Page:Confederate Veteran volume 01.djvu/24

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

THE OLD VIRGINIA TOWN, LEXINGTON. WHERE LEE AND STONEWALL JACKSON ARE BURIED- REMINISCENCES OF STONEWALL JACKSON, BY DR. J. WM. JONES. Lexington, Va., is the most interesting town of its size in the South. The Washington-Lee University founded by the "father of his country " and presided over by Robert K. Lee, when he surrendered life's duties, i- tin- most prominent and conspicuous institu- tion of the place. It ha- a beautiful chapel, across the campus from the University main building, in whirl, the body of Gen. Lee rest-, and over which is that life- like work of Edward V. Valentine, representing, in white marble, the soldier and Christian as if asleep on hi- couch. The old'mansion in which Gen. Lee re- sided is near by, and it is the residence of Gen. Curtis Lee, his son, and successor as President of the Univer- sity. It is the family residence as well, the daughters residing there The Virginia Military Institute grounds adjoin those of the Washington-Lee University, and are en- tered through its campus. Thisold place, with its an- cient cannon ornamenting the grounds, was especially interesting on the occasion of the visit which induces thi< article, for it was in honor of its President, who went tn the front with its corps of cadets in L861, and never returned until he had "crossed over the river," honored second to no soldier hero of any country or time. This writing is from memory of an only visit made there .Inly 21, 1891, an account of which was written at the time hut never published, and the copy lost. The wire all at home and cordially interested in honoring the memory of (Jen. Thos. .1. Jackson. It was the greatest day in the history of old Lexington, for the attendance was much larger than that when the formal presentation of the recumbent figure of (ion, Lee occurred A superb colossal bronze statue of Stonewall .lack- son had been provided, and his body had been re- moved from the original family lot to the central cir- cle in the old cemetery of the town, and the bronze figure <it is also by Mr. Valentine) was in position. The principal ceremonies were had under the broad shades of the University campus, some half a mile away, at the conclusion of which the great procession, numbering perhaps i>(mkiii, passed through the main streets and near the old church, where Jackson taught his Negro Sunday-school. The military — infantry, cavalry and artillery — passed by the cemetery and formed on an adjacent slope in rear. By the statue, still under a white mantle, there was a platform -covered in while bunting, upon which Mrs. Jackson ascended, taking her two grand-children with her. She was dressed in black, her heavy black veil thrown over her shoulders, and the noble face giving cheer to the little children who were to pull the -I'd. Both children were dressed in white, their white face- and waxen curls producing the strongest contrast with tie- devoted widow of Stonewall Jack- SOn. The writer occupied a position that could not have been improved for the sight and. meditating upon it all. he thought much of whether he would not give his life, it' by so doing all the South could have the comfort of the BCene. ' At the signal little Julia Jackson Christian pulled the cord, and the magnificent figure of the Christian soldier stood- as if in life, mid the shouts of thousands w ho followed him to the death, ami other thousands of women, maidens ami young men who had grown up in the faith that a greater soldier than Stonewall .lack-on had never gone to battle. The bright child who exclaimed "I vinderveiled it." was frightened by the noise of cannon, musketry and human voice.- that followed her act. The hospitality of the people was remarkable. The pride and gratitude that their little town among the hills was the home and the burial place of Lee and Jackson was enough to bestir the entire people to the utmost to make every visitor a guest. The writer was fortunately assigned to the delightful home of Mr. McDowell! Every old soldier present must have wished that he had served under Stonewall Jackson. The negro men of the town who had the honor of being taught by him in his Sunday-school, wherr boys, were proud of it. One practical old man of the town, in comment- ing upon him as teacher at the Institute, said he was never proud of him until the Sunday that he started for the war. Then, dressed in military uniform, with spurs and on horseback, he seemed to be exactly in the proper place. )R. .1. WM. JiiNK.s' RECOLLECTIONS OF STONEWALL JACKSON. It seems fitting in this connection to give reminis- cences of Gen. Jackson, by Dr. J. YVm. Jones, who was first to write and commend the CONFEDERATE Ykt- BRAN through its prospectus. It was written at the time referred to above for the Atlanta Journal: I have to-day, after a lapse of thirty years, a very vivid recollection of his appearance, and how- he im- pressed inc. Dressed in a simple Virginia uniform, apparently about 37 years old, six feet high, medium size, gray eves that seemed to look through you, 'light brown hair, and a countenance in which deep benevolence seemed mingled with uncompromising sternness, he impressed me as having about him nothing at all of "the pomp and circumstance" of war, but every ele- ment which enters into the skillful leader, and the in- domitable, energetic soldier, who was always ready for the tight. At First Manassas Jackson won the sobriquet of "Stonewall." which has supplanted his proper name, and will cleave to him forever. The chivalricand heroic Bee, who had been steadily