THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY
HENDERSON has painted a vivid portrait of 'Stonewall', but it would please some of us better if the halo were not so much in evidence. History, as taught in the nursery, used to label our monarchs 'good' or 'bad'; some biographers of the last century, if more verbose, were almost equally sweeping in their judgements, and once a man was good he must be treated with proper reverence and awe. The present generation is more inquisitive, not altogether from lack of reverence, but from a desire for understanding and sympathy; a little human frailty brings the saint off his pedestal down to a plane where we can understand him better, and probably like him all the more.
Jackson was eighteen years of age when he entered the Military Academy at West Point in 1842. Tall and rather awkward in his movements, with a gravity beyond his years, he was noted as a conscientious but slow worker. He passed out seventeenth on the list - McClellan was first in the same class. Almost immediately he went through the campaign in Mexico as a subaltern of artillery.
After a couple of years of garrison life he accepted an appointment as Professor at the Virginian Military Institute at Lexington (100 miles west of Richmond). Here he spent ten uneventful years of routine, broken only by a trip to Europe. His lectures were learned but dull, and he was no favourite with the cadets. Though he did not shun society, there was nothing of the convivial companion about him.