If I were to ask you to name the greatest general who ever served America, who would you name? Would it be Patton, MacArthur, Washington, or maybe perhaps Colin Powell or Norman Schwarzkopf? I would have to answer that the greatest general to ever serve his country would be Thomas Jackson. Never heard of him? Here, maybe if I told you his nickname it might help; Stonewall Jackson.
Thomas Jackson was an instructor at V.M.I., (Virginia Military Institute), when the call came from Abraham Lincoln to supply 3 regiments to support the oppression of the insurrection in the Cotton States. Unlike the tyrant Lincoln, Jackson understood the relationship between the States and the federal authority, and his loyalty was, first and foremost, to his native state of Virginia. When asked whether he would support the secession of Virginia, Jackson stated, “If Virginia adheres to the United States, I adhere. Her determination must control mine. This is my understanding of patriotism. And though I love the Union, I love Virginia more.”
Jackson understood that the states created the federal government, and that should the central government overstep it’s just authority then it was the right of each State to resume its status as an independent state, free of its bond to the Union. When Jackson raised his sword against the army of the North it was not for conquest or glory, it was for the defense of all he held dear against the invading armies sent to subjugate the South by Abraham Lincoln.
Just as King George III sent his Redcoats to the Colonies to impose his will upon them, Abraham Lincoln sent his army into the South to force the South into adhering to a union they no longer wanted to be a part of. Jackson knew tyranny when he saw it, and he was a man of such character and bravery that he would not submit to it regardless of what it cost him. Jackson could very well have been said to have been the incarnation of another Son of the South, Patrick Henry, who swore, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
But there was much more that made Jackson similar to Mr. Henry; both were devoutly religious men. It was once said of Patrick Henry that he was the most devout Christian of all our Founding Fathers, and Jackson himself was steadfast in his devotion to Christ. When he was once asked how he could feel so calm in battle he replied, “Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me….That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”
When the Union Army invaded the South it raped and pillaged its way as it invaded the sovereignty of the former States of the Union. Yet the Army of Northern Virginia was only defending their homesteads from an invading force, and by its conduct in battle proved that it sought not conquest, but only to dispel those who invaded their sovereign land. In his speech to the Men of the Valley before he was reassigned to another command he stated, “Throughout the broad extent of country over which you have marched, by your respect for the rights and property of citizens, you have shown that you were soldiers not only to defend, but able and willing to defend and protect. You have already gained a brilliant reputation, throughout the army of the whole Confederacy, and I trust in the future by your own deeds on the field, and by the assistance of the same Kind Providence who has heretofore favored our cause, that you will gain more victories, and add additional lustre to the reputation you now enjoy. You have already gained a proud position in the history of this our second War of Independence.”
The first major battle between the Union invaders and the Army of the Confederacy was the Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas; which was right across the Potomac from Washington D.C. Many a local from our nation’s capital rode out in their carriages to witness the quick defeat of these Southern insurrectionists, but the outcome wasn’t what they had hoped to see, as the Confederate Army, due in large part to the tactics of Stonewall Jackson, soundly defeated the Union forces and sent them scurrying back towards D.C. with their tails between their legs.
It is said that Jackson wanted to chase the invading forces all the way into D.C. and force Lincoln to surrender; thereby putting a quick end to his war of aggression, but was prevented from doing so by order of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. It is also said that Davis later regretted that decision when the war drug on year after year, and the casualties and devastation inflicted upon his beloved South continued to mount.
You have been taught that the Civil War was fought to end slavery. That simply is not true. If the North cared so much about freeing the slaves why is it that Union General Ulysses S. Grant held on to his own slaves until he was forced to emancipate them by the 13th Amendment? Yet, at the same time, Stonewall Jackson was teaching slaves to read and write; better preparing them for their eventual emancipation; something that just happened to be prohibited by federal law.
Jackson saw the war for what it really was, the expansion of the policies introduced by Alexander Hamilton 70 years earlier; the creation of a strong American empire where the central government forsook its responsibility to protect the rights of the states, instead using its taxing and coercive powers to benefit Northern business and banking interests.
Jackson saw the invasion as, not only a threat to the sovereignty of the Southern States, but a frontal attack upon the very fabric of our Constitution. When J.E.B. Stuart first reported for duty Jackson told him, “If the North triumphs, it is not alone the destruction of our property. It is the prelude to anarchy, infidelity, the ultimate loss of free and responsible government on this continent. It is the triumph of commerce, the banks, the factories. We should meet the invader on the outer verge of just and right defense and raise at once the black flag. No quarter to the violators of our homes and firesides.”
Then, speaking to his aide de camp, Sandy Pendleton, Jackson declared, “Mr. Pendleton, if the Republicans lose their little war; they’re voted out in the next election and they return to their homes in New York, or Massachusetts or Illinois, fat with their war profits; if we lose, we lose our country, we lose our independence, we lose it all.”
A few words about Sandie Pendleton now. Sandie Pendleton was born to William Pendleton, who served as the minister of the All Saints Church in Frederick Maryland. William Pendleton stepped down from his ministry to serve as Robert E. Lee’s Chief of Artillery throughout most of the Civil War. In fact, Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach is named after him, and his cannons, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, (named after the disciples of Christ) still stand today on the grounds of the Virginia Military Institute…right in front of a statue of none other than Stonewall Jackson.
These brave men who served as the leaders of the Confederate Army were not fighting to exert power over their neighbors to the North; they only sought their independence from a government that had become destructive of the ends for which it was established. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, had Lincoln let them secede in peace there would have been no Civil War – slavery would have eventually died of natural causes and the resentments fostered by both forced emancipation and the horrors inflicted upon the Southern people by Northern invaders would not have lingered to this day.
There are a few quotes I’d like for you to ponder before I bid you adieu. The first comes from Major General Patrick Cleburne of the Confederate Army, “Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision… It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.”
The next comes from the Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, as published in the Congressional Globe in 1864, “The talk of restoring the Union like it was, and the Constitution as it is, is one of the absurdities which I have heard repeated until I have become sick of it. There are many things which make such an event impossible. This Union never shall, with my consent, be restored under the constitution as it is … The Union as it was and the Constitution as it is–God forbid it. We must conquer the Southern states and hold them as conquered provinces.”
Finally, from his book Destruction and Reconstruction: Personal Experiences of the Late War, son of President Zachary Taylor writes, “Throughout the land the active portion of the present generation only comprises conditions of discord and violence. The story of the six centuries of sturdy effort by which our English forefathers wrought out their liberties is unknown, certainly unappreciated. Even the struggles of our grandfathers are forgotten, and the names of Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Jay, Marshall, Madison and Story awaken no fresher memories in our minds, no deeper emotions in our hearts, than do those of Solon, Leonidas, and Pericles. But respect for the memories and deeds of our ancestors is security for the present seed-corn for the future; and in the language of Burke, ‘Those will not look forward to their posterity who never look backward to their ancestors’.”
It can be said that one’s understanding of the Civil War; why it was fought, and what those on each side of the conflict were fighting for, defines your understanding of the government we have today. The government we have today was born the moment Hamiltonian policies were introduced into government; policies that expanded government beyond its few specifically enumerated powers to include all manner of implied powers.
The government we have today was sealed and forced upon us at bayonet point and under the fire of Union cannons at battlefields all across the South. When Lee surrendered at Appomattox it was not just a defeat for the Confederate Army, it was the conquest of Northern banking and commerce over the sovereign right of each State to resist federal encroachments upon their sovereign authority…just as Jackson told J.E.B. Stuart.
We live under the government envisioned by Hamilton and finalized by Lincoln. The government as hoped for by men like Henry, Jefferson, Adams, and yes, Jackson, died with the defeat of the Confederacy; and it can therefore be said that among all those who fought for the Confederacy,
Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson was the greatest general who ever served the principles our country was originally founded upon. All others since him have fought for the expansion of the American Empire…and if you don’t believe me, just find a copy of War is a Racket and read the truth for yourself.
That is why I celebrate today, January 21st, for it was upon this day in 1824 that the last great American general was born; and it is in his honor, and to his principles, that I re-dedicate myself to preserving and upholding.
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross, Student of history, politics, patriot and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Send all comments to: email@example.com.
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his latest booklet: The Civil War: (The Truth You Have Not Been Told) AND don’t forget to pick up your copy of ROSS: Unmasked – An Angry American Speaks Out – and stay tuned – Neal has a new, greatly expanded book coming soon dealing with the harsh truths about the so-called American Civil War of 1861-1865. Life continues to expand for this prolific writer and guardian of TRUE American history.