`page.data.shortTitle || page.data.title`



Pictures & Records

`::image.description || image.title`

Add your story…

Diary of Cadet Charles T. Haigh

story image(s)

Charles T. Haigh left VMI to serve as a Lt. in the 37th North Carolina Infantry Regt. He was killed in battle at Spottsylvania on May 12, 1864, one year after he wrote these diary entries.

Monday May 11th [1863]

The death of the lamented hero "Stonewall" Jackson is a terrible blow to the South. The news of his death reached us last night at midnight--his military career fills the brightest and most momentous pages of the history of our country and the achievements of our army. He departed this life at Guinea Station last Sunday at 3 1/4 o'clock. His remains will be carried to Richmond where they will be in state for one day and then brought here (Lexington) for interment.

Wednesday May 13th

All academic duties are suspended today in honor to the old hero. His body is expected hourly.

Thursday May 14th Gen. Jackson's body arrived by the boat at 1 o'clock--was escorted to Barracks by the Corps and placed in his old Section room which room is draped in mourning for the period of six months. He is in a fine metallic coffin. The first flag made in the South of the new design covers his coffin--on the flag wreaths of evergreens and flowers. It is the request of his wife that he shall be buried tomorrow. Half hour guns have been firing from [illegible] fired from his old battery.

Friday May 15th Guns have been firing all morning in honor of the lamented Jackson.
Friday afternoon. The procession formed in front of the Sally port at half past ten. Commenced to move at 11. Corps in front of caisson on which he was borne. Then a company of Cavalry, after that a company composed of all the wounded and all that were once members of the old Stonewall Brigade. Bells were tolling all over town. Funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. White.

Lt. John T. Norton letter, 1863 May 23

story image(s)

Civil War letter written by Union officer John T. Norton (Lieutenant, 97th Regiment New York State Volunteers, Company G) to his father, Morgan Norton of Norway, Herkimer County, New York. The letter is dated May 23rd, 1863. Norton discusses the Battle of Chancellorsville and mentions the death of Stonewall Jackson , referring to him as "the bravest of the brave."

Full Text

Camp, 9th Regt. N.Y.S.V.
May 23d, 1863

Dear Father:

Your kind letter of the 17th inst. is received. I am sorry that the letter I wrote to Mary did not reach you before you wrote as I am afraid that you are too anxious in regard to me. I am happy to state I am enjoying good health and in very good spirits, dwelling on the sacred soil of Virginia, watching the rebels across the river. They come down to the river to bathe and would swim across if they were not ordered back by our officers, as our pickets are not allowed to speak or hold any conversation with them.

I should have written to Mary before I did, but could not find time enough. Before I did write the 1st Army corps was under fire on April 30th from Rebel Batteries which forced those in the 2d Division to withdraw out of our position at the river bank. While retiring, one of the enemy's shots came rolling through the ranks of my company and before we changed our position a shell came directly over our Regiment and killed two officers in the 13th Massachusetts.

On the 2d day of May the enemy opened upon us again with shell but did not much injury. All this below Fredericksburg. Same day we made a forced march of 22 miles and crossed the river at US Ford some distance above Fredericksburg, when we were marched to the extreme right of the line of battle and took up our position near where the 11th Army corps ran. The same day we were busy all night in building breastworks and a part of next day in constructing abatis around them.

During this time our Division captured about 200 prisoners. One that was taken had a bayonet wound through the throat. He was over 6 feet in height and made his brags that we might kill them but could not conquer them.

On this day the 3d Sunday, the hottest of the fighting took place from 5 1/2 a.m. to 10 1/2 o'clock a.m. It was one continual roar of musketry and artillery which exceeded anything I ever heard. There were 4 cannon shots fired in a second. A brigade of rebels charged our position and about 50 men returned to tell the tale. This was a little on the left of our Corps. In the afternoon our Regiment went on picket. Next morning a rebel had the audacity to fire at me while eating breakfast. I gave orders to the picket to keep a sharp watch for Jonny Reb and continued to eat my breakfast. We were relieved in the afternoon and went back to our works, but judge my surprise when instead of one single breastwork, I beheld a dozen more which our boys had built while we were on picket. On Wednesday we made a great strategic movement across the river, cross a little after daylight. All came off in safety but the 6th Army Corps, who crossed at Fredericksburg and took the heights were not quite so lucky. If the rebels call it a victory, it was a dear one to them for at the last calculation they lost two to one, and it would not take many such victories to end the rebellion. Besides losing one of their best Generals who is a host in himself, namely Jackson, the bravest of the brave.

There are many little incidents I would like to relate to you but it would take up too much space. I am happy to learn that Sophia and Florine are nearly well again. I will close hoping to hear from you soon. Hoping this will find you all in good health. Your affectionate son,

Lieut. John T. Norton

George W. Koontz Letter, May 10, 1863

story image(s)
2 images

Biographical Note:
George William Koontz was born on February 12, 1839, at Edinburg, Shenandoah County, Virginia. At age 15, Koontz left home to work in a mercantile business in Highland County, where he remained until the beginning of the Civil War. He enlisted in June 1861 in the Eighth Star New Market Artillery; he was reassigned to the Danville Artillery in September 1862. Koontz served with that unit until he was paroled at Appomattox in April 1865, having reached the rank of Captain by war's end. After the war, he soon returned to Shenandoah County, where he was a farmer, miller, and county treasurer. In 1871 he married Mary C. "Mollie" Newman, also of Shenandoah County. Koontz died in Philadelphia, PA on March 16, 1925; he is buried in Massanutten Cemetery, Woodstock, Virginia.

Danville Artillery (Capt. Robert Sydney Rice/Rice's Artillery Battery) at the Battle of Chancellorsville, & the wounding of Gen. Stonewall Jackson.

Camp Near Hamilton's Crossing
6 miles South Fredericksburg Va
Sunday Night May 10/63

Everything was quiet during the night, but when Saturday morning came it brought with it a thundering of artillery and we were ordered to the front. About 10 the cannonading ceased, and I found that our men had driven the enemy again. I soon discovered that Genl. Jackson was turning the enemies right flank, and about 5 or six we had completely gotten in their rear, drove them from their entrenchments, ran them I suppose 3 or 4 miles. Night coming on brought the fight for the day to a close, but there was firing of infantry and heavy firing of artillery nearly the whole night.

That was another night spent upon the battlefield among dead and wounded. We had as yet lost but very few men and I could not have much sympathy for the Yankees. Soon after dark on Saturday evening was when Genl. Jackson, Hill and Col. Crutchfield our chief of artillery was wounded. Genl. Jackson had to have his left arm amputated. They were wounded by our own men. He was riding between our first and second lines of battle and was mistaken for Yankee Cavalry.

It is twelve and I must close. "All quiet along the Rappahannock tonight." It was reported this evening in camp that Genl. Jackson died from his wound, but I don't believe. I hope it is false rumor.

Address. G. W. K. Rice's Battery. McIntosh's Battalion. Jackson's Corps. P. S. Excuse this brief and imperfect letter, G.

John Garibaldi Letters

Manuscript# 284
May 11, 1863, to wife Sarah. (Letter #10)
The Battle of Chancellorsville

General T. J. Jackson died day before yesterday at about one o'clock in the afternoon. He did not die on account of his wound, he die of the newmony {pneumonia}. He was wounded early on the Saturday night the second of May, it is said by our men. When the enemy was making them charges on us he accidently or some how or other happened to be between our men and the enemy in one of them charges with several other Generals, and they rode toward our lines. At the approach of the enemy and of his musketry and our men hearing such noise through the bushes thought it was the enemy's cavalry and they fired into them wounding two Generals and a Colonel.

Yesterday there was an escort of honor of about two hundred and fifty detailed out of our Brigade to accompany General Jackson's corpse to Richmond and I was one among them, but before we could march down to Guinea Station about eight miles distant from our camp, the remains of our General had been removed on the Rail Road and so we were about an hour too late.


Henry H. Dedrick papers

Letter (Partial)
Dedrick to his father-in-law and his wife
Date: 1863 May 10 and 11
Place: Spotsylvania Co. Virginia. Camp near Hamilton's Crossing. (Battle of Chancellorsville)

Spotsylvania Co. Virginia. Camp near Hamilton's Crossing.
May 10th 1863

Dear Father-
I take this opportunity to drop you a few to answer your few lines that I received from you this evening. I was glad to hear from you all and to hear that youw as well. I am well at present and hope when these few lines comes to hand they may find you all enjoying the same blessing of god a resting upon you.

You said that you heard that Gen. Jackson  had a fight. It was not only him it was all of the troops. We had one of the hardest fights that we ever had since the war begun. General Jackson has lost one of his arms and [has] now got the pneumonia. He is not expected to live. He was shot by our own pickets. He got out side of our pickets after night and he come up in a gallop and they fired on him and wounded him and all of his guard but one. Our loss is said to be twenty thousand killed wounded and missing. I don't know what the [loss] of the enemy was but it must be terrible. I have just heard that General Jackson was dead. If he is it is a great loss to the Southern confederacy.


Fulkerson Family Papers

Fulkerson Family Papers (Partial)
ALS. Abram Fulkerson to his wife, Selina
1863 May 18
RE: Death of Gen. Stonewall Jackson

The intelligence of the death of Gen. Jackson came upon us like a shock. We feel that his death is a national calamity. The poorest soldiers among us appreciated his worth - loved the man, and mourn his loss. I knew him well.1 He was my preceptor for more than four years and whilst during that time I did not appreciate the man, as school [schoolboys?]are not like to do, yet I always had great reverence for the man on account of his piety & uprightness of character. Among the many heroes of this revolution, none have lived so much adored, none have died so much deplored, and none have left a character as spotless as that of Stonewall Jackson. Could his life have been spared till the close of this cruel war, the unanimous voice of a grateful people would have proclaimed him chief ruler of the nation. But God has seen proper to take him from us, and what He does is right and for the best. It is [illegible] therefore that we make the sacrifice cheerfully, th'o we cannot see why our country should be deprived of his services at his her hour of greatest need.


Excerpt from letter written by VMI Cadet Samuel B. Hannah, VMI Class of 1863.

VMI Institute
May 17, 1863

I was Officer of the Day when the body of Gen. Jackson was brought in Barracks; no military escort accompanied him from Richmond only a few citizens, among them the Gov. His body was said to be embalmed, but of no avail. Decomposition had already taken place, in consequence of which his face was not exposed to view as the features were said not to be natural. The coffin was a perfect flower bed and under, that which was presented to his wife by the President, the first new Confederate flag ever made. His body was placed in his old Section room which will remain draped for six months.

Gen. Smith then requested that none of the flowers should be removed from the coffin which was an impossibility although I had a Sentinel posted over the remains. Still the Sentinels would remove things for themselves and of course they were afraid to inform on others for fear of being caught at it themselves. I did not think in right to take what others had placed there as a memorial of their love and esteem for our beloved Jackson, although I would prize a trophy like that the highest imaginable. Still as it had been entrusted to me to see that all was kept right, so long as his body was under my charge I couldn't conscientiously take any of the flowers when I knew that every cadet was afraid to let me see him take or touch the body.

He only remained in Barracks one day and night. He was buried on Friday the 15th of May. Dr White preached his funeral, the old Gentleman seemed and I know he was deeply afflicted, for from all accounts the Gen. took quite an active part in the church and was the founder of the Colored Sunday School and the main stay of it as long as he was in Lexington.

Local newspaper account

story image(s)

The Funeral of Stonewall Jackson
Local newspaper account
From The Lexington Gazette
May 20, 1863

All that was mortal of our great and good chief, Lieut. Gen. T.J. Jackson was consigned to the tomb on Friday last.

The body having reached Lexington by the Packet boat on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by his personal staff, Maj. A.S. Pendleton, Surgeon H. McGuire, Lieut. Morrison, and Lieut. Smith, by his Excellency Gov. Letcher, and a delegation of the citizens of Lynchburg, it was received by the Corps of Cadets and escorted to the Institute, and deposited in his late Lecture Room, which had been appropriately draped in mourning.

There was the table used by the late Professor--the same chair in which he sat--the cases with the Philosophical apparatus he had used--all told of his quiet and unobtrusive labors in his Professional life--and placed just as he left them, when he received the order of the Governor of Virginia to march the Corps of Cadets to Richmond, on the 21st of April 1861. He left the Va. Military Institute in command of the Cadets. He has been brought back to sleep among us--a world renowned Christian Hero.

The procession moved from the Institute on Friday morning at 10 A.M. The Funeral escort was commanded by Maj. S. Ship, Commandant of Cadets, a former pupil of Gen. Jackson and a gallant officer who had served with him in his Valley Campaign, as Major of the 21st Va. Regt.

The Escort was composed as follows:

1. Cadet Battalion
2. Battery of Artillery of 4 pieces, the same battery he had for ten years commanded as Instructor of Artillery and which had also served with him at 1st Manassas, in [the] Stonewall Brigade.
3. A company of the original Stonewall Brigade, composed of members of different companies of the Brigade, and commanded by Capt. A. Hamilton, bearing the flag of the "Liberty Hall Volunteers."
4. A company of convalescent officers and soldiers of the army.
5. A Squadron of cavalry was all that was needed to complete the escort prescribed by the Army Regulations. This squadron opportunely made its appearance before the procession moved from the church. The Squadron was a part of Sweeny's battalion of Jenkin's command, and many of its members were from the General's native North-western Virginia.
6. The Clergy.
7. The Body enveloped in the Confederate Flag and covered with flowers, was borne on a caisson of the Cadet Battery, draped in mourning.

The pall bearers were as follows:

Wm. White ; Professor J.L. Campbell--representing the Elders of the Lexington Presbyterian Church.
Wm. C. Lewis; Col. S. McD. Reid--County Magistrates.
Prof. J.J. White; Prof. C.J. Harris--Washington College.
S. McD. Moore; John W. Fuller--Franklin Society.
George W. Adams; Robt. I. White--Town Council.
Judge J. W. Brockenbrough; Joseph G. Steel--Confederate District Court
Dr. H.H. McGuire; Capt. F.W. Henderson--C.S. Army.
Rev. W. McElwee; John Hamilton--Bible Society of Rockbridge

8. The Family and Personal Staff of the deceased.

9. The Governor of Va., Confederate States Senator Henry of Tenn. The Sergeant-at-Arms of C.S. Senate, and a member of the City of Richmond Council.

10. Faculty and Officers of Va. Mil. Institute.

11. Elders and Deacons of Lexington Presbyterian Church of which church Gen. Jackson was a Deacon.

12. Professors and Students of Washington College.

13. Franklin Society.

14. Citizens.

Letter from Rebecca McDowell regarding her son's VMI application.

story image(s)

VMI Archives
William H. McDowell, the "Ghost Cadet"
Letter from Rebecca McDowell regarding her son's VMI application

The following letter was addressed to Francis H. Smith, the Superintendent (President) of VMI. The cousin she refers to is Mary Anna Jackson, the widow of General Stonewall Jackson.

June 1st, 1863
Col. Smith

NOTE: Mrs. McDowell's son, William, would be killed at the Battle of New Market in May 1864.

I write for information concerning the time when the exercises at Lexington commence; as you promised Mrs. Jackson last winter that you would take him in July but did not state what time in July. Please let me know the time, the regulations, and terms.

I might obtain the necessary information from my cousin but her grief is too recent, too great, & sacred to obtrude upon with my concerns. Virginia had reason to be proud of & thankful for such a chieftain as Jackson. A great & good man, a pure & unselfish patriot, and it is a pleasure to us to think that we can do something by kind offices & soothing attentions, to cheer his widow on her lonely way. We all mourn him through the length & breadth of this Confederacy.

You will find our child careless & thoughtless, but high principled, & too firm to be led astray. I hope his conduct & deportment may be unexceptionable as it has been hitherto. And let me beg of you to take an interest in him. I can scarce hope to have him with me much more after he goes to you--as when he leaves you twill be to enter the army. He has been a good obedient child to me and I would feel relieved to know that far from home and among strangers he has found one friend and protector.

Please direct you letter to Mrs. R.R. McDowell, Mt. Mourne, P.O. Iredell Cty, N.C.

Very respectfully, R.R. McDowell

NOTE: Mrs. McDowell's son, William would be killed at the Battle of New Market in May 1864.

"The Last Illness and Death of General Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson"

story image(s)

This article first appeared in the summer 1975 issue of the VMI Alumni Review. Dr. Smith was, in 1975, a practicing physician who became interested in analyzing the medical care given to Jackson. The results of his research were presented in this article.

At 9:00 PM Saturday, May 2nd, 1863 Jackson was wounded at the battle of Chancellorsville . He was shot through the left upper arm just beneath the shoulder. The humerus was fractured--the brachial artery was injured. He bled profusely. A second bullet entered the lateral left upper forearm and exited diagonally from the medial lower third of the forearm. A third bullet struck his right hand fracturing the second and third metacarpal bones and lodged beneath the skin on the back of his hand. He arrived at the Field Hospital near Wilderness Tavern) where Dr. Henry Black had prepared a warm tent for him. After a two mile ride in an ambulance with Major Crutchfield his condition from hemorrhage and pain had produced such shock that Dr. McGuire was prevented from adequately examining his wound. He was given sedation, kept warm and by 2:00 AM (5/3/63) his condition had so improved that Dr. McGuire examined his wounded left shoulder region and told him that his arm might have to be amputated. General Jackson agreed. Dr. McGuire then had Dr. Coleman anesthetize him with chloroform and upon examining his wound under anesthesia decided amputation was necessary and performed the surgery. His left arm was amputated at 2:00 AM Sunday, May 3rd, in a Field Hospital, two inches below the shoulder, after the bullet beneath the skin on the back of his right hand was removed. The Anesthetist was Dr. Coleman--he was given chloroform. he surgeon was Dr. Hunter McGuire. An Internist, Dr. Black, followed his heart; Dr. Wells, First Assistant, tied the arteries; and Captain Smith held the lights. The bullet was first removed from his right hand to see the type of ball. Confederates used a round ball from a smooth bore musket. Federals did not use smooth bore guns. This was proof that he had been wounded by his own men (18th N. C. Regiment). The operation was a standard type of circular amputation. This was the accepted treatment at that time for an injury at this site, of this magnitude. One half hour after the operation he was given a cup of coffee.

At 3:30 AM, one and one-half hours after amputation, Pendleton, his Assistant Adjutant General called and told him General Hill had been wounded and the troops were in great disorder and that General Stuart who had taken command had sent him to report to General Jackson and ask his advice. Dr. McGuire, at first, refused to permit the interview, but Pendleton said the fate of the Army was at stake and Dr. McGuire relented. As Pendleton entered Jackson's tent, he said, "I am glad to see you. I thought you had been killed." Pendleton gave General Jackson Stuart's message. He asked many rapid questions, became quiet, obviously concentrating and thinking. His nostrils dilated, his eyes flashed, then his face relaxed and he said, "I don't know--I can't tell--say to General Stuart to just do what he thinks best."

Jackson turned to Captain James Smith (a theology student--ordained and preached in Richmond--taught some of my Richmond friends' Sunday School!) and asked if he was there at the operation. When he answered affirmatively, he asked if he had said anything under the chloroform. Smith assured him "No." Then Jackson said "I have always thought it wrong to administer chloroform in cases where there is a probability of immediate death," but, he continued "It was the most delightful physical sensation I ever experienced. I seem to remember the most delightful music that ever greeted my ears, but I should dislike above all things to enter eternity in such a condition." Captain Smith told him he should sleep. He then slept until 9:00 AM Sunday. He awoke to the sound of the Federal guns to the east in the field works against which he had last night ordered Hill's troops to attack.

With Jackson wounded General Hill was the senior officer on the field and assumed command. When General Hill was wounded, Rodes next in seniority assumed command. There had been confusion in the ranking of commanders. What happened is not clear. Eventually Assistant Adjutant General Pendleton sent Captain R.H.T. Adams of General Hill's staff to Stuart--five miles away toward Ely's Ford asking him to return immediately and take command of the 2nd Corps. This procedure was irregular. Stuart was senior to Rodes, but Army regulations said nothing concerning a Cavalry Commander becoming a Corps Commander. General Stuart reported that--"Captain Adams of Hill's staff reached and informed me only of the urgent demand to come and take command as quickly as possible." Rodes reported, "I was informed after hearing of Jackson's being wounded that Hill had been wounded and disabled and that the command of the Corps devolved on me. Thereupon I got in touch with General Heth then commanding General Hill's division, and with General Colston had ordered them to renew the attack in the morning. The troops were not in condition to continue a night attack. About midnight the Federals made a feeble attack on their right. It was easily repulsed. Shortly thereafter, Major General Jeb Stuart arrived and assumed command. I yielded to General Stuart because I thought General Jackson or General Hill had instructed Major Pendleton to place him in command--not because I thought he was entitled to the command, nor was I unwilling to assume command having already given orders for an advance in the morning.

Jackson had no part in these events. The conclusion seems to be that General Hill made this decision and Pendleton dispatched one of General Hill's staff to notify General Stuart. Whether Pendleton suggested Stuart to Hill, no one knows.

Stuart's responsibilities were many. He had never commanded an infantry brigade, division or corps and was forced to take command of a Corps between midnight and daybreak during a lull in a terrific conflict. He had no idea of the progress of the Corps during the day nor did he know Jackson's plans and further he was unfamiliar with the topography and could not locate any one of Jackson's staff except Pendleton. His first move was to send Pendleton to Jackson for information and advice.

Simultaneously, Captain Wilbourn riding to General Lee with the news of Jackson's wounds, reached him about 3:00 AM Sunday. He was awakened and told of Jackson being wounded. As they sat on General Lee's blankets under a pine tree, General Lee moaned and wept as Wilbourn related the details. General Lee stopped him. Wilbourn told General Lee of the shift in the command from Jackson to Hill to Rodes to Stuart. He acquiesced. General Lee then wrote a note to General Stuart and handed it to Wilbourn to deliver. He stated, "those people must be prosecuted with utmost vigor--the enemy given no time to rally." He stressed uniting the two wings of the army. He said nothing of Jackson's intent to drive to the north of Chancellorsville in the direction of the road to the Rapidan and Rappahannock to prevent the Federals from reaching the U. S. Ford.

At 3:30 AM Sunday, Hotchkiss arrived bringing General Lee more information. General Lee would not talk of Jackson's wounding. He sent General Stuart a second note by Hotchkiss stressing the importance of his pressing to the right to unite the two corps. He said nothing about starting for the U. S. Ford Road. General Stuart began riding the lines during the night, brought the divisions into position and placed A. P. Hill's Division in the lead early Sunday, the 3rd, and launched a headlong attack against the Federal Field fortification. As he rode the line driving straight for Fairview which was crowned with guns and girdled by entrenched infantry protected by protruding tree branches, the fighting was desperate and with heavy losses and much confusion. General Stuart with Sweeney's banjo accompaniment, as he rode by the troops sang, "Old Joe Hooker won't you come out of the Wilderness."

Hooker had ordered a hill, Hazel Grove, abandoned. (Stuart saw its importance from which Fairview could be shelled.) General E.P. Alexander, immediately placed guns there and began to enfilade another adjacent hill, Fairview. Before the end of the 3rd, General Anderson and General McLaw's Divisions with General Lee in command had joined their left to the right of the 2nd Corps (General Hill's troops) and established a continuous line.

At 11:30 AM, General Lee received a note from General Jackson telling him he had been wounded and that General Hill was in command. Turning to his aide Colonel Marshall, General Lee dictated his famous letter to General Jackson. The original of this letter is in the Rare Book Room of Tulane University in New Orleans. I have held and read it. It is written on a small sheet of ordinary coarse, blue ruled, tablet paper, signed R.E. Lee, General.

May 3, 1863
General Thomas J. Jackson, Commanding Corps
General: I have just received your note, informing me that you were wounded--I cannot express my regret at the occurrence. Could I have directed events, I should have chosen for the good of the country to be disable in your stead.
I congratulate you upon the victory, which is due to your skill and energy.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant
R.E. Lee, General.

When Captain Smith read this to General Jackson he replied, "General Lee is very kind, but he should give the praise to God."

On Sunday May 3rd, Jackson had awakened at 9:00 AM, twelve hours after being wounded, seven hours after amputation--and was making a good immediate recovery. He was free of pain, cheerful and doing well. He took a little nourishment. His mind began to function quickly. He ordered Captain Smith to stay with him and Captain Morrison (Mrs. Jackson's brother) to go Richmond and inform Mrs. Jackson of his amputation and accompany her back to him. The remainder of the staff he ordered to return to their duties with the Corps. He dictated a note to General Lee which reached him at 11:30 AM as he was watching flames destroy the Chancellor House. About 10:00 AM, eight hours after his amputation, his right side began to pain. He asked Dr. McGuire to look at it. He saw no bruise or abrasion or any external evidence of injury. His lungs were performing normally. Cold cloths were applied locally. By Sunday at 8:00 PM his pain was gone. Dr. McGuire thought his discomfort was caused from striking his side when the litter fell. Did he then suffer an intra-abdominal injury?

Reverend Lacy, the 2nd Corps Chaplain, came in during the morning (Sunday). He looked at Jackson's stump and exclaimed,"Oh General, what a calamity." Jackson would have none of that. He wanted to rationalize the loss of his arm in terms of his understanding the relations of a true believer to his God. He insisted he was not depressed or unhappy. He was certain that the Heavenly Father had designed the affliction of the loss of his arm for his own good. He felt in this or the future world to come he would discover that what seems like a calamity was actually a blessing. He told Reverend Lacy he felt that so strongly that if he had the power to replace his arm he would not do so unless he knew the replacing was the Will of God.

He said to Chaplain Lacy, "You never saw one more contented than I am today." Reverend Lacy asked what happened? Jackson told him. He said at the moment the litter fell he experienced exquisite pain. Where? Arm--abdomen or both? It seemed a moment of death --and he knew perfect peace in the thought that he was approaching his Heavenly Father and could do so without fear. Jackson said, "It has been a precious experience for me that I was brought face to face with death and found all well." Jackson doubted whether anyone who had not made his peace with God would have the same experience. Dr. McGuire ordered the conversation stopped.

Captain Kyd Douglas came to the Field Hospital and gave news of the Stonewall Brigade to Captain Smith who relayed it to General Jackson who brightened with each report of bravery, shook his head from side to side and uttered, "Good-Good." He told Dr. McGuire, "The men of that Brigade will be some day favored to say to their children, I was one of the Stonewall Brigade." Captain Smith told him of General Paxton's death. The commander of the brigade said that he had had a strong premonition he would be killed. He gave instructions if this occurred and had read calmly and devoutly from the New Testament shortly before going into battle. Jackson replied, "That's good, that's good."

In the afternoon, General Lee send a message to move Jackson to Guinea Station as soon as his condition permitted. He would be spared if the Federals swooped around from Ely's Ford on the Rapidan. General Lee had sent troops to prevent that movement. Dr. McGuire told Jackson of General Lee's message to move him. He replied, "If the enemy does come, I am not afraid of them. I have always been kind to their wounded and I am sure they will be kind to me." If he did move to guinea Station, he did not want Dr. McGuire to go with him. There had been so many complaints about wounded generals taking surgeons off with them. Jackson knew the Thomas Coleman Chandlers at Guinea Station, in whose home he would stay and hoped after a few days of rest he could continue to Ashland (12 miles from Richmond) and on to Lexington. General Lee sent a second urgent message. Dr. McGuire should move General Jackson Tuesday morning and go with him. Jackson replied, "General Lee has always been kind to me and I thank him." This order resulted from news General Lee had while he was nearing the burning Chancellor House that General Sedgwick at Fredericksburg with the 6th Corps had stormed and taken Marye's Heights, General Early was retreating South and General Sedgwick was advancing upon his rear from Fredericksburg.

On Monday, the 4th, about 8:00 AM, Jackson left the Field Hospital in an ambulance on a mattress accompanied by Dr. McGuire. Major Crutchfield was also in the ambulance. They traveled 27 miles on rough roads which Major Hotchkiss had attempted to clear of wagons and obstructions. The teamsters resented having to give way to an ambulance until they heard who was in it. They arrived at the Chandler House about 8:00 PM. Dr. McGuire put General Jackson in the office building not connected with the house, as there was an officer with Erysipelas in the main house. He had tea and bread, then slept long and quietly. The route leading southwest to Todd's Tavern and on to Spotsylvania and Guinea Station was the same route Grant later took to Spotsylvania in 1864. During the journey Jackson felt well and was talkative, remarking that Hooker's plan was a good one, but he made a mistake when he sent his cavalry away. That error permitted Hooker to be outflanked without the movement being discovered. Jackson said he considered his flanking movement the greatest one of his life. He had planned to cut the Federal forces off from U. S. Ford, take a position between them and the Rappahannock and force them to attack him. "My men," he said, "sometimes fail to drive the enemy from a position, but the enemy always fails to drive us away."

On Tuesday, May 5th, the third day after his amputation, Jackson awakened refreshed. Dr. McGuire said his wounds were doing well. Healing was occurring by first intention to some extent in the stump and the rest of the wound was healthy granulations. The hand wound was not painful and the discharge from it was healthy. A short light splint had been placed on the right hand. He asked Dr. McGuire, "From the appearance of my wounds, how long will I be kept from the field?" He said to Captain Smith, "Many would regard my wounds as a great misfortune, I regard them as one of the blessings of my life." Captain Smith said, "All things work together for the good of those that love God." "Yes" Jackson replied, "that's it, that's it." He ate heartily and was cheerful throughout the day.

Tuesday, the 5th and Wednesday, the 6th, there were no marked changes in his condition. On Tuesday he sent for Reverend Lacy who arrived at 10:00 in the morning and asked him to read from the Bible and pray by his bed. He asked Reverend Lacy to come each morning at 10:00 o'clock. Jackson told Reverend Lacy. he was willing to die, but his time, he believed, had not yet come and His Heavenly Father still had work for him to do in the defense of his country and he would be spared until that was completed. Christianity, he said, made a man better in any lawful calling. It helped make a better general. Religion calmed a general's perplexities at a critical hour in battle, moderated his anxieties, steadied his judgment, preserved him from exaggerated and rash conclusions. He thought of religious relationships when he washed and dressed himself and ate. He said, the Bible furnished rules for everything.

He asked Captain Smith, a student of Theology, "Can you tell me where the Bible gives generals a model for their official report of battles?" Smith replied, he had never consulted the Bible for such. The General said, "There are such and excellent models, too. For instance, Joshua's battle with the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16). There you have one. It has clearness, brevity, fairness, modesty and it traces victory to its right source, the blessing of God." While Dr. McGuire was dressing him, Jackson asked him whether people whose body afflictions had been healed by Jesus would ever suffer again from the same affliction. Dr. McGuire did not answer. Jackson thought for a while, then exclaimed, "Oh, for infinite powers!"

As Hotchkiss left that day, he said goodbye to Jackson who asked him to present his regards to General Lee, who in the meantime, had stopped Sedgwick in his rear at Salem Church with McLaws and Anderson reinforcing Early and forced him across the Rappahannock River at Bank's Ford.

General Hooker retreated during a drenching rain the night of May 5-6 as General Lee prepared to assault his trenches. He got away without General Lee knowing it with all of his equipment. The planned attack of the night of Wednesday, May 6th, was abandoned. Jackson did not know this. To him Wednesday the 6th, was an uneventful day. He seemed to be holding his own. Reverend Lacy came at 10:00 in the morning and with Smith there was more religious talk. He asked Captain Smith, "What were the headquarters of Christianity after the crucifixion?" Captain Smith replied, "The centers of influence were at first Jerusalem, then Antioch, Iconium, Rome and Alexandria." Jackson interrupted and asked why he replied, "centers of influence"--"is not headquarters a better term?" Captain Smith continued, after looking inquiringly at McGuire for approval or disapproval and continued that the apostles were directed by seeming divine providence to plant churches in these cities. Jackson then said to Smith, "I wish you would get the map and show me exactly where Iconium was." Smith said there was no map available. "Yes sir," Jackson said, "You are right, I left it on a shelf on the desk" and he concluded, "I wish you would examine into this matter and report to me."

By Wednesday night, the 6th, the fourth day after amputation, Dr. McGuire was exhausted. Reverend Lacy rode to General Lee and requested for Dr. McGuire that Dr. S. B. Morrison, the Chief Surgeon General of Early's Division be sent to Guinea to be with General Jackson. Dr. Morrison was Mrs. Jackson's brother and the General knew him well.

Dr. McGuire did not record any change in Jackson's condition on this day, but Dabney recorded from Lacy in his biography that Mrs. Jackson requested he write, that on that day, the fourth day after amputation Wednesday, May 6th, the bright promise of his recovery began to be overcast. Pain and restlessness gradually increased. He resorted again to his favorite remedy, wet towels and anodynes to soothe his pain. This report was not from Dr. McGuire.

During the night of May 6-7 (Wednesday-Thursday) the fifth day after amputation a striking change occurred. Jackson awakened about 1:00 AM. He was nauseous and had pain. He would not awaken Dr. McGuire who was asleep on a cot in his room. Jackson ordered his servant Jim to put wet towels on his abdomen. Cold cloths did no good, nausea continued and pain in his right side added to his nausea. He suffered doggedly thru the night and finally called Dr. McGuire about daylight who stated, "I found him suffering, great pain." Examination revealed pleuro-pneumonia of his right side. The consultant, Dr. Morrison agreed, and attributed it to the fall of the litter, as did Jackson. Dr. McGuire stated, "The disease came on too soon after the application of the wet towels for them to have caused it. The nausea might have been the result of the inflammation already begun." Contusion of the lung with extravasation of blood in his chest occasioned by his fall and shock and loss of blood prevented ill effects until reaction had been well established and inflammation ensued. Pneumonia, so soon after amputation, was clinically obvious Thursday, May 7th, the fifth day after amputation and his doctors directed their efforts toward this new enemy. They treated his crippling pain with mercury, antimony and opium.

On Thursday, the 7th, Mrs. Anna Jackson and Baby Julia arrived. She was five months old and still nursing. Anna had been told of his wounding on May 3rd. Captain Joseph Morrison had been sent by Jackson to get her. He reached Richmond on May 3rd, but Stoneman's raiders (before Richmond) made travel too dangerous for her to leave before May 7th.

Captain Smith met Mrs. Jackson and told her that her husband was doing "pretty well." She knew from his voice that Jackson was not well. General Paxton's coffin was being exhumed, just outside Jackson's quarters. Mrs. Jackson heard the digging, was told what it was and it upset her greatly.

She noted her husband's flushed cheeks, fever, and oppressed breathing which benumbed his senses. Just eight days before she had left him in robust health at Yerby's. He was not under opiates and did not recognize that she was at his bedside. He had to be aroused to speak to her and soon nodded off. His condition had changed rapidly and was approaching a toxic crisis.

Mrs. Jackson made a lemonade for Captain Smith to give Jackson. He said it was too sweet. He aroused to note Anna's anxiety and said, "My darling, you must cheer up and not wear such a long face. I love cheerfulness and brightness in the sick room." When he awoke from a stupor he said, "My darling, you are very much loved. You are one of the most precious wives in this world. I know you would give your life for me, but I am perfectly resigned. Do not be sad. I hope I may recover. Pray for me, but always remember in your prayers to use the petition, 'Thy Will be done'."

Mrs. Jackson stated from the time she reached him he was too ill to notice or talk very much and lay most of the time in a semiconscious state only recognizing those about him as his consciousness momentarily returned.

Dr. Morrison came at 2:00 PM. When Jackson saw him he said "An old familiar face!" Dr. McGuire summoned Dr. David Tucker from Richmond, who had much experience with pneumonia, as a consultant.

Thursday, the 7th, in the afternoon. Jackson became better and those about him again had hopes of his recovery.

Friday, May 8th, the sixth day after amputation was cool. Dr. McGuire dressed his stump in the presence of Dr. Breckenridge and Captain Smith. he wound discharge had lessened. The process of healing continued. Dr. McGuire stated, pain in his right side had disappeared but he breathed with great difficulty and complained of exhaustion and labored inspiration. Fever and restlessness increased. He was growing weaker. His words were disjointed. In his delirium he said, "Tell Major Hawks to send provisions forward for his men. Order A. P. Hill to prepare for action. Pass the infantry to the front. Major Pendleton, send in and see if there is higher ground back of Chancellorsville. I must find out if there is high ground there between Chancellorsville and the River. Push the columns. Hasten the columns. Pendleton you take charge of that. Where is Pendleton? ell him to push up the columns." Then silence. Quick breathing and a lapse into coma. Dr. Morrison told him he feared he would not recover, to which Jackson replied. "I am not afraid to die. I am willing to abide by the Will of my Heavenly Father. I am persuaded the almighty has yet a work for me to perform."

On Saturday, May 9th, the seventh day after amputation, there was marked deterioration of his strength. Dr. Tucker after examining him said there was nothing he could do for him. Jackson said to Dr.McGuire, "I see from the number of doctors here you think my condition is serious, but I thank God, if it is His Will, I am ready to go."

In the afternoon, Jackson aroused and asked for Reverend Lacy. He could barely talk as his breathing was so labored. He told Lacy he should not stay with him Sunday, but as planned, he should return to the Corps for his regular Sunday services. Dr. McGuire stated he had no pain that day. Although his breathing was less difficult, obviously he was weakening hourly and becoming more toxic. Jackson told his wife he was suffering too much to listen to her read psalms to him. Then he said, "We must never refuse that --get the Bible and read them." Jackson obviously was more tired as the Day ended. He asked her to sing to him and asked in a whisper that she sing--"Show Pity, Lord"--Isaac Watts' hymn based on the fifty-first psalm. She read the psalm as follows at his bedside--

Have mercy upon me, oh God, according to Thy loving kindness
According to Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions
Purge me with Hyssop and I shall be clean
Wash me.and I shall be whiter than snow
Create in me a clean heart, Oh God and renew a right spirit in me

Then Mrs. Jackson and her brother, Dr Joseph Morrison, sang Watts' words
"Show pity, Lord--Oh Lord forgive;
Let a repenting rebel live:
Are not Thy mercies large and free?
May not a sinner trust in thee?"

The song quieted him. His night was bad. He tossed feverishly and could not sleep and requested continuous wet cloths on his forehead. He was delirious, weaker and whimpered disjointed words, mentioned officers, but most of the time remained unconscious.

On Sunday, May 10th, the eighth day after amputation, Dr. Morrison told Anna, General Jackson would not live long. Mrs. Jackson said he should know it. In the early morning, Anna said to The General that he would soon be in Heaven. She said, "Do you not feel willing to acquiesce in God's allotment, if He will you go today?" With great difficulty he replied, "I prefer it." Anna told him that "Before this day closes,you will be with the Blessed Savior in his glory." Jackson said, "I will be an infinite gainer to be translated." He was unconscious all the morning. General Lee and Reverend Lacy prayed for him and General Lee formally urged officers and the entire Corps to gather at the regular Sunday religious services and pray for Jackson and give thanks for the victory at Chancellorsville.

As Sunday continued, Jackson was weakening. His exhaustion was rapidly increasing. Anna asked if he realized before sunset he would be with his savior. He answered, "Oh no, you are frightened my child, death is not so near. I may yet get well." Anna fell across his bed and wept and told him his doctors said there was no hope. Jackson asked for Dr. McGuire and said to him, "Doctor, Anna informs me that you have told her that I am to die today." Dr. McGuire replied, "That is so." Jackson looked at the ceiling and said, "Very good. very good, it is all right." Anna asked him,"Should I return with Julia to Father's North Carolina home?" Jackson replied, "You have a good kind father, but no one is so kind and good as your heavenly Father." Anna asked, "Where do you want to be buried?" His mind was cloudy. He said Charlotte or Charlottesville. Anna knew neither place meant much to him. This reply puzzled her. Anna asked, "Lexington?" Jackson said, "Yes, in Lexington in my own plot." Mrs. Hodge who had accompanied Mrs. Jackson from Richmond then brought five month old Julia in. Jackson's face lit up with a smile. Julia was placed on his bed. Jackson said, "Little darling-sweet one" as she smiled, he fell back into unconsciousness.

At 1:00 PM Pendleton arrived. Jackson asked, "Who is preaching at Headquarters today?" Pendleton told him and said, "The whole army is praying for you, General." He replied, "Thank God, they are very kind." With almost the last of his strength Jackson said, "It is the Lord's Day, my wish is fulfilled. have always desired to die on Sunday."

At 1:30 PM, Dr. McGuire noted momentary consciousness and told him he had but two hours to live. Jackson whispered, "Very good. it's all right." He declined brandy and water and said, "It will only delay my departure and do no good. I want to preserve my mind to the last." Dr. McGuire states his mind began to fail and wander. He talked as if giving commands on the battlefield--then he was at the mess table talking to his staff--now with his wife and child--now at prayers with his military family. A few moments before he died he ordered A. P. Hill to prepare for action. "Pass the infantry to the front rapidly. Tell Major Hawks"--then stopped. Presently he smiled and said with apparent relief, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees" and then seemingly in peace he died.

There is nothing in this little arbeit that is not in print. I culled from all that has been written about Jackson that I could find that I thought might be relevant to my purpose. The cause of Jackson's death is medically unknown except for Dr. McGuire's diagnosis of pleuro-pneumonia (an 1863 medical term). Dr. McGuire's recitation of Jackson's symptoms is not completely diagnostic in modern medical parlance. He lost whatever records he had when he lost his ambulance containing the records as he fled up the Valley with Early, ahead of Sheridan.

Sometime ago a colleague-friend challenged McGuire's diagnosis and suggested his pulmonary pathology was the result of an embolus (a clot) from the vein at the amputation site lodging in his lung. I have tried to collect everything that Jackson said and those in his attendance have recorded in an attempt to make a clinical study from a historical recitation. It is an unusual and difficult medical problem. I sent this essay around to ten friends of mine--surgeons in charge of departments in Medical Schools. It elicited a surprising amount of interest and discussion. The opinion of almost all of these was that Jackson had some intra-abdominal pathology--i.e. below his diaphragm which either precipitated or was concomitant with his pulmonary pathology which might have been terminal and not primary. Only one distinguished surgeon, a midwesterner transferred to a Southern School admitted he knew little or nothing about Jackson. The opinions were not unanimous and concerned his gall bladder, duodenum, pancreas and physiology of renal dysfunction associated with trauma (acute kidney pathology).

This is a fascinating medical problem. There was no autopsy and the true answers will never be known. Could Jackson have been saved? Today I would say very very probably "yes," but then he neither could nor was saved. However, nothing more could be done for him at that time than was done. What a momentous moment and future was involved in this one medical situation-- and so on--Lincoln, Franz Joseph, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy, etc. A never ceasing fascinating subject. How valuable can a single life be? Do we all move in a pattern which has pre-fixed our destiny?

Virginia Military Institute General Orders

story image(s)

Death of Stonewall Jackson
Virginia Military Institute General Orders
May 1863

Adjutant General's Office Va.
May 11th 1863

Major Gen. F.H. Smith
Supt., Virginia Military Institute

By Command of the Governor I have this day to perform the most painful duty of my official life in announcing to you and through you to the Faculty & Cadets of the Virginia Mil. Institute the death of the great and good--the heroic and illustrious Lieut. General T.J. Jackson at 15 minutes past 3 oclock yesterday afternoon.

This heavy bereavement over which every true heart within the bounds of the Confederacy mourns with inexpressible sorrow--must fall if possible with heavier force upon that Noble State Institution to which he came from the battle-fields of Mexico, and where he gave to his native state the first years service of his modest and unobtrusive but public spirited and useful life.

It would be a senseless waste of words to attempt a eulogy upon this great among the greatest of sons who have immortalized Virginia. To the Corps of Cadets of the Virginia Military Institute, what a legacy he has left you, what an example of all that is good and great and true in the character of a Christian Soldier.

The Governor directs that the highest funeral honors be paid to his memory, that the customary outward badges of mourning be worn by all the officers and cadets of the Institution.

By command, W.H. Richardson, A.G.
By Command of Major Genl. Smith. A.G. Hill, Actg. Adjt., V.M.I.

Head Quarters Virginia Military Institute
May 13th, 1863
General Order No. 30

It is the painful duty of the Superintendent to announce to the officers and Cadets of this Institution the death of their late associate and Professor Lieut. General Thomas J. Jackson. He died at Guinea's Station, Caroline Co. Va on the 10th inst of Pneumonia, after a short but violent illness, supervening upon the severe wound received in the battle of Chancellorsville. A nation mourns the loss of Genl. Jackson. First in the heart of the brave men he has so often led to victory, there is not a home in the Confederacy that will not feel the loss and lament it as a great national calamity.

But our loss is distinctive. He was peculiarly our own. He came to us in 1851, a Lieutenant and Brevet Major of Artillery from the army of the late United States, upon the unanimous appointment of the Board of Visitors as Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, and Instructor of Artillery. Here he laboured with scrupulous fidelity for 10 years, in the duties of these important offices. Here he became a soldier of the Cross and as an humble conscientious and useful Christian man he established the character which has developed into the world renowned Christian Hero.

On the 21st of April 1861 upon the order of his Excellency Governor Letcher, he left the Institute, in command of the Corps of Cadets for Camp Lee, Richmond, for service in the defense of his state and country and he has never known a day of rest--until called by Divine command to cease from his labors.

The military career of Genl. Jackson fills the most brilliant and momentous page in the history of our country and on the achievements of our arms, and he stands forth a colossal figure in this war for our Independence.

His country now returns him to us--not as he was when he left us--his spirit has gone to God who gave it--his mutilated body comes back to us--to his home--to be laid by us in the tomb. Reverently and affectionately we will discharge this last solemn duty--and

"though his early sun has set
Its light shall linger round us yet

Young Gentlemen of the Corps of Cadets--The memory of General Jackson is very precious to you. You know how faithfully--how conscientiously he discharged every duty--You know that he was emphatically a man of God, and that Christian principle impressed every act of his life. You know he sustained the honor of our arms when he commanded at Harper's Ferry--How gallantly he repulsed Patterson at Hainesville; the invincible stand he made with his Stonewall Brigade at Manassas; you know the brilliant series of successes and victories which immortalized his Valley Campaign, for many of you were under his standard at McDowell, and pursued and discomfited Milroy and Schenck at Franklin. You know his rapid march to the Chickahominy; how he turned the flank of McClellan at Gaines Mill; his subsequent victory over Pope at Cedar Mountain; the part he bore in the great victory at Second Manassas; his investment and capture of Harper's Ferry; his rapid march and great conflict at Sharpsburg; and when his last conflict was passed, the tribute of the magnanimous Lee, who would gladly have suffered in his own person, could he by that sacrifice have saved General Jackson, and to whom alone, under God, he have the whole glory of the great victory at Chancellorsville. Surely the Virginia Military Institute has a precious inheritance in the memory of General Jackson. His work is finished. God gave him to us, and to his country. He fitted him for his work, and when his work was done He called him to Himself. Submissive to the will of his heavenly Father, it may be said of him, that while in every heart there may be some murmuring, his will was to do and suffer the will of God.

Reverence the memory of such a man as General Jackson. Imitate his virtues, and here, over his lifeless remains, reverently dedicate your service, and your life, if need be, in defense of the cause so dear to his heart; the cause for which he fought and bled, the cause in which he died.

Let the Cadet Battery, which he so long commanded, honor his memory by half-hour guns tomorrow from sunrise to sunset, under the direction of the commandant of cadets. Let his lecture room be draped in mourning for the period of six months.

Let the officers and cadets of the Institute wear the usual badge of mourning for the period of thirty days; and it is respectfully recommended to the alumni of the institution to unite in this last tribute of respect to the memory of their late professor.

All duties will be suspended tomorrow.

By Command of Major-General Smith. A. Govan Hill, Acting Adjutant, VMI.

H.Q. Virginia Military Institute
May 14th, 1863
General Order No. 31

The funeral of Lt. Gen. Jackson will take place tomorrow. Maj. Scott Ship Commandant of Cadets will command the Military Escort and direct the procession.
The body will move from the Institute at 11 oclock A.M.
Half hour guns will be fired from sunrise until the procession moves.
The Flags of the State & Confederacy will be displayed at half mast during the day.


story image(s)



story image(s)



story image(s)


Contributor: bgill
Created: June 6, 2007 · Modified: October 9, 2011

Start your own page

Only the original contributor of the page can edit this page.