My thoughts on the bio of Stonewall Jackson, by Robert Dabney, Chapter VI – First Campaign in the Valley

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Chapter VI – First Campaign in the Valley

The imminent threats of a horrific war were so ever-present. So much so that “violent mobs were collected, which intimidated not only the press, but the pulpit.” But even in times of war, the church has her marching orders, she must not flinch in the face of adversity, and must continue. And if the building where the church meets is blown up, the church still goes on. 

Several times in this chapter Dabney documents how the D.C. establishment gave the public a “false assertion” misinforming the public on both sides of this war, that the South and her Southerners were the problem, when in fact the opposite was true. Today we call that a false narrative or fake news.

In criminal law, there is a justifiable homicide that is lawful in self-defense, war, or combat. Then are various forms and levels of criminal manslaughter that are prosecutable. And of course, there is murder and various degrees of that crime. To prosecute for first-degree murder, the court would need to prove specific intent and malice. The Federal government harbored both. But worse, they violated Gods Sixth Commandment.

The North, Union, and/or Federal establishment had so much hatred and malice toward the South. As Dabney reports, “The prognostications indulged by speakers and newspapers, were as vainglorious, as their purposes were revengeful. The common language breathed threatening and slaughter, and demanded the sack, ruin, and extermination of the Southern people.”

The federal government outmanned, trained, equipped, and out-gunned the South, but the South was still courageously determined to fight for the liberty of their States.  

President Abraham Lincoln’s administration asked Colonel Robert E. Lee to lead in their attack on the South. But Lee was a native Virginian, and could not justify slaughtering his kinfolk. Once the State of Virginia withdrew from the Union, Colonel Robert E. Lee resigned his commission and offered his skills knowledge, and training to his State of Virginia, and the South. Henceforth Colonel Lee became the infamous General Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy. 

Another important observation.

One of my disappointments today is the lack of reverence in sanctuaries, and that many congregations do not give the Lord and the preacher their undivided, non-distracted attention during their Lord’s Day sermons. And I find it encouraging that Major Jackson desired this type of ecclesial environment.

On a Saturday evening, Jackson was already preparing his heart and mind for the Sabbath, and the Lord’s Supper. Jackson “requested that politics and the troubles of the country might be banished from their conversation, that he might enjoy communion with God and his people undisturbed.” 

Though my former church in California fell short, we continually reminded our congregation of the importance of this. With the blessings of the other elder I placed the following reminder inside our bulletin.

‘Please remember the time just before our Worship Service is for silent meditation in preparation for worshiping our Almighty God. When entering the sanctuary, please be aware and courteous to those who are preparing for worship; and come early enough to help foster this environment.’

Another solution to this problem is practicing a regulative principle of worship

Oh, how reverent churches are far and few between today. I remember when President Donald Trump lost his reelection, how so many professing Christians were all consumed with the media hype and conspiracies. They seemed to be faithless rather than faithful. Even confessional churches that are supposed to not just merely believe in the Doctrines of Providence and Divine Decrees of God, but are expected to demonstrate that belief, did not. They sinfully placed making America great again over the Lord’s Great Commission. But not Jackson, even at times of war on their homeland, Jackson desired an undistracted church service.

Though Dabney does not use the language of first pastor or undershepherd, I believe a Christian husband is his wives first pastor. And here we can see how Jackson demonstrates the role of first pastor, and their pastor, undersheperds Mr. & Mrs. Jackson in wartime. 

When Jackson was ordered to report for war duty, he summoned his pastor to meet at his home to lead in prayer and counsel. At 11:00 PM Jackson read the fifth chapter of 2nd Corinthians to his wife. At midnight their pastor met in their home, prayed, counseled them, and sent Jackson off to war. 

It’s important to see how the pastor/elder demonstrates the role of the undershepherd, under the office created by the Chief Shepard, as he cares for his flock (1 Peter 5). Though an undershepherd has many roles, his primary role is the preaching and teaching the Word of God, or as Jesus said to Peter “feed My sheep!” (John 21:17). And the best resource for that mana is what we know today as the Bible. 

As James Montgomery Boice said,

All this applies quite broadly, for there are very few of us who do not have some degree of responsibility for someone. We are all usually undershepherds in some way. But I want to say a special word to preachers, for the task of teaching the Word of God is particularly their own. The minister has many functions. He must administer, counsel, visit, and do scores of other things. But just as the primary responsibility of a carpenter is to build and a painter to paint, so the primary responsibility of a pastor is to teach the Word of God. Indeed, if he does not, how can he expect the other undershepherds of his flock to fulfill their share of this responsibility?

James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005), 1644–1645.

While Major Jackson was deployed, he continually gave thanks, praise, and glory to the Lord. When he was promoted to Colonel, he wrote the following to his wife. “I am thankful to say that and ever-kind Providence, who causes all things to work together for good to them that love Him has given me the post in which I prefer above all others, and has given me an independent command.”  

In another letter Jackson wrote. “The troops have been divided into brigades, and the Virginia forces under General Johnston constitute the first brigade, of which I am in command. I am very thankful to our kind heavenly Father, for giving me such a fine brigade. He does bless me beyond my expectations, and indefinitely beyond my deserts. I ought to be a devoted follower of the Redeemer.” 

Even during the time of war, Jackson was evangelism minded, and he had an even greater commission from a Greater Commander (the Lord). When his superior General Johnson ordered him to destroy a train (locomotives and cars) Jackson said this.

“It was a sad work; but I had my orders, and my duty was to obey. If the cost of the property could only have been expended in disseminating the gospel of the Prince of peace, how much good might have been expected!” 

Imagine being concerned about the Great Commission during wartime. 

The North, the Federal government, or however you want to word it, continued their lies, propaganda, and false narratives.

The Federal government’s own General Patterson lied to his government, troops, and people. In self-defense, the Confederates killed a large number of Union soldiers. Patterson lied, claiming that he “repulsed 10,000” Confederates and that they only lost “one man.” But as chaplain Dabney reports, “the numerous covered wagons of the Dutch farmers, which went to the rear, with the blood dripping through the seams of the boards, told a different story of his loss. The dead of the Federal army were carefully concealed from their comrades., lest the sight should intimidate the unwarlike rabble.”

History surely repeats itself. As the Scriptures warn that man is a liar. Whether it be some of the upper command staff of the LAPD who has altered how crime stats are given, making the citizens believe crime is lower than it is. Or how some within the D.C. establishment lied about the Benghazi scandal, man is a liar, God hates it, and God cannot lie.

On July 2nd, 1861 Colonel Jackson received a letter from General Lee informing him that he has been promoted. “MY DEAR GENERAL, – I have the pleasure of sending you a commission of Brigadier-General in Provisional army; and to feel that you merit it. May your advancement increase your usefulness to the State. – Very truly, R.E. Lee.” 

Henceforth General Stonewall Jackson gave homage to the Lord saying, “Through the blessing of God I now have all that I ought to desire in the line of promotion. I would be very grateful if I were not contended, and exceedingly thankful to our kind heavenly Father. May His blessing ever rest on you, is my fervent prayer.” 

I appreciate the word “merit.” General Stonewall Jackson was promoted based on his earned, tested, and proven “merit.” 

I will close this chapter by again referring to the LAPD, and other employers alike. After all, some policemen in large cities like Los Angeles do engage in urban warfare. 

The LAPD was once a premier world-renowned law enforcement agency. But affirmative action and its racist discriminative quota system destroyed it. Rather than men being hired and promoted based solely on merit, most are chosen because of gender, race, ethnicity, and/or sexual preference. 

When I was hired the Federal courts’ consent decree mandated that LAPD shall hire 40% females, and that system of feminism went all the way to the top. Now their rank and file are full of people hired based on race or gender (or sexual preference), and their command staff is full of feminists and homosexuals (male and female); rather than merit alone. 

Though I righteously complain about the problem, I trust in God that He decrees this madness as a form of His due judgment. In Jesus’ letters to those seven churches in Revelation 2&3, five of them received much criticism and rebuke. And Jesus’ solution to that sin problem, was “repent,” not repeat.

Note: I’m not sure my continuing to write observations and applications for all future chapters in this book is fruitful enough to justify more laboring in doing so. So, if they stop, you’ll know why. Either way, Lord willing, I plan to finish this great book😁

For more of my observations of this biography, click on my Stonewall Jackson tag. Semper Reformanda!

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