Saturday, December 23, 2006
Seasons Greetings #2
Limited Edition Print
"Divine Guidance "
It was heart-breaking news, even for a man of war. General Thomas Jefferson “Stonewall” Jackson received the hard tidings at his headquarters near Fredericksburg, Virginia early on the morning of March 17, 1863. Just the day before, the general’s headquarters had been relocated from a winter campsite he had occupied for several months at nearby Moss Neck Plantation. At the time, the owner of Moss Neck, Richard Corbin, was serving elsewhere in the Confederate cavalry. Left at home on the plantation was his wife, Roberta, and the couple’s five year-old daughter, Jane Wellford Corbin - who was known affectionately as “Janie.”
General Jackson and Janie became friends. Jackson had an infant daughter back home that he had not yet seen, and he found little Jane irresistibly delightful. “She was very pretty and bright,” an officer would recall, “with a sweet and happy face and fair, flaxen curls.” She came regularly to visit the famous commander at headquarters, and Jackson would interrupt his duties to play with her. “She would play there for hours,” an observer would recollect, “sitting on the floor with a pair of scissors cutting paper and entertaining him with her childish prattle.” Jackson normally kept the warm, affectionate side of his personality to himself, and was known to fellow officers and troops as formal and reserved. Officers and soldiers who held such a view of the general were stunned to find him upon occasion that winter sitting on his headquarters floor, laughing and playing with joyful little Janie.
When Jackson moved his headquarters to nearby Hamilton’s Crossing in preparation for a spring offensive, he left Moss Neck with concern for little Janie. She had contracted scarlet fever, but reports from the Corbin home seemed hopeful, and the general expressed his wishes for a speedy recovery. A day after establishing his new headquarters, however, Jackson received the awful news: his little friend Janie had suddenly died.
Stonewall Jackson - the great and mighty warrior whose hammer-like blows had driven the enemy from so many fields of fire - wept aloud. Then he unashamedly knelt and took his burdens to the Lord in prayer. Such was his way. Within a few months, it would also be time for Stonewall Jackson to “cross over the river….”
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