“...my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death; I do not concern myself with that, but to be always ready, whenever it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live. Then all men would be equally brave.”Keeping in mind that a general on horseback made a far better target than a soldier behind a fence, we too should be impressed that he “stood like a stonewall” in the hail of bullets around him. Drawing on his actual words, the movie Gods and Generals also gives us an insight into Jackson’s views on duty, desertion, and the will of God:
“Our soldiers are brave. They have endured hardships none of them could ever have imagined. Desertion is not a solitary crime. It's a crime against the tens of thousands of veterans who are huddled together in the harsh cold of this winter. Against all those who have sacrificed. Against all those who have fallen. Against all the women and the children we have left alone to fend for themselves. I regard the crime of desertion as a sin against the Army of the Lord. Duty is ours. The consequences are God's.”Jackson also understood the role of men in protective duty and production. Security is necessary for the goods of society and family to blossom. In a statement to his troops, Jackson applauds their dedication not only to the cause but also to the citizenry of the nation they are to protect:
“Through the broad extent of country over which you have marched, by your respect for the rights and property of citizens, you have shown that you were soldiers not only to defend but able and willing both to defend and protect.”“Stonewall” Jackson, a near convert to the Catholic faith, remains a beloved general to Americans in the old South. When Southerners today honor their fallen Confederate generals and the Confederate flag, let us not call them racist. Rather let us recall that their memory of “the Lost Cause” has left them with a deepened sense of patriotism. It is the kind of patriotism that leads not to secession, but rather to line up at military recruiting stations in times of war. Southerners may still reverence the Confederate flag, but the memory of men like Jackson leads them to shed their blood by the thousands for the American flag.