Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/100

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96 Xniithern Historical Society Papers.

night attack, and he asked to be allowed to make such an attack and drive the foe into the swollen river or capture him. Subsequent events demonstrated that he would have accomplished his purpose.


It was said that at a council of war, called by General Lee after the Fredericksburg battle, Jackson went to sleep during the discus- sion, and when suddenly aroused and asked for his advice, he simply replied: " Drive them into the river."

That he possessed the genius to devise and the skill and courage to deliver the blow needed to defeat his foes is it not amply proved by the general fact that his army in the Valley campaign was never over 17,000, and generally less, and that for a time he was keeping at bay 100,000 Federal soldiers 60,000 in or near the great valley, and 40,000 at Fredericksburg soundly thrashing in the field, from time to time, large portions of this great army ? Not to mention details, Jackson and his small force influenced the campaign to the extent of keeping 100,000 Federal troops away from Richmond, and compelling the Federal government to employ a larger force than the whole of the Confederate army, in order, as Lincoln said, "to protect the National Capital." In the operations necessary to ac- complish this, he encountered one (his first and only defeat), that at Kernstown, which he and others, who trusted his judgment, believed was due to an untimely order to fall back, given by one of his bravest and truest of brigade commanders. But that defeat was so full of bril- liant results to our cause that the Confederate Congress thanked him for the battle. The gallant and brilliant officer who gave this order was put under arrest (whether wisely or not is not for present discus- sion), but the effect was to prevent any other man or officer from ordering a retreat on any subsequent field of battle where Jackson was, whether out of ammunition or not.

Thence he went immediately to McDowell, Winchester, Cross Keys and Port Republic, winning battle after battle, having always the smaller army but the larger number actually fighting (except at Cross Keys), illustrating the truth of what a Federal officer tells us a Yankee soldier said after the stern struggle at Groveton : V These rebels always put their small numbers in strong positions and then manage to be the stronger at the point where the rub comes. ' ' And so, notwithstanding the tremendous odds against him in the whole theatre, he met another test of a great commander, in concentrating against his opponent the larger force.