"He's a crazy man!!" Well, yes, that he was. Thomas L. Jackson... later known as the infamous Stonewall Jackson. General Jackson began as an unlikely leader. He came from the backwater of nowhere... force fed learning into himself... earned the last slot in a West Point class... was a highly pious introvert... and toiled as a lousy professor of science at VMI. Then the Civil War ripped the country apart.
As a member of the Confederate forces, he began as an irritant. A genuine odd duck. Jefferson Davis didn't like him. Robert E. Lee had no reason to differ. But soon, incredibly enough, he blossomed a true leader. He held natural abilities to create decisive strategies -- throwing conventional warfare to the wind. He regularly drove his troops to utter exhaustion -- but in so doing, baffled his rather inept enemies. Soon, he bagged one battle victory after another. Federalists grew to fear him. His men revered him. In short, he had an uncanny ability to see through walls, develop "impossible" plans and then execute them. Both sides of the War went to school on his tactics, as he professed that God was directing his every move.
Most books on the Civil War focus on Lee, Grant and the line up of Union generals who proceeded Grant -- as Lincoln ignominiously striped them of their commands. For some reason, Stonewall Jackson -- who was probably the most competent one of the lot -- escapes literary coverage. Why? Maybe it's because he died in battle (from friendly fire). He was not around to glorify himself and rewrite history decades after the bugles ran out of air.
Jackson was devoted to his cause, devoted to his troops, devoted to his little family -- and always sided on what he felt was right. Battles he waged saw row after row of infantry mowed down by blistering fire. The carnage of his campaigns was tragic. (Surely, there must be a better way to address disagreements.) But on the War dragged... through mud, sweat, filth, horror, violence, blood- soaked ground. When Jackson was cut down -- riding ahead of his troops at night to scout enemy positions -- the world of the Confederacy crashed. Suddenly, the end seemed near. A sun of hope sank beneath the trees. And time ran heavy for those on the fields who remained.
— From Bob's Book Talk
Rebel Yell re-introduces a true American hero -- regardless of which side in the Civil War favor. This is a book about passion, commitment, dignity, purpose... and a man who deserves so much more.
From the author of the prize-winning New York Times bestseller Empire of the Summer Moon comes a thrilling account of how Civil War general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson became a great and tragic American hero. Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon, even Robert E. Lee, he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country's greatest military figures. His brilliance at the art of war tied Abraham Lincoln and the Union high command in knots and threatened the ultimate success of the Union armies. Jackson's strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged; he was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future. In April 1862 Jackson was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. By June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western world. He had, moreover, given the Confederate cause what it had recently lacked--hope--and struck fear into the hearts of the Union. Rebel Yell is written with the swiftly vivid narrative that is Gwynne's hallmark and is rich with battle lore, biographical detail, and intense conflict between historical figures. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson's private life, including the loss of his young beloved first wife and his regimented personal habits. It traces Jackson's brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero.