What If Stonewall Jackson had not been shot?—The ECW Version

What if Stonewall Jackson had not been shot?

Well, for starters, he would have never been taken to Fairfield, the Chandler plantation at Guiney Station. So, he would not have died there on May 10, 1863.

That means it would not have been turned into a tourist attraction by the Richmond, Fredericksburg, & Potomac Railroad, which means there would have been no need for the  railroad to build a caretakers house there so someone could tend to the site. There would have been no shrine there to Jackson’s memory, so it would not have become a National Park Service site.

And so Kris White, Jake Struhelka and I would never have had a reason to be sitting there—in a building that wouldn’t have existed at a site that was never established—smoking cigars and drinking beers on the porch and B.S.-ing about what it would be like to start up a community of bloggers with a bunch of fellow Civil War historians.

With no disrespect intended, it’s safe to say, had Stonewall Jackson not been shot, there would be no Emerging Civil War—and wouldn’t we all be a little sadder as a result?

(Not that we’d know what we were missing because it would have never existed!)

16 Responses to What If Stonewall Jackson had not been shot?—The ECW Version

  1. now your talkin’ … this is great “what if” … i am going with they probably wouldn’t have “stuffed” his horse.

  2. The question is….”How would the war have proceeded if SJ had not died?”

    As you all know, I don’t like “what if” questions. However, one must look at what happens in the normal sequence of events.
    1.If Jackson does not die and survives the amputation and the subsequent pneumonia/Pulmonary Embolism, he returns to Lexington to recuperate for 9 months. This was the time it took Dick Ewell to return to the ANV after being wounded at the Battle of Groveton.

    2. All the events that occurred in 1863 still occur.

    3.1864 plays out the same way with perhaps Jackson taking over Longstreet’s Corps after Longstreet is wounded?

    Moreover, who would have won?

    The Union. Recall that ump to 1864, the Union was fighting with both hands tied behind its back.

  3. Stonewall is always one of THE most popular “what if” questions asked about the Civil War. The specific question here is what if SJ had not been shot at all, thus the implication, to me anyways, is he emerges healthy after Chancellorsville. What comes to my mind is the composition of the Confederate army that would march north in June 1863. That army consisted of THREE separate corps, not two ‘wings’. That alone would translate into circumstances and events that would add their own complications to all decisions Lee and his commanders would have to make going forward.

    Would Lee have created that third corps if Stonewall had lived? With two ‘wings’ vice three corps, would movements like those that took elements of Lee’s army to York and Harrisburg have taken place? Stonewall made his share of questionable moves while he was still alive. Might he have done so again during the invasion of the North? Or afterwards if he had survived that? We obviously can’t know any of that.

    1. Questions about Stonewall @ GB **always** skip the question of “Which Stonewall — the Stonewall of the Valley Campaign or Chancellorsville (where he whipped the Union’s second string) or the lethargic Stonewall of the Peninsula, where he literally slept through an entire battle?”

  4. The premise of the three is a-historic. Stonewall was shot.

    Janice Feagan asked what if Stonewall had not died. Taking the time to heal and convalesce, Jackson is out for 9 months, and misses Gettysburg.

    1. But the article itself is titled “What if Stonewall Jackson had NOT been SHOT?” Pretty cut and dried..

      1. A member posed a different question, which was more in line with the actual history.

        To say that Stonewall wasn’t shot is a-historical, and only appeals to the Lost Cause crowd.

      2. But none the less the ARTICLE clearly asks what if he had not been SHOT. Actual history doesn’t matter in thesexendeavors.

  5. If Stonewall had not been shot at Chancellorsville and continued as commander of the 2nd Corps I suspect he would have counseled against the frontal assault against the Union center on July 3rd; perhaps agreeing with Longstreet and Hood that they should attempt to move around the Union left flank and threaten the Baltimore pike.

  6. Review by mike collie CA
    The Great “What Ifs” of the American Civil War: Historians Tackle the…
    Edited by Chris Mackowski, Brian Matthew Jordan
    Specifically Chap 5 by Eric White;
    “What if Jackson had not been shot”?
    First the question its self is unnecessarily vague and fails to adequately define/ limit parameters.
    A clear example of professional historian’s weak intellectual integrity and rigor and failure to forthrightly make effective counterfactual analysis.
    Yet the following article;
    Richard Ned Lebow
    Counterfactual Thought Experiments: A Necessary Teaching Tool
    Richard Ned Lebow
    The History Teacher
    Vol. 40, No. 2 (Feb., 2007), pp. 153-176 (24 pages)
    Is dispositive that contrary to the gratuitous approach of some, Counterfactual analysis is in fact a necessary and vital tool for serious historians. Mr. White’s work is the typical example of fatuous, superficial and pointless work. His reference to “parachute in”, “star trek” and “time travel” betray a clearly malicious and prevaricating effort. He makes multiple references to Jackson being “sick” before his wound. And “two witnesses” seeing Jackson vomit. 1) Vomiting is not a primary symptom for Pneumonia, a lung infection. 2)Hotchkiss and other witness with direct contact with Jackson for 6 days prior to wound make no reference to any illness, example being Robertson’s Biography and the Hotchkiss journal. No citation or reference is given for these spurious statements. Normal academic practice is that statements of fact be sourced. One main reason to source is to “cite the authority for statements in the text, specific facts or opinions as well as exact quotations.” It’s a reasonable inference that uncited and unsourced text is intended to deceive since it’s very easy to provide a citation if one exists. While counterfactual analysis is important, its always sad to see historians puerile efforts to discredit the tool.
    Michael Collie

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!