Part 4 of a series
Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson’s response to Secretary of War Benjamin’s telegram ordering Loring’s command back to Winchester followed promptly the same day:
Headquarters, Valley District
January 31st, 1862
Hon. J.P. Benjamin, Sec. of War.
Sir — Your order requiring me to direct General Loring to return with his command to Winchester, immediately, has been received, and promptly complied with.
With such interference in my command, I cannot expect to be of much service in the field, and accordingly respectfully request to be ordered to report for duty to the Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, at Lexington; as has been done in the case of other professors. Should this application not be granted, I respectfully request that the President will accept my resignation from the Army.
Respectfully, etc., your obed. serv.,
What some could interpret as pettiness, Jackson viewed as a deliberate course of action and duty. If the Confederate leaders in Richmond had lost confidence in him, listened to General Loring and his officers without a proper investigation, and countermanded his orders, then they had lost confidence in his abilities and for the good of the cause, Jackson believed he should remove himself from the command. Furthermore, he did not want to “throw away the fruits of victory that have been secured at such a sacrifice of the comfort of my noble troops in their hurried march through the storm of snow and sleet.”[ii] Continue reading