Over the Christmas holiday–and although belatedly a Happy Holidays to our readership–my wife and I were going over pictures of 2013. I came across two, taken during a summer trip, that bore fruit (literally and figuratively) between one of the Civil War’s most recognizable figures and one of his attributed idiosyncrasies.
My wife and I took a cruise of the Mediterranean Sea for an anniversary. When the cruise docked in Naples, my wife had signed us up for a tour down the coast to visit Pompeii (she had accepted being married to a history nerd) and an afternoon touring the local cheese and fruit farms of the area, which the area of Italy is well known for. The tour information listed that the particular fruit we’d see would be lemons. I had a passing thought of “Stonewall” sitting on the Italian coast sucking lemons, but that quickly passed. I was thousands of miles from where “Stonewall” was a household name, or so I thought.
After touring a lemon orchard, we were given some time to tour the local town for lunch. This included some time to look for souvenirs. The first shop we went in to had the picture below hanging in it (honestly!):
Now, you may ask why I did not purchase the painting. The answer is simple: I did not have a spare 1,000 euros.
But, here it was, thousands of miles from where “Stonewall” Jackson spent the majority of his life and rose to fame: a painting of the famed Confederate military icon, complete with his faithful stead, Little Sorrel. My wife shook her head and remarked that I could find Civil War history anywhere!
I was surprised though, to say the least, to see Jackson hanging there on the southeast coast of Italy. But, then again should I have been surprised?
I mean lemons abounded in the local area.
Lemons and Jackson, whether myth or fact or a mixture of both, are an international connection that no other Civil War icon can claim.
(Disclaimer: Lemons were just one of the many fruits that Jackson enjoyed. Peaches, though, according to VMI historians, were Jackson’s favorite fruit).
(Disclaimer #2: Thanks to Amanda for pointing out that Jackson did make a trip to Italy, so he might have tried a local lemon on the Italian coast).