Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stonewall Jackson: The End of an Era

1863...145 years ago...a true soldier passed....


olde.fashioned said...

Every time I think of his death my mind cannot help but be overrun with thoughts of what might have been. If he had lived, would the South have won? And if the South had won, would that have been an end to the war, or merely a temporary postponement of hostilities to come? Even though I am whole-heartedly Confederate, I still cannot help but think the only way to end that war was for the South to lose.

We'll never know, of course, but perhaps it's one of those questions to be asked once we get to heaven. ;-)

Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

What might have been....

Well, the South may very well have not lost Gettysburg, that's for sure. Jackson's replacement, R.S. Ewell, neglected to take Culp's Hill as ordered. It was soon occupied by Union troops. If taken by the Confederates, it would have rendered their entire position of Cemetery Ridge untenable--which is why they wanted it in the first place.

Ewell's failure to take the position (Overcaution, tardiness, plain incompetency?) would not have occured if Jackson had been in command. Never one to be slow, I fully believe that Stonewall would have taken that position as ordered. If that had been occupied by the Rebels, then Pickett's Charge, the final clincher of the battle, would never have needed to have been attempted, in my opinion. Pickett's Charge was an attempt by Lee (honestly a poor decision) to drive the Union from their position on Cemetery Ridge. If Jackson had forced them to retire (Culp's Hill is higher than Cemetery Ridge, rendering it a commanding position) then there would have been no reason to charge, I would say.

Some may argue that the south would still have lost the battle. that may be, but one thing is for certain; it would have been very different, and so would have been the war.

I do not believe, however, that even the mighty Jackson could have stopped the hordes of blue. He did his duty and protected his state and country with vicious aggression (I find it interesting that Stonewall considered the Shenandoah Valley to be the key to Virginia--he once said that if the Valley was lost, Virginia was lost--and when he was no longer around to singlehandedly protect the valley against superior forces with his speed and cunning, all went awry. Interesting, isn't it?)


/strategy lesson