Who Was Stonewall Jackson?


Quick Answer

Stonewall Jackson, whose full name was Thomas Jonathan Jackson, was a famous general in the Confederate army during the American Civil War. Considered a brilliant tactician, he led the Confederates to important victories before he died after being hit by a stray bullet from his own troops in May 1863.

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Full Answer

Jackson was born in 1824 in Virginia and entered the West Point military academy in 1842. When he graduated in 1846, he was commissioned a lieutenant and sent to fight in the Mexican-American War, where he distinguished himself in combat and attained the rank of major. After retiring from the military in 1851, he became a teacher.

When the Civil War began, Jackson favored Virginia remaining in the Union, but when it seceded in 1861, he joined the Confederate army. Soon commissioned a brigadier general, his courage and tenacity earned him the nickname Stonewall. Jackson led Confederate troops to victories against superior odds in the First and Second Battles of Bull Run and the Battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

When Jackson and some of his staff were returning to camp after the Battle of Chancellorsville, sentries fired on them, supposing them to be Union troops. Jackson was shot twice in the left arm, which was afterward amputated. Although he seemed to be recovering, he died of complications of pneumonia at the age of 39.

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