Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 20.djvu/34

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28 Southern Historical Society Papers.

ginia minister in regard to General Ewell and Stonewall Jackson. I give an abridged copy of this letter, as it is connected with what Colonel Ewell has to say on the subject :


"DEAR GENERAL 'Twas in connection with General Ewell's conversion to Christ from his accidentally overhearing Jackson pray- ing for guidance in the prosecution of the campaign. My informant got the account from a minister of the Presbyterian church, who was present at one of the sessions in examining General Ewell (who had been a very profane man and skeptical) and hearing him give his experience and what led him to desire membership in the church. General Ewell did not have a high opinion of Jackson's natural ability, and often remarked in the hearing of his staff that he did not have good common sense, and so the staff used to join in with him in deriding the claims of Jackson's friends to his being a great general. But Jackson kept on winning victories, and the staff, one after another, ceased talking in the strain they had been indulg- ing in, and Ewell was left alone in reaffirming his oft-repeated con- victions. This went on till Pope had assumed command of the Federal troops, and at a juncture of that campaign a council of war was held, at which Generals Jackson and Ewell were present. None present had anything to suggest, but Jackson said that as they seemed to think he ought to know what to do, if they would meet again next morning before daylight he might have something to offer. General Ewell left his gauntlets in Jackson's tent when the council adjourned and returning to get them heard the voice of Jackson within engaged in prayer. Supposing the prayer would be short, Ewell waited for awhile, but Jackson prayed so long and fervently he concluded to leave. The substance of the prayer Ewell heard was his ' telling his Heavenly Father that he did not know what to do ; that everything seemed to be involved in perfect darkness and that the other gene- rals seemed to expect that he would be able to tell them what the army ought to do ; would he graciously reveal to him what was best to be done.' Next morning he laid before the council what he had to suggest and all present instantly perceived that it was the very thing that ought to be done, and so the movement through Thorough- fare Gap was decided upon. Ewell was wounded, but he still held the opinion as to Jackson's natural ability, and there was, therefore, no other way to explain Jackson's success, except that prayer had