Confederate General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson was a spectacular general. He is famous for his Chancellorsville attack that nearly destroyed the Union Army of the Potomac in May 1863, yet it was his victory at Harper’s Ferry September 12-15, 1862, was his most brilliant. This victory captured 12.600 federal troops and made the battle of Antietam on September 17 possible. That was the bloodiest single day of the war. NOTE: Jackson was shot by friendly fire from a North Carolina regiment at the conclusion of the Chancellorsville battle and died several days later of pneumonia.
Thanks to RealHistory, an account of that battle that details Jackson’s tactical brilliance is available Here. This is an important article for Civil War historians, of which I am one, and asks the question of what this brilliant tactician would have done if he had lived to lead his corp at Gettysburg. This corp, failed to take the high ground of Culp’s Hill on the first day of that battle and allowed Union General Meade to maintain the very defensible Cemetery Ridge line that was the key to the battle.
My friend, George Will, says that Meade would have withdrawn from Gettysburg and taken up a position at the equally formidable Pipe Creek line and won the battle there, but his family is from Illinois and mine from North Carolina.
I find Harper’s Ferry to be a mystical place and this article describes its military importance in 1862.