About one hour away in the beautiful country of Guinea, Virginia, is the plantation office building where Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson died on May 10, 1863, at the very young age of 39 years.
Because of Jackson’s military feats, he was a legend in his own time in both North and South. During one of his brilliant maneuvers on the night of May 2, 1863 at the The Battle of Chancellorsville, Jackson was accidentally shot by his own men. He was shot twice in the left arm and once in the right hand. Jackson wasn’t able to get immediate care and his left arm had to be amputated. Jackson was moved to Thomas C. Chandler’s plantation office building to recover. At that point he had already started having symptoms of pneumonia, but no one realized he was really THAT sick.
As I walked on the brick pathway leading to the plantation office building, I thought about how a little more than 150 years earlier Stonewall Jackson had been right here.
On the wall next to the Historical Interpreter’s office (tour guide) there’s a letter that reads:
12 O’clock M. May 9th 63
My dear Sister:
Mrs. Hoge & I found the
General worse this morning. He had been
sinking during the morning but is doing
better now the Drs. think.
Mrs. J. is very much afflicted. Mrs. H’s
arrival is very timely, and will prove
of great consolation to Mrs. Jackson.
I will try to let you know about the
Gen. as often as possible.
With much love
Your aff. brother
Jas. P. Smith
My reflection in the the glass of the letter lets you know I was really there. Ha! Ha!
Jackson’s attentive attendants kept an eye on him at all times while he struggled to hang onto life. Five different doctors examined Jackson and his camp servant Jim Lewis and his aide James Power Smith all climbed the narrow stairs to the second floor of the office where there were beds available.
I’m sure that they stood looking out this window and hoped that Jackson would regain his health.
Jackson’s physicians and staff used a conference room adjacent to his bedroom.
The room that Jackson used was decorated with a clock on the mantel to make it look and sound more cheerful and warm like home. The clock, bed frame and one of the quilts/blankets that are exhibited today were actually used in the room when Jackson stayed and were present when he died.
The wavy panes of glass in the windows reminded me how far we have progressed in technology in such a very short time.
21 Facts About Stonewall Jackson
- Stonewall Jackson was born as Thomas Jonathan Jackson on January 21, 1824, in Clarksburg (was Virginia), West Virginia.
- Stonewall Jackson’s father was a lawyer named Jonathan Jackson.
- Stonewall Jackson’s mother was Julia Beckwith Neale and she had four children.
- Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was the third child born to his parents.
- When Stonewall Jackson was two years old, his father and older sister, Elizabeth, died of typhoid fever.
- In 1831, Stonewall Jackson’s mother died due to complications during childbirth.
- in 1842 Stonewall Jackson enrolled in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he graduated in 1846.
- Stonewall Jackson fought in the Mexican-American War and joined the 1st U.S. Artillery as a 2nd lieutenant.
- By 1846 Stonewall Jackson had been promoted to the rank of brevet major.
- Stonewall Jackson retired from the military in 1851.
- In 1853 Stonewall Jackson met and married Elinor Junkin who was a daughter of Presbyterian minister.
- In 1854 Stonewall Jackson’s wife, Elinor, died during childbirth.
- In 1857 Stonewall Jackson married Mary Anna Morrison.
- In 1861 Stonewall Jackson was placed in command of the VMI Corps of Cadets.
- In 1862 Stonewall Jackson’s wife had a daughter named Julia, after Jackson’s mother.
- In 1861 during the First Battle of Bull Run, Jackson got his famous “Stonewall” nickname. General Barnard E. Bee was impressed with Jackson and stated, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall.” The nickname stuck! It was at this point that Stonewall Jackson was promoted to major general.
- Stonewall Jackson was ordered to join General Robert E. Lee’s army in 1862.
- Jackson was then in the Second Battle of Bull Run in August of 1862.
- Stonewall Jackson was promoted to lieutenant general in October of 1862 and won at the Battle of Fredericksburg.
- In May of 1863, Stonewall Jackson impressively won the Battle of Chancellorsville.
- Stonewall Jackson’s last words were “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of trees.”
Obviously, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Stonewall Jackson Shrine!