Originally published 05/06/2013
...[A]stronomers say they know why [Confederate troops] couldn't identify [Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville] — it's all because of the moon. Astronomer Don Olson of Texas State University and Laurie E. Jasinski, a researcher and editor at the Texas State Historical Association, report their findings in the May 2013 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine.Space sleuths"I remembered reading long ago that Stonewall Jackson was wounded by 'friendly fire' and that it happened at night," Olson told SPACE.com in an email. Olson decided to pursue the mystery on the occasion of the battle's 150th anniversary.
Originally published 05/06/2013
Wallace A. Hettle
1864 portrait of Stonewall Jackson by D.W. King.Dear Stonewall,I still think of you fondly sometimes. I cared enough about you to spend eight years of my life researching and writing about you and your friends. In my opinion, I wrote a pretty good book: Inventing Stonewall Jackson: A Civil War Hero in History and Memory. I examined the assumptions that shaped your historical image, and the ways that image morphed into popular cultural in the twentieth century. In this way, I raised some questions about you, and forced me to think hard about how biography works as a genre, often coming perilously close to historical fiction.
Originally published 04/30/2013
At 5:15 p.m. on May 2, 1863, a doomed Confederate officer with striking blue eyes sat on his horse holding his pocket watch in the Virginia wilderness west of Fredericksburg.He wore a black rubber raincoat and gauntlets, and carried a book of Napoleon’s maxims in his haversack, as he waited for the last of his 21,000 soldiers to spread through the woods in an attack formation over a mile wide.There were only a few hours of daylight left, and his men had been marching all day. But the officer had carefully maneuvered his regiments into position to launch one of the greatest assaults of the Civil War.As the minutes ticked by, he asked a subordinate: “Are you ready?” Yes, came the reply....
Originally published 04/17/2013
Usually, people try to restore castles.But in Spotsylvania County, the “castle”—as some call a local fixture on State Route 3—is being demolished.The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust is razing the old “Stars and Bars” military surplus store on the Chancellorsville battlefield.The massively built structure—with twin turrets, battlements and a façade of brick and block—stands in the way of restoring the land to its May 1863 appearance....
Originally published 03/05/2013
The place is rich in legend, and now it’s safe for future generations.The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust has acquired 81 acres along State Route 3 in Spotsylvania where doctors tried to save Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, wounded by his troops in a “friendly fire” mishap.Dr. Hunter McGuire (the namesake of today’s Veterans Administration hospital in Richmond) amputated the Confederate leader’s left arm, hit in two places.“It all happened right here,” says Jerry H. Brent of Fredericksburg, the trust’s executive director. “This was part of the Wilderness Tavern site, on both sides of the road. With the corps’ field hospital in operation, there were hundreds of soldiers in tents or milling about, and wagons coming and going.”...
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