A Stonewall Jackson Bookshelf

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James N.

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It seems to me nothing's more important than SOURCES when trying to have an intelligent conversation or discussion; how exasperating it is to hear "But I heard on The History Channel..."! Researching this particular topic on my own favorite source, Amazon, I was struck by the large number of works I'd never seen before, since most of my reading was in the "Dark Ages" around the time beginning with the Civil War Centennial of the 1960's and continuing through my college and early adult years, now longer ago than I like to admit! Please excuse me then, if this list is "heavy" on Classics like that pictured above, and "light" on more recent works - in fact I heartily encourage readers to submit any titles, new or old, they feel would be good additions to this thread.

I propose to break this up into at least five major categories: general biographical works; "military biographies" exclusively considering Jackson's place as a "Great Commander"; memoirs and reminiscances of those who either knew or served under him; paritcular campaign or battle studies in which he played a major role; and a miscellany of other Jackson-related topics. Since this particular forum is personality-based ( and a single very strong personality at that! ), the first category should be that of biography:

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General Biographical Studies

Since its appearance in 1997, James I. Robertson, Jr.'s Stonewall Jackson - The Man, The Soldier, The Legend has set the standard by which all others must be measured. This is in no way a "quick read" at 762 pages of text ( plus another 125 pages or so of readable notes! ), so I don't recommend it to anyone looking for an overview of the General or his career; but for those really wishing to understand or "get inside" the subject, it's simply the best and not likely to be surpassed anytime soon if ever! I had the pleasure of attending one of Dr. Robertson's CW Roundtable talks on Jackson about ten years ago and found him to be as knowledgeable and lively in person as he is on paper. If there is a fault in this, it's the same fault as in the classic studies by fellow Virginian Douglas Southall Freeman in his George Washington, R. E. Lee, and Lee's Lieutenants, that of identifying, sympathizing, and empathizing perhaps a bit TOO closely with his subject.

Other noteworthy biographies of Jackson include the vastly reader-friendly They Called Him Stonewall by another Virginian, Burke Davis, who made a career of writing about the lives of other famous citizens of his state: Gray Fox ( R. E. Lee ), Jeb Stuart - The Last Cavalier, and George Washington and the American Revolution. Davis sticks to the well-known and most important features of the careers of his subjects in a lively manner that flows along in books of average length that I highly recommend. I must confess I have never read another of the standards of that era, Frank Vandiver's Mighty Stonewall, despite the fact he was briefly President of my Alma Mater! ( Being an essentially lazy collegian, I tended to shy away from its bulk; anyone who can comment on its worthiness to appear here, please feel free to do so! ) Two other intriguing-looking relative newcomers I saw on Amazon are the recent Stonewall Jackson: A Biography by Ethan S. Rafuse Ph.D. and Stonewall - A Biography of Gen. Thomas J. Jackson by Byron Farwell; anyone having personal knowledge of either of these, please let us know about them. Of course this only includes an important few of the many biographical titles available; next time, I will list some of the purely military studies.

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( Disclaimer - the particular volumes pictured herein may be of editions no longer available; the titles themselves are all currently listed on Amazon, however. )
 
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James N.

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Military Biographies

The classic study of Robert E. Lee's subordinates in the Army of Northern Virginia is Lee's Lieutenants by Douglas Southall Freeman, who said he felt lonely after finishing the fourth and final volume of his Pulitzer Prize-winning R. E. Lee, so decided to "revisit" the subject through the actions of his generals. Of course this isn't a biography of Jackson, nor is he anything like the sole "character" but for two of the three volumes, Manassas to Malvern Hill ( above ), and Cedar Mountain to Chancellorsville, he is a driving force. Freeman's tendency to idolize and glorify his subjects has already been noted, but his encyclopedic knowledge and thoroughness was legendary.

One of the early serious studies of Jackson's generalship was in the early Twentieth Century by an Englishman, G. F. R. Henderson, in the two-volume Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War. Dating from mid-century by another Englishman, John Selby, was Stonewall Jackson as Military Commander, one of a series of British publications that also included Napoleon, Wellington, Grant, and Rommel. A very interesting take on "what if"-type possibilities is Lost Victories - The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson by Bevin Alexander, who has made similar postulations about Adolf Hitler - namely that if their ideas had been followed rigorously by their respective military forces, the outcomes might easily have been VERY different. This is not so far-fetched as it may at first seem, at least in Jackson's case; Alexander believes that an even greater, more aggressive and risk-taking prosecution of the war by the Davis administration early on likely would've knocked out a fledgling Union war effort. The book is also a fine overview of Jackson's actual career.

There are many other more recent books in this vein; perhaps you can suggest some!

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The Shenandoah Valley Campaign and Its Battles

In the Civil War there are five major lengthy and large-scale campaigns considered worth studying from a military point of view: The Peninsula; The Shenandoah Valley; Vicksburg; Atlanta; and Grant's Overland Campaign. The first is mainly of interest for all the might-have-beens and missed opportunities on both sides; the last two are largely Dances of Death as the Confederacy is forced back inexorably by Union might, interesting partly in the ability of Lee and Johnston to stave off the inevetable. That leaves two that military men think worthwhile examples of plans put into action and realized by what are arguably the two greatest strategists of the war: Jackson and Grant.

Naturally in this forum we concentrate on the first, and Jackson's enduring fame largely rests on his well-recorded Valley Campaign. I first read Robert G. Tanner's Stonewall in the Valley while working as a teacher along with his sister-in-law; since then it has received a total reworking in a new edition ( above ), which I own a copy of but have as yet to read. ( The original edition was previously considered THE authoritative book on the subject. ) Recently, Peter Cozzens has produced what may have by now taken Tanner's place: Shenandoah 1862; I haven't seen a copy yet, but he does good work. A shorter account, Decoying the Yanks - Jackson's Valley Campaign by Champ Clark is part of the accessible series, Time-Life - The Civil War; at 178 well-illustrated pages it's a great short introduction to the man and his war.

Three of Jackson's Valley Campaign battles have received independent treatment: Kernstown, Front Royal-Winchester, and Port Republic. Until recently, Robert K. Krick was probably the best of the writers who have chosen to concentrate on Jackson's battles, and his Conquering the Valley ( the Battle of Port Republic ) is an in-depth analysis of the largest of the Valley engagements. A slightly more recent study is "We are in for it!" - The First Battle of Kernstown by Gary Ecelbarger which tells the story from both sides. An interesting approach, but with VERY little about Jackson, was the inordinately popular Battlefield by Peter Svenson, apparantly written mainly to inflate the value of the author's farm which stood in the very center of the Cross Keys battlefield, which he sold soon afterwards! Regardless the possible motive, it's an interesting "philosophical" treatise on the war, farming in the Twentieth Century, and various other ephemera.

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Edit: I have since finished the second edition of Tanner's seminal Stonewall in the Valley and despite it's being told almost entirely from a Confederate perspective, think it will probably remain the authoritative source on the campaign.
 
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Jackson's Other Campaigns and Battles

Naturally as one of Robert E. Lee's principal lieutenants, Jackson took part in all the campaigns and battles of the Army of Northern Virginia from First Bull Run to his untimely death almost two years later; in some of those his influence was greater than others, especially First and Second Manassas/Bull Run and Chancellorsville. Since he recieved his famous nickname and initial fame at the first Battle at Bull Run, William C. Davis' small volume of that name serves as a satisfactory introduction to the event. The more involved second battle, probably Lee's tactical and strategic masterpiece, is covered in several books, among them The Second Bull Run Campaign by David G. Martin, part of the Great Campaigns series ( above ), and Return to Bull Run by John J. Hennessy. Robert Krick, mentioned above in the Valley Campaign section, also produced a milestone study of another of Jackson's lesser-known battles that was a prelude to Second Manassas called Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain. ( Neither of the last 2 are pictured. )

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Neither Antietam nor Fredericksburg were battles that particularly showcased any sort of tactical finesse, and Jackson's part in them, though critical, was less-than-stellar by their very nature. They are chronicled in various notable works, among them: Landscape Turned Red by Stephen W. Sears and the older The Gleam of Bayonets by Frederick V. Murfin, both dealing with Antietam; and two with the same title, The Fredericksburg Campaign by Victor Brooks, another in the Great Campaigns series, and Edward J. Stackpole. In addition to the Fredericksburg book, Gen. Stackpole produced other notable and relevant Civil War titles like From Cedar Mountain to Antietam and Chancellorsville - Lee's Greatest Battle, and though now somewhat old-fashioned they are easy to follow and are accompanied by a wealth of simple-but-adequate maps by his friend cartographer Wilbur Nye and are highly recommended, especially for beginners.

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Chancellorsville, Jackson's ultimate battle, is well-represented: in addition to the Stackpole book mentioned above, Ernest B. Furgurson's Chancellorsville 1863 - The Souls of the Brave is a fine campaign study, one of many others. Lastly, Rebels Resurgent - Fredericksburg to Chancellorsville by William K. Goolrick is another in the easily understood Time-Life The Civil War series.
 

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Letters, Diaries, and Memoirs

Many famous historical figures are noted for their Words of Wisdom or pithy sayings called maxims - George Washington and Napoleon come to mind - and James Robertson, author of the massive biography cited in the first section above, has done the same for Jackson in Stonewall Jackson's Book of Maxims, a selection made from his various writings. Of course Jackson did not live to write his memoirs, and unlike Erwin Rommel he left no notes or outlines of any. ( One suspects that to have done so would've been to invite speculation and second-guessing, anathama in view of his storied privacy and reticence. ) At any rate, the above volume and another of letters, Beloved Bride - The Letters of Stonewall Jackson to His Wife - which I have NOT read - is as likely as close as we can come to his private thoughts. At least, many of those about him left their written impressions in memoirs, beginning with the reciepient of those letters, his beloved esposa Mary Anna Morrison Jackson in her Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson. My favorite among these ( shown at the beginning of this thread ) is the delightful I Rode With Stonewall by the youngest member of his staff, aide Henry Kyd Douglas, which is often quoted in secondary works since it gives the best picture of Jackson on campaign. Douglas was astute enough to recognize the importance of the many events he witnessed firsthand at Jackson's side; one can only hope he didn't embellish them too much potwar when this was written! Another book by a staff member is Robert L. Dabney's unwieldy-titled The Life and Campaigns of Lieutenant General Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson. Dabney served as Jackson's Chief of Staff ( though young Alexander "Sandie" Pendleton did all the work! ) and was a peacetime Presbyterian minister - his only qualification for the job! I have always suspected his "biography" would likely be as dry and pedantic as one of his sermons and have therefore avoided this.

Several years ago the Time-Life publishing concern produced two additional series following the great success of their first venture, The Civil War, already mentioned above. The others are Collectors Library of the Civil War, a series of facsimile reprint editions of various classics in matching all-black bindings; and Voices of the Civil War, an edited and well-illustrated account of various particular battles and campaigns told mainly through the words of participants themselves culled from period letters and diaries and postwar memoirs in a clever and lively style. The Collectors Library includes three books especially relevant to this topic: John H. Worsham's One of Jackson's Foot Cavalry ( pictured ); William T. Poague's Gunner With Stonewall ; and Richard Taylor's Destruction and Reconstruction. Worsham was a member of the 21st Virginia Regiment in the Stonewall Brigade and gives a very full idea of the life and experiences of one of Jackson's "common soldiers"; Poague does much the same for Jacksons artillerists. There is understandably little of the man himself in these accounts by enlisted men; the same is not true, however, for Brig. Gen. "Dick" Taylor, commander of the Louisiana Brigade in Jackson's Valley army. Though Taylor's book covers his own entire wartime experiences and therefore a relatively short time spent with Jackson, the parts that include him have been heavily mined by writers of secondary accounts of Jackson in the Valley. The final book recommended here is from the T-L Voices of the Civil War series, and is titled Shenandoah 1862; there are others of these on the Seven Days, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville.

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Miscellany Including Novels, Magazines, Etc.

The only major novelistic treatment of Stonewall Jackson I am aware of is in Jeff Shaara's Gods and Generals ( above ) in which the General, along with Robert E. Lee, Winfield S. Hancock and Joshua Chamberlain, is one of the principal narrating characters. The movie version reduces all the rest, elevating Jackson to prominence, and the accompanying book, subtitled The Illustrated Story of the Epic Civil War Film is of course more about the reel than the REAL Jackson, but interesting nevertheless. A much older novel having much to do with Jackson is Harnett Kane's Gallant Mrs. Stonewall ( not pictured ). The general also appears as a character in the even older 1911 anti-war novel The Long Roll by Virginia feminist author Mary Johnston.

There are various long out-of-print and otherwise obscure items of Jacksoniana; I illustrate two such, the first a guidebook and short summary of his Valley Campaign battles by Edward T. Downer and published in 1959 by the Stonewall Jackson Memorial, Inc. as a project of the Civil War Centennial. At the time, the Jackson Memorial owned and operated several related historic sites in the Shenandoah Valley, including his Winchester headquarters and Lexington home. The latter is now a National Historic Site whose guidebook is pictured below. There are no doubt many other such books and pamphlets.

Magazine publishers have long known that Stonewall sells; his picture on covers and articles about him are about as likely to be seen on newsstands as those other standbys George Custer, George Patton, and Erwin Rommel. Below is shown a sampling from a few of my favorite periodicals.

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One area I'm especially weak on is that of books for children and young adults - I know they exist because one of my very first exposures to Jackson was one of the old Random House Landmark series that I think was called simply Stonewall Jackson by Lenoir Chambers, but which failed in the long run to make much of an impression. I HAVE seen others, but can't recall any of them; anyone having knowledge about this area is earnestly encouraged to make recommendations!

The items listed and pictured in this entire thread are by NO means inclusive! This is intended merely as my own personal suggestions and recommendations, based on the previous half-century of reading and studying. As previously noted, the editions pictured here are NOT likely to be the exact ones available at bookstores, on Amazon, or from other suppliers; indeed, many of these shown are copies scanned from my own personal library. Far from this being "The Last Word" on the subject, I encourage everyone to explore further the life and times of this remarkable military figure and report back here worthy additions to what in fact is a very large "bookshelf" indeed!
 
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Calamity at Chancellorsville, The Wounding and Death of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, by Mathew W. Lively, 2013.

Edited 1/1/2014. Lively is an MD and has some interesting information on the actual cause of death. He also has an interesting theory on the controversy of the location on the ground where General Jackson was wounded. I recommend it for any CW student and especially those interested in General Jackson
 
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Mighty Stonewall was my first biography of Jackson, and is still my favorite. Robertson is encyclopedic, and adds many previously unavailable sources, but Dr. Vandiver captured Jackson's essence.

I happen to love I Rode With Stonewall by Douglas; it may not be the most accurate book available, but it's excellent writing, a fun read, and again, he captures the essence of Jackson beautifully. I think it's some of the most compelling first-hand writing about the war (even if you can quibble about accuracy). Take the three plus Lee's Lieutenants, and you have Jackson the man and general. Can't beat 'em.
 
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Here's a few not listed here from my collection all excellent reads.
Any specific comments about any of them? I'm familliar with the last 2 but haven't read either, except maybe the Robertson YEARS ago.
 

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Any specific comments about any of them? I'm familliar with the last 2 but haven't read either, except maybe the Robertson YEARS ago.
Title : The Liberty Hall Volunteers, Stonewall's College Boys
Author : W.G.Bean Professor of History at Washington and Lee University Lexington Virginia 1922-1963
First published in 1964
The Liberty Hall Volunteers formed at the outbreak of the Civil War, when a group of students at Washington College
( now Washington and Lee University) formed a military company. They entered the service in early June 1861, and the company was assigned to the Fourth Virginia Infantry Regiment in a brigade commanded by General Thomas J. Jackson and later known as the Stonewall Brigade. Most of the students had been acquainted with Jackson before the war when he was professor at the Virginia Military Institute. When in November 1861 , he was promoted to major general and given a semi -independent command in the Shenandoah Valley, he detailed the company to act as headquarters guard. It performed this duty until the fall of 1862, when it was forced by depletions in its ranks to relinquish the position. The company remained intact until May 1864 , whenit, along with most of the men of the brigade, was captured at the "Bloody Angle" at Spotsylvania Court House. The remaining men surrendered with General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox.
I purchased this paperback from the Lee Chapel Museum Shop on my last visit to Lexington in 2010 priced at $ 21.00.
230 pages packed with pictures and stories of individual members . This for me is one of those books that once you start it is very difficult to put down and I'm looking forward to reading it again in the future.
And as a added incentive to buy , all net proceeds from the sale of this book goes to the Stonewall Jackson Museum and Gift Shop, 8 E. Washington Street, Lexington, Virginia.
 

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What about historical fiction involving Jackson? We've already mentioned Gods and Generals. You may or may not want to account Richard Taylor's memoirs ;-)

I've read the Sandie Pendleton bio. It's OK, not exactly inspired work, but sufficient. However, it is also the only published biography of Pendleton insofar as I know.
 
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What about historical fiction involving Jackson? We've already mentioned Gods and Generals. You may or may not want to account Richard Taylor's memoirs ;-)

I've read the Sandie Pendleton bio. It's OK, not exactly inspired work, but sufficient. However, it is also the only published biography of Pendleton insofar as I know.
I recently read A Bullet for Stonewall, historical fiction by Benjamin King. I would not recommend it. I was surprised when I searched for historical fiction on General Jackson that I did not find much. Perhaps I was not using the correct words for my search.
 

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Now this is creepy. When I was at Chancellorsville 150, one of the guys in the author's tent there had a book, Pale Blue Light. I didn't mention it, because I didn't read it. However, I do recall that it has a similar premise: the story is about what would be called a "black op" today to assassinate one Thomas J. Jackson.

I always wonder when two very similar books like that... you know what I mean, I'm sure.

Let's see... there is a novel called Stonewall by John Dwyer. I read it some years ago, and it's good if you want an in-depth look at Jackson as a religious man. Some didn't care for it because the war only occupies the last quarter or third of the book, because of the aforementioned spiritual focus.

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Even though it is a "what if," story Stonewall Goes West does a very good job of characterizing Jackson, as well as Sandie Pendleton. J.P. Smith, Wells Hawks, Hunter McGuire, and John Harman are all in there as minor characters. I found myself laughing out loud (I really mean it, so I won't use "LOL") at the way the Jackson and Early relationship was handled in the first couple of chapters:bounce:

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Another "what if" I know about followed the usual Jackson scenario -- he lives and goes to Gettysburg. It was only about 150 pages long, though, not especially imaginative, and written in a herky-jerky fashion. I'm glad I only paid a few bucks at the used bookstore for it, and I mention it only to steer people away from it if they should see it. (P.S. -- Stonewall Jackson at Gettysburg by Gibboney, which is listed above, is the book I refer to).
 

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Whatever You Resolve to Be

Though not really a NEW book on Jackson by any means ( it's dated 1992 ), I recently discovered this title which is a group of 5 essays by A. Wilson Greene, the first and last of which form a satisfactory brief biography for someone who knows little but wants to know more, without being overwhelmed by Robertson or Vandiver; while the middle 3 essays take detailed looks at as many of his somewhat lesser-known battles. Here's a link to my more detailed review:

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/whatever-you-resolve-to-be.93760/

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I can't believe I forgot this....it's a trailer from the short film, which--if you're a Jackson fan--you owe it to yourself to see. Now, this is his...uh....cuddly side, but I guess if Dr. Robertson liked it, it's got the biggest stamp of approval you can get.

If nothing else, if you don't live where you can "follow in Jackson's footsteps," there's great footage of the boyhood home, VMI, his home, HQ in Winchester.....and his church in Lexington.

http://franklinsprings.com/film/still-standing
 
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