Jackson’s Death

The general seemed to be on the mend. The commanding General had commented on the occasion of the amputation by saying, “he has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right.” For fears of marauding federal cavalry; the general was transported from Wilderness tavern to a private home near Guiney’s Station.

Men and women, who had heard of the general’s grievous wounding, gathered along the ambulance route and tearfully prayed for his recovery. The general’s men continued their ferocious assault against the numerically superior foe. They cried “avenge Jackson” as they keened their yells. The greatest and costliest victory of the Army of Northern Virginia had come to its climax, with the architect of that victory taking a direct turn.

The general’s health had continued to fail, the onset of the pneumonia that was to claim his life. Both Doctors McGuire and Morrison were in agreement that the general did not have long to live. Sunday May 10th dawned bright and still. The general’s wife was at her husband’s side, it fell to Anna to inform the general of the doctor’s prognosis.

Do you know the doctors say you must be very soon in heaven?” The general, in a weak voice, responded with, “I prefer it.” He repeated the phrase louder, with more force. Anna responded: “Well, before this day closes, you will be with the blessed Savior in His glory.” To which, the general replied, “I will be an infinite gainer to be translated.” The general still believed he might yet pass through this trial. Anna, who had maintained a cheerful and stoic manner, broke down sobbing. The general called for Hunter McGuire to his bedside: “Doctor, Anna informs me that you have told her that I am to die to-day. Is it so?

The doctor told him it was. The general responded: “very good, very good. It is all right.

The general drifted in and out of consciousness, his mind beginning to wander as his strength ebbed away. The doctor offered him some brandy and water, but the general refused: “I want to preserve my mind, if possible, to the last.” Shortly after three, the general awoke in a delirium, calling for A.P. Hill to bring his men forward. At a quarter past the hour, the general became abruptly silent. A smile soon crossed his face, and the general called out in a clear voice: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.

And with that last breath, General Thomas J. Jackson died.

-By William Poole