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Why Stonewall Jackson Did Not Drink

Discussion in 'Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson' started by frontrank2, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. frontrank2

    frontrank2 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    " Having lingered to the last allowable moment with the members of my family... it was after 10 o'clock at night ( May 30,1862 ), when I returned to headquarters for final instructions, and before going to the General's room ( at the hotel in Winchester ) I ordered two whiskey toddies to be brought up after me. When they appeared I offered one of the glasses to Jackson, but he drew back, saying: " No, Colonel, you must excuse me, I never drink intoxicating liquors."
    " I know that, General, " said I, " but though you habitually abstain as I do myself, from everything of the sort, there are occasions, and this is one of them, when a stimulant will do us both good; otherwise, I would take it neither myself nor offer it to you. So you must make an exception to your general rule, and join me in a toddy to-night."
    He again shook his head, but, nevertheless, took the tumbler and began to sip its contents. Presently putting it on the table, after having but partially emptying it, he said: " Colonel, do you know why I habitually abstain from intoxicating drinks?"And on my replying in the negative he continued: " Why, sir, because I like the taste of them, and when I discovered that to be the case I made up my mind at once to do without them altogether."

    Col. A.R. Boteler in the Philadelphia Weekly Times; as quoted in " Sparks From the Campfire,"
    Southern Historical Society Papers, x ( June, 1882 ), 287
     
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  3. Roland

    Roland Sergeant

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    Thanks for Posting!
     
  4. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    There are two documented examples of Stonewall being stoned! Back in the day, Cadmus Wilcox came into a room of partiers and lo and behold, there was Jackson quite 'cheerful' and bare foot dancing. Wilcox claimed Jackson was excellent - and he was indeed a very good dancer although he only danced with his wife. He was likely doing this:



    The other time was during the Valley campaign. The general was freezing cold, as was every man among them, so the doctor hauled out a bottle of nice brandy. He ordered a shot all around, which offer was eagerly pounced upon except by Jackson. He said he never drank, nope, wouldn't do it. He'd put on another couple flannel shirts. The doctor told him it would do him good and he should have a drink. "Do you really think so?" said Jackson. "I do indeed," replied the doctor. "Then I will!" Jackson took the brandy and poured it into his quite roomy tin cup - a full cup, mind - and chugged it on back to the absolute astonishment of his staff. Then, the camp started to move. As they moved out, Jackson commented on how warm it was getting - he unbuttoned his coat - and remarked that it was certainly a good thing for the men. He was quite snockered!

    And, at Moss Landing he had his famous Christmas dinner - butter, turkey, ham, pies, all manner of yummy comestibles and...wine. Jeb Stuart had to point out the wine and rib Stonewall for it, and the rooster printed on the butter. He said that must be Jackson's family crest. (Stuart was the only one who could tease Old Blue Light and get away with it...or dared to!)
     
  5. Bob Owen

    Bob Owen Captain Trivia Game Winner

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    I never trusted anyone who didn't drink!:frantic:
     
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  6. kholland

    kholland Brigadier General Moderator Trivia Game Winner Forum Host

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    Like the proverb that gets changed around says "Work is the curse of the drinking class"
     
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  7. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Abraham Lincoln had an observation, not exactly about liquor but along the same sort of lines. Somebody was heavily plugging a candidate for a job with his administration and pointed out that this fellow didn't drink, didn't use tobacco, was moderate in all his habits, faithful to his wife and loving to his children - well, the guy could probably have turned water into wine! Lincoln listened then said, "It's been my experience that people with no vices have few virtues!"
     
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  8. gary

    gary 1st Lieutenant

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    You sound like a cop (many cops don't trust newbies who won't drink with them. Not meant to be an insult).
     
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  9. David Knight

    David Knight Sergeant

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    Would you trust an alcoholic general who was drunk (not just over the drink drive limit) on duty I think not but are we saying the Stonewall was a latent alcoholic so he avoided drink or that this Religious views convince him that if he liked something he should refrain from it?

    Complex character and like all genius' flawed.
     
  10. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    You don't have to be an alcoholic to like whiskey and the effects! Jackson was a Calvinist. He pretty much believed if he enjoyed something he should give it up to avoid putting something else before his God, however accidentally. Why else would he like unripe persimmons? :confused:
     
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  11. David Knight

    David Knight Sergeant

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    Don't think 'like' is the word I would use for unripe persimmons but I take your point.. However this follower of the Five points of Calvinism is going to have a Christmas single malt.:D
     
  12. wayne jackson

    wayne jackson Sergeant Major

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    i'll try to make up for what cousin stonewall didnt drink:smile:
     
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  13. truthckr

    truthckr Sergeant Major

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    Forrest didn't drink, either. Though in one of his bio's it's stated he got snockered as a younger man and never felt the need to do so again. He liked to say, ..."that his staff did all his drinking for him."
     
  14. diane

    diane Brev. Brig. Gen'l Forum Host

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    Forrest didn't do anything half way! He was only about 14 or so, and had been wondering about the different effects liquor had on people. Some got weepy, some got mean, some got jolly, some got stupid - all sorts of things they weren't sober. So, he figured he'd see what it did to him. He got him a jug of corn squeezin's and, reflecting on his temper, decided he'd better do this experiment far away on a lonely hill so if it made him mean "all I could hurt was trees." Well, he got the jug down and almost died of alcohol poisoning - he was the sickest he'd ever been including the time he'd gotten typhoid and said he told God if God would get him through this he'd never touch the stuff again. He lived and kept his word, except for a couple slugs the doctor ordered. However, he never knew what kind of drunk he made because he could never remember what happened!
     
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  15. frontrank2

    frontrank2 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    LOL!! Too funny!
     
  16. Littlestown

    Littlestown Captain Trivia Game Winner

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    Although Lincoln has been widely quoted as having said the above observation, it was Lincoln himself who liked to tell the following story:
    "Lincoln also derived great pleasure from telling of an experience he had on his way from Springfield to Washington in 1849. He traveled as far as Indianapolis by stage, the only other passenger being a grizzled Kentuckian. In the course of the journey the Kentuckian offered Lincoln a drink, a smoke and a chew, each of which was in turn refused. As he left the stage the Kentuckian turned to Lincoln and remarked: "See here, stranger, you're a clever but strange companion. I may never see you again, and I don't want to offend you, but I want to say this: my experience has taught me that a man who has no vices has ****ed few virtues.""
    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jala/26...ln-s-humor-an-analysis?rgn=main;view=fulltext
     
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  17. JPWalton

    JPWalton Sergeant

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    I believe Jackson was quoted on another occasion as saying "I like liquor — its taste and its effects — and that is just the reason why I never drink it."

    Judson Kilpatrick was supposedly a teetotaller as well, but I'm uncertain how seriously we can take that. The man had so many character flaws it's hard to know what he might have done behind closed doors. Joe Hooker was supposed to have been a drinker, but gave it up after taking command of the AotP. One wonders if his performance at Chancellorsville might not have been improved had he been taking the periodic nip from his flask...

    One of the things I learned reading Stonewall Goes West is that Patrick Cleburne and Thomas Hindman were both temperance men.
     
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  18. rhp6033

    rhp6033 Sergeant Major

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    Jackson and a cousin (I believe) went on an adventure as teenagers. They were told that they could cut lumber, stack it by the river, and make good money by selling it to the steamships passing by. They ended up traveling down the Ohio and then down the Mississipi for a considerable distance - I can't remember if they made it to New Orleans or not. Jackson had dreams of bringing home a chest full of valuables for his half-year of work out from under his uncle's stern hand, but when he eventually returned home all he had was an empty chest. He wouldn't talk about what happened to the money he had earned. My guess: he got lured into a tavern and ended up stone-cold drunk, with most of his possessions stolen.
     
  19. Blessmag

    Blessmag Captain

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    I
    don't drink. Never had a beer. Tasted wine twice and a holiday punch. Can live without it.

    HOWEVER, when I met my future father in law, he did not like me; he don't cuss and don't drink.
     
  20. Blessmag

    Blessmag Captain

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    Did he have children? Puddle alert on likes!!!!
     
  21. jay gale

    jay gale First Sergeant

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    I like it too, a little too much as I discovered 26 years ago....and that is why I never drink it anymore. Back in the day, I drank enough to drop the entire general staff of the ANV. Thank God those days are over
     
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