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GENERAL “STONEWALL” JACKSON AND HIS EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP Melissa Printup MSL 252: Evolution of American Warfare 15 March 2016 1
There were many leading Generals that greatly participated in the Civil War and helped to determine the course the war led, from McClellan’s inability to further pursue the enemy to General Lee and General Pickett’s fatal charge. General Thomas Jonathon Jackson was one of those Generals. Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy, if possible; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up in the pursuit so long as your men have strength to follow; for an army routed, if hotly pursued, becomes panic-stricken, and can then be destroyed by half their number. The other rule is, never fight against heavy odds, if by any possible maneuvering you can hurl your own force on only a part, and that the weakest part, of your enemy and crush it. Such tactics will win every time, and a small army may thus destroy a large one in detail, and repeated victory will make it invincible. 1General Jackson quoted two maxims which spoke of these rules of war that he tried to follow. I believe that following these rules greatly contributed to why he was such a successful leader for the South during the Civil War. General Jackson earned his fame through many battles in which he showed his strength as a leader through his determination, bravery, strategic value and loyalty to both his state and his Soldiers. General Jackson went to West Point when he was almost nineteen years old. Compared to fellow cadets he had little knowledge of many of the subjects they needed to know. These 1“Stonewall” Jackson during the Civil War1
subjects mainly consisted of mathematics or science due to the fact that cadets who attended West Point were mainly trained to be engineers first, and officers in the Army second. Many of the other cadets, such as Dabney H. Maury or George E. McClellan, either graduated or had experience at different universities, thus having a furthered education than Thomas Jackson. However, although he may not have had the most educated mind going into his plebe (first) year, he did show his mind was the most “improvable” . He stayed up late into the night in order to 2study and further gain the knowledge that would eventually help him become so successful. At the end of his first year at West Point, Jackson was in the bottom third of his class. At the time of graduation, however, he proved that dedication pays off when he graduated third out of fifty nine cadet graduates. After he was finished serving in the Army after the Mexican American War, he