Thomas J. Jackson’s Values

Recently, I heard someone talking about “values”…but I was frustrated because he did not define what his values were. He was speaking in broad, generalized terms which may be interpreted as one chooses.

It is true that each person has a set of beliefs (values) by which they will judge and interpret the world around them. Those values will influence the person’s words, actions, and reactions.

Throughout history we can find examples of value sets influencing actions and outcomes. Positive and negative examples. I suppose I could “preach a sermon” on the lack of strong moral values leading to the downfall of nations, but I’d rather think positively today.

After all, it’s the anniversary of Thomas J. Jackson’s birthday. (If he was alive, he’d be 191 years old!) Umm…who’s Thomas J. Jackson? Well, maybe one of his military nicknames will give you a clue: STONEWALL. (“There stands Jackson like a stonewall. Rally behind the Virginians!”)

General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, 1863  (Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, 1863
(Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Ready for the 1 paragraph biography of “Stonewall” Jackson? Here goes. Thomas J. Jackson was a hard-working individual who survived a difficult childhood, attended West Point, served gallantly in the Mexican-American war, and became a professor at Virginia Military Institute. He was a devout Christian and was respected in his community. With the outbreak of the American Civil War, Jackson sided with his state of Virginia and became a Southern hero for his defense of the Shenandoah Valley in 1862. His military victories continued to advance the cause of the South, until his death from wounds and pneumonia on May 10, 1863.

Whew – I did it! (Read James I. Robertson’s “Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend” for the full story.)

In honor of Jackson’s birthday and in remembrance of his decisive and upright values, I thought I’d share a few quotes. Enjoy!

“You can be whatever you resolve to be.”

“Sacrifice your life rather than your word.”

“The subject of becoming a herald of the cross has often seriously engaged my attention, and I regard it as the most noble of all professions. It was the profession of our divine Redeemer and I should not be surprised were I to die upon a foreign field, clad in ministerial armor, fighting under the banner of Jesus. What could be more glorious? But my conviction is that I am doing good here, and that for the present I am where God would have me be.” (1851)

“If you desire to be more heavenly minded, think more of the things of Heaven and less of the things of Earth.” (1854)

“Nothing justifies profanity.” (1861)

“Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.” (1861)

“War means fighting. The business of the soldier is to fight. Armies are not called out to dig trenches, to throw up breastworks, to live in camps, but to find the enemy and strike him; to invade his country, and do him all possible damage in the shortest possible time. This will involve great destruction of life and property while it lasts; but such a war will of necessity be of brief continuance, and so would be an economy of life and property in the end. To move swiftly, strike vigorously, and secure all the fruits of victory is the secret of successful war.”

“However dark the night, I am cheered with an anticipated glorious and luminous morrow…. No earthly calamity can shake my hope in the future so long as God is my friend.” (1851)

Happy Birthday, General Jackson!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. What did “Stonewall” Jackson believe was important? What are your values? Share your thoughts below in a comment.