Question of the Week for December 17, 2012

In your opinion, was Stonewall Jackson better on the offensive or better on the defensive?

Thomas J. Jackson
Thomas J. Jackson

4 Responses to Question of the Week for December 17, 2012

  1. My answer is that he was better on the offensive. I will be interested to see if the answers of some revolve around the controversy over whose idea was the night “end around” at Chancellorsville. (if it originated with Lee, it lessens Jackson’s perceived excellence at offense.)

  2. I would say on the offensive (though I admit I have not managed to read all the books & primary sources yet)

  3. I would say that Jackson showed abilities on both sides. Note that in both Mannasis’s he started out on the defensive and then was able to time his counter-attack well so that his forces were able to defeat the enemy. At Fredericksburg he was again on the defensive, and after withstanding several assaults on his troops’ position, launched a well-time counter-attack which drove the enemy back down towards the river and Fredericksburg. At Chancelersville, he did take on the offensive and was very successful. But having been fatally injured, it proved to be a loss to the South that the Confederacy could never recover from. His Shenandoah campaign is a good example of a mixture of both offensive and defensive capabilities. His score card in the Seven Days battle was not so exemplary, but that is likely due to a lack of sleep. Obviously a man dedicated to the cause of Southern freedom, but sleep is a necessary prerequisite to operating in an optimal manner.

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