MIGHTY STONEWALL by Frank E. Vandiver


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A definitive biography of the great military genius, this will stand out as a brilliant study of strategy and tactics in those campaigns in which the Army of the Shenandoah bore the brunt. Burke Davis' They Called Him Stonewall (Rinchart- 1954) remains as a more human portrait; the biography takes his readers into the very emotions and thinking of the man. But his is a portrait rather than a segment of military history. Vandiver, a Texan, has done an exacting job of scholarship; at each step of Jackson's rugged career one follows the meticulous record, through the difficult process of an education, compassed with determination; through the growing interest in theology, the dependence on religion as fundamental to life; through the period of teaching, a first marriage and the loss of wife and infant, difficulties in sustaining health, military duty at Fort Hamilton, on the Indian frontier in Florida, then back again to teaching at VMI. The Mexican War proved his first actual combat testing and Chapultepec found him in heroic combat. Jackson was a firm believer in States' Rights and there was no hesitation as to where his loyalty belonged when Secession came. The VMI Cadet Corps was delivered to Richmond and Jackson transferred to active duty, a Colonel of the line, first at Harper's Ferry, then with the Army of the Shenandoah. The nickname by which he became known and loved was first won at Bull Run; and from then on his was a meteoric, though often erratic rise to his assignment as Corps Commander with the Army he loved and the men who worshipped him. From Bull Run on, this chronicles every facet of the campaigns he helped to plan, the victories often hardly won and at great cost, the setbacks and defeats. An eccentric, it might have been easy to overstress his peculiarities; but it was his greatness that came through, and in Lee and he had a superior officer who overlooked the peccadillos, the difficulties in personnel relationship, the occasional errors in judgment, the problems of operating under superior command -- and who chose instead to recognize his great gifts and to use them where they served the purpose of the Confederacy. His death after being wounded at Chancellorsville closes the story. Not always easy reading, this will appeal primarily to that large market of avid armchair strategies who demand exact reportage of battles and campaigns and the men who fought them.

Pub Date: May 6th, 1957
ISBN: 0890963843
Publisher: McGraw-Hill