The Wounding of Gen. Stonewall Jackson.
Baltimore Sun, 2nd.
To-day is the twentieth anniversary of the date on which Gen. Stonewall Jackson, after routing Hooker’s right flank at Chancellorsville, and while pressing forward to sever the line of retreat of the main body of the Federal army, received from his own men, by accident, the shot which eight days later resulted in his death. To the Confederacy his loss was irreparable. Having been engaged in nearly every important action of the war in Virginia, and having distinguished himself in all, he had become among the Southern soldiery, as among the people, a hero whose presence on the battle-field was regarded as a sure omen of success. The list of the principal actions in which he participated —
Bull Run, Kernstown, McDowell, Front Royal, Winchester, Cross Keys, Port Republic, Cold Harbor, Cedar Mountain, second Bull Run, the investment of Harper’s Ferry, Sharpsburg or Antietam, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville —
is, with one two exceptions, a list of successes, reflecting the highest credit upon his military genius. His fame has become the common property of the country, and indeed, of the world at large, having long ago crossed the obliterated limits of the government for which he fought. The comparative obscurity in which he passed all but the last three years of his life finds a parallel in the mystery, or uncertainty, which in the popular mind surrounds the circumstances under which he was shot.
The question has been raised whether he was wounded by his own men or by the enemy, and, it being generally conceded that he was fired at by mistake by his own men, it has been a matter of hot discussion as to the regiment that made the fatal blunder. The facts, well substantiated by officers present at the time, are as follows: The front line of advance had been formed by Rhodes’ division, extending across the pike, but the division commanded by Gen. Colston, forming the second line, had, as the action progressed, become mingled with it. After nightfall, in a lull of the firing, it was undertaken to relieve the two divisions by A.P. Hill’s division of fresh troops. Jackson was impatient to have the attack recommenced, and, supposing that there was a skirmish line out in front between Rhodes’ men and the enemy, rode forward along the pike in advance of Hill to ascertain the enemy’s position, and in doing so passed through the line of battle beginning to be formed by Lane’s brigade of Hill’s division. Those of Lane’s men immediately in the road knew that Gen. Jackson had passed, but those further to the right and left did not. Hence some of Lane’s troops on the right of the road, seeing Gen. Jackson accompanied by several signal-men and couriers, in their front, mistook them for the enemy and opened fire on the party, wounding not a few of its members.
Those of their number still unhurt, including Gen. Jackson, to escape this fire, plunged into the woods on the left, where they were met with a second volley from the troops on that side of the road. Gen. Lane reports it as the opinion generally accepted at the time that it was the eighteenth regiment of his brigade of North Carolina that did the firing, mistaking Gen. Jackson and his escort for a party of the Federal cavalry. The result of the second volley was that the general was wounded in three places, two ball penetrating his left arm, shattering it and cutting the chief artery, and a third passing through the palm of his right hand. After some delay Gen. Jackson was borne to the rear. His arm was amputated and hopes of his recovery were entertained. But pneumonia soon set in, which was the immediate cause of his death on the 10th of May, 1863.
The Landmark (Statesville, North Carolina) May 11, 1883