Stonewall Jackson - in His Own Words
Strategy and Tactics
Once you get them running, you can stay on top of them, and that way a small force can defeat a large one every time.
Always mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up in the pursuit. Never fight against heavy odds if you can hurl your own force on only a part of your enemy and crush it. A small army may thus destroy a large one, and repeated victory will make you invincible.
To move swiftly, strike vigorously, and secure all fruits of victory is the secret of a successful war. - 1863
I had rather lose one man in marching than five in fighting.
The hardships of forced marches are often
more painful than the dangers of
If we cannot be successful in defeating the enemy should he advance, a kind Providence may enable us to inflict a terrible wound and effect a safe retreat in the event of having to fall back. - To Joseph E. Johnston, 1862.
Shoot the brave officers, and the cowards will run away and take the men with them. - To Richard S. Ewell.
If officers desire to have control over their commands, they must remain habitually with them, industriously attend to their instruction and comfort, and in battle lead them well. - To his commanders, 1861.
Leader of Men
Now, gentlemen, let us at once to bed, and see if tomorrow we cannot do something. - To his soldiers after a day of profitless marching.
This army stays here until the last wounded man is removed. Before I will leave them to the enemy, I will lose many more men. - Winchester, 1862.
Through 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 both to defend and protect. - To his troops, 1861.
My troops may fail to take a position, but are never driven from one!
I yield to no man in sympathy for the gallant men under my command; but I am obliged to sweat them tonight, that I may save their blood tomorrow. - 1862
Who could not conquer with such troops as these?
Close up, men, close up; push on, push on. - Stonewall Jackson's commonly used phrase.
Never take counsel of your fears.
Arms is a profession that, if its principles are adhered to for success, requires an officer do what he fears may be wrong and yet, according to military experience, must be done, if success is to be attained. - In a letter to his wife, 1862.
Faith and Doubt. Exemplary Conduct.
Our God was my shield. His protecting care is an additional cause for gratitude. - Winchester, 1852
So far as I can see, my course was a wise one; the best that I could do under the circumstances, though very distasteful to my feelings; and I hope and pray to Our Heavenly Father that I may never again be circumstanced as n that day. - After fighting a battle on Sunday, Winchester, 1862.
Sacrifices! Have I not made them? What is my life here but a daily sacrifice?
If you desire to be more heavenly minded, think more of the things of heaven, and less of the things of earth.
No, you greatly overestimate my capacity for usefulness. A better man will soon be sent to take my place. - 1861
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 always be ready, no matter when it may overtake me.
What is life without honor? Degradation is worse than death.
Duty is ours; consequences are God's.
All I am and all I have is at the service of my country.
So great is my confidence in General Lee that I am willing to follow him blindfolded.
War and Peace
People who are anxious to bring on war don't know what they are bargaining for; they don't see all the horrors that must accompany such an event.
It is painful enough to discover with what unconcern they speak of war and threaten it. I have seen enough of it to make me look upon it as the sum of all evils.
When war does come, my advice is to draw
the sword and throw away the
I am in favor of making a thorough trial for peace, and if we fail in this and our state is invaded, to defend it with terrific resistance. - to his nephew, January 1861