Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/165

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Stonewall Jackson. 159

other negroes of the town craved the privilege of attending, and he soon had his room filled to overflowing with eager pupils. This sug- gested to him the idea of organizing a negro Sunday-school, which he did several years before the war, and to which he devoted all of the energies of his mind and all the zeal of his large Christian heart.

He was accustomed to prepare himself for the exercises of this school by the most careful study of the lessons. The day before he left home for the war was Saturday, and he was very busy all day long making every preparation to leave at a moment's warning. He paid all outstanding accounts, and settled up as far as possible his worldly affairs, while his devoted wife was busily plying the needle to prepare him for the field. At the supper table Mrs. Jackson made some remark about the preparations for his expected departure, when he said, with a bright smile : " My dear, to-morrow is the blessed Sabbath day. It is also the regular communion season at our church. I hope I shall not be called to leave until Monday. Let us then dismiss from our conversation and our thoughts everything pertaining to the war, and have together one more. quiet evening of preparation for our loved Sabbath duties."

Accordingly the dark cloud of war was pushed aside. He read aloud to her for awhile from religious magazines and newspapers, and then they went to their accustomed studies of the Bible lessons which were to be taught on the morrow to the colored Sunday-school. It was such a bright, happy Saturday evening, as is only known in the well-regulated Christian home. Alas! It has proved the last that he ever spent under his own roof-tree. Early the next morning a telegram from the Governor of the Commonwealth ordered him to march the corps of cadets for Richmond at 12:30 o'clock that day. Not waiting for his breakfast he hurried to the Institute and spent the morning making necessary preparations for the departure of the cadets, not forgetting to send a request to his pastor that he should be present to hold with them a brief service before they marched forth at the call of their sovereign State.

At ii o'clock he came home to take a hurried breakfast and make a few personal arrangements. The last thing he did before leaving home was to retire with his wife into their chamber, read a part of the fifth chapter of Second Corinthians, beginning : " For we know that that if the earthly Chouse of this tabernacle were dissolved we have a building of God a house not made with hands eternal in the Heavens," and then made an humble, tender, fervent prayer, in which he begged that the dark clouds of war might even then be