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"Stonewall's Quiet Moment"
When the idea first came to me for a work of art relating to the private character of General
Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, it soon became evident that a true and accurate
humanizing portrayal of the man could not be presented without including a reference to
Jackson’s deep and defining religious faith.  Even a passing glance at any biography of
General Jackson will attest to this.  More than a brilliant military genius, he was above all
else faithful and devoted to his beliefs in Divine Providence.

I have noted that many artistic renditions of Jackson portray his military brilliance, his
fearlessness in battle,  his genius for command.  These pieces rightly and beautifully
display that audacious side of “Stonewall” the hero; characteristics for which he will always
and should always be honored and  revered.   Yet I found myself wondering how he,
personally, would have like best to be remembered, and the answer became clear once I
studied his life and personality.

Thomas Jackson began his Christian faith as a boy, and by the time he was a man, it was
the central tenet of his life.  He worried for the salvation of those around him; his relatives,
his cadets at VMI, the men under his command.  He helped to start a Sunday school for
African Americans, and contributed heavily to that object.  Even General Richard Ewell,
after making a profession of faith in Christ, said that he owed much for that decision to the
example of Thomas Jackson.

It is also said that he prayed almost constantly.  A reverend once described Jackson’s
prayers:

“During his prayers, his tones were deep, solemn…He seemed to realize he was speaking to Heaven’
s King, and seemed to feel more than any man I’ve ever known the danger of robbing God of the
glory due for our success.”

And Jackson said of himself:

“I never raise a glass of water to my lips without lifting my heart to God in thanks and prayer for
the water of life.”

Clearly Jackson’s religious beliefs were the cornerstone on which all else in his life rested,
which lead me to conclude that, more than any other way, he would like best to be
immortalized in some way that would exhibit this side of him.  When I read that Jackson
often liked to slip away to the woods for some quiet prayer time, the mental picture I had of
that scene struck me as a most defining and humanizing image of General Thomas
Jackson.  It is my hope that “A Quiet Moment” brings that image to life in a meaningful way,
and pays adequate tribute to not only a great, but also a good, man.
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