amputation of his left arm. The complications that arose from this amputation and the pneumonia he developed resulted in his demise, eight days later. He was only 39 and was survived by his wife and a daughter, who was hardly one at that time.