The First Battles: April 1861 to February 1862

Flag Fever

Given that we associate the name of Lee with that of Stonewall Jackson, where was Jackson when Fort Sumter was attacked?

Born and raised in rural Virginia, Thomas Jonathan Jackson (1824–1863) came from very different circumstances than Robert E. Lee. There was blue-blooded aristocracy in his veins, but because of a variety of circumstances—including his father’s early death—Jackson had a difficult time in early life. West Point saved his life in that it provided a focus, and Jackson served as a lieutenant in the Mexican War. The spring of 1861 found Jackson where he had been for nearly a decade, at the Virginia Military Institute, where he was a professor of mathematics.

Jackson was not meant, or cut out, for teaching. He did his best, but his students found him eccentric, gloomy, and overly attentive to detail. When he learned of the attack on Fort Sumter, and that Virginia was about to secede, Jackson assembled his cadets and brought them, by forced march, to Richmond. This was his first action, and it was emblematic in that he would always be known for the speed of his march.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Civil War Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App