Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War - Vol. 1

Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War - Vol. 1

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Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War - Vol. 1

Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

To write the life of a great general, to analyse his methods of war and discipline, to appraise the weight of his responsibilities, and to measure the extent of his capacity, it would seem essential that the experience of the writer should have run on parallel lines. An ordinary soldier, therefore, who notwithstanding his lack of such experience attempts the task, may be justly accused of something worse than presumption. But if we were to wait for those who are really qualified to deal with the achievements of famous captains, we should, as a rule, remain in ignorance of the lessons of their lives, for men of the requisite capacity are few in a generation. So the task, if it is to be done at all, must perforce be left to those who have less knowledge but more leisure.

In the present case, however, the mass of contemporary testimony is so large that any initial disadvantages, I venture to think, will be less conspicuous than they might otherwise have been. The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion contain every dispatch, letter, and message, public or confidential, which has been preserved; and in the daily correspondence of the generals on both sides, together with the voluminous reports of officers of all grades, the tale of the campaigns is written so plain that none can fail to read. Again, Stonewall Jackson's military career, either in full or in part, has been narrated by more than one of his staff officers, whose intercourse with him was necessarily close and constant; and, in addition, the literature of the war abounds with articles and sketches contributed by soldiers of all ranks . . .

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