At the First Battle of Manassas in July 1861, the unrelenting vigor with which Confederate General Thomas Jonathan Jackson held his position inspired a general nearby to rally his troops with the cry, "There is Jackson standing like a stone wall." From that moment on, he was known as "Stonewall" Jackson, a name that he repeatedly lived up to, fighting under the command of General Robert E. Lee.
The deeply religious Jackson believed intensely in the righteousness of the southern cause, and a key to his success was his ability to instill his own fighting fervor in his men. One of his most brilliant victories came at Chancellorsville in the spring of 1863. Tragically for Jackson and the South, this would prove to be his last battle, as he died of wounds accidentally inflicted by his own men.
Listen to David Ward's Face-to-Face talk on Stonewall Jackson (30:33)
Face-to-Face occurs every Thursday evening at the National Portrait Gallery. The next talk is tonight (Thursday, June 3), when curator Anne Goodyear speaks about artist Jim Torok's work, on view in "Portraiture Now: Communities." The talk runs from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. Visitors meet the presenter in the museum’s F Street lobby and then walk to the appropriate gallery.
Thomas Jonathan Jackson / J. W. King, copy after: Unidentified Artist, (Photographer) / Oil on canvas, 1864 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; given in memory of Lieselotte Richardson