From Antietam to Chancellorsville: September 1862 to May 1863

“fighting Joe” Hooker

How significant was his loss to the Confederate cause?

Thanks to the last actions he undertook—the brilliant flanking maneuver at Chancellorsville—Jackson had acquired an incredible Civil War reputation. Some say the Confederacy would have lived if he had and that his death was the beginning of the end. Our task is not to praise him to the skies or to denigrate him, but to calmly assess: How important was Jackson to the Confederate cause?

In that he was not a slaveholder and that he made no public pronouncements about the institution of slavery, Jackson was not a help to the Confederate cause so far as slavery or secession were concerned. His incredible, almost inestimable, value was as a military commander who inspired his men to do more … and more again. Would the Confederacy have won the war if Stonewall Jackson lived another two years? Almost certainly not. But those two years might have been a lot more interesting.


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