Thursday, May 8, 2008

An Account of Jackson’s Death and Funeral – Part One

The following narrative of Jackson’s death and funeral comes from the book Stonewall’s Man: Sandie Pendleton, written by W.G. Bean

The additional work which devolved upon Sandie during the week following the wounding of Jackson prevented him from visiting the wounded chieftain until Sunday, May 10, the day Jackson died. As Sandie entered the sick chamber, Jackson recognized him and asked, “Who is preaching today at headquarters?” Sandie replied the Dr. Lacy was, and Jackson expressed his pleasure at the news. When told by Sandie that the entire army was praying for his recovery, Jackson murmured, “Thank God, they are very kind.” Presently he added, “It’s the Lord’s Day; my wish is fulfilled. I have always wanted to die on a Sunday.” So affected was Sandie by the scene that he went to the porch and wept. His intense feeling was revealed in a remark, the day after Jackson’s death, to Mrs. Jackson, “God knows I would have died for him.”

As his condition rapidly deteriorated, Jackson’s mind wandered back to the bloody night of May 2 on the Old Turnpike. In one of his early deliriums, he exclaimed, “I must find out if there is high ground between Chancellorsville and the river. Push up the columns! Hasten the columns! Pendleton, you take charge of that. Where’s Pendleton? Tell him to push up the column.”

The events of Sunday, May 10, were vividly recalled later by William Allan. “It was a beautiful day. We were terribly anxious. [Sandie] Pendleton rode down to see the General; the rest of us staid at Headquarters, where Dr. Lacy preached… The whole army was sad and anxious. The news brought to us during the forenoon was bad and I went to my tent after the preaching, feeling very gloomy. The afternoon was wearing on when Pendleton rode rapidly to my quarters and told me that the General had died an hour before.” Sandie dashing to the telegraph office at Hamilton’s Crossing and wired Governor John Letcher: “General Jackson died at fifteen minutes past 3 o’clock this afternoon. His remains will go to Richmond tomorrow.”

Sandie then return to Guiney Station to carry out the instructions of General Lee – who was doubtless aware of the close relationship existing between Jackson and Sandie – to take charge of the remains, to make all arrangements for the funeral, and to accompany the body to Lexington, where Jackson had expressed a desire during his last days to be buried.

The body, dressed by Sandie and J.P. Smith, was temporarily placed in a crude coffin constructed by the soldiers and moved to the front room of the Chandler office. It remained there until its departure for Richmond, where it was later embalmed in the reception room of the Governor’s Mansion and transferred to a metallic casket presented by the citizens of Fredericksburg.

The funeral cortege left Guiney Station on a special train on May 11 (Monday) and arrived in Richmond at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. It addition to Mrs. Jackson and her infant, Mrs. Moses Hoge, and Mrs. Chandler, the remains were accompanied by Sandie Pendleton, Hunter McGuire, J.P. Smith, J.G. Morrison, and the Reverend Dr. B.T. Lacy – all members of Jackson’s staff. Captain Henry Kyd Douglas, formerly of the staff but now of the Second Virginia Regiment, Dr. W.H. Mayo of the governor’s staff and Dr. David Tucker of Richmond, who had been summoned to Guiney Station during the last days of Jackson’s illness, were also in the party. Throngs of people awaited the train as it passed the stations, and at Ashland the ladies placed wreathes and flowers on the casket.

All activities were suspended in Richmond at 12 o’clock, the announced hour of the arrival of the train. A tremendous concourse of citizens had assembled at the depot, but when it was announced that the train would not arrive until 4 o’clock, the crowd slowly dispersed and reassembled at that hour.

Upon reaching Richmond, the train stopped at the corner of Fourth and Broad Street in order to spare Mrs. Jackson the ordeal of facing the multitude of mourners. She was met by Mrs. Letcher and other ladies to Richmond and was taken in a carriage to the Governor’s Mansion. The casket was enveloped in a Confederate flag and covered with wreathes of evergreen and rare flowers. The hearse, flanked by Sandie Pendleton, Hunter McGuire, J.P. Smith, and Henry Kyd Douglas moved amidst the tolling bells down Broad Street to the corner of Ninth; turned toward Main Street, and was taken past the classic porch of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to the Governor’s Mansion in the Capitol Square. After its arrival there, Sandie and Douglas stood guard until darkness and the body remained in the Mansion during the night. The bells continued to toll until sundown, and thousands of people stayed in the Square until dark. Never before, the Richmond Daily Dispatch declared, had there been such an exhibition, “of heartfelt and general sorrow” in Richmond.

Tuesday, May 12, was a beautiful and warm day in Richmond. The military pageant was one never to be forgotten by those who witnessed it. Promptly at 10 o’clock in the morning, under the direction of George W. Randolph, master of ceremonies, the procession formed on the Capitol Grounds, stretching from the Governor’s Mansion to Grace Street. The band of the Thirtieth Virginia Infantry, hurriedly transported from Hamilton’s Crossing for the occasion, headed the procession. Then came the military escort followed by the hearse which was draped and drawn by four white horses appropriately caparisoned. Grouped around the hearse were the pallbearers: Sandie Pendleton, J.P. Smith, Hunter McGuire, Henry Kyd Douglas, and Generals James Longstreet, R.S. Ewell, J.H. Winder, Arnold Elzey, George E. Pickett, Richard Brooke Garnett, W.M. Kemper, M.D. Corse, and Commodore Bassett French. The carriages, conveying President Davis, who looked “think and frail in health,” and Jackson’s family, were next in line. Behind the carriage came on foot the various chiefs of department, state and Confederate, and distinguished citizens of the city. Little Sorrel, Jackson’s horse, was led by his servant, Jim Lewis.

An immense throng had gathered to move along with the procession. The flags were draped with crepe, and the swords of the military officials were draped at the hilt. The cannons of the artillery wore the sad insignia of mourning, the drums were muffled, and at a given hour a gun stationed beneath the Washington monument boomed the signal for the procession to move.

The bells pealed out their sorrow, and the melancholy dirge of the musicians of the band of the Thirtieth Virginia Infantry swelled forth in moving tones. The director of the band, A.J. Bowering, subsequently said that he had no instructions “as to what I should play but I had in mind that it must be something historical.” As he had only one copy of the “Dead March” from Saul with him upon leaving Hamilton’s Crossing, he transcribed and arranged, on the journey to Richmond, the music of this dirge for twenty different instruments. The band broke into the “Psalm of David” when George W. Randolph raised his sword for the procession to start. “I have played, [Bowering wrote] to men standing against the wall awaiting the command that would send them into eternity and in hospitals I have done my best to soothe the dying hours of the men of Virginias, but never was I so impressed. The tears rolled down the faces of my men and I knew that I was weeping.

“We played as we never played before and in that march around the city there was in line a musician, the brother of Adelina Patti. My soul, how he could play the E flat on a cornet! He played beside me in the parade.”

Emerging from the Capitol Square, the procession moved down Governor’s Street to Main, turned up Main to Second Street, through which it passed to Grace Street, and return to Capitol Square. The casket was borne by the generals of the army to the Senate chamber where, wrapped in the flag made immortal by Jackson, it lay in state until midnight.

The scene on Main Street, during the funeral procession beggared description, said the Richmond Daily Enquirer – “so impressive, so beautiful, so full of stirring associations, blending with the martial dirges of the bands, the gleam of muskets, rifles, and sabers drawn, the sheen of the cannon, the thousands of throbbing hearts, and the sorrow that mantled over all” J.B. Jones, the rebel diarist, recorded that the funeral was “very solemn and imposing because the mourning was sincere and heartfelt. There was no vain ostentation.”

The mixed scene of woe and honor in the Senate chamber was equally moving. As “shattered and emaciated veterans, noble-bowed matrons, and pale, delicate maidens gathered around that sacred bier, in the awed hush of a common sorrow, too deep for words.” T.C. DeLeon lamented, “tears rose from the hearts that had lost their dearest and nearest without a murmur, save – Thy will be done. And little children were lifted up to look upon what was left of him.” On another occasion, as the concourse of mourners passed by the bier, “an elderly and respectable-looking gentleman” addressed them in tones of confidence: Weep not; all is for the best. Though Jackson has been taken from the head of his corps, his spirit is now pleading our cause at the bar of God.”