Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Jackson, (Thomas Jonathan) “Stonewall”(1824–63) soldier; born in Clarksburg, Va. After his parents died in poverty, he was raised by an uncle who helped him obtain an appointment to West Point. Following graduation (1846), he served in the Mexican War, then resigned from the army (1852) to accept a professorship at Virginia Military Institute (VMI); there he became noted for his dedication to his Presbyterian faith. He commanded a detachment of VMI students at the hanging of John Brown (1859). When the Civil War broke out, he did not hesitate to sign on with the Confederates. Appointed a brigadier general, he organized a brigade of Virginians that fought at 1st Bull Run; it was here that the unit was described as standing its ground like a "stone wall," and though the brigade, which fought with him to his end, was officially named this, the name became forever attached to Jackson. His Shenandoah campaign of 1862, a strategic diversion that prevented the federals from reinforcing McClellan on the Virginia Peninsula, is graded a military masterpiece. He mysteriously faltered during the Seven Days' Battles on the Peninsula (June–July 1862), but by 2nd Bull Run (August 1862) he and Lee had perfected their brilliant partnership. They triumphed at Fredericksburg, and Jackson's famous flank march at Chancellorsville (1863) made Lee's victory there possible. But within hours after he had routed the Union right, he was accidentally shot by one of his own men while riding by in the dusk. He died eight days later, and Lee said simply, "I know not how to replace him." Not an easy man to know or warm up to, he fought with an intellignece, ferocity, and singleness of purpose perhaps equaled only by Sherman.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.