Stonewall Jackson's Way
A soldier's ode to Stonewall Jackson extols the Confederate general and his campaign in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862. "Here Shenandoah brawls along, / And burly Blue-Ridge echoes strong, / To swell our brigade's rousing song, / Of 'Stonewall Jackson's way!'" A sergeant in Jacksons's brigade had the original manuscript; this version of it was later published in September 1862 in Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia). The general is referred to here as "Blue Light Elder" for his evangelical fervor; that trait combined with his single-minded focus made him a fierce opponent in battle. For a few lines the poem takes on Jackson's own voice: "Says he 'that's Banks [his Union opponent],—he don't like shell, / Lord save his soul!—we'll give him hell!' / That's 'Stonewall Jackson's Way.'" (The printed version edited out "hell" and replaced it with the innocuous "well.") During the Shenandoah campaign Jackson's men complained about the fast marching pace their commander set, but when success followed their efforts they proudly labeled themselves "Jackson's foot cavalry." The poem echoes their sense of triumph: "What matter if our shoes are worn / What matters if our feet are torn! / Quick step! We're with him ere the dawn, / That's 'Stonewall Jackson's ways!'"