Page 4,The Institute Report,April 2013
the Stonewall Jackson House. “He’s gone on to a long
and distinguished career.” Gibson added that O’Reilly
now lives at Guinea Station in Caroline County, within a
stone’s throw of the small outbuilding where Jackson died
of pneumonia after amputation of his left arm.
Following O’Reilly’s talk, a reception will be held
downstairs, in the VMI Museum, where visitors will be
able to see a variety of artifacts connected with Jackson’s
wounding, death, and burial, many of which are not
usually available for public view. Also on Sunday, May 19,
the Stonewall Jackson House will be open for tours from
1 to 5 p.m.
In the upcoming museum exhibit, the public will have
a chance to view a portrait of Jackson by the well-known
19th-century portrait artist William Garl Brown. That
portrait was once on display at the Stonewall Jackson
House, but has been in storage since 2004.
Also coming out of storage will be a lap desk used by
Margaret Junkin Preston, Jackson’s sister-in-law from his
first marriage. Lynn and Gibson explained that Preston
had just written a letter to Jackson, presumably on that
lap desk, and was coming downstairs to put the letter in
the mail when she was told that her brother-in-law and
close friend had died.
Other items scheduled to go on display include a blood-stained linen
handkerchief belonging to Jackson and bits of greenery from his casket,
plucked by mourners as the casket was being borne by caisson through
the streets of Lexington.
The general’s final journey home had culminated with the arrival of his
body at Jordan’s Point, on what is now the Maury River, after a long and
winding trip from Guinea Station to Lynchburg by rail. At Lynchburg, the
body was put on a canal boat and towed upstream by mules through the
James River and Kanawha Canal, a journey that Lynn said moved at a pace of
three or four miles per hour. The railroad was not an option, she explained,
because rail lines were not extended to Lexington until the 1880s.
By coincidence, Jackson’s burial took place exactly one year before
the battle of New Market, which was fought on May 15, 1864. With the
Continued from page 1
150th Anniversary of Jackson’s Death
150th anniversary of that battle approaching rapidly, along with the
175th anniversary of the Institute’s founding, which will also be marked
in 2014, Gibson and Lynn have begun receiving inquiries as to what
special events will be held.
For right now, though, they’re keeping the focus firmly on Jackson –
an iconic figure whose loss was felt so keenly at the time that Virginians
reeled upon hearing the news of his death as if they had lost a member
of their own family.
“Jackson’s death has to be viewed in context of his relatively short
career as a Confederate general,” said Gibson. “He was one of the great
hopes for the future for Confederate victory. His death brought an end to
that military hope, to a large degree. … There would never be another
Cadet Trevor Tafolla ’14 adjusts Jackson’s raincoat to display the hole made by the
bullet that struck Jackson’s left arm. Inset photo: This surgeon’s kit, dating from the
1850s, belonged to Hunter McGuire, the surgeon who treated Stonewall Jackson
following his wounding near Chancellorsville.
– VMI Photos by John Robertson IV.
Descendent Hopes to ‘Make Jackson Proud’
Please see page 6
It wouldn’t be odd for any VMI cadet to feel a bit of kinship with Gen.
Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson – after all, his statue stands watch over
the Parade Ground, and the main entrance to barracks is through none
other than Jackson Arch. But for one 4th Class cadet, that kinship goes
beyond the one-time VMI faculty member’s still-palpable presence at
VMI – it’s a blood tie.
One of Philip Crane’s uncles five generations back was the legendary
general himself, and that family relationship on his mother’s side was a
major factor in Crane’s decision to attend VMI.
Crane, who was born in Belgium but grew up from the age of 6 in
Mansfield, Ohio, first learned of his Jackson ancestry when he was in
junior high school. His mother’s parents, who live in Oklahoma, had
come for a visit and brought with them several DVDs of their genealogy.
Crane had done a sixth-grade project on Jackson before that visit. He’d
been completely unaware that he was a collateral descendent at the time.
“It was really cool to make that connection, someone that I had already
admired, that I had relation to them,” said Crane.
When the time came for Crane to pick a college, he’d been thinking
about West Point, but decided to make a visit to VMI anyway. When he
arrived, and saw the statue of Jackson, he knew he would matriculate
Through the years, small reminders of Crane’s Jackson heritage have
surfaced now and again. Once, his family visited the Gettysburg battlefield
while there was a re-enactment going on. He was kitted out and taken