Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/274

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
264
Southern Historical Society Papers.

"Jackson's death happened in strange coincidence with his horoscopic prediction made years before; but the coincidence was, I believe, merely fortuitous, and I mention it here only to show what mysterious 'givings-out' we sometimes experience in life."

If the story as given by General Revere is true, and it was really he who became so famous as Stonewall Jackson with whom the conversation on astrology was had on the steamer on the trip up the Mississippi and Ohio in 1852, the fulfillment of the remarkable "horoscopic prediction" was something more than a "merely fortuitous coincidence," and it would undoubtedly go very far towards establishing the genuineness of what is generally regarded as an exploded science. It would also serve to show that opinions were entertained by General Jackson which were very much at war with the sterling piety and practical faith for which he was noted, and that, too, after he had united himself with the Presbyterian Church. In this aspect of it the story is hardly worth noticing, as it can receive no credence from those who knew General Jackson; but as General Revere has given his testimony in regard to the manner in which General Jackson received his wound, the occasion is taken to place in an authentic form the true narrative of that sad occurrence, which is now given in the language of the witness who rode by the side of the General at the time, and who of all others is best able to give an entirely reliable account. In giving this it has been thought proper to make some allusion to the story in regard to astrology, as it has gone the rounds of the papers, and hence the letter of General Francis H. Smith is given with that of General Jackson accepting the professorship at the Virginia Military Institute. Those letters, and one from Captain R. E. Wilbourn, who was chief signal-officer for Jackson's corps, and was by his side when he was wounded, are as follows:

Virginia Military Institute, March 5, 1873.

General J. A. Early, Lynchburg, Va.:

Dear General—I have duly received your valued favor of the 24th ultimo.

It gives me great pleasure to supply you with the information you seek in regard to General Jackson. For this purpose I send you herewith a certified copy of General Jackson's letter of acceptance of the Professorship of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Artillery Tactics in the Virginia Military Institute, dated April 22d, 1851.

General Jackson reported for duty in July, 1851, and entered upon his professorial duties on the 1st of September, 1851. His resignation as Lieutenant and Brevet-Major of Artillery in the United States army took effect March, 1852 [February 29th].