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The Five Flaws of the Brilliant Civil War General “Stonewall” Jackson

Discussion in 'Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson' started by Stiles/Akin, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. Stiles/Akin

    Stiles/Akin First Sergeant

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  3. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Sergeant

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    Those flaws mentioned in that article is well known about him. I think his need for sleep might have been because he had sleep apnea.

    Of course every general had their flaws but the most successful overcame those flaws. One thing this article did bring out was the rapport that he and Lee had concerning orders. Jackson did very well "reading between the lines" that were sent from Lee. I think this was not a flaw but an advantage to the overall thinking that went on between the two.
     
  4. TerryB

    TerryB Major

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    This is the first I've heard of his poor horsemanship and poor hearing.
     
  5. E_just_E

    E_just_E Captain Forum Host

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    This reads like a middle school essay.

    And, yes, Jackson had a lot of flaws, but who hasn't. And if I were to list his 5 worst ones, the ones mentioned there would likely not be in the list (hypocrite, resentful, hypochondriac, selfish, cruel, would be ahead of those listed)
     
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  6. SharonS

    SharonS Private

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    Calling Jackson a poor horseman is one of the things that annoy me the most. He had an unconventional seat--for the time. His stirrups were too short and he rode too far forward for the era, but if you saw him trotting up to you today you would think he had a perfectly normal seat on horseback. There's debate about how he came to ride too short and too far forward. He did ride his uncle's racehorses as a young boy at Jackson's mill, but at the time jockeys rode with long stirrups and mostly upright. The "monkey on a stick" style of race riding came much later in the 19th century.

    I think he got the style from his time in Mexico after the war, where he liked to ride out on the Paseo among the aristocrats of Mexico City. They used what's called the jineta seat---forward and short.

    By the way, I could find no example of Jackson coming off his horse during the war, with the exception of an incident in September 1862 when a crazy borrowed horse fell back on him. He didn't even fall off when he was shot at Chancellorsville.

    I'm going to attach a photo of one of the D'Inzeo brothers (they were Italian cavalry officers who competed in the Olympics int he 1960's and '70's. (I chose it because it's the only example of a uniformed army person using a modern forward seat. I suspect Jackson looked a little like this (different uniform of course) on horseback. dinzeo.jpeg
     
  7. highplainsdrifter59

    highplainsdrifter59 Sergeant

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    Too be honest, I have fell off a few horses in my life, and I consider myself a halfway decent rider. Those dang horses have a stubbornness at times......
     
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  8. James N.

    James N. Captain Forum Host Civil War Photo Contest
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    SharonS has discussed the likely exaggeration of Jackson's horsemanship briefly above and more extensively in other threads; Jackson was, however, deaf in one ear and there are accounts of his having trouble hearing at some occasions. However, he wasn't as bad as Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes who supposedly asked during a bombardment if any of his staff members heard anything!

    I believe you're correct in thinking it was no flaw; but the flaw intended by the article was that Jackson failed to enjoy a similar relationship in the opposite direction with his own subordinates. Lee for example recommended A. P. Hill as a subordinate in whom Jackson could confide when he sent Hill to join Jackson prior to Cedar Mountain; Jackson of course ignored Lee's advice and did no such thing! His cantankerous secretiveness has been well-discussed here in the forums.
     
  9. TerryB

    TerryB Major

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    I read Sharon's post with interest. It was all new to me--his riding style for sure. I guess Henry Kyd Douglas never mentioned either. I think I've read his book a half dozen times.
     
  10. W. Richardson

    W. Richardson Captain

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    Flaws and all................This man won, won when not expected to.



    Respectfully,
    William

    Stonewall Jackson - 1.JPG
     
  11. John S. Carter

    John S. Carter Sergeant

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    If Jackson was such a poor general why did the Union send so many troops against hin?.If you consider the terrain that he had to fight over then this may explain why he was not there in place when he was to be.His troops served with honor when they were under his leadership.After his death Lee no longer had a staff officer who could carry out his orders ,even if he did it using his own statergy.Next to Grant and Sherman ,Jackson understood how the war should be fought and what sacarfices it would take to win.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  12. amweiner

    amweiner Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    Does Longstreet not count?
     
  13. GELongstreet

    GELongstreet 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Because when the enemy sends troops to a sensitive area you send troops as well, regardless of who commands them.

    Beside the fact that Jackson was no staff officer, and even of those there being lots of good ones left, a simple nope is in place.

    Like not honoring the sabbath? How should the war be fought? Based on what?
     
  14. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 2nd Lieutenant

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    I have seen a report of of Jackson being slightly injured in a riding accident during the Maryland campaign of 1862. It's not clear from the report I saw whether his horsemanship was at fault, or whether the fall was from some other cause.

    I'll look it up for you if you are unfamiliar with the incident, but my hazy recollection is that the accident took place at about the time the army crossed the Potomac, right at the beginning of the campaign.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  15. Jamieva

    Jamieva 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    Poorly written. Who are these unqualified subordinates that he promoted solely for their religion? Not one mentioned

    Poor horsemanship way overrated how important that was
     
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  16. SharonS

    SharonS Private

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    This was the incident when he accepted a gift horse who flipped on him as soon as he climbed aboard. Nobody can do anything about a horse who decides to flip over backwards. According to Henry Kyd Douglas Little Sorrel had been "lost or stolen" sometime on the final day of Second Manassas and he was in need of a horse. I think Little Sorrel might actually have been slightly wounded and was out of action (a Black Horse cavalryman holding him on Aug 30 was mortally wounded]. At any rate, Jackson gave away the gift mare and called for Little Sorrel.
     
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  17. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 2nd Lieutenant

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    Ah, yes, of course you know all about it. I should have read your first post more closely - it's obviously the same incident.

    Good horseman or no, the accident clearly didn't impede Jackson in the expeditious capture of Harper's Ferry, or from his stellar performance at the Battle of Antietam, all in the two weeks following his fall from the horse.
     
  18. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 2nd Lieutenant

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    As a general comment I would say that Jackson'e religious fanaticism was a strength as a field commander, not a flaw.

    It gave him a sense of confidence that is very valuable in leading men in battle. Also, it undergirds the fearlessness for which he is so famous.

    As noted above, there is a total lack of any evidence to support the charge that religious prejudice impaired his decision making in the management of his own staff.
     
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  19. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 2nd Lieutenant

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    And, oh, by the way, for all of you oldsters out there: This article is what they call 'click bait' - an on-line article with a provocative headline designed to draw you in solely for the purpose of generating high 'page views' for the web site (higher page views = higher advertising rates for the web site owner).

    In other words, the article is quickie **** generated solely for the purpose of spinning a couple of nickels. The hook here is the criticism of Jackson, one of the most widely admired figures in the country. The article is sort of like those with the headline "Did George Washington Father Children With a Black Slave?"
     
  20. Bruce Vail

    Bruce Vail 2nd Lieutenant

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    Is that 'Little Sorrel"?

    Anybody out there know whether VMI is still displaying this?

    a657ac3b784f45451978723d3d0fa559.jpg
     
  21. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    I've never agreed with the idea Jackson was a poor horseman, either. There is one account of Little Sorrel running off with him, though. His troops were all lined up for inspection and were surprised when the general came galloping by full tilt, grim of face and tight lipped and looking neither left nor right! They cheered at first then realized the horse was run away. He and Little Sorrel came back after about a half hour or so, both safe and sound - so he stayed on board and managed to control the horse enough both were unhurt. As SharonS noted, Little Sorrel again ran away at Chancellorsville - can't blame him on that one! - but Jackson managed to stay in the saddle and to keep him from entering Union lines, which is where he was headed. Not a bad job, considering he was badly wounded and not particularly clear on anything. "Wild fire, sir, wild fire!" he muttered, staring straight ahead.

    He also had some vision problems in addition to the hearing, which wasn't uncommon in artillerymen. He'd had an infection of the fluid inside the eyeballs when he was teaching at VMI - don't know how badly it injured his sight. Might have been the reason he tended to make some people uncomfortable by seeming to stare at them.

    I glanced at the article just to see what the bullet points were - not much there. I'm not aware that he picked on anybody or favored anybody because of their religion - he got along well with Stuart and some say it was because they were both super religious. That helped, no doubt, but nobody could be more opposite of Jackson than Stuart. That was probably the real connection! That and being highly aggressive generals.

    P S
    Oh, the secretive part. That probably was overdone. When Stuart took over at Chancellorsville, he didn't have a clue what Jackson was planning nor did anybody else still alive, but he knew Jackson well enough to figure what he intended. Some have criticized him for being where he was - probably rightly. It was very dicey for the commander to be where he was but he wanted to see firsthand if he could finish what he started the way he wanted to finish it. He could smell a really big victory and did something that would have been called daring if he'd not been shot.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017

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