Under midnight Judas-Moon
a lanterned kiss betrayed you,
borrowed prayers hushed futile wrath
as dreams of glory
into nightmares fled;
Gethsemanied tears doused your legend
and washed away its Southern thrall
conjured from stallions’ swirling dust;
Napoleon nor Hannibal could excel
your Grey tornadoes’ vengeful wake,
as with sabred ploughshares across
bloodied soil they furrowed
in the season of storms,
Dixie’s glory harvesting the sheaves of pity
until your banshees could vent
no more their burning rage,
doused that night under Judas-Moon
its lanterned kiss proferred too soon.
Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (January 21, 1824 – May 10, 1863) was a Confederate general during the American Civil War, and the best-known Confederate commander after General Robert E. Lee. His military career includes the Valley Campaign of 1862 and his service as a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia, under Robert E. Lee. Confederate pickets accidentally shot him at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. The general survived but lost an arm to amputation; he died of complications from pneumonia eight days later. His death was a severe setback for the Confederacy, affecting not only its military prospects, but also the morale of its army and of the general public. Jackson in death became an icon of Southern heroism and commitment, and became a mainstay in the pantheon of the “Lost Cause”.
Military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history. His Valley Campaign and his envelopment of the Union Army’s right wing at Chancellorsville are studied worldwide, even today, as examples of innovative and bold leadership. He excelled as well in other battles: the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas), where he received his famous nickname “Stonewall”; the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas); and the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg.