…none to caress
by Mort Kunstler
Jackson’s Valley Campaign, May 5, 1862
In the spring of 1862, General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was embarking on what would become one of the most successful military campaigns of the entire Civil War, the Shenandoah Valley Campaign. During that time, over seventeen thousand Confederates marched more than six hundred miles to defeat four Union armies. One of the most overlooked aspects of this campaign was the active participation of young soldiers, many of them just “boys” according to today’s standards. Most of these cadets attended the Virginia Military Institute.
As a faculty member at VMI, Professor Jackson had established a reputation as a stern and sometimes difﬁcult educator. His lectures on Natural and Experimental Philosophy & Artillery demanded great attention and his expectations of the students Were legendary. As the War marched on, Jackson’s students observed their teacher’s lessons ﬁrsthand. It didn’t take long before they developed a great appreciation and eventually, a devotion to their commander after witnessing his faith and ferocity on the battleﬁeld. Today, Jackson’s image has become a centerpiece on the grounds of the institution, inspiring generations of cadets. His words, “You may be whatever you resolve to be,” are inscribed over the arch entrance to the present-day VMI barracks.
During the ﬁrst week of May in 1862, ackson’s troops assembled in Staunton, Virginia. Cadet B. A. Colonna, whose accounts would be later published, recalled the warm reception they received. “The good people of Staunton treated us royally, and we had an excellent night’s rest.” He added on the next morning that, “Rations were issued and coffee served as usual. We cleaned up our clothes and made ourselves as presentable as we could ....”
That afternoon VMI cadets marched in formation in front of the stately Greek-style educational building at the Augusta Female Seminary while their commander looked on. Students at the institution, excited by the presence of the soldiers, received them with great enthusiasm. That evening they presented a musical program for the encamped troops. Cadet Colonna recalled the performance. “... one very pathetic song made the tears in my eyes. I remember some of the words: ‘No one to love, none to caress. Wandering alone through this worlds’ wilderness."'
These lyrics, and the account they inspired, captured the sadness of boys marching off to war. Unfortunately, many of the cadets from VMI would never return. According to the school’s own records, over 1,800 cadets served during the war, with 240 of these young boys making the supreme sacriﬁce. Jackson would also fall one year later, in May of 1863.
|Archival Paper||25 1/2" x 17"|
|Signature Edition||27" x 18"|
|Classic Edition||32" x 21"|
|Premier Edition||39" x 26"|
|Collector's Edition||56" x 37"|