Given Jackson's well-deserved reputation as a martinet who observed military rules and regulations to the point of occasional harshness, the incident recounted in this poem probably has no basis in fact. The poem does, however, indicate the almost mythological stature Jackson acquired throughout the Confederacy following his death after the Battle of Chancellorsville in May of 1863."The Rev. Dr. Moore, of Richmond, in a sermon in memory of the beloved Stonewall Jackson, narrates the following incident:
"Previous to the first battle of Manassas, when the troops under Stonewall Jackson had made a forced march, on halting at night they fell on the ground, exhausted and faint. The hour came for setting the watch for the night. The officer of the day went to the General's tent, and said: "General, the men are all wearied, and there is not one but who is asleep. Shall I wake them?" "No," said Jackson, "let them sleep, and I will watch the camp to-night." And all night long he rode round that lonely camp, the one lone sentinel for that brave but weary and silent body of heroes. And when glorious morning broke, the soldiers awoke fresh and ready for action, all unconscious of the noble vigil kept over their slumbers."
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Last modified 16-April-2001