Sunday, July 09, 2006

Who Can He Be?

On the final page of his book, Lieutenant Colonel G. F. R. Henderson relates the following:

"Mr. W.P. St. John, President of the Mercantile Bank of New York,
relates the following incident: A year or two ago he was in the
Shenandoah Valley with General Thomas Jordan, C.S.A., and at the
close of the day they found themselves at the foot of the mountains
in a wild and lonely place; there was no village, and no house, save
a rough shanty for the use of the 'track-walker' on the railroad. It
was not an attractive place for rest, yet here they were forced to
pass the night, and to sit down to such supper as might be provided
in so desolate a spot. The unprepossessing look of everything was
completed when the host came in and took his seat at the head of the
table. A bear out of the woods could hardly have been rougher, with
his unshaven hair and unkempt beard. He answered to the type of
border ruffian, and his appearance suggested the dark deeds that
might be done here in secret, and hidden in the forest gloom. Imagine
the astonishment of the travellers when this rough backwoodsman
rapped on the table and bowed his head. And such a prayer! 'Never,'
says Mr. St. John, 'did I hear a petition that more evidently came
from the heart. It was so simple, so reverent, so tender, so full of
humility and penitence, as well as of thankfulness. We sat in
silence, and as soon as we recovered ourselves I whispered to General
Jordan, "Who can he be?" To which he answered, "I don't know, but he
must be one of Stonewall Jackson's old soldiers." And he was. As we
walked out in the open air, I accosted our new acquaintance, and
after a few questions about the country, asked, "Were you in the
war?" "Oh, yes," he said with a smile, "I was out with Old
Stonewall."'-- Southern Historical Society Papers, vol. xix page 371."

Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War. Lieutenant Colonel G. F. R. Henderson, C. B.

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