James Robertson Jr. is an award-winning author of the biographies of Stonewall Jackson and A. P. Hill and numerous books on the Civil War. In the follow up to his biography of the man, Robertson’s Stonewall Jacksons Book of Maxims serves as a guide to the inner hopes, ambitions and moral fiber of one of history’s most outstanding military leaders, “Stonewall” Jackson. On a wall, somewhere in the Virginia Military Institute is inscribed one of Jackson’s most important maxims, “You may be whatever you will resolve to be”. Robertson serves as the guide on a journey through what exactly it was that “Stonewall” Jackson intended to be, citing achievement, faith and his most important beliefs and values as proof of his iron clad resolve and will to be a better man.
Jackson had read Lord ...view middle of the document...
Essentially, if we are but pictures of ourselves then these maxims served the sole purpose of filling the holes left in that picture by Jacksons mountain upbringing.
The last and most important maxim of the three mentioned, in the case of Jackson would seem to have been “Let your words be as few as will express the sense you wish to convey and above all let what you say be true”. His soldiers would describe Jackson as a man of few words though, what he said carried great weight and a value of which was never in doubt. Stonewall Jacksons Book of Maxims helps serve as a guide through the social and spiritual development of Jackson as he sought to make himself a better man, soldier and servant of God. Robertson does well to convey that if these maxims were good enough for Jackson then they should be good enough for us.
“The privates of the army adored him; and no matter what whether the ground was covered with snow, or rain poured in the blinding torrents, or the sun beat with vivid force upon the heads and their fet sunk in the dust a foot deep, they would follow the old tattered uniform, that old faded gray hat, the kindly, rugged face, until nature itself would rebel.”
1) Robertson, James. Stonewall Jackson’s Book of Maxims. Cumberland House, 2002.
James Robertson Jr. is Alumni Distinguished Professor in History at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is an award-winning author of the biographies of Stonewall Jackson and A. P. Hill and numerous books on the Civil War. Robertson provides a thorough and accurate representation of the measure of the legendary Confederate Commander and Master Strategist. The Book of Maxims offers up a great insight into the life and mind of Jackson. His archive of Maxims for gentlemanly behavior is both entertaining and informative.