Statues of Stonewall: Lexington, Virginia

Third in a series

Stonewall Jackson, having been returned to Lexington across the Maury River, was laid to rest under the shade of the trees in the Lexington town cemetery. Today, trees still offer shade to visitors who visit the gravesite.

A large granite pedestal hoists a bronze Jackson above the burial plot, a visual reminder that, during life, he strove for the heavens as a devoutly religious man. The bronze statue, sculpted by Edward V. Valentine and dedicated on the anniversary of First Manassas on July 21 in 1891, faces south because—as legend has it—Jackson said he would never turn his back on the South. He wears his officer’s jacket but no kepi, showing off his high, peaked forehead. His sword hangs in its scabbard on his left hip. In his right hand, he holds a pair of binoculars at his side, but even without them, it’s apparent his gaze is fixed steadily at something off in the distance.

The marker serves as a family grave, with Jackson and his second wife, Mary Anna, and their dead infant daughter, Mary Graham, situated along the front of the marker. To each side are buried various members of their family, including daughter Julia, who lived only until she was 26. A circular fence of black iron bars surrounds the entire plot, keeping visitors back about ten feet.

That doesn’t prevent them from frequently scattering lemons across the lawn in front of Jackson’s grave, a tribute to stories that suggest Jackson was a big fan of fresh lemons (the so-called “lemon myth” remains a point of sharp debate among Jackson scholars even today).

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!