Stonewall and Lemons: An International Connection

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!):

Picture of "Stonewall" Jackson in a Sorrento, Italy shop
Painting of “Stonewall” Jackson in a Sorrento, Italy shop

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.

My wife, Adel and I with some of Italy's lemons.  What would "Stonewall" have thought about these lemons?
My wife, Adel and I with some lemons from Sorrento, Italy.
What would “Stonewall” have thought about these lemons?

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). 

4 Responses to Stonewall and Lemons: An International Connection

    1. That thought did occur to me, I tried to look, but could not find a date on the painting. I also did not want to handle the painting too much, in case I dropped it!

      Thanks for reading the post, greatly appreciated!

  1. Jackson traveled to Europe to dispel his depression after the death of his first wife, and the art and cathedrals of Italy had a healing effect on him.

    Other Civil War connections with Italy: In 1859 Confederate General Pettigrew while traveling through Europe volunteered his services to the Sardinians in support of their defensive war against the Austrians, and was moved at the sight of the French legions marching south to aid their Italian neighbors. Also, soldiers-of-fortune Col. Charles St. Leger Grenfell (fighting for the South: served on staffs of Gen. John Morgan, Gen. Bragg and Gen. Stuart, then involved himself in Chicago-area intrigues of Sons of Liberty) and Sir Percy Wyndham (fighting for the North: 1st NJ, etc.), both Englishmen, had fought (or claimed to have done so) for Garibaldi.

    Those lemons look like grapefruit!!

    1. Thanks Amanda for the great comment. I had not realized “Stonewall” had made it to Europe.

      When we saw the size of those lemons at that one farm we had to take a picture because we were sure our family/friends would not believe that they were that size!

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