Monday, October 13, 2014

Documentary Review: Civil War Journal: Stonewall Jackson
This is an intriguing documentary about Stonewall Jackson.  This video portrays him as an eccentric, rigid man, with a genius streak which would serve him well in battle.  He was perseverant.  He had had only a minimal education when he went to West Point.  His initial year he was at the bottom of the class.  However, by the time he graduated, he was in the upper third.  He distinguished himself in the Mexican War, rising to the top of his class. 
He then took a position at VMI.  As a lecturer he was a failure, having to memorize his lectures and give them verbatim.  However he was a very good professor or artillery.  Many of his students were convinced he was a hard teacher, but if there were war they would want to follow him.  Some of Jackson's oddities including eating food he didn't like, which he felt would benefit him, feeling his body was off balance, so sometimes holding his hand over his head trying to regain his balance.  He was also a religious, and very strict in his observance. 
Jackson earned the name Stonewall at the Battle of Bull Run.  However it was the campaign of the Shenandoah Valley were he earned his fame.  His men would march excessive miles, and then be ready to battle.  He defeated three armies, who had almost four times his number of total men.  He used his knowledge of the land, the screen of the mountains and the movement of his own troops.  Jackson also always gave credit to God. 
This short film goes from the Valley to Chancellorsville.  This is likely one of Lee and Jackson's greatest victories.  However friendly fire, and pneumonia took Jackson's life.  "Let us cross over the river, and rest in the shade of the trees."  Jackson lead the way. 
Jackson's death leads to the what if question, which still is dominant today.  It was a blow to the Confederate morale.

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